The 5 Love Languages – Receiving Gifts
Great Morning Beloved!
The 5 Love Languages – Receiving Gifts
Happy Earth Day.
The first ‘official’ Earth Day took place in 1970. On that day, 20 million people in the US took to the streets to demand a clean environment, free of pollution. Within the year, the US had established the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Species Protection Act. Earth Day is now observed in 192 countries and is coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network, chaired by the first Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes.
Earth Day is now the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.
We’ll talk a bit more about our Mother Earth later.
Here’s a story from Dr. Chapman’s book……
Erik spent a year in Kelsey’s “friend zone” before she agreed to go out with him. Since they were both big baseball fans, Erik took her to a minor-league game. They were sitting in a grassy area beyond the left-field fence when suddenly a hard-hit drive came their way. Erik jumped up and made an impressive barehanded catch—his first home-run grab ever. Two days later Kelsey found a gift-wrapped package outside her dorm room. She opened it and found a baseball in a small plastic collector’s display case. Taped to the inside of the case was a ticket stub from the game. Inscribed on the ball was the date of the game and these words:
1st home-run catch….2nd best thing to happen to me that day
They were married two years after that first date. Fifteen years later that baseball, still in its display case, sits on Kelsey’s dresser where she can see it every day. It is the first thing she would grab if the house were on fire.
If you didn’t figure it out, this week, our Love Language is Receiving Gifts.
A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift.
The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of the gift and expressed that thought in securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.
In every culture studied by Dr. Chapman, and there were many, gift giving was a part of the love-marriage process. It is a fundamental expression of love that transcends cultural barriers.
From early years, children are inclined to give gifts to their parents, which may be another indication that gift giving is fundamental to love.
Even those of us who do not have our own children can probably recall a gift given from a child…even if it’s a shy smile from one across the aisle in a store.
These gifts are visual symbols of love. And symbols have emotional value. In a wedding ceremony, the giving and receiving of rings indicates a symbol.
The person performing the ceremony says, “These rings are outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual bond that unites your two hearts in love that has no end.” That is not meaningless rhetoric.
Perhaps they have an even more graphic display near the end of a disintegrating marriage when the rings are removed…and sometimes tossed at the other….
However, visual symbols of love are more important to some people than to others. There are many married couples who did not exchange rings and sometimes, if they did, one or both may have chosen to not wear it for whatever reason. Hopefully, this was discussed BEFORE the ring was removed in Affirming Words, so both understand the reasoning behind the action, most often for safety reasons.
If your spouse, partner, or special friend didn’t receive many gifts growing up, they may never have learned how to select gifts. It may not come naturally for them.
However, giving gifts is one of the easiest love languages to learn.
Where do you begin? Make a list of all the gifts your spouse has expressed excitement about receiving through the years. They may be gifts you have given or gifts given by other family members or friends. The list will give you an idea of the kind of gifts your spouse would enjoy receiving.
If you need to, recruit help. Ask family and friends to give you suggestions.
Don’t wait for a special occasion.
Gifts don’t have to be expensive. The cost of the gift will matter little, unless it is out of line with what you can afford. If a millionaire spends a few dollars on a gift, the spouse may question whether that is an expression of love, but when family finances are limited, a one-dollar gift may speak a million dollars’ worth of love.
You may have to change your attitude about money.
Each of us has a perception of the purposes of money, and we have various emotions associated with spending it. Some of us have a spending orientation. We feel good about ourselves when we are spending money.
Others have a saving and investing perspective. We feel good about ourselves when we are saving money and investing it wisely.
However, purchasing gifts for him or her is the best investment you can make. You are investing in your relationship and filling your spouse’s emotional love tank, and with a full love tank, he or she will likely reciprocate emotional love to you in a language you will understand. When both persons’ emotional needs are met, your relationship will take on a whole new dimension.
There is an intangible gift that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one’s hand. Chapman calls it the gift of self or the gift of presence.
Being there when your spouse needs you speaks loudly to the one whose primary love language is receiving.
Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give to one who’s love language is receiving gifts…your body becomes a symbol of your love.
Last week we talked about the Love Language of Quality Time. This ‘gift of presence’ is very similar to that, the difference being, it is not planned time, but something has come up and plans and work may have to be changed to “BE” with your loved one.
