Centering in Creativity and Love
We just put new floors in at The Center. I was sitting in the living room to bless and give thanks for the space and the light started coming in so beautifully through the dining room that I had to take a picture.
I am so thankful for what The Center represents -- a space to help people create and hold space for love, healing and creativity in their hearts and in their lives.
The rest that works represents one path for living that way. There are many others. But all of those that seem to work well have a healthy respect for body, mind and spirit and the value of centering in creative love.
So thanks to everyone who has been involved or been supportive. It is truly an amazingly wonderful journey. More power to you in yours as you continue to improve and practice the art of living your life.
Some mystics have said that it is God in us that seeks God beyond us. I treasure that insight. It helps us make a conscious connection to the Creative Forces of God within us which leads to the adventure of a lifetime.
God is an Infinite Mystery, but we can safely say that God’s Holy Energy under-girds everything including us. If God is Love and we are created in the image of God, we are love at our core. This is why our desire to love and be loved is such a good place to start for developing and maintaining a quality connection with God. It’s about valuing and pursuing our divine heritage.
Ego-centric fears and surface issues do not erase our ancestry and identity. They simply cover it up or confuse us until we come to ourselves and make the journey home (as the son did in the story of The Prodigal Son). Like the Wise Men we celebrate at Epiphany, we journey with God in the here and now by heeding the beckoning of The Light. That adventurous journey is the central opportunity of this lifetime. Our path becomes clear as we have the wisdom to see what matters most (Love) and an adventurous spirit capable of homing in on it as we go.
Aligning us with our divine heritage is what makes Jesus such a wonderful channel of God’s Love (and Mary too when you think about how she’s impacted the world). It’s not about status. It’s about the intensity and quality of the love involved. I suspect that Mary’s intense love for God beckoned the Holy Spirit and Jesus 2000 years ago. Jesus in turn beckoned the world from a manger and then from a cross. It’s not an exclusive thing. The beckoning of Divine Love is unconditional, inclusive and expansive. That’s why it is so powerful. But ego-defined conditions often need to be released in order for God’s Divine Magnetism to reach, heal and move hearts. That is the beautiful, redeeming (revaluing) process at work in all devoted love.
God’s Love is characterized by unconditional devotion. God loved us that way in the first place. God never stopped loving us that way. Our greatest opportunity is to reciprocate by loving God and others as God loves us. I haven’t been able to do that alone. I’ve only been able to do it as I appreciate the process as a life-giving cycle or a pattern with which I can move, like my breath and heartbeat. It’s much more like getting into a river and going with the flow than functioning like an independent contractor who is trying to strategize and make things happen on their own.
The other day I had someone refer to the rest that works as a way to walk the path of love. That brought joy to my heart. I think that’s why Jesus invited us to follow him in living it as a lifestyle (Matthew 11:28-30). Its elements provide a framework for moving with God’s Mysterious but Miraculous Love. It helps us relax our egos and open the door to the Creative Forces of God. Once active inside, those Forces help us work with God on the outside. It’s an in-and-out, life-giving process as close as our breath or our heartbeat, but it’s actually even more fundamental than those.
The graceful, life-giving rhythms undergirding our eternal souls rise from the Heart of God – that’s why they sometimes lead us into Love beyond description. Then we want to live rooted in this amazing Love so we can branch out with it. Like the camp song “Pass it On” said, “That’s how it is with God’s Love/Once you’ve experienced it/You want to sing/It’s fresh like Spring/You want to pass it on.”
More power to you in walking the path of love, whatever you call the process. I hope the ideas and practices of the rest that works enrich your journey with God, inside and out.
Thanks for journeying together.
Claiming our birthright
I hope that you had a wonderful and meaningful Christmas. If you're like me, you may also have some things to reflect on and maybe some gifts to return. That's natural. In the midst of such things, my prayer for all of us is to keep and unwrap the amazing gifts Jesus offers.
