gratitude

I Am Grateful! He Is Not My Pope

Source: Yahoo
Source: Yahoo

Yesterday, as I was conversing with friends on Facebook, I was seeing a variety of different posts about the new pope, Pope Francis. Many were encouraged. More were unhappy and disappointed with the lack of progress that is being made by the Catholic church.

 

I suppose it is much easier for me to look at this with an objective outlook, he is not my Pope. For some reason, ever since I was a young girl, I have questioned the “rules and laws” espoused by any church that smacked of injustice, inequality, judgment, and a lack of inclusion. I am not surprised that the new pope follows the doctrines of the Catholic church without question. He would never have made it to Cardinal status if he did not, and would never have been viewed as a viable candidate for Pope if he did not.

This outlook, of course, has helped my spirit resonate with the First Agreement of Toltec Wisdom as written about by don Miguel Ruiz in his book, The Four Agreements. The First Agreement states “Be Impeccable With Your Word”. Underneath that agreement is the concept of looking at the agreements you have made with your tribe (family, friends, church community, teachers) and your culture, both ancient and current. These are agreements you have made without reservation, without thought as to whether they are true for you. Without asking the question, “does my spirit resonate with this agreement”, and listening for the truth from deep inside.

As I think about the views held by Pope Francis with an intention of standing in non-judgment and staying assumption free, taking him at his word – I see that he strongly believes in helping the world’s poor, protecting women and children from abuse and exploitation, he opposes abortion and views choice as a “death movement” and he opposes same-sex marriage stating, as reported by L’Osservatore Romano:

“In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.

Let’s not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God’s plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that’s just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God… Let’s look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the Argentine family in this moment… May they support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God. “

 

I can only bless Pope Francis, and know that these are his truths – that they may have come from his culture and/or his tribe. I cannot judge him, but my truths are not his in all cases. I recognize that I cannot change him, or his church. And, I am not responsible for him.

So, let me be impeccable with my word:

  • I agree with helping our fellow (wo)man. None should be abused or exploited. The ill deserve our love, compassion, and to be cared for. Humanity, not just women and children deserve our love, compassion, and to be cherished and not be abused. The elderly deserve our love, compassion, and our monetary support so that they might be able to share their wisdom without fear of destitution.
  • I believe a woman must be given the right to choose abortion under certain relatively narrow circumstances. This is my truth – based on my experiences in life and my belief in responsible choice.
  • And, as I watch the very elderly, and very sick people around me, I also believe they should be allowed the right to remove themselves from pain. This does not “make them disposable and worthless”, it honors them. This is my truth, and is based on my life experiences, and the stated desire of my parents.
  • I also honor the hundreds of LGBT people in my life. It has been a strong part of my life’s journey to embrace this wonderful community, and to be accepted by them as an ally and advocate. This is my truth, and I cannot believe that this is “a war of God” or that this is not “God’s plan”. Perhaps it is because I believe that being gay is part of God’s plan, to teach us that we are all unique, treasured and loved. And, that we should treat everyone with compassion and more than just tolerance or acceptance – but embrace them for who they are. My Grandma Violet used to say “God doesn’t make junk!” And those are words to live by.

I am grateful he is not my Pope, and I honor him for living his truth. I am free to listen to my heart, to act on my truth, and to love  and support without passing judgment, without taking away freedom and the right to choice, and to extend the hand of compassion and peace. I am free to change my world, one person at a time.

 

 

Reflecting on Gratitude

I have been thinking about gratitude a great deal this week, one of Unity Lincoln’s core values.  In case you don’t know this by heart yet, we say “We recognize, rejoice in, and give thanks for all of God’s gifts.” As I reflect, these are the things that come to mind for me today:

I am grateful my children and granddaughter are no longer living in Aurora, Colorado. They frequented the Cinema complex that was the site of the horrific murders last week.

I am grateful my gay son has not been the target of a hate crime since the late nineties, and that he works for a company that has an HR diversity policy inclusive of sexual orientation.

I am grateful that the economy did not impact our family any worse than it did, and Karl and I are able to live our retirement with all our basic needs being met, and fulfill some of our dreams.

I am grateful for friends who are always there when I need them, and grateful I am able to be there for them when they need me.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and my ability to recognize them as they arise.

Here’s the catch, though. To borrow a phrase from Jack Canfield, here is what worries me… is it possible we could be falling into a dangerous trap that keeps us from being successful in moving our culture forward? Is it possible….

That we are settling for less than we deserve in the name of gratitude.

Rather than taking action and actively educating the people in our communities about the issues facing the gay community (LGBT), and working to create equality in all areas of life, we say “I’m grateful it doesn’t impact my family.”

Rather than taking action and working to educate the people in our communities about the effects of hate and bullying behavior, so we might have an impact on that behavior, we say “I’m grateful I have learned the power of affirmative prayer, and this type of behavior is not the norm in my community.”

Rather than taking action to do something about the impasse our elected officials seem to enjoy creating in relation to our economic and health needs as we enter another frantic presidential and congressional election, we say “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

As I reflect, I must remind myself that wanting more does not mean that I’m ungrateful. It means that I recognize that I must take action in order to move forward. Most people are too frightened of what others will think of them to go after their dreams. It is my fervent desire to not be one of them.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  – John F. Kennedy

It is my dream that we live in a highly diverse community, where everyone has the same rights and responsibilities, and our society recognizes that the spirit of God resides in each person. Therefore, we are all one. I want all my children to be given equal opportunities, and the right to marry the person they love, and raise children.

