Time for Change

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

For over four years I’ve been writing about learning to receive. My goal at the onset was to develop my next book week by week, ideally as I improved my ability to receive. Over the past several months it’s become clear to me that it’s time for change. To receive my heart’s desires, I need to make room in my life and my consciousness for them. I’ve decided that I also need to have more fun! I’ve looked at all the things I do on a regular basis and am releasing those that are no longer working or that I simply no longer enjoy. It’s taken courage, but the increased energy and sense of freedom I’m experiencing are worth the temporary discomfort. It feels so good to be true to my own heart!

VisionOne of the difficult changes that I feel called to make is to put my weekly newsletter on hold. While I expect to post the occasional blog (please be my Facebook friend to get notice of those), I will devote my weekly writing time to transforming my four plus years of articles into my next book, Learning to Receive.

Those who have been with me know that part of my process has been to read and explore with you the writings of a variety of experts, mystics, and scholars. Over the years, my focus has become largely spiritual. Upon reflection, how could it not? God is my Source, after all. Lately, it’s Joel Goldsmith who has caught my attention in a big way. I’d like to leave you with some of the nuggets I’ve found in Collected Essays of Joel S. Goldsmith:

  • Business is never at the mercy of the times, the market, or other external conditions. God being ever-present means that supply is infinite and immediately available if we will only recognize it (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 38).
  • God cannot withhold good any more than a diamond can withhold its color or brilliance (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 39).
  • We must give up the notion of praying “for” something and instead intend only to commune with God. Our needs cannot help but be met when we know our oneness with our Source (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 31-36). (Haven’t we heard that somewhere before, “Seek first the kingdom of God…?)
  •  Prayer is a state of receptivity, not words that we say. The word of God is that which God says within us (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 88).
  • The burden is not on us to govern ourselves, maintain ourselves, or even to find the right kind of prayer. God is our “individual shepherd, guide, protector, guard, maintainer and sustainer” (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 92).
  • No matter what the problem, we do not face it alone. In the valley of the shadow of death, we have nothing to fear (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 96).
  • Reread the 23rd psalm and ask yourself if there is even a possibility that God will stop the flow of your blessings as long as you have a need (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 99).
  • We can only experience fear if in the midst of problems and challenges we believe that God has deserted us (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 106).
  • We experience limitation because we either look at appearances and judge or we look to other people or entities and expect (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 109-119).
  • God is never influenced by us. We do not earn favor or blessings. The Light shines no matter what we do (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 144).

Goldsmith, J. (2010). Collected Essays Joel S Goldsmith. Camarillo, CA: Devorss & Company

I Do! I Do!

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

“I do! I do!” my daughters would exclaim when they were little and wanted to do something for themselves. Their father and I knew we needed to back off and let them try it on their own, standing at the ready if assistance was needed. These moments came back to me on Labor Day this year, when I had my own “I do!” experience.

boating 3 278x448Roger, his brother, and I had gone swimming at a local lake, entering the water off a pier where it was too deep to touch bottom.  Getting in and swimming around were no problem. Getting out was another matter, as there was no ladder. We were discussing our options (the shore was steep and rocky) when a teenage girl swam over and hoisted herself up onto the dock, ungracefully perhaps, but successfully. As I thought about her technique, a man came by with a large jet ski. Seeing us there, he offered to have us climb onto the back of his jet ski and onto the dock. Roger and his brother immediately accepted the offer and began climbing out of the water.

I, however, had been ruminating about what I would do if the kind stranger had not come along.  Was I still capable of getting out on my own? It wasn’t about competing with a young person. It was about my self-sufficiency. I decided to climb out on my own, modifying the young woman’s technique. I was no more graceful, and I wouldn’t call my effort successful either, although I did get out of the water without assistance. Once on the dock, I discovered a large gash on the outside of my left knee that was beginning to bleed, and my right shin had a bad bruise that was already starting to swell. Thankfully Roger had a first aid kit in the car, and three weeks later I’m left wondering how much of a scar I’ll have.

