Lovely thoughts

one use of the meditation cushions
one use of the meditation cushions

I wrote a few weeks ago about my sons taking over the planning of the Christmas party (at our house), how this was really new for me, and that I was somewhat excited about it. But as the actual event got closer (and the number of people coming grew), my anticipation turned into anxiety. No matter how I looked at it, 20+ people, in a 800 square foot house, is a tight fit. Because Tom and Matt wanted a more formal affair, this would also involve moving furniture out of the house (to make room for large tables) before the dinner, and back in (after the tables were removed) so we could play charades which is a tradition that we all love. I kept imagining a lot of chaos and I could feel myself in the center of it as a tense little ball.

I knew what I was doing (imagining what I feared instead of what I wanted) but I couldn’t seem to go to the positive scenario. As I was about to leave the house, my brother called and tried to help me get centered, but my mind was still racing. I took a drive downtown to get gas and buy wrapping paper, and as I was walking out of the gas station, still feeling like I was on the verge of tears, I looked down, and lying in the wet, muddy, doorway was a penny. I picked it up and said, “Thank you. This is an angel helping me” and then drove to Rite Aid, ran into old friends who laughed with me (and reminded me to meditate) and went home again. But now I knew what I had to do.

Sitting on the couch, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and thought, “What do I want?” I had to let go of the fear that my sons would be disappointed (if we didn’t have the party the way they wanted it), and get what I thought everyone else wanted and needed out of my mind so I could feel the answer. My brother had offered to host the party (and let the boys do the cooking there too) and when I imagined this, it felt like a deep breath. A few minutes later, Matt called and said that he and Tom had talked and that they were fine having the party at my brother’s house.

The discipline of focusing on what I want (and how I want to feel) instead of letting fearful, disappointed, chaotic or uncomfortable scenarios run wild in my mind, is hands-down the hardest work that I have ever done. It’s odd that sometimes the unhappy thoughts and feelings seem more “realistic”,  and imagining what I want can feel like fantasy, because I’ve had evidence over and over that when I make an attempt to see and feel what I want, instead of what I fear (even when I don’t do it perfectly) things unfold in amazingly easy and wonderful ways.

Hold fast, in your imagination, to all that is lovely and of good report, for the lovely and the good are essential in your life, if it is to be worthwhile. Assume it. You do this by imagining that you already are what you want to be, and you already have what you want to have…then, with an irresistible forward movement, you move forward across a series of events to the physical realization of your wish, that where you have been in imagination, there you will be in the flesh also“.  Neville Goddard from The Power of Awareness

19 thoughts on “Lovely thoughts”

  1. Good Morning, Mary. Ooooh, I love and am grateful for Mr. Goddard’s words, and yours today. For me, it’s like balancing a scale of pleasing myself and pleasing others. I know that when I am truly happy with myself and my decisions then that energy will radiate out to those around me. But it’s like a very old tape playing, not necessarily my thoughts but someone else’s. I embrace my own thoughts for my highest good right now, and it is a Beauty-filled vision!

  2. What a timely post, Mary. Thank you. It’s true that all the planning gets overwhelming; while sitting back and just enjoying the celebration gets lost. The family gathers and shares, the food is good and everyone is glad to be together, despite our worries about a perfect day. I have often said that Christmas Eve at the candlelight service in church is my favorite time. What is done is done, there is expectation of the day ahead, and there is great peace and great love.

  3. Lovely thoughts leading to a happy solution Mary! Just as you mentioned the other day, not only do we have multiple chances but also Life provides mutlitple choices. I had another thought (a lovelier thought!) about the anxieties, stress and chaos of the holidays. As I read your post and related it to how we will celebrate in our family, I realized that everyone provides the gift that they can in order to enjoy the love and connection of family. We will drive six hours to my single brother’s house (as he provides the central venue), our almost 83 year old Mom will lovingly decorate his house with her favorite decorations that she has used for years and years, my husband and I will do the cooking, my sister will bring her cooking specialty…and then the nieces and nephews, the grandkids will arrive and we’ll all sit down to a lovely dinner to celebrate the Love of Christmas and each other. It might not always be this way…there is still a need for peace and hope and compassion in this world…but for this moment, for this December, we all offer the gifts that we can in order to hug each other a little bit tighter this holiday season.