Thich Nhat Hanh – “If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.”
I can remember a situation when I asked my partner to forgo a scheduled card game because I felt the need to be supported during an emotional situation. That person chose to go to the card game and left me to fend for myself. Obviously, I survived, yet I can still feel that emotion of not being important enough.
“Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
So, choose how you relate to the important people in your life…take note to what you both need, no matter the relationship. Even casual friends need your support. Be aware and if you are able, spread some love.
The spirit of giving is one of God’s greatest gifts. The mere act itself is divine love in action
One of the many gifts we all have is the Gift of the Earth.
It’s perfect that Receiving Gifts is the topic for today’s lesson. What a gift we have in the planet where we live.
AS I mentioned at the beginning of todays Lesson, Earth Day is today. It officially started in 1970, but the stirring of Earth Day started before that as scientists and politicians started grassroots demonstrations held at the Spring Equinox.
Every year a theme is presented and worked on by those involved with Earth Day. This year the theme is End Plastic Pollution.
Plastic pollution has become a major issue because of our use of easily disposable products. From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet
Plastic is composed of major toxic pollutants, potentially causing harm to our air, water and land.
Obviously, plastic is an incredibly useful material, but it is also made from toxic compounds known to cause illness, and because it is meant for durability, it is not biodegradable.
We all know what we can do to help alleviate this issue…but are we doing it?
Here are some reminders:
1. Shop Friendly
Plastic bags were once a modern convenience but can be efficiently replaced by reusable bags, many of which fold up compactly in order to be portable. Just think about how many bags you typically carry out of a grocery store and multiply that by the number of times you grocery shop. That’s a lot of plastic! Carry a bag and always reuse plastic bags as much as possible if you have them.
2. Get Rid of Bottled Water
People are meant to drink lots of water each day, and plastic water bottles have become a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day. However, most of these are only recommended for single use, and that means that every time someone finishes a bottle it goes into the trash. Many companies now sell reusable water bottles as a substitute, reducing plastic waste
3. Forget to-go Containers
You would be surprised at how much plastic is involved in the making and packaging of food containers. Think the coffee shop’s drink cup is paper? It’s likely lined with plastic for insulation.
Plastic food containers, lids, and utensils are all easily replaced by reusable containers, which will cut down significantly on even a single meal’s waste.
4. Educate Businesses
Speak to local restaurants and businesses about options that they can switch to for packaging, storing, and bagging items. Many companies are starting to come up with excellent low-cost replacements, such as bamboo utensils in place of plastic ones.
5. Get Involved
Speak to lawmakers and get involved with government on any level, and you’ll see how many special interest groups have made it so that we are dependent on plastic without needing to be. Encourage development of items and propose alternatives when applicable.
6. Recycle Everything
Try and select items that come in non-plastic recycled and recyclable packaging, to do your best to properly handle items that can’t be reused. Check everything before you put it in the trash, as more and more items can be recycled these days.
Remember that because plastic doesn’t break down easily (if ever), recycling plastic means that it is still plastic, just being used for a different purpose. Therefore, you’re not actually reducing plastic amounts or exposure, even in the recycling process.
What more can be done?
Blessing for today:
May all who enter this house feel truly welcome, just as they are.
May all who enter this house dwell in ease of body and mind.
May all who enter this house feel the comfort of belonging to family.
May all who enter this house receive that which truly nourishes.
May all who enter this house be inspired to communicate that which is honest and true.
May all who enter this house know that in this place they may rest, free of judgment, scorn or expectation.
May all who enter this house feel the trees, the sky, the light and the birds surrounding and supporting them.
May we all take the strength and goodness we receive here and
Share it with the world.
Great Morning Beloved!
“The 5 Languages of Love” – “Quality Time”
We’re back to part 2 of the book by Gary Chapman. “The 5 Love Languages, the Secret that makes love last”
According to Dr. Chapman, there are five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. They are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.
We’ve established that these suggestions can be used in many types of relationships, not just marriages. So, please apply the ideas and suggestions to your spouse or partner, your family, friends, co-workers; any relationship where you wish a better understanding of the person you are relating to and they to you.
And we also established that what makes one person feel loved emotionally is not always the thing that makes another person feel loved emotionally.
