Beyond, Beyond

points of light
emerald green

a wisdom from the past
an intuition of the future
and, in the now
knowledge that goes beyond

and back.


Shifting from Competition to Collaboration

I work for a company that designs and delivers strengths-based leadership development programs. What that often results in feedback from clients is a description of how our curriculum encouraged them to examine what was working in their management/leadership style and how they can utilize their strengths in new ways to improve ongoing challenges. I think one of the most powerful elements of the program is that we present a paradigm shift. A new way of thinking about their perception of the world based on what can be appreciated rather than focusing primarily on what is going wrong.

I was given a similar gift last weekend attending a seminar by Micheal and Ricki Beckwith. I’ve written about these powerful teachers before and am continually inspired by them. And although I’ve been listening to them for 15 years (!) I still find such depth and surprises in their soulful messages of song and word. One such message was around my paradigm of competition. I often find myself stuck in my desire for good in anything: love, money, gifted employment, creativity…and how that limits my belief that there is good left for others. Or, if others already have such wonderful experiences of some quality, it means there is less for me.

Take for example the recent realization that about 80% of my friends are partnered. Not all married, but nearly all are in serious long-term relationships. As I turned 30 just a few days ago, I reflected on how I was going to let this impact my desire for more love in my life, especially as I move towards single-hood again. After attending a recent party with my son as my date, I observed all the loving couples and frowned. I realized it bothered it more than I thought AND that my focusing on the absence of a partner made me more irritated that the partner was not yet here. But I SAY I don’t believe that a room full of loving couples means there is less likelihood of finding love for myself, but my reaction was one of competition: wanting to be one of those in the room as half of a loving couple!¬† I wish now I had heard Rev. Micheal’s words:

“Release the idea of competition, that the presence of good with someone else means less good for you. Goodness is omnipresent.”

The paradigm shift in that moment would have been to recognize the presence of appreciation, abundance, joy, peace, harmony swimming in the room. I could have considered how to deepen my display of parent-child love or friend-to-friend love which was also present in that moment.

Love was there waiting for me and I ignored it because I wanted it to look a certain way. But if I believe in the idea that goodness is everywhere-present, then I must also believe that it’s available in my life right now in more ways than I can imagine.

That’s what re-imagining peace is all about.

The Answer is You (and me)

Last night I went to see Rev. Micheal Beckwith speak and Ricki Byers Beckwith sing at the University of Maryland, an event sponsored by two local religious science churches in the area. The program was simple, just Rev. Micheal and Rickey B.B. and a piano. But it was powerful beyond words. Not so much because of what was said, or even the music, but because of who showed up in the room and the collective energy of ‘being in the spirit’.

Now, if you’ve never been to a Beckwith event, let me attempt to describe to you what it was like. Although such a thing is like trying to describe what wet feels like. I’ve been watching and listening to Ricki and Rev. Micheal for over eleven years. I don’t remember exactly why I started, hearing my mom play their cassette tapes around the house, I suppose. But there was a an immediate attraction to their message of unconditional love, being the change, and seeing the God-Presence in yourself as a divine gift to the planet. The speed and vocabulary that Rev. Micheal used would often be to too much for my 17 year-old mind, but as he sometimes jokes after sharing something too quickly to catch: “that was a seed I just planted in your subconscious!” In hindsight I realize that I didn’t understand intellectually what he was saying until years after listening to him on a weekly basis. Sometimes it really just takes time for the plant to bear fruit.

The event last night was beautifully simple: your capacity for greatness is much greater than you can imagine. Rev described how our desire to be accepted and loved often results in going along with the status quo. It shows up as emotional and intellectual conversions where we define ourselves by what the group thinks, not wanting to break out of that box in fear that we won’t be accepted. But what we are doing here, as spiritual beings having a human incarnation, is to have a spiritual conversion. To transform our perceptive to recognize what is going on beyond the physical realm we interact with, and begin to consciously touch that which is directing it all.

This was powerful to me through the story he shared about ancient alchemy. In order to change iron into gold, the alchemist needed to mix a little gold with the iron. It wasn’t until that small percentage of gold was present, that the dense vibration of the iron would shift to match that of the higher frequency of gold. In our lives, there is always a small piece of gold present. It’s those moments of indescribable joy, deep belly laughter, quiet mindfulness with nature, or the warm embrace of a loved one. In order to lessen the density of the iron (fear, doubt, worry) we need to increase the presence of love, joy, peace in our lives. We do this by practice (there’s no way around it). Practice loving by forgiving, practice appreciation by being grateful, practice peace by being still. Simple directions, yet often much more challenging to do in real life.

What I’m taking away from the event and the deep reconnection to my Spirit during the music was a recommitment to my spiritual practice and a new awareness that there is always something to be gratitude for. Just breathe that in and thank God for the breath you just took!