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“The Five Invitations – Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.” We are on Invitation #2, Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing.


It’s wonderful to be with you again. Seeing masked people, I can’t tell what they are thinking…is there a smile behind the mask or a frown? Maybe even a snarl of anger! Hopefully not, but it’s possible and I would hope you would speak with me if that happened.

And the folks at home? No idea about them. Every once and again we get a message or thought. I long for responses from you all, that is my ‘Love Language,’ if you recall the book we explored a while back; conversation, discussion, that’s what I crave.

Try writing me a note in the Comment section after the Sunday Message and let me know what your thoughts are.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”- Carl Rogers

I just couldn’t not share the quote that led into our next invitation, Profound, don’t you think?

So, today we continue our discussion of the book by Frank Ostaseski, “The Five Invitations – Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.” We are on Invitation #2, Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing.

Frank starts out saying, “We are like the familiar; we like certainty. We love to have our preferences met. In fact, most of us have been taught that getting what we want and avoiding what we don’t is the way to assure our happiness. Inevitably, there are unexpected experiences in our lives – an unanticipated move, a job loss, a family member’s illness, the death of a beloved pet-that we want to push away with all our might. When faced with the uncertain, our first reaction is often resistance. We attempt to evict these difficult parts of our lives as if they were unwanted houseguests.  In such moments, welcoming seems impossible or even unwise.

Remember, what we resist, persists!

When I say that we should be receptive to whatever presents itself to us, do I mean that we should let life walk all over us?

Not at all.

When we are open and receptive, we have options. We are free to discover, to investigate, and to learn how to respond skillfully to anything we encounter. We can’t be free if we are rejecting any part of our lives. With welcoming comes the ability to meet and work with both pleasant and unpleasant circumstances. Gradually, with practice, we discover that our well-being is not solely dependent on what’s happening to our external reality; it comes from within.

We’ve mentioned several times here during Service about being ‘prayed up.’ What does that mean?

If you are practicing daily prayer, meditation, contemplation, etc. you are better able to handle these unexpected circumstances.

In order to experience true freedom, we need to be able to welcome everything just as it is. At the deepest level, this invitation, like life itself, asks us to cultivate a kind of fearless receptivity. Welcome everything, push away nothing cannot be done solely as an act of will. To welcome everything is an act of love. “

What perfect timing. Here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, and what are we doing? Accepting or rejecting? Welcoming with love or pushing away?

“Welcoming everything and pushing away nothing is first and foremost an invitation to openness. In the Buddhist way of thinking, openness is one of the key characteristics of an awake and curious mind. It does not determine reality, it discovers it.

I absolutely LOVE that!

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist teacher spoke of the heart Buddhist practice as that of ‘complete openness.’ He describes this openness as ‘a willingness to look into whatever arises, to work with it, and to relate to it as part of the overall process … It is a larger way of thinking, a greater way of viewing things, as opposed to being petty, finicky.’

Openness doesn’t reject or get attached to a particular experience or view. It is a spacious, undefended, non-biased allowing. A total acceptance. Openness is the nature of awareness itself, and that nature allows experience to unfold.

This openness welcomes paradox and contradiction. It permits whatever emerges to emerge. Openness means keeping our minds and hearts available to new information, experiences, and opportunities for growth. It means having tolerance for the unknown. It means welcoming the bad times and the good times as equally valid experiences.”

“Welcome everything, push away nothing is the opposite of rejecting. Denial breeds ignorance and fear. We cannot be free if we are rejecting any part of our experience.”

I our Tuesday Group, we recently completed Debbie Ford’s “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.” In the book we discussed a lot of the good and maybe uncomfortable reasons to explore our shadows, our dark side, because there are always lessons and the shadow is a part of us whether we like it, accept it or not.

Back to Frank:

“Until we know it and see through it, (our shadow side), it always will be the bane of our existence. It always will be a cause of our suffering. We must let go of our opposition to the experiences we are trying to avoid, whatever they may be-thoughts, feelings, and events included.”

What are you pushing away at this moment in your life? What are you not allowing in? What nightmare are you trying to avoid?

