Sunday, December 30, 2018
Sunday Message - December 30, 2018 - Make Up Your Mind
I started to see a pattern some years ago. I noticed in various instances that when I made a clear decision about something, a result would be more clearly realized.
Back in the mid 90’s while I was living in Toronto I made a decision. I don’t know what prompted me to think of it in terms of a decision rather than a wish, but that’s how I framed it in my mind. I was making a decision as a form of prayer, though I didn’t recognize it as such at the time. I decided I was going to stop housekeeping and begin earning my living as an actor full time, by my July birthday, which was still several months away. So that was the decision. I was going to be a working actor by my birthday.
Then, in the meantime, I continued working as a housekeeper as an undocumented immigrant living in Canada. My hope was that if I could get a union contract for a show that was really motivated to hire me despite my being an American, I might qualify for a work visa and then I wouldn’t have to spend my existence looking over my shoulder all the time for immigration officials.
It didn't go that way exactly. However, in the weeks and months following the moment I made my decision to start working as an actor full time my housekeeping clients started dropping off on their own. They were going away for the summer and weren’t sure what would be happening when they got back. One was moving. One lost his job and I was downsized. One might assume that it was all in my mind. One might assume that they were all firing me one by one because my heart wasn’t in it anymore and the quality of my work was declining. But at least half of my clients dripped away one at a time for reasons I could confirm were not fabricated. And I never received a complaint. Interesting.
I was also continuing to audition for shows. I got plenty of non-paid gigs. It was the paid ones that were slim to find who might be either willing to get me a visa or pay me under the table. But then I auditioned for a children’s show and got the gig. Full time paid job for months. And for some reason they were willing to pay me under the table. Rehearsals started on my birthday. A week after my last client had scheduled my last cleaning. And I became the costume manager for the next show in that theatre when mine closed and I didn’t even miss a paycheck. In fact, I got a raise and had more fun backstage than most of the shows I’d actually performed in.
I acted in a steady string of non-union shows from that point on that paid about $300 bucks a week. Which at the time was enough to pay the bills. I was a swing in a modern musical version of the Aristophanes’ ancient comedy Clouds, so I eventually got to play all the fun parts. And for three years I was a swing in the Toronto production of Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap, which was the longest running show in North America at the time. I also produced and learned how to sew by making the costumes for my shows in a couturier's workshop who very patiently taught me from scratch.
I had everything I needed and I’m certain it was because I made a decision.
Now, we make decisions all the time. What was different about this? I’m not completely sure, to be honest. I think it’s something to wonder about though. Because it’s happened at other times too. It seems that the character of the decision making in those moments feels more like making a pact, perhaps, than just declaring a desire. There is a deep sensation to it. Definitely. And I can often trace it back, when something I wanted to happen finally occurs, to the moment when I had made up my mind about it. I can look back and see how the soon as I truly decided, things over which I had no direct control started to work in my favor towards what I wanted.
We’re talking straight up law of attraction stuff here. It’s the mechanics of ask and ye shall receive.
There were several times during the past year here at church when I had made a decision that something should happen and without knowing how, leapt. Believed. I did not know for sure how much it was going to cost, nor how much effort it would take to build a float for the 4th of July, for instance. It took a lot of volunteers and some late hours to pull it off. But it happened. And though it took a lot, I feel closer to the people who helped make it happen. We were a team dedicated to accomplishing an idea together. And I know it was worth doing. It was worth leaping even though I didn’t yet know how it would all work out when I started. The same could be said for the holiday decorations on the building, or the nativity pageant, but these things made people happy. And drew us closer as a spiritual community. I’m glad I made a decision. Because those decisions made us bigger, more noticeable, of greater service to this community. How much advance planning should we really achieve before we feel safe enough to proceed without surprise?
Part of this comes with a commitment of faith on the part of the one making the decision. Because what we routinely do is ask for a particular reality, and then there must occur a natural waiting period, but then we panic and assume nothing’s happening when it just hasn’t come into view yet. We give up. We seek only the solutions that have a more visible linear connection or stand a chance of happening in a way that we can predict. But the best solutions rarely come in predictable ways. And big mistakes can still happen even with the most careful planning. Security is a superstition, Helen Keller said.
