Three Ideas for America

… is this still about ‘Raising It Up?’ 🙂 In my opinion, yes. Comments welcome!

1. Have all the congressional district maps drawn by an independent, non-partisan panel. Or let the parties take turns. Or is there another way that will work better?

2. Repeal Citizens United. It’s difficult for people in Congress to to work toward consensus and get things done if they’re always fearing primary challenges from their extreme right or left flanks. It’s easy for people in Congress to put the interests of their biggest donors ahead of the rest of us. That’s a distortion. Do we want to go as far as public financing of campaigns? I don’t know enough about that one, but I’d like to learn more.

3. When people speak of ‘the Left’ and ‘the Right’ as if they were two big monoliths (duolith?) I always rebel a bit. Is it really a good idea for us to voluntarily lock ourselves into boxes like that? And is it really voluntary? Let’s let go of this Blue Team vs Red Team bullshit, even though the Blue Team is actually better. Whoa, whoa, whoa, relax! I’m sorta kidding. Seriously, all it does is freeze our various prejudices into place. By all means, I should promote and work for what I think is right, and I have some clear opinions about that. That is as it should be, because I care about our country and our future. But I can also acknowledge that people who have a different point of view also care about this country. A little listening can only help.

4. Bonus thought: demonizing people who disagree with you is not an effective persuasion technique. Better to promote the ideas you wish to see, or better yet, be them.

The Good New Days

This is a follow up to our most excellent guest blog from Jennifer Sacks last week. With liberal borrowing from her ideas. Hey, credit where credit is due!

What’s your first reaction to this?

If anything can go right, it will.
What’s the best that can happen?
Situation Normal, All Fantastically Unfolding

… had to finesse that last one a bit.

And then there’s this:

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well…for there is a Force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.” — JULIAN OF NORWICH

Do you think this is true? In a way, it’s a difficult and challenging idea. We look around and we see that, no, actually all is not well. I don’t need to give you any examples.

So here’s the core question, and it’s a powerhouse of a question in my opinion: do prayers change God? Do affirmations change the world?

Or do they just change you? And if they do change you, can YOU change the world?

In the midst of our challenges, I see a lot of people praying with their feet, and I am humbled and inspired by them. I promise to do better with that, and I hope you will too. As Paula Davis said recently. “God’s hands are your hands.”

“All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” Peace.

P.S. This week I wrote a song called ‘God’s Hands Are Your Hands.’ I’ll be debuting it at Unity Church of the Mountains in Blairsville GA on March 4th.

RevJenn.com

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_of_Norwich

Guest blog from Rev. Jennifer Sacks

Jennifer Sacks is the senior minister at Unity of Atlanta. She’s a great friend and a wonderful writer and speaker. Here’s a link to her blog:

https://revjenn.com

Along with an article that might just change the way you think about things:

Years ago I knew someone who often asked, when an uncomfortable situation presented itself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”  He prided himself on living by Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.   One day he produced a product with a fatal flaw.  So, each item was removed from the company’s inventory and had to be reproduced.  Then he was removed from the project, rebuked for both his focus and attitude.

Yes, things in life go “wrong,” break, fail, or get messed up.  Though as Master Teacher Emmet Fox explains, “Life is Consciousness,” and where we focus our attention and direct our attitude usually determines our destination.  Or as many artists say: Perspective is everything.

So, rather than view life from an “Ain’t-it-awful?”/ “What’s-wrong-now?” perspective, we can change our thinking and ask other questions.  Instead of wondering what could go “wrong,” we can instead focus on the possibilities and potential of divine outcome.  This change in perspective also can prevent us from stalling on our life journey, if we’re willing to ask: “What’s the best that can happen?”

Viewing life from this vantage requires tremendous trust because we must continually draw on our inner faith and strength.  In the process, we gain clarity about our own personal power and human will, noticing what we can change and what we cannot.  We consider our priorities, watching for open doors and new opportunities.  We use our contemplation, meditation, prayer, and reflection time to release fear and worry, and await divine direction with assurance and confidence.

This perspective also requires that we release our personal ideas about how everything “should” happen or work out.  It means that we stop giving God directions about what we want and how life “should” be.

It also invites other questions, such as: “Am I willing to:

•Cooperate with God and concede my personal way for God’s way?”

•Remove my hands from the steering wheel of life and cease trying to control everything?”

•Live by God’s calendar rather than my own?”

•Accept that others have different opinions and perspectives from mine, and may never like me or agree with me?”

•Work through old anger, grief, pain, and resentment to heal myself and forgive the past?”

•Remember that someone who loves me now might change their mind or that they will die one day?”

•Withstand silence and be still long enough to truly listen so I know which divine directions are mine, not someone else’s?”

•Sit back and enjoy the scenery, laughter, hugs, love, joy, and delicacies which flow through life in so many ways?”

