This month's theme is Creating a life of Magic - Big Magic, using the brilliance in Elizabeth Gilbert's most recent book, "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear," to explore the:
* approaches and
. . . needed to:
* uncover our hidden treasurers,
* face our fears, and
* trust the Universe,
. . . all of which lead us to our most creative, magical lives -- the lives God intended to live as us!
Last week, we explored having the Courage to Discover the hidden treasures within us and uncovered a few very important points that laid the foundation for our work the rest of the month.
First, we defined "Creative Living" as:
a. a life that is driven more strongly by [what?] than by fear? Anyone remember? More by curiosity than by fear; and
b. a life in which you bring forth from you that which brings you joy and fulfillment, which in turn blesses the world!
Second, we said that everyone one of us, no exceptions to this one!, has within us hidden treasures that, when we uncover them, will bring forth that which brings us joy and fulfillment, which in turn blesses the world!
Third, what holds us back from discovering these hidden treasures and living a life of joy and fulfillment and blessing to the world is our fear, which according to Gilbert is BORING!
She writes: "[Our fear] never changes, never delights, never offers a surprise twist or an unexpected ending. Fear is a song with only one note, only one word actually, repeated at full volume on an endless loop - STOP! We are all equipped with the same basic fear package. There's nothing interesting or compelling or original about it."a
And then she poses a question that I posed last Sunday: "Do we really want to build our lives around the most boring instinct we have?!"
Now, let's try to "Embrace Enchantment."
The word "enchantment" is defined as: ". . . the quality that attracts and holds our attention; a magic spell."
Today, we explore the "magic spell" that occurs when we let ourselves be enchanted by our own inspiration.
Here is how inspiration functions according to Gilbert. It's a fascinating twist! Think about ideas as energetic life forms floating around in the ethers. Think of them as one aspect of the Creativity of Source.
God, as Creativity, is an infinite number of formless ideas floating around. At this point, the ideas have no material body but, in Gilbert's viewpoint, they do have consciousness and are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest in our physical world.
The trick for many of these formless ideas is that the only way they can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner.
Therefore, ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners. When an idea thinks it has found somebody who might be able to bring it into the world - say one of us - it will pay us a visit. It will try to get our attention.
Chances are fairly good that we won't notice. Perhaps we are so consumed by our own dramas, anxieties, distractions, insecurities and duties that we aren't receptive to inspiration. We might miss the signal because we're doing really important things, you know like watching TV or brooding over how angry we are at somebody or pondering our failures and mistakes. Or other equally important activities that occupy our time and head space.
The idea will try to wave us down (perhaps for a few moments, perhaps for a few month, perhaps for a few years), but when it finally realizes we aren't open to being enchanted by its inspiration, it will leave us and move on to someone else.
"But sometimes [Gilbert writes], there comes a moment when you're open and relaxed enough to actually receive something. Your defenses might slacken and your anxieties might ease, and then magic can slip through. The idea, sensing your openness, will start to do its work on you. It will send the universal physical and emotional signals of inspiration (the chills up the arms, the hair standing up on the back of the neck, the nervous stomach, the buzzy thoughts, that feeling of falling in love). And then, in a quiet moment, it will ask, 'Do you want to work with me?'"b
Has anyone ever had that experience? I certainly have.
At this point, you, of course, have two options for how to respond. The simplest answer, often the easiest answer and sometimes the right answer for you is just to say "no." Then you're off the hook. The idea will eventually go away and you don't need to bother with it. It may not be the right time for you; it may not really be the idea for you.
Gilbert writes: "I have many times been approached by ideas that I know are not right for me, and I've politely said to them: 'I'm honored by your visitation, but I'm not your girl. May I respectfully suggest that you call upon, say Barbara Kingsolver?' (I always try to use my most gracious manners when sending an idea away, you don't want word getting around the universe that you're difficult to work with.) Whatever your response, though, do be sympathetic to the poor idea. Remember: All it wants is to be realized. It's trying its best. It seriously has to knock on every door it can."c
So you might say "no" and that's perfectly fine. When you say "no," nothing happens at all with you and the idea moves on to someone else.
But here's something really important to get. Have any of you ever had an idea, decided for whatever reason not to pursue it and then seen that same idea brought into form by someone else and you think, "Hey, they stole my idea!"
Well, we don't ever get to think that again because, we, my friends, were not enchanted enough with it, so it found someone who was!
