I’m Ready to Expand – Who’s With Me?

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

My New Thought teachers have been encouraging me to expand since I began in the movement 14 years ago: expand my vision, beliefs, consciousness, goals, dreams, and so forth.  They’ve provided various techniques along the way, such as visioning and meditating, creating vision boards, and journaling.  I continue to engage in these practices, but I’ve noticed that not everyone is on board with me.  Have you ever found that?

A common place we can find resistance to our intention to broaden our horizons is in our employment.  Sometimes company policy or practice dictates that we fill a narrow role only. In those cases, branching out infringes on another department’s territory, and we are advised to stick to our own terrain.  Other times it may be an individual who feels threatened by our effort to step out of our workplace box.  We’re more likely to be able to work through this barrier than the former, depending on the other person’s willingness to collaborate and shift their perspective.  Another common scenario is that the organization’s scope, market, or structure just doesn’t afford us the room to expand.  No one means to keep us down; expansion just isn’t feasible in that environment.

There are times when people close to us don’t quite grasp our vision.  We may be holding a goal for ourselves that they never considered and don’t see as possible.  I remember years ago a friend of mine who thought about becoming a Mary Kay consultant.  Her husband immediately shot her down, stating that she could never do that.  I’m sure he meant well, but he obviously didn’t know Eleanor Roosevelt’s story.  It was she herself who thought she couldn’t do the speaking and have the public presence required of her once Franklin contracted polio.  She persevered, however, and overcame her limited thinking.  In her obituary dated November 8, 1962, the New York Times referred to her as the “world’s most admired woman.”

Friends and family may not encourage our growth because they sense it will impact them negatively.  I saw this frequently when I was a leader for Weight Watchers.  Husbands feared their wives would become more attractive to other men, and they would no longer measure up. Spouses and friends were afraid of losing their dining companion to a healthy lifestyle or that they would be pressured to change their own habits.  Of course, the growth we desire may be beyond diet and physical appearance.  As a college instructor, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of parents, spouses, and children who are not supportive of my students’ efforts to earn a degree.

Sadly, society has many ways of keeping us down, oftentimes intentionally.  Advertisers like to suggest that we are needy in some way and cannot transcend this situation without their product or service.  Do we really need fiber supplements or can a simple dietary change enable us to achieve greater health?  Is that elaborate piece of exercise equipment really essential to achieving a higher level of fitness?

Clubs, professional organizations, and social groups all have their cultures and norms, and life works better for these groups when all the members conform.  Is doing things the way we’ve always done them truly best for the organization and its members, or is there a fear that the power base may change if new ideas are introduced?  I’ve even seen churches that refuse to promote the events or opportunities of other religious organizations for fear that members may be lured away.

It’s no wonder that my teachers advise developing a daily practice to reinforce an expanding consciousness.  I’ve also found it beneficial to associate with like-minded individuals who nurture my growth and help me see beyond my perceived but imaginary limitations.  Despite the obstacles, let’s stay on course and see what happens.

Getting Clear: Source vs. Channel

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

“Channels come and channels go. Blessed be the name of the channel!”

~ Rev. Dr. Mary A. Tumpkin

From where does your supply come? Confusion between source and channel, cause and effect, is a common occurrence.  Let’s begin by examining some possible answers to what supplies our good to see what makes sense.