Dr. Chapman’s 5 Love Languages can aid us in finding our language as well as the love language of the important people in our lives. This in turn, aids our relationships and helps to make us all feel loved, which is what we are here to experience.
We were reminded that, “The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love.”
The first love language, Words of Affirmation, may have resonated with some of you.
If words of affirmation are the language of love for someone important to you, or yourself, you may wish to work on that language.
Now we look at the second language, Quality Time.
By “quality time,” we are talking about giving someone your undivided attention. Not she’s playing Words with Friends while you are cruising through Facebook. In this example, Words with Friends and FB have the attention. That is not Quality Time…it’s spending time in the same space but not having any idea what the other person is thinking or feeling; unless she blurts out an angry word because the other person has beaten her at the game.
What it means, actually is talking….and listening!
It could be while taking a walk, or sitting across each other while eating dinner, or sitting on the couch and looking at each other as you tell about your day. It’s undivided attention to each other.
Chapman reminds us, “Time is a precious commodity. We all have multiple demands on our time, yet each of us has the exact same hours in a day. We can make the most of those hours by committing some of them to our relationships.”
A key ingredient in giving quality time is focused attention, especially in this era of many distractions.
A father sitting on the floor, rolling a ball to his two-year-old, his attention is not focused on the ball but on his child. For that brief moment, however long it lasts, they are together.
If, however, the father is talking on the phone while he rolls the ball, his attention is diluted. Some people think they are spending time together when they are only in close proximity. They may be in the same house at the same time, but they are not together.
Quality time means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person. The activity in which we are both engaged is incidental.
The important thing emotionally is that we are spending focused time with each other.
“The activity is a vehicle that creates the sense of togetherness.”
The important thing about the father rolling the ball to the two-year-old is not the activity itself but the emotions that are created between the father and his child.
Similarly, a husband and wife going running together, if it is genuine quality time, will focus not on the run but on the fact that they are spending time together. What happens on the emotional level is what matters.
Maybe some of us can recall a time when we shared quality time with someone important, whether a parent, spouse or close friend. Emotions that return when we remember that time spent together are the love that was shared.
Our spending time together in a common pursuit communicates that we care about each other, that we enjoy being with each other, that we like to do things together.
A part of the Quality Time Love Language is QUALITY CONVERSATION
Dr. Chapman’s definition of Quality Conversation is “sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context.”
Dr. Chapman says, “If I am sharing my love for you by means of quality time and we are going to spend that time in conversation, it means I will focus on drawing you out, listening sympathetically to what you have to say. I will ask questions, not in a badgering manner but with a genuine desire to understand your thoughts, feelings, and desires.”
Listening is as much a part of conversation as talking and may sometimes be more important.
Being a good listener is a way for us to be loving to others. By listening, we allow others to share their feelings and thoughts. We can be there for people when they need someone to listen.
Every person, even a child, has something to offer that could enrich our lives. So, we listen with love to all who are a part of our life today and every day.
Hearing is improved by a willingness to listen. We may be missing a great deal in life if we do not or will not listen. An opinionated person may not try to listen; he may be so bound by his own thoughts that he can hardly wait to express them. He may have no ears for the things that are being said by others. He may even reject another person without hearing what he has to say.
And any important relationship calls for sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and desires.
We must be willing to give advice but only when it is requested and never in a condescending manner. Most of us have little training in listening. We are far more efficient in thinking and speaking.
Chapman tells us, “Learning to listen may be as difficult as learning a foreign language.”
To develop the art of listening.
1. Maintain eye contact when the person is talking. That keeps your mind from wandering and communicates that he/she has your full attention.
2. Don’t try to listen and do something else at the same time. Remember, quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. If you are doing something you cannot turn from immediately, tell them the truth, and ask for some time to clear your
3. Listen for feelings. Ask yourself, “What emotions are being experienced?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it. For example, “It sounds to me like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot.” That gives him the chance to clarify his feelings. It also communicates that you are listening intently to what he is saying.
4. Observe body language. Clenched fists, trembling hands, tears, furrowed brows, and eye movements may give you clues as to what the other is feeling. Sometimes body language speaks one message while words speak another. Ask for clarification to make sure you know what she is really thinking and feeling.
