When I sold my 1968 Volkswagon and packed it up for Mexico, my McGovern sticker was clinging to the rear window. The election was quite over but I was reluctant to tear down the dream. It seemed to me that all hope for world peace was lost. I was wrong.
Senator George McGovern died last week at the age of 90. He was a great man who opened minds to the possibility of peace in the world. When he lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon, I was discouraged but that was not the end of the story.
McGovern’s honesty and courage continued into next forty years. I thought his passing received less attention than deserved, probably because of the 2012 election news. On the other hand, everyone I heard or read praised him for his vision and called him a visionary.I also think he was a powerful change agent.
McGovern had strong personal convictions about what was right and wrong. Killing was wrong. Helping people was right. His deep seated notions are still at work in the consciousness of the United States.
Despite our drift into war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is clear that US citizens are running out of enthusiasm for war. I believe that Senator McGovern’s life has been instrumental in opening our consciousness to the advantages of keeping the peace.
He was courageous and vision-driven and even more important, he was consistent. McGovern was guided by his spiritual principles and he valued his beliefs more than winning strategies. The opposition painted him as a wild-eyed radical and he lost dramatically. McGovern won 17 electoral votes and Nixon got the other 520.
A recent New York Times article quoted McGovern as saying, in 2005, “It was an issue-oriented campaign, and we should have paid more attention to image.”
I realize this is history for most of the people living on the planet today. I write about it because history is important. That campaign is a factor in the image driven current campaign, for instance.
In the late 60’s and early 70”s, the Vietnam War seemed to come out of nowhere. There was a draft then and quite a few young men moved out of the country to avoid going to war. McGovern attracted a large number of young idealists who were anti-war.
There were other issues at risk in the 1972 presidential campaign. McGovern had a consistent liberal record in the Senate. He steadfastly voted for measures that helped the poor, supported civil rights, and championed women. He was for expanding food stamps and head start programs along with other liberal issues.
Not too long after losing that election, I left the country. It’s true that I was very disillusioned with American politics but I was also disillusioned with teaching, relationships, and just about everything else in my life. I’d started drinking again and I needed a place to hide out so I decided on a geographical change.
Oaxaca was a beautiful, old-fashioned state way down south in Mexico. It offered cheaper living, a lovely climate and wonderful folk art. The few Americans who were there were either hippies or snow birds. I was an eccentric age 40. The other expatriates were all their 20’s or 60’s.
I personally learned a lot in Mexico. I learned that I was a total alcoholic and needed to give up the idea that anything outside myself, including a move to a foreign land, could “cure” me. I learned that AA could help me quit drinking. I also learned a great deal about Mexican art and folk art. At some level, I loved Oaxaca and it was good for me.
My years there also taught me what a great country the United States really is. The level of poverty and corruption in Mexico, at that time, was astounding to me. The custom of mordida or bribe was so ingrained that it went unnoticed. When the Watergate scandal hit the US, it simply didn’t seem very important. All politicians were totally crooked. What was all the fuss about?
I almost completely missed Watergate. When USA tourists wanted to tell us about the scandal, we expatriates just yawned. We were living in Mexico where the police made 90% of their living on bribes and waiters “bought “ their jobs from their bosses so they could garner the tips.
That was then and this is now. My interpretation of how life works underwent an extreme makeover 38 years ago. Since I now see everything in the light of Science of Mind. I know that our lives make a difference and that consciousness creates experience.
I also know that an individual’s consciousness, once stretched, never returns to its original state. When I read that statement by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, I laughed out loud. It made me think of consciousness as being like a pair of comfortable old shoes.
Sen. George McGovern had a comfortable consciousness and he helped stretched mine. I think he represents the best about this wonderful nation. His honesty, steadfastness, and courage are important to us all. I give him credit for helping us envision a peaceful planet.
Now that I a Religious Science minister, I have participated in many visioning workshops and led many presentations on the unlimited possibility of God. We say it something like this every Sunday because this is our belief system.
God is Unlimited and I am the recipient of God’s Love through spiritual law. I can achieve and receive what I can envision, believe, and accept. God is Divine Givingness and responds automatically to my consciousness.
I know that New Thought and other peaceful religious groups are growing in size and influence. Our national consciousness is changing and McGovern is one impetus for that change. You and I are another impetus. We are making a difference right now.