•Wonder, at least once daily, ‘What’s the best that can happen?’ and then do what is mine to do to let it?”

As we answer these questions, we discover a greater depth of faith.  And when we direct it toward the best people, places, and things for our lives, life has a richer perspective, and we see the best happen.

© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

The Connectitarians

 

Who are the Connectitarians?

Are we vegetarians, barbarians, librarians, Hungarians, humanitarians, proletarians, Unitarians or Rotarians? All of the above? Read on.

Matthew 18:20 — “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I among them.”

Matthew 18:19 — “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

“He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.” – Buddha

“Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all , and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.” – Black Elk

“He alone sees truly who sees the Lord the same in every creature.” – The Bhagavad Gita

See some patterns there?

A) The power of prayer energy multiplies when it’s combined.

B) We are interconnected in deeper and more profound ways than we’ve ever imagined: we are all connected, joined at the hip, spiritually, so to speak.

C) Connection is a core truth about us as humans. It crosses time and cultures like nothing else.

Oh, so that’s who the Connectitarians are. We have met the Connectitarians and they are us.

So far, we’re talking about the seeing of this idea; the perceiving of it, the realization of it, the understanding of it.

Does this idea point to a next step? The doing of it? The manifestation of it? The being of it? I think so.

So let me share a challenge with you: If you can see it, you must do it.
If you can see connection, you must be connection. Every spiritual gift brings with it a spiritual responsibility. Deep breath …

Ok, deep breath taken, challenge accepted.

Who are the Connectitarians?

A Breathing Meditation 

Focus, expand. Expand, focus.

Breathe in. Your lungs fill, your throat opens, your shoulders lift, your ribs and arms feel stronger. Your heart is right there in the center. Pulsing, rhythmic, open. It’s your soul engine.

Breathe out. Quietly, steadily, measured and intentional. Pay attention now, and you can feel the energy moving in your whole body. Your heart and lungs, your fingertips, your very toes poise and prepare for the next wave of breath.

Inward, outward. Create space, fill space. Plant, harvest. Regroup, be.

We grow stronger, body and soul, when we breathe intentionally. When we live, move, breathe and have our being in the presence of the divine. So be quiet now, listen to your soul, and breathe.

Focus, expand. Expand, focus.

An Ancient Proverb Which I Just Made Up

For the runners:

Ancient proverb says, ‘when lightning strikes, second mile will be faster than first!’

Actually, now that I think about it, that’s for all of us. Life can move us along sometimes, can it not?

Clear Intentions in Songs and Life

The best songs are transparent. The level of complexity may vary, and there’s a spectrum of literal to abstract, but with the good stuff you can always feel a clear intention. As in music, so in life.

“you were my best four years” — literal
“one particular harbor” — picture
“seasons will pass you by; I get up, I get down” — evocative

All so different, all so beautiful. Like our lives.

Habits: They’re Not Just for Nuns Anymore!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Does that work for you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me too.

Perhaps there’s another way to think about it. Let’s try this:

Short term – goals rule. Long haul – systems will get you there. Both are important, neither is sufficient by itself.

Is there a practical link between the two? Something you can do right now that will generate better results? Glad you asked! It’s actually very simple.

Let’s all do this in 2018:

1. Create five affirmations of constructive habits in the form of gratitude statements.
2. Speak them morning, noon and night.
3. Actually do the hard work that leads to transformation. Ha! I promised simple, not easy. I also promise that it’s worth it.

That’s it! Let’s do this thing, and I’ll meet you back here in January of 2019 for a celebration of our success.

Here are my 2018 statements. I’d love to hear yours.

1. I am grateful for healthy habits.

2. I am grateful for the habit of speaking kind and loving words.

3. I am grateful for the habit of prospering.

4. I am grateful for the habit of expressing appreciation.

5. I am grateful for the habit of trusting God.

Mighty blessings my friends for a wondrous 2018!

P.S. Bonus affirmation in a slightly different form: ‘more outdoors, less internet.’
Can I get an amen?

Carry Me, Carry You

A lot of Boomer generation folks are finally waking up to the idea that we’re going to, yes, die. I don’t know if we were the first generation to think we were immortal, but we certainly have tried to extend our childhoods as far as possible. That’s over now, as we see our parents through their last phases and find ourselves burying friends, too many friends, our own age.

I can be a selfish man, I admit it, but in these days I’m finding that the idea of serving is coming forward a little more, and I’m gradually letting go of me. The perennial Boomer question, ‘what do I really want?’ is being supplanted by a different question: ‘God, what do you want?’ Hey, I’m as surprised as anyone! But grace beckons and you know what? It’s a relief.

The beautiful little irony is that “putting away childish things” opens up more freedom to be childlike instead. Born again, indeed. Thank you, God.

Click here for sheet music. All rights reserved, but feel free to play it and sing it! Just please give credit, and let me know how you like it. Mighty blessings.

Carry Me, Carry You