5. Refuse to interrupt. Research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting his own ideas. If I give you my undivided attention while you are talking, I will refrain from defending myself or hurling accusations at you or dogmatically stating my position. My goal is to discover your thoughts and feelings. My objective is not to defend myself or to set you straight. It is to understand you.
Quality conversation requires not only sympathetic listening but also self-revelation.
When a wife says, “I wish my husband would talk. I never know what he’s thinking or feeling,” she is pleading for intimacy. Her emotional love tank will never be filled until he tells her his thoughts and feelings.
Self-revelation does not come easy for some of us. We may have grown up in homes where the expression of thoughts and feelings was not encouraged, maybe even squelched.
To request a toy was to receive a lecture on the sad state of family finances. The child went away feeling guilty for having the desire, and he quickly learned not to express his desires.
When he expressed anger, the parents responded with harsh and condemning words. Thus, the child learned that expressing angry feelings is not appropriate.
If the child was made to feel guilty for expressing disappointment at not being able to go to the store with his father, he learned to hold his disappointment inside.
By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have learned to deny our feelings. We are no longer in touch with our emotional selves.
If a wife says to her husband, “How did you feel about what Steve did?” And the husband responds, “I think he was wrong. He should have done —”, he is not telling her his feelings. He is voicing his thoughts.
The place to begin is by getting in touch with our feelings, becoming aware that we are emotional creatures in spite of the fact that we have denied that part of ourselves.
Try this – Three times each day, ask yourself, “What emotions have I felt in the last three hours?
The Greek word for disciple is learner. A person who is truly anchored in Christ is not afraid of what he may hear or learn. He is not bound by a closed mind nor by biased ideas.
In each of life’s events, we have emotions, thoughts, desires, and eventually actions. The expression of that process is called self-revelation
So, for the Love Language of Quality Time/Conversations, Choose quality activities. Being together, doing things together, giving each other undivided attention; that is what you wish to do to contribute to quality relationships.
Remember, it is not on what you are doing but on why you are doing it. The purpose is to experience something together:
(1) at least one of you wants to do it, (2) the other is willing to do it, (3) both of you know why you are doing it—to express love by being together.
Let us cultivate the ability to listen, to hear, to learn
“The 5 Languages of Love”
Have you ever wondered about people and what makes them have relationships that last long into their lives? I have from time to time.
We are starting a new series on relationships. I thought it advantageous to do so after our last 10 weeks, learning about relationships from our experts. Well, these next 5 weeks we will have a different look at relationships.
The book by Gary Chapman. “The 5 Love Languages, the Secret that makes love last” will be our next adventure. Although the book was written for married couples, it has words of wisdom that can be applied to all kinds of relationships: spouses, children, friends, co-workers
As we travel through the 5 Love Languages, you will be able to see how questions can be related to other relationships, like friends and family members.
Questions such as:
How does your spouse respond when you try to show affection?
On a scale of 0–10, how full is your love tank?
Can you pinpoint a time in your marriage when “reality” set in? How did this affect your relationship, for better or worse?
What would you most like to hear your spouse or significant other say to you?
People speak different love languages. Just like there are different languages in different countries & even in different parts of a country, there are languages we each have that resonate with our different personalities.
If we wish to have good communication with the important people in our lives, it would be prudent to learn the language of those with whom we wish to communicate.
Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. And if you are not aware of the specific language, you may have some issues…for example….
Do you remember the story that Steve Covey shared in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”? A man came up to him after a lecture concerned about his marriage.
“I’m really worried.” He said. “My wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other we used to have. I guess I just don’t love her anymore and she doesn’t love me. What can I do?”
“The feeling just isn’t there anymore?” Steven asked.
“That’s right, and we have three children we’re really concerned about. What do you suggest?”
“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
“You don‘t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
“Then love her. If the feeling of love just isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But, then how do you love when you don’t love?”
“My friend, love is a verb. Love, – the feeling- is the fruit of love, the verb. So, love her. Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.”
Steven was telling this man to find the language his wife heard. And then to ‘speak’ that language.
The word ‘love’ is a most confusing word. We use it in a thousand ways. We say, “I love whoppie pies,” and in the next breath, “I love my mother, my house, my car.” We speak of loving activities: swimming, kayaking. We love food, animals: Zoe, ….We love nature: trees, the ocean, flowers, and weather. We love all kinds of people: mother, father, kids, wives, husbands, friends. We even fall in love with love.