No blame or guilt here, just complete personal responsibility, which is an important aspect of our New Thought teachings, isn't it? In Atom Smashing Power of Mind, Fillmore writes: ". . . choice lies with you. . . . The mind dictates the model according to which the body shall be manifested. Therefore as man 'thinketh within himself [in his vital nature], so he is.'"d
So we have the choice to say "no" and let the idea go elsewhere.
Then again sometimes inspiration -- inspiration that will express that greater life - lands on us and we receive the universal physical and emotional signals of enchantment -- the chills up the arms, the hair standing up on the back of the neck, the nervous stomach, the buzzy thoughts - and we just might say "yes."
What then? Well, we can approach it with fear of can I do this? Am I good enough? Will it work? All those ideas we explored last week and, once, again, we can be stopped and not give that particular idea form through us!
Or we can embrace enchantment, be entirely mesmerized by the idea, roll our sleeves up and get to work!
Words from Ernest Holmes in Creative Mind & Success support this idea: "When we feel that we do have the right leading; when that something inside us tells us that we are lead; then, no matter what it appears like, we must follow it up. Something beyond our intelligence is doing the thing through us and we must do nothing to contradict it. Great men are the ones who get a vision and then go to work to make it come true never looking to one side, but with one-pointedness and calm determination, stick to the thing until it is accomplished."e
I want to give you an example of being enchanted by inspiration and then sticking to the thing until it is accomplished.
There is a current reality show: Face Off, which I had never watched until a few weeks ago when I came home from church late and tired, plopped myself in front of the TV and noticed it. I got intrigued so I watched the next to the last episode, and then wanted to see who won (for a reason other than just to see who it was), so I watched the final episode.
In the next to the last episode, the three finalists Evan, Nora and Ben were told they were going to make a short film for their final project and that they had to create two creatures each. At the end of that show, they were surprised with the information that the scripts had been modified and now they had to create a third character.
Interspersed throughout the show, were statements from the three - I'm sure this is how all reality tv goes, but I don't watch so I don't know!
Anyway, here is why I wanted to watch the last episode to see who won. While Ben and Evan said "yes" to their inspiration, they coupled it with fear. In the mini-interviews, they spoke of their fears, their concerns their work wasn't good enough, feeling like they didn't have enough time to get the third character done; fearing the judges wouldn't like what they did.
Holmes tells us: "We cannot think one way one day and change our thought the next and hope to get the desired results. We must be very clear in our thought, sending out only such thoughts as we wish to see manifested in our condition."f
The third contestant, Nora, was very different. She had the "I'm pumped. I can do this. I'm going to give it my best shot" attitude.
In the end, Ben's third creature had some problems and it was clear that he wasn't going to win, although being in the top 3 ain't bad! But the final creatures of Evan and Nora's were equally good. You couldn't tell from listening to the judges' comments which one was favored.
But Nora won, and I have no doubt that it was her attitude, her courage, her refusal to be discouraged, or to doubt herself or her abilities. She refused to give her fear any power whatsoever, and I believe it was those qualities that brought her home the winner.
She lived Holmes words: "We cannot think one way one day and change our thought the next and hope to get the desired results. We must be very clear in our thought, sending out only such thoughts as we wish to see manifested in our condition."g
I got to watch in those two episodes exactly what this book is talking about!
Gilbert writes: "All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life - collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor even understand. It's a strange line of work, admittedly. And I cannot think of any better way to pass my days."h
How about you?
As you contemplate that answer, I invite you to close your eyes and really contemplate that answer. How about you? Do you want to live your life embracing enchantment, embracing the enchantment of the inspiration that comes to you? Embracing inspiration, which is the creativity of God landing on you as an idea. That's a big-picture, theoretical question, and I suspect everyone of us would say "yes" to that.
I want to take it down to a more personal level and ask you a personal question. Is there an idea right now that has captured your attention? An idea that has inspired you and maybe even given you that full-body response we've talked about this morning.
Have you embraced the enchantment of that idea? Have you allowed that idea, that inspiration to take a hold of you? To grab your attention? To put a magic spell over you so that you move forward and do whatever step is next for you to bring that inspiration, that idea into fruition into your life? Knowing that as you do you are living creatively, which is the way you came here to live. Knowing that as you do, you are bringing joy and fulfillment not only to yourself but to the world. Knowing that as you do, you are being who you came here to be.
