WHAT STOPS YOU IN YOUR TRACKS?
We are made in the image and likeness of the Divine and that means that each and every one of us (no exceptions here!) contains all the attributes of the Divine.
One of those attributes is most certainly the ability to create. And the fact and the Spiritual Truth are that we are always creating. We cannot NOT create. The question is:
* Are we intentionally or unintentionally creating?
* Are we creating by design or are we creating by default?
When we are intentionally creating, when we are creating by design, we are the happiest because we are consciously aligned with the Source of Life. And, interestingly, the PROCESS OF creation and the PROGRESS IN creation are what bring us the most joy.
So our question of the month is: Where are you on your joy meter? If it isn't as high as you would like, you might want to look at how you are doing with your PROCESS and PROGRESS of intentional creation.
So I have a scenario for you. You are tooling along, feeling like you are really on purpose, on point, in a powerful process of creation and making great strides and progress. You are staying tuned to Potential FM - by the way, you do remember that from last week, don't you? You are remembering to turn that channel up and turn Gloomy and Reality FM down, right?
So again you are tooling along, feeling like you are really on purpose, on point, in a powerful process of creation, making great strides, great progress and staying tuned to Potential FM. And you are feeling really, really good about it all? Yes? On top of the world! You can do anything!! Have you been there? I know I have been there.
And then, WHAM!, out of nowhere, something happens - big or subtle -- that throws you back the length of a football field. Anyone ever have that happen? I know I have!
And what do we do then? Often, we just shrink back; we let whatever it was that we were going for fade away, and we go back to status quo. No more stretching; no more excitement about Potential FM; let's just stay here. It's OK here. And we might not even realize we've done that, but done that we have! And our joy meter drops a couple of degrees. Does that sound familiar?
What if, just what if, you weren't meant to shrink in, go back to status quo? What if you weren't meant to stay where you are? What if it were true that life is an ever-ascending spiral upward?
Well, my friends you weren't mean to shrink, you aren't meant to stay where you are because life is an ever-ascending spiral upward! You came here to stretch, to reach, to be engaged in the Divinely-inspired PROCESS of creation, to make PROGRESS in your creation and to feel the great joy that is there!
So what stopped you in your tracks? It is something that can be very, very sneaky and it wears many disguises.
So what is this sneaky, disguised thing that stops us in our tracks?
When we experience excitement, enthusiasm for our potential, passion, when we are in the process of and making progress in intentional creation, our "joy meter" climbs way up. Right, we've said that already.
But, then it hits an invisible, subconscious limit, or ceiling, and sabotaging behaviors set in.
Gay Hendricks speaks about this in his great book The Big Leap. He calls it our "upper limit," the unconscious ceiling we put on our ability to truly be in the juicy place of intentional creation.
In our human experience, each of us has a built-in limit for how much happiness we can tolerate. Doesn't that sound entirely crazy? But it is true.
Hendricks refers to it as our Upper Limit Problem or "ULP"a. But I think it's so influential and important to look at, that I am going to call it our Great Upper Limit Problem or "GULP"! Because that's what it makes us do. Take a big ol' gulp!
The idea behind our GULPs is that we all have a learned limit to the amount of love, appreciation, success, good, peace, power, plenty - all those things that are our Divine Birthright, that God has in store for us! -- that we can go for, let alone actually let in.
We learned this somewhere along the way of becoming conscious adults - it doesn't matter where or how; it only matters what we do with it now -- and until we consciously rise above it, we will always be held down by it.
Holmes tells us in the SOM that we must rise superior to the world in order to create a new pattern!b
And until we learn to rise above our GULP, it will dampen our ability to be in the process of and make progress in creation.
When we come up against the limit, something happens in us that triggers us to stop!
So the first step in rising above our GULPs is being aware of them by noticing the triggers. By being acutely aware of triggers and realizing the metaphysics of things - there is more going on than meets the eye.
Realizing that behind the trigger is the consciousness we bring to it! Consciousness - what we think, feel, believe, our values, attitudes, words, actions and reactions. Our consciousness sets our GULPs. So the triggers are all about our consciousness and are like red flags waving in the air saying:
You've hit your upper limit!! You have a GULP, a big ol Upper Limit Problem!
So, again, the first step to rising above our GULPs, or said another way, the first step to raising our ceiling for joy!, is to be aware of our triggers.
