Making A Difference!

 I am watching the Harry Belafonte life story on HBO and it brings back memories of the excitement about change that we felt in the ‘60’s and ’70’s. No wonder there are so many old timers out and about in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. It makes us feel young again.

Harry Belafonte’s public life was well documented on TV and I found the show, Sing My Song, to be a brilliant and captivating record of liberal causes over the past 60 years.

Since HBO usually repeats, I hope you will all get a chance to see it. If you can’t see it now, it will probably be available on Netflix very soon.

Belafonte’s professional life as a movie and TV star made him a breakthrough figure in civil rights. It is hard to imagine how different things were when he skyrocketed to stardom. Times have changed. It was downright funny to see clips of a TV show that was cancelled because a white singer, Petula Clark, held Belafonte’s arm.

Like all black entertainers of his day, he suffered indignities such as not being able to use the hotel swimming pool in Las Vegas and having movies and TV shows cancelled because they were too outspoken.

It was his public support of Martin Luther King and the civil rights cause that first propelled him into the newsreels. I already knew that he was one of the major money benefactors of the movement but I had forgotten how brave he was. He challenged the authorities that were beating up people for attempting to vote or to integrate public buildings. In the TV clips, he was at the front of the marches as well as being the “money man”.

Then there were all those years in Africa, working for the starving children in Ethiopia and his many other African activities. Famous political leaders, John Lewis and Julian Bond were both in the group of students that Belafonte and his friends sent to Africa back in the 1960’s.

Later, he was in Haiti and now he is working with the UN all over the world plus leading black elders in trying to do something about the large number of young black men who are incarcerated in this nation.

As I watch the TV show, it seems as if his life intersects with many causes and he chose to take an active part in all of them. From my perspective, he was on the side of the angels every step of the way

Once again, I am reminded that one person does make a difference. We can’t all be movie stars and we don’t have fortunes to give away, but we can reach out and care for other people in our own way.

There is still a great deal of work to be done before we have established a nation with liberty and justice for all. Just about everyone can make a choice to help someone in some way. You get to make daily choices that make a difference.

Today, I heard a story today about “Larry” who has only a little bit of money but on the way out of the grocery store he met a family who had nothing to eat. Larry tried to give them cans of soup from his basket but they said they lived under the bridge and had no stove. So Larry went back inside the store and bought lunchmeat, bread, fruit and vegetables to give to them. This story touched me because I know Larry lives well below the comfort line and his generosity was a stretch. He didn’t solve all the problems for the family under the bridge but they ate that night. Larry made a difference!

Yesterday, a young man I know – “Jerry” who has had many problems of his own helped someone get into treatment for drug addiction. Jerry worked for about a month with the young addict and his mother and finally succeeded getting him placed despite their inability to pay. Jerry was elated because he was able to make a difference!

These three men – Harry, Larry and Jerry are all making choices that extend hope, love and support to others. They all made a difference despite the fact that one is a rich movie star, one a poor family man and the other a recovering addict. Their differences are in degree, not direction.

Are you making a difference? What do you do with your time, energy, talent and money? Is there something you can do to make a difference today?  Or tomorrow? Could you volunteer to drive an elderly person to the doctor? How about helping a young person read? Have you given anything away lately? Are you registered to vote? Are your daily choices on the side of the angels?

Never, never believe that problems are too big for your actions to count. You will always make a difference if you reach out in love to others.  You may not solve everything but you will change the trajectory of your own life and possibly the life of the others.

Ask Yourself?

What shall I do today?

What shall I do tomorrow?

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Prosperity Key

I am paying bills today and I will treat to feel prosperous and express gratitude before I pay them. I may not have learned everything in this life but I have learned that gratitude is the key to prosperity.  I’ve come a long way on that one.

 Like many people my age, I grew up with a lot of limiting ideas about money. The idea that I could expect to be prosperous would have seemed insane if you had told me that at age seven or seventeen. The messages of my childhood were clear and they included. “There’s never enough” and “Money doesn’t grow on trees”.

In my youth, everyone I knew was poor. Most were drowning in bills and/or debt. I grew up in a housing project and thought anyone who lived in a house was rich.

Eventually, I did meet some rich people who had inherited wealth and I noticed that they took their riches for granted. Instead of being obsessed by lack and limitation, they simply expected the money to be there. I was fascinated by anyone who had such an exotic and amazing mindset.

Over the years, I also met people who made a lot of money through creative work. They seemed to be more grateful for what they had. I wanted to join their ranks and I worked hard and made good money. Ambition was a good beginning for acquiring wealth. But ambition alone didn’t do the job.

I had to release a lot of limiting ideas about finances and accept some new, more expansive ideas about the nature of the Universe before I could begin to solve the financial puzzle. It has been a real adventure in living and a real spiritual workout.

