Both these women were following up on long- held dreams and their victories were even sweeter because they’d carried their visions so long.
My daughter started to become a minister about 20 years earlier and abandoned the dream because her other commitments (raising kids and building a business were priorities). My friend started her book many years ago and delayed the project because she was so involved in her other ministerial duties and projects.
I don’t think either woman was discouraged about postponing their dream. I’m sure that they were both delighted when they dusted off their vision and went after it with enthusiasm later. I know they are both delighted they had the courage to reawaken their dream and breathe life into again.
One of the most famous poems in the English language, by Langston Hughes, asks what happens to a dream that gets put off.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
The poem goes on to offer even more dubious endings to the question that I won’t quote. It is the raisin in the sun image that captures our imagination. Doesn’t it seem as some of our long-held dreams are wrinkling with age?
Sometimes we use the idea that our dream is too old as an excuse not to pursue it. Certainly, some dreams do get too old. Your dream of making becoming a professional basketball star or ballet dancer might not be practical at forty. That’s true.
However, dreams can often be modified if you still hold some kernal of your desire. You might adapt the dream to current conditions and take dancing lessons for your personal pleasure and health and or play basketball in your neighborhood park.
Age is just an excuse for abandoning most of our dreams. You can get a teaching credential at fifty and put in twenty or more good years in the classroom. You can find true love at seventy and enjoy every day and night the rest of your time together. The person who denies herself the pleasure of attaining a long held dream just because of age is usually wrong.
Sometimes people abandon dreams because they didn’t make good sense in the first place and that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to reach for his dream of being a professional gambler, wing walker, bungey jumper, lion tamer, bagpipe player, or many other youthful ambitions at any age.
Take a look at some of your youthful ambitions and they don’t seem as good an idea as they did then. For example, I wanted to be a fisherman when I was 12 and I abandoned the idea at 13 because I liked boys. While I have never regretted releasing my dream of being Captain Ahab, I might enjoy fishing off the pier.
I think there is something very special about attempting to fulfill earlier ambitions, even if the dream has to be modified. Actually, there are a lot of ideas about dreaming and failure out there in the ethers. Some people think we should always pursue our dreams and never give up. That’s not always the way life works. Things happen. We make other choices.
In my opinion, the 21 year old man who wants to be a Hollywood actor and marries his pregnant girlfriend instead makes a choice. He now sells insurance in Ft. Worth, TX and I can’t say his choice was good or bad. Nor do I know whether he is a success or failure. It isn’t the choice, but his attitude about the choice that creates his destiny.
If he blames his wife constantly, it was a bad choice for both of them. If he delayed his dream and is happy about it, then it was a good choice. If he modifies his dream later, by participating in little theater, he makes his choice and his success even better by feeding his soul.
We all seek happiness and success in life. We choose different avenues in the belief that we will find the way to those generic goals. Some of us believe we will be happy as soon as attain one or the other dreams we hold. We defer our happiness until we are married, or rich, or get the promotion, and we don’t know, (or we forget) that we can choose to be happy now.
I think some of us could be happier than we are if we understood that our attitude toward life is as important as what we choose. I also believe some of us would be happier if we were able to finish, or resurrect, that pesky dream we’ve been carrying for a while.
I know absolutely that we’d be happier if we stopped blaming choices we made in the past for our deferred dreams of today. Check to see if you are making excuses for your unhappiness because of a “missed boat” or because you “had to” do something else when you wanted to follow your bliss.
It might be instructive if we all made a list of the past dreams we have held that still tickle our fancy. Then we might take a look at one or more treasured dreams and ask ourselves if there is some way we can take action in the direction of one of those dreams.
Don’t use this activity to berate yourself for procrastination. Simply ask yourself if you have been putting off something you’d still like to attain. Perhaps if it is a college degree, you might find time to take one on-line class this semester. Perhaps if you wanted to write a book, you can set aside 10 hours a week to work on it.
If you have a special dream that you believe it is too late to fulfill, please make a point to be creative about modifying it. Even if you wanted to be a great opera singer and didn’t get to study in Europe, you can join the local University Chorus. Even if you wanted to have six children and have none, you can become a foster parent, or school volunteer. Even if you wanted to make a million before you were 30, you can embark on the study of investments and follow through with smaller amounts.
Dreaming is a wonderful thing. It is normal not to be able to choose to fulfill every dream. Sometimes it is best to discard the old ones and get some new goals. Sometimes it truly thrilling to achieve a deferred dream. Why not get a new affirmation – No raisins in the sun for me.
What dream would I like to resurrect?
How should I modify it?
What’s my plan of action?