Welcoming what is, as it is, we move toward reality. When we argue with reality, we lose every time. We waste our energy and exhaust ourselves with the insistence that life be otherwise.

We have a great deal of choice about how we relate to and learn from the cards life has dealt to us.

Acceptance is not resignation; it is opening to possibility.

To be open is to allow things to be known, to be free of concealment, not to keep secrets from ourselves, to be all that we are and can become.

It’s about accepting life ‘as is.’ Accepting ourselves, others, our circumstances ‘as is,’ with all the beauty, imperfections, and challenges (growth opportunities) that make up this very human life of ours.

Welcome everything, push away nothing is neither a foolish nor an idealistic invitation.  On the contrary, it is eminently practical. Accepting life as is means that we make peace with things as they are rather than trying to force them to be the way we want them to be. Instead of spinning a story that we then try to live into, we open to the way things are and accept that we are completely human.

One of the Tuesday Group would always say, “It is what it is.”


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To be human is much more than being born, getting an education, finding the right partner, and getting a pretty good house on a nice street, just so you can sleep, wake, work, go to bed, and do it all over again.

The way we’ve always done things doesn’t work anymore. Just look at how we are experiencing Sunday Service, not to mention everyday life. But that’s a bit simplistic.

We have expanded our opportunities for the new, for real transformation, for opportunities for growth.

What have you learned through this long pause, and it is still a pause, until we are free of the virus and all its variants?

This is an invitation to feel everything, to come into direct contact with the strange, beautiful, horrible, and often perfectly ordinary thing we call life.

Love is the very human quality that allows us to welcome everything, not just what we prefer most. Love is the motivation that enables us to move toward fear—not in order to conquer it, but in order to include it so that we might learn from it.

In love, there is no separation. Caring for all things is therefore a natural action of love. Nothing remains isolated from its care.

Why is love the quality that allows us to welcome everything? When we view reality from the vantage point of our personalities—from a small, separate self—we are constantly looking for what distinguishes us from one another.

But when we live from the vantage point of boundless love, we begin to see all the points of connection that join us together.

Love breeds love.

It is an opportunity to be conscious of the fact that some of us will make love while others will make war.

This is not simple warrior’s vs lovers. We are all warriors at one time just as we are lovers. Just think about your own life.

Now is the time to lean more toward lover and away from warrior. If you need assistance into telling which is which for yourself, ask in prayer or meditation, ask me or someone you trust to sit and figure it out. I think you know….

nnow check this out


“The Five Invitations, Discovering what death can teach us about living fully.”


It’s great to be back. I am saddened that we lost one of our folks, one of my guys, Jay Busche. Please keep masked, be careful who you are around, keep your distance if you don’t know if they are vaccinated or not. Keep safe. That means here at the Center also. WE are requiring masks and no hugs without a green light on both sides please. Let’s stay safe and keep everyone safe.

Now, Today, we begin a series based upon the book by Frank Ostaseski titled, “The Five Invitations, Discovering what death can teach us about living fully.”

Now why, you may ask, would we want to discuss a book about death. But look a bit further on…it’s about living fully.

But I also think it is appropriate to discuss it because of the ‘pause’ we have been in these many, many months. Whether we wish to admit it to ourselves or not, death has been knocking on many a door lately. And not the death, or transition, we like to refer it, as a normal thing…not at the end of a long and wonderful life, necessarily.

The COVID virus has taken many lives that were not necessarily expected. No long illness. No expected end. No, COVID has been a surprise to us all, and an awakening, even more so as it struck so close to our home and hearts.…so what do you think about death?

The book, “The Five Invitations; Discovering what death can teach us about living fully,” is divided into 5 invitations: the first, ‘Don’t Wait,’

next ‘Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing,’

third, ‘Bring Your Whole Self to the Experience,’

next, ‘Find a Place of Rest in the Middle of Things,’

and 5th, ‘Cultivate Don’t Know Mind.’

So, this morning the first invitation, “Don’t Wait.”


When you hear that short sentence, what do you think about? Probably the saying we hear often, don’t wait to use the good china, or to wear the fancy clothes, or even take the imagined vacation.

And that is part of it.

We forget that this world, this life is one of impermanence, of change. We really do not know what is around the next corner, what the next day will bring,

Now, where did your mind go just now…where you thinking of negative things?


