Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Argh! I just heard it again. A well-meaning person just said, “I would love to give more, but am short right now.”
We’ve all felt that way at one time or another. Maybe it was a shortage of money. Maybe time or talent was the concern. Maybe it was feeling stuck and worried. Regardless, the message is the same - I can’t give right now because I don’t yet have enough.
So it’s high time we had a little conversation about Deliberate Creation.
But first I must digress….
In deep mid-winter, I always experience a feeling of hibernation, of drawing inward and letting go, of the old dying and the new preparing for birth. It’s no accident that we are given a bright shiny new year at a time when the earth and all that is in it is still sleeping. We need that time of quietude for healing, reflecting, storing up, and emerging anew ourselves. So here we are in the “dead” of winter which brings me to one of my favorite annual rituals.
Growing up Southern Baptist in the 1960s, we didn’t hear much about the practice of giving something up for Lent. Then I married a Methodist and listened as usually sensible adults bragged about giving up wine or chocolate and their kids giving up the jelly on their toast or cookies. I struggled to connect these superficial “sacrifices” to spiritual growth and finally gave up. Then one day a pastor friend shared the Lenten tradition he and his family followed and a major Ah-Ha moment blossomed.
Steve suggested that we use this 40-day season to let go of something we want to give up forever. It might be a habit that isn’t in our best interest or a relationship that doesn’t nurture us or even something we habitually worry about. Letting go of it for 40 days pretty much assures that it will be exiting our life.
Then he added a Step 2 to the process. Replace the time and energy you would have spent on whatever you have given up with something that builds you up instead. If you’ve let go of a relationship that is dragging you down, devote that same energy to nurturing one you want more of. If it’s habit, do something else with that time. He offered the example of smoking. Replace smoking with doing something else with your hands that engages and delights you. Erase and replace is the goal.
My own most profound experience (up until now!) was the year I gave up fretting. I had gotten myself into a perpetual state of anxiety and couldn’t seem to pull myself out, so in pure frustration I decided to give up fretting and replace it with quietude. I designated a very pretty (and comfortable) chair in my living room as my “Time Out” chair. Every time I would find myself feeling anxious, overwhelmed, fretful, worried, or fearful I would put myself into Time Out. The goal was simply to sit still and quiet my mind. This was hard! So I set an interim goal of just being able to sit still without wiggling, and even set a timer for 5 minutes and “made” myself just sit still for shorter then longer periods of time. Sometimes listening to meditative music helped. Often it was all I could do not to jump up and run do something else, but I stuck with it and slowly a miracle began occurring. My mind began to quiet as my body did and I began to experience what it means to “Be still and know.” Soon, I was so eager to go to Time Out that no fretful triggers were needed, and I found myself wondering if the timer was needed to keep me from living in this lovely quiet chair!
This year, I have already begun my Lenten process and the focus this time is Deliberate Creation. I am giving up living by Default and choosing living by Design. I am giving up lingering limiting beliefs and actions. I am giving up doubts and fears. I am giving up rehashing conversations and situations wishing I had said or done something different. And I am replacing all of that with deliberately, purposefully creating what I really want.
When the decision for this year’s focus was made, I caught myself almost immediately thinking “This is going to be hard,” then laughed out loud and remembered that “hard” isn’t at all what I want to create. So even setting my intention offered a moment to choose! And that’s the goal – to live by conscious choice, not by chance.
As long as I‘m spilling, here’s another dirty little secret. I began studying the Law of Attraction long before I knew its name or even that it had a name. It made perfect sense, was easy to understand intellectually, and fun to teach. Yet my personal frustration with my own lack of consistent results continued to grow like well-fertilized weeds. (There’s a big clue in that statement.) Thankfully, by continuing to seek I could finally see the answer that had been right in front of me all along. The missing ingredient was faith – faith that it would work for me perfectly every time just as the law says and just as others were experiencing. And those of you that have been reading along already know that faith is my Watchword for 2011.
So Deliberate Creation is my next leap of faith and I am inviting all of you to join me. Personally, I am using Dr. Robert Anthony’s course in Deliberate Creation as my guide, though you’ll want to choose whatever speaks best to you. Dr. Anthony has broken the process into clear steps and explains each one in terms that I can fully understand and easily follow. I listened to all of the CDs over the weekend and already feel a shift. Now I am listening again slowly, internalizing each and every nugget, and practicing constantly and consistently. There have been a couple of tough moments, but it’s becoming easier and easier to erase and replace. You can access Dr. Anthony’s teaching at Secrets of Deliberate Creation.
Regardless of what guide you choose, please stop by the Chicks with Checks Facebook page or this blog page often and let everyone know how you are coming along – both triumphs and trials. We are all in this together!
Can’t wait to hear your stories!!!