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

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

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.”

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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?

WHY?

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.

Keys to the Kingdom,,,#6 & #7

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

We’ve had quite a journey so far, as we have used David Owen Ritz’s “Keys to the Kingdom” to guide us, and sometimes, cajole us, forward on our journey.

The Keys have taken us on this journey of discovery right from the beginning. Just as in any journey we choose to take, we must make the choice to start – that would be Key #1 – Make the Commitment. I know, I know…commitment is hard. We WANT to change, but that can be difficult.

We are ALL very capable of making the changes we want. It just takes some work. And commitment means responsibility. Yes, responsibility. One of the great things about Unity Principles is we need to do it…because no one else can do it for us.

So, we have put our big person pants on and commit to move forward!

And once we have made that choice to start, we envision what the journey would be like – Key #2 – Hold the Vision. We have committed to a new adventure. We are ready for a new ‘me’ or in your case, you.

How’s that vision coming along? Know what it is you desire? Know what you need to do to get it? Cool.

Key #3 – Build a New Awareness guides us to new frontiers. With that vision, we saw new ideas, a new way to look at things in our lives. We see what we can become when we open up to those new ideas.

But to be a part of the new, we had to review where we are now and see what we are holding onto because of fear, lack of self-esteem, and such. So, Key #4 –Make Room for the New means to clean out those closets and drawers. Go through the garage and basement too, and release anything no longer serving you.

Make room for the new…in every way.

And wouldn’t you know it, but we have to clean out the mental and emotional closets too. Yes, Key #5 Let go of the Past was last weeks’ Key to work on. THAT may have been the hardest. Forgiving not only others but yourself too.

Remember: Our past will be our future unless we release it!

We must be WILLING at the very least, to start the forgiveness process.

And maybe even “agreeing with your adversary” from the start, thus avoiding any situations that would result in having to forgive. Remember, ‘agreeing with your adversary’ means seeing the situation with new eyes, with love and acceptance. The ‘adversary’ is our own adverse thoughts about the person or situation.

  1. How have you noticed the past repeating itself in your own life?
    1. How would you define forgiveness?
    1. What aspect of your past or area of your life seems most difficult to release?
    1. How do you feel about the statement, “Money goes where it is loved?”
    1. Do you find forgiving yourself difficult? If so, how can you begin to forgive yourself?
    1. What conscious choices make you feel good about yourself?
    1. Which of the four stages of forgiveness is most difficult for you? Why?

So, now we are at Key #6 – Count Your Blessings.

The Law of Attraction states: Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. So, if you wish to have good in your life, think good thoughts. That’s what gratitude is all about. Thinking good begets good. But you don’t think good to get good just for getting good…you think good to get good to share good too.

Got that?

Good.

Gratitude is more than just an emotion. Gratitude is a lot more than just a feeling that we may – or may not – have in “reaction” to the Good we see in our life. Gratitude is part of HOW we “create” the Good we see in our life – not just a “reaction” TO it!

GRATITUDE – Is one of the most powerful – strongest – most positive energies you can bring to your life. It’s creative energy. And when you bring THAT kind of powerful, celebratory energy of Gratitude to your life – you’re really focusing your “creative” energy!

Gratitude is an action word!

Emelie Caddy says, “Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of those around you.”

In a series of studies with hundreds of participants, those who had been randomly assigned to the gratitude section reported more happiness and joy, experienced fewer symptoms of physical illness, spent more time exercising, were more optimistic and satisfied with their lives, reported increased positive affect and decreased negative affect, were more likely to offer emotional support to others, felt an increased sense of connection with others, and even slept more hours and with a better quality of sleep each night.

WOW!

According to Jane Powell, one of the simplest ways to change your mood or mental outlook is to remind yourself of all the good things in your life.

Reflecting on how far you have come, what you have already accomplished, and what you have learned, can be very encouraging. Appreciating your dearest friends, your closest family members, your favorite possessions and of course, yourself can bring a smile to your face.

If you need a lift or an attitude adjustment, try to appreciate and reflect on the good things. Count your blessings. It can be done anytime and anyplace.

Writer, Melody Beattie, has a great quote summing it all up: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.

David Owen Ritz breaks it down to a very simple principle: “That which you focus and

dwell upon – with a feeling of love and gratitude – you will tend to multiply and attract.”

The things you focus your attention on … when you do that with the powerful feelings of Love and Gratitude … you will multiply and attract THAT kind of good into your life. That’s how we consciously use this power of Gratitude to “shape” our experience of life!

One of Charles Fillmore’s famous quotes is, “God’s greatest gift to man is the power of thoughts, through which he can incorporate into his consciousness the mind of God.”

The Divine wants only good for us, but we have to do our part…think good thoughts!

“What we often don’t recognize is that the failure to celebrate the abundance of life by giving thanks for it actually limits the abundance available to us. You don’t attract more good into your life by ignoring or complaining about what you already have. You attract more by focusing your creative energy on the good through the feeling and expression of gratitude.”

It’s simple – Everything responds to attention. We don’t attract GOOD into our life by

complaining! We attract it by focusing our creative energy through Gratitude! And not a

passive feeling of Gratitude, but a “dynamic” state of being in which we LIVE … a

“dynamic” energy that we bring to everything.

Think about the greatest manifester I know of; Jesus! He gave thanks BEFORE he did any of his works…the healing, the multiplying of loaves and fishes, the fishing nets over-flowing with fish! Praise and thanksgiving came BEFORE the act.

So how can we have a more gratitude filled life? David has 4 suggestions to what he calls Proactive Gratitude, or not being grateful but DOING grateful:

  1. BECOME CONSCIOUS OF THE GOOD IN YOUR LIFE … Instead of looking at the 90-95% of our lives that are just great, we focus on the 5-10% that maybe isn’t the best. If that small percentage is where we focus our attention, then THAT is where all the action is too!

What about all the good stuff that is going on? We want to become more conscious of the 90% that’s working for us.

That which you focus on with feeling of love and gratitude, will tend to multiply and attract.

So, when you go home, get 5 pieces of paper and go through the 5 areas of your life: Health – Finances – Relationships – Career & Creative Expression – and Personal & Spiritual Growth. List ALL the GOOD that you overlook. Write it down – look at it – notice it.

2. PRAISE THE GOOD IN YOUR LIFE … Praise that 90% in front of you. We often don’t ‘see’ what it right before us. Celebrate that Good. Praise is “active” appreciation and recognition. When you praise something – you lift it up – shine the light on it. Look at every little thing and say, “Wow! Life is Good!” Praise your good with your thoughts, words and deeds. Say, “Thank you God!” when good comes your way, no matter what! Your favorite shoes are on sale…thank you Divine Universe! In my case, the dogs let me sleep through the night…thank you God! And remember, Love is a verb, so show that special person in your life how much you appreciate them on every day in some way. Gratitude in action.

  1. The kids called, surprise! thank you!
  2. Got a good parking place…Thank you Spirit!
  3. Coupon for favorite pizza!…thank You Divine Universe!

Don’t be afraid to tell people how Good your life is! When someone asks, “How are you?’ how do you respond? Maybe here is where you can say how you REALLY are! Believe IT – celebrate your good life.

Change the way you think and talk about your life – to others and to yourself.

Here’s a little trick to use in your Finances – when you write a check for a bill do an affirmation to celebrate the fact that you have the money to pay that bill: “I give thanks for the abundance that is mine to share!” is a good affirmation to write in the memo part of the check. Or you can simply write down TYG! – Thank You God! It makes you consciously celebrate that Good! Find ways to Praise and Celebrate your Good!

3) SHARE YOUR GOOD WITH OTHERS … When you find yourself with this incredible abundance – what’s your natural reaction? To share it with everyone – to give it away. Express your gratitude by helping others. Don’t pass up an opportunity to give – don’t pass up an opportunity to serve – don’t pass up an opportunity to prosper other people! And when you give – serve – prosper other people, that’s a statement about YOUR prosperity!

David Own Ritz says: “If you help people get what they want out of life, you’ll get what you want. That’s the way spiritual law works.” Give it away, share it … for in giving it away, you get more!

4) LOOK FOR THE GOOD IN EVERY THING … Remember that 10% that we talked about earlier? In every growth opportunity in your life there are undiscovered gifts hidden within, a hidden potential for you. And the bigger the growth opportunity – the bigger the gift is! Don’t look at something that seems negative as something to hold you down or back, but rather as something that has within it the wisdom and the growth necessary to become even more abundant – more prosperous – moving you into your greatest Possibility!

When you name the negative GOOD, even though it may not look that way, you’re calling forth that greater Possibility – you’re opening your mind & heart to accept the Good that’s there!

I like to say, and I have no idea if I read or saw this somewhere – but we have a choice to ask WHAT in place of WHY when something happens. What can I do to make this better in place of why did this happen?

EMMA CURTIS HOPKINS, one of the early New Thought teachers of the late 1800’s – had a wonderful affirmation. She said when you’re going through life and there in your path there’s a big blob of “negativity” … don’t steer away – don’t look the other way – don’t pretend it’s not there – don’t complain about it. LOOK it in the eye and you say this: “This too is Good. This too is God. This too is for me. I demand to see the blessing in it!”

“This too is Good” – means it may not look like Good, but I know there’s Good in there

somewhere …” I know there’s a pony in here someplace.”

“This too is God” – this came from the same Creative Power as everything else … it’s up to me to make good from it.

“This too is for me” – means I know it’s there to serve me ultimately so I’m not going to turn it away …

“I demand to see the blessing in it” – means I’m going to call forth that Good!

This is a perfect example of PROACTIVE GRATITUDE! – It is not just being grateful – it’s DOING Gratitude.

You might want to start practicing Proactive Gratitude by making a “Gratitude List.” Or my practice is ending my day by listing what I am grateful for from the day.

We have added a Gratitude Jar to our information table. There are slips of paper available for you to write down things, persons, happenings that you are grateful for and place them in the jar.

Sometime in the future…. we will look at them and share the gratitude again. So, spend time examining your life closely and write down the things you notice and appreciate. Place them in the gratitude jar with love and feelings of gratefulness.

We will ALL benefit from your blessings.

This week we are concluding this series, so we’ll also discuss Key #7, “Live in the FLOW”.

David Owen Ritz has given us 6 keys that if we follow the first 6, the 7th kay will be realized.

Our goal has been a greater awareness of the Kingdom of Heaven. I have said, and firmly believe that the path to a greater awareness of this goal is by knowing ourselves. It is in knowing who we truly are that we discover the inner Christ consciousness.

David believes any one of the 7 keys can have a profound effect on us but taken together-they have the potential to transform each of us and change the way we live our very lives.

When we started this series, we mentioned the word commitment, do you recall what came to mind then? Did you really feel what it means to commit? We’re way past trying now. This is Master Yoda reminding us, “It’s either do or not do…there is no trying.”

Commitment is total and absolute. “The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved, the pig is committed.” Martina Navratilova

You have made an inner choice to realize the Presence of the Divine in your life. Have you tried to go back?

You can’t. Once we made this start on our journey, you can’t forget what you have discovered.

Remember what we learned from Emma Curtis Hopkins…when you’re going through life and there in your path is a big blob of ‘negativity’, don’t steer away-don’t look the other way-don’t pretend it’s not there-don’t complain about it. LOOK it in the eye and say: “This too is Good’ This too is God.”