Upon reflection I realize how often I engage in that line of thinking—believing that if it’s to be, it’s up to me.  What a disconnect from what I write about week after week! I’m sure the aging process is a factor. We come into the world helpless, and if we’re fortunate enough to live long enough, we pretty much leave the world in a similar state. But aren’t we getting help all along in various forms? Isn’t Spirit, our guardian angel, call it what you will, watching out and providing Divine assistance each step of the way? This incident made it clear to me that as I physically become less able to lift, reach, climb, and so forth, I will not be left unattended. It is not up to me. It was not coincidence that the gentleman had come along. Three of God’s beloveds needed help, so help was provided. Why would I expect anything less?

Let us recognize this fact in all areas of our lives. As we take thoughtful action toward our goals and dreams, it will be necessary for us to be aware of and receive the help we’re given. We’re not capable of doing it alone, and that’s just fine, because we’re not meant to. I’m sure that man felt good about being able to assist us. Thankfully Roger and his brother were astute enough to grant him the opportunity. It’s my intention that next time I will be, too.

Nobody Has Anything

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

A couple of weeks ago I reflected that I have nothing. It’s since occurred to me that I’m not alone.  Nobody has anything really. That’s the conclusion I came to after reading another of Joel Goldsmith’s essays, one simply entitled “Gratitude.” 

Angel Cropped 233x302According to Goldsmith, gratitude is like love, both of which emanate from God. “The act of expressing Gratitude is in truth the act of recognizing and acknowledging (within yourself) the Source of all your good…which is God. It is impossible to express Gratitude without expressing Love, as they are both components of God and, therefore, inseparable from God.”  He goes on to elaborate that gratitude is an aspect of love, and all love originates from God.

If gratitude and love come from an infinite Source, then there are no limits to them.  Furthermore, it would be foolish to look for them from anyone else or even from ourselves, as they come from God.  Closely related to love and gratitude is supply.  Have you ever found yourself wishing you had more money to give so you could show your gratitude (or appreciation or love) to a greater extent?  In that instance, you recognize your money (supply) as an expression of your gratefulness or love.  Essentially, they’re all the same thing, and each comes from God, an infinite Source.

Having pondered all of this I have to conclude that it would be pointless to look for anything from another person or entity: not appreciation, love, gratitude, supply, or any good thing. They don’t have them to give. All of these originate from God and are expressed through various people and channels.  Keeping in mind last week’s discussion on the appearance of mutations when we focus on channels rather than Source, we can see how important it is to be clear about this point.  If not, we’ll limit our experience of God’s good.

If when we examine all of this carefully we can see that God is our Source, why do we continue to struggle and repeatedly slip back into looking for fulfillment of our needs and wishes from employers, the government, our family and friends, and so forth?  Why don’t we get it for once and for all?  For me, it’s because God most often works through all of these people and entities to provide love, gratitude, supply, and anything else we desire.  The organization listed on my paystub is the community college district, not God.  It’s the parents of the students I tutor that hired me, not God, although God was the force behind it. But if I’m not careful, I can easily forget who is truly responsible for my good.

In a similar fashion, I can also take on more than my share of the responsibility for caring for myself and others in my life.  I now regularly affirm that I let God be God, trusting that the energy, intelligence, confidence, love, and gratitude I need to be successful will be provided to me.  I don’t have to work for them or earn them, just as I don’t have to worry about how I’ll take my next breath.  I just need to remember that I have no identity separate from my Source.  The Master Teacher made this very clear many times in His teachings. I’ll look more at this next week…

Had Enough Mutations?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

“But remember, if you constantly look to the effect, the visible form, you will create a mutation, a less-than-perfect manifestation.”

~ John Randolph Price

I don’t know about you, but I have had more than my share of mutations.  I just didn’t know there was a term for what I kept experiencing.  Reading this explanation by Price was not just illuminating; it was cathartic. In The Abundance Book, he cautions us not to see our job, employer, or investments as our supply, because when we do, we cut off the real Source.  These things, along with money and our possessions, are outer symbols of our inner Supply. Price advises readers to keep their focus instead on God, who is our true supply, safety, and security.

