Some friends and I were having a conversation about the importance of laying claim to our Good — identifying and naming our heart’s desire, declaring it available, and asserting our right to it. If we aren’t willing or able to do this, then we probably aren’t going to be very effective at bringing much purpose and intentionality to its actualization.
So we were naming our “Goods” — financial freedom, loving relationships, healthy energized bodies, etc.
We talked about how specific we could be, or should be. On one hand, if we’re too nit-picky, we might be narrowing the scope of what’s possible. On the other hand, keeping it vague sometimes is how we talk ourselves out of what we really want. You’ve probably encountered this duality if you’ve been around New Thought or any self-improvement practice for any length of time. One approach is to be as exact as possible, because our lives out-picture precisely as we expect and allow. The other tack is to remain broadly available to a hazy “best and highest,” because god forbid we get in the way of Spirit’s mysterious ways.
Generalization is also one of the tricky means by which we try to mitigate disappointment. When life doesn’t show up exactly as we’d hoped, we might be able to sidestep feelings of defeat if we’ve given ourselves enough wiggle room in our expectations. Usually, this means retroactively changing or even lowering our expectations. If we were vague enough about what we wanted in the first place, we can re-frame or redefine our intention to match the outcome — for example:
“I claimed abundance and plenty; and I discovered that I am already blessed with an abundance of twist ties in my junk drawer and plenty of time to sort through them.”
Or, “I intentionally declared a new, fulfilling career, and lo and behold found that I could simply shift my attitude towards this job I’ve hated for years, and thus make it feel brand new!”
Or, “My creative intention was for money and time to travel; but I realized that that the most meaningful journey I can take is into the center of my own heart, and lately my meditation practice has felt like the trip of a lifetime, a pilgrimage to me.”
Certainly, realizations like this can be liberating — to look for the ways that we can, in real time and space, right now, claim an experience of the Good that we seek. It’s a key practice of gratitude, fulfillment, acceptance, and appreciation. If we’re always approaching life from the perspective of what’s missing, what’s wrong, what’s unsatisfactory and incomplete, we’re likely to forever chase that carrot on a stick and feel unfulfilled in our present circumstances.
However — AND — this kind of double-talking ourselves also can be a whole lot of spiritual bullshit.
If I prayed for lemonade, and life gave me lemons, that might be viewed reasonably as a golden opportunity for me to discover my own brilliant capacity for lemonade-making.
But if I prayed for lemonade, and life gave me a bushel of moldy turnips… or a devastating loss… or the nation suddenly seeming on the brink of another Middle East war… well, that’s harder to spin.
Allow me to suggest that it’s disingenuous to even try or pretend to make that okay with a blithe, “It’s all perfection unfolding… it’s all God and all Good…” Because, no it’s not. It’s pretty obvious to me that it’s not all Good, except in the vaguest sense, generalized to the point of meaningless infinitude.
Satisfaction is a powerful creative tool. I believe that satisfaction does beget more satisfaction, seeing Good creates more Good, and gratitude for what already exists in our experience does open up our hearts to receive even more. An optimistic attitude of appreciation is, I think, essential for us to participate powerfully in the creation of what comes next for ourselves, our lives, and the world.
But/And such satisfaction ceases to be creative when it devolves into acceptance of the unacceptable, settling for less than we want and deserve, and trying to make lemonade out of moldy turnips.
How do we preserve a fundamental orientation of satisfaction without getting lulled into self-delusion or complacency?
How do we allow ourselves to acknowledge honestly what’s not working, what’s not satisfying, without turning our growth and creativity into constant problem-solving and negative-motivation? Because that sucks too.
I think it has something to do with loving ourselves and our lives — on purpose, practicing that, practicing that HARD — but always remembering that everything about this moment is a part of an ever-ascending, ever-expansive arc of progress. Everything groovy and everything challenging, everything working and everything broken — it’s all moving and changing and growing all the time.
And here we are in the midst of it, naming and claiming and creating our Good. It ain’t always easy. But it helps when we do it together, friends. I can’t wait to see you this Sunday, January 12. Service as always at 10:00 am at Bosque Center for Spiritual Living. XO, Drew
© 2020 Drew Groves