McGovern Made A Difference

 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.

Ask Yourself

Whom do you admire?

How does that person make a difference?

What qualities do you admire?

Do you also have those qualities?

Advertisements

What’s Cooking?

 

 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.

Ask Yourself

Do I feel stuck?

Do I resist change?

Am I basing my decisions on life in 2012 or other times?


Teaching The Bible Today

 My ministerial students are delightful people and I am energized by their desire to serve humanity. I believe I am at my best when teaching and I know how important good teachers are in this world. That said, teaching the Bible is a challenge.

We are wrapping up our Bible study section and, as usual, I have learned some fascinating things. It is truly a powerful book, not just because of the stories and the ethical inspiration but mostly because there is so much  history of our western civilization involved.

Neither of my two excellent students had much experience with the Bible. One was a Catholic in her childhood and the other has only attended non-traditional churches and spiritual groups. That is fairly typical in these times.

Twenty-three years ago, when I taught my first Bible class, several of my students knew much more about the content of the Bible than I did. They were older and they had grown up in Protestant churches. They could sing the old hymns and quote chapter and verse.

Like my current students, I had little familiarity with the actual book. I had a Catholic childhood also and we didn’t get much Bible in Catechism classes. In college, I was supposed to write a poem based on Genesis but I used a Children’s Bible for research.

My one New Thought Bible class was metaphysical interpretations. As a new minister and teacher, I quickly found that my students expected me to know the content of the Bible stories and they weren’t convinced by my metaphysical interpretations when I knew so little about my subject.

It is humiliating to have your students know more than you do so I set out to learn about the Bible. I plunged into a mysterious world of theology, history and scholarship that was fascinating but extremely complicated. The first thing I discerned was that the experts didn’t agree on much. Their opinions seemed to depend on the background of the scholar. There seemed to be a big split between the academic and theological authorities.

As a Religious Science minister, I should not have been surprised that the culture and training of the expert created a filter that influenced his or her conclusions about the facts. We know that everything begins with consciousness, don’t we? So why was I surprised to discover that many Bible colleges still taught the world was created in six days?

During the next few years, I learned quite a bit about Bible scholarship and actually wrote a new second year class for Religious Science International. I had a writing background and was able to distill material for the basic class based on established scholarly authorities.

The text we used, Rescuing The Bible From Fundamentalism, was a best seller by an Episcopalian bishop, John Spong. I also included a summary of Bible history and basic information. Rather than interpreting meaning, that class is all about the facts. The information is correct but it was just the tip of the iceberg. The study of the Bible is a lifelong project for many people in this world then and now. The Good Book is still a best seller every publishing year.

What I learned about the Bible helped me make fewer mistakes in my talks. I stopped receiving little notes telling me that the expression, “In the beginning was the word,” came from the Gospel of John rather than Genesis.

I got very cautious about quoting from the Bible. Since then, Rev. Margo Ruark  published her excellent book, Where’d He Get That? And it turns out that even Dr. Holmes made mistakes on Bible quotes fairly often. Of course, the Bible was very important to Ernest Holmes because he grew up reading it.

The Bible was very important to all the early founders of New Thought. It developed in the late 1800’s as people began to understand that most of the Bible stories could not be literally true. Up until then, most people thought Moses wrote the Old Testament and Jesus or the Disciples wrote the New Testament. The more science discovered, the more complicated and varied the reactions and beliefs became.

All over the Western world, people and church leaders took positions on the schism between science and religion. Those positions ranged from the fundamentalist churches that insisted the Bible was inerrant to the traditional churches that insisted the Bible contained great truth but was not accurate about dates and times. In New Thought, our ministers vary a great deal in their use of the Bible but they depend on metaphysical principles.

My goal as a teacher is to help my students know a bit about Bible content and history. I know they will make their own choices about how much to use the stories as illustrations of New Thought principles.

I also want my students to understand about the Bible in relation to their work. First, the people who are attracted to their centers come with very different histories and Bible experiences. Some have no religious experience at all. Those may have little interest in the Bible or they may have a lot of curiosity.

Most people who attend our centers grow up in a traditional Protestant or Catholic teaching and then left them in order to find a deeper truth. Some of these people may have a fondness for Bible stories. Others may be completely turned off by the Bible. Quite a few people will expect to hear the familiar references in talks – especially around the holidays.

I also want my students to understand that many current events are related to the Bible. Issues such as women’s rights, same sex marriage and capital punishment are Bible based. I want my students to know that the Bible is filled with contradictions. Statements such as, “The Bible says,” are not enough.

Very soon, my students will be ministers. They will be free to use the Bible or not. Everything I know and love about New Thought begins and ends with choice. For me, this is a religion of self-reliance and personal choice.

My choices have changed over the years. They are different from two of my good ministerial friends. One never opens the Bible. The second never gives a talk without at least a reference to one or more stories from the Good Book. They are both very successful.

I know my students will also be successful. How do I know? The Bible tells me so.

Ask Yourself

What part did the Bible play in my childhood?