  • Employers – This is an almost automatic and natural response, since they sign our paychecks.  For the self-employed, they would read “client” or “customer” rather than “employer.”  In either case, it can certainly seem that employers supply our good.  In reality, they do not generate supply.  They obtain it from other sources and exchange it with us for the services we provide.  It’s risky to view our jobs as our source since they are so fleeting.  We’ll do better to recognize employment as just one channel through which our supply flows.
  • Parents – For most of us, this was the first answer we might ever have given. Parents typically make sure their children have their needs met.  Like employers, however, they do not create supply. They usually obtain it from employment and share it with their children.  Eventually most will stop working, and the roles may be reversed, with the parents looking to their children for supply.
  • Spouse/Partner – Our life partner may be the one who pays the bills or makes the majority of the household payments.  Like our parents, in reality this money comes from other sources.  Our spouse is not an original source of our supply, but one more channel.
  • The Government – Those receiving disability, SSI, Social Security, or other government assistance may believe the government is their source.  The money they receive comes through the government, not from it, having been collected from other sources such as tax revenues.  They’re essentially getting their own money back again.
  • Investments – Some people have enough investments in their name that they live on the earnings they received from a financial institution or other investors.  As with those listed above, neither institutions nor investors generate supply. They channel it.
  • Other Income – This could come in a variety of forms, such as royalties, tithes, interest, commission, winnings, or gifts.  All of these make their way to us by passing through another channel.
  • Children – Some seniors are blessed to have adult children who assist them by providing monetary support, housing, or other material goods.  Parents of children with careers may live off of their children’s earnings.  As we’ve already seen, this is another channel through which their supply comes.
  • Money – In the end, it may seem as if money itself, regardless of how it makes its way to us, is our source.  It can feel as if all we need is simply more money and our supply would be ours.  Here we are confusing cause with effect.  We cannot (legally) make money; we obtain it from one of the channels listed above.

Stream 320x240All of these (and other similar streams you can think of) are really channels, and as Rev. Tumpkin reminds us, “channels come and channels go.”  It’s critical to remember this, because the coming and going isn’t always in this order: sometimes channels go before new ones come. Have you noticed that?  In times like those, we must remember not to give any power to the channel, which is the effect. When we look to any person, situation, entity, or channel as our supply, we limit ourselves and give away our power. 

We need instead to turn and hold our attention to the cause or true creator of all supply, the Creator of all.  To carry you forward, I offer these words from John Randolph Price’s The Abundance Book: “Money is not my supply.  No person, place, or condition is my supply.  My awareness, understanding and knowledge of the all-providing activity of the Divine Mind within me is my supply.  My consciousness of this Truth is unlimited, therefore, my supply is unlimited.”

Finding the “Different Ways or Truer Answers”

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

Last month I quoted Dr. Scott Peck who said that deep feelings of discomfort bring us to our finest moments, because they propel us to find “different ways or truer answers.”  Just how do we find those ways and answers?  Having experienced my own “finest moment” in the past and again just recently, let me share with you what works for me.

Like you I imagine, when I’m faced with extreme discomfort, I look for relief as quickly as I can.  I like to find a quiet spot with my journal where I write down the questions I have, my feelings about the pain I’m experiencing, and a request for answers and guidance.  I find the answers come in a variety of ways.  It may be through my daily reflective readings, an inspirational post on Facebook, an article in the newspaper or a magazine, or another seemingly serendipitous source.  It’s not unusual to have a friend mention something related to what I’m experiencing or have my minister talk about the very issue I have during her weekly message.  The key is to be expecting an answer to be revealed.  It’s not necessary to seek it out, but it’s essential that we stay alert so we don’t miss it. Yes, I believe that we’ll get another chance (God has infinite patience with us, after all), but not catching the guidance the first time just delays our relief.

One of my favorite experiences for having questions answered is to attend the annual International New Thought Alliance Congress to be held this year at the Embassy Suites in Phoenix on July 15-19.  Each year, at some point early in the Congress, I find time alone to write down the questions that have been lingering with me.  Inevitably, during the week I receive my answers: from the speakers’ talks, a “chance” conversation with another attendee, or an insight that just comes to me.  This process has been so consistently successful that I make it a point now to attend every year.

Finally, if despite your awareness, the answers don’t see to come, enlist the help of a like-minded friend to support you in prayer for clarity, guidance, and peace. Trust in the promise that two are all is takes to engage the flow of good.