This too is Good – means it may not look like good but I know there’s good in there somewhere.

This too is God – this came from the same Creative Power as everything else…it’s up to me to make good from it.  And THAT is the key.

This too is for me – means I know it’s there to serve me ultimately so I’m not going to turn away.

I demand to see the blessing in it means I’m going to call forth that good!

Remember your vision. The Kingdom holds a field of infinite possibilities. You choose what and how much of those possibilities to allow in your life.

You will not rise higher than your vision…don’t shortchange yourself.

Charles Fillmore: “Some persons are like fish in the sea, saying; ‘Where is the water?’ in the presence of spiritual abundance…plenty is here, all around, and when you have opened the eyes of Spirit in yourself, you will see it and rejoice.”

“Know the Truth and it will set you free.” John 8:32

And as we learn the Truth of who and what we are, we discover that giving is what keeps us in the flow, the Omnipresent Source. Those who are givers have learned to allow God to work through them.

The Spiritual Law of Circulation works – what you give out comes back to you in kind. You do not know how or when or by whom, but it comes back. Spirit responds to the vacuum you create through your unconditional giving.”

The word, the feeling, unconditional, comes into play with forgiveness too, we have discovered that we cannot come into the full realization of the presence of God in our daily lives if the unhealed pain and resentment of the past color our perception. And so, we must release the energy of the past, we just let it go. And thus, we open our awareness of the rich abundance available to us through Divine Spirit.

With all these Keys we enter the higher state of being that we have all been searching for. That connection within is behind the longing that caused us to search for places kike Unity Spiritual Center of Coastal Delaware,

When you are in the flow you become part of the natural order of creation. David says it this way, “You are made in the image and likeness of God. Its Spirit is your Spirit. Its Life is your Life. The abundant nature of God is also your abundant nature.”

This is true prosperity consciousness! Can you say, I AM ABUNDANT!

Be conscious of the words you are placing behind the words, I AM; because you are claiming that quality as a part of God, as a part of you.

SO, who do you want to claim to be?

 This weeks’ questions:

  1. How have you noticed your sense of freedom, abundance, and personal empowerment changing over the last few weeks?
    1. Have you been feeling a deeper sense of gratitude before now?
    1. In which area of your life do you most often overlook the good? Why do you think you do this?
    1. How can you actively praise the good things in your life in a way that is meaningful for you?
    1. How do you feel about sharing your good? Do you sometimes have a fear of not having enough?
    1. What is the biggest problem or challenge facing you right now? How can you call forth the good hidden in this challenge?
    1. Can you see how your past problems and challenges may have affected your life in a positive way?

Meditation   

“Keys to the Kingdom – Let Go of the Past”

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

“Keys to the Kingdom – an advanced course in prosperity consciousness building”

Are you ready for Key #5? The first 4 have been relatively easy. Well, maybe not the Commitment one…but visioning and clearing out for the new? Piece of cake, right?

Visioning may seem easy, until we ask that all important question—What do I REALLY want?

And clearing out may seem a piece of cake, until we hold one or two items or people in our minds and hearts, and ask; Are we REALLY ready to let that go?

Remember, The Law of Circulation responds when you clear out the old energy and make room for the new.

I KNOW you ALL are doing well with your Keys…all in good time, RIGHT?

Keep in mind: The reality is that, noticed or not, every conscious act that gives witness to new possibilities and greater awareness contributes to the transformation of the whole.

There is no insignificant thought, word, or action. Each act of courage and strength shifts the energy and increases the potential for others to become aware, too.

No matter what we do, we are always affecting the energy around us, in either a negative or positive way.

Why should we not then become aware of our power and choose consciously rather than unconsciously how we will shape our world?

But before we more on, let’s review last weeks’ questions…

  1. How does this understanding of impersonal spiritual law feel to you?
  2. What evidence have you seen of spiritual law operating in your life before now?
  3. How would you define the Law of Circulation in your own words?
  4. Do you find yourself holding on to things you no longer need? If so, what feelings or beliefs do you think lie behind this behavior?
  5. Are you comfortable and confident in your handling and management of your money? If not, what feelings or beliefs do you think lie behind this behavior?
  6. Have you ever written down a foal before? If so, how did it work for you?

OK. Let’s move on to the next Key… We get into the biggie…. FORGIVENESS. Yep. The 5th Key, Let Go of the Past might just be the hardest for many of us.

And why is that? You tell me…why do you hold onto hurts, regrets, guilt, and resentments from, most often, years ago?

Dr. Phil would say we are getting something back. Wonder what it could be that would have us hold on to hurt, resentment, regrets, or guilt for years?

When you release something, let it go… you create increased FLOW in your life by doing that! Release the negative energy that’s blocking the flow.

When you forgive you release the energy of the past – you move the old negative energy out of the way and make room for a greater possibility. It’s like cleaning out your closets. Well, you have an “emotional” closet too, filled with stuff that no longer serves your good.

David Owen Ritz says: “For many people, the past is not completely in the past. Perhaps the actual experiences of earlier months or years have long been left behind. However, the energy of the past is still quite active in our lives as regret, judgment, guilt, and resentment. Just as false beliefs formed in the past create present circumstances and conditions, so does this energy from the past help to shape present experiences.”

Our past will be our future unless we release it!

A Course in Miracles says we need to “Realize that what you thought happened, never really happened.”

Byron Katie, in “The Works” asks, “Is it true?” Is whatever happened still true today? No…whatever happened, happened in the past. Why bring it up again and again?

We are the only animal that does that, by the way, reliving the past again and again, holding onto hurts. We can learn a lot from nature!

We must realize and accept that we are not all-knowing. Sorry to break it to you all. But often what we thought happened didn’t really happen. So, release it.

Research tells us we are wired for revenge and forgiveness, and we have the capacity to choose either response. And we have free will…why choose revenge?

It’s like the Native American story about the two wolves inside us, which one we feed determines which one wins. It’s always about choice.

Researchers are specific about how they define forgiveness when studying its effects on our well-being and happiness. Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky calls forgiveness “a shift in thinking” toward someone who has harmed you. It has nothing to do with reconciliation, forgetting, excusing or justice. When you are ready, forgiveness is a powerful choice you can make that can lead to greater well-being and relationships. This choice carries with it an intention to heal yourself.

Emilie Cady, Unity author, defines forgiveness in Lessons in Truth this way: “To forgive does not simply mean to arrive at a place of indifference to those who do personal injury to us; it means far more than this. To forgive is to give for—to give some actual, definite good in return for (perceived wrong- doing).”

Our inner Buddha/Christ/Goddess/Higher Being wants to be whole.   So, eventually, we come to the choice point where something has to give. Either we work on forgiveness, or we get the Spiritual 2x 4.

As long as we hold on to “victim thinking,” we are giving away our power to the kinds of people and things that bind us to our painful yesterdays.

Having trouble getting to forgiveness?

Our minds instantly form opinions and characterizations about other people. But our hearts have a different way of knowing. Can we forgive from our hearts even if our minds don’t want us to?

Maria Nemeth believes so. Her book, ‘The Energy of Money’, includes a powerful forgiveness exercise. We move toward forgiveness by being willing. Being willing to be led by our hearts and not the chatter from our minds is a powerful way to release our negative assessments of others. Being willing to give good to others, no matter what, is a powerful practice and a skill that will transform anger into something more productive. Who doesn’t have opinions about the way they were raised? Or how their children act? Or why lovers leave them? Let’s be here now, in this moment, creating a better story for a future filled with hope and promise. Being willing is a start that we all can do.

Lewis Smedes says, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to realize that prisoner is you.” He also says, “Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of the past into a hope for the future.”

WHAT EXACTLY IS FORGIVENESS? – It’s “Letting Go.” Letting go of that which no longer serves you – that which is no longer useful to where you are today in your life. You choose to put it behind you – release it – let it go so you can move on.

1) Forgiveness is NOT forgetting … Forgetting is the END result of forgiveness and is possible only after we have first let go!

2) Forgiveness is NOT denying what happened – or your feelings about it … Have the feelings – but don’t get stuck there! Remember – no camping in the valley!

3) Forgiveness is NOT excusing the other person or his or her actions … Inappropriate and hurtful behavior – is always inappropriate and hurtful behavior. . .Forgiveness is saying, “I choose to leave this behind and move on!”

4) Forgiveness is NOT reconciliation … It might be the result of forgiveness, but it is not necessary for forgiveness!

FORGIVENESS IS –

1) Unconditional … It needs to be freely given as a “gift” – not an “exchange.”

2) Something You Do for Yourself … You forgive because YOU don’t want to carry that energy around with you anymore; you don’t want to re-live the pain; or have that energy affect your life today and shape your tomorrow.

WHAT DO WE NEED TO FORGIVE? – Look everywhere, but here are the five places we most commonly hold energy around according to David. . .Examine the energy you hold around:

1) Your parents and your childhood … Do you hold resentment – wishing things could have been different? Are you holding pain that hasn’t been healed? Do you really want that creating today’s experience – and tomorrows?

2) Your family and/or children … Do you judge or have trouble accepting things about them? Have you forgiven mistakes made in the past? Ask: “Would my relationship be different with them today if I let that energy go?”

3) Your mate or your ex-spouse … Do you have unresolved hurt or resentment or judgments that you’re holding on to? Do you really want that energy in your life today?

4) Your own past behavior and choices … Do you have guilt over mistakes you made? We did the best we could at the time. Stop judging yourself!

5) Your job and your life circumstances … Do you wish your life had been different?

Let that go and maybe you’d be more empowered to create the kind of life you DO want!

David Owen Ritz tells us: “The person who most needs your forgiveness is YOU! You must love yourself and forgive yourself in order to step into that place of “Living in the Flow.”

It is difficult to forgive others when we are filled with self-condemnation and guilt.

To forgive our past is to view our lives from a different perspective, from the perspective of love. When we look at ourselves through the eyes of love, we see that every experience, every person has been a part of our souls’ unfoldment.

The way we reacted to life yesterday is perhaps not the way we would choose to act today. However, each new day, each new moment is an opportunity to choose again.

If we had a friend who had made some mistakes in the past but was today living a good life, would we constantly be reminding that friend of his or her past behavior? Of course, we wouldn’t, so why do we do this to ourselves? Guilt binds, confines, and keeps us from a creative future.

Forgiveness is a process – It takes time – David has it in four distinct stages:

1) DISCOVERY … Before you can forgive anything, you must become AWARE of what happened – and the pain it caused you.

2) DECISION … Forgiveness begins when you choose, “I no longer want this in my life!

It’s time to let it go; to put it behind me; to forgive; and move on with my life.” When you make that choice, the work of forgiveness starts.

3) CHANGING YOUR MIND … The work of forgiveness is in “changing” how you “think” about the matter and the people involved. . .This is about seeing it differently, from a higher perspective. Then we can see the hidden truth of the matter.

4) MOVING ON … In every hurt there’s a hidden gift of growth – of greater Possibility. Every painful and seeming limiting circumstance in life is really an opportunity for greater awareness, a growth opportunity. And when we see it – we can MOVE ON!

