The Minister's Weekly Message

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Rev. Mary Wood's Weekly Messages

Please note that Rev. Mary generally updates her message on Wednesday afternoons.  You can use the arrows to move back to previous months to explore more of her blog.

SEPTEMBER 2019

Date Posted Post
2019-09-16
0:00 am
COURAGE AND COMMITMENT!

Welcome to the last week learning and growing from Dennis Merritt Jones’ book The Art of Abundance.  He writes, “The principle of abundance – there is enough for everyone - awaits those who are willing to courageously venture beyond our boundaries.  They are the explorers, visionaries and risk takers who believe that beyond the safety of the known, anything is possible.  We have always been drawn by the mystery of the unknown.  And we’ve realized it requires great courage.  We have to take a risk and be willing to move away from the comfort and safety and move toward unknown territory.” 

 

 

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Risk taking isn’t the problem because we do it every day.  It’s the conscious fear of risk that’s the problem.   Conscious fear is most easily triggered when the risk of rejection, making a mistake, or failing (or succeeding) lies in front of us.  Being courageous doesn’t deny fear – it transcends fear. 

Courage means “of the heart.”  Path makers are not driven solely by the need to be prosperous; we are driven by our passions and love of life, by our desire to expand our horizons simply for the adventure of being alive.  The reward that follows path makers is abundance, in whatever appropriate form.  While your head may mislead you, your heart is incapable of doing so.

We don’t require cosmic enlightenment to expand our consciousness or our horizon – just an awareness of our oneness with life and an understanding of how an expanding Universe grows in and through us every moment of every day.

And this leads us into the last chapter – Make a commitment to be a catalyst for good, to leave the world a better place than when you arrived.  When we know we are one with an abundant Universe and each other, we are compelled to become change agents for good. 

Remembering our oneness with the Universe is vital to accessing and using the principle of abundance – there is more than enough for everyone.  Every living being is connected and therefore affected by the actions of others.  Michael Bernard Beckwith, a spiritual teacher, creating leaders, not followers, said, “When we are conscious of our oneness, we know there is no such thing as personal good; when the tide lifts one boat in the harbor, all boats in the harbor rise as well.”

Every one of us has something innately good to bring to the table, to the relationship we have with all humankind.   But…  too often we can’t see the gift we innately are.  Being a “change agent for good” in the world doesn’t require anything but right intention and a willingness to see ourselves and the unique gift we bring as more than good enough, and then discerning how best to share that gift with the world.

As we evolve consciously, we know we are on a mission to give something special and unique to life rather than merely see how much we can get from it.  This is often referred to as the WIIFM principle that can be interpreted in two ways:  What’s In It for Me? Or What’s In It From Me?  That’s going from me-thinking to we-thinking.

If, at the end of your stay on the planet, the world’s a better place than it was when you arrived, your mission was a success.  You were committed to being a catalyst for good, and that is good news for everyone!

Dennis Merritt Jones writes, “If you want to change the world for the better, begin by changing yourself for the better; in the process you’ll not only discover your purpose, you’ll uncover the gift you are, and you’ll also see that the ripple effect of you truly matters to the world.”

We may fall short of being a catalyst for good because we believe we have nothing of value to offer.  Do you see the gift you bring as worthy?  Who we are affects others, perhaps without our even realizing it. Have you ever thought of yourself as a pebble?  Small is the way the ripple effect begins.  Consider the lives you touch during a day, a year or a lifetime, perhaps without ever realizing it.

The point to remember is that you and I matter far more than we realize; everything we do has an effect on someone, somewhere, whether we know them or not.  It might be a stranger on the other side of town who is affected by a kind and loving word you extended to your neighbor while passing on the sidewalk who, in turn extended an act of kindness to that person.  Or what about the ripple effect when we post an inspiring thought on Facebook or Twitter. 

The real question for you and I is:  “What kind of difference will it be?”  If the ripples we send out are guided by an abundance of love, nonjudgment, compassion, joy and generosity, we can be assured we’re committed to being a catalyst for good….  And that is a high calling.  Just as we can’t give what we don’t have, we cannot expect others to give, be or do something we’re not willing to give, be or do.  Thinking the right thing is good, and saying the right thing is appropriate, but doing the right thing is what defines you and I.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.  As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.  We need not wait to see what others do.”

Changing the world for good can sound like a monumental task….  Here are a couple of suggestions as a place to start.

  1.  In the cracks and crevices of our daily life.  By laughing often, by loving often, by giving often in any way that touches your heart. 
  2.  By practicing  mindfulness.  Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, an opportunity to be a change agent lies directly in the moment.  Through our consciousness, our attitude, and by focusing on what’s right and good in life, and sharing that perspective with others.

And now a few words to end the lessons in this book.  “The biggest challenge we buy into is the fallacy that to create a prosperous life requires great sacrifice.  It does not.  The only thing that has to be sacrificed is our belief in scarcity, our belief in not enough.  Challenging and changing this world belief in not enough has to begin somewhere, sometime, with someone.  Why not here and now?  Why not you and me?”  The journey doesn’t end with changing our belief in not enough; that is where it begins.

 As Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

AMEN!!

