The final question from Muller's book is, "What shall our gift be to the family of earth?" Yet, first, we must ask ourselves, "How can we contribute when we are wracked with shame?" We must live a wholehearted life. Brené Brown, in her insightful book The Power of Vulnerability, gives us four antidotes to shame:
Often in times of crisis, we look to grab onto something that has meaning.
Many of us feel hurt or flawed, and because of this, we often feel like we have no real gift to give. But this kind of thinking can be more costly than the original abuse.
We believe that we have been broken by our suffering. But the sorrows are not unbearable; these wounds can heal. Our sorrow does not contaminate our gift. Our sorrow can become our gift.
A gift not offered dies in the heart. The Family of Earth aches for our gift to be offered.
To start out, we hear reports from three teens who went to Winter Camp. Then, Rev. Patrick once again weaves a message of hope from the writings of Mark Nepo, Wayne Muller, and his own insights, reminding us what a gift life is, through a tender discussion of death.
When things happen in our lives, we can choose to judge them---to decide if they are right or wrong---or to see what is true in them for us. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in judging, then we spend our lives sorting instead of living.
Delving into the second part of Wayne Muller's book How Then, Shall We Live?, we examine what we love. It is not a straightforward question to answer---sometimes, we adopt others' ideas, follow our upbringing, or find we are influenced by others' expectations. It is a beautiful journey to truly discover what we love. "At the Window" by Mark Nepo
Pulling from Wayne Muller's book How Then, Shall We Live?, we learn that our identity does not come from what we achieve, how we fail, or what has happened to us. Could we possibly be able to say to ourselves one day:
I am the light of the world.
I am a marvel.
My story is not who I am.
Let's soften the story and lighten the load, so we can grow in a beautiful, expansive way, to be the light of the world.
We all want to expand in love and creativity. We all want to explore our spiritual nature.
Our nature is that we are the Unconditioned Spirit trapped in conditions. Like the sun in eclipse, our Wisdom-Self has Its roots in the unseen world. So our Divine nature is to live in freedom, to be happy. But, often, we feel that we are trapped in conditions.
Always doing our best is about action. As we bring new awareness to our action, we can make new agreements with Fortune, prosperity, love. And in so doing, we can transcend the weight of the conditions in our lives.
We all have beliefs and assumptions about ourselves, our partners, our peers, and our neighbours. But sometimes our assumptions aren't true, and yet we believe that they are right. And when someone challenges us on a belief that we think is right, we take it personally. And then we resort to using poisonous words.
Assumptions are created in our past and projected into our future. But in living this way, we are missing our opportunity to live in the present moment.
Nothing others do is because of us. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality (the dream they inhabit). When we are immune to the opinions and actions of others, we won't be the victim of needless suffering. This is emotional immunity. We develop this through understanding and being in high relationship with ourselves. It is a process of individuation, of creating boundaries.
Let us relax into the mystery of life. Once there, the path home lights up from within.
Today is Groundhog Day, a day about being stuck in a paradigm of beliefs, causing us to have the same experience over and over. So how do we move out of the trap of repetition into newness?
As Don Miguel Ruiz wrote in The Four Agreements, the first agreement is to be impeccable with our word. Our word is so powerful. When our way of being is lined up with our word, it becomes a potent and powerful experience.
This January, we are in "Starting Over" mode. We can all start where we are. We can all start small.
So we ask, what is the one thing that we can do, to put into our consciousness, that will make everything else different from this point forward?