Invite your inner self to show you the energy of the past that’s still with you. When you’re AWARE of it – write it down, you are WILLING to forgive. Let the act of writing it down be that 2nd step – the CHOICE to let it go, the willingness – to let LOVE FLOW. Then begin to reframe it – CHANGE YOUR MIND about it: “I AM ready to Let Go of the past. . .I AM ready to Forgive. . .I AM ready to Free myself. . .I AM READY TO LOVE and to MOVE ON!” Thank you, Divine Spirit!

It is only through forgiveness that we can find freedom and wholeness.

When Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven” (Mt. 18:21-22 RSV).

Forgive yourself as often as you would others.

And here is another thought – How much better to bless things and people as the situations occur, rather than wait to act as a last resort. This is why Jesus advised us to quickly agree with our adversary. This is often misunderstood as a sign of weakness. But you see, to agree as Jesus used the term does not mean to give in even if it goes against your best interest or highest ideals. In Jesus’ usage the word adversary refers not to a person but to your adverse thought about a person. Thus, to “agree with” means to “settle with,” to deal creatively with the situation—to bless it and let it go…

He says that if you come to the altar to pray and you remember that you have something against your sister or brother, you should first go and make up with them and then come with your gift. In other words, if you are blocking the flow by your resentment or bitterness, not even God can break through with the good you desire.

In “The Lord’s Prayer” Jesus says, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt. 6:12). This does not imply bargaining with God. God makes no deals. It means that we must give way to receive. We must let go of indignation and offense if we want to loosen the restrictions in our lives. Something’s got to give. There is a great probability that in the case of physical or mental or financial problems in our life, there is some kind of rancor or bitterness or memory of wrong in our consciousness. Something’s got to give.

There’s that spiritual 2×4 again!

Imelda Shanklin, one of Unity’s great teachers, gives an important prayer test. She says, in effect, “Father forgive me for expecting in the human that which is found only in the divine.”

Our Divine self is perfect…our human self is working on it. Perhaps forgiveness is something we can put forth to work on as we move away from the pandemic ‘pause’.

Here are this weeks’ questions:

  1. How have you noticed the past repeating itself in your own life?
    1. How would you define forgiveness?
    1. What aspect of your past or area of your life seems most difficult to release?
    1. How do you feel about the statement, “Money goes where it is loved?”
    1. Do you find forgiving yourself difficult? If so, how can you begin to forgive yourself?
    1. What conscious choices make you feel good about yourself?
    1. Which of the four stages of forgiveness is most difficult for you? Why?

Key #4 Make Room for the New

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Welcome back! And thank you to Rev. Karen for her Message last week. I enjoyed it and I hope you did also.

This week we look at the 4th Key – Make Room for the New.

But before we get to that, let’s look at the questions from two weeks ago:

  1. What evidence of your own limiting beliefs do you find in your thoughts and feelings?
  2. What evidence of your own limiting beliefs do you hear in your speech?
  3. What evidence of your own limiting beliefs do you observe in your behavior?
  4. Can you pinpoint some of your limiting beliefs? If so, can you see why they are not really true?
  5. Which of the Seven Spiritual Truths of Abundance seems most important for you to grasps? Why?
    1. God is the one and only source of our good
    1. Abundance is a here-and-now reality.
    1. Abundance is inexhaustible.
    1. God is meeting your every need at every moment according to your own acceptance.
    1. Everyone deserves abundance.
    1. Your vision is your inner awareness of your naturally abundant self.
    1. Your inner guidance will lead you toward the fulfillment of your vision.

Anyone have anything they wish to share? And insights to their inner thinking and beliefs?

Now let us take a look at the 4th Key – Make Room for the New.

This one is easy to discuss. We all know about the Law of Circulation. What goes around, comes around. You must give to receive. Keep the circle going.

The Law of Circulation works for the benefit of those who understand its operation. When you create a vacuum in your life, the universe always moves in to fill it.

Solomon said, “With all thy getting get understanding” (Prov. 4:7 KJV).

But understanding Spiritual Law is not the same as experiencing Spiritual Law.

For example – Too often, abundance is seen as a measure of quantity. Whoever dies with the most toys, wins! Really? What does that prove? You still die.

Spiritually, abundance is actually quality. Inner awareness of the oneness and wholeness of creation – God, Divine Mind, Spirit, the ultimate source.

Spiritual principles & forces that govern all of creation are called laws of life.

Ignorance of spiritual law or the laws of life, does not preclude its effects upon us-they are full time and universal.

We must understand these laws for an abundant life, become its master. For example, Modern air travel became a reality by understanding the laws of aerodynamics.

David Allen Ritz says, “The understanding and conscious use of the laws of life promise you even greater power & potential.”

When we are out of alignment with the laws of life, we often create conditions & experiences that we least desire: limitation, lack, unhappiness, fear, suffering. So, when we have these feelings, it is an indicator that we are out of alignment, and we need to look at what has been happening in our lives.

Worldly problems are caused by the same disharmony with spiritual laws.

To avoid this disharmony, we must choose to live life in resonance.

Spiritual laws are immutable principles of creation innate to life itself.

The Law of Circulation governs the flow of abundance thru life.

It doesn’t matter if you agree, understand, or even know of the laws of life…they are the means that the whole relates to its members or parts. We all have equal access to these laws – God knows us as beautiful, whole, and connected parts of Itself. Its actions are impartial – no one gets more because of arbitrary choices – the law responds equally to all.

The Universe is infinite in nature, what we give out – on every level, we get back – feelings, thoughts, intentions, attitudes, & materials –come back in kind, incoming keeps pace without going.

The Universe always moves to fill a vacuum.

Try it – Remove something you no longer need – have a clear intention of releasing unconditionally, observe the law of circulation as it moves to replace it.

To make the law work, your intention must be pure and remain unattached to specific outcomes.

Never try to force or direct spiritual law. Act with a sense of expectancy & faith – trust.

“Give God the opportunity to reveal Its ways to you in terms you can understand, and you will not be disappointed.”

Here are some ways to ‘Make Room for the New:

  •  Open up your finances – these same principles we just discussed apply to your finances. Money is energy too. And so, if we understand it and use it properly, it too will flow abundantly. The reasons we restrict the flow of money are very similar to what we mentioned earlier. Fear being a biggie!
  • David says, “You can create a powerful spiritual vacuum and begin to prove the Law of Circulation by releasing those things that are beyond your care and attention.” Ask yourself, “Whose business is it…Yours, some other persons or Gods?
  • So, maybe you would want to go through your closets, drawers – room to room, don’t forget basements and garages AND car! And after you have released items no longer of use to you, organize what remains.
  • The reason we cling to things may be habit, or concern about needing the item in a future that more often than not, never comes. So, we hold on to things and clutter not only in our homes and garages, but our lives. Doing this releasing opens you up to the spiritual flow available to us all.
  • If we block that energy, then we have stagnation. We have lost that power. We sometimes interrupt the natural flow of abundance by clinging to things that no longer have use in our lives. When certain things are no longer needed to our experience of life and we hold onto them, we are blocking the flow of that Spiritual Energy.
  • Unclutter your life – physical objects are energy in that specific form….and ALL energy is Spiritual energy, so all physical objects are Spiritual Energy. This Spiritual Energy flows through our lives. Just like the power of a river flowing through nature, this energy has power to propel us to do a lot of work.
  • We are often intimidated by the intricacies of savings and investments. We have been domesticated to believe that lack was our destiny. Healthy finances depend upon you, lovingly and with great positive attention, pay attention to the flow of money through your life.
  • Create room in your finances and your attitude for an increased flow. Consider yourself Blessed as you pay your bills. I write a blessing right on the check!
  • Look at unexpected income that comes into your life and use this for special purposes. Save found change, it adds up. Gifts are unexpected income, even someone treating you to lunch or coffee.
  • Learn everything you can about saving and investments.
  • Organize your finances and create budget.
  • Do something nice for someone anonymously…it doesn’t have to cost a lot or anything at all. Enjoy the feeling of being a channel for someone else’s unexpected good.
  • There is a great book you may wish to check into, “The Energy of Money” by Maria Nemeth. She has many examples and exercises to help you along to change your energy around money.
  • Chart your future course – in other words, set some goals. The whole idea is to increase the flow of Spiritual Energy in our material world. The suggestions so far have been to loosen and break down the blocks we have placed in front of ourselves for various reasons.
  • Setting goals and writing them down contains great power. Letting Spirit know what you want and listing steps to get there help our vision.
  • The goals also create that vacuum we have been talking about so the Universe has an opening to fill.

So, look at every area of your life – health, finances, relationships, career & creative self-expression, spiritual & personal growth. What important goals in each area -short-term, long-term or lifetime goals do you have? Let your heart be your guide. Pray, vision, and read your goals often…you are calling spiritual law into action.

Examining what we say “yes” to or what we agree to in our lives can tell us a lot about our priorities. Priorities can, in turn, tell us a great deal about ourselves. Where we spend our time and money is a powerful indicator of what we truly value. If you open your calendar, your checkbook, and your credit card statement, you will see an important picture of what you are saying “yes” to in your life. We vote with how we spend our dollars and how we spend our time. What do you agree to in your life? Through both your words and actions, what do you say “yes” to?

Remember – what God does for you God must do through you.

The true result you are seeking is an altered consciousness…everything else will follow.

David says, “The results of this and any method to get your blood going depends on your willingness to change your consciousness about the meaning, place, use, and source of abundance.”

“The only part of our religion that is real is the part we express in our daily lives. Divine love is the only real power. If we can realize this fact even dimly it will begin to heal & harmonize every condition in your life in a few hours. Emmit Fox said: “knead love into the bread you bake; wrap strength & courage into the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust & candor with the coin you pay to the man with the suspicious eyes.” This is beautifully said, and it sums up the Practice of the Presence of God.”

And Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom…and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt. 6:33 KJV). He is not talking about a place in space but a depth in consciousness. The kingdom of God is the universal flow within you. It is the one great reality behind every appearance…

Or simply put – Change your thinking, change your life.

And keep in mind, if we act out of fear, we face the consequences of that fear. And that fear is often what holds us back from attaining our full potential.

So here is an example of releasing fear, raising consciousness, and having faith: This is the covenant that the Fillmore’s had with the God of their understanding….

Dedication and Covenant:

We, Charles Fillmore and Myrtle Fillmore, husband and wife, hereby dedicate ourselves, our time, our money, all we have and all we expect to have, to the Spirit of Truth, and through it, to the Society of Silent Unity.

It being understood and agreed that the said Spirit of Truth shall render unto us an equivalent for this dedication, in peace of mind, health of body, wisdom, understanding, love, life and an abundant supply of all things necessary to meet every want without our making any of these things the object of our existence.

In the presence of the Conscious Mind of Christ Jesus, this 7th day of December A.D. 1892.

Charles Fillmore   Myrtle Fillmore

And here’s another example of a change in consciousness.

Preach the gospel constantly, and where necessary, use words.

So, what do you think? What thoughts do you have right now?

This weeks’ questions:

  1. How does this understanding of impersonal spiritual law feel to you?
  2. What evidence have you seen of spiritual law operating in your life before now?
  3. How would you define the Law of Circulation in your own words?
  4. Do you find yourself holding on to things you no longer need? If so, what feelings or beliefs do you think lie behind this behavior?
  5. Are you comfortable and confident in your handling and management of your money? If not, what feelings or beliefs do you think lie behind this behavior?
  6. Have you ever written down a goal before? If so, how did it work for you?