In church, nearly every Sunday, we sing the Peace. Song. We are diligent about accepting peace into our personal lives. We can also be diligent about accepting peace in our collective spiritual life. We even have a Season For Non-Violence in the late winter. The era of peace is not only possible but inevitable.
George McGovern lived with honor and he continued to speak out about his goals, vision and ideals. He did not let defeat in the 1972 presidential campaign define him. He made a difference in a big way.
He was one of my “wayshowers”. I have never swayed in my political views about what’s important. I vote for issues, not image. My life plays out on a smaller stage but I know it makes a difference. So does yours.
Thank you, Senator George McGovern. You weren’t a peacenik or hippie, but you were an inspiration. I believe that your ideas were the beginning of major shifts. Thank you for modeling hope and courage.
The ideas of the 60’s morphed into the 70’s and change began to happen. We not only withdrew from Vietnam, we changed the status of minorities and women in this nation. We expanded admission to elite universities, drilled holes in the class system and ushered in a profound interest in Eastern religions.
George McGovern, you were a conservative man. You went to church, cut your hair short, and wore neckties but you spoke your truth in a beautiful way. It was a short skip and jump from you to the Beatles, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. Our nation sang about peace and love and it is still singing.
What I know is that Hope continues the journey toward Peace and Love never dies.
Whom do you admire?
How does that person make a difference?
What qualities do you admire?
Do you also have those qualities?
I accepted the gift of an electric stove after saying no to the idea for several months. My beloved kids insisted it would make my life easier because I use oxygen and open flames are not safe. I’m usually happy to accept gifts but I definitely resisted this one because I knew electric stoves are infuriatingly slow. Surprise! It heats like magic!
I am pretty sure my reluctance to accept my good was based on prejudice rather than not being able to receive. I have grown able to saying yes to the Universe in many more ways but I apparently still have work to do around cherishing outmoded experiences.
Have you ever been absolutely certain about something and discovered you were absolutely wrong? I’ll bet the answer is yes. We all form opinions based on ideas, facts or yesteryear’s authority that simply aren’t true today.
I really was amazed my stove turned out to be so efficient. If I’d thought about it logically, I would have realized that the last time I cooked on electricity was almost sixty years ago. My information was a bit out of date! Today there are cell phones, personal computers, and thousands of other technological changes. Of course electric stoves would be faster.
When I asked myself, “Where was my head?” the obvious answer was “Stuck in the 1950’s”. This experience gives me insight into my contemporaries who wear their hair the same way we did in high school and hold onto their opinions about matching shoes and bags.
It is a bit embarrassing to be an expert on helping other people change and then discover I have some very basic work to do on myself. When I think about how defiantly I held an outmoded prejudice about kitchen equipment, it makes me wonder what other ancient notions I’m nurturing. I have to repeat that lyric that says, “I love myself the way I am and I am willing to change.”
Then again, there is no place where people are as stubborn as in their own private kitchens. Everyone loves and desires the same meals he or she had in childhood. No one cooks chicken the way grandma did. Food, memories, family and custom are all closely related.
The holidays are a perfect example of this. I doubt I’ll be cooking any turkeys in my new oven but I do know a lot of us will be struggling with old ideas that have no place in new times. We’re moving into the season of Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post painting that portrays the family around the Thanksgiving table.
Families aren’t like they were in the 1950’s. They are smaller and they live much farther apart. Very few of us will be able to reproduce that old Rockwell image but many of us will long for “the good old days”. We will try frantically to bring nostalgia to life. I know this is so because it happens every year at Turkey Time.
Now that the holiday season looms over us, let’s remember to keep our wits and enjoy the season. Too many people struggle to repeat customs that, from the vantage of year 2012 just look silly.
Have you heard the story about the bride, who prepares her Easter ham by cutting off one end? When new husband asks her why, she pleads family custom. But she is curious herself, so she traces the ceremony back to great-grandmother who is playing golf in Florida. Great-granny says, “When I was a bride I only had a small pan so I cut the ham to make it fit.”
Food customs, whether turkey at Thanksgiving, matza at Passover, or tamales at Christmas, are based on history. History is not really doomed to repeat itself but it does seem to morph into nostalgia if we aren’t careful.
