Today Is Ours

 

American poet and actress Beah Richards passed away in 2000 at the age of 80. One of her contributions to the world is the following poem:

 

Today is ours. Let’s live it.

And love is strong. Let’s give it.

A song can help. Let’s sing it.

And peace is dear. Let’s bring it.

The past is gone. Don’t rue it.

Our work is here. Let’s do it.

Our world is wrong. Let’s right it.

The battle is hard. Let’s fight it.

The road is rough. Let’s clear it.

The future is vast. Don’t fear it.

Is faith asleep? Let’s wake it.

Today is ours. Let’s take it.

           

Peace Defined

I never particularly thought I needed a definition of peace. The word has always seemed to signify a self-explanatory end point—a goal to which much of my life has been aimed.

So I was surprised a few days ago to find in Jeremiah, in the Amplified Bible, a verse (33:6) in which there appears to be a definition of peace.

In this verse, Jeremiah is prophesying the future in a restored Jerusalem: “I will lay upon it health and healing, and I will cure them and will reveal to them the abundance of peace (prosperity, security, stability) and truth.”

Since I came across this verse, this definition has been running around the back of my mind. I have been trying it on for size. Had you asked me last week what my definition for peace is, I’m sure I would have come up with something other than “prosperity, security, stability.” Yet, if I have all of those elements squared away, how could I not be in peace?

Once again, the Amplified has shown the way!

           

Gladness

Maybe it’s the rain. When it’s relentlessly wet and stormy, after a while I start to think about gladness – how to get some, how to keep it. I’m one of those people who need gladness.

So I was especially pleased this morning to notice something new in the Bible that I never saw before. It’s in John 17, with Jesus addressing God in prayer: “And now I am coming to You; I say these things while I am still in the world, so that My joy may be made full and complete and perfect in them [that they may experience My delight fulfilled in them, that My enjoyment may be perfected in their own souls, that they may have My gladness within them, filling their hearts]. John 17:13 Amp.

There’s so much in the Bible that is intolerable to friends of mine, even the deeply spiritual folks for whom things of this nature are important. I never try to defend the Bible, nor press it upon people, but I still return to it every morning and usually find reason for peace. Maybe that’s because after so many years, I know where to look and where not to! All I know is that I feel better about today, even with its rain, when I consider that there is a sacred intention that I have divine gladness filling my heart.

           

Surfacing from Busyness

This month is the two-year anniversary of when this blog was launched. Anniversaries are always good occasions for pausing to remember the reasons one is doing something, whether it’s being in a relationship, working at a company, continuing in a group, or maintaining a blog.

The foundational intention for the blog was to be about two things: becoming aware of our spirituality every day of our lives … and how to experience this extraordinary gift on such a regular basis that it actually becomes our ordinary, “everyday” life.

But that very first entry, two years ago, acknowledged that daily life inserts itself constantly and demands our attention, with the result that we might go all day without realizing the peace and serenity that are available to us if we can only stop long enough to let them surface.

When those times happen to me – as they have relentlessly this past month – the best thing I can do is sit in silence and let myself sink back into the awareness of the Spirit that is still there waiting. The connection to the all-encompassing Spirit never goes away, never abandons us. We have to keep in mind that if we’re feeling the absence of God, it isn’t God that moved.

           

Peace

We are a week into the E-course on A Course in Miracles and I am finding it a useful addition to my spiritual practices. In the first week, a very helpful lesson was the reminder from the ACIM Workbook (Lesson 34), entitled “I could see peace instead of this.”

The text from the Workbook encourages the reader to “search your mind for fear thoughts, anxiety-producing situations, ‘offending’ personalities or events, or anything else about which you are harboring unloving thoughts.” Then as each one arises in your mind, you are to repeat: “I could see peace in this situation instead of what I now see in it.” With that, you let go of whatever thought was troubling you.

Unless you’re a hermit in a remote desert (and maybe even then), you’re going to have situations arise in the course of day-to-day interactions with people that irritate you, frustrate you, annoy you, frighten you, disgust you, or upset you in some other way. As your normal, usual reactions occur, you can put the brakes on immediately with the thought from Lesson 34: “I could see peace instead of this.”

Another expression for the same rethinking is: “I could experience peace in this situation instead of what I am experiencing now.”

God be with you in increasing the peacefulness of your life.

           

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!

           

Patience

Recently on Twitter a great post by @Kekris provided me with a perspective on peace and patience that I’ve been thinking about ever since and want to share. This was her tweet, a quote from Adel Bestavros:

“Patience with others is Love, Patience with self is Hope, Patience with God is Faith.”

When I can’t always feel love toward other people, I can still (nearly always) muster patience toward them, and it gives me peace to know that that is a step toward loving them. It makes me more willing to try.

Patience with myself – I’d always perceived patience with myself more as acceding to a tendency to procrastination, and never viewed it as something positive. Maybe if I can see it as Hope, I can loosen that particular fight.

And patience with God reminds me of my previous post on “waiting for God,” which must be about the same thing because both suggest the quiet assurance (read: Faith) that God will come through, even if it takes a while.

How do you see these definitions of patience in your own life?


           

Waiting for God

Today has been a day of complete rest: sleeping late, then meditation, then a nap later, then lying about reading all day. I’m sure it’s been years since I have taken a day like this, and I am grateful for the complete quiet, the extraordinary peace. I would not want to live like this every day, but something negative happens if a day like this is never taken. It’s probably the buildup of how seldom such a day is enjoyed that makes it become imperative. It’s been a retreat day without going anywhere or paying anything for the privilege.

So, why am I writing about this? My purpose is really not to push this sort of “not-doing” day as a spiritual practice, though maybe it should be – it’s certainly benefited my spiritual being. I’m writing this because yesterday a friend of mine said (in gentle ridicule, I think) that my blog posts happen when God tells me what to write. Today, after many days of silence in this blog, this is what I felt compelled to write … so could be she’s right. I think that’s how I’m going to approach this blog from here on. Thanks, Erin!