I am working on a book called Spiritual Practice for New Thought and this blog post comes from my chapter on affirmations. Do you use affirmations often? I do.
I had a friend who was very healthy and happy until the day she died at age 89. She did not consider herself spiritual or religious but she always started her mornings with this statement, “Another day to be glad in.” Her grandmother taught her the words when she was a young girl.
It worked well for many years for my friend and I now use it every morning before I write my gratitude list. The affirmation has been around for at least 150 years. I’ve taught to so many others that it is safe to say it is growing in popularity.
I also started using the phrase, “Way will open”, many years ago. A friend told me it was an old Quaker saying and I loved the idea of not having to beg God, but just letting the path present itself.As a youngster, I believed it worked like magic. Every time I used it, I visualized something like the parting of the Red Sea.
Children’s books are full of affirmations. You can interpret the “Open Sesame” from Thousand and One Nights as an affirmation. We all know the story of the little train who affirmed, “I think I can, I think I can,” as it chugged up the hill. Some of the phrases I learned as a child were; “Something will turn up”. Or “Looks like a good day,” and “Keep on trucking” were affirmations. Whether, we know it or not, our lives are filled with affirmative statements that are direct messages to God.
Many people learned to use affirmations back in the day when a French psychologist, Dr. Emile Coue’ (1857-1926) taught his followers to say, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Dr. Coue’ was initially interested in hypnotism, then modified his approach and called it optimistic autosuggestion. He observed that our attitudes influence our health and other aspects of our lives so he set about teaching people how to change their beliefs. He was very popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.
In his day, Coue’ was a scientific pioneer. Today, there are many scientific studies that prove the body-mind connection and we know it is a fact that an optimistic attitude positively influences the outcome of our experiences. Coue’s work made a large impression on the public because it was true.
I know from personal experience that affirmations, combined with optimism and follow-up work, can be very effective. Before I became a minister, I built a successful writing career through hard work and using the spiritual practice of affirmations. In those days, I had 3×5 cards plastered all over my office. Each morning, as I began my work, I read the affirmations aloud. There was hardly an empty spot on a wall because there were so many cards pasted behind my typewriter. Soon, I was on the New York Times best seller list and I sold millions of copies of my teen romances that were translated into seven languages.
Affirmations are short and powerful reminders of your goals and your connection to that Helpful Force that we call God or Universal Mind or Higher Power. Affirmations are usually one sentence long. They are written in the present tense so that you know and accept that what you are seeking is already there. Keeping your affirmations definite and in the present moment is very important. It is better to say, I am at my perfect right weight than to say, I am losing weight now. The future is never here.
You need to work with your own mind until you find a statement you can actually believe. At one time I was having difficulty losing weight and I used, I am Light. because I couldn’t believe I am slim. I also used I make healthy food choices today. Eventually, by combining what I knew about affirmations, prayer, spiritual law and nutrition, I lost more than 130 pounds.
Here are a few common affirmations you may want to adopt for your daily spiritual practice. You can use them often without any disruption of your regular activities. You can say them silently or – if you are alone – say them out loud. In these days of electronic equipment, no one will notice when you talk to yourself as you are walking or driving. Be sure and watch the road.
Thank God I am rich.
My health is excellent.
I have a wonderful memory.
I am a straight A student.
I have a wonderful lover who cares for me.
I am healthy, wealthy and wise.
My perfect mind and my perfect body work together for my perfect good.
Life is fun.
I am beautiful.
I am handsome.
I am happy.
I love life and life loves me.
I receive money from many sources including surprises.
I am a money magnet. Money comes to me easily.
The beauty of affirmations is that they are so short you can use them anywhere. You can also stick them on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator door, or and anywhere you frequent.
One key to using affirmations effectively is to use them often.However, if you do not get the results you wish within a few weeks, you might want to consult your teacher or practitioner for more ideas about how to do the spiritual work. Long standing beliefs can be pesky. Please remember that your true aim is to change your thinking and beliefs about whatever goals you choose. Conscious, direct spiritual work is very powerful.
Make a list of positive sayings you heard as a child that were actually affirmations.
Make a list of affirmations you remember hearing in church, on TV, or from friends.
Make a list of three affirmations you choose to use this week.
Easy crossword puzzles on the AARP website are not really very easy when I get stuck on a wrong-headed route. If I need a synonym for aged and I’m thinking elderly but the answer that fits is ripe they become Frustrating Crosswords.
I have spent many precious moments trying to fit a wrong word into a tight space. Last week, the clue was sort and my time was doubled because I couldn’t imagine anything but genre or type. Sort can also mean arrange.