“Know that I AM” by Rev. Karen Laughman

Know That I Am

Reverend Karen Laughman

From the beginning of humankind, we have sought to understand the mystery and the meaning of life and death. Every culture has traditions, rituals and beliefs to recognize the human yearning to feel connected to, guided by and protected by a higher power. We call this higher power God… and we know that God has many names. In Unity, we honor all the ways and paths to finding and being with the Spirit of God.

My message today is based upon the well- known verse in Psalm 46:10 which says, “Be Still and know that I Am God.”  I have been drawn to this verse as I contemplate on how we can apply this simple message in our daily and spiritual lives. “Be Still and Know that I Am God.”  Chapter 46 of Psalms tells us that God is always with us. The chapter begins with “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” We are told we need not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and mountains fall into the ocean depths; Nations can rage and kingdoms can totter, but we are given the assurance that God is always with us. As we affirm in our Unity Prayer of Protection, Wherever we are, God is and with God’s Presence, All is Well. We describe God in our Unity tradition as ever- present Spirit, ever powerful, the Source of all good.

In Psalm 46: verse 10, we are asked to be still and remember who God is as we do in our first principle in Unity when we say there is only one Presence and Power in the Universe, the Source and Creator of all, God the Good. A fundamental Unity teaching is that the Spirit of God’s presence, goodness and power dwells within us. God as Spirit is powerful and good. We are created in God’s image as Spirit, and therefore we are divinely powerful and good. This knowing of our Divine Being is what we can call the I Am. The I Am in us is God’s Eternal Presence. The I AM is our essence in our deepest places. It is our Christ Presence, our Buddha Nature, our Atman, which is the Sanskrit word for the inner self and soul. As spiritual Divine Beings, we are unlimited and infinite.. as God is. We have the most powerful force of the Universe inside us, and therefore, we have unlimited possibilities!

The key to God’s Kingdom is knowing we are One with Divine Mind. There is no separation between our consciousness and the consciousness of God. Just as there is one Presence and one Power.. there is one Consciousness. This awareness of our Divine Consciousness happens when we become still…for me when I am aware of this consciousness, it is a rush of tranquility in my mind, body, and spirit. And, at the same time, I feel alive. This is what I call Divine Spirit. It is always there, but when I can become still, it looms in my Being as tranquility and aliveness. With an open mind and receptive heart, we can become still and feel the peace, joy and love of Divine Presence. This can happen when we meditate and pray, when we are silent in nature, when we look silently look into the eyes of someone we love. Be still and know I AM God.

It is important to remember who we are in Spirit as we each have our own divine destiny to fulfill with our individual gifts and interests. Each of us are created to be exactly who we are, and we can confidently say I AM Divine Expression… (let’s say this out loud).

 I AM is a powerful statement to focus your beliefs and attract the power of the Universe on your behalf. The words that follow I Am become an important part of our consciousness. In Unity, we believe we create our reality with our thoughts and our words. Positive affirmations about ourselves and our lives create positive outcomes. And, what we give our attention to grows.

You may know of the Native American legend about a grandfather who is teaching his grandson about life. He tells the boy that there is a fight going on inside us between two wolves. One wolf is angry, envious, greedy, arrogant, dishonest, hateful and has negative thoughts about itself and others. The other wolf is joyful, peaceful, loving, hopeful, kind, humble, generous, truthful, and faithful. The boy asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins the fight?” The wise grandfather simply replied “The wolf you feed is the winner.” We need to be aware of what we are feeding our minds and hearts. Positive thoughts and actions metaphysically attract goodness and blessings in our lives.  

As I prepared for this talk, I read Joel Osteen’s book titled, “The Power of I Am” because I liked the title. When his father died, he took over his Dad’s ministry. In the beginning, Joel had self-doubt, but felt he had a calling. He made an intention to only say positive I AMs to himself, and he built a large and successful church serving many people’s spiritual needs.

He encourages others to practice positive I AMs, which he says is a magnet for blessings. He writes that “each of us are anointed.. meaning we have received a calling from God which empowers us to live the best life we can.” Anointing is receiving the power and Presence of God which Joel states “can destroy sickness, poverty, depression, addiction, oppression and fear.” This philosophy though it is stated in different ways is similar to what our Unity co-founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore taught, which became the foundation of our Unity faith.

Joel Osteen suggests that “We prophesize our future with positive, I AMs which plant seeds to our greatness and open doors to infinite possibilities.” We know in Unity when we speak positively of ourselves and our possibilities, we become the best that we can be for our best life. Joel encourages us to make a statement of faith when we start our day and become a magnet for blessings. One of those statements can be “All is Well and I invite God’s goodness in my day. We can make declarations of faith.. believing in ourselves and our possibilities. “I am powerful, I am valuable, I am smart and talented. I am victorious.”

I AM Affirmations can transform our consciousness and our lives…. This is how powerful they are.

We all have setbacks and make mistakes, and these are opportunities to learn lessons and mature and grow with patience, persistence and develop character. We need to remember we are bigger than our obstacles and there is a Universal force within us that is more powerful than any difficulty. Everything that happens to us prepares us for our ultimate purpose. There was a man who worked for a home improvement company for 30 years and was let go due to a corporate restructuring. Imagine how he felt, but he didn’t let this defeat him. He gathered some friends and created a new vision. He and his friends started their own company. They called it “Home Depot.” This is what creative thinking and confidence can do. This is what persistence can do.

When we persist with our positive I AMs, we open ourselves to the power within us to manifest our dreams. Joel declares, “You cannot talk lack and expect abundance. You cannot speak doubt and overcome obstacles.” In Unity we are encouraged to use denials if we have negative recordings in our thought patterns. Deny those negative thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations and positive I AMs.

With faith, everything is possible, and every day is a new day. When we are having a challenge and may feel discouraged, we can shift our perspective and affirm the glass is half full instead of half empty. Do as Unity minister and teacher Revered Paul Hasselbeck suggests, “Faith it ‘til you make it.” Isn’t that better than ‘fake it until you make it?” Faith it ‘til you make it.”  Remember, God’s Presence is always with you. Affirm you can do all things through your powerful inner Christ. Pray for guidance, be still and listen for guidance. Allow Spirit to support you. Hebrews 6:12 confirms “I am going to be still and know good will come my way.” And Jesus said “Seek the kingdom and all good things will be added unto you.”  

Trust in Divine Order. Trust the Universe is showing up for you with the right people and opportunities for goodness in your life. Start thinking, talking and acting as if it is happening now. Faith creates energy for victory. Declare I AM smart, confident, joyful, loved and loving. Declare freedom from anything holding you back whether it may be health issues, addiction issues, money issues, pain, relationship issues. Believe you are stepping into the fullness of your destiny, and be everything you were created you to be.!

Each of us has incredible potential. In her lessons on the series, “Keys to the Kingdom”  Sandy has talked about vision. What is your vision for your life? How do you want to make a difference in the world? What are your short and long term goals? Are you investing your time wisely and purposely pursuing your dreams?  None of us need to stay in a job we don’t like and doesn’t use our gifts. None of us need to stay in a relationship that doesn’t meet our needs or make us happy. None of us need to be stuck in negative thought patterns which cause us to be stuck in ways that harm our well-being. Each of us has divine energy to open new doors. Each of us can dare to believe we are powerful beyond measure.

This positive energy moves us forward. Joel Osteen declares, “We have God’s DNA. Greatness is in our genes. Dream Big, Believe Big, Pray Big.” And, I remind you…You are Divine Expression. Jesus affirmed in John 14:12, “You will do great things.” What is the next level you want to go to in your life?  Often all we need is creative thought and imagination, which are a part of our divine power. I heard somewhere that there are three kinds of people: quitters, campers and climbers. You may have quit in the past. You may be camping now. You can be a climber and go for what you truly want. You can step into the fullest of your destiny with your Divine Power knowing and declaring your I AMs.

In Summary:

Be Still and Know The Power of I AM 

Recognize, Affirm and Realize Your Divine Potential

Imagine Your Possibilities

Step Forward in Faith

I want to end with some thoughts for Meditation:  

I AM Peace. Peace is the Truth of My Being. I feel the spirit of God flowing through me and  I am calm and serene. I am an expression of God’s perfect peace. Peace begins with me. My peace helps create harmony around me and in the world. My mind is poised and my heart is serene as I respond to life’s circumstances peacefully from my Christ nature. Peace be Still.

I AM Love: Love is the Truth of My Being. The love of God enfolds me. God is Love and My Divine Christ Presence is Love. I see and behold the Divine in every person and experience oneness and unity with all.  I am kind, generous and compassionate toward others. I listen with an open heart. I radiate love to myself, my family, friends and to every person everywhere, known and unknown.

I AM Joy:  Joy is the Truth of My Being. Spirit is the Source of my joy, and innate joy is mine. I feel exuberant and excited about my life and my possibilities. I celebrate goodness, love and beauty. I live each day with joy and gratitude, receptive to God’s infinite good and supply. My joyful energy creates more joy in me and for those around me.

I AM Powerful: Power is the Truth of My Being. I claim and embody my Divine identity with inherent spiritual powers. In the midst of shifting circumstances, I remain confident, courageous and tenacious. I see and know what is mine to do. I face my future strong, wise and unafraid. I choose and determine my destiny.

I AM Healthy:  God’s Presence is in me as health and well-being. Every cell of my body is filled with Divine life. Divine healing power strengthens and revitalizes me. Centered in the Spirit of life, I am vibrantly alive and whole. I appreciate and honor my body and care for my spiritual, mental and physical well-being.  I am in perfect balance.

I AM Prosperous:  I am created in the image of God with unlimited possibilities. All I need is within me. I trust Divine wisdom and Divine order in my life. I receive Divine ideas and imagine my dreams fulfilled. I focus on the good of God and I expect abundance. I am grateful and give thanks for the stream of good in my life. I know that infinite blessings are coming to me right now.

And, so it is. Be Still and Let us go into Silent Meditation.

Key #3 “Build a New Awareness”

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Welcome to week three of the David Owen Ritz series, “The Keys to the Kingdom – an advanced course in prosperity consciousness building” We have discussed Key #1 – Make the Commitment. How have you been dealing with the big “C”? Some of us do have an issue with commitment. I hope that it has been resolved, at least to some degree, by now.

The second Key is Hold the Vision. One of the best quotes from David’s text is “…none of us will rise higher than the vision we hold for ourselves.”

Think about that….how does that make you feel?

The questions from last week…anyone have something they wish to share?

  1. How do you sense the Divine urge to grow within your own life?
  2. What fears or doubts come to the surface when you seek your new vision?
  3. What new feelings and beliefs would you like to have in place of those doubts and fears?
  4. Do you really feel deserving of true abundance in every area of your life? If not, explore the part of you that does not feel worthy.
  5. Which area of your life is presently the most abundant? Least abundant? Why do you think this is?

What might be standing in the way of that vision you imagined last week?

The next Key is “Build a New Awareness.” How do we do that?

One way is to ask questions. Some like to think of it as ‘comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable.’ In other words, we keep asking you to step further into your authentic personage…who you truly are and sometimes THAT is uncomfortable, at least for a little while.