Not sure what a mutation looks like?  Here are some real life examples of mine as illustrations:

  • I read about an opening to be an academic writer.  A job in my field I could do from home – perfect!  Not quite…it was a position writing students’ papers for them.  Why write your own paper when you could purchase it?  Being a college instructor and a college academic coach, this clearly was not my opportunity.
  • My job at the community college is wonderful: I coach students, helping them improve their time management, study skills, and grades.  But my position as a coach is only temporary, and because I already teach for another community college, a job I also love, my hours between the two jobs are capped well below a full time level.
  • I was recently recommended for a part time online college instructor job.  It would supplement the part time teaching position I already have, so it looked really promising.  The manager who was to interview me left me hanging twice.  Still, I stayed in the game.  When our telephone interview was eventually scheduled, she wasn’t there when I called, having misunderstood the time zones.  When it was apparent how confused and stressed she was, I declined to reschedule our interview.
  • Several months ago, I found a posting for an online position to teach Business at a private school.  After completing a lengthy application, I learned it was a very conservative religious-based institution that required faculty to take an oath that amounted to condemning people who didn’t believe as they do.  Yes, this was another mutation.
  • Over the past several years, I’ve tried jobs that appeared to be a good fit, but ended up dampening my spirit, by keeping me chained to a headset, limiting my ability to help my clients, or requiring me to treat people in ways I couldn’t agree to.  Disheartened and stressed out, I left each position before I faced more serious effects.  I trusted that there must be something better for me.

All of these experiences had aspects that were in line with my vision of full employment (work in my field that is fulfilling and prospers me), but all were “less than perfect manifestations.”  But now I know better.  I spend time daily centering myself in the awareness of my true Source.  I’m experiencing a shift, and I know the best is unfolding for me now.

Living in the Divine Flow

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

Further Down the Stream Volume 2I’m excited that one of my favorite authors, Steven Lane Taylor, has published a new book: Further Down The Stream, Volume 2: 54 More Tips for Living Life in the Divine Flow.  For those not familiar with him, years ago Steven learned that by paying attention to his inner Spirit he could live in the Divine Flow and enjoy a life of joy and ease, rather than one of stress and struggle.  In his writing, he uses the classic song, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” to illustrate how we can align or “row” with the natural flow of the Universe to achieve our life goals easily.

This latest is his third book on the subject, and I find it as relevant and helpful as the first two.  It comes at a perfect time for me.  As many of you know, I’ve been very influenced by Anita Moorjani’s near death experience and her conclusion that it’s best to stay open and let things come to us, rather than aggressively pursue the life we desire.  While it wasn’t the purpose of her book to advise us just how to do that, it is Steven’s message.  His book gives many insights along with practical examples demonstrating ways to cooperate with the Divine Flow toward the effortless fulfillment of our heart’s desires.  If you’re ready for life to get easier and be more fulfilling, I highly recommend this book.

I Have Nothing

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

I had a breakthrough recently.  In reading Joel Goldsmith’s essay, The Secret of the Twenty-third Psalm, I realized that I have nothing.  I am a blank canvas through which God expresses Itself as health, wealth, and love, among other things.  As that canvas, I experience many things such as wellness, jobs, relationships, and possessions, but I don’t really have them.  They come and go.  Jobs end, people die, objects wear out or break.  The good news is if I don’t really have them, then I can’t lose them.  When Sterling Drug closed the plant I worked at in 1991, I didn’t lose my job.  I just ended my experience as a manager there.  It was time for Spirit to express in a bigger way on my canvas – and It did.

Muscle beach 238x307Likewise, I cannot lose my good health.  If I’m open to it, I experience excellent health as the expression of the Divine Creator.  There is no such thing as an incurable disease. There are just diseases for which humans have not yet discovered a cure.  Our Creator knows only perfect health, which is what Anita Moorjani expressed after she realized God’s unconditional love during her near death experience.  (You may recall that she had stage four cancer, and doctors declared she had just hours to live.)