My problem is chronic. The word was ruler, and I spent ten minutes searching for a four letter word that meant measuring tool all the while, forgetting about king.
I thought the answer to public should have been crowd and it turned out to be overt. I thought the answer to long should have been stretched and it turned out to be yearn. I think the answer to employ should have been hire and it turned out to be use.
Crosswords are just a game and I needn’t worry about my scores. I have an excellent vocabulary so I don’t worry about that either. However, my tendency to latch onto one idea and hold on so tight it hurts can be a private problem. How about you?
Opening up our minds to new ideas is a great skill. We can look at our earlier lives and see how important the ability to see more than one way really is. When I look backward, I see my youthful relationships could have been simpler if I’d seen love and sex as separate words. I see now that my life could have been richer if I’d known mathematics is fascinating fun.
New viewpoints are often invigorating and helpful. Learning new things keeps us young and healthy. I improved my health when I began to define food to include vegetables and fruits, not just meat and potatoes.
Steadfastness and perserverance are two great characteristics. On the other hand, being willing to explore new aspects of a situation and attach new meanings to words is very rewarding. Opening up to change is a great deal of what we learn in the spiritual classes at the Centers For Creative Living.
Hanging onto one viewpoint is just one more way to resist change. If it is an idea that impacts our decision making abilities, we need to learn to let go sooner. The ability to adapt to changing conditions is one important measure of intelligence.
Think about the ideas you have had to change in your lifetime in order to adapt to modern living. Perhaps there was a time when you thought boys were bad cooks or girls were bad mechanics. If you wanted a relationship that is based on equality, you will probably have modified those ideas by now.
One of these days, as a part of your spiritual practice, make a list of some of the ideas you have changed in your life. You will be pleasantly surprised at the progress you’ve made simply by changing your mind.
Here are a few of my changes:
1, I used to believe I was too dumb for math and now I believe I can balance my books.
2. I used to believe I needed nine hours of sleep every night and now I believe seven hours works just fine.
3. I used to believe comic movies are a waste of time and now I believe they make you healthier.
4. I used to believe TV was an idiot machine and now I believe it is an exciting medium.
5. I used to believe working with a team was difficult and now I believe it can be wonderful.
We all change ideas as we move through life and that is a good and not-so-good thing. The trick is to retain the ideas that are still valuable and discard the ones that no longer serve us. It is useful to take an inventory from time to time just to clean up some of what needs to be changed.
As we inventory our beliefs, we may find we are hanging onto ideas that need to change. For example, you might want to take a look at some of your ideas about work divisions between men and women. Who does the housework? Who mows the lawn? How’s that working? How would you like to see it change?
As you do this inventory, be on the lookout for prejudice. You may have picked up some very narrow beliefs as a child. You know the kinds of things I’m talking about. One ethnic group can’t drive well. Another ethnic group is lazy. One gender is untrustworthy. Another gender is money hungry.
If there are any of these old pre-judgments hanging around in your consciousness, this is a great time to change.
Learning to look at life through a wider viewpoint can make you a more successful, much happier, and more successful person. When you open your mind to different ways of looking at things, you also become more creative.
Much of what we teach in our Centers for Spiritual Living has to do with allowing new ideas and new opportunities to come into our lives. We have a simple statement that we say over and over, “Change your thinking and change your life.”
Our Sunday talks, books and classes help us create better and better lives. If you are interested in knowing more about how to widen your ability to see clearly, check out my book, Science of Mind Skills. It is available through this blog or in your church bookstore.
Do something to build a wider mindset today.
List at least five ideas you have changed recently.
List at least three ideas you are considering changing now.
How do you plan to open your mind set?
I had plenty of excuses for feeling sorry for myself, but I didn’t want excuses or sympathy. I wanted to feel better. I knew that required a lift off the self-pity pot.
When I began my ministry, Dr. Tom Costa of Palm Desert, CA was a giant in Religious Science ministry, partly because he so clearly believed in our divine right to happiness. I loved his talks; he used humor to move people along their path to freedom. He also had a gift for keeping it simple.
Dr. Tom used to say, “If you are going through Hell, don’t pitch a tent, keep on moving!”
I certainly didn’t want to pitch my tent on Depression Ave that morning so I kept doing my spiritual work and turning it over to God, When that didn’t work, I prayed and turned it over again. And again.
Nothing worked. Then, Divine Inspiration kicked in and reminded me that I had been planning to look at talks on UTube. Here was something new to try.
Only the week before, I’d listened to a talk by Rev. Chris Michaels of Kansas City. Besides the great talk, I felt as if I were visiting an old friend. That talk was so marvelous I’d decided to add internet talks to the Spiritual Practice book I’m writing.
