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The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back. Abigail Van Buren
One day a member of a spiritual community who participated regularly just stopped attending. After a month the minister decided to visit her. Guessing the reason for his call, she welcomed him in and offered him a chair by the fire. He made himself comfortable, and together they watched the fire dancing around the logs. After a time of reflection and silence, he got up, picked up one of the burning logs with the tongs, and placed it away from the fire. Returning to his chair they watched as the log slowly lost its radiance and glow and eventually died. Not a word had yet been spoken when the minister looked at the clock and indicated he had to go. He got up, returned the cold log to the fire, and they watched as the other embers immediately brought the life and glow back to it. As the minister went to the door, his hostess got up, gave him a big hug, and thanked him for his message—she said she’d heard him loud and clear, and she’d see him next week at services.
Sometimes when the routine of life knocks you off course, you might think you’ll find some extra time if you give up your spiritual practices. But when you feel depleted and tired, a community has a central flame that blesses you, and a love that can rekindle and awaken your spirit when it goes into slumber. The more you isolate yourself when you’re feeling down, the wider the chasm becomes. The gift of community is the energy and love it offers you in the downtimes. Don’t remove yourself—reach out and know the fire burns with more light when you are there to receive your blessings.
Spiritual Contemplation: Do you have a spiritual family from whom you’ve withdrawn? Drop back in and see if there is still fire there for you.
Affirmation: My life is brighter with a community!
How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world. Anne Frank
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. Edmund Burke
Now is the time to share your final tithes and gifts for the year. You have been well supported and nourished by Life this whole year, in many different ways. Make your “Declaration of Abundance” by willingly giving of that abundance. Think of those places and people who have spiritually nourished you. These are the perfect places to contribute a little extra to. It’s like planting seeds in the fall, knowing they are busy preparing to burst forth into new growth at the first hint of spring.
Spiritual Contemplation: Where have you been spiritual or personally nourished? How much support are you willing to give back?
Affirmation: I cheerfully and joyfully give back. I lovingly support others as the Universe has supported me.
Divine Grace, which is Spirit’s givingness, is always percolating just under the surface. It invites you to give and forgive, even when part of you wants to withhold or hang on to hurt and resentment. Your rational mind doesn’t always know what to do with this. There’s no question that it’s important from a psychological point of view to develop healthy boundaries and not enable others, and to speak up when something isn’t okay. However, there is also a place of spiritual living that sees through the foibles of others to the truth of their essence. This is especially important during the holidays as we manage all our family obligations. Rather than falling into the same old arguments or relationship dynamics, we might simply allow Grace to bubble up and take over. A more compassionate, kinder way of engaging in the world emerges without effort or force. Allow Love to spring forth throughout this holiday season.
In its broadest sense love is the impartation of the self, the givingness of everything we are or hope to be or have, and giving it in joy and without reservation, in complete abandonment. Ernest Holmes
Spiritual Contemplation: With whom might you allow Divine grace to soften your relationship? How can you bring more love into it?
Affirmation: I see with the eyes of Love and open my heart to my family. Divine Grace flows through me in all our holiday gatherings.
Keep your head and heart going in the right direction, and you won’t have to worry about your feet. Unknown
Too often we polarize things because we are so much more comfortable with black and white than we are with shades of gray. We want to know the right answer, the best way, and what we are supposed to do. This attitude tends to create pendulum swings in our culture, teachings, and within our own selves. Yet the truth is usually that it’s “both/and.” Sometimes one side is “right” or needed, and sometimes the other. Most often what’s needed is a dynamic blending of both sides. In spiritual teachings the pendulum often swings between the head and the heart. Yet scientists now tell us that there are brain cells in the brain, heart, and stomach, and that they are all equally important in different ways.
Balancing the head and heart, Law and Love, invites us to step into the fullest expression and experience of Life. Do not be afraid to be all that you came here to be! Your mind is brilliant and your heart is deep. Allow all of Life to play through you like your breath plays through a flute, making beautiful music throughout your whole being.
Spiritual Contemplation: Do you have a tendency, between the head and the heart, to make one primary and the other wrong? What would it be like if they actually formed a single heart/mind unity?
Affirmation: I treasure my heart and my mind, for both operate from a consciousness of wholeness and the presence of the One.
Building trust isn’t about trusting other people so much as it is to about learning to trust the way life is seeking to express as you. You are a multidimensional being with many potentialities and possibilities. Allow mystical flashes of the Infinite that illuminate your mind and activate your heart to take you to a deeper awareness of yourself. Trust in your dreaming!
The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. What God intended for you goes far beyond anything you can imagine. Oprah Winfrey
Spiritual Contemplation: What are your potentials and possibilities? What are you dreaming? Do you trust in your inner dreaming? Are you trusting Spirit to support you?
Affirmation: I live the life of my dreams. This is the Life that Spirit wants to live in, through, and as me!