Can you feel how freeing it is to have nothing?  When have you felt the most free?  For me, it’s when I’ve released something, such as a job, a possession, or a relationship.  I feel it when I’ve had a garage sale or even cleaned out a closet.  Similarly, it’s said the best time to take a vacation is between jobs, that period after we’ve ended one position and the new one hasn’t started yet.  We have no responsibilities to think about from either job – we’re free.  Isn’t this what the Scriptures mean when it says “the truth shall make you free”?

To grasp this freedom at a deeper level, let’s take having nothing but being open to receiving (experiencing) anything to an extreme for just a moment.  If I have nothing, I don’t own anything.  I can feel free to give anything in my possession away, because it isn’t mine anyway and I can always receive it again if I need it.  I can be as “generous” as I want to be, knowing I can always express more wealth.  If I had nothing, I’d have nothing to insure or to worry about being stolen or damaged.  Now I’m not suggesting that we no longer carry insurance, become careless, or give everything we own away.  After all, taking care of what we’re entrusted with at the moment is an expression of appreciation and gratitude.  But this understanding frees us from worry about the decisions we’re called to make regarding giving, investing, carrying insurance, and taking precautions to maintain our safety.

I invite you to reflect on the idea that you truly have nothing.  Oprah does not have more money than you and I have.  She is having an experience of greater wealth than we are at the moment.  She came into this lifetime without it and will leave without it, as well.  While most of us don’t really desire that level of wealth, we would like to experience more financial abundance than we are right now.  What if we were to visualize ourselves as completely empty-handed, a blank slate?  Let’s see ourselves as having nothing, but being ready to experience anything, knowing that Spirit is always intending to express at a greater level and only as absolute Good.  Please understand that it’s not our responsibility to make this happen.  The canvas doesn’t do the painting; that’s the painter’s role.

I am adopting this mindset as I allow God to express a greater level of professional and personal fulfillment and prosperity in my life.  I am guided clearly, and each step I take is natural and supported.  I no longer cling to experiences that do not serve my greater good or grasp at opportunities that do not naturally and gently unfold for me.  In remembering that I have nothing, I am ready and able to receive my heart’s deepest desires.

The Complexity of Abundance

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

I read in one of my wellness journals that the reason we haven’t arrived at a cure for cancer yet is that there appear to be multiple causes.  Researchers study environmental factors, nutritional variables, food additives, heredity, demographics, fitness levels, lifestyle, income, and even less quantifiable elements such as mindset, faith, and stress–all in an effort to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle.  So far, we have some idea what to strive for regarding each variable in isolation, but when we look at them in combination, it becomes quite complex and not nearly as clear.

Recently, I’ve been toying with the notion that the causes of abundance seem to be similar in nature: multiple and complex.  What has worked for one person, whether they are a business professional or a spiritual teacher, doesn’t necessarily work for another.  In the 30 plus years I’ve been an adult and working to figure this abundance puzzle out, I’ve encountered a lot of teachers telling me what worked for them:

