The Lazarus Blueprint: Turn Away

I like to give you a little look into my life when I write to you each week so it is Monday morning and I am sitting in a muffler shop in Milton, PA having a little repair done on our car. Nothing extreme, just a little bit noisy. So, as good stewards of our vehicle we are having it fixed. This gives me the time to write Heart Thought!

This week started a new, exciting series based on a book written by Unity ministers Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla. Many of you know of their work because you have taken the Quest course with Louise Flynt.  The Jafolla’s are the authors of that as well.

The Lazarus BlueprintThis book is called The Lazarus Blueprint.  The authors have taken the Bible story of Jesus raising Lazarus and gleaned out a six step process of overcoming any problem in our life.  The six steps are:

  • Turn away
  • Remove the stone
  • Great expectations
  • Upfront thanks
  • A strong command
  • Drop the old role

 

We looked at “turn away” this week.  It was Einstein who said, “You cannot solve the problem on the level of the problem” and this is what this lesson shows us. When Jesus got word that his friend Lazarus was dead he didn’t go into a state of anxiety and worry. He continued on with what he was doing and waited for the right time to go to Bethany.

The spiritual lesson in this for us is to learn to respond to challenges in our life rather than react.  Our tendency is to get anxious and view it as urgent and needs immediate attention and we allow the feelings we are having to dictate what we do.  Our natural instinct is to get rid of the feelings as quickly as possible.

Jesus did not react instead he responded and the teaching is to become the non-anxious presence, pause and take time to consider what is the best course of action.

This quote from the book is a must for you to put all over so you are reminded of it all the time, “You don’t get rid of a weed by fertilizing it, and you don’t get rid of a negative situation by feeding it with the energy of your fears. The more you focus on a problem, fertilizing it with negative thoughts and emotions, the stronger and more stubborn it becomes. The stronger and more stubborn it becomes, the more it takes over your life.” p.21

The practice for “turn away”:

  • Do not dwell on the negative.
  • Pull the weed and plant a flower: replace a negative thought with a positive thought.
  • As soon as you notice you are brooding shift your attention to something more interesting.
  • Make a plan: choose a “turn away” practice i.e. counting to 10; take 3 deep breathes; meditate or go for a walk.

 

Centering thought for Step One: How grateful I am for the gift of life. The creative intelligence deep within me knows what to do and how to do it. So I relax now… I relax… I find the inner strength to turn away from fear and devote this day to enjoying the pleasures all around me. I become a blessing to everyone in my life… I am at peace.

Next Sunday will be Step Two: Remove the stone.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Pat

The Five Love Languages – Physical Touch

The Five Love LanguagesSunday I concluded the series on The Five Love Languages with Physical Touch. Physical Touch is my primary love language so I really resonate with this talk.

Author of the book, Dr. Gary Chapman concludes that Physical Touch is one of the five primary ways in which we express emotional love to others.

Research in the area of child development has made the conclusion that babies who are held, hugged and kissed develop a healthier physical and emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact. In fact in an article I read it says babies that have skin-to-skin contact are calmer, cry less and some studies show their brain development is helped probably because of being calmer and they sleep better.

It doesn’t matter what age we are talking about without those physical expressions of closeness and affection, we feel unloved! If our love language is physical touch we especially benefit from physical touch, our emotional love-tank is filled and we feel secure in the love of those closest to us.

There are times when it is almost instinctive and natural to hug another, and that is in a time of crisis. It is then, more than at any other time, when we need to feel loved. We cannot always change events, but we can survive if we feel loved! Physical touch is a universal way of expressing that care and comfort.

I have learned, over the years, that in time of crises, people don’t really want explanations, or words or sermons or lectures! What they really want is just an indication of your love and concern – maybe a hug, or just someone to sit with them and hold their hand. The hug and other expressions that you care will be remembered and appreciated far more than any words.

I remember having the awareness when my Mom was still with us how little physical touch that she received. She was not a touchy feely person, actually nobody in my immediate family was so could that be why this is my primary love language, hum! Anyway both Rev. LeRoy and I would make a point to go sit next to her on the couch and put our arm around her and lay our hand on her knee. Towards the end of her life I became the mother of the child and would put her to bed at night and rub her feet and run my fingers through her hair. That always put a smile on her face. The point I am making here is the importance of physical touch to those who live alone especially if their love language is physical touch. It is important for us to remember to give the extra hug that might be needed after a class or on Sunday.

I hope this series has shed a light how to better communicate with those that you love and work with. And on what you need to fill your love tank and what those closest to you need from you to fill theirs.

Join me next Sunday as we begin the Lenten season with a series from the book The Lazarus Blueprint written by Unity ministers, Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla. A time for discussion on the week’s lesson will be available following fellowship at 12:15 with Nancy Bastow, LUT, through the next six weeks. The book is available in our Unity Bookstore.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Pat

The Five Love Languages: Acts of Service

445px-Cigoli,_san_francesco

This image of St. Francis is from a 16th-Century oil painting in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Sunday talk was “Acts of Service” which is the fourth love language from the work of Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages. Each week we look at a love language and how it fits with the commandment given to us by Jesus “to love one another.”

I am sharing a story about St. Francis of Assisi, who is known for making God’s love real in many different ways. He lived in Italy around 800 years ago. If you’ve ever seen a statue of a monk with birds and squirrels hanging around like they do for Disney princesses, you’ve probably seen a statue of Francis. He left his wealthy merchant family to live a simple life of nature, preaching, and good works. As you read this story look for ways that Francis practices these love languages.