We've been operating under our GULPs for a while, and they've become habitual, so we will need to pay attention to what is going on and put 2 and 2 together in a way we might not have up to this point.
I want to give you a collection of triggers that can occur, but before I do, this is the congregant participation time!
As you hear the scenarios, ask yourself if you have you seen that happen in your life as you were engaged in intentional creation!
And I want you not only to ask yourself that internally, I want you to do something else! If you recognize it as a trigger in you or you've seen it as a trigger in someone else, yell out GULP. Let's practice. Let me hear "GULP" from everyone. Nice, your vocal cords are warmed up.
Here are some common triggers:
* As you begin to move forward on a creative endeavor that stretches your boundaries, subtle or not-so-subtle limiting internal and external self-talk creep in, and you listen to it and believe it! Anybody?
* As you contemplate moving to the "green growing edge of your becoming"c (to quote the 16th century Christian mystic Hildegard of Bingen) or perhaps you have moved to that edge, suddenly, for no explicable reason, you start to feel down, you begin to experience low level depression or even have painful, hurtful memories begin to bubble up. Eckhart Tolle would say that you have activated your "Pain Body."d Anyone know that? Can I get a GULP?!
* You have an exciting project before you - you are jazzed, you are pumped, you are ready . . .but then you find it difficult to focus - you're easily distracted by something else - can we say Facebook, computer games, Pinterest, whatever else takes us down the internet rabbit hole??
* You are on purpose, you've planned your work and now you are ready to work your plan, and boom, a situation arises around you that seems totally outside of your control but that takes your energy and attention away from whatever it was you really wanted to be about.
* You are about to take a big leap, and physical pain occurs that literally stops you from moving forward.
OK, I heard some GULPs. Quite a few in fact. A minister I know of gave me her story about her GULP, she said:
That last one is a big one for me. And it was only recently that I realized it.
The event happened 5 years ago and it took 4-1/2 years for me to see what was really going on.
I had been having an inner urge to expand in all ways -- to expand my spiritual community and to expand myself as a spiritual leader. The urge was strong and there was excitement, passion and joy in the prospect and in the creation of that expansion for me.
So I started moving in that direction. I hired a "Director of Operations" for our church and one of his main jobs was going to help with that expansion. I had a vision for it and had proclaimed it to the congregation. We were moving forward and taking action to bring it into fruition. One of our first actions steps was to plan a series of three all-congregation meetings to look at the intentions for expansion, to vision together and to begin implementing plans. We had had our first of the three meetings.
Personally, since making the decision to expand, I had two amazing opportunities presented to me from out of the blue - because we know that's how it works!
First, I had been asked be a keynote speaker at our umbrella organization's national conference, and I really stretched myself in HUGE ways in that keynote address. It was very, very powerful for everyone who attended and I heard from more than one person, "you are the new voice of NT."
Second, the weekend following our conference, I spoke side-by-side with Mary Morrissey at her annual women's retreat, and it also was an amazing, expanding experience for me. I did it for the joy and privilege of doing it, but at the end Mary handed me a check, the amount of which pretty much knocked me over!
The following Wednesday, I had my Master Mind meeting early in the morning at which I shared about all of these expanding experiences and where I was going next. Again, my energy, passion and excitement were off the charts.
I left that meeting to go to church to meet with my Director of Operations to plan our second church meeting, but first I went into the grocery story to pick up something for lunch. I was clipping along in the frozen food's section when my right heel slipped in toward my body and WHAM I fell. I did a quick assessment and determined that I was alright (and no one saw me - thank you, God!) so I got up. And don't you know, I took one step and the same heel slipped again, and down I went. This time I knew I was hurt. There was an employee stocking the frozen food way down the aisle and I called him for help.
He helped me up and as we hobbled over to the table at the Starbucks in the grocery story, that damn heel slipped again and down I went a third time!! This time I had enough sense to take off the shoes before going another step. We finally got me to a chair and to make a long story short, I wound up fracturing three bones (two in my wrist and one in my knee). I was completely out of commission for three weeks, I couldn't walk on my own for three months, and I was on a cane for another three.
And while the shoes were definitely the catalyst in the physical world for the falls (no, I never wore them again!), they weren't the real reason. The real reason was my GULP kicked in loud and clear.
