Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
"Love Brings Up All Things Unlike Itself."
- A Course In Miracles.
I have learned the powerful lesson of this teaching over and over again, and I have finally come to "expect" a strong reaction to any and every real step forward into new territory. I used to be really thrown off by it. I used to avoid it by not making waves or really speaking my own truth. However, when the Spirit calls us and we really say yes, our own resistance to the process of life must necessarily fall away in service of the greater good.
So what am I talking about? Nothing in particular and everything in particular. I am talking about Authenticity and Courage, our topics of the month, and about what it takes to dance with them both. Because learning the dance is critical if you want to stay in the music of growth.
Years ago, when I was first in ministry training, I was blind sided time and time again by putting my "all” into some big event or project, having it be a big "success" and then experiencing a huge "negative" push back of some sort or other after the fact. I put all of these perceptions in parentheses, because I am not sure that the way we define our success and feelings tells the true tale. Sometimes, the experiences that feel the worst in the moment, net the greatest gain.
Anyway I perceived the push back as negative, and I hated it. I hated reviews when I was an actor too! But the lesson is to not have your identity tied up in what other people project onto you. And THAT lesson is where the gift resides.
I thought push back meant I was doing something wrong! But a classmate and wonderful friend of mine, Rev. Mark Whitlock said to me, as I bemoaned the situation one too many times, "EXPECT IT!" He said it with surprise in his voice, like he couldn't believe I didn't know it! Expect it??? OK. So that was something to ponder.
Over the years since that conversation, I have experienced a lot of surprises, and through it all, I have in fact come to, if not "expect it", than at least recognize it when it happens. And I have also come to know that if you are NOT experiencing some push back in your life, you aren't really making many waves in the quantum field.
To make a difference means to trust that YOU have something unique and deeply valuable to contribute to the world. Authenticity and Courage. They really go together, and we have discovered that there is a third companion in this conversation, and that is Fear. To be authentic, one must be willing to dance with fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of failure and the even bigger fear of SUCCESS! We ALL feel fear. The place where courage comes into the mix is when we feel fear, contact our higher angels, and make sure what we are being led to is really where we should be moving. Then, we act in the face of that fear!
PhD programs are notorious for almost killing people who are trying to achieve the degree. I understand why. The stated goal of a PhD (Philosophy Doctorate) is to contribute ORIGINAL thought to the world. Original thought means an idea that someone else hasn't put into words before. It means having the courage to investigate many sources, and to allow your own thought process to become disciplined enough to weigh the findings, and then to create your own contribution to the conversation.
Then follows the challenge of "defending" your idea! This is the place where people really fall apart and I understand that too! You may have a great new idea, but when people are deliberately trying to find the holes in your argument, and aren't being very polite in the process, this is where courage really comes in.
It has been said that "courage is fear that has said its prayers." I am not sure what you each are facing in your lives, but I do know that in order to really unlock the deepest potential inside of you, you will continue to come face to face with the very things you have hoped to avoid. Loss of friends, loss of illusions (or dis-illusionment), times in the spiritual desert, are all part of the journey to really being able to say "Yes" to your highest calling.
And finally when you are willing to keep on moving through the inevitable self repudiation and the tempting of the inner naysayer who shouts "who do you think YOU ARE???", IF you will let yourself just hang in, you will go on to the secret chamber of the most high, to that place in you where you and God are ONE. You will find the path. You will find your way.
And when your original voice truly is able to emerge in the midst of that, you will be giving the world your greatest gift.
Keep on keeping on my friends.
As the old song says "The Lord will make a way somehow."
And we will all be better because you have dared to midwife your true gift into being.
See you Sunday.
We love to see your face,