Even though I wanted nothing more than to give up and watch old movies or go back to bed and pull the covers over my head, I opened up this computer and began to browse on the UTube.
Eureka! One of the best things about organizational conferences was hearing a variety of speakers. Now I had a wide variety of speakers at my fingertips. It was like having instant Asilomar Conferences packed into my apple box. It was like striking oil in my front yard!
Although it’s a bit difficult to navigate, it seems there are many, many well-known and wonderful Science of Mind speakers available on the internet. The quality of production is good and the talks are generally excellent.
My mind and heart were renewed after I watched four talks in a little over an hour. Suddenly, it was simple to set aside the morning’s gloom. All I needed was someone else to remind me of what I already knew. That’s the way it works sometimes.
I listened as my colleagues told stories and jokes to make their spiritual points. I desperately needed to hear everything they said because I felt stuck. Or alone.
There is something cozy about hanging out with people who share your opinions and beliefs. I loved hearing Rev. Gayle Dillon and Rev. Dr. Kathy Hearn speak on ideas that are dear to my heart. Rev. Gayle was brand new to me and Dr. Kathy seemed like an old friend. They were both delightful.
It was a wonderful treat to find my dear friend, Dr. David Walker’s talk online. There he was, telling me once again, You Are Enough. Even more amazing was seeing and hearing Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, speak on the power of belief. Dr. David has only been gone a few years but Dr. Holmes made his transition in 1960 so the talk must have been transferred from an old film.
I’d be the first to admit I’m behind the times when it comes to researching the internet and I’m never going to be a “techie” but I discovered an amazing world of wisdom out there over the rainbow.
Maybe some of you readers already know what a wealth of material is available on U Tube and on individual church websites. If so, please write comments and share your tips. For instance, how do you search? I found searching by speaker’s names to be better than looking under more general topics such as Religious Science. However, that precludes contacting new speakers.
I hope every reader will check out minister’s talks on the computer but that’s not the only reason for this blog. What I hope you will take away from my experience isn’t just about the internet. The real lesson is that perseverance pays off.
I observe that many people let their emotions rule them, even after they hear about taking charge of their lives by changing their thinking, they struggle when events disrupt their plans. Many of us try to control our emotional reactions but we give up too soon.
If one spiritual practice method doesn’t work, we can try another. There are many ways to help ourselves when a bad mood strikes. We can take control of moods if we hang in there. One should never give up.
I used to have depressions that seemed to drop in to visit for no reason. In those early days emotions seemed to be something that happened to me. Science of Mind taught me I can choose my reactions to events . It may take extra effort but it works. Now listening to talks on the internet gives me another tool.
Here’s something else the experience taught me. I thought I was missing church – the people I love and talks by my own brilliant ministers, Rev. Mattie Dobbs and Rev. Debby ODonnell. It’s true I missed my church but the deepest thing I was missing was the message of Religious Science itself.
I know I can change my thinking and that will change my life. Church always helps me do that because the teaching is so clear on Sundays in a roomful of believers. On yesterday morning I needed a sharp reminder – the kind I get in church.
I go to church consistently because my life goes better. I also use reminders during the week. Recently, I’ve depended mostly on books, tapes and CD’s to supplement and replace church when I can’t get there. Now I’ve added a powerful new tool that offers a more immediate experience
I have always wished we could find a way to package the feeling of love and joy we find on Sundays. Church offers music, fellowship, committees, cookies and that’s all great but the real reason we attend church is to acquire the key for taking charge of our lives. We change our thinking and develop a new consciousness of successful living.
We can do it because God created us to express the qualities of God. We are intended to be happy, healthy, loving, and wealthy. Clearing out old ideas and accepting positive beliefs is a lifelong endeavor. It takes support and perseverance.
Every mindful thing we do moves us along in the direction of our dreams. We must take what we learn on Sunday and use it 24/7. We must internalize the message.
I’m excited about the discovery of internet talks because it creates an immediate experience. Of course, I will, continue with my other powerful tools. I will attend church, do my prayers, meditation, reading, art work and other familiar tools.
Now I have added another techie tool to my journey down the yellow brick road toward enlightenment. I’m going to listen to a few talks every week. How about you?
Is there anyone I’d like to check out?
How do I begin?
We celebrate a prosperity program in my church at this time of year. The results are always fun and often amazing. This year the signup box is decorated with my artwork so I am especially happy about it.
The program works simply. People sign up and promise to donate ten percent of any unscheduled income they receive during the time of the program. Our ministers and practitioners pray daily for “extra” or unscheduled money to come to those who have signed up.We’ve done it for years and it is always a success.