This year, when our Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t follow the ancestral pattern exactly, let’s try to remain calm. Even if we could cook as well as Granny, consuming all those calories wouldn’t be good for us. We will live longer if we remember nostalgia is fattening.
Food is very emotional during the holidays and actually, food is emotional all year long. Someone brought cornbread to church last Sunday and, as I bit into it, I felt as though I were time-tripping to age sixteen.
An anthropologist friend told me that the last thing immigrant peoples change in the assimilation process is their food preferences. When people come to this country, they bring their food with them and we are all richer. Diversity works in wonderful ways if we let it.
I’m happy to say that I have changed (after years of resistance), my food choices. You don’t release 115 pounds on the same foods that put it on. My kitchen menu will continue to consist of fruit, vegetables and poultry with some lean meat, on my new stove.
I changed my ancestral food choices because I wanted to be healthier more than I wanted that piece of pie. I began to select healthy food that I enjoyed. I can barely remember what my life was like before yogurt and broiled chicken.
Think about a change you want to see. Are you stuck in the visioning stage? Are you resisting your next step? We all know doing the same thing over and over and expecting new outcome is crazy. So why do we resist change?
Sometimes we are afraid that the world is changing and not getting better. Sometimes we simply need to check out new information. Sometimes we are just caught up in habit.
If we feel stuck in any area of our life, whether from fear, denial, or just not knowing what to do next, there is always and answer available. Fear keeps us stuck. Opening up to change is fun!
The great gift of our New Thought teaching is that we can use our God-given minds to achieve our dreams. We go to church and study our teaching to move ahead, not to analyze failure. We don’t need to know why we resist, we simply need to move forward in the direction of our dreams. One of the first steps is to ask the right questions. And the very first question is, “What do I want? “
The next question, is not, “Why don’tI have it?” but “Where can I go for help?” “How can I get more information?” I promise you that your local New Thought church or center, can help get the clarity you need to see change happen.
In Positive Living Centers, we teach prayer patterns that move us quickly to toward the desired change. The first thing we learn is to move from the negative to the positive in our thoughts so that Universal Intelligence can help. Just about every Sunday, you will hear the phrase “Change your thinking and change your life.”
Believe it or not, you are never stuck. You can change. You can have better. Before I let go of that stove prejudice, I was cooking meals in my microwave, and my crockpot. I’m using my stove again. I may no longer be cooking with gas but I’m on all four burners.
Do I feel stuck?
Do I resist change?
Am I basing my decisions on life in 2012 or other times?
When my daughter took care of me during a fairly serious illness, she would sometimes go home for a few minutes to watch her kittens play. It was her way of handling stress. Being with pets is apparently one of the best possible meditations when you are worried about your mom. That was quite a while ago but I thought about it recently when she gave me an old magazine article about what people learned from their pets.
Everyone has heard by now that people who live with pets are healthier, happier and live longer. Until I read the article in the July issue of Simple Life magazine, I had never thought of pets as life coaches but why not? Learning life skills makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Doggies know a lot about love and fish know a lot about setting boundaries.
The author of the article, Silas Neal, cited stories about pets that taught their owners all sorts of wonderful life skills. They ranged from cats teaching assertiveness training to a parrot that cured his owner of cursing. Seems the bird pronounced a “choice” word during the minister’s visit.
My favorite story was from the woman who learned not to be a materialist. Her puppy chewed up her shoes and she told herself that, “stuff is just stuff.” I don’t think of myself as a materialist but my home is so filled with “stuff,” that I think maybe I ought to get a puppy.
I won’t really get a puppy for two reasons. First – I live on a very busy street and my yard is almost impossible to fence. The other reason I don’t have pets is my “tragic history”. Growing up, my father was very enthusiastic about having pets but had absolutely no interest in training them. His taste ran to the exotic and pedigreed kind of animals. He would introduce them to the household and then move onto a different hobby.
The memorable Siamese cats were called Sue Lin and I forget her brother. I’ll never forget Sue Lin who jumped from the floor all the way to my shoulders and then dug in hard. She did this amazing athletic feat on an hourly basis. Her brother was a hunter and brought dead birds in to lay on my pillow in the morning. He was the affectionate one, and except for bird carcasses, easy to get along with.