We also use the word love to explain behavior. “I did it because I love her. That explanation is given for all kinds of actions. A politician is involved in an adulterous relationship, and he calls it love. The priest, on the other hand, calls it sin.
The wife of an alcoholic picks up the pieces after her husband’s latest episode. She calls it love, but the psychologist calls it codependency.
The parent indulges all the child’s wishes, calling it love. The family therapist would call it irresponsible parenting. What is loving behavior? As we’ll see, it depends on the person.
Both secular and religious thinkers agree that love plays a central role in life.
Psychologists have concluded that the need to feel loved is a primary human emotional need.
Child psychologists affirm that every child has certain basic emotional needs that must be met if she is to be emotionally stable. Among those emotional needs, none is more basic than the need for love and affection, the need to sense that he or she belongs and is wanted. With an adequate supply of affection, the child will likely develop into a responsible adult. Without that love, he or she will be emotionally and socially challenged.
Chapman states, “That need follows us into adulthood. The “in-love” experience temporarily meets that need, but it is inevitably a quick fix and, has a limited and predictable life span. After we come down from the high of the “in-love” obsession, the emotional need for love resurfaces because it is fundamental to our nature. It is at the center of our emotional desires. We needed love before we “fell in love,” and we will need it as long as we live.”
Unfortunately, the eternality of the “in-love” experience is fiction, not fact. The late psychologist Dr. Dorothy Tennov conducted long-range studies on the in-love phenomenon. After studying scores of couples, she concluded that the average life span of a romantic obsession is two years.
In fact, true love cannot begin until the “in-love” experience has run its course.
Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving. That kind of love requires effort and discipline.
How do we meet each other’s deep, emotional need to feel loved?
Chapman says “Men and women have an “emotional love tank” that makes us feel content, secure, and loved when it’s full. When it’s empty, when we feel totally unloved, it makes us feel threatened, angry, frustrated, and alone. The key question all of us face is: What makes us feel loved?”
With the 5 Love Languages, we will help you identify your love language and show you just how important your love language is to how you feel within each of your relationships.
And the truly life-changing moment comes when we understand someone else’s love language. You’ll begin seeing your relationship—even past relationships or those of the people you know—with a whole new perspective. Speaking the right love language can make all the difference!
There are five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. They are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.
I must warn you: Understanding the five love languages and learning to speak the primary love language of your significant others may radically affect their behavior. People behave differently when their emotional love tanks are full.
Words of Affirmation
Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
Obviously, words of affirmation were his Love Language.
One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build up. Solomon, author of the ancient Hebrew Wisdom Literature, wrote, “The tongue has the power of life and death.”
Here’s an example from Dr. Chapman’s practice:
A lady walking down the hall asks, “Have you got a minute?”
“Sure, come in.”
She sat down and said, “Dr. Chapman, I’ve got a problem. I can’t get my husband to paint our bedroom. I have been after him for nine months. I have tried everything I know, and I can’t get him to paint it.”
He asks her to continue…
She said, “Well, last Saturday was a good example. You remember how pretty it was? Do you know what my husband did all day long? He was cleaning out his computer files.”
“So, what did you do?”
“I went in there and said, ‘Dan, I don’t understand you. Today would have been a perfect day to paint the bedroom, and here you are working on your computer.’”
“So, did he paint the bedroom?”
“No. It’s still not painted. I don’t know what to do.”
“Let me ask you a question,” I said. “Are you opposed to computers?”
“No, but I want the bedroom painted.”
“Are you certain that your husband knows that you want the bedroom painted?”
“I know he does,” she said. “I have been after him for nine months.”
“Let me ask you one more question. Does your husband ever do anything good?”
“Oh, like taking the garbage out, or putting gas in the car, or paying the electric bill, or running to the store to get milk and toilet paper?”
“Yes,” she said, “he does some of those things.”
“Then I have two suggestions. One, don’t ever mention painting the bedroom again.” “Never mention it again.”
“I don’t see how that’s going to help,” she said.