Have I ever read any part of the Bible?

Do I want to know more about that good book?

Do I believe the Bible should be in a New Thought Sunday talk? Never? Sometimes? Often? Always?


Pet Talk

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?

Ask Yourself

What have your pets taught you?

Why do you think pets help people live longer and better lives?


A Rosy World View

 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?

Ask Yourself

Do I expect the best?

Am I usually grateful?

Am I good at accepting?


Glad and Gladder

According to the pundits, my candidate didn’t do as well as his opponent during the first TV debate. I was distressed until I decided to play the Glad Game. Now I am encouraged because we will work harder on the election. Pollyanna taught me to trust.

Trust took me a while to learn. But trust and gratitude were two qualities I had to embrace in order to stay sober. It wasn’t quite as simple as Pollyanna made it seem.

When I first got sober, my sponsor wanted me to see the bright side, stay on the sunny side of the street and look for the silver lining. If nothing else, he thought I should be grateful I was sober. I was miserable because I thought I had to repair my life immediately. How could I be happy when my life was a disaster?

Even worse – when he brought up the subject of gratitude, I felt like a naughty 12 year old. That was my age when my mother bought me the book Pollyana because she thought I was a grumpy brat.

In case you don’t know the story, Pollyanna is a poor little orphan who knows the secret of happiness. She’s the daughter of deceased missionaries and comes to a small town in middle America back in the late 1900’s. She converts the whole town to New Thought only she calls it teaching everyone the glad game.

Pollyanna (and my sponsor and my mother) all agreed that no matter what is going on, you can always find something to be glad for. One example was the time when she wanted a doll and the missionary barrel contained a pair of crutches. Obviously, she couldn’t be glad for the crutches but, she could be glad she didn’t have to use them.

The glad game actually is the secret of joy. I started practicing it a bit late but I am now a true believer. Very early, when I balked, I was told that if I couldn’t be thankful for my current life, I should give thanks for the good that was going to come out of today’s problems.

Over the years, I’ve applied that technique to many of my own issues and also helped other people use gladness and gratitude in their lives. I have found applying gratitude in this manner has always worked. Even though I wasn’t always able to reorganize life exactly as I wanted, in retrospect, I have seen things turn out extremely well.

Sometimes playing the glad game improved outside conditions as though it was a miracle method. Sometimes the results were on the inner level. People found peace of mind, a shift in understanding or some other invisible benefit. Sometimes the desired results worked in surprising and unusual ways.

Here is a true story from AA. It is, as my mother used to say, “as funny as a crutch”.

Speaking of crutches… A speaker in a meeting was on crutches because she fell off a bar stool and broke her leg. She spoke about how very grateful she was. Seems her broken leg was the direct cause of her decision to get sober.

My second story is personal.  Once, I wanted a job on a Sunday newspaper very, very much. I was consistently writing free lance for them and they consistently hired a younger man. I was despondent, desperate and angry. Then I remembered to practice the glad game and I began to look at a wider field of opportunity. That worked so well it seemed like magic.

Thank God I didn’t get the job writing for that pokey little Sunday newspaper. Instead, I made contacts in New York and built an exciting career that landed me on the NY Times best seller list for months. I wrote 80 books for young people during the next ten years. It all happened because I decided to be glad for new opportunities.

The glad game is a great deal like affirmative prayer or spiritual mind treatment, isn’t it?  We always end our prayers by giving thanks. We thank God for the  good that is coming even before we see it. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that our thanksgiving step in affirmative prayer is playing the glad game.

Our New Thought religion is one of joy, gladness and gratitude and we praise life. Joy is a wonderful part of our religious experience. You and I and Pollyanna all sprinkle glad game dust wherever we go.

According to Pollyanna, there are over 800 verses in the Bible that praise God and call for joy. I haven’t counted and she is stuck permanently at age twelve so I’m not absolutely certain about the number. I do know there are plenty jumping for joy verses in the good book.

The Old Testament, especially the Psalms, tells us to sing a new song; to play skillfully with a shout of joy, to jump for joy, and to generally create an uproar. We jump, we dance, we sing, we shout for joy. It’s all good!

It isn’t just Pollyanna or the Bible that teaches us how to be joyful. Tips on how to build more joy into your life come from everywhere. From Pollyanna, you’ve learned to play the glad game. Thank you, Polly dear. From the lady with the broken leg, you’ve learned to be thankful for the good that comes out of trouble. Thank you, dear lady on crutches.

There are plenty of other glad game teachers. Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity… Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Dr. Dennis Merrit Jones writes, “If we look deeply enough, we will find blessings even in things and events that on the surface we might tend to judge as negative. In the process, notice your glass is getting fuller.” Thank you dear Dr. Dennis.

The Buddhist Monk. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Give thanks, even for your non-toothache.” Do you have a roof over your head and did you have a meal today? Are there people in your life that care about you and whom you love deeply? Do you live in a country where you are free and able to practice whatever religion you choose? I’m sure you get the idea.” Thank you dear Tich Nhat Han.