I eventually fully recovered physically from the fall, but all of my passion and excitement for expansion went by the wayside. It didn't go intentionally; it just faded into nothingness as I got back into life after my recovery. I may have fully recovered, but my dreams stayed permanently injured.
We went back to status quo at our spiritual community; we never even had the second two community meetings; my Director of Operations didn't work out and he left the church; I didn't attend (let alone speak) at another annual conference; and I certainly didn't put myself on a bigger stage!
Now, I got a lot of ah ahs and understandings around the fall when it happened, but it was not until almost five years later that I saw what it was at the deepest level. It was my GULP kicking in - very loud and very clear! And now, in hindsight, I can't believe I missed it.
So we must be on the lookout for the often subtle ways our Upper Limits show up in our lives and then hit them with a two-pronged approach.
First, Holmes tells us what we must do in the SOM: "We must instill into the mind the fundamental proposition that good is without bounds. Only good and loving-kindness shall 'follow me all the days of my life.'e Then, . . . . let us begin to accept today more good than we experienced yesterday and to know that we shall reap a harvest of fulfilled desires."f
And here is a way to instill what Holmes is taking about into our minds. We will call it our GLUP-busting Mantra: "I expand in abundance, success, and love every day . . . as I inspire those around me to do the same."
Let's say it together. Of course you knew that was coming! "I expand in abundance, success, and love every day . . . as I inspire those around me to do the same."
How simple, yet how profound. This mantra is like an antidote to years of conditioning and programming that convinced you that you don't deserve/can't have abundant amounts of love, appreciation, success, good, peace, power, plenty - all those things that are our Divine Birthright, that God has in store for us!
So say it with me again: "I expand in abundance, success, and love every day . . . as I inspire those around me to do the same."
The second prong to our two-pronged approach is to let go! Let go of the resistance to the "what is," to whatever the trigger is; to whatever it is our GULP has created. Because it is in our life; it is our current experience and, as the Borg in Star Trek, Next Generation said, "Resistance is futile!"
When we let go of the resistance and then surrender to who and whose we are, we invite a pop-through moment. A moment when we pop through an upper limit and we raise the ceiling!
I love these words of New Thought minister and author Dennis Merritt Jones in his book, The Art of Being: "Life is just like the ocean, isn't it? Every day brings with it waves (challenges) and swells (fears larger than life) that seem to have so much power, and if we allow them to, they will intimidate us and keep us sidelined on the beach. However, if we want to have a fully expressed life, we are going to have to get wet and wade out into the surf. Yes, from time to time, we all have those waves that simply seem to overwhelm us. Those are the ones we need to be willing to be lifted by, not dragged under by. This can be difficult to do if we think we can control the waves. The key is to understand that we will never be able to control the waves of life, but surely, we can learn how to surf! It's about knowing how and when to let the waves lift us and carry us. It's about surrender in the moment and trusting that the Divine Intelligence within us knows what It is doing. If we are truly open to [that], each wave we encounter in life will contribute to making us master surfers - masters at letting go and letting God. As they say in Malibu, "Life's a beach and the surf is up," so jump on in and enjoy the ride."g
And that is my invitation to you this morning. Jump on into your process of intentional creation, and enjoy the ride. And when you are enjoying it so much that you encounter a GULP, recognize it for what it is, apply your GULP-busting mantra, breath into it and keep moving up your ever ascending spiral of growth and expansion!
I want you to hear this - really, really hear this.
* It is your Divine Right and your Divine Destiny to raise your upper limit!
* It is your Divine Right and your Divine Destiny to be engaged in the process and progress of creation.
* It is your Divine Right and your Divine Destiny to live a life of joy.
* You deserve to live there and the world needs you to live there.
Let us anchor that together. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and say to yourself:
* It is my Divine Right and my Divine Destiny to raise my upper limit! Daily I expand in abundance, success, and love . . . as I inspire those around me to do the same.
* It is my Divine Right and my Divine Destiny to be engaged in the process and progress of creation.
* It is my Divine Right and my Divine Destiny to live a life of joy.
* I deserve to live there and the world needs me to live there. And so it is!
aGay Hendricks The Big Leap
bErnest Holmes Science Of Mind p. 302
cHildegard of Bingen
fErnest Holmes Science Of Mind p. 39
gDennis Merritt Jones The Art of Being, p. 127