The week of Thanksgiving 2012 has arrived with a horn of plenty filled with growth opportunities for you and me.
There will be time–perhaps too much of it–spent with family, friends or possibly alone. There will be football and shopping, also in mass quantities. For the blessed among us, there will be tons of calorie-laden food, although its consumption may hinge on the amount of time spent with family.
I’d like to make an unusual request: Whatever you do, try to do it with love.
If you strictly adhere to my request, I can promise you that miracles will occur in your life.
Miracles are a shift in perception.
Students of A Course in Miracles–as I’ve been for a number of years–understand this truth, most of the time. However, it’s possible to look at a situation and visually see an answer that you believe is true that turns out to be false.
Let me explain.
My good friend LaDonna shared a story the other day about a philosophy professor teaching his class about paying attention to the important things in their lives. (The story might be familiar to you; this is the best version I’ve heard).
The professor begins by filling a large mayonnaise jar with golf balls followed by pebbles, sand and finally, brewed coffee.
After he places each in the jar, he stops to ask his students whether the jar is full.
Each time, beginning with golf balls in the jar, the students reply with a resounding and unanimous Yes!
Each time he proves them wrong.
He asks them to shift their perception a bit to see that although it appears the jar is full of golf balls, there is still room for pebbles to fill the empty spaces. When it looks as if the jar is full again of golf balls and pebbles, he pours in sand to settle into the cracks between the pebbles.
Finally, when there is seemingly no more room, he pours two cups of coffee into the jar.
The meaning of the golf balls
The entire lesson is of course about life, as represented by the mayonnaise jar. The golf balls are the biggest, most important aspects that fill our lives–our cherished relationships and anything grounded in love.
The pebbles fill the space around our relationships–our work, school and activities that nourish us.
The sand represents the small things in life where we often place too much emphasis–the task lists, errands or TV shows.
And the coffee? That’s the best part of the story. The professor explains that life should never be too full to share coffee with a friend.
For me, the story is all about the golf balls and who they represent and how they are the most vital pieces that fill my jar.
Oddly enough, on one of the legs of a trip to Cleveland last week, as the pilot was landing the plane, a golf ball rolled from the back and thunked against my foot.
I asked the guy sitting behind me if it was his. I asked the group around him as well as the flight crew while we waited for the next passengers to board. No takers.
Then I started asking people if they golfed and wanted an extra ball.
Still no takers.
I decided to keep the golf ball as a reminder to shift my attention from what is wrong or “off” in my life to what is really important. Love, it’s always love.
Now, I’m off in search of a gigantic mayonnaise jar . . .
May your Thanksgiving week be filled with joy and blessed with an awareness of what fills the jar of your life.
Photo courtesy of Betsy