  1. Tithing – we’re advised to give ten percent of our gross income from all sources to the person or entity that nourishes us spiritually.  If you researched this approach you would find numerous accounts of people who became prosperous once they seriously committed to tithing.  I have tithed faithfully and joyfully for almost 15 years, and I have no intention of stopping – but the practice did not make me prosperous.
  2. Giving – we are told that to receive we must give, and tithing is just one form of giving.  We need to look at our time and talent, as well.  I’ve written for years about giving and receiving being two sides of the same coin, so I concur that giving and receiving go hand in hand.  That said, I know many skillful givers who are not as financially abundant as they would like to be.
  3. Forgiveness – Edwene Gaines, Unity minister and prosperity expert, teaches that all debt is the result of unforgiveness.  I love her work and do my best to follow her guidance, but I have found evidence that contradicts her assertion.  Do you know a kind person who does her best to forgive others but is not manifesting abundance?
  4. Setting a specific intention – we’re taught by some to be very precise when placing our order with the universe so there is no doubt or confusion.  We should be clear on the “what” and open to the “how.”  I know of many business owners, however, who spelled out their desires concretely in their business plans yet failed to realize the intended results.
  5. Focusing on the feeling rather than the specific outcome – here we’re advised to be less exact about what we’d like to receive, and instead dwell on how we’d feel when we got our desire.  The reasoning is that when we want something (e.g., enough income to share and spare), it’s the feeling we’d have (security, peace of mind) from receiving it that we actually desire.  
  6. Speaking your word out loud (literally) – one beloved, early New Thought teacher wrote that her prayers and affirmations were not effective until she said them aloud.  She got a decisive demonstration as soon as she began to verbalize her affirmations.
  7. Visualizing what you desire – I’ve read Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization more than once, and I find her exercises effective in helping me hold the vision.  While I had other demonstrations related to health and relationships, consistent abundance did not come from this practice alone.
  8. Letting go – many teachers say that after we’ve made our request, we need to release it to God.  For example, the fifth step of a Religious Science spiritual mind treatment (founder Ernest Holmes’ form of prayer) is to release the desired result into the universe or the law.
  9. Helping others make money or achieve their dream – I love this idea from Deepak Chopra’s book, Creating Affluence: The A-to-Z Steps to a Richer Life.  He uses the letter “M” to stand for “make money for others.”  As a small business owner, I embrace the idea of supporting others, but is it enough to bring us prosperity?
  10. Praying, believing you have already received – this instruction comes from the Master Teacher, Jesus, and was echoed by Rhonda Byrnes, creator of the well-publicized film and book, The Secret.  Here I think the issue is not that the advice is insufficient, but that the practice of believing ahead of the appearance is a challenge for the vast majority of us.
  11. Loving everyone all the time unconditionally – this is the latest teaching in all of Wayne Dyer’s recent work including Wishes Fulfilled and Divine Wisdom.  He believes that when we are able to express divine love in all circumstances, our wishes will naturally and easily be fulfilled.  I put this one with the Master Teacher’s guidance – likely to be effective if we can really put it into practice.
  12. Shifting consciousness – this is the crème de la crème and what every New Thought teacher I have ever heard on the subject of abundance endorses.  We must release any belief in lack and limitation and see ourselves and the universe as abundant, with an all-sufficiency of supply in every form.  Without a change in consciousness, any prosperity we do realize will be fleeting.  Like the two practices above it, it seems to be easier said than done.

Where does this leave us?  Despite what some have taught, my experience is that items 1-9 are not a guarantee of abundance.  However, these actions don’t contradict each other, and practicing any one of them is likely to make life better for all of us.  More importantly, I’ve found they are stepping stones to accomplishing the heavy hitters: items 10-12.  These final three are all essentially the same thing, just expressed differently, and any one of them ultimately will enable us to realize the lasting abundance we desire.

Clear the Garden of Your Mind

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”

Gloria Steinem

GardenAs an educator, I spend a lot of time thinking about learning, how to enhance my own and that of my students and clients.  While school teachers don’t talk much unlearning, my spiritual teachers have.  Dr. Kenn Gordon, co-pastor of the Centre for Spiritual Living in Kelowna, British Columbia, likens our minds to gardens, which require not just planting, but regular weeding.  It’s great to take on new ideas, but they’ll get crowed out by the worn-out lessons that no longer serve us if we don’t prune those out periodically.

I have been studying, writing, and reflecting on receiving for over four years.  As I look back, I’ve done my share of unlearning.  One of my first blog posts dating back to May 2010 was about giving up the idea that asking for things, even simple items such as towels that weren’t frayed, was selfish when people were starving.  If I did manifest more abundance, shouldn’t I give it to those living in poverty?  My first New Thought teacher, Rev. Lei Lanni Burt, began to help me unlearn the view of the world as lacking and limited.  I needed to let go of the message that my having somehow takes from anyone else.  It doesn’t.  My Source is unlimited, and so is everyone else’s.  The only limitations on my supply are those I create.

I’ve written and even given speeches at Toastmasters that the “it’s better to give than to receive” message is one we must unlearn, as it doesn’t even make sense.  I’m absolutely convinced that giving and receiving are equal in importance and value, yet I still have to stay alert not to slip back into old thinking.  (If you need a refresher, check out this post.)