My Dad also raised fancy Weimeraner dogs for a while. We sometimes had as many as seven roaming the house. They chewed up all my best shoes but that didn’t teach me to be a non-materialist . Nor did I learn to put my shoes on a higher shelf. I reacted by feeling more like a victim than ever. That victim response increased when the dogs dragged embarrassing trash through the living room when my boyfriends came to call.
These teenage tragedies were more than 60 years ago and I still retain the scars and grievances. While I don’t actually dislike animals, I’m not emotionally equipped to learn from pets. I prefer to stick with my gurus, Ernest Holmes, Carol Carnes, and Maxine Kaye.
I have actually owned pets twice. I tried to keep cats but my neighborhood teems with coyotes and rattlesnakes. After a couple of heartbreaking and expensive incidents, I gave up so you might say I did learn something from those pets. I learned to quit while I was money ahead.
For a very short time, I had a cute little dog named Sigmund but he ran away so often that I stopped chasing him. He reminded me of some of the men in my life and it was not a happy memory. I guess I may have learned something about letting go from Sigmund. Or not.
I’m perfectly happy for my daughter and son-in-law, (who live right up the street) to have pets. I enjoy visiting them and when their old dog, Jack died, I mourned him for months.
I also had a niece who lived with me for quite a while and she had a dog “with issues”. That worked out because she was in charge of her pet. The dog was neurotic – he would stand in the hall and bark when he saw me but after about a year, we managed to establish a truce.
I had a different roommate who had a bird. She walked around the house talking to the bird who sat on her shoulder. I think the bird could fly but I never saw it actually do it. As far as I know, my roommate was the only one who could talk in their conversations; I never heard the bird answer her.
My niece may have learned patience from her dog. Perhaps my roommate developed her psychic powers from her bird. Do you have a pet? Have you learned anything from your pet? I’d love to hear from you.
Sometimes I daydeam about getting a pet even though I know it’s not a great idea. My sister has had a series of darling little doggies. She also has a nice little park in which to take her doggies for walks. Sometimes I think I suffer from pet envy. It is probably not pet envy – just delayed sibling rivalry.
I’m also a little jealous of the attention some people give to their pets. One of my best friends acquired a puppy a few years ago and she and her doggie came to stay for a few days. My friend talked to her doggie more than she talked with me but then, her doggie was cuter.
While I may not be much of a pet fancier, I do like to play mental games – especially when I am leading workshops. One of my favorite sets of questions goes like this… “What kind of flower are you? What kind of color are you? What kind of music are you? What kind of dessert are you? What kind of fruit are you? What kind of animal are you?
My answers are; tulip, orange, old time blues, peach pie, apple, and elephant,.
What would be your answers?
I suppose I could use my workshop questions the way some people use their pets. My elephant answer could teach me to know myself better. An elephant is steady, strong, slow, empathetic and magical.
And what is your animal like?
What have your pets taught you?
Why do you think pets help people live longer and better lives?
This is blog #100 so I want to say something profound and here it is… Each of us views the world through our belief-colored glasses. The rosier they are, the happier we will be.
Albert Einstein was right when he said the most important question is whether the universe is friendly.
I feel smarter than Einstein because I know the answer. The world is as friendly as you think it is.
Of course, Einstein was a true genius because he developed the question out of his amazing original thinking. Most of what I know comes from Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science and author of the Science of Mind Textbook. My genius was in recognizing the wisdom of the ages when I saw it.
I didn’t immediately recognize the eternal wisdom, I just hoped it was true. Whatever – I’ve spent the last thirty-eight years testing Holmes’s ideas. As I studied and practiced Science of Mind, my glasses (and my world) turned rosier and rosier. My life is much better than expected and I credit my rosy glasses for that upturn of destiny.
I was definitely headed for trouble when I was younger. I avoided my probable fate as I discarded my dark glasses and deliberately set out to become an optimist. That decision worked wonders for me
I’ve encountered setbacks but Science of Mind has helped me in every area – creativity, prosperity, relationships, and, despite some serious problems, health. During my most recent trip to my lung doctor, he used the phrase, “ridiculously well” several times. So far, I have defied the COPD prognosis and every day is a blessing.
I’ll be 80 in April and when I look at my original beliefs about old age, I see that I’m doing much better than I was taught to expect. I have a purpose, I try new things, enjoy life, learn new skills, make new friends and have good times. I’m certain that I’m here and happy because I’ve been resolute about changing my thinking.