My favorite spiritual aphorism is leap and the net will appear. It’s terrifying most of the time. And it can freak some people out. But it doesn’t make it a wrong way to live. There’s a lot of spiritual advice in favor of taking risks and leaping with the full assumption that a net will appear, so long as we do nothing to sabotage it. Which requires we remain calm and trust. Keep moving forward. You don’t have lean so far forward that you have to run to keep from falling. Put a little grace and patience in your step. Not only will it make things easier for you, you’ll be at greater peace with those who get nervous and are free to hold their hand and calm them. Because that will happen. It’s an opportunity to show more love. Take it.
All of this is predicated on the need to make up your mind.
It is the core secret of the golden rule as well for we must determine how we wish to be treated first if we want to know how to treat others. We must know what it is that we want. We must decide.
And that’s a really hard part for most people. Hardly anyone really knows what they want. They know things that they want to happen; things that they want to have. But these are just things we think will make us happy and feel fulfilled. They’re the best we can come up with. We spend our psychic energy on wishing for things instead of feelings or experiences. We think a car will make us feel free so we wish for a car believing that is the only way we will ever experience freedom. Will we get the car? Depends on how aligned that idea is with your truest intentions deep down. We ask for stuff that think will make us feel happy and fulfilled because that seems to make more sense to us. It seems more concrete. Well, why not focus on happiness and fulfillment instead? The pathway toward them, meaning the stuff you really need rather than the stuff you think you need, might be very different than you would have imagined. The idea here is to pray less for the car and more for the freedom. Do you have the courage to decide and then allow things to unfold? It’s hard. You have to wait often till the final hour before a solution presents itself. It’s like a game of spiritual chicken. Who’s going to swerve first, me or the Universe?
I love my GPS. It always, or usually always, tells me the fastest way to get where I want to go from right where I am. But unless I change the settings on the screen to overhead view, which doesn’t help me very much right down here where I actually am, I’m only going to know what the next turn is. All the rest of the steps necessary to get where I have decided I want to go are relatively unknown to me. I have to have faith. Should I just not leave the house?
So now let’s go back to deciding what you want. How do you make up your mind? Because it’s fairly important information. Certainly to your GPS. You can’t tell it to bring you anywhere if you don’t decide where you want to go first. And you have to communicate that decision to it in clear and understandable terms by typing it in correctly and using formats like standardized abbreviations, etc.. There’s an agreement taking place between you and your GPS in that moment. It agrees to do its best, understanding all the options available, to guide you from where you are to where you want to go. You agree to be clear in your decision and know how to properly describe the destination. You agree to remain calm and place yourself in the hands of something else.
It’s okay if you don’t know what you want in life. But you can decide how you want to feel. We already know that. We just spend so little time thinking about it. But how we want to feel is the only format the Universe knows how to read when we’re using it as a GPS. So how do you want to feel? Fulfilled. Respected. Useful. Appreciated. Loved. Is there only one way to have any of those? Then don’t ask for only one by telling the Universe how to make you do it.
This is what primarily gets us in the way of manifesting our decisions—we over think it.
I didn’t overcomplicate my desire to be a working actor by over-defining how I expected it all to go down. I just said that I wanted to work and suddenly everything moved into alignment, including things over which I could have had no direct control.
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. A fresh start. A demarcation point of past and future. It’s an imaginary line, of course. Just something we created to assist us in counting time. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a useful vehicle for creating transformation.
Plan a seed thought for this new year. Decide something. Move toward it and the Universe will do the same. If you need peace, ask for it and decide that’s what will happen. Then watch for how it unfolds. Affirm it for yourself as you see it working. Lean in more. If you need employment, ask for it. But don’t be surprised at what is offered. It may not look like something you would have thought of on your own, but don’t resist it. Welcome it. See where it brings you.
We usually don’t get a clear understanding in advance of all that we will need to make the transformation we want. We can only see the peak of the mountain in the distance. The valley between is a mystery to us. But select the peak anyway. Picture yourself being there and thank the universe for everything it may do toward you reaching it.
Posted by Wil Darcangelo, M.Div. at 12:27 PM