The Potlatch Tradition – Giving Gone Awry

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

Totem PoleWhile traveling in Alaska a few years ago, I learned about the tradition of potlatches. The word “potlatch” means to give, and it is a celebration of a person’s well-being.  These were important events, as they established the people’s economic stability and confirmed their status and family ties. In the absence of written deeds, a village member needing to obtain privileges would hold a potlatch during which a totem pole would be raised. The request might involve claiming a hereditary rank of a deceased relative or obtaining a vacated leadership position. The guests witnessing the host request would validate the claim in exchange for valuable gifts presented by the host.

While this sounds harmless and even fun, the practice was carried to extremes.  Hosts of potlatches would continually try to outdo each other, saving for years to afford the food and gifts they would have at their potlatch.  The celebration could last for two weeks, ending in bankruptcy for the family.  The practice was perpetuated, as the hosted family was expected to reciprocate at an even higher level within two years.

In contrast to the potlatch custom, giving from the heart is joyful and rewarding for both the giver and the recipient.  I love the idea of honoring tradition and our elders, but this “strings-attached” form of giving seems contradictory.  It’s a good reminder that the cliché “give ‘til it hurts” is a notion to release.  The gift offered out of obligation is best not given at all.

What Would You Do Not to Receive?

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

Are you striving to receive something?  Perhaps it’s a new job, a special relationship, or a healing.  Let’s make sure we’re open to receiving by turning our thinking inside out regarding receiving. What would someone do who believes it’s better to give than to receive or feels guilty when given recognition or gratitude?

  • Refuse offers of help.
  • Keep silent about what they need and/or desire.
  • Ask (and even pray) for what they need or want, but prepare for the worst, so they’re not disappointed when it doesn’t appear.
  • Deny to himself and others that he could use help.
  • Change the subject when someone offers her praise or thanks.
  • Urgently look for an opportunity to reciprocate or give back should they somehow be given something.
  • Turn a compliment around and immediately begin praising the other person.

Encouragement 276x390Do you see yourself in any of the above actions?  Turn your thinking around and put yourself in the flow of good.  Practice receiving in small ways every chance you get so you’ll be ready to receive what your heart desires.

Our Finest Moments

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

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”  ~ M. Scott Peck

Sedona RocksThese words are not likely to make us stand up and cheer, but we know they’re true, don’t we?  I heard this perspective affirmed frequently when I was a Weight Watchers leader: people would tell me about a particular moment when they knew they had to make a different choice.  It may have been the photos from their daughter’s wedding or a warning issued by their doctor. Whatever it was, they finally became uncomfortable or dissatisfied enough to change their approach.

Most of the significant things we long to receive, such as better health, a loving relationship or meaningful work, we may hold only as a vague “wouldn’t it be nice” notion.  Without a finest moment of our own, however, we make do, settled into our state of mild discontent.  Perhaps unconsciously we don’t think a better way is possible for us or that it would take a monumental amount of work.

Let us not resist those deep feelings of discomfort that Dr. Peck describes.  Rather than trying to get around them or get over them, commit to working through them.  Ask what they are there to reveal to you, trusting in the promise given in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, “and I show you a still more excellent way.”  Let’s see the pain for what it is – an opportunity to have our finest moment.

A Look Inside My Journal

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

Blessings Flow Both Ways

If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you may recall that I’m writing about what I want to learn: how to receive with more grace and ease.  Because of my focus, I am led to many teachings and examples that support this vision. The ones that strike me the most I log in my journal.  Here are some of my newest favorite quotations and affirmations:

– Today I chose faith over doubt, peace not worry, and clarity rather than confusion.  Nothing can keep God’s good from me.

– The Universe is conspiring for my good on every level.  I activate courageous intent and leap into my dream, knowing that I can fly.

– Do not expect the Law (i.e., God) to do for us what it can only do through us.

– We use our intelligence with the knowledge that it is acting as an instrument of a greater intelligence, and because of this we may and should cease from all anxiety as to the final result.