Then there is the notion that we get what we pray for.  I needed to modify this idea, as well.  Even the Master Teacher was clear on this: we get what we believe we have received.  Prayer without belief is just a wish.

Now as I continue to discover things I need to rethink, I realize that unlearning is an ongoing process.  Here are some of the thoughts I’ve been revamping this year:

  • “Hard work is always rewarded,” or “To get money, I have to work hard.”  I know the first idea is not accurate from my own experience, and I imagine you do, too.  While I can’t speak from personal experience about the second notion, I can think of plenty of examples of people with money for which they did not exert extraordinary effort (or in some cases any effort).
  • “I must always be doing something or have something concrete to show for the time I spent on the planet today.”  Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying to Be Me, challenges the various versions of this line of thinking, and she’s really got my attention.  No one is keeping track of how my use my time or grading my checked-off to do list.  My life would have greater meaning if I focused more on being than doing, and the more meaning our lives have, the greater the positive impact we have on others.
  • “Being concerned about how I will pay my bills and keep my commitments is the responsible, mature thing to do.”  I see now that “being concerned about” is code for worrying, and that had become a habit.  If I didn’t get enough worry time in during the day, I’d wake up at 4 a.m. to do some more.  Another of Moorjani’s lessons is helping me overcome this pointless practice: be fearless.  She attributes excessive fear as the cause of her cancer and has resolved to remember that she is unconditionally loved at all times and has nothing to worry about.

One of the most challenging parts of unlearning is recognizing what we need to unlearn.  Beliefs we’ve held since childhood are so much a part of us that it takes a concerted effort to even identify them as a view we can choose to revise.  A good place to begin is by paying attention any time you feel bad.  Stop to notice exactly what is causing the pain.  Is it a thought, and if so, is it an accurate one?  What arguments can you make that challenge the validity of the belief?

Give notice to your feelings.  Identify the thinking that underlies those feelings.  Weed out any problem thoughts, making space for more constructive beliefs.  This will change your feelings – and it might just give you a better night’s sleep.

Begin Again

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

Growing up in the 1960s, I was a big fan of the Monkees. While Mickey Dolenz was my favorite in those days, I couldn’t help recently but be intrigued by the story of Betty Nesmith Graham, mother of Monkee Michael Nesmith.  It turns out her life has a few valuable lessons for those of us wanting to enhance our ability to receive.

Born in 1924 in Dallas, Texas, Bette Graham dropped out of high school at the age of seventeen to marry her first serious boyfriend, 24-year-old Warren Nesmith. He left her after their son was born, and she after acquired her GED and went on to secretarial school.  In those days, women didn’t work their way up to ladder of management as many do today.  Betty took a secretarial position at Texas Bank and Trust, pursued her passion as a commercial artist on the side, and raised her son alone. By 1951, she had been promoted into the position of executive secretary for W.W. Overton, the Chairman of the Board of the bank.

Electric typewriters came into widespread use after World War II, replacing the slow, noisy manual typewriter. Betty and her co-workers found that, while the new models made typing easier, their carbon-film ribbons made it impossible to correct mistakes neatly with a pencil eraser.  Tired of having to retype entire pages because of a single mistake and concerned about effect of her errors on her job security, single-mother Betty set out to find a more effective process.  Having knowledge of art techniques, Betty’s idea came to her as she observed how painters decorating the bank windows for the holidays covered any imperfections in their work with an additional layer of paint. With help from her son’s high school chemistry teacher, she invented a thin, quick-drying paint that would cover typographical errors in a similar manner. She brought a single bottle of the fluid and a small watercolor brush into her office.  Her co-workers watched as she painted over her mistakes at work and retyped the correct characters, saving time and office supplies.  Immediately seeing the value of her invention, they asked Betty to sell them some of the mixture, and her company was born.

