Who would we be without our challenges, especially the ones that cause us to dig deep to determine the thickness of the stuff of which we’re made? How would we grow and learn and seek the greater good in our lives?
I don’t like to admit that I’m a better person for grappling with my challenges. To borrow a phrase from a life-altering book, “Who cares to admit complete defeat?”
I’m of the opinion that there are two kinds of people occupying this planet, those who are emotionally dead, and those who step into each day with passion, gusto and zeal.
Zeal is kind of a strange word, rhyming with seal which reminds me of La Jolla, CA and a string of sweet November mornings (sorry, I digress). Unity embraces zeal as one of the spiritual faculties of man, and it is the featured power for this 10th Day of Christmas.
“The power of zeal opens the way to wondrous blessings, for it is the pure activity of Spirit at work,” reads Unity’s Advent and 12 Days of Christmas guide for 2010.
I love the visual image of zeal as a brightly lit doorway opening to an endless sea of blessings.
Charles Fillmore, one of Unity’s co-founders, said that, as with the other 11 faculties, each of us is naturally zealous. However, many of us allow our zeal to shrivel. We limit ourselves and avoid living fully (including facing those damnable challenges).
Fillmore wrote in the Twelve Powers of Man, ”The man without zeal is like an engine without steam or an electric motor without a current.”
Zeal is one of those words that my friend Claudette would say “tastes good.” Even better, zeal feels good, especially when poured over a heaping helping of challenges.
My bet is that if you’re reading this post, you have some degree of zeal in your life. Good for you. Zeal causes me to do silly, child-like and downright goofy things from time to time. And that feels good.
How does zeal show up for you?
And so the real-world New Year begins today, the back-to-work new year.
My approach is different. There are no resolutions–with inevitable failure as a byproduct–but rather there are three words on which I will focus in 2011.
Those words, just now settling into my brain, are Intention, Source and Order. As I understand from mentors like Chris Brogan and Beth Kanter, the beauty about setting words instead of resolutions as a way to define a new year is that words are elastic whereas resolutions are rigid.
The three words can evolve and meander throughout the year. They can birth baby words, little offshoots that may grow into one of the three words for 2012.
The word I’d like to focus on today is the last one: Order, also the Unity power assigned to the Ninth Day of Christmas.
The key reference for Order relates to Divine Order and remembering that Divine Order suffuses everything in our lives.
From “Awakening the Christ Spirit Within,”
“Today I take time to contemplate this unfailing law of God and to keep it uppermost in mind as I put my life in perspective. Trusting in divine order, I know that the events in my life are taking place in the right ways at the right time. I exercise patience as I anticipate the blessing that is coming to me.”
Within the 12 Powers context, the word Order is described as the ability to organize, balance, sequence and adjust.
Over the next few days, I’ll more fully describe Intention, Source and Order. I’m looking forward to that, but in terms of Order, I’m eager to establish better forms of organization and balance. Sequence is an interesting twist on Order and I’ll gladly explore that word as well.
God knows I need to tap into Divine Order more consciously. Now, with Order as one of my three words for 2011, I get to explore the practical side of the word.
Since this post seems to be “in order,” I’ll end with a question. What are your three words for 2011 and how will they manifest in your life?
We had a bit of a rough start to the new year. Last night ended badly and this morning didn’t begin so well. Misunderstandings, huge fears and enough tears to float a small boat accompanied the transition from January 1 to 2.
So goes the spiritual life. Too often, I allow lack of perfection to be my dilemma. As I tried to sleep last night–hard to do when you can’t stop crying–my mind kept calling me a particularly bad name. Fraud.
My thoughts: “How dare you deign to write about your experiences with the Twelve Powers during the 12 Days of Christmas and then behave the way you did? Do you really expect that your readers will find you credible? You’re not and tonight proves it. You’re nothing but a fraud, so you might as well hang up your pen and your keyboard.”
As I continued to cry, I believed those mean words I was heaping on myself. Then suddenly, I found myself praying, “God I need help here. I don’t know what I need but I do know I need your will to be done.”
I fell asleep and when I woke this morning to meditate and write, I discovered today’s word on this Eighth Day of Christmas is Will.
God is so good.
Unity considers Will to be “the ability to choose, decide, command, lead, determine.”
The part that most interests me is the choosing part, as in, I can choose to change the direction of my thoughts so that I don’t believe the mean and ugly things The Ego throws at me.