He who sees Beauty, sees the Whole within
Apparent parts; the beauty of the dawn
Is not the sun, nor mist nor spuming sea,
Nor oak-tree challenging the raging wind.
For Beauty lies in him who sees and what
He sees and how he sees and what he feels.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so are joy, truth, love, peace, and every good thing you desire. It’s not what you’re looking for that counts. It is where you are looking from. The consciousness with which you look is what you will see. The best way to see the truth of this phenomenon is to start looking at new cars. Once you narrow the field and choose a car you like, doesn’t it seem like you see those cars all over the place? You are looking at life “from” the eyes of seeing that particular car.
A negative way we experience this is when we collect evidence in support of our limiting beliefs. Because we easily feel left out or overlooked, we notice all the times, no matter how small, that we are left out or overlooked. We have a tendency to completely miss all the times we are actually included.
Spiritual Contemplation: Where are you looking from? What kind of eye are you beholding your lives from?
Affirmation: I behold my life from the eye of Beauty, Joy, Peace, Love, Abundance, and Wholeness.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity . . . . Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie
Gratitude is the most powerful way to increase your blessings. Be grateful for all you have, and it increases. Be grateful for situations in which you are learning, and you deepen. Be grateful for what you are becoming, and you grow. Gratitude blesses your whole life.
Spiritual Contemplation: What people, things, and experiences are you easily grateful for? Which ones are difficult to be grateful for?
Affirmation: I am grateful for every person and experience in my life for they grow and prosper me in ways I can’t even begin to know!
If you age with somebody, you go through so many roles—you’re lovers, friends, enemies, colleagues, strangers; you’re brother and sister. That’s what intimacy is, if you’re with your soul mate. Cate Blanchett
Be careful not to fall into the complacency of taking your partner for granted. Express your gratitude often and share why your partner blesses your life. Tell them regularly whatever it is you love about them. No matter how long you’ve been together, don’t forget those special dates and getaways—they are the lifeblood of your future. Romance will always liven things up, so remember to flirt with your sweetheart, and whisper those playful teases into one another’s ears. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Spice things up with a little variation to your normal routine. Keep it fresh by experimenting with some new experiences together.
Life is stressful enough, so it’s up to you to make sure you share plenty of laughter so that your relationship becomes a place of healing. Just because you can say anything to your partner doesn’t mean you should. Some remarks can create a lot of pain, so be wise in what you say. But it’s important to communicate what you want because no one can read minds. If responsibilities have taken charge of your world, be careful not to lose sight of what’s most important to you—the love between you two. Continue to inspire good health with each other and always express gratitude for the love you’ve come to share. All this generates long-lasting intimacy.
Spiritual Contemplation: What can you do to infuse a fresh moment of love into your relationship today? What are you doing to bring intimacy back into your life?
Affirmation: I am grateful for my trust in intimacy!
Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet. Matthew 7:6
Share gentle truths with those around you, but be careful not to go too deep with those who aren’t ready or don’t want to hear them. Many have their eyes on the demonstration part, but don’t want the principle behind it. This is not the right time to blurt out the sacred pearls of spiritual truth. Ridicule is sure to follow, leaving you with an empty feeling inside. It will be as if you offered a pearl of great value and it was taken and lost, leaving you with less than what you had when you began.
Share some easy pieces, not a whole boatload. When you experience the depth of the Divine merging with the Whole and have your awareness expanded and filled with truth, there’s no need to flaunt it or convince anyone else of your experience. You can’t save people who aren’t ready by telling them about your mystical moments because they’ll put you under a sarcastic light and challenge you to prove what you say. Whether they want you to manifest cash for them on the spot or perform a healing of their choice on demand, skeptics will expect miracles without concern for the principle behind it. You never have to convince others because when their mystical moments appear, it will be in their own right time. In the meantime those who do their work in secret will be blessed. Share your gifts where they are appreciated.
Spiritual Contemplation: Are you offering pearls that are just not being embraced? What is it that makes you think you know what’s best for others at this time in their life? Let it go and just be the expression of Truth.
Affirmation: I give up being spiritually pushy!
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. Epictetus
One of the great things about life is that at every point, Spirit gives you a reason to be grateful if you have the heart to see. Gratitude is an attitude of the heart emphasizing your relationship with the abundant giver of all of life. Thanksgiving is a pure vibration. In the God-given gift of 86,400 seconds today, will you use any of them to say thank you? If you forget to be appreciative for the small gifts in your life, you won’t be given much to be thankful for. Aldous Huxley made an interesting observation: “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” What comes to mind is a Chinese proverb that states, “When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.”
When you’re really thankful, you can’t help but want to share the abundant blessings. It’s important to remember in all things to give thanks. Thanksgiving is that pure, vibrational, bountiful seed that when planted will grow into abundant joy as your life. Allow gratitude to sweep through your life and attract blessings like bees to honey.