So if the answer to that series of questions is yes, then my prayer for you this morning is that in knowing that there is One Source, One Creative Energy, One Power that lives and moves and has its being as each of us, I proclaim that we take that divine idea, we take that inspired thought, we take that nudge of Supreme Intelligence and become so enchanted with it that there is nothing we can do but bring it forth. And that we have the courage, if that's what it takes, to take the next step. And when necessary we ask the question, what is the next step? And we are led, we are guided every step of the way. And as Ernest Holmes said the "outcome is assured because the Supreme Being is that work in through and as our life."
So for this, I celebrate. And I am so grateful not only for us and for the experience we have as we live this way, but for the blessing to the world that we are. Because as we do these things and be these ways, we absolutely bring goodness and joy and peace and love and fulfillment and prosperity and happiness to the world. In fact, that to me sounds like a perfect world. We become the living embodiment of the creation of a perfect world. How beautiful that is, and I'm so thankful for that. And I celebrate that and in that celebration I let this prayer go knowing that it is the Law's job to bring it about in the perfect way. So I trust and know that that is now what happens in through and as each of us. I release and let go. I let go and grow. I let go and trust. And together we say, "And so it is."
And now, since it is Mother's Day, I would like to recognize all biological mothers, all females who have served in the role as mothers and all males who have served in the role, so let's talk about Mothers.
The service today is to celebrate Mother's Day as a day of universal blessing for mothers and for all the women that we honor in our lives. A day when all mothers and nurturers are enfolded lovingly in the prayers and blessings of all people everywhere. So let's take a look at Mothers.
In Reader's Digest, Jeanne Young wrote, "My children, who had forgotten to shop for Mother's Day, presented me with a homemade card. The contrite message read: "We know you deserve the very best, Mom. But we're glad you kept us anyway." It is a card I will never throw away."
And that's what being a mother is all about. Holding your children in your heart for who they are. When we honor and love them, they learn to honor and love us.
I truly believe that before we come to this world we pick the parents and the situation we want to come into so that we may develop and grow.
My Mother did not bond with me because of her own situation in life at the time I was born. But because of that, I gained the soul strength to do what I came here to do.
Somewhere, on some other plane of existence, we decide what challenges we need so that we may grow spiritually. So we put ourselves into the most atrocious situations so that we can grow up.
Or at least we THINK we grow - but let our Mother come into the room, and we are again 5 years old.
So as we think about our Mothers and others who nurtured us, let's know that they did the best they knew how to do. They too, were raised by dysfunctional mothers, who were also raised by dysfunctional mothers.
So we can sit back and blame them - or we can step up and change the pattern of disfunctionality in our generation. Then we will be able to appreciate them for what they did for us even though they weren't perfect.
We all owe our mothers a deep and heartfelt thank you. Why do I say that? It's pretty simple -- Without her, we wouldn't be here!
So, wherever you are on the mother continuum - on one end having the most nurturing, wonderful, loving, caring mother to having, on the other end, the Wicked Witch of the West as your mother, we each owe our mothers a thank you for bringing us into this world.
Now I would like to pay tribute to the women we know. I have been sent the names of women that I would like to acknowledge.
But first I would like to invite those who wish to come forward to honor women in their lives. Please come up, place a flower in the vase and acknowledge the women in your life.
Now, the names that have been sent in to be honored are…
As you look at this vase filled with flowers, think of the women in your life who have influenced you, inspired you, strengthened you, and loved you. Women we loved and hated. Women we blame for all our faults and weaknesses, and thank for all our strengths and talents. Women who weren't perfect but did the best they knew how to do.
Blessed are the mothers of yesterday. They nurture us with loving memories and inspire us to become all we are meant to be. Blessed are the mothers of today. They hold in their hands and in their hearts the keeping of tomorrow and the destiny of our children's future. Truly, God is blessing all mothers now. Amen.
aBig Magic Elizabeth Gilbert p. 19
bBig Magic Elizabeth Gilbert p. 36
cBig Magic Elizabeth Gilbert p. 37
dAtom Smashing Power of Mind, Charles Fillmore p. 119
eErnest Holmes Creative Mind & Success, p. 67
fErnest Holmes Creative Mind & Success, p. 68
gErnest Holmes Creative Mind & Success, p. 68
hBig Magic Elizabeth Gilbert p. 78