One of the wondrous souls I have welcomed into my life, Candace Smolowe always brings a smile to my face and lights up my heart when our paths cross. It seems I have known her forever. Yesterday, she was the speaker/spark at my Sunday gathering place called Circle of Miracles. Her topic was SpiritYOUality: Putting You First. What she meant by that had nothing to do with selfishness or neglect of the needs of others. It seems to me that if I apply Candace’s ideas, I will be better able to support and encourage others since I am simultaneously doing that for myself. She began by speaking about the concept that God is constant with us and asked if we were constant with God. She asked about the difference between being religious and being spiritual. I raised my hand and gave her my own standard definition. For me, religion is about doctrine, dogma, rules and framework and spirituality is about the direct connection between my heart and (to use a 12 Step recovery term) ‘The God of my understanding’, which changes (my perception of what God is, not God Him/Her/Itself) from moment to moment sometimes. She then queried who we wanted to be in the Presence of God. Hmmmm….naturally, I want to be in integrity, true to who I was created to be, loving, compassionate, welcoming, using the gifts I was given at birth, that I continue to hone and polish. She sprinkled in the guidance to be ” a better expression of God.” What would that look like? Probably the same thing.
One of the most challenging concepts she offered had to do with an ongoing issue in my life. Although I claim to have a constant and enduring connection with the One who created me, there is still not total trust and knowing that all is well. When I turn issues over to the Divine, there is still this sense of holding on, not completely surrendering, as if I know best. Candace offered “The Divine knows what It’s doing.” I am so busy DOING, taking action steps, being a whirlind of activity at times, since I have been carrying a fear that I won’t get it all done, won’t be able to support myself, when I have forgotten that I need not do it alone. I sense that they energy that is God, is waiting for me to simply ask for help. It’s kind of like when I was bringing grocery bags in the from the car last night and I was tempted to carry them AND my backback AND my brief case at the same time, to avoid making a second trip. The last time I attempted to carry too many things at once, I dropped a paint can onto the driveway. The lid had not been secured at the stoor where I bought it and it splattered all over the driveway, on me, on the side of the Jeep…YIKES! My life feels like that sometimes. How arrogant to believe that I could do this all on my own. Do I really think on some level that I am more capable of managing my life solo? Daily I engage in a practice of celestial communication that I sometimes call dialogues and at others, refer to as monologues. I see each of us as a God-spark, inextricably woven into the One. They are comical at times, seeming like no brainers, sometimes they are poignant and powerful, sad and with a tinge of feeling lost. Always informative with new grains of wisdom gleaned from them.
One of her props was a teddy bear, wrapped up in a straitjacket, with a little red heart on the front of it. Although the image of someone in such a fixture, brings with it negative connotation, I saw it as way of saying that we are often bound up in fear and limitation when love is the force that can free us.
She then spoke about her Y.O.U. process outlined below:
Y stands for Yearning. We each Yearn for love, peace, the feeling of Home. We have a sense of the feeling of Home as a baby in the womb, in the embrace of our beloved, in deep meditation and prayer, in the presence of a Master’s work. It is inherent in each human being. When we want to be loved, or heard, or known, or valued, or appreciated, or feel connected, we can feel that wanting as something even more than a desire. It becomes a Yearning, from a place deep inside, that we cannot describe with words. It is so strong because we have already had an experience of it. And we want it back.
Our Yearning is Divine Grace reaching for us.
O stands for Orientation. Because the Yearning is so strong and deep, we continually strive to satisfy it. We Orient ourselves in a way that we hope will bring the connection and peace we seek. But, because we were taught that life is hard, that if we do what we are told we will be acceptable, that we mustn’t ask for too much, we concentrate our efforts in ways that are often in direct opposition to what we want, like a compass needle pointing due South when we are trying to go North. We think that peace is achieved through war. That being acceptable means starving ourselves. That Love is conditional.
The anxiety of being so removed from the Source of our peace becomes intolerable. We seek first to find relief. We fill up the empty space with addictions, anger, jealousy, frustration, greed and pride to name only a few. It is from fear, not love, that we choose our actions of war and deprivation.
Fear will not create peace. Peace creates peace.
Awareness of how our orientation is based on our human effort to recapture our connection with the Divine is a crucial step in allowing peace and love into our lives.
Our Orientation is our reaching for Divine Grace.
U stands for Union. When we combine the awareness of the Yearning (Divine Grace) and a loving Orientation (Human effort), we create the opportunity to become fully aligned with our Higher Self and experience the peace we seek. This is only possible when our human efforts are aligned with the qualities of Love, Gratitude and Service. Faith in the Divine is the path.
Although it is grammatically incorrect, I am going to ask “Where is YOU in all of this, in your life?”