Think about this scenario…

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

So, we have to ask ourselves… “what’s in my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

You choose!

Hopefully, the first list, Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility, are a huge part of your core beliefs.

So, today, let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation, and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

After all, the best way to show love to others is to start by loving yourself and today, LOVE is on the menu.

Have you questioned your core beliefs lately? I am sure you have done so during your lifetime, or I doubt you would be attending Unity or following Unity Principles.

Your core beliefs color your perceptions of life and can actually create our experiences.

As I was doing my research for this lesson, I came across a post by someone, Victoria was her name, and she likened this coloring of our perceptions by our core beliefs to wearing colored glasses.

Consider this…suppose you always wore glasses tinted a specific color. Say I’m wearing yellow tinted glasses and you are wearing green tinted glasses, and another is wearing rose tinted glasses. And finally, we have a person who wears clear glass in their glasses.

Now if we all looked at the sky on a clear sunny day, we would all say that the sky was a different color – yellow, green, etc.

This is an example of how our core beliefs ‘color’ our perceptions. These ‘unconscious’ beliefs feel real to us. Our fears, frustrations, self-esteem, etc. could all be stemming from these colored perceptions.

Feelings, especially strong feelings, are an indication that it’s time to check where does that thought come from? Where does that feeling come from?

The Don Miguel Ruiz book, “The Fifth Agreement” goes into this process deeply. He says to question everything but to be open, as to new ideas and possible changes in your beliefs.

And Byron Katie asks, “Is what I’m believing true?” Especially, is it true NOW?

Some of us may have spent time over the years consciously constructing a personal belief system through study and research. Others have simply accepted our parents’ or family’s views of life, usually unconsciously. We must make sure our beliefs are actually our own and not a story that’s put on us by somebody else.

These beliefs will determine how much prosperity and abundance you allow in your life.  Yes, allow.

How do we know if we have limiting beliefs?

By our thoughts, like “nothing ever seems to work out for me’, there’s never enough’.

Our thoughts constantly reinforce and confirm our limiting beliefs.

By our feelings and emotions, energizing those thoughts with fear, worry, unworthiness.

By our behavior. Behavior follows thoughts and feelings and emotions. Things like performing below our true ability at work, withholding giving and sharing,

Sometimes the degree to which we are willing to challenge our belief systems determines the success of our inner economy.

As you can see, a simple idea, accepted by your mind as true, has the ability to become your own personal reality by dictating your thoughts, feelings, speech, and behavior. Your mind is a powerful cocreator.

Deeply held beliefs are hard to identify and to change.

Our personal vision is actually an inner awareness of our true spiritual self and highest human and spiritual potential.

Something within you knows the truth of who and what you are. This Higher Self knows the power of your unlimited potential. This is your vision.

Know that your emerging new vision of true abundance is more powerful than your old beliefs because your new vision is an inner revelation of truth.

Every circumstance or condition in your life that has been created by a false belief can be healed and transformed by an awareness of the truth.

So how do we get to our core beliefs? The suggested ways are –

  1. Journaling, of course. Nothing like writing your thoughts, especially if you just let them flow from you, even through you.
  2. Be a witness to the belief as it shows up in your speech, feelings, behaviors. One of the class members on Tuesdays asks herself, “Is this who I want to be in this situation?”
  3. My metaphysics instructor would always say, “Watch your language.” Examples: “Some people have all the luck.” “I can’t afford that.” “I’m not worthy of success.” These are all affirming limited thinking. Can you think of more? Are you saying or thinking them? Check yourself.
  4. Rituals like the Burning Bowl. You can make your own ritual if there is something you wish to release that no longer serves your highest good. No need to wait until the New Year to do it.
  5. Affirm your relationship with the God of your understanding, by whichever name or word you use to identify that essence that we all are.

Ritz says, “The personal vision that you are building is for more than just a new belief or about abundance. It is actually an inner awareness of your true spiritual self and highest human and spiritual potential, it is a set of wonderful new possibilities that the Universe wants to express through and as you.”

Our higher self knows what to do. Work with your vision.

As for your vision – work on it. Envision it. Write it out. Meditate on it. Affirm it daily. DREAM!

Dream it, hold the vision ceaselessly, in great detail. Forget about the how! That is God’s business. You choose the ‘what’ and focus your energy on the feelings you would feel if you were living that dream.

Do not limit the Universe. How BIG is your GOD? Then believe that! God is unlimited!

Hear your inner Christ saying Isiah 43:19 “I will make a way.”

Stephen Kosmyna, Unity minister: “I hold my very own key to the kingdom of good to my very own field of dreams. I look only to God as my source and the ceaseless activity of Divine Mind as my supply. I am blessed beyond measure and profoundly grateful for this rain of good and plenty I am now experiencing.”

THAT is a pretty good affirmation!

David lists 7 Truths that build that awareness and acceptance of the good we are all claiming in our vision. They are:

  1. God is the one and only source of our good. We do have channels for that good like jobs, investments, etc., but the SOURCE is all God. To live this truth, we must continually remind ourselves to look to and depend upon the God Source above all else. Place your highest faith in God alone.
  • Abundance is a here-and-now reality. Don’t confuse a temporary event with TRUTH. You are surrounded by and immersed in abundance. Lack and limitation are temporary human experiences we create. We sometimes create a temporary experience that can block our abundance…temporarily. To live this truth, we must affirm the presence of God’s abundance-even in the face of appearances to the contrary-until we train our mind to look beyond appearances.
  • Abundance is inexhaustible. The Universe is constantly expanding. God’s creative process is an endless dance between form and formless. Everything visible originates in the invisible side of life. True abundance is found in the movement of Spirit from the unformed to the formed, from invisible to the visible. Abundance is inexhaustible because the flow of Spirit is ceaseless. Whatever you may spend, lose, or give away today can be replaced tomorrow…perhaps with something better. To live this truth, you must embrace and rejoice in the inexhaustible flow of good through your life. 

Practice nonattachment to temporary physical things.

  • God is meeting your every need at every moment according to your own acceptance. “Our level of acceptance depends upon what you give to life and how you give it. What – time, talent, treasure, energy, attention, love. How – attitude, intention, awareness that accompanies what you give. Give to life with joy, integrity and love.

You always determine how abundantly God meets your needs through your own level of acceptance.

To live this truth, you must practice giving yourself fully to life. Don’t look around for the payoff to your giving. Live and give with joy, generosity, and abandon. Learn to trust in the inexhaustible resources of Spirit. The void you create by giving will be filled.

  • Everyone deserves abundance. We need to see ourselves and others as God does. Love unconditionally and forgive self and others. Lack and limitation are still a part of our human condition, though one day they will disappear in the exact proportion to our understanding that all people deserve abundance.

You can help this along by healing your own consciousness of that belief in limitation. You deserve unlimited abundance.

To live this truth, you must learn to love yourself completely and unconditionally.

  • Your vision is your inner awareness of your naturally abundant self. You were not created to live in lack and limitation; to struggle against adversity all your life. You were created to discover who you are; to grow, love and live in unlimited abundance. As you identify with and activate your vision, you will find yourself growing and changing in many, many wonderful ways. And your potential goes beyond this present vision, you are infinite in your ability to expand and grow.

To live this truth, you must be willing to risk personal greatness. Continue to hold and expand your vision. It is the truth that can lead you away from false beliefs.

  • Your inner guidance will lead you toward the fulfillment of your vision. Every idea contains all the power and intelligence necessary to bring it to fruition. This ‘seed idea’ knows how to grow with the sunshine and rain of your prayers and visioning.

To live this truth, you must recognize that the fulfillment of your vision is a natural process that is under Divine direction.

Everything necessary is contained within the vision and when we nurture ourselves via spiritual practices, we affirm the Truth of our vision, and we build a new awareness. We need to listen and follow inner guidance.

We can learn to trust our heart’s desires and our instincts to guide us, questioning any beliefs that stand in the way of our ability to fully invest in ourselves. As we withdraw energy from limiting ideas about what is possible, we free up the resources that have the power to make our inner economy thrive.  

This weeks’ questions for contemplation:

  1. What evidence of your own limiting beliefs do you find in your thoughts and feelings?
  2. What evidence of your own limiting beliefs do you hear in your speech?
  3. What evidence of your own limiting beliefs do you observe in your behavior?
  4. Can you pinpoint some of your limiting beliefs? If so, can you see why they are not really true?
  5. Which of the Seven Spiritual Truths of Abundance seems most important for you to grasps? Why?

Here’s your closing thought for today:

“Stay as you are, and you will stay as you are.” (Science of Mind”, January 2016)

2nd Key – “Hold the Vision”

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Last Sunday I introduced a prosperity series “The Keys to the Kingdom – an advanced course in prosperity consciousness building.” And I talked about the first Key, “Make the Commitment.”

We noticed that making a commitment is sometimes not an easy thing to do, but as we grow on our journey to wholeness and authenticity, we find that committing to do what is important to us is easier. It fits into our integrity, which is an important aspect of my life, and I hope yours.

And we all see that commitment here every Sunday as our various volunteers prepare for Service, work through the Service and clean up after the fun is done.

I love our volunteers. It makes Sundays so much easier and inspiring for everyone, most especially me. So, thank you again and again and again.

So, did you question your commitment? That was your ‘assignment’ from last week.

Let’s go over your questions from last week…

  1. How would you define true abundance for yourself?
  2. What do you worry about?
  3. Do you feel your worries are well founded and reasonable?
  4. What would you like to think and feel instead?
  5. Where and when are you most aware of the presence, guidance, or activity of Spirit in your life?
  6. Have you noticed the Law of Circulation operating in your life before now? If so, when and how?
  7. What are your greatest fears about the commitment to tithing that you have made?
  8. What could you do to address these fears?

Anyone want to share?

This week we get to look at the second Key, “Hold the Vision.”

What exactly is vision? Merriam-Webster defines it, in part as ‘a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination, a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial’.

We all talk about manifesting our dreams. This is about that process.

This week is about creating and holding a Vision for our higher possibility. David reminds us of this simple Truth: None of us will ever rise higher than the vision we hold for our lives … None of us will ever lead a greater life than we can conceive of!

Think about that for a minute.

What does that statement bring to mind for you?

Our vision is only as possible as we allow it in our lives.

There is a Divine “urge” behind all of creation “urging” everything into greater and greater expression. My early mentor would say, “God is in the yearning.” And we have mentioned that every cell has what is called a “God Code,” even science agrees that this is so!

This Divine “urge” is SPIRIT urging everything to evolve into greater complexity and greater levels of expression. Within every one of us there is a deep-seeded urge to move forward, be more, expand, and to grow.

When you follow that Divine Urge into greater expression and do something you’ve never done before, there is a sense of “aliveness” that comes with it. Sometimes we translate it as an urge to “have more,” but what we really want is the “experience” those things will give us. It’s actually an “urge” to BE more; to BE something greater than you’ve ever been before.

We are reminded through this process that we have free will. We mentioned that last week. We have all these wonderful thoughts and ideas during Sunday Service and maybe after Service for a bit, but are we choosing to put them into practice during our daily lives? THAT is free will. THAT is choice. And THAT is the effect to our cause.

Our response to the Urging that comes from our Divine Self is where we CHOOSE to COMMITT.

