THE POWER OF PLUGGING IN
We have spent the entire month of October looking at "Ultimate Power Tools" for living! And I have said each week that in your workroom at home, power tools make any job go smoother, quicker and easier than do hand tools and that we also have such power tools - spiritual power tools -- for living!
We have fired up the power tools of enthusi-usi-usi-asm and faith rightly placed so that it is a power tool for good rather than a cause of our distress. And, we have looked at ways to make sure our power tools are, and remain, plugged in! If you missed any of that, I highly suggest you go back and take a look/listen!
Today, we are going to end our series by looking at the Power Tool of a Grateful Heart. That's seems appropriate on this Thanksgiving weekend, doesn't it?
And we are going to do that by asking two questions:
1. What emotions CAN live inside of gratitude? and
2. What emotions CANNOT?
1. WHAT EMOTIONS CANNOT LIVE INSIDE OF GRATITUDE?
We will start with what emotions CANNOT live inside of gratitude. Clearly, a lot of emotions cannot live inside of gratitude, but I have selected a sampling of them. As I say them, I want you to touch in and see if any of these are living inside of you. For now, just notice with kindness to yourself; no judgment or criticism; just notice with kindness if any of these have taken up residence in you:
Despair - Anxiety - Unforgiveness - Frustration - Selfishness - Hatred - Judgment - Shame - Doubt - Jealousy - Resentment - Sadness
And the two biggest emotions that cannot live inside of gratitude are:
Anger and Fear
Just think, for a moment, about of all these emotions that simply can't share the same space with a grateful heart. The vibration of these emotions and the vibration of gratitude CANNOT occupy the same space. So how about if today, we release them; we let them go; we create space for gratitude to breathe within us?
If you are with me then let's do a meditation to release any of those emotions, especially anger and fear - so that we are NO LONGER SLAVES to them!
Let yourself take in your breath. Be aware that you are taking in nutrients for your body. By your will, By your direction, By your physiology, with thousands of beautiful canals inside your body. Let your body be filled with your breath.
Clasp your hands. Feel the energy flow. Let yourself feel that connection, the energy that moves around. Put yourself where you've always been, in the universal life-force. Very gently bring your hands to rest in your lap. Breathing comfortably, tell yourself: "I am a life form based in divinity. I am able to see, to hear, to feel, to smell, to touch, to move, to speak, to choose,"
Go deep inside yourself; find that treasure that is known by your name. Look at this treasure Look at the resources that are universal. You have them all. You can see, think, hear, feel, taste, smell, choose, move, sort. To sort - the ability to let go of that which once fit but no longer does, and see clearly what fits now. Now say to yourself, "l am able. I can do this. I have the energy through my groundedness, my relationship to the heavens, and my interconnectedness with others. I am able:'
It is the human situation to meet the present with interpretations of the past. The meaning of the present is to allow us to leave the past and see the Now in its own right. Experience will soon become your past and a foundation for a new present and future.
You have the ability to sort out of yesterday what fits for today. You know that you can keep and evolve that which is left over from yesterday but which no longer fits today. You can bless it because it was a big part of getting you to where you are today. Accept that the price has become too high to continue using the old ways. Look again at what you have now and then look ahead, knowing that you have the resources to meet the future.
Let yourself come in touch with your breathing, and feel your self-nurturing through your breath - - - Now go to that place deep inside yourself and give yourself a message of appreciation. Maybe now you can give yourself permission to let go of all those things you have carried around that are no longer of use. Bid them a fond farewell. Let them go, and be in touch with things you have that fit you well right now. Give yourself permission to add that which you need. With your message of appreciation to yourself, you can now be ready for whatever you are going to learn today.
While your eyes are still closed, I'd like you to be aware of the significance of your life, and of the life-force we all have. Become aware that the ever-present life-force does not determine what we are to do with life. We determine that. When we are children, the people around us are our main teachers. Then when we learn that some of the things our teachers taught us no longer fit we can honor our teachers for what they gave us and go ahead and learn that which we still need. We are capable of infinite possibilities and become limited only when we shut the door on new ones or when we are not aware that there are doors we haven't seen.
Put on a hat that says: I am me. I am whole. I am lovable. I can learn. I can change to what fits for me. How does that feel?
You who are unique. You who are like everyone. You who are different than everyone. How does that feel?
Look into your mind and place your hands on your navel. This is your wholeness. Remember that you came from two others. How does that feel?
You can use what you learned from them. You can add what more you need. A process that can go on for the rest of time. How does that feel?
Let your body fill with air. You are centered, grounded, inspired, and connected. This is with you always. Feels good.
2. WHAT EMOTIONS CAN LIVE INSIDE GRATITUDE?
Now that we have cleared a space within us, we want to refill it because we know the Universe abhors a vacuum. And if we don't intentionally refill it, we will go back to our default setting, which in this instance, contains the emotions you just released.
