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Sunday Message for February 7, 2021


Let's start with a prayer this morning: Mother, Father, God, as a creation of divine love and wisdom, I am guided in all that I do. By the power of divine love, I foster harmony and unity in all situations. All that I need to know, I discern by the power of divine wisdom. I trust my intuition, for it arises in the harmony of divine love. I bless divine love and wisdom at the heart of me. Amen

It's February, and you can't go anywhere without seeing hearts, candy and flowers everywhere. That is, when you can get out at all. I know that this "holiday" and all of its trappings can feel really great or not so good, depending on where we are in the romance department.

What we are doing each week here is taking a deep dive into the heart of a number of matters which will bring the sweetness of hearts, flowers and candy to each of us, regardless of our Facebook relationship status! Today, we will get to the "The Heart of Our Dreams."

We talk about bringing our dreams into fruition a lot here at Unity of Castro Valley because we know that when we are living our dreams, we are expressing the Divine in the highest human way possible.

Today, we will talk about them again, but with a slightly different twist. And, I said this in the "blurb" about today's talk: "Be sure to be with us for that twist.

First, let me start with a story . . . a true story: It was 1959. Jean Harper was in the third grade. Her teacher gave the class an assignment -- write a report on what you want to be when you grow up.

Jean's father was a crop duster, and Jean was completely captivated by airplanes and flying. She poured her heart into her report and included all of her dreams:
* She dreamed of dusting crops like her dad
* She dreamed of making parachute jumps
* She dreamed of seeding clouds (something she'd seen on a TV episode of "Sky King") and
* Most of all, she dreamed of becoming an airline pilot.

She wrote and wrote, filled with all the excitement and enthusiasm of a 3rd grader with a dream!

Her paper came back the next day with a big red "F" written on it, along with these words: "Impossible; you have written a fairytale; none of those dreams are for a girl."

Jean was crushed and humiliated. She showed her father the paper, and he told her the teacher doesn't know what she was talking about - "look at Amelia Earhart," he said.

But, as the years went by, Jean was beaten down by negativity and criticism every time she mentioned her dreams.
* Girls can't become airline pilots; never have, never will.
* You're not smart enough.
* You're just plain crazy.
* That's impossible!
. . . until, at the ripe old age of 10 or 11, Jean gave up her dream.

I want to pause for a moment and simply have you reflect on whether any of this sounds familiar to you. I do remember giving up on my dreams. Perhaps different words, but the same meaning, the same message.

Fast forward to her senior year in high school, and Jean's English teacher gave the class an assignment to write a report: What do you think you'll be doing 10 years from now?

Jean thought about the assignment. She thought about her old dreams.
* Pilot, she thought? No way. It will never happen.
* Flight attendant? Not pretty enough.
* Wife? Who would want me?
* Waitress? I could do that. Yes, that feels safe.
So she wrote down - "Waitress."

The teacher collected the papers, and nothing more was said. Two weeks later, she handed back the assignments, face down on each desk, and asked this question: "If you had unlimited finances, access to the finest schools, AND limitless talents and abilities, what would you do? Write that down on the back of the paper on your desk."

Not surprisingly, Jean felt a rush of old enthusiasm, and her dreams began to bubble forth. And she began to write them down. When all the students stopped writing, the teacher asked: "How many of you wrote the same thing on both sides of the paper?"

Not one hand went up. The next thing this very wise teacher said changed the course of Jean's life. She leaned forward over her desk, looked the students straight in the eyes - one student at a time -- and said: "I have a little secret for you all. You DO have limitless abilities and talents. You DO have access to the finest schools, and you CAN arrange unlimited finances if you want something badly enough. This is it! When you leave school, if you don't go for your dreams, no one will do it for you. You can have what you want if you want it enough. "

In that moment, in the face of that Truth, the years of hurt and fear and discouragement crumbled for Jean. She felt exhilarated and a little scared. She stayed after class to thank the teacher and to tell her about her dream to become a pilot. The teacher stood up, slapped the top of her desk and said -- "Well, then do it!"

So Jean did. It didn't happen overnight. In fact, it took 10 years of hard work, facing opposition that ranged from quiet skepticism to outright hostility. But she did it!

First, she became a private pilot. Then, she got the necessary ratings to fly airfreight and even commuter planes, but always as a copilot.

Her employers were openly hesitant about promoting her -- because she was a woman. But she would not stop. And she went on to accomplish every dream her 3rd grade teacher said was a fairytale --
* For a time, she was a crop duster, just like her father.
* She made a few hundred parachute jumps.
* She even spent a summer as a weather modification pilot seeding clouds.
* In 1978, she was in the first group of the first female pilot trainees ever accepted by United Airlines.
* And, ultimately, she became the Captain -- not the co-pilot, but the Captain -- of a Boeing 737.

It was the power of a few well-placed positive words, one spark of encouragement from a women Jean respected that gave that uncertain young girl the strength and faith to pursue her dreams.

     Jean says: "I chose to believe her, and then I committed myself to the dream."a

I chose to believe her, and then I committed myself to the dream.

When you get to the heart of your dreams, when you think about the dreams planted in your heart, whether they have been planted there since you were a young person or the most recent dream you identified, say, yesterday - first, whom have you chosen to believe and, second, what are you committed to?

I want us to explore these questions within the framework of an acronym for your dreams and it is:
D - Deserve your dreams
R - Reach for them
E - Expect the best
A - Align with Source
M - Manifest your heart's desires

D - Deserve Your Dreams

I know some of us don't think we deserve our dreams, but I am here to tell you that you do!! In fact, I believe they are the God of your Being speaking to you from the inside out -- urging you to express It (the God of your Being) through them (your dreams).