Here’s an excerpt from Your God-Given Potential: Unfolding the Twelve Spiritual Powers, by Winifred Wilkinson Hausmann:
“It is our job in developing our God-given potentialities to re-educate the will, the directing power of our mind, to teach it to become receptive to spiritual motivation, rather than to goals determined by our materialistic pursuits alone.
“… One way or another, we are using our will, our executive mind power, all the time. We choose a course of action. We resist or resent. We submit or fight back. We aim high or we slide backward. Or we are willing to consecrate and dedicate our will to God and to let it be re-educated to go His way.
“… The rewards of unifying our wills with the will of God are great. They include health, happiness, joy, peace, harmony, prosperity and other good that we cannot even visualize in our present state of consciousness.
“… Many inharmonies in human relationships result from the clash of human wills. Learning to activate the divine will in your life does not mean that you will simply submit to the human will of others. Instead, it will give you a new freedom that recognizes the human force applied by others but does not submit to it.
“… We can start first to awaken the will and train it by consciously watching its activities and directing it through our growing spiritual understanding.”
And everyone said Amen.
1-1-1-1. Feels sort of magical to begin a new year with all ones, like it’s the first of many good things to happen this year. First, times four!
Twenty-10 was filled with every possible emotion that each seemed to run the gamut of simple to intense. Sometimes the emotions swung so swiftly one to another that I thought my mind might snap. Like all of you reading this, however, I made it through the rain and found myself protected, to quote an old Barry Manilow song.
My spiritual work through the holidays and on into the 12 Days of Christmas brought insight and understanding. I have a better understanding that there is an option about whether to let my emotions control me. I have dominion over my mind–the Power of Understanding, the word on this seventh day of Christmas–is proof.
My cell phone reset itself to factory settings last night, so I lost everything. Apps, ring tones, bookmarks, contacts, hours of work, just gone. I was perturbed and that’s a deliberately mild description.
This morning, I discovered that the power cord for my netbook no longer powered the computer. I’ve been running everything on my netbook for over a week, including these posts. I was irritated and that’s a deliberately mild description.
Late this morning, I had a bit of an emotional kick in the gut from a phone call to a family member. It didn’t go so well and I hung up feeling somewhat sad and helpless.
None of these things, not the electronics issues or the family one, constitutes abdicating my spiritual powers. The faculty of understanding consoles me. I understand that the awareness of beauty and peace and grace is available to each of us, if we choose to focus our minds in that direction.
I don’t deny that the business about my phone and computer angered me. In fact, I thought briefly about a foot-stomping tantrum. I also don’t deny that I’m concerned about the person on the other end of my phone call.
The power of understanding helps me to look around and beyond these incidences, however. I am powerless over them, just as I am powerless over the alcohol that once rules my life. For me, and this is just me, I try to not let my mind and emotions become stuck in the negativity. I know the stuff exists that initiates the feelings and emotions. I respect those feelings, I pray for the situation or people, then I try to move beyond them to the light of understanding where all things are possible.
As a Twitter friend wrote, God’s will will be done.
Happy New Year to all.
I’m nervous and a bit apprehensive as I sit down to write this final B Here Today post of 2010.
The words and phrases have to be just right, the images keenly described, says my old nemesis The Ego. This is it, after all, the year’s pinnacle wrapped up in 500 words or less. No pressure, but you’d better make it good.
Could we just stick to the game plan? Yes, it’s the last day of the year but it is also the sixth day of Christmas. If you’ve been following since Dec. 26, you know that we’re following Unity’s 12 Powers, one for each of the 12 days of Christmas.
Today’s word is Imagination, a perfect word for the year-end and my final post.
B Here Today launched on May 20 of this year, the anniversary of what I consider my birth into a new way of living, a sober way of life. I had no idea where the posts would lead or who would read them but my imagination took a cue from my intuition and jumped in to the deep end of the pool.
My intention was to provide hope and inspiration for folks struggling with daily addiction and/or living issues. That intention stands today, some 60 posts later. Somewhere along the way, imagination linked with intention and I hold a fairly clear vision of B Here Today in 2011. I hope you’ll watch the progress and join with me in celebrating all the good that lies in store for us in the coming year.
Remember, though, ours is a day-by-day journey. Upon awakening each day, after giving thanks for breathing in another morning’s glory, let’s allow our imaginations to create a day that sees only the possibilities of good.
In Unity’s “Awaken the Christ Spirit Within” booklet, it’s written, “I look for and expect a blessing for myself and my life, even when I’m facing a challenge. I see good in all people, and I imagine the world as a place of abundance, wholeness and peace.”
I think that sounds like a great entree’ into a new year, don’t you?