 
2019-09-02
0:00 am
BE OF SERVICE

Welcome to lesson 8 from The Art of Abundance, enter the flow of abundance by serving others.  There is no better way of initiating the flow of abundance than through the act of serving others.  Our motivation in serving others sets the example for how that energy shall return to us.

 

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If our desire is to live a whole, healthy, happy and abundant life, serving others is not really an option; it’s a prerequisite.  What’s important is our mind-set, manner and intention with which we serve.  Shifting from me-thinking to we-thinking is one of the surest ways to affirm you’ve discovered the secret to life – your oneness with the Universe, a.k.a. the source of all abundance.

Serving others is as natural as breathing because our motive is not driven by the ego or by an expectation of receiving anything in return.  Selfless service is a state of consciousness that connects one person’s heart to another; it determines the manner that we approach everyone and everything we do.  Is your focus more on being of service to others or being served by them?  An abundance consciousness calls for a mindful balance of both. 

Stacy Lee writes, “I saw a dress in a consignment shop that I knew my granddaughter would love. But money was tight, so I asked the store owner if she could hold it for me. “May I buy the dress for you?” asked another customer. “Thank you, but I can’t accept such a gracious gift,” I said. Then she told me why it was so important for her to help me. She’d been homeless for three years and had it not been for the kindness of strangers, she would not have been able to survive. “I’m no longer homeless, and my situation has improved,” she said. “I promised myself that I would repay the kindness so many had shown me.” She paid for the dress, and the only payment she would accept in return was a heartfelt hug.

The opportunity to be of service is in front of us every day; we simply have to be present in the moment to see it.  Our sole purpose is to be the channel  that makes life better for all concerned.  We’re serving others to deepen our sense of oneness and connection to life.  If we are present in the moment and aware, we’ll discover that life is eternally providing us with abundant opportunities to be of service.

The problem – When we approach life believing there is not enough for everyone, the human tendency is to focus on serving ourselves first which breeds selfishness, that reinforces the consciousness of lack, that reaffirms the belief in not enough…  and the cycle goes unbroken.  2 Corinthians 9:6-7…Whoever sows sparingly, will reap sparingly.  Whoever sows bountifully, will receive bountifully.

We are all hard-wired to protect our own life and all it contains – that’s not a bad thing.  However, when self-preservation is driven by fear, it can manifest as selfishness without our conscious awareness.  Awareness of our oneness with life enables us to enter the flow with a sense of freedom; we see the principle of abundance in action as it moves in and through us as we mindfully serve others.  William Jennings Bryan:  “The human measure of a human life is its income; the divine measure of a life is its outgo, its overflow – its contribution to the welfare of all.”

By we-thinking, we naturally form an abundance consciousness that affirms there is more than enough “soup” for us and everyone else- and not just at our table –but in the entire banquet hall.  How do you and I measure our life?  Is it by what flows in or by what flows out?  You and I might like to ask ourselves – how do we really feel about the idea of serving others?  Because our ability and willingness to embrace service as a way of life plays a major role in creating an abundant life for yourself as well as for others.

Rising above the belief there is not enough to go around happens the moment we begin to lift our own consciousness from me-thinking to we-thinking.  We don’t have to convince the Universe that we are worthy and capable of prospering through the simple act of being of service to others – we need only convince ourselves.  This is the problem we were born to transcend, and the principle of abundance waits patiently for our acceptance that there is enough because we fully know we are enough.

We cannot serve selflessly without also being served.   Being one with life means we are privileged to share that life with every other human being and sentient creature on the planet for a precious, limited amount of time.  How we spend that time will define us as either a me-thinker or a we-thinker.

Marilyn Kinsella of Canmore writes, “I forgot about the rules on liquids in carry-on luggage, so when I hit security at the airport, I had to give up all my painting supplies. When I returned a week later, an attendant was at the baggage area with my paints. Not only had he kept them for me, but he’d looked up my return date and time in order to meet me.” 

Understanding the law of cause and effect, when we serve another person, we initiate energy that in some manner must return to us….  If we allow it to.  To make the gift of serving others complete, we must also be open and willing to be served.  Because we have needs, as everyone does, someone must serve you in some manner for you to continue to exist on the planet. 

The quintessential question is:  How shall you and I serve in a manner that honours the life we have come here to live?  There is no time or place when the opportunity to be of service isn’t staring us right in the face.  If we are present in the moment and willing to see the opportunity, we will.  If we ask “How may I serve in this moment” the answer will appear right before your eyes.

Mother Theresa:  Do little things with great love.  Find a need and fill it: washing the dishes, helping someone with special needs to cross the street, inviting the person behind you in the grocery store with only a few items in their cart to go ahead of you; picking up trash on the street; and perhaps one of the most important:  just listening.  Not having to add your opinion, just listening.

We all have an innate desire to be seen, to know that who we are and what we do matters.  To mindfully serve and to be served unifies us and affirms that we are all one and therefore essential to one another’s existence and well being.  We truly do matter to one another.

To mindfully serve others is to recognize and honour them as worthy recipients of the greatest gift you have to offer:  your essence, respect, reverence, kindness, compassion, patience, tolerance, generosity joy and low.  Knowing that what goes around comes around is just an added bonus!