Here's a link to an article about some aspects of that from an awesome local magazine. (I was thankful that they even decided to do an article on The Center and the rest that works given that they are a secular entertainment publication):
The author, Laura Lash, did a great job of lifting out some core themes like cultivating our awareness of and trust in God and ". . . claiming our wonderful birthright – namely our desire and ability to live lives centered in love.” That sums up the fruits of the rest that works pretty well.
My prayer is that the materials, blogs and workshops help anyone who wants to pursue those goals. More power to you in creating or improving ways that really work for you.
Thanks for journeying together!
Following the Star within and without
Few saw the significance of the star that first Christmas. It's not that the Jews didn't want to. Most were praying for Emmanuel (God with us). But because of assumptions and distractions, they didn't have eyes to see how he would come or what he would be like. Most expected him to come dramatically on the clouds. They never expected him to first beckon as a quiet urge in the mangers of their hearts. Only the Wise Men had the wisdom to feel and heed the urge of the Spirit inside them. That's why they saw the significance of the star and were willing to make the trip of a lifetime.
Jesus taught people to start with the star within—the spark of God's Spirit in each of us. He taught his disciples to feel for and work with the Spirit – a lifestyle I call the rest that works. It’s an art that then employs things like science and practicality (rather than being ruled by them). It is a lifestyle governed by faith in God and unconditional love.
Jesus helped people to understand that loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is first for us and then for others. It’s a rhythmic in-and-out-process, like a breath or a heartbeat. Valuing redeeming love is the key to the kingdom within. Acting on our desire to love with God turns the key and opens the door, unleashing the Creative Forces of God. As a lifestyle, the graceful rhythms of the rest that works invite the daily advent of Spirit that gives us eyes to see and work with the kingdom (or kindom) of heaven, within and without.
Jesus remains a shooting star. He continues to beckon from the mangers of hearts and minds willing to stay humble, open and faithful to loving. Wise people still follow his way and truth no matter what their "institutional religion" (including none). They find it sheds light on miraculous possibilities right under their nose. It sees the priceless value of every heart. That's where God seeks new birth daily. And that's how salvation comes, one heart at a time, time after time as love is truly valued most of all.
More power to you in seeing and following the star this Christmas—in Emmanuel (God with us), in you and in others.
(P.S. Here's a link to details on the next class on the rest that works starting Jan. 6th: the rest that works -- events calendar. If you can't make that, sign-up for blog posts on this page and you'll receive information on how to get the e-course which will hopefully be done soon. E-book versions of the primer and main text are also now available from this website and Amazon.com. Thanks and I hope that you have a merry and meaningful Christmas!)
Opening the Gifts of Christmas
As I listen to people getting ready for Christmas and the year's end - and as I am doing so myself - certain things are coming up: The pressure to get gifts and other things ready; the pressure to wrap up year end issues (like healthcare and finances); and the pressure of traveling and being with family as best one can (and the feelings involved if one can't). It's a pressure filled time. That makes it hard to open the gifts of Christmas.
It's good to remember two things: 1) There were all sorts of pressures surrounding that first manger scene; and 2) What Jesus' life was all about.
First, in the midst of all of the modern wrappings of Christmas, it's easy to forget that Jesus' birth was a mess. It started with a shroud of suspicion (Joseph had to be convinced in a dream that Mary's pregnancy was acceptable). A very pregnant Mary and Joseph had to make a dangerous journey. There was no family to go to and no room at the inn. Not exactly how any of us would have planned a Christmas.
Second, Jesus' life was about a way of being that raises us above such problems so we can love. It's about grace that clears the way to love despite issues that might keep us from loving. For me, the meaning of his birth is summed up in the words just preceding his death: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." Offering that kind of love from a cross was the climax of a lifestyle that began in that stable. It's a lifestyle I sum up with the phrase the rest that works (based on Matthew 11:28-30).