You don’t have to be brilliant or pious to use positive thinking. Anyone can do it. On the other hand, we all encounter surprises and challenges as we move along life’s path. As I’ve aged, I’ve had to learn some new skills and adapt to my new body and changed circumstances.
I still get to control the direction of my change and I still get to be healthy and happy. Change is still possible but change does not come the way it did at thirty. For example, I release that idea of romantic love and accept many good friends. I don’t look for high-paying work but continue to find ways to live well.
The key remains the same – being open to release old beliefs and make room for the new. I am happy to admit that I did quite a bit of releasing and accepting as I travelled along my spiritual path.
Sometimes seems as though I released one negative belief only to discover six more but I kept on keeping on. I remember Dr. Tom Costa saying, “If you are going through Hell, keep moving, don’t pitch your tent.”
I learned that changing consciousness is a lifelong work and I also saw that spiritual principle supported my changes immediately. My journey has been one of release and support and it has been a testing ground for the power of Science of Mind and affirmative prayer.
I can now say, with perfect confidence, that it is absolutely true that what we believe about the nature of reality has a tremendous influence on how our lives spin out. I can also conclude that changing beliefs is complicated because some are cultural and others are deeply embedded in childhood experiences. However, I am certain that we are not really at the mercy of fate or kismet or kharma.
There was a time when most people believed that our life story is created by fate. Fate was usually portrayed as three women at a spinning wheel who twisted the yarn and spun out our story until one of them snipped the thread and it was all over.
You may remember these three fates as the three witches in MacBeth. They also appear together or separately in many fairy tales. That belief system makes us victims of fate. The Three Fates have all the control and life happens at us. Not true!
If we believe in fate then we are victims. It is always hopeless and we are always helpless. Not so! We can train our minds and gain control over much of our lives. We are not victims.
Trained minds touch into the Infinite Possibility, Infinite Power and Infinite Intelligence of God. We say, there is a power for good and you can use it. That is a shorthand description of the wisdom of the ages.
The Master Teacher, Jesus said, “As you believe, so it shall be done unto you.”
About 400 years later, the Greek philosopher Plutarch said, What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. He was speaking as if he were a quantum physicist only he said it 2500 years earlier.
In between the early Christians, ancient Greeks, and modern quantum physics, I found the teachings of the Asian masters by way of hippie gurus such as Alan Watts. Among many other things, Watts said, “Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know”.
I fell in love with the idea of personal freedom and the ability to change my destiny in the Sixties. My early journey included Tarot cards, booze and acting out characters from old movies. For a while there, I really thought I was Sadie Thompson.
Eventually, I turned to a serious study of Science of Mind and I found Truth in the works of Ernest Holmes. He was a great synthesizer. He said, “Borrowing knowledge of reality from all sources, taking the best from every study, Science of Mind brings together the highest enlightenment of the ages.”
In retrospect, my life is living proof of the practical wisdom of Science of Mind. I share it because it is not theoretical but my very real experience.
In the early Eighties, I began to really soak up the wisdom teaching. I took classes, read books, listened carefully and I experimented with positive thinking. My world got lighter and brighter almost immediately. Over the years, I changed my mind about nearly everything. Somewhere along the road, I discovered I live in a friendly universe.
What about you? Do you live in a friendly universe? Or is it full of lions and tigers and bears?
If your life-load seems too heavy, you can begin with some simple steps. First, try gratitude. Nothing greases the wheels of life as quickly. An attitude of gratitude is a marvelous change agent. Try it – it works!
Then begin accepting more. When someone gives you a compliment, say thanks instead of arguing. If they want to take you to lunch, accept the invitation and have fun. Take the good things that come your way and enjoy them without a struggle.
Gratitude and acceptance are perfect ways to begin your own experiments with Truth teaching. Dr. Holmes uses many names for God and the one I love is Divine Givingness. Open up to the gifts of life now!
Spiritual laws are always working. Put on your rose colored glasses and celebrate this hundredth blog post with me. Use Science of Mind ideas about reality to prove the wisdom of the ages with your own life story. Create a rosy future for yourself. What have you got to lose?
Do I expect the best?
Am I usually grateful?
Am I good at accepting?