Or not.

Rumi, the Sufi poet said, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

So, if we have made the commitment to continue on this journey, what does your vision look like?   Where do we even start?

An interesting thing happened to me as I was attempting to sell my house back in Camp Hill. The real estate market was not very good at the time, but I felt I needed to commit more to what I was doing for Unity in Frederick.

My thought was to move closer to Frederick, MD. where I was doing my Leadership work to become licensed. That was an hour and a half drive one way for me. You see why a move seemed like a great idea.

And most of you know that story. If you don’t, ask me. My point in bringing it up is, I made a vision board…not as most people do, cutting out pictures and words to paste on a poster.

I made mine on my computer. I forgot about it and life went on. I finally moved here. One day I was reminded of it, so I went to find it and there was the house I had envisioned very similar to the one I was living in, I had dreamed of a place with the beach out one door and trees out the other. Well, I had water out the front door and trees all around the back.

Of course, I forgot about LEAVES in the fall….

David Owen Ritz says: “God has provided the means and the motivation for our growth and evolution, but the details are up to us.” In other words, the Divine Universe is the “big picture” entity… the details are up to us!

And THAT is your vision. Your Vision is the “roadmap” that you’re giving Spirit saying: “This is what I want my life to look like!”

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7) Jesus uses the spiritual meaning of this as a part of a creative process by which we are to bring the Good that is God into manifestation in our lives. In this sense, “asking” is more about choosing what you desire. It’s an expression of the power of imagination. We cannot fulfill our role in the creative process unless we are willing to imagine the Good that might express.

Then we seek. We brush away distractions, dissolve apparent obstacles so that we can truly feel and know our Oneness with God. Then we knock. We consciously become a free and open channel through which the infinite potential of God can express according to what we have imagined. We don’t ask and wait for an answer. We choose, we imagine, and then we become the answer.

We put feet to our prayers.

So, with that in mind, our vision of what we want is the start of the creative process. It is the first step.

How do we vision? Have you ever daydreamed? Of course, you have! Sometimes we do it too much, maybe at the wrong time…and nothing in our physical world gets accomplished!

Sometimes we get real serious about creating something in our lives and we create a vision board, or Treasure Map, as I mentioned earlier.

Sometimes we make lists, what we wish for, what we do not wish for…

And sometimes we have a visioning. We get together with our chosen group, those people who have an interest, an investment in what we wish to manifest, and we talk, we meditate, we pray. And through all this we come up with those things that are important to us as a community. We have done that here a few times.

Yes, I did mention fears. We do that. We limit the Divine by our own limitations. How are you limiting yourself by your fears? What’s that Marianne Williamson quote?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

It takes courage to live your vision. Don’t let fear stand in your way.

“The dreams and possibilities that bring you the greatest joy, happiness, and sense of aliveness are the vey potentials that bring Spirit desires to express through you.”

When we talk about true abundance, it  touches every area of our lives, not just our bank account.

Let’s look at these 5 areas:

Health – your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Abundance in your health might include the God Qualities of balance, harmony, wholeness, beauty, vitality, and peace.

Finances – the flow of money and material good through your life. Abundance in your finances might include the God Qualities of freedom, ease, order, givingness, balance, and growth.

Relationship – the quality of your interactions with others: family, friends, neighbors, lovers, mates, and co-workers. Abundance in your relationships might include the God Qualities of love, wholeness, growth, harmony, authenticity, acceptance, and wisdom.

Career and Creative Self-expression – how you express your special gifts and talents, whether for income or not. Abundance in your career and self-expression might include the God Qualities of creativity, joy, love, freedom, givingness, and confidence.

Spiritual and Personal Growth – your relationship to yourself, your experience of life, and God. Abundance in your spiritual and personal growth might include the God Qualities of unity, growth, wholeness, self-love, joy, confidence, awareness, and power.

To form your vision, take each area into meditation. Focus on seeing and feeling yourself whole, complete, joyful, and uninhibited. Allow images and feelings to create your abundant life in each area. Let the vision be as realistic as possible.

Give yourself plenty of time to truly envision what each part of your life would look and feel like. Do this this week and let me know how you did.

How about Unity? Who are we, Unity Spiritual Center of Coastal Delaware, but a powerful, compassionate, peace-loving group of people praying for love to find its way into the hearts of ALL. We are here to do that. We are here to reach out to the folks in this area and show them by our love and light, just what Jesus really WAS teaching….Loving is the way.

Let’s do this same visioning for Unity Spiritual Center of Coastal Delaware. Let your imagination go as you dream of what this Center will look like, feel like and what importance we will have in our Community, both internally and in the greater Community.

Let me know what you come up with.

In the end, most people don’t regret the things they do. They regret what they failed to do. …we don’t want to be in that category.

We strengthen and develop our courage by using it. Don’t let it go to waste. Trust in who you are and be all you were created to be by living a courageous life. Choose to live courageously.

Your questions for this week:

  1. How do you sense the Divine urge to grow within your own life?
  2. What fears or doubts come to the surface when you seek your new vision?
  3. What new feelings and beliefs would you like to have in place of those doubts and fears?
  4. Do you really feel deserving of true abundance in every area of your life? If not, explore the part of you that does not feel worthy.
  5. Which area of your life is presently the most abundant? Least abundant? Why do you think this is?

Keys to the Kingdom – part 1.

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Keys to the Kingdom – part 1.

This week we start a Prosperity program. This 7-week program by David Owen Ritz titled ‘The Keys to the Kingdom’ is one of several programs that many Unity Centers and churches use to have us take a look at what we think about prosperity and abundance.

As we come out of our worldwide ‘pause’ also known as the pandemic, we need to look at what we wish to let go and what we wish to change or bring forth in our lives. Prosperity programs help us to do that.

I found this definition – “true prosperity is the power to satisfy our needs and make our dreams come true.”

What do you think of that definition?

A prosperity mentality is part of what helps us manifest those things and relationships that we long for. Money alone does not have the ultimate power over our happiness and success. It’s our attitude about money that holds the true secret of happiness.

The goal is oneness with God, nothing more, nothing less. The idea is not to aim for healing or prosperity or better relationships or any of the other “things” – deserved as they may be, since their seeming absence is merely a symptom of a deeper problem, a straying from the path. Rather, the goal is the experience of the presence of God in us and in our daily lives.

Here’s an example of perspective regarding prosperity…as seen through the eyes of a child.

“One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’

’It was great, Dad.’

‘Did you see how poor people live,’ the father asked.

‘Oh yeah,’ said the son.

‘So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip,’ asked the father.

The son answered: ‘I saw that we have one dog and they had four.’

‘We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end.’

’We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night.’

‘Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon.’

‘We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.’

‘We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.’

‘We buy our food, but they grow theirs.’

‘We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.’

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, ‘Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.’”

I hear a hint of gratitude in that simple statement.

When we believe that our good can come only from material and exterior sources, we approach life with a ‘getting’ or ‘taking’ consciousness, looking to the world, people, places, and things to supply us with our good. This consciousness inhibits spiritual growth, blocking the awareness of God.

And we have noted many times that prosperity – abundance, is not money. Oh, it includes money. But it is so much more. Energy comes in many forms, and that is really what it is about. And energy cannot be destroyed…changed yes, destroyed – no.

“The belief in limitation must be healed in order to enjoy true abundance. In its place we must build a greater belief in God as the ultimate source of our good and an attitude of joy and freedom for living in the flow of the Divine current. We must learn to trust in the circulation of money through our lives just as we trust in the circulation of blood through our bodies.”

“We shall not fully discover our own spiritual nature until we learn to become givers also, re-enacting the loving givingness of God in our own lives.”

The Law of Circulation says that the universe, infinite in nature, functions like a closed circulation system, what we give out comes back to us in kind, establishing us in the natural flow of good.

“We never lack money, we lack ideas – positive, truth-centered ideas. Ideas are a gift from Spirit.

Our visions, beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes shape the flow of abundance.”

“Our first and highest desire must be to have a greater realization of Spirit and our own creative nature.”

“The Keys to the Kingdom – an advanced course in prosperity consciousness building” was developed by David Owen Ritz.

Each week we will discuss a different Key. They are:

1. Make the Commitment, the world was not given to you; you were given to the world. Step into the natural flow of abundance by committing yourself to becoming a giver to life.

2. Hold the Vision, you will not rise higher than your personal vision for your life. Expand your vision and follow your bliss. Believe in your highest potential and you will realize it.

3. Build a New Awareness, your limiting beliefs have always held you back. A new awareness of the truth of your being will set you free.

4. Make Room for the New, the Law of Circulation works to the benefit of those who understand its operation. When you create a vacuum in your life, the universe always moves to fill it.

5. Let Go of the Past, holding on to regrets and resentments from the past saps your creative energy. Release your energy through forgiveness of self and others.

6. Count the Blessings, you always attract what you focus upon. The daily practice of gratitude focuses your creative energy on the good in your life, thereby multiplying it.

7. Live in the Flow, abundance is not just a spiritual quality; it is a way of life. Incorporate the principles of abundance into your daily living, and abundance will be your way of life.

This week we will take our own look at the 1st Key…Make the Commitment. Nice that it follows last weeks’ Message on Commitment.

So, why do you think David called his course Keys to the Kingdom?

My thought is “It is Gods good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” And what do we need to do to receive God’s gift? “Seek first the Kingdom.”

I found this on-line- “A life that reflects the quality of true abundance is a life spent pursuing a greater awareness of the God of our understanding and our true spiritual nature.”

So, what would you wish your life to be like?

Let’s take a few moments… and now send those energies out to the ethers.

Just respond to that question… what would you wish your life to be like?

————————–

And we Bless those prayers, this or something better – and so it is.

So, what is the next step to manifesting those dreams.

MAKE THE COMMITMENT! Now is the time!

There it is – the big C…..commitment. Lots of people have an issue with the word and what it means to them. So, ask yourself, what does it mean to you?

Well, to me it means getting everything ready for Sunday Service and for Tuesday class. And making sure that all the organizing is done so everything runs as smoothly as possible for our Celebration Service, especially now that we are Streaming as well as in person. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and the Board, volunteers and I work to make things go smoothly.

And I am committed to my dogs…my little fluffy ones. And maintaining the house as well as I can, and including others where I can’t, like Tommy and his maintenance of the yard.

Of course, I am committed to my family and friends back in PA. I try to see them as I can get away.

And committed to me means when I say I am going to do something, I am there, unless something happens to keep me away, and then I call and give my apologies.

Even after the accident 7years ago, going home to visit family, believe it or not, I called from the ambulance to let my sister know I was going to miss lunch with Mom! I think the paramedics were thinking, what’s with this person…she’s bleeding, has broken bones and who knows what else, and all she worries about is canceling a lunch date and making sure her dogs were going to be taken care of a bit longer than planned!

Commitment. You say you are going to do something, and you do it. It’s an integrity thing to me.

Eric Butterworth, Unity Minister and author has written, “If you want routine living to become abundant living, you must give more.”

Going the extra mile sometimes is what is needed. You know, as the Jews were required to carry the Roman burdens for a mile; Jesus suggests going the extra mile to break away from the ‘slavery mentality.’ Going beyond what is required sets your own standards.

Think about it….