I have learned that nothing works as well as expressing simple gratitude for what you already have. Learning to look at what you have in order to attract more is difficult when you are accustomed to seeing your finances as lacking but it is very, very important. Prosperity really is all about changing your mind so that Spirit can work freely in your life.

Science of Mind has taught me that my beliefs are the basis of real financial freedom. It has worked in my life and in the life of many other people I’ve known.  No matter what your bank account is, spiritual laws can increase the balance.

No matter how little or how much you have, you can use gratitude as a tool for building financial freedom. All you have to do is remember to keep your thoughts on the sunny side of the street. Staying in the state of continuous gratitude works in an amazing way to continuously increase your wealth. Make it a habit to count your blessings daily and watch your finances increase.

One of the simplest ways to express gratitude is to say thank you. Many people do a gratitude prayer before they pay their bills. Some even write little notes, such as “Thanks for the great service”, on their checks.  Others write initials that thank God. These actions put the writer into prosperity mindset. Thanking God and people sets the law of attraction in motion and brings more money and better service to you.

Over the years, I have taught many prosperity classes and I have worked with many people who wanted to experience greater wealth. I am absolutely convinced that the main thing anyone can do is to change his or her habitual thinking about money and that expressing gratitude is the key to that change.

We want to get to the place of thinking about prosperity and accepting our wealth mentally and emotionally. If we do our spiritual work on a daily basis, our habits of thinking change and our financial life will automatically change. Genuine gratitude greases the wheels of life!

Beginning now – express more gratitude. Expand your thinking and envision yourself as a wealthy person. Dare to dream of being solvent! Dare to imagine yourself as rich! Let your God- given intelligence work for you instead of against you. You can do it.

Here are some simple suggestions for greater financial expression that will work if you focus on them long enough for them to become habits.

  1. Keep a daily gratitude list and include financial items.
  2. Give an extra tithe to your church to express gratitude for what the church teaches you about prosperity.
  3. Send thank you notes for all gifts. Include lunch invitations and hand me down clothes.
  4. Take someone you love to lunch or give that person a gift.
  5. Share your wealth by giving away old clothes and other items you aren’t using.

 


HAPPY CHOICES – HAPPY DAYS

My schedule is empty today except for a couple of pesky phone calls. I can choose to spend my day in any number of ways. I could go to the movies, or call a friend and go into the City to a museum. I could read a book or draw in my sketchbook. Life is a great big open opportunity.

Free time is something we dream of when we are younger and struggling to get through college or to make it to the top in our chosen profession. Free times looks as if it should be fun. Yet we all know that people’s responses to retirement are not always happy.

I started working in high school and I worked up until a month before my child was born. Then I returned to work three months later.  I have worked all my life and found work interesting and rewarding. I’m still working a bit on my writing and I take a few counseling appointments and teach a few classes but mostly, I am retired.

Quite honestly, I find free time challenging but I’m much better about it than I used to be. Once, many years ago, I married for a second time and my new husband proudly told me I could stay home and never work again. He would take care of me and my ten year old child. In his eyes, I was a widow who had been forced to work by circumstances and I think I also bought into that idea.

I hated it! Within weeks I had volunteered for a million committees and was chair of several of them. My husband was generous but I had to ask him for money when I ran out and I hated that. To make a short story shorter, after six months, we held a family conference and my new husband and ten year old daughter begged me to get a job.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I now know that I always have choices and that I get to choose my activities, my friends, my thoughts and my dreams. Most of all, I can choose my emotional response to free days. As always, controlling my thinking will be the key to a good day.

This morning, I chose to start by making a gratitude list. Now I am writing a blog. Next, I will choose to make some telephone calls to pesky business matters and to a couple of wonderful friends. The rest of the day will probably be spent working on the new book I am writing.

Having free time is a blessing because there are so many wonderful opportunities in this world. We all know people who feel sorry for themselves because they can’t have a particular thing and who reject everything else. There is no percentage in saying no to all of life because you aren’t able, at this time, to have one of your heart’s desires.

Depression and inactivity doesn’t get us what we want. Looking around and pitching into activities we might enjoy will do a great deal to lift our spirits.  It is silly to be depressed because your kids got wonderful jobs in another state. If you can’t have your grand children by your side, you can always volunteer to be a big brother or big sister to some other children.

Like many older people, I don’t have the physical ability to take long trips. I’d love to go to Greece or Turkey but I recently took a four-day trip up the coast to San Luis Opisbo, Santa Barbara and Solvang and I had a wonderful time.

Many surveys show that people grow happier as they age despite physical limitations. I am certain that happens because we are spiritual beings having a human experience and part of that experience is learning to control our responses to life. Another part is learning to make healthy and happy choices.

As you go through this life, remember that you have a lot of power and you get to choose your responses to  your experience. And remember – You deserve the best!