That statement didn’t mention anything negative, and yet that is where we so often go.

Knowing that we have not mastered the long life that Charles Fillmore and many others envisioned…that our cells would revitalize and restore our bodies to long, long lives, we then know that at some time, our bodies would stop beating and breathing and our soul would go on…to whatever you believe.

In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” the 7th book, toward the end, after Harry and Lord Voldamort meet and he tries to kill Harry, Harry meets the supposedly dead Dumbledore in a very clean and ethereal Kings Cross train station. Harry asks if he is dead and what could happen next. Dumbledore, as usual, in his not complete answer way says he could step on a train and ‘go on’.

We don’t know what we will face when the time comes when we ‘go on’, which makes this book even more important.

The 1st invitation –Don’t Wait!

Don’t wait to live. Don’t wait to enjoy your life, your kids, your hobbies, your loves, your life.

Embrace the impermanence of our physicality. We have had so many examples of this here in this country, not to mention our world. Let’s start with Covid and so many who have lost their life so suddenly. And then there are the wildfires, and the flash floods. The extreme weather.

What are you waiting for????

Spend time with those you care for and love. Take time for a cup of tea and just chat. Offer a hug to someone you know needs it. Visit someone in the hospital or senior home. Offer a meal to an elderly member of your community.

Reach out in whatever way you are able. Give hope where there is little or none.

Use “The 5 Second Rule – The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must 5-4-3-2-1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.” ― Mel Robbins, The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

What does this do…it gets you moving. If you remember that new outfit you haven’t wore yet, within 5 seconds, get it out of the closet and wear it for your evening out.

If you see someone that looks interesting in a gathering, in 5 seconds, start walking toward them.

If you think of a person you haven’t seen for a while, contact them.

It’s making your choice within 5 seconds, no time for talking yourself out of getting out of bed when the alarm goes off.

Try it.

And that can lead us right into Forgiveness. Yes, that word again.

If you are holding onto something that needs attention…. attend to it now. Don’t wait.

When the thought comes into you mind, make a commitment to do something…get on the phone, get in the car, sit down and write your heartfelt thoughts about the forgiveness you have for that person.

And why would you want to. Why carry around that extra weight when it feels so nice to lighten up. Forgive, too, because we don’t know what is around the corner.

I didn’t know I would be in an accident that would lay me up for months and delay the start of Unity here in DE. Would I have been in a good place spiritually if it would have been worse and I would have died? Did I have any forgiveness work yet to do? I certainly asked that question as I recovered.

Don’t wait. Reach out to that person and forgive them, and while you’re at it…forgive yourself for holding on to whatever that word or action you thought was there. Most likely, it probably wasn’t as you are remembering it now. And Byron Katie would say, “Is it true now?” No…it’s in the past and we are not living there, we are living in the NOW, today, this moment.

Carol Hyman tells us, “We can’t step into the same river twice.”

Think about it…. that means it changes, the water flows, and maybe that’s the best lesson, be in the flow of life.

Each day we become a different person, just like that river. Are we good with that? Apply the 5 second rule to that…are you thinking of something that you’d change? Take that step! Within 5 seconds.

Be happy NOW!

What are the opportunities found in impermanence? Is there such a thing as permanence in our lives? Everything is changing.

When we embrace our own impermanence, we travel on a journey. The self is not a separate thing but a process…when we realize this, we see that there is always an opportunity to respond to a situation creatively.

Stop waiting for perfection. It’s not there. Don’t look for it, don’t expect it. Do not attach to it. That only brings suffering.

Be vulnerable to what’s happing now.

And Frank discusses Hope in this book. What is hope? Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation or desire for a certain thing, a feeling of trust.

What happens when what we hope for doesn’t happen? We are sad, unhappy, maybe frustrated.

What is Expectation “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.”

Should we hope for something or have an expectation for something?

I’ve always told my Tuesday Group that having expectations leaves us open for disappointments.

With hope, we have a feeling, we place that desire with feeling into the ethers and then let it go. We say, “this or something better”.

Believe in the blessing, that it will reveal itself. And then live your life without expectation.