Rev. Arlene’s Blog
Rev. Arlene Meyer, our Minister, posts mid-week messages on this blog. Come back often to read her inspiring and thought-provoking posts. Learn more about her.
Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to La Quinta, in the desert, for a conference. Years ago, I could never understand why anyone would live in the desert. I was in Palm Springs in the 80’s and all I could see was dirt and sand.
Now, however, I love traveling to the desert. Driving through the mountains and then into the desert, I am in awe of the majesty of the mountains and the life I know is hidden in the midst of the desert. I am now aware that there is an abundance of God, Spirit, Presence in the desert as much as it is in the ocean.
What is really interesting is that the area I went to is no different than it was thirty years ago. The contrast was not in the place but in my consciousness. In the 80’s I could only see lack and limitation. I was so filled with self-pity because of what I did not have, that I never really saw all that I did, and certainly could not see beauty even when it was all around me.
If we open our minds and look beyond appearances, we will find much beauty and abundance all around us. We need only to change our consciousness in order to realize that there is a Presence within everything – when we take the time to see it.
Quote of the Week
“Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.” Confucius
For many children who believe in Santa Claus, their first hint that he might not exist is when they do not get what they ask him for. The same thing happened to me regarding God. When I was still a teenager, I asked God for something and did not get it. I decided that meant that there was no God and began my journey as an atheist.
Many years later, I came to the realization that there was a God but it was not a man-like figure in some place up in the sky who answered prayers like Santa answered letters. I came to understand that God does not do things to me but through me. If I am not feeling the Presence then it is I that has lost the connection, not Spirit.
When I stay constant in my meditation, when I see the beauty and abundance of all around me, when I see Spirit in the laughter of children or in the love of my dog, I begin to get a grasp on this Power that is much greater than some Santa figure. When I have some kind of conscious contact with Spirit, I feel less fearful, less discouraged and certainly less alone.
However, having that connection takes some time and work on my part. I heard a story about a husband and wife who had been married a long time. One day, they were heading somewhere and the husband was driving. While stopped at a red light the woman noticed the car next to them. In it was a young couple and the girl was sitting right next to the boy, who was driving.
The woman said to her husband, “Why don’t we sit like that, close together?” Her husband responded, “I’m not the one that moved!”
If we do not feel a connection with God, it is not God that has moved away, we did. In my own life I need to move back closer to God. What about you?
Quote of the Week
“The whole of God is present at every point in space at the same time.”
In the rush of the day it is easy to forget to take a moment and breathe consciously. We forget that life goes by fast enough without us living in a fog and never seeing all the wonderful things around us.
We complain about people who are rude or nasty to us yet rarely appreciating all the people who are loving, caring, respectful and kind. The weather is either too hot or too cold and we fail to see that each of the seasons bring their own unique gift to the universe.
Mostly we fail to see that within each person we meet is a special being, someone with unique gifts and talents, someone who, even when they are acting out in a negative way, is really just someone crying out for love.
Life would be so much easier if we did not see the world and everyone in it as “out to get us”. When we live with distrust, anger, judgment, and envy we find ourselves closed off to the gifts of the Universe.
Let’s spend just one day making sure you are alert and aware to all the wonderful gifts around you. Greet each person you meet as if they are special and important…you may be surprised at how you see yourself when you view others through the eyes of love. Like Deborah Day said, “A positive attitude from you tends to produce a positive attitude toward you.”
Quote of the Week
“Not only do self-love and love of others go hand in hand but ultimately they are indistinguishable.” M. Scott Peck
What does it take to realize a dream? Hard work, persistence, a belief in oneself? Support of others, having the courage to face your fears, putting yourself out there? All of these and even more.
The differences between people who succeed in realizing their dream and those who do not, are many, but I believe it comes down to willingness, determination, courage and vision to do what is uncomfortable in order to live a life that is fulfilling. It is not an easy road to travel. Along the way people will try to discourage us, tell us we should take the easy, expected way. Peer and family pressure try to convince us that is better to be safe than sorry.
The problem with this kind of thinking, is that it often comes from people who have played it safe their entire lives, and who will often have the most regrets at the end of their lives. The people who follow their dreams usually don’t regret doing it, whether they succeed or not. They know that at least they tried and it is in the pursuit of our dreams that we grow in ways that, without that stretch, would be impossible.
Are you someone who takes some risks to see what is possible, or do you take the known route in fear of what the unknown will bring. Following dreams is scary, but it is, also, the most rewarding thing we can do – whatever the outcome!
Quote of the Week
“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life but I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” Georgia O’Keefe
I love the song, “I Release and I Let Go” which goes on to say, “I let Spirit run my life.” In fact, we sing this song every Sunday at Unity of Orange County. Although I love the song and often say I am letting go of something, I rarely do. Like so many of us, it is easy to say but not so easy to do. Either we try to control everything or we take the attitude that we are letting go and then believe that means we do not have to do anything.
Letting go means not letting go of our involvement but of the outcome. For example, let’s say our car breaks down. Letting go does not mean we leave the car where it is, hop on a bus and just forget about it. It means we let go of any anger or upset over the car breaking down so that we can take the step of calling a mechanic who can fix it.
When we surrender, let go, we begin to grow and things begin to change. Solutions become available to us. When we don’t surrender, it means we are still fighting the problem we are still obsessed with. When we are obsessed with a problem we cannot see the solution.
When we let go of anxiety we become open to new ideas and new attitudes and our energy moves into creativity mode rather than defensive mode. When we let go, we know that all will be ok since we know at the depth of our being that we are one with Spirit and all things will be ok in our life.
Quote of the Week
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
Thich Nhat Hanh