We were made for so much more than ordinary Life.
It’s time for us to more than just survive.
We were made to thrive.
From “Thrive” by Mark Hall & Matthew West
It’s time for us to thrive. I believe that. In fact, I believe that it’s long past time for every single one of us to Live an Abundant Life. Obviously, there are things that we’ve accepted as obstacles to our Abundance. They are all of the constructs of society, both ancient and contemporary, that we have believed to be “true”. Simply because something is “the way we’ve always done it” has nothing to do with whether we can change it. All that means is we’ve not come up with the Love to create the change. And Unconditional Love is the thing that will create lasting change.
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re a white guy with a college degree and a supportive family.” You’re exactly right. I do have that privilege. But it’s not easy for me to say. What I want to say is based on my old Personal Mythology of being so pissed off about my life. That life that I was promised by society, dammit! Be a nice guy, work hard, be a loving husband and father, and retire from a steady job that gave me a good retirement. It didn’t work out that way for me, and for a long time, I have been mightily pissed off about it. If I didn’t live the American Dream as a white guy, I cannot imagine what it’s like for other folks.
But being pissed off never did me any good. Because just like a lot of the way society works, it’s not based in Love. It’s based in fear and anger. Why did people band together in the first place? For security. Sure, we’re social beings, but we gathered into tribes because of fear. We were scared and mad about other creatures taking from us, including taking our lives. Power, and then politics, evolved out of that fear. Nations grew from fear. Economic theories grew from fear. And yes, I’ll say it, religions grew out of fear, too. I know there are exceptions, but not many. And the louder and more stridently we say, “MY religion/nation/economic system is the exception” usually proves that it isn’t an exception.
Argue about this all you want, the main point is, WE are responsible for this world. We created it just the way it is. And WE are also responsible for straightening this stuff out. “Oh, no, not me. I’ve always been a good person.” Ever voted against somebody because you were AFRAID of the other candidate? How about joining a group because you were afraid of what might happen if you didn’t do something? That’s what I’m talking about. We do things based in fear, not Love. If we put all our energy out into the world based in fear, that means we are surrounded by fear, stress, anger, greed, discrimination, and violence. When modern society’s ills are talked about, those are the causes that are most often mentioned.
Before you jump to any conclusions about what I’m proposing, I don’t think we should do away with any government, religion or philosophy, unless it proves that it cannot be lived in Love. And let me be clear about the type of Love I mean. Simply, as Dr. King wrote, “the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all… It is a love that seeks nothing in return.” Simple and straightforward, isn’t it? That part is easy. It’s letting go of all the fear we’ve accumulated over the centuries that gets tough. And then add all of the assorted bullshit that we, as individuals, have lived and are scared shitless of, and we have some real work to do.
“That’s just too much. There’s no way that we can create that kind of change.” But there is, and it is possible for every person on this planet. For the more cynical among you, please note that I said “possible”, not probable. But just because we don’t see a possibility today, does NOT mean one doesn’t exist. That possibility exists in Love exercised at a personal level.
Change, real change, nearly always starts at the individual level. This is not new (nothing I’m writing about today is), but isn’t widely known. But think about it. Where has the biggest impact in your life come from; a change to YOU personally or to society in general? Individual impact is always greater, regardless of the source of change. It’s a direct impact. It’s that level of change that will have the greater impact in living from Love as opposed to fear.
How will we manage to do this? We begin with Faith. I’m not talking about Faith in God (though that will be a BIG help), but about Faith in the Power of Love. Then we realize it’s Faith in the Power of Love to change US. That could be scary, but that’s where the Faith part comes in handy. It gives us courage to do the work of change that begins inside of us. That’s to accept ourselves as we are.
Acceptance is not saying that anything and everything that we might do or might have done is OK. It’s saying that WE are OK, regardless of our actions. The OK part is often referred as the Divine part of our being. If you aren’t comfortable with that, it can be the pure energy that we are made of, that our whole world is made of. What this step gives us is a common source of existence. From there we are better able to offer forgiveness to ourselves for not being the perfect person we wanted to be. Maybe a better way to say this is we are able to let go of that perfect person. Because that perfection, too, is based in fear, not love.
We then work to really love ourselves, not judging ourselves constantly, understanding that we are creating this Life we lead as we go. For me, at least, this is where Intentions come in. Intentions are the “I AM” statements that I use to create My Life. This was inspired from The New Testament’s Book of Galatians, Chapter 5 (RSV).
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”
Saying, “I AM Love. I AM Joy. I AM Peace. I AM Patience. I AM Kindness. I AM Goodness. I AM Faithfulness. I AM Gentleness. I AM Self-control.” on a regular basis creates what your really are, or at least what you want to be. I’ve added more as time as gone on, because I find it quite beneficial. These statements create that kind of energy around me. Plus, these words, as they are repeated, begin to create new neural pathways in our minds, eventually setting these states of being as OUR state of being.
I have to say here that this has not been a quick process for me. Old patterns of thought have to be worked around and eventually let go of. But it’s a practice that I have committed to, and am seeing the results of. Slow or not, it’s been worth it. But do have patience with yourself.
I call this process, “getting a Master’s in Spiritual Alchemy”, or the more common, “gettin’ my shit together”. As I have become a more Loving person, a Patient, Peaceful person, I approach the world differently. And here’s where the change in your world begins. If you approach the world with Love, you’ll see the world differently. As you experience the world with Peace, you’ll have more empathy for others. You’ll have similar encounters to Life as everybody else, from heavy traffic to divided politics, but you won’t approach them with fear, but with Love. (In the spirit of full disclosure, that traffic one has taken me a while.)
Living a Life of Unconditional Love does not mean being passive. In fact, it seems to require me to take more responsibility for both My Life and the world I Live in. I certainly see more opportunities to create My Life and My World. And in the midst of all of that creativity, the opportunity to Thrive. As a Loving person, that Abundance gives me the opportunity to share it with others. When enough of us do this, the world we live in begins to change, especially as we Live our Lives in Love. As I realized this, I’ve added new Intentions – “I AM Generous”. And “I AM Humbleness”, to remind me we are all the same, regardless of circumstance.
I have to say my favorite is “I AM Grateful”. My Life is much richer for what I’ve learned. Yours can be too.
REMEMBER – Love is all we need. Because it will help us take care of the rest.
Inspired by Jesus, Gandhi, MLK, and many more Loving people.
Peace, Grace, & Love,