It’s a nice fundraiser for the Center and it also teaches a great lesson on how prayer treatment works. The prosperity program demonstrates that money can come in many ways because God is really the only source of our supply. God is our Source and God is all around us.
There is no charge for the program except the tithe you promise to pay when you benefit. No risk and no charge makes it easy for people to sign up. It’s also easy to promise to donate part of the unexpected money before you see it.
I love the program because it is so much fun. Mostly I love to hear the “God works in mysterious ways” stories. Over 25 years, I have heard some wonderful ones – big and small. Here are a few I remember…
One woman inherited $5000 because her sibling found some fifty-year-old war bonds in their parents’ attic. Someone else was repaid a real estate debt of over $120,000. They decided it was unscheduled because they’d written the debt off 20 years earlier. They said they had almost forgotten about it.
One year, I received a gift of several thousand dollars from a long-term member of the Center. She sent the check and thank you note saying it was for services I rendered during the past years.
Not all the best stories are about large amounts of money. Someone found an old embroidery sampler in the garage and sold it. She sent the church $50 and showed us photos of the pioneer sampler.
Small amounts make delightful surprises even though they are not dramatic. For example, I was cleaning out my closet and found $100 in a jacket I hadn’t worn for at least five years. That was found prosperity and I was delighted.
Most amounts are relatively small but that doesn’t matter since the point is to open up our minds to accept the truth that all money comes from God. Whether large or small, the stories about the surprises help prove that Creative Mind is a great river with many tributaries.
Our Center teaches that God is always the Source of our supply. We are well funded and, while the prosperity program tithes are welcome, our goal is primarily educational.
The “pay off” for participants is lifelong. Once we really get it that God is the source of our supply, we can transfer our reliance from a nutty boss to God working through predictable spiritual laws. We can also release any belief in being stuck or locked into bad situations. We can have peace of mind and faith in solutions to life’s little puzzles.
If you trust the news, economic terror is widespread but it need not be contagious. We can train our minds to be immune. We simply have to change our thinking to change our economic life. Usually that means letting go of old ideas and accepting new ones.
Let’s not hang onto old ideas around money. “Not enough” thinking needs to be discarded. Once we get it that all money comes from God and God is unlimited supply, our minds open up and greater prosperity arrives. Prayer works. The Unscheduled Income program can help people accept more and more financial Good.
Another aim of the program is helping people understand they don’t need to limit their avenues of prosperity to a job, or one person’s kindness. We don’t need to build such narrow fences around the ways we accept money.
A favorite story is about the woman who asked her minister to pray for her prosperity. Next Sunday, when the minister asked her how well the program worked, she said, “Not good at all.” Then she added, “My son wanted to give me a money gift but, of course, I couldn’t take it from him.”
If she had understand that all money comes from God, she wouldn’t turn her son down so quickly. She would allow her son to experience the joy of giving and know that the Universe would find a way to pay him back.
As a part of my personal spiritual program, I have learned to accept as well as to give. Whenever someone offers me a gift, I take it. It is good for the person offering to give and my acceptance completes the circle. If I don’t need it, I give it away.Whether it is theater tickets, lunch or cash, I say yes. If we are to be more prosperous, we must learn to say yes and we must also learn to be generous.
New Thought churches and centers teach that money is good to have and to circulate. We help people learn to attract more Good. Many centers have prosperity programs. You can find many excellent tools to increase your prosperity in New Thought churches. There are programs like the unscheduled income, classes, and wonderful books, such as Spiritual Economics by Dr. Eric Butterworth.
Basically, raising your prosperity level depends on the idea that your individual mind is always sending messages to Creative Mind about finances. You must change your thinking so your life will change. Prayer changes your thinking and so do other activities. You can learn to live with an attitude of expectancy rather than “not enough.”
Signing up for the prosperity program is a statement that you are open to accept more.Go to the center for Spiritual Living Carlsbad for more about this 10 week program if you are interested.
I like to think of money as fluid. Sometimes I imagine a financial waterfall. This trains my mind to stop believing the only way we can get more money is to get a raise. The best news is that God can easily find myriad ways when you are open to recieve. Unfreezing your waterfall is the tip of the iceberg but it is a good way to begin.
Raises are only one way to increase the cash flow. There are great fortunes built on good ideas. And then there are gifts, found objects, found money, your talents, inheritances, investments and inventions.
You don’t have to sign up for our program but I hope you will make an attempt to open up your thinking during these next few weeks. Begin to change your beliefs by using affirmations such as, Money flows to me from many places. or. I am a money magnet.
As you change your thinking, your life will change.
What ideas about money would I like to have?
How might I attempt to change my thinking?
What steps might I take?