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Sunday Message for July 26, 2015


Today we bring to a close our theme of turning:
* OBSTACLES into OPPORTUNITIES to grow bigger in God;
* MISFORTUNES into not just GOOD, but GREAT FORTUNES; and

And it is my most heartfelt prayer that the obstacle you have been working with this month has shifted because . . .
. . . you have begun to PERCEIVE it in a new way,
. . . you have taken an INSPIRED ACTION or two or three around it and
. . . you have used your will to keep your eye on the prize (so to speak) while surrendering it all to the Power and Presence of Life Itself, knowing that It, as you, is on a course of ever expanding goodness.


So today, we wrap up this theme, and as we do, it's important that we acknowledge the fact that in our human experience, facing our obstacles takes courage and a willingness to step into the unknown. It is, in fact, risky business! Wouldn't you agree? But living a God-filled, empowered life that we are meant to live is worth the risk.

I love the quote from Anais Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

But still we are afraid of that risk, aren't we? I also love a line from a Daniel Nahmod song The line goes: "I'm afraid of taking chances as if I could damage my soul."

Or this Note from the Universe: "Worry?! Why? Do you really think something could go 'wrong'? Are you not eternal? Have you forgotten how much you're loved? Don't you see how far you've already come? Could you possibly be in better hands? Is there not chocolate in every land? The Universe" that one really appealed to me!

So why are we so afraid to take a risk? Why are we so terrified to take that bold inspired action to turn our obstacle into an opportunity?

We don't want to fail because . . .
. . . we don't want to look bad
. . . we don't want to have people say what we think they will say if we don't get it right.

Am I right?

But what is failure, really? The dictionary defines it as: "a condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or result."

And I really like it that the dictionary uses the words "condition" and "fact," because they have tremendous metaphysical significance. We know, as metaphysicians, that conditions and facts have nothing to do with the Truth (there's a capital "T" on that word).

The conditions and facts may suggest that something in our lives is, in fact, a failure; we may even think that the conditions and facts suggest that we are the failure; but this is not the Truth.

The Truth is that there is One Life; this Life is God; this Life is Perfect; and this Life is my Life now!a - to quote Ernest Holmes.

Oh, let's do that together.
There is One Life.
This Life is God.
This Life is Perfect.
And this Life is My Life now!

In fact, if we allow them to, our "failures" actually can help us wake up to the fact that we are One in nature with God!

They can help us realize that the Presence and Power that created this Universe is available, present, and supportive of our greatest good. They can inspire us to see that no challenge is too great, no failure too big for God.

The most successful authors, inventors, actors, etc., have developed the ability to deal with massive amounts of failure. High achievers rarely think of failure as an end in itself. Instead, they believe in delayed success.

It's been said that a loser says, "I can't do it," while a winner says, "I can't do it yet."

Let me tell you about some famous failures.

Do you know who was dismissed from drama school with a note that said, "Wasting her time, she's too shy to put her best foot forward"?

Lucille Ball.

They were turned down by the DECA recording company who said "We don't like their sound and guitar music is on the way out."

The Beatles.

Cut from the high school basketball team, he went home, locked himself in his room and cried.

Michael Jordan.

A teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything and he should go into a field where he could succeed on his pleasant personality.

Thomas Edison.

Fired from a newspaper because he lacked imagination and had no original ideas.

Walt Disney.

His fiance' died, he failed in business twice, he had a nervous breakdown and he was defeated in 8 elections.

Abraham Lincoln

If you've never failed, you've never lived. Life equal risk.

About failure Holmes wrote in the SOM: "If we appear to have failed, we should realize that there are no failures in the Universe. We should completely erase the idea of failure by stating that there are no failures. If we believe that we failed last year, we will be likely to fail again this year, unless the false thought is erased. Break down everything except the recognition of the One Perfect Power, which is not contingent upon any place, person, condition, time of year, or anything but Itself. A demonstration is made when it comes straight through from this Truth. . . . So we erase any idea of failure. Now here is where it looks as if we are not telling the truth to ourselves, but we are declaring the truth about Spirit that indwells in us. This Spirit never fails. Affirm this until it is a very part of your being: 'This word blots out from the book of my remembrance any sense of lack, limitation, want or fear of failure. There is no failure, no person to fail. Failure is neither person, place nor thing. It is a false thought and has no truth in it. It is a belief in lack and there is no lack. It is a belief in limitation which does not exist.'b"

I want to bring you one more concept, one more idea. It is this: The answer to every problem already exists in the Mind of God, and you are in the Mind of God, and the Mind of God is flowing through you this minute. This we must accept, and accept it with gratitude and enthusiasm. Accept it as you would accept the best news you ever heard -- then use it.