“Look, you just told me that he knows that you want the bedroom painted. You don’t have to tell him anymore. He already knows. The second suggestion I have is that the next time your husband does anything good, give him a verbal compliment. If he takes the garbage out, say, ‘Dan, I want you to know that I really appreciate your taking the garbage out.’ Don’t say, ‘About time you took the garbage out. The flies were going to carry it out for you.’ If you see him paying the electric bill, put your hand on his shoulder and say, ‘Dan, I really appreciate your paying the electric bill. I hear there are husbands who don’t do that, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.’ Or, ‘I really appreciated you running out to the store when I had to finish that project.’ Every time he does anything good, give him a verbal compliment.”
“I don’t see how that’s going to get the bedroom painted.”
I said, “You asked for my advice. You have it. It’s free.”
She wasn’t very happy with me when she left. Three weeks later, however, she came back to my office and said, “It worked!” She had learned that verbal compliments are far greater motivators than nagging words.
The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love. It is a fact, however, that when we receive affirming words we are far more likely to be motivated to reciprocate and do something our spouse desires.
The word encourage means “to inspire courage.”
All of us have areas in which we feel insecure. We lack courage, and that lack of courage often hinders us from accomplishing the positive things that we would like to do.
Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from the others perspective. We must first learn what is important to them. Only then can we give encouragement. With verbal encouragement, we are trying to communicate, “I know. I care. I am with you. How can I help?” We are trying to show that we believe in them and in their abilities. We are giving credit and praise.
Most of us have more potential than we will ever develop. What holds us back is often courage.
This is one of the reason we support our volunteers and thank them as much as possible.
This is why we are so grateful for our musicians and encourage those who are stepping up into new shoes, so to speak, singing in the choir and doing solos.
This is why we encourage all of you to share your gifts and talents, not only to benefit Unity but so you each get the benefit of encouragement, of stepping into something new, something you may have wanted to do for a long time but just needed a little boost.
And remember, Love is kind. If then we are to communicate love verbally, we must use kind words. The same sentence can have two different meanings, depending on how you say it.
An ancient sage once said, “A soft answer turns away anger.”
Seek understanding and reconciliation, and not to prove your own perception as the only logical way to interpret what has happened. DO this because that is mature love—love to which we aspire if we seek a growing relationship. Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures.
We often have the option of justice or forgiveness. If we choose justice and seek to pay the person back or make them pay for their wrongdoing, we are making ourselves the judge and them the felon.
Don’t mess up your new day by bringing into it the failures of yesterday, polluting a potentially wonderful present.
The best thing we can do with the failures of the past is to let them be history. Yes, it happened. Certainly, it hurt. And it may still hurt, but he or she has acknowledged their failure and asked your forgiveness. We cannot erase the past, but we can accept it as history. We can choose to live today free from the failures of yesterday. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment.
Love makes requests, not demands.
The way we express our desires is important.
When you make a request of your spouse, you are affirming his or her worth and abilities.
A request introduces the element of choice. Your mate may choose to respond to your request or to deny it, because love is always a choice. That’s what makes it meaningful.
And here’s a double gift! Giving indirect words of affirmation—that is, saying positive things about your friend or spouse when he or she is not present. Eventually, someone will tell them, and you will get full credit for the love.
So, are words of affirmation your love language? Or the language of someone dear to you? Now you know how to make their day special, or to let them know how to show you love.
And if word of affirmation are not your love language, maybe next week’s topic, Quality Time is.
I know a guy….
We’ve traveled through one part the Hebrew Bible, The Old Testament, dealing with the Law…how to interact with the God of our understanding and how to get along with others.
The Laws are pretty clear, when taken literally. But as we learned, there is often much more to what was written down. And we like and need that underlying meaning to each Law, it gives it so much more depth and meaning.
So, what do we do now?
If we look at this from a soul point of view, we see how we must learn the basics before we move on the big stuff. The deep stuff.
We learned that Spirit is asking us to be a partner, to remember what is truly important. And part of that is not putting anything before God…..money, people, jobs, things….we are to set these things aside and take time for Sabbath.
Remember that Charles Fillmore quote, the ultimate in Sabbath-keeping is – “within every person there is a church service going on all the time & one needs only to enter in & experience it.”
