How to Welcome Change

I guess it wouldn’t be Life if we did not always see change. In fact, change is so unavoidable that it makes me wonder why we always dread change. It makes more sense to dread the opposite of change, which is surely death. From that perspective, perhaps we should spread our arms and welcome all the change we can find.

Several changes stand before me, on the verge of unfolding. These range from the totally mundane to the exceptional. On the mundane side, I find I will have to do the research this year to find a new health care plan because providers I use will be dropped from my coverage in 2016. Aaaargh! No one consulted me about this change. In that way, it is typical of most change that comes my way.

On the exceptional side, I am in a weekly walk with a favorite gentleman who appears to be nearing the end of his life. He has reached the stage when he experiences spikes of good days and drops to bad days, but succeeding spikes don’t ascend as high, and the descents to bad days reach greater and greater depth. What’s painful is that everyone involved, most assuredly the gentleman himself, must learn how to do this as we go.

Nathaniel Branden wrote: “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” I am fully located on the second step with my mundane issue, but somewhere in the middle of the staircase with the serious change, which will bring impact to many people, not just me, in many ways.

My greatest gratitude is that I don’t face any changes, not even the small ones and certainly not the large ones, alone. God has promised to walk with us, never to leave us, and His strength and guidance are available to us at every step, as close to us as our very breath.

           

Grace as a Second Wind

Anne Lamott, in her 2012 short book Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, offers this comment on grace: “But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.”

Grace is commonly defined as an undeserved gift from God. Lamott’s observation suggests that God, as the giver, always has a better idea than we do about what kind of grace we need. We may think we need clarity and resolution, but God gives us stamina and the strength to continue. We may think we need a different job than the horrid one we have now, but God gives us the patience and fortitude to manage to stay where we are a little longer and “bloom where we’re planted.” We may think we’d like a change in something fundamental about our partner, but, if we’re really fortunate, what we get is the grace to change something fundamental in ourselves.

Today, look at the second winds you’ve received in your life and take a moment for gratitude that God is in charge of grace and is a whole lot more astute than we are.

           

Gratitude and Faith

Among the possible hallmarks for a life, the guiding principles that will at the same time distinguish you and shape your future, there may not be any that can surpass gratitude and faith.

We’re coming into the season in the USA in which people give more thought than usual to being thankful, and it’s an excellent thing that we devote one day a year to giving thanks. But gratitude is more of a 365-days-a-year kind of thing, more of an ongoing attitude of recognizing that all that comes to us has the potential to be a gift that warrants our thanks. And the more we purposely express gratitude, the more we will find to give thanks for. The very attitude by itself is enough to scour negativity out of our minds and out of our hearts.

Faith acts on us in a similar fashion. As long as we have faith – in the work we are doing, in the God we worship, in the integrity of our relationships, in the lives we are building – we can maintain the trust, conviction, and hope to carry forward until we accomplish what we have set out to do. Faith, in this sense, is the opposite of the cynicism that leads to despair.

Every day or so, I receive a “daily insight” in my email box from the folks at AsAManThinketh.net. Here is one from a day or two ago, suggesting that Maya Angelou has a similar outlook on gratitude and faith:

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.                                                                                                                   ~Maya Angelou

           

A Course in Miracles

I am stoked! On Sunday, August 4, I am starting a 28-day E-course entitled “The Wisdom of A Course in Miracles with Diane Berke.” I’m excited at the prospect of again focusing on love, forgiveness, peace, gratitude, joy, etc., as only A Course in Miracles can do.

Years ago these books were my main source of spiritual nourishment for an entire year, and they were definitely up to the task. The result was that I created a quarterly spiritual newsletter that I ended up sending to a mailing list of 700+ recipients – and this was all postal service, before the days of email transmissions.

What I most look forward to for the upcoming month is to see the texts through someone else’s eyes. What will she choose to emphasize? What gems have struck her as important enough to bring to everyone else’s attention? Maybe it will be one like this: “Every loving thought is true. Everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes.” Or how about these:

“Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time?”

“What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself.”

“You are altogether irreplaceable in the Mind of God. No one else can fill your part of it, and while you leave your part of it empty your eternal place merely waits for your return.”

Lovely! Maybe you should think about signing up for this E-course too!

           

Appreciation: Staying Current

Expressing gratitude is something you’ve heard about hundreds of times. We all know the values to be gained from bringing a thankful attitude to all situations.

But here’s a twist on gratitude: appreciation. When you are at a crossroads in your life, it’s time to think about the people who have been instrumental in your success or your daily well being to that point and make a conscious point of expressing your appreciation for what those persons have done in your life. You may never have another opportunity. It will cost you little to tell them they are appreciated, and it will likely make a huge difference to them.

It’s not only at the turning points in your life, though, that such expressions of appreciation are important. Regularly there are people making an extra effort to make your life better. It might be your spouse; it might be someone at work; it might be the clerk who exerts herself to be efficient and responsive. Make a point of letting these people know that you noticed.