So what is the risky inspired action you must take in order to turn this obstacle into an opportunity?
Is it a conversation you need to have with someone?
Is it asking for help?
Is it enrolling in a class?
Is it balancing your checkbook after being unconscious about your finances?
Is it making a sales call?
Is it consciously choosing to view a situation in a different way?
Is it taking a stand for what you know is right?

What is it? Remember who you are. Not the disguise of fear and uncertainty and separation, but a Divine Being of God here to boldly express God's love, light and truth!

And, if you are like me, this next bold step feels very scary. Does it to anyone? But, remember it was planted there by the God of your Being. It is yours to do; it is yours to be!

You are being internally nudged to take this step. And you know what will happen if you don't. The nudge will get a little firmer. Then it may feel like a push, then a kick in the pants and then a 2 x 4 over the head!

So how about being bold now and avoiding all that pain!

It is said that when baby birds reach a certain size, their mom begins to line the nest with thorns and sharp sticks as a gentle way of encouraging the baby birds to take to the sky on their own.

What do you suppose might be going through the mother's birds head as she nudges her chicks out of the nest for their first flight? Is she fearful or concerned for the chicks' life? Of course not, because instinct drives her actions. She knows that something within her babies knows how to fly. Of course, that something is Divine Intelligence, working at the level of "bird."

The important awareness is that the very same Divine Intelligence that knows how to make these baby birds soar is working in, through and as you and me. It knows how to make us soar through life, excelling above and beyond where we currently are.

The only difference between the baby birds and ourselves is that we can really resist coming to the edge of our comfort zone, can't we? We can be afraid to step out of our comfort zone and boldly go forth.

Do you believe that there is a Divine Intelligence within you that knows how to sustain you in your next step of growth, the evolution of your own being? If you do, it's time to come to the edge.

Come to the edge, he said. We can't; we're afraid, they said.
Come to the edge, he said. We can't; we're afraid, they said.
Come to the edge, he said. They came, he pushed . . they flew.c

In the final chapter of "The Obstacle is the Way" by Ryan Holiday, which has supported our work together this month, he offers some final words of wisdom. I am going to paraphrase what he wrote to make it personal for us:

"It is unlikely that anyone is going to make an armed run at our throne anytime soon [he's referring to an attempted coup Marcus Aurelius, who was the inspiration for this book, experienced toward the end of his life; now that you know that, let me start again].

"It is unlikely that anyone is going to make an armed run at our throne anytime soon. But people will make pointed remarks. They will cut us off in traffic. Our rivals will steal our business. We will be hurt. . . . And we can turn all of these to our advantage. Always. There is an opportunity, always. . . . If something stands in our way, we can stare it down, not be intimidated. Leaning into the problem or weakness or issue, we can give it everything we have, mentally and physically. Even though we may not always overcome it in the way we intended or expected, we will emerge better, stronger. . . . There is a lightness and a flexibility to this approach . . . . We can see the "bad" things that happen in our lives with gratitude and not with regret because we turn them from disaster to real benefit - from defeat to victory. . . . . [to do this, we] . . . Perceive things as they are, leave no option unexplored, then stand strong and transform whatever can't be changed. . . . In mastering these three disciplines we have the tools to flip any obstacle upside down. We are worthy of any and every challenge. Of course it is not enough to simply say it. We must practice these maxims, rolling them over and over in our minds and acting on them until they become muscle memory. So that under pressure and trial we get better - we become better people, leaders and thinkers."d

As a final reminder:
See every obstacle as an opportunity to grow bigger as God.
Take whatever inspired action you can take and
Turn what you can't over to God.
And you will find that what blocked the path becomes the path.
What once impeded action advances action.
What was the Obstacle becomes the Way!
I'd say that's worth the risk, wouldn't you?

aErnest Holmes
bErnest Holmes the Science Of Mind, p. 302-303
cGuillaume Apollinaire
dThe Obstacle is the Way Ryan Holiday, p. 177

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