We were reminded of the power of our words and that everything has a result…so taking the name of God in vain is impossible, therefore, watch your words and your thoughts, be careful what you place next to the words, I AM…
We learned that each one of us in the beloved child, the only begotten; & to let God be God in you. The Truth is that you can do anything, have anything, be anything, for which you have the consciousness, so wanting something that belongs to another will not work.
We are to have reverence for life, honoring all life forms-including plants, trees, and animals – and to remember seven generations out when we consider how we impact them in any way.
And we learned the true sense of adultery.
In the wisdom of Walt Whitman, “the good or bad you say of another, you actually say of yourself.” So, we ask ourselves, ‘Is it true, is it kind, is it needful?’ And remember, if there is no listener there is no gossip.
And finally, we were reminded to Change our desire to have to a desire to be.
I found another set of ‘commandments’ that may resonate with you,
1. Be the best version of thyself
2. Discover serenity’
3. Love selfishly
4. Practice positive reciprocity
5. Find perspective
6. Be grateful
7. Cultivate a rational compassion
8. Choose growth
9. Find balance
10. Know it’s always now
Of course, there are many more…The Native American ones are very resonating…check them out if you wish.
These are things we learn in the first half of our life…1 Corinthians 13:11 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
Now, back to our journey, and to the second half of our life..
The purpose of the Hebrew Bible, metaphysically, is to allow us to grow as Jesus did, “He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52
When we learn to honor our Creator and get along with others; when we learn to keep in alignment with the flow of divine energy and the working out of divine law, we are ready fulfill the law…
Matthew 5:17 17″Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
So, Jesus, our Way-Shower, is here to take us through the next step.
Jesuit priest, Karl Rahner said that we are “pressured” from within to evolve.
Spirit is creatively at work, urging us to evolve, to become a new kind of human being such as the world has rarely seen before.
Science today—particularly physics, astrophysics, anthropology, and biology—is confirming many of religion’s deep intuitions. The universe is not inert, not lifeless… but is “inspirited matter.” We might call this driving force instinct, evolution, nuclear fusion, DNA, hardwiring, the motherboard, healing, growth, or springtime.
The point is…
What if God creates things that continue to create themselves?
Nature clearly renews itself from within. God seems to have created things that continue to create and recreate themselves from the inside out.
In 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) published his findings that revealed the universe was expanding. Many began to imagine that if the biggest frame of reference—the cosmos—was still unfolding, then maybe that is the pattern of everything. The latest evidence shows that this expansion is even happening at an ever-increasing rate! It seems to mirror the increasing rate of change with each new technological and scientific breakthrough.
Isn’t that what happened with Jesus?
He evolved as a human, he discovered his Christ consciousness. And he showed us all how we can do that and more, if we follow the spirit of the Law and discover the Kingdom of Heaven.
The first words recorded in the Bible that were spoken by Jesus, “I must be about my father’s business.” Teaching, healing, perfecting, and loving….becoming his perfect self, was an example for us all to follow. To know we can do that too.
The Apostle Paul writes, ‘the Law served the purpose of guiding us to Christ Consciousness, and kept us under control while we were on the path.’ We know that the journey can tend to have side trips if we are not careful…conscious.
But as long as we stay in Christ Consciousness, we will intuitively choose only the Good.
When we are in complete Christ Consciousness we make choices out of love. We don’t kill, for example, not because the Law tells us not to, but because our innate Christ Nature that sees only love makes the very idea impossible.
Remember what Neal Donald Walsh included in his Commitment…”When you know God…”
When we understand God and consciousness, we will stay true to the spirit of the Law.
Fr. Richard Rohr tells us…Most Christians preconceive Jesus as “the divine Savior of our divine church,” which does not allow for enlightenment; so we to can have the mind of Christ, but instead deadens and numbs our perception. Too often we read the Bible with an eye to prove our understanding of “our” Jesus so that our ideas and our church are right—and others are wrong. We must be honest enough to admit this bias.
Jesus announced, lived, and inaugurated a new social order, an alternative to violence, exclusion, and separation. He went so far as to promise us this alternate reality. It is no fantastical utopia, but a very real and achievable peace. He called it the Reign or Kingdom of God. It is the subject of his inaugural address stating that the scriptures are now fulfilled (Luke 4:14-30) , his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and most of his parables.