So what does that mean for us? Embrace the opportunity to join Jesus in the lifestyle that empowered him to love like he did. Forgive that which might keep you from loving. Let go of resentments so your hands are free to embrace. Remember, forgiveness is not acceptance of damaging behavior. It is a choice to love despite damaging behavior. It re-values (redeems) people in the midst of devaluing forces. It is a letting go of a right to hurt back for the sake of loving, counting on God to work the situation toward good (much like God turned a manger and cross into beacons of hope). It's not about being a pushover. It's about invoking the power of love to transform things, starting with us.
Love opens the greatest gifts starting with the well-spring of God's Love within us. It is a movement of spirit we can chose. That's always a very good place to start whether we are in a stable or a palace.
More power to you in opening the gifts of your heart this Christmas!
Thanks for journeying together!
The Christmas story is full of signs: Mary received the Holy Spirit and the angel Gabriel. There was a star to lead all who were open to seeing it's significance (though apparently, only astrologers from the East did!). Joseph and the Wise Men had significant dreams (to which they paid attention!). And shepherds--the lowest in society--heard a choir of angels signing. We're told that all of Jerusalem was talking as the Wise Men came to town. You'd think no one could have missed that something was happening that was going to change the world yet all but a very few did.
Christmas beckons us in many directions. One is to stay open to the mystery of what God is doing. The rest that works keeps me in that space. It keeps me open to signs and the advent of Spirit as I go. It's a fun way to live. Most of the time the experiences are subtle, but sometimes they are dramatic.
Mystery abounds but so does love when I practice the rest that works. Rebirth through God's Love is a recurring experience. It's messy and doesn't usually follow my timetable, but I can't think of a better way to live. I can't thank Jesus enough for bringing this way of life to us.
More power to you in embracing the path of love that leads to recurring Christmas experiences.
Sex, money and in-laws
As I’ve read some New Year’s resolution ideas in newspapers and magazines, it struck me how hard we are on ourselves and others around some very difficult, complex issues. In particular, I read some financial advice the other day that made me feel like a total loser.
M. Scott Peck once said that sex, money and in-laws are problems for everybody. So true, and it’s not really anybody’s fault that fundamental issues lie in those areas. Struggling with issues of intimacy, security and family-systems is human. Finding loving ways to work through them creatively seems to me to be a primary reason we are here.
I think Jesus came to help us re-value our lives, putting the Living God, people and love first. "Redemption" involves valuing people and things like God does.
Compassion towards ourselves and others is an important first step in approaching challenging areas of life. We are all in the same boat when it comes to many of those things, including many of our desires. There is usually some healthy desire lurking behind almost all desires, though it often gets messed-up through selfishness or fear. The key to healthy expression is purity of love all the way through.
If we have condemned a part of ourselves, we are prone to condemn that same part in others. It’s like we have placed a log in our eyes in an effort to avoid looking at something, including seeing it in ourselves. That log blinds our ability to have compassion toward that part within us as well as others. As Jesus said, better to first remove the log. We do this by purifying the love moving through us. That’s one of the purposes of the rest that works. I daily ask God to purify and align the love moving through me so that I may better work with the Creative, Redeeming Forces of God. That’s the best way I have found to invite healthy expressions of love, within and without.
More power to you and thanks for journeying together.
We have this piece by Kelly Rae Roberts on our wall at The Center. I walk by it daily and love it. When I add openness to God -- the Creator Behind and Within all of Life including me -- it sums up the rest that works beautifully. Tapping into the well-spring of God's Love enables me to re-center and claim the brightness of being alive, especially when I haven't been feeling that way.
More power to you in following your true north and thank you Kelly Rae for your inspiration! (Her website is http://www.kellyraeroberts.com/about).
The Plan behind most plans . . .
Here's a true story that happened with a man I deeply respect. I've often given thanks for him ever since. Have a great day!
(If you're interested in being part of a group discussing and supporting each other in living the rest that works, the next class starts Weds., Jan 6th. Details can be found on the events page of this website. Thanks!)