In 1956, Betty incorporated the business as the Mistake-Out Company, making the liquid in her kitchen and bottling it in her garage with help from her son and his friends.   She hired her first employees a year later, when the product was mentioned in a trade magazine, resulting in a large order from General Electric.  Betty continued to perfect her product to achieve the ideal combination of paint and several other chemicals.  She renamed the improved product “Liquid Paper” in 1968.   By that time, she was selling 40,000 bottles of her ingenious invention a week, and less than a decade later in 1977, her firm had 331 employees around the world selling 500 bottles a minute.  True to her values, the corporate headquarters included a library, day care center, and art showcase.

In 1979 Betty retired and sold Liquid Paper to the Gillette Company for 47 million dollars plus royalties for every bottle sold until 2000.  She establishing the Gihon Foundation, a Bible-based charity that helps support women artists and entrepreneurs succeed. Graham died in 1980 at the age of 56, having described herself as a “feminist who wants freedom for myself and everybody else.”

Betty Nesmith Graham demonstrated a few practices we can employ to receive easier.  She faced a number of challenges in her life: lack of education, abandonment of her husband, limited income, and little room for advancement at work.  Undaunted, Betty used her creativity, displayed resilience, tapped into her passion, and utilized the resources available to her as she took each step. Most significantly, she knew how to begin again.  She completed her GED and went to secretarial school.  As a single mother, she dreamt of freedom and ultimately extended that goal to other women through her foundation.  When her son moved on to have his own career, her new husband joined her in the business.  All along the way, she perfected her product and expanded her vision, at a time when opportunities for women were limited at best.  I’m inspired and encouraged by Betty’s example.  I hope you are, too.

Dwelling in the Kingdom of God

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

Ever had a perfect storm brewing where unexpected expenses mounted at a time when income was diminishing?  As someone who writes about receiving, I hear about such situations fairly often.  I’ve experienced them myself, especially in Phoenix where monsoons aren’t the only storms the summer tends to bring.  The housing market and many businesses face a decline in sales as people flee the heat for weeks at a time.  This comes at a time when utility bills are at their highest as air conditioners in homes and cars are taxed.  In the past three days, I’ve learned of two air conditioners that need replacing, and we’re only at the beginning of July.

During such storms, it’s not unusual for those familiar with the Christian scriptures to look to these encouraging words from the Sermon on the Mount:

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

I came upon a reference to these verses today in John Randolph Price’s The Abundance Book.  Price makes a couple of noteworthy points about this advice.  The first is that we were not told to try for a little bit of the kingdom or for half the kingdom, but to go for it in its entirety.  We can settle for just getting by or we can claim something greater for ourselves; it’s up to us.  His second observation is that we don’t have to force anything to happen.  We just need to release the abundance that is already our nature.  Along these lines, the master teacher affirmed more than once that the kingdom of heaven is at hand or within us.  Surely it can’t be much easier to find than that.

I spent some time meditating on this idea that the kingdom of God is within me.  Like Dorothy of Kansas looking for home, I know that there really is no need to go looking outside of myself for it.  I do not have to seek it.  I just let go and realize that I’m already there.  (I like the notion of the kingdom of God being a place I can dwell.)  From there I reflected on what it means to dwell in the kingdom of God.  All kinds of wonderful ideas came forth.

  • It’s good to dwell in the kingdom of God (which is in and all around me) because that’s where God is. God is not in the past which no longer exists or in the future which hasn’t happened yet.
  • In the kingdom of God, I am unconditionally loved and always cared for, no matter what I do or don’t do.
  • The kingdom of God is where healing takes place – physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial.  This is where I need to be to weather this summer’s financial storm.
  • In the kingdom of God, I am restored and renewed.  I am encouraged and energized, ready to do what is mine to do.
  • It is there where all of my needs are met.
  • It’s God’s kingdom, so God’s in charge.  I don’t have to have the answers or fix anything.

If you find it difficult to imagine dwelling in such a place or if you have trouble feeling what I’ve described, you may want to read Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani.  She had a near-death experience, and her description of the episode sounds very much like she was dwelling in the kingdom of God and was absolutely certain of it.  .  While I was inspired and moved by all of her account, I found her comments about money to be quite encouraging.

Storm season is upon us in the Southwest.  Let us be mindful of where we choose to dwell, and we will receive all we need and more.