Commitment means you are taking ownership of something. It might be a cause, like committing to being there when MERR calls about a stranded seal. Or meeting someone who needs a helping hand. Or fostering a dog or cat when asked.

Or volunteering at Unity, YOUR Spiritual Community. We have mentioned this before…taking ownership of YOUR Unity. And we say it at the beginning of each Service…doing what is mine to do.

Tithing is a commitment, giving of your time, talent, and treasure. Somewhere along the way, someone understood the Bible to say tithe 10%.  Have you done that? I know some people think they can’t afford to tithe 10% of their income, and yet, most money experts tell us we cannot afford to NOT tithe.

Recall the Law of Circulation…keep in the flow. And we do that by tithing TIME, TALENT and TREASURE.

David Owen Ritz says we look at how we think about the things we want and need wrong. Worry and negative thought affirm lack mentality and limitation rather than abundance. So, if we are fearful of committing to doing something or if we think it’s ok to not show up when we say we will be there, we are out of alignment.

We need to move in alignment with the natural flow of creation.

How do we do that? By seeking the Kingdom, that divine connection we talk about every Sunday.

In 1st Corinthians Paul talks about this, saying if we are still ‘worldly’, that is with envy, strife, and divisions, we are not discerning the way of the Christ.

But what do you do about that connection after the Sunday Lesson? What is your day or week like after Service? In other words, what happens after you walk out that door?

This is another place where the commitment comes in. This is where choice enters our lives. We are given choice, free will. That freedom to choose what we wish to do, say, think….BE.

What are you doing with your free will?

Are you BEING the person you wish to be?

Where are your thoughts today? How do they change when you leave here?

Being committed to your Spiritual Growth is probably the most important commitment you can make. It means that you are ‘seeking the Kingdom first’ as we are asked to do in the teaching of our Way-shower, Jesus.

How do we seek the kingdom? I truly believe a huge part of that journey is self- discovery. What makes you, you? Eric Butterworth says in “Discover the Power Within” – ‘Your knowledge of the Truth must first of all lead to self-knowledge.’

Who are you really, behind all the walls we put up and the domestications we have learned through our years? Do you know?

People come to Unity and say, “It feels as if I came home.” And maybe we have. A real home is a place where we can feel safe enough to say who we are, and what we want truly in our lives.

Back in the late 90’s, I make a commitment to myself and to the God of MY understanding, that I would seek the Kingdom, inside me, using learning about Unity principles and about metaphysics and that leads to learning about Sandy. I started going through the layers of domestication and hurts and boundaries that we all put up, and I am still at it.

But you know, it feels good. I’m liking the person I am becoming…

Are you liking you?

Remember, the quality of our lives is shaped by the consciousness with which you approach life. Our deeply held beliefs as well as thoughts, feelings and attitudes create our daily experiences and shape the circumstances and conditions we encounter in the world.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to further your exploration of this topic of commitment and the Law of Circulation:

  1. How would you define true abundance for yourself?
  2. What do you worry about?
  3. DO you feel your worries are well founded and reasonable?
  4. What would you like to think and feel instead?
  5. Where and when are you most aware of the presence, guidance, or activity of Spirit in your life?
  6. Have you noticed the Law of Circulation operating in your life before now? If so, when and how?
  7. What are your greatest fears about the commitment to tithing that you have made?
  8. What could you do to address these fears?

These questions will be listed in the Wednesday email. I hope you take the time to use them to question yourself, for a greater understanding of who you are and where you wish to grow. We will have questions after each Key to aid your discovery of self.

The Ten Commitments

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Thank you for joining us again this morning! If you are waiting to attend, please come on down…we are welcoming all back home. And that is what it feels like when you walk into a Unity, at least it was for me and many others who have expressed that sentiment to me when asked about their first time at a Unity Center or Church.

This is your Unity Center and your Unity Family. So, for those of you who are here today, thank you for your support. And for those who are watching and listening from home, thank you too, for your support. We hope to see you here soon.

Today I thought we’d look at what ‘commitment’ means. AS we open up from our 15 + months of a global ‘pause’, we need to look at what our, yours and mine, new ‘normal’ will be. Have you looked back through these past months and let go of those thoughts and actions, maybe habits that no longer serve your highest good.? Maybe its time for our new normal to exclude those old thoughts and habits, those actions that are not for our highest good nor for the highest good of our fellow travelers.

Most of us know about the 10 Commandments…Today we want to look at the 10 Commitments.

What is the difference between commandments and commitments?

Well, look at the definitions: commandment means “an important rule given by God that tells people how to behave,” the act or power of commanding.

A Commitment is a promise to do or give something, a promise to be loyal to someone or something, the attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something an agreement or pledge to do something in the future.

So, with a commitment, we are pledging to honor something.  And it’s within our integrity to honor that pledge.  If we wouldn’t honor it, it would be against our integrity.  And THAT would have us questioning that very integrity.

Can you think of instances in your life where you had a commandment to follow and where you had a commitment?  And can you feel the difference?

Psychologist Carl Jung said, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

These Commitments might just help us find who we truly are.

Let’s take a look at these 10 Commitments and see what they could mean for us. I invite you to take note where you feel you could make a commitment and what it might look like.

And also, to take note of where you feel resistance to the explanation. That may indicate a place you might wish to reexamine.

  1. I make a commitment to Love. Love has many meanings to all of us.  If we look at the 12 Powers, it is the ability to attract, unify and desire.faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

And also in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. “

Notice, commit to love…as in a verb.  I believe we are to be loving and that will express what we truly are—LOVE.  Because God is Love and we are of God, so we are LOVE also.

If you have ever noticed my emails have a line in the signature box, “Loving is the answer.” Its putting action, like we talked about last week, the 5th Principle. I have a tattoo too, reminding me of that action. I truly believe we must put action behind the words and feelings.

This is unconditional Love.  The love we all strive for.  For ourselves and for others.  And we are given the how in 1st Corinthians….

  • I make commitment to Wholeness. Wholeness means entire, total: containing all the elements, complete, undivided. On a spiritual sense, we think of wholeness as mind, body, and spirit.  So, we would commit to taking care of all aspects of our being…. seems a healthy thing to do. But do we do it?

There’s a lot of information out there about wholeness.  We each must discern what it entails for each of us. Take a look at 30 Days to a Whole New You | Unity. You will find 30 suggestions to aid you as you work toward a total, whole self.

  • I make a commitment to Positive Expression. This is easy…to define anyway…think positively, speak positively, act positively.

Easier said than done though, right?  Can you at least start to watch your thoughts and words and deeds? The more we become aware of our thoughts, the easier it becomes. Soon we catch ourselves before the thought completes itself, and eventually we stop the thought before it starts.  Before you know it the thought never occurs.

Remember the words of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”

  • I make a commitment to Let Go. The trees in autumn give us the perfect example of letting go, except for the oak leaves, they hang on until spring, but they still let go, in their own time.

I know sometimes we need to process things before letting them go.  But we have talked before about not camping in the Valley of the Shadow…grieve, fume, have your rant about whomever or whatever if you must.  But let it go as you walk through the Valley so you can be at peace and grow from the experience, whatever it was.

And you can move on.

Here’s an exercise from Richard Rohr to help: Close your eyes for a few minutes. Imagine you are sitting on the bank of a river. Boats and ships—thoughts, feelings, and sensations—are sailing past. While the stream flows by your inner eye, name each of these vessels. For example, one of the boats could be called “my anxiety about tomorrow.” Or along comes the ship “objections to my husband or wife” or the boat “I don’t do that well.” Every judgment that you pass is one of those boats. Take the time to give each one of them a name, and then let them move on down the river.

This can be a difficult exercise because you’re used to jumping aboard the boats—your thoughts—immediately. As soon as you own a boat and identify with it, it picks up energy. This is a practice in un-possessing, detaching, letting go. With every idea, with every image that comes into your head, say, “No, I’m not that; I don’t need that; that’s not me.”

 Sometimes, a boat turns around and heads back upstream to demand your attention again. Habitual thoughts are hard to not be hooked by. Sometimes you feel the need to torpedo your boats. But don’t attack them. Don’t hate them or condemn them. This is also an exercise in nonviolence. The point is to recognize your thoughts, which are not you, and to say, “That’s not necessary; I don’t need that.” But do it very amiably. If you learn to handle your own soul tenderly and lovingly, you’ll be able to carry this same loving wisdom out into the world.

 5. I make a commitment to Thinking and Feeling. This too, can sometimes be painful.  If we think things through, we can come to the root of disagreements.  Byron Katie has a great process called The Work.  And it is work, but it helps us see what is true.  If we keep in mind that the only moment we have is the current one, then many things that seem to happened are no longer true and we can let them go. They are simply memories of the thoughts and feelings we experienced in the past.

The ‘feeling’ part comes along as we work through the thoughts and events that happened and we find ‘our Truth’ to them and can learn from them and then let them go.

It also can be a part of our everyday life.  If we do not allow ourselves to ‘feel’ we become robots, unfeeling, not responding to the beauty and love surrounding us, but instead armored against feeling hurt and then losing the joy of love, fellowship, of experience.

We are love, and sharing that with family, friends and loved ones is important. Eventually, we can do as Jesus asked of us, ‘Love your enemies.’

 6. I make a commitment to Life. Life is the ability to energize, vitalize, animate and invigorate. It goes with what we discussed in the previous Commitment…to FEEL.  Emotions are what makes living, living.  We must LIVE our lives to grow, to appreciate what we have, to have no regrets at the end of this life.  Dance!  Don’t sit on the sidelines. Engage in life, in whatever way you have chosen as your point of interest.  Family.  Art. Sport. Crafts.  Reading. Get to know your fellow travelers.  Life offers so much…. go out swinging!

This practice from Unity might give you some ideas:  https://www.unity.org/publications/practices-4-life.

  • I commit myself to Integrity. I love the word Integrity and what it stands for. Do you know what makes up your integrity? If not, maybe it’s time to ask yourself that question.  It is so easy to live one’s life if they have made peace with their integrity, choices are easily made.  When a question is placed before you, and your integrity is well defined, an answer to the choice is easily seen and then made.  Often times the choice never presents itself because it is not where you are at this time in your life.

Once I started working on myself consistently, I started realizing that some of the thoughts and actions I was putting forth did not agree with who I wanted to be. And so, my integrity went through a transformation. I still check it from time to time as a question comes up that I have to think if that is who I want to be today. Usually, I don’t even get that far. I know who I want to be, and I strive to be that.

That is my integrity.

Trust me, we know when we go against our integrity…we know it very well. Even if we never get to the point of any action on the question, we can wonder why it even came to a question.

We know who we are and how we wish to show up. And then we put feet to that prayer.

  • I make a commitment to Consciousness. Consciousness…that’s what we are all working towards, right? 

Consciousness is not just your individual awareness of your unique thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, and environments. Essentially, your consciousness is your awareness of yourself and the world around you. This awareness is subjective and unique to you.

From a spiritual aspect, the more conscious we are, the more in each moment we are, the better able to connect with our inner Christ.  So, yes, we are committed to more consciousness, moment by moment. To awaken from the sleep that we entered when we started becoming DOMESTICATED.

We all are striving to be more ‘in the NOW,’ to be connected with our authentic self. Doing so, is the state we pray to live the majority of our day in.