Spiritual Contemplation: Take some time today to fill your heart with the pure vibrational energy of gratitude. Look upon the many abundant blessings you presently have gracing your world. Write those thank-you notes today. Make some calls and let people know how much you appreciate them.
Affirmation: I have so much to be grateful for in my life now!
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. Mother Teresa
You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six. Yogi Berra
The community potluck is one of the mystery miracles of life. No one is really in charge but somehow there always seems to be enough, and even more miraculous there’s always a perfect blend of salads and an abundance of chips, protein, vegetables, and sweets. Thank goodness for the subtle competition for the best dishes, which ensures there will be some good eats! What could be more satisfying than praise for your broccoli concoction when you know your friend bought her version of the same dish from the deli section of the local market? Yes, there’s also the mystery dish that no one is quite sure of and doesn’t touch until you find yourself standing next to its chef who tells you, “You’ve got to try what I made—you’ll love it.” You are polite in covering some valuable real estate on your plate with this unknown creation only to discover that everyone was correct in passing it by.
In life, we all bring our gifts to share. There are some rivalries that will help raise the bar of what is being offered. There will be moments of mystery. Others will just cruise by and take without contributing to the party, and some will care with all their heart to make sure it all looks beautiful. Then there are those you can always depend on to stick around and help make sure the place is cleaned up before going home. It’s the soul that is added to the friendships, conversation, and listening that keeps you coming back. There is acceptance, understanding, appreciation, marvel and, of course, a lot of love. Bon appetite!
Spiritual Contemplation: What do you bring as your offering to the potluck of life?
Affirmation: I am grateful to be a contributor to life!
In everything give thanks. An attitude of gratitude is most salutary and bespeaks the realization that we are now in heaven. How we love to do for those who cooperate with, and are grateful for, our small endeavors! Gratitude is one of the chief graces of human existence and is crowned in heaven with a consciousness of unity. Ernest Holmes
God is always and forever giving of Itself into Creation. Spirit is always providing everything that is needed for life—It is the fountain of Love and Joy and Abundance. We don’t thank the mountain for being a mountain—we feel overwhelming awe and gratitude that it exists and we get to see it in all its grandeur and beauty. In that same way our prayer of gratitude is because we so are grateful for all the beauty and mystery and blessings in our lives and that we get to experience and share them. We don’t say thank you to God because God needs our thanks. We say thank you because we need to be grateful for our blessings.
Spiritual Contemplation: What is your prayer of Gratitude?
Affirmation: I am so grateful that Spirit is my life and that I am experiencing and expressing it in very way I possibly can! I am grateful for all the ways Spirit shows up and blesses me.
Take time to be kind and to say “thank you.” Zig Ziglar
Writing thank-you notes is a wonderful way to warm the heart with thoughts of how you’ve been loved. When you’re busy it’s easy to forget to tell others how they have blessed your life. But when you pause to write a thank-you letter you are doubly blessed because you enter into the remembrance of that field of love. Taking time to appreciate people is an important part of a healthy daily routine that will prolong your life in an enjoyable way.
A grateful heart greatly revitalizes the body. It lifts the soul out of bondage to your needs and wants and instead places the awareness on blessings. As you turn your attention to the grateful side of life through appreciation, you bring yourself into harmony with a multiplying frequency of what you are looking at. All increase is from the seed. You will have stepped into the magnetic force of duplication of expanding your good. Your subjective goes into overdrive attacking only the experiences that support your present state of mind. Looking through the filters of thanksgiving draws forth more to be grateful for.
Spiritual Contemplation: Make some time, grab some stationery, and enter into your heart. Then handwrite some thank-you notes to those individuals in your life that you’ve been wanting to extend your love and appreciation to.
Affirmation: My heart is filled with gratitude for those who grace my world!
Cultivating gratitude is a lifelong process that aids in a person’s centeredness and depth. Elizabeth Goudy
In Dallas, we have a beautiful institution called “Thanksgiving Square.” dedicated to gratitude. Both a place and a reminder, Thanksgiving Square is based on the notion that there is one thing EVERY faith and spiritual tradition agree upon—the power and importance of thanksgiving.
Spiritual Contemplation: How have you learned about the importance of gratitude?
Affirmation: Thank you in any language is a beautiful prayer!
“Thank you” is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. Alice Walker
Celebrate a day of thanks and gratitude for your family and friends, your prosperity, your caring for one another, and the Presence of Love in your Life. A bountiful Divine Reality showers you with blessings.
Developing an attitude of gratitude is a deliberate spiritual discipline that we can begin or increase, starting today. Take time in the morning, before a meal, over a cup of coffee, or in a conversation to be grateful for three things that seem important in the moment. Do this as regularly and often as you can.
Let every day be a day of thanksgiving.
Spiritual Contemplation: How much of your life are you living in the attitude of gratitude?
Affirmation: I am so grateful for my life and everything about it. I am grateful for . . .