Saint Francis of Assisi took a novice (monk in training) out for a day of preaching the gospel. As they left Assisi, they helped a farmer move his cart; down the road they talked with a merchant and listened to his problems; around noon they shared their meal with a hungry beggar; soon after lunch they prayed with a sick woman; on their way back, they helped a woman carry her heavy load.

When they returned to the monastery at dark, the novice commented that the day was gone and they hadn’t preached to anyone. “My son,” Francis responded, “we’ve been sharing the gospel all day long.”

Francis shared the gospel this way because this is how Jesus shared the Good News, through word and deed and time and gifts.

Jesus speaks of himself as one who comes not to be served but to serve. Jesus healed people. Jesus gave hungry people food, because he felt compassion. Jesus reached out to marginalized people however he also served those closest to him – remember how he washed his disciples’ feet.

If your love language is “Acts of Service,” everything you do is about the other person, not about you. It’s freely chosen and willingly performed. It imbues even the most ordinary task with a sense of the value of work and the sacredness of daily, ordinary things.

This quote from St. Teresa of Avila will speak loud and clear to one whose love language is “Acts of Service.”

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hand with which he is to bless now.”

To all of us no matter what your love language take this quote from Mother Teresa and apply it in your life “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

This week, let’s pay attention to the ways we can bless and love others by serving and helping both those we may not know and those who are closest to us.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Pat

The Five Love Languages: Receiving Gifts

Rev. Pat Bessey

Rev. Pat Bessey

My heart is full as I pass the two year mark of being the Lead Minister here at Unity of Greater Portland. It has been an amazing journey and as we move toward the Annual Meeting on Sunday which for me represents the beginning of a new glorious year. We have so much to be thankful for as a community. The activities, classes, silent retreats and other events throughout the year give testimony to the amazing community here at Unity of Greater Portland. It is my greatest desire to celebrate the individual and collective spiritual transformation taking place in this community and that we embody our vision of “Centered in Divine Love we celebrate a spiritually transformed world.”

This past Sunday (yeah…no snow) I continued the series The 5 Love Languages and focused on “receiving gifts.” Gifts are tangible symbols of love.

What is one of the first thoughts you have when someone gives you a gift?

He was thinking of me…

She remembered me…

It is impossible to get a gift for someone without thinking of them or remembering them. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought.

Three things make a great gift:

  • It’s Personal
  • It’s Thoughtful
  • It’s Generous

 

In our congregation we have a group of folks who make and give away handmade prayer shawls to people who are going through a rough time or who are ill. There are many who are active in the ministry even though they may not be actually knitting or crocheting the prayer shawls but donate the yarn. With every stitch the person knitting or crocheting is praying for the person who will receive the prayer shawl. The time, effort, skill and intention join together to wrap the recipient in the warmth of God’s love and the love of our congregation. You can see that this ministry fulfills the three things that make a great gift.

When we turn our attention to Spirit we also we are given the greatest gift of all the Love of God and from that we give love. Scripture reminds us “We love because God first loved us”. (1 John 4:19)

God is the ultimate Gift Giver.

The sunshine to welcome us into a new day.

A blanket of stars to settle us for sleep.

Needed rain and the fruit of good earth and the gift of life itself.

So if someone special to you has receiving gifts as their love language you are pretty lucky…this is one of the easiest love languages to learn.

A Gift For You
by Rumi

You’ve no idea how hard I’ve looked for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What’s the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the Ocean.
Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient.
It’s no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these.
So – I’ve brought you a mirror.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Pat

The Five Love Languages: Quality Time

heartWe continued this week with the series The Five Love Languages and I spoke about “quality time.” I used the biblical story of Martha and Mary to identify what your tendency might be.  Do you have a Mary tendency to spend quality time with the one you love or a Martha tendency to be distracted by the tasks at hand?  One is not better than the other; actually both are needed to have a balanced life.

What is Quality Time?

Quality time is when you give someone your undivided attention! Quality Time has to do  with focused attention.

Here are some key points to help us understand about Quality Time.  Quality time is spending time together and engaging in quality conversation.  It is important to stay present to each other and don’t be multitasking while you are having quality time.  Listen attentively to what is being said and watch for feelings that are being shared.  This is a time to acknowledge without advising.  For some of us this is not easy to do.

What is important to know about all of the love languages is that the giving and receiving has to be present for each.  What I mean by this is that if your love language is “quality time” your love tank is being filled when you are sharing quality time with someone who is special to you as well as when that special person is being present to you and sharing quality time.

If your love language is not “quality time” then you also have to be sharing in the good coming from the time together.  For you it may be recognizing how you are willing to find out what matters to your partner, child or friend and be present to them and not be distracted. Also you receive when that person acknowledges how grateful they are for your willingness to participate in whatever the activity is as they know it is not your love language and they see you making a real effort to fill their love tank.

I know it is true that we need to spend quality time together, in order to strengthen the emotional connections we have with one another.  So if it is true for us – on a human level – it is also true for us on a spiritual level.

We can also develop our relationship with God as we spend quality time in prayer and meditation in God’s Presence.  Many of the mystics of the past have been people who just delighted in spending countless hours in God’s presence.  I would guess their love language might have been quality time.

If quality time is your love language – then you will feel emotionally and spiritually satisfied as you spend time in God’s presence – just being quiet.  I bet your love tank will be filled as a result.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Pat