 Ask yourself

What can I do that’s fun today?

How can I open my life to new & excellent experiences?


Support Your Church

I am writing my monthly check to the Center For Spiritual Living and I pause, wondering if I want to increase the amount. It would be a perfect time to add to my tithe because the economic news is terrible right now and I am determined to believe what I know, not what I see on CNN. I add 25% to the amount I usually donate.

The most important thing we need to remember is that our Science of Mind belief system offers a solution to our own economic woes. We can choose to believe and act as though we know the Truth or we can let fear confuse us. Right now is a great time to remember that the Truth really will set us free.

It is the Truth that spiritual laws are always working. They never go on vacation.  The way things work never changes and spiritual laws are inexorable. We must envision, believe and accept greater wealth in order to attract it. Those are the rules and the more consistent we can be in using the rules, the faster we will see an economic turn around in your life.

We must envision instead of yearn, believe instead of whine and accept instead of saying, “It won’t happen here”. We must routinely send the message to the Universe that we are rich and accepting more riches. If you believe that, you must act on that belief. You cannot say, “Thank God I’m rich,” and then squeeze your last dime. You must learn to share your abundance with others so it can come back to you, pressed down and multiplied.

Donating to your own spiritual center is always a good idea. It is a great idea when you are planning to accept more prosperity in your life. What better place to support than the Center where you learn what you need in order to buck the economic tide. What greater place to support than the place that helps you be an actor rather than reactor in financial choices.

Your Center is where you hear that your beliefs and thoughts are contributing to your state of being. The words from your Center are much more important than anything you hear from the neighbors or from the media. You will gain great financial ideas if you read the books in you Center’s bookstore or take classes on prosperity. Check out my book, Science of Mind Skills while you are browsing. It has some simple tips for increasing your prosperity consciousness.

The books you find in your center’s bookstore will help you develop attitudes and beliefs that attract and hold money.  They do not deal with typical investment advice but stick to the major ideas in New Thought about the unlimited abundance available from the One Source.

While financial knowledge from economic experts about how to handle your money may help you to be a good steward, it is flat our wrong to accept the grim predictions of “experts” you see on the news.

Of course you want to spend wisely and make sure you put some away for a rainy day. Of course you want to balance the claims of desires and needs and set your priorities. But most of all, you want to stick by the spiritual teaching that is your true ticket to prosperity.

You can begin by accepting that you are already rich. Instead of wondering why Paris Hilton or Bill Gates has more than you do, acknowledge that you are richer than 95% of the people on the planet. That will give you a pathway to counting your blessings.

It’s a good idea to count your blessings often, especially before you write those monthly checks. One of your greatest blessings is the Center you attend and supporting that Center is a definite commitment to keep on learning. Above all, keep attending on Sunday.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Ask Yourself

Do I want to increase the amount I give to my Center?


Prayer Partners

I hang up the telephone and I feel much better. In the last 30 minutes, all my vague worries about the outcome of my decision have evaporated. Talking it over with my prayer partner and allowing her to do a spiritual mind treatment for the highest and best outcome, worked like a miracle.        

I started using a prayer partner several years ago when I was getting chemotherapy for a breast cancer diagnosis. I was also very worried about a young person in my life. To put it bluntly but honestly, I was scared for myself and even more scared for my young relative and I feared that my own spiritual mind treatments weren’t doing the job.

I had used practitioners many times, either paying a fee or sharing my skills.  But at this time in my life, I felt as if I was in for some long-term work and several colleagues were talking enthusiastically about using the prayer partner program.

Up until then, I’d resisted because I had such a busy schedule and I didn’t particularly want to share my problems with anyone else. As a minister, I guess I felt as though I might be a target for gossip.

Things change fast when you are in difficulty and that is why every challenge brings an opportunity. My colleague, who had used prayer partners for some time, had a simple answer to the gossip issue,  “Pick someone you trust,” she said, “And double up by picking someone from a different church.” As for the time crunch, my priorities changed fast when I got that cancer diagnosis and I suddenly had plenty of time to do whatever I needed to do for myself.

So I began doing the prayer partner thing when I was challenged and scared. I hope my readers will be smarter than I was and begin because it is a very good idea to have an outside person who can listen and pray for you on a regular basis.

Here’s how it works. You and your partner agree to a specific time (usually once a week) and you set up a definite commitment. Pencil it in your book just as though it were a lunch date or dentist appointment and make a real effort to keep your commitment. It will take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes.

Generally, it is a good idea to share the responsibility of calling so no one is stuck with all of the phone expense. Begin the call with pleasantries of course, but then you get right down to business. First, one partner talks about what is going on this week and asks for specific prayer treatment. Then the other partner repeats the process. Then the one partner treats for the other. It is a turnabout process. The partners can decide who will treat first and it does not have to be the person same each week.