– I contemplate and express the love of God dwelling in me, for out that love all blessings flow.

Answered Prayer Comes in Many Forms

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

Have you noticed that the vast majority of the time our prayers are answered through the actions of other people?  If we’re not alert, we can be like the faithful old man caught in a flood.  Have you heard about him? 

He was lifelong believer who lived alone in a small town.  One day a terrible storm came and started to flood the roads.  He stood on the top step of his front porch and asked God to save him.  A row boat came by and a man called to the old gentleman to climb aboard.  He refused, saying God would save him.  But the storm continued and the water rose higher.  Soon the man was upstairs, looking out the bedroom window.  A motor boat came along and woman cried out to him, “Come aboard and we’ll take you to dry land!”  But again he refused, “That’s okay, I know God will protect me.”  Reluctantly, on they went.  Eventually the man climbed out onto the roof of his house.  A helicopter hovered over and lowered a ladder.  “Climb up!” someone shouted.  “That’s okay, God’s got my back!”

The next thing he knew, the faithful man was standing at the pearly gates. St. Peter came to greet him.  He took one look at the old fellow and did a double take.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“You tell me.  I prayed but God didn’t answer.”

“What do you mean?  We sent two boats and a helicopter!”

Giving and Receiving Praise

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

Ask any Human Resources professional and they’ll tell you that praise given correctly is a terrific motivator and morale booster.  It’s an effective, no-cost way for companies to recognize employees.  Marriage counselors also love praise as a way to strengthen the couple’s relationship.  As long as the praise is sincere, it’ hard to imagine there being too much of it.

While it’s a great idea to look for opportunities to praise more, it’s also important that we be open to receiving praise.  This tends to be harder for people, which makes the job of giving praise more difficult.  I invite you to keep this in mind the next time someone pays you a compliment.  Have you noticed that how much fun it is to praise someone and watch them light up?  Their smile and appreciation come right back to you, don’t they?  When we fail to gratefully accept a compliment, we deny the other person this joy.  We miss the blessing and we thwart their efforts to be kind.

The world needs you to take what’s coming to you.  Receive the compliment with grace and pleasure, and you’ll both have a better day.

Let’s Get Excited

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

If you’ve had any exposure to the New Testament, you’ll probably recall the master teacher’s promise that whatever we pray for believing we have received we will receive.  It’s easy to pray for something; it’s another thing to believe we have already received.  How can we do this?  Ask yourself: How would I feel if I already had this thing I’m praying for?  Stay with that question until you physically feel the feelings you’d have, which may include happiness, excitement, relief, security, peace, or gratitude.  As you pray, allow yourself to feel these feelings.

Here’s another approach to take.  Begin by remembering a time when you had a big prayer answered in an amazing way.  I’ll use the situation I’ve written about before when one summer during college I needed a job.  Despite my efforts, it looked like my only option was to go back to my part time job at the drug store where I’d have to work nights and weekends to get about 30 hours/week. On a Tuesday, I told God that I couldn’t go back to school in the fall if I didn’t work full time that summer.  Two days later I got a call about a Federal summer job, resulting from a civil service test I’d taken over the Christmas holiday and completely forgot about.  I showed up for the interview on Friday and was handed the job, which paid three times what my drug store position did.  I worked Monday – Friday in a lovely office with wonderful people who treated me like gold.

Once you have your memory, reflect on that experience and how you would have felt if you knew in advance that your prayer would be answered.  So I ask myself – what if I knew for certain on Tuesday that I’d get that great job on Friday?  Wouldn’t I have been excited, relieved, and grateful all week?  Isn’t that the mindset Jesus is talking about?  If I truly believe my current prayer will be answered, won’t I already be excited, relieved, and grateful?  Use the memory of your answered prayer to help you generate the expectation and happiness you need to feel to receive.  Let’s get excited right now.