Work toward being connected with your authentic self as much as possible. The more conscious we are, the more joyful we will be.

  • I make a commitment to Honesty. This is part of one’s integrity.  Honesty toward others may be easier that honesty toward oneself.  But that honesty is important for the inner growth and the transformation we all are looking toward. 

How are we dishonest to ourselves? Have you told yourself you were going to stop smoking? Or to be more organized? Maybe to meditate daily? And have you done so?

Right. WE tell our selves things and then self-sabotage the whole plan. SO, be truly honest with yourself.

So, watch your thoughts and words. What are you telling yourself in those thoughts to yourself? If you are someone who uses negative talk to yourself, maybe denials and affirmations would be something you could add to your spiritual work.

An easy way to get positive affirmations in your thoughts is to place a positive word for each letter of the alphabet following “I AM…”

 All these Commitments, if you have taken notice, are helping you toward knowing who you are, to move forward to transformation.

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Watch your thoughts, they become words,

Watch your words, they become actions,

Watch your actions, they become habits,

Watch your habits, they become character,

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

  1. I make a commitment to Appreciation. Gratitude.  Simple.  The answer to many things.  It starts with being grateful for all your gifts…even those that do not look like gifts at the moment.  They will in the end.  So, be grateful for what comes into your life, look at it from all perspectives.  See the whole gift.

And speak, show that gratitude daily, in as many ways as you are able.  A simple THANK YOU works wonders.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  THINK of others as you would like to be thought of…thoughts are energy.  Thoughts create.  So, think good thoughts – always.

Here is another suggestion from Unity:  https://www.unity.org/prayer/grateful-living

So, how did you do?  Do you have some things to work on?  Some items to do, to make a part of who you wish to become?  We all do. Its part of life. But it also helps to make life more enjoyable, to be our true selves.

Anyone wish to share a bit?

Baseball

GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!

Welcome back. We’re getting closer to opening with you all in the Center with us. We need to prepare a few things and practice In-person & Streaming yet, and then we are a GO!

The plan is to open for those who wish to be here with us on Father’s Day, 10 AM. Those of you who wish to remain at home for whatever reason, please watch us on FB.

Make sure you join us for our H.U.G. Meeting at 11:00 this morning for more information and a few other items of interest.

So, let’s talk Baseball this week! Who here is a baseball fan? I suspect that many if not most would have at least a passing interest in the sport…after all, it IS the favorite pastime of the USA, or so they say.

Baseball aficionados will tell you that it is more than a sport, it’s a state of mind. And because we are spiritual, everything is spiritual, so Baseball is a spiritual thing. Simple.

But this is not just any sport.  Opening Day is a holiday for many, a tradition that dates back to the day when father and son, mother and daughter, would share the thrill of the first pitch and a new season of hopes and dreams.

And this year, it looks as if we will have a ‘more normal’ season, with fans and all the trimmings. One more step out of the pandemic normal.

And if you happen to be a Phillies fan like me, mostly hopes and dreams—– fond reminiscences of winning seasons and pennant races! They might look good at one time or another, but then, bust. Maybe this year.

The history of baseball in the United States can be traced to the 19th century, when amateurs played a baseball-like game by their own informal rules using home-made equipment. The popularity of the sport inspired the semipro national baseball clubs in the 1860s. Several attempts were made to organize the game, which eventually happened, under the New York rules of play, as opposed to the Boston rules, or any other set of rules from independent leagues.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Negro leagues, and the formation of the All-American Girls league during World War 2, immortalized in the film A League of Their Own, one of my favorites.

So now we have baseball as we know it today, even with instant replay, which I’m not sure I agree with!

Let’s look at our ˜national past-time”. Many sport writers pay homage to the game with such titles as: Why Time Begins on Opening Day and How Life Imitates the World Series, both by Thomas Boswell; or Philip Lowry’s Green Cathedrals.

And no less a personage than Herbert Hoover pontificated that “next to religion, baseball has furnished a greater impact on American life than any other institution.”

Many relate to the game as they would to a religion. If you recall the 1988 film “Bull Durham,” the character played by Susan Sarandon goes so far in the opening scene as to decode a religion of baseball as the camera pans over candles and “icons.”

Not a religion in itself, of course, the sport does incorporate four components that are also part of all the major religious faiths of the world:Creed, Code, Ceremony, and Community.

How does baseball measure up to these four necessary components of the religious enterprise?

 Creed

Baseball transcends time and space. It is not played against a clock but creates its own time frame; its base lines stretch out, seemingly to infinity. Roger Angell wrote, “Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do … is keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain young forever.”

Baseball is about finality, the attainment of a place and goal designated “home.” Comedian George Carlin encapsulated such a theme with this comment: “In football the object is to march into enemy territory and cross his goal. In baseball, the object is to go home.”

Code of Conduct

Baseball, even though it is obsessed with records and statistics, makes allowances for, even anticipates, human weakness and fallibility. As a New York City graffiti artist once wrote: “Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times,” yet he is known for his home runs. Or former commissioner Fay Vincent said: “What other gameincludes errors as one of the line items? We know people are going to make errors. Noother sport acknowledges that.” Makes me think about our word sin, which is missing the mark, a mistake, an error perhaps?

Ceremony

Baseball is full of something akin to what some religious folks would define as sacramentals,” such as trading cards, caps, jerseys and autographs, all “relics” of the game. Baseball has its own high holy-days (Opening Day, All-Star Game, World Series) and its shrines (Cooperstown, and some of those archetypal “green cathedrals” like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park) that bring a glaze to true fans’ eyes. Baseball games have incorporated into themselves an entire series of sub-rituals, from park ground rules down to the celebrity opening pitch and seventh-inning stretch (not just take me out to the ball game but also Sweet Caroline in Boston).

Community

 Baseball fosters loyalty, not only to a team, but to a city or metropolitan region. Each position on the field has its own “priest” in attendance with his own particular craft. My favorite position is second base & I cried when Chase Utley, second baseman for the Phillies, was traded. Baseball is saturated with narrative, anecdote and history as means of fostering identity and a community of continuity and memory.

It holds up leaders of the past, both saints and sinners, as models and cautions to each new generation. Despite the fact that it took so long to include blacks (1947), baseball has functioned as an integrating factor in American life. Those at the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder have often made their own mark and a place of pride for their people through the game: e.g., Irish in the late 19th century; Hispanics in the last generation.

And sitting in any stadium or ballpark, you will see a variety of people’s enjoying the game, a color-less fandom.

Baseball runs according to seasonal time, its four bases perhaps corresponding to the four seasons of the year. The playing season starts from spring training to world series, somehow imitating agricultural cycles of the earth: planting, growth and harvest. At least, hopefully, harvest a pennant.

Time seems less a tyrant during the baseball season. We can forget about it for a while knowing that the game continues until the last out.

But let’s look at the numbers; what is the significance of the 9s? The ninety feet between bases, 9 innings, 9 players? The number nine, in metaphysics means every level of being in heaven and earth and beyond. It’s a number of harmony and patience; fitting for the game.

Then there is sixty-and-a-half feet between the pitching rubber and the plate, six is a perception of duality, the picture and the batter.

Baseball is timeless and space-less.  In football and basketball, and almost all other sports, there is a starting time and an ending time. Even overtime is limited. Not so with baseball.  There is a starting time, but the game isn’t over until the last out is recorded. It ain’t over until it’s over. We have a vision of eternity while we watch game.

And the time passes by measuring outs, not ticks of the clock. Oh, that we could measure our day in increments other than minutes and hours.

The batter even progresses counterclockwise, flaunting his freedom from the tyranny of the clock. Because of its freedom from time, baseball always leaves time for redemption. Until the final out, the final strike, no deficit is insurmountable. There’s always hope.

It reminds me of our gift from our Creator. We can always start over as long as we are in the moment.

A football field has sidelines and end-zones. Limits.  Basketball too.  And baseball has a touch of that with the infield dimensions. But the outfield really is unlimited. There are no fixed measures for the placement of the outfield walls. Infinity again. A mere fly ball in one stadium could be a home run in another, which to me, makes the home run king a bit unequal.

And isn’t it interesting that this is the only sport. Not including Criket and softball, which are similar games, that the defensive team has the ball, not the offensive team. What are the metaphysics of that? Maybe ego is the defensive team, and we get to drive whatever we can at it to take dominion over our playing field?

As a metaphor for life, the dynamics of baseball must adjust as each batter steps into the batter’s box. The fielders adjust for left or right-handed batters; do they pull the ball, and of course they adjust to what type of pitch the pitcher throws. Everyone is a different expression of our Creator, we each have our own way of being.

Based upon the skills of the batter, the defensive team adjusts their positions and pitching style to give them the best opportunity to win. The micro battle about to play out.

The batter stands at home plate, defiantly poised before all that endless openness, hoping to reach each base safely and return home.  That’s the gist of the game, each batter leaves home, and then strives to return home again, safely. Kind of like the Hero’s Journey….

We do that each time we step into Unity’s home.  And we can reach home safely each time we connect with our inner Christ.

We can look at our Spiritual Journey in the same way as a baseball player, different ahaas relating to the bases as we move forward to our next level of understanding, home again and ready to look for our next hit, our next aha.

Such is our daily life too.  We practice our Principles and do our denials and affirmations, only sometimes, we have a forced error and must return to practice again. Or, like a batter, we think we know what to expect from the pitcher, yet ego sends a curve ball when we thought fast ball and we strike out.  We head back to the dugout, to Unity, to our teachers; for help from the batting coach.  The coaches suggestion: No expectations.  Always be ready for what comes by going with the flow. Be practiced up or prayed up.

We adjust to life’s hits and errors, sometimes changing our strategy along the way for the best possible outcome, using the guidance from our number 1 coach, God, Spirit, Divine Energy.

This game reminds us, too, that there is no such thing as perfection on this realm.  We all know that a hitter who succeeds in only one-third of their at-bats is considered remarkable. And yet, we condemn ourselves for a mistake 20 years ago!

The long, 162-game season, allows for hope and dreams to come and go and possibly, come again.  And if not, then spring training comes around, and the cycle resumes.

The same with our lives, we always get to start again if we so desire. And mostly, our lives are long enough to make adjustments as to the direction we wish to hit the ball. It’s our choice.

Baseball teaches us that to return home we must rely on our communities, live according to seasonal time, and attend to local limits.

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Baseball may seem like a fairly individualistic game. The duel between pitcher and batter calls forth individual feats of cunning and prowess. Yet, neither pitcher nor batter can succeed on their own, except for the rare instance of a home run.

In all sports there are rules, limits and physical boundaries. But only in baseball is a player rewarded for exceeding them — by hitting one ”out of the park.” It is the combination of power and defiance by metaphysically ”breaking the rules” in a sanctioned manner that grips the imagination. A miracle!

I think our personal spiritual homerun is finding that place where we fit, where we feel we have found home, and we just know we are on the right path for ourselves. To me, that was finding Unity, that might be the same for you.

Life is a spiritual journey.  You play it one day at a time.  One moment at a time. Each day brings you a new experience.  If you truly believe, you’ll be led, the Higher Power, like the baseball Gods, is in charge.  We are simply servants open to be led.  Enjoy each day.  Give it your best.  Remember, you are a gift created by God.  As Yogi said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Meditation