Say with me: "When I express my dreams, . . . I express the God of my Being. . . . And I deserve to express the God of my Being."

Eric Butterworth tells us in Dare to Dream: "It's rather interesting that for eons of time, the phrase, Reaching for the moon, was the impossible dream of man. Anytime someone suggested some impractical utopia, they'd say, "Well, you're just reaching for the moon," and yet in our day, there were those who began to conceive of a trip to the moon as possible, and we saw the whole process unfold. We've landed men on the moon several times, and through another impossible dream made possible, we were actually there by means of television. It is true that the impossible dreams of man through all time, have become the blueprints of accomplishment. As we discover more and more of our own inner nature, more and more of our divine potential, we begin to realize that Jesus did what he did and achieved the overcomings that he achieved because he transcended the impossible. He touched that dimension of life where all things are possible."b

Say with me again: "When I express my dreams, . . . I express the God of my Being. . . . And I deserve to express the God of my Being."

There is a passage in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, that is spot on about this. It's a little long, but so very powerful, I want to share it with you. She's speaking about having a certain type of healthy arrogance, and if you have read any of her work, you know that she can be a bit sassy and this passage is no exception! It goes like this: "I believe this kind of arrogance - this simple entitled-to-exist-and-therefore-express-yourself [arrogance] - is the only weapon with which to combat the nasty dialogue that may automatically arise within your head whenever you get an artistic impulse [or we will say here this morning -- a dream]. You know that nasty dialogue I mean, right? I'm talking about the nasty dialogue that goes like this: 'Who the hell do you think you are, trying to be creative? You suck, you're stupid, you have no talent, and you serve no purpose. Get back in your hole.' To which you may have spent a lifetime obediently responding, 'You're right. I do suck and I am stupid. Thank you. I'll go back in my hole now.' I would like to see you engaged in a more generative and interesting conversation with yourself than that. For heaven's sake, at least defend yourself. Defending yourself as a creative person begins by defining yourself. It begins` when you declare your intent. Stand up tall and say aloud, what it is:

"I'm a writer.     I'm a singer.     I'm an artist.
I'm a photographer.     I'm a chef.     I'm a designer.
I'm an inventor.

"I don't yet know exactly what I am, but I'm curious enough to go find out!

"Speak it. Let it know you are here. Heck let YOU know you are here. Because this statement of intent is just as much of an announcement to yourself as it is an announcement to the universe or anybody else. Hearing this announcement, your soul will mobilize according. It will mobilize ecstatically, in fact, because this is what your soul was born for. Trust me, your soul has been waiting for you to wake up to your own existence for years! But you must be the one to start the conversation, and then you must feel entitled to stay in it! This proclamation of intent and entitlement is not something you can do just once and then expect miracles; it's something you must do daily forever."c

So here's what I want to do . . . it may be a stretch. Who is willing to stand and make such a proclamation: "I am . . . [fill in the blank for yourself]" OR if you don't know, say: "I don't yet know exactly what I am, but I'm curious enough to go find out!"

R - Reach for Them and E - Expect the Best

We are going to take the "R" and the "E" of DREAM together. Remember, they stand for "Reach for Them" and "Expect the Best."

The German poet/philosopher Goethe once wrote about dreams:
"Are you in earnest? Then, seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage, and the mind grows heated;
Begin, and then the work will be completed."d

So, again, this morning, I ask you --What is your dream? And are you committed to it??

You might have a goal, and a goal sounds good, but it's got no teeth to it because it isn't actionable. But a commitment, now that's actionable and that's what leads you to your dreams.

If you are truly committed you will REACH FOR THEM through action and you will keep REACHING FOR THEM through action, EXPECTING THE BEST until you achieve them.

You won't be discouraged at one little slip or setback. You will continue to take action to move forward, expecting the best outcome!

Who's seen the movie "Hidden Figures"? Amazing movie! What a testament to staying with it. Reaching for it. Doing what you need to do to achieve!

I saw a video of a little guy who has a big dream - to ride a really big horse. But the challenge is to find a way to get up on that big horse. He probably comes up to the horse's belly with boots and cowboy hat on. He can't even get his foot up into the stirrup. But he tries and tries, and he never gives up. Finally, he is able to climb up the side of the horse and get into the saddle.

A - Align with Source

This beautiful horse waited so patiently with him and he loved it once he got up! He was jubilant! Those are metaphors for A - Aligning with Source. And this is such a big topic that we are going to save it for next week, so be sure to be here! Next week, we will totally and completely Align with Source!

M - Manifest Your Heart's Desires

For now, when you get clear that you D - DESERVE your dreams and when you make the commitment to R - REACH for them, to E - EXPECT the best and then to A - ALIGN with Source, you absolutely will M -MANIFEST them - our final letter in our DREAM acronym. Why? Because when you do these things, the Universe rushes to support you!

In W. H. Murray's book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951), he wrote: "... when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money - booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and of realizing our dreams), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!"e

This morning, I invite you to engage the genius, the power and the magic Goethe is speaking of (did you recognize that, by the way, from the fuller Goethe passage I shared a few minutes ago?). Good, you are paying attention. I love that.

Engage your magic by booking your sailing to Bombay - using W. H. Murray as an example. Who is ready to book their sailing, in other words to take committed action? What is that action? Think on that!

Let us end with a prayer: Father, Mother, God; It says in the book of Matthew: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."f We know that you are with us as we strive for this perfection. We now engage the genius, the power, and the magic of our dreams as we commit ourselves to our highest and best good. Amen

aChicken Soup for the Women's Soul, p. 232
bEric Butterworth Dare to Dream
cBig Magic Elizabeth Gilbert, p. 93
eW. H. Murray The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
fMatthew 5:48

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