So, let's get about refilling our consciousness with emotions that CAN live inside of gratitude. What are they? Oh there are so, so many! Here's a smattering:
Compassion - Abundance - Fulfillment - Appreciation - Acceptance - Hope - Harmony - Happiness - Freedom - Peace - Joy - Purpose - Passion - Understanding - Enthusiasm - Energy
And there is one more emotion that lives inside of gratitude; it's the mother of all emotions that lives inside of gratitude.
It would be what Charles Fillmore calls "the pure essence of Being that binds together the whole human family."a
And, it would be the one emotion that is the most alive in the presence of gratitude. And it is to that word, to that one emotion, that I invite each of us to testify in a bigger way than ever before this Thanksgiving Holiday and beyond.
And so we rev up our final power tool by choosing to live in Love, knowing that it empowers our grateful heart and knowing that our grateful heart empowers love.
They not only very beautifully share the same space in ours heart, but they feed off of and fuel each other. The more love we experience, the more gratitude we feel. The more gratitude we feel, the more love we experience! And so it goes on and on and on.
So as a way to bring our time this morning to a beautiful, loving, gratitude-filled close, please turn to someone next to you and tell them one thing in your life that you love so much for which are so grateful. And we call it good! Oh so very, very good! And so it is!!
And now, to start the holiday season off joyously. We are going to have a ceremony that explores the symbolism of the Christmas tree and all its ornaments. Each year we, like little kids, eagerly await the trimming of the Christmas tree. But let's look behind the tinsel and trimmings to what they represent.
The TREE itself is a symbol. Its branches are ever green. But they remind us that the life of God is eternal and is constantly being renewed in us. The tree, as we do, reaches up to a higher understanding of God. Its branches reach outward on all sides, as if to welcome all races of people and all creeds.
On the tree are strings of LIGHTS. How beautifully the colored lights glow, each symbolizing the Christ light. The many colors remind us that each of us expresses good in his own way, yet he draws his life and strength and wisdom from God, the source of all good. Even as Jesus Christ became the light of the world, so can we let His light shine forth through us to bless our world.
We place colored BALLS on the tree. So, now everyone who has colored Christmas tree ball ornaments come up and put them on the tree. Many colors are reflected from these shiny balls, yet the colors seem to harmonize. This is symbolic of the different races and creeds and nations and indicates that they can live together in peace and harmony. Jesus was born to point the way to peace among men. The Christ Spirit in all men will teach them how to solve their problems so that there will be justice and freedom for all.
Next we have a tiny ANGELS for our tree. So, now everyone who has Angels come up and put them on the tree. The angel is a symbol of the Christlike thoughts that help us to express more of the Christ Spirit. At Christmastime we can send angel thoughts or thoughts of good will to people all over the world.
Now we have toy HORNS to sound our Christmas joy. So, now everyone who has Horns come up and put them on the tree. When we hear the notes of "Joy to the World," let our hearts be filled with a deep abiding joy, the joy that comes to us when we love God and do His will.
Beside the horn we now hang a golden BELL. So, now everyone who has Bells come up and put them on the tree. For hundreds of years at Christmastime, the bells have chimed out the message, "Christ is born." "Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if He's not born in thee, thy soul is all forlorn."
A BIRD perches on a branch of our tree. So, now everyone who has Birds come up and put them on the tree. It is the dove of peace, reminding us that if we truly want peace, we must let peace express through us. We must live peaceably with others.
Here are long strands of bright BEADS and tinseled CHAINS for our tree. So, now if you could put those on the tree. Does it not seem that the beads are smiles that lead from one person to another? And the links of bright tinsel represent the deeds of kindness that link many human hearts in understanding and love.
Now on our tree we place SANTA CLAUS. So, now if you could put those on the tree. Here is the Spirit of giving, all dressed up in a red suit. We can express the spirit of Santa Claus in our giving, too. We can send love and a blessing along with our gifts.
We place on our tree a tiny white LAMB. So, now if you could put those on the tree. The lamb is a symbol of innocence and purity. It reminds us of the Good Shepherd who told His disciples, "Feed my sheep." As modern disciples, shall we give spiritual food to those who hunger for a better way of life?
Our tree needs a crowning touch. At the very top we place a shining STAR. What memories and thoughts that star brings to mind! We see the Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem, and we know that the light of the Bethlehem star still shines to guide men.
And now that the tree is trimmed, let us turn in thankfulness to the Father and know that: 'The star of God's light shines within each of us, to help us keep the Christmas Spirit through all the year.' May you have The Spirit of Christmas which is Peace, The Gladness of Christmas which is Hope, and The Heart of Christmas which is Love.
aEmma Curtis Hopkins