There are variations, of course. One of my prayer partners wanted each of us to talk about our own lives and then treat for ourselves. The other person then added anything he or she felt called to say to add to the treatment. The idea behind that system was that it was more powerful when you take responsibility for your own prayer work. I liked that process equally well.

Here are some tips….. I like to set the time for the next call before we begin our spiritual work so that we can hang up on a high note.  I think you should choose a prayer partner who has more-or-less equal experience and level of success in the world. So many of us find it easer to be the helpers than to be the “helpees” that we have to watch that our prayer partnerships don’t become therapy for the other guy and then we end up with no time for ourselves.

I suggest strongly that you choose a partner who is not immediately in your life. Not in your church, family, or on your non-profit committee work. And if your partner cannot keep appointments and regularly stands you up, consider changing for a more reliable person.

During the past six years I have used prayer partnership weekly and I have had three different partners. In every case, I have been deeply grateful for their treatment work. Not only am I now officially a breast cancer “survivor” but my young relative is doing very well. I’ve dealt with many other issues – large and small. I’ve also seen every one of my partners prosper.

Ask Yourself

Am I drawn to the idea of having a prayer partner?

Do I know anyone who might be a good partner for me?


Celebrate Gratitude

The phone rings and my 20-something grandson wants to know where I’m going for Thanksgiving and whether he will be included. I say I don’t know where I’ll go but I’m certain he’s invited and can we talk about it in a month or so?

So, the holiday conversations are already beginning. It seems to me that these conversations are as premature as the political nonsense on TV. Each year the primaries seem to come earlier and earlier and so do the questions of who is going to what house to be with which relatives and friends. Do we really need to make decisions so early? Worse yet, do we really need to talk about it for two months?

It seems to me that the minute the weather begins to change most of the people I know start talking about plans for that distant day called Thanksgiving. By the time Nov. 23 rolls around a thousand things may have happened. Someone in your family may win a million dollars on the lottery. Someone in your family  may run away with the gardener. Someone in your family may get religion and become a missionary in Iceland. The list of possibilities is endless.

I want to put this sentence in caps. IT IS TOO EARLY TO TALK ABOUOT WHERE AND WHEN WE WILL EAT OUR TURKEY         !

I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday of all. No firecrackers. No gifts in the wrong size. No hard-boiled eggs and no silly costumes. All that is required is a group of people you love (or at least like) and some food.

The most important thing of all is that it is a holiday built around my favorite spiritual practice – gratitude. I love it when my church has a turkey dinner the night before Thanksgiving and anyone who wants to tell what he or she is grateful for gets to share. One of my favorite memories in my long church history is the night a man in his late 70’s stood up in church and, in all innocence, told us all he loved his wife and he was very grateful he was still healthy enough to have sex.

What I don’t love about the holiday is that is seems to be a place where people play out their family politics. If Sally goes to Isabelle’s house, who will invite Sally’s sister, Mary?  It seems that Mary once sued Isabelle’s brother in law, Gerry, over a real estate deal that went bad. Since Gerry and his wife will be at Isabelle’s, then Sally’s sister, Mary, cannot be welcomed. There are a million and a half variations of this family-political story.

The other thing about the holiday I can do without has to do with the menu itself. Do we hae to have a tofu turkey to appease the vegans? If Bernice and Harvey bring their favorite suet pudding, who will eat it?  And then, there is the drinking.

Now that I think about it, I have a lot of alcoholics in my family group but there is absolutely no drinking. Everyone is clean and sober and I am very, very grateful for that.

That reminder of God’s Grace changes my need to rant like Andy Rooney. As I write, I remind myself that I have much to be grateful for. I could quit this and make a gratitude list. I would start with the health and welfare of all my clean and sober loved ones and toss myself into that magic circle. Then I might remember to be grateful that my grandson actually wants to spend Thanksgiving with me. My list is long and beautiful the minute I switch gears and think about what I have and in a heartbeat – I am truly grateful.

If I could wave a magic wand, I would give us all the gift of feeling gratitude in a heartbeat. Then I would wave it again and gives us all the ability to enjoy the holiday season because it comes around every year and we are here on Planet earth to enjoy and participate in life.

Next, I would wave my wand faster and farther and give us all the ability to celebrate Thanksgiving every day.  It is a day that is all about gratitude and we can feel grateful whether we’re eating bananas and yogurt or BBQ beef sandwiches.

Since many of the people I know make gratitude a part of their spiritual practice, I don’t even need a magic wand. All I need to do is change my own thinking from the negative to the positive.  “”God bless everyone of us,” said Tiny Tim.

What are you wearing for Halloween?

Ask yourself?

What am I grateful for in this minute?

Can I list 25 things I’m grateful for in 10 minutes?