Indeed, it is the guiding image of Jesus’ entire ministry. Most Christians nonchalantly recite “Thy kingdom come,” but this means almost nothing until and unless they also say, “My kingdom go.”
Surrendering our ego driven ‘plans’ and remembering who and what we are and staying in that consciousness.
Challenging the status quo is unpopular. Jesus was killed for opposing the religious and political powers of his time. “It is better for one man to die for the people” (John 18:14) than to question the bottom line that is holding the whole system together.
I’m not sure things have gotten much better….where’s the ‘for the greater good’? Feeding and clothing the needy; protecting everyone from harm…like ending gun violence? Protecting our environment and all life? Where is that?
Marcus Borg writes, “When Christians accept that Jesus was killed for the same reason that people have been killed in all of human history (rather than because he walked around saying “I am God”), we will have turned an important corner on our quest for the historical Jesus. He was rejected because of his worldview much more than his God-view.”
We are strangers and nomads on this earth (see Hebrews 11:13). Our task is to learn how to live in both worlds until they become one—at least in us.
We are a soul in evolution, not perfected, but perfect in our unfoldment. Just as the rose discloses its perfection at every stage of its development, from seed, to shoot, to stalk, to bud, to flowering blossom, to dormant winter plant—so we are perfect in our every level of expression. We uniquely shine forth the perfection of the whole of us in each step of our souls’ evolution.
Your soul is always in process. This means your soul is not a noun, but a verb. It is, in a sense, the conjugation of the verb “to be”—the process of the unfoldment of your inner being.
When Moses heard the fiery light speaking from within that desert bush, “I AM WHO I AM,” it wasn’t speaking its name as a noun. YHWH, the Hebrew name of God taken from that desert experience, was the Hebrew verb “to be,” or “to come into being.”
Being is always in process, not a final result. “I am the perfect unfoldment of Being” was what it was saying. And, having been made in the image and likeness of God, so are we!
You are evolving, you are growing—you aren’t supposed to have it all together! You must embrace your soul, accepting and loving yourself just as you are and not judging yourself.
It’s not either/or in this second half of your life….it’s both/and.
You no longer think in terms of win/lose, but win/win.
It is a very different mind and strategy for life. In order for this alternative consciousness to become your primary way of thinking, you usually have to experience something that forces either/or thinking to fall apart. Perhaps you hate homosexuality and then you meet a wonderful gay couple. Or you meet a Muslim who is more loving than most of your Christian friends. Or you encounter a young immigrant who doesn’t match your stereotypes at all. Something must break your addiction to yourself and your opinions.
It might be called growing up.
FR. Richard Rohr states, “Many, if not most, people and institutions remain stymied in the preoccupations of the first half of life. Most people’s concerns remain those of establishing their personal identity, creating various boundaries, and seeking security and success. These tasks are good to some degree and even necessary. We are all trying to find what the Greek scientist Archimedes called a “lever and a place to stand” so that we can move the world just a little bit. The world would be much worse off if we did not do the important work of ego-development.”
But the discovery of our soul is crucial and of pressing importance for each of us and for the world.
We do not “make” or “create” our souls; we just “grow” them up; unfold them. Much of our work is learning how to stay out of the way of this rather natural growing and awakening. We need to unlearn a lot.
Whether or not we find our True Self depends in large part on the moments of time we are each allotted and the choices we make at those moments. Those CHOICE moments.
Life is indeed “momentous,” created by accumulated moments in which the deeper “I” is slowly revealed if we are ready to see it. Following our inner blueprint or soul and humbly serving others is indeed of ultimate concern. Each thing and every person must act out its nature fully, at whatever cost. This is our life’s purpose, the deepest meaning of “natural law.” We are here to give back freely what was first given to us! It takes both halves of our life to fulfill this calling.
We must live in a new way—a way that is responsible, caring, and nonviolent.
Ken Butigan writes
[This is] the urgency of the great choice we face as a species: will we choose to continue to affirm a culture of systemic violence—or will we build a culture of active, creative, and liberating nonviolence so that we can not only survive but thrive?
So, after the 10 weeks of learning the 10 ‘words’ we find that the only Law we need is this….
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second, like unto it is this, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ There is none other commandment greater than these