Because we create our life experiences through our way of thinking, I want to live in an environment where everyone is encouraged to live in to their potential, recognizing and celebrating their inherent worth and dignity. I want our young people to be given all the support they need as they grow so that they might develop healthy thoughts, and respect for themselves and their peers.

If these are my wants, I must reflect on the action I am willing to take in order to do my part to move my community forward. And for that, I am grateful to be part of Unity because I understand that knowledge of Unity principles is not enough, we must live them. We must take action to live our core values, and our principles. Only we have the power to create the life we want, and it will be as big as we are willing to make it. We have a choice: to be grateful for what we have without acknowledging what we want or to be grateful for all we have been given and taking action to create the world we want to live in.

Please join me in prayer for those who lost their lives and for those who were terrorized over the last few weeks. We know that God is with us everywhere, and pray that we might see our next right step as God In Action. We pray for joy, kindness, love, generosity, and an inclusive spirit. Amen

Blessings,

Georgia

The Power In You

I have been spending some time reading Unity thought books over the last several months.  The teachings speak to me in ways no other teachings have done; I resonate with their message.  One particular book, Mind: The Master Power, pulls me in intellectually, and tweaks my heart.

In this book, Charles Roth speaks of “five talents that each of us possess right now.  He challenges us to see them, invest in them, and double them.  In doing so, you develop your potential for peace of mind, harmony in all aspects of your life, and an increase in health and resources.”  I know, you are anxious to find out what they are, aren’t you?  I won’t keep you waiting.

  1. The talent or ability to think.  Most of us have this ability.  Only the very severely disabled have limited capacity to think.  The key is in how you think.  You have choices – negative or positive thinking.  When you choose to think positively, all things are yours; your life will be enhanced and you will be joyful.  If you choose to be negative, all will be taken from you.
  2. You have the ability to believe.  You choose what you are going to believe.  You are what you believe.  How do you see yourself?  Do you see yourself as a victim?  Do you point to situations and issues as proof, as fact?  The facts are what they are because you have accepted them as your belief system.  When you accept you are a child of God, and because you know that God is within you, you will believe you are a remarkable person, a successful person, poised and confident.  What will you choose to do with that?  Are you going to use it constructively to believe that God is working through you in everything you do – and things will work out in wonderful ways you didn’t even imagine.  “As you believe, so be it done unto you!”
  3. You have a wonderful and powerful imagination! Remember, thought equals form.  Charles Roth tells us that “imagination is called the “scissors of the mind” for that very reason- your imagination works on the unspecialized substance of God all around you, and that substance becomes to you just the form that your imagination gives it!”   See yourself standing tall, poised, confident, successful and strong.  See yourself as you want to be seen, and you will become it.  “What thou seest, man, become thou must.  God if thou seest God; dust if thou seest dust!”
  4. You have the ability to give praise and thanksgiving.  Use it well, don’t keep it to yourself, holding your tongue out of fear of what others might think.  When we are grateful, we create the connection between ourselves and the good God has on hand for us.  If you are not connected to all things, people and situations, God cannot easily send that good to us.  Be grateful for everything in your life, because gratitude acts as the catalyst for your good.
  5. Pray.  Pray quietly within yourself, and recognize that you are one with God.  Talk to God as you would your best friend.  And listen for the response.  Create a dialogue of bantor back and forth with your creator.  Prayer is total surrender to the realization you are one with God.

You are remarkable.  Each of you are uniquely you, basking in the strengths, gifts and talents God has given you.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  (I Cor. 3:16).  Remember this.  You are capable of doing and being more that you ever dreamed possible.  Step into your power.  The Christ light within you, walks wherever you are, and gives you the power to express the spiritual potential that resides in you.  The Truth is that you are a spiritual being – ageless, deathless, all-conquering.   Step into the power within you.

Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.

Gratitude and the Holidays

As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the United States, please remember to take the time to express the gratitude you have for your loved ones, your life, your country, and the world.

I thought I might take some time to talk about how to maintain balance and boundaries when hanging out with those who may not see the world the way we do.

I find it very interesting, as I talk with others about their plans,  that the presence or absence of joy depends strongly on who will be at the gathering. The shoulda, woulda, couldas reach maximum volume during this time of the year. My question for us to consider is whether we respond out of duty and obligation, or do we respond because it brings us joy? If we really can’t avoid people who push our buttons, what can we do to set our boundaries firmly so that we don’t feel neglected, abused or taken advantage of?

Here are some tips for surviving and thriving with grace and ease:

  1. Just say NO. Set priorities and leave time open to rest and recharge.
  2. Plan ahead around length of time spent at an event. Setting our boundaries make the tension easier to take.
  3. Excuse yourself if the talk gets heated, or your buttons are being pushed.
  4. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect perfection in a family brouhaha. The family dynamics have been there FOREVER. You don’t have to fix them right now!
  5. Remember that you are not responsible for the behavior of others. You are only responsible for what you say and do, and how or whether you choose to react to what others say and do.
  6. Breathe and think before you speak. Ask yourself, “do I really mean this now, and am I willing to follow through with what I am about to say? Is it necessary, and can I say it kindly?”
  7. Drink a lot of water. Dehydration causes illness, and irritability.
  8. If you just have to have sugar, choose it wisely. Choose quality over quantity. Too much sugar is second to dehydration in getting sick.
  9. Simplify. Cut down on the gifts. Consider recycling items you own that are in great condition and you never use – they may be someone else’s treasure – give it away so that someone else can buy it.
  10. Give to your family’s favorite charity with your time, money, and love.

Gratitude is the magic elixir, the balm that soothes a weary soul, during the holidays and all year round. It helps us plug back into joy and abundance, no matter how hectic the world around us appears.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. May your weekend be joyful and abundant.