The glad game is all about changing our thinking so we make room for joy and happiness. It sets up the Law of Attraction and brings us more good. We remember that joy is our birthright.

You and I joyfully live in gratitude as we daily play the glad game. If we want to learn more, we start by making a list of the things we enjoy that we have at hand. We can also give thanks in advance for the things that are coming.

Adding to that gratitude list is a part of our spiritual practice and it brings great joy. The things we discover that make us happy are personal, deep and true. They may also be quite simple. We always leave room for discovery of more joy. We never let the to-do list rob us of ecstasy.

Ask Yourself

What makes me sing a joyful song?

What makes me jump for joy?

What do I choose to put on my gratitude list?

What future good am I glad for?


It Is Well With My Soul

 

         This Sunday, one of my favorite musicians sang of my favorite songs, It is Well With My Soul. I love my friend Louise Park and her talented voice brought tears to my eyes. I love the song because it is  beautiful music and the lyrics speak of an eternal Truth that has carried me through a lot of “stuff”.

New Thought is a wonderful teaching with a lot of useful ideas. Like most people, I was attracted to it because it helped me control my life at a time when things felt completely out of control. I learned how to change my thinking and change my life.

Learning how to do affirmative prayer or spiritual mind treatment opened so many doors to success that I usually want to talk about that aspect of the Religious Science philosophy.  I am very grateful for the gifts it’s brought me over the years. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I had not found it. I’m almost certain I wouldn’t be here. I’m very certain I’m much better off than I would be without it.

Science of Mind gave me control over my life in ways I didn’t believe were possible. I was able to drop the victim role, celebrate choice and go after the things I wanted in a successful, direct and exciting way. I live my life in gratitude for my teachers, my colleagues and my New Thought practice.

Despite tremendous gains in control, the truth is, I am not in control of the whole Universe, I cannot rewrite the past, and I cannot control other people’s lives. While I can nearly always control my reactions, “stuff” continues to happen. It really does rain on the just as well as the unjust. There are times when the sun does not shine at all. Not everything is within my control and it’s not all good news.

Especially in the out of control times, it helps me to remember the underlying principles of New Thought. I have studied for many years and I continue to review the basics. I learned in those studies that no matter what is going on at the surface level, there is a transcendent truth where all is well with my soul.

I am deeply grateful for the underlying philosophy that New Thought, especially Religious Science is built upon. When things I do not wish for happen anyway, I depend on that basic philosophy. In those times, it is really important to have completed my studies. It is also important to have friends to remind me of the truth that sets me free.

Yes, even though I’ve been in this teaching a long time, there are still rough patches. People die. Bodies age. Illness hits. Loved ones get into trouble. Jobs disappear. Worry about the future persists. While most things can be changed with prayer, some things have to be accepted. Knowing that I am a spiritual being who was created in the image and likeness of God helps.

Of all the religious concepts in Science of Mind, the idea that I am a spiritual being having a human experience is the greatest gift. I have come to believe that I was created by a loving God, and that the spirit of God living within me can never be harmed, changed, destroyed or disturbed. At the level of Truth, I am perfect, whole and complete. What’s more, I came to this life in perfection, wholeness and completeness and I will leave the same way.

In the dark of the night, when the heebie jeebies or the blues in the night hit, I can hold onto and believe basic truths. Here are a few things I can usually remember; I know that God is Love. Love created me and is always with me. Love surrounds me. Love enlightens me. Love is the wisdom that guides me. The Love of God lives in me and through me. God and I are One.

These days, I am a happy person nearly all the time. I have come through difficulties in one piece, to live life at an even higher and more satisfactory level. I can nearly always believe that there is something within me that knows itself as Love and yearns to express as Love. That something is what I might call Soul.

No matter what is going on, all is well with my soul. That can sound deceptively simple or even like a cliché unless you are in trouble. Then it is a lifesaver that you can catch in even the roughest waters and cling to.

I love the deeper aspects of the Science of Mind teaching so much because they are so helpful in life. The first two steps of spiritual mind treatment say that there is only one God and that God lives in us. We are unique, indivisible expressions of god. Those two steps are basic wisdom to really focus on and try accept at a deep level. They are the truth that sets us free.

In many ways, they are much more useful than just learning how to manifest our desires. When we really get it that life is made up of temporary experiences and eternal Truths, we will handle life better. No matter what the temporary experience is, there are eternal truths to rely upon.

Let me give you an example. I went to the hospital for the first time, about ten years ago, and I was in so much pain I couldn’t even remember how to do prayer treatment. All I could remember was that this was just an experience, not the truth. I kept telling myself that I was perfect, whole and complete over and over.  I recovered very quickly and returned home to live happily again.

If you want to deepen your consciousness of connection to the Love of God, spend some time each day with the truth that sets you free. It is time well spent.

Ask Yourself

Does my spiritual practice include attention to spirit?

Do I want to spend more time on the first two steps of treatment?

Do I want to read basic spiritual books?

Do I want to I meditate daily?

Do I want to spend more time listening online to talks from spiritual teachers?