  4. Thanks. It makes sense to me. Having a tiny (&humble) home myself, I cannot yet relax w most guests. Instead it’s my haven/heaven from what’s out there and what’s judgmental. I’m a pacific introvert and fine w it til criticized for not being an extrovert! Society can be tough on the quiet ones.
    I really enjoy your blog

  5. Dear Mary. I too struggle sometimes with steering my mind towards those positive, good-feeling thoughts and away from the “what-if” thoughts. Thank you for this most personal and beautiful example of how when we allow ourselves to truly feel ourselves from within and are brave enough to think “Yes! This is what feels really right and good!”….we help create the best-case experience for all involved!

  6. And you’ve helped me yet again, Mary! I am always tripping myself up by thinking that I am being selfish in wanting things to go ‘my way.’ And who doesn’t love it when things go their way? The difference is that when what you would feel most comfortable with turns out to benefit the entire situation in some way, it’s not being selfish.

    Looking forward to having a good day……on my terms. 🙂

  7. Good for you, Mary! You looked toward and found the light in what could have been a stressful holiday. Now, you can enjoy the occasion and make some new, wonderful memories. Your brother and sons sound truly gifted in their perception of your feelings. What a blessing!

  8. This year I suggested we go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, and was met with a chorus of “No! No! That’s heresy! We want to cook! The leftovers are the best part! We’ll do it at our house!” Etc., etc. Four days later, everyone started to call and say “We’ve thought it over” and ask “Where could we go?” We had a really lovely sit-down dinner at an old historic restaurant where they served us an entire turkey, carved table-side, with all the side dishes served family style, and sent us home with the leftovers. No cooking, no cleaning, no anxiety — just a lovely family Thanksgiving.

    Sometimes, you just have to speak up! and then you discover that everyone else thinks it’s a grand idea (and that they thought of it first). ;-}

    But all in all, Mary, I’d rather see 20 people in an 800 square foot house than 2 people in an 8,000 square foot house.

  9. I am so enjoying today’s blog and everyone’s comments…especially from Kathye on how your family uses their own special talent to make it special for the family, thank you all for sharing.
    Mary, I’m so happy and pleased that your Christmas party is coming together in a way suitable to all and you will be able to enjoy it to the utmost. Now relax and think about what fun you will have when you gather together!!!
    love to you, Marian

  10. I really have enjoyed reading the comments today. One thing I was slow to learn, is that traditions don’t have to always stay the same! For years and years, no sooner than Christmas Day was done than I scurried to cook and prepare for the obligatory (or so I thought) New Years’ Eve Party for about 50 people of the orchestra – I slaved in the kitchen, and mind you, I know it made a lot of people happy, but one year, I thought, WHY do we have to do this every year? It was just too much, and to this day, my enthusiasm for anything New Year’s is a bit mild to say the least. Nothing wrong in admitting you just don’t want to continue doing things in the same way. Your heart has to be in it, or it just doesn’t work. May peace, above all, reside in your hearts this day. Blessings to all.

    1. Susan, it’s funny how it works: You do it once and it’s a treat, a gift. You do it twice, and suddenly it’s a ritual, an obligation, an expectation. I never cease to be amazed at how easy it is to suck every drop of joy out of the holidays, and how hard it can be to remember what we’re supposed to be celebrating, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.

      Me, the only celebration I’m planning for 2013 is Groundhog Day. No cards, no gifts, no cooking (although I’m sure my Welsh Terrier-ist would be happy to dig up a prairie dog for roasting), just some simple pagan ritual to remind me that Spring will come!

      1. HA! Jill,you have a soul-sister here; Punxsutawney Phil seems as worthy a celebration as any other, in my book, too. I tore up the ‘Hallmark holiday calendar’ years ago and have fun creating impromptu festivities whenever the urge strikes. And my family just smiles, shakes their heads, and join the “crazy” pagan one for a party.
        [As a kid, I used to think Boxing Day (on the calendar the day after Christmas) was people fighting and duking it out over what they did and didn’t get for Xmas presents!!] Happy Boxing Day. 🙂

      2. Well gosh, Cheryl, I live in PA. Punxatawney Phil and I are TIGHT! So if anyone wants to start some off-the-beaten-path traditions and celebrations, I can get us front row seats.

        As for Boxing Day, I used to think the very same thing as you…..people fighting each other over supposed slights in the gift-giving!

        Boxing Day…pagan rituals…sounds like common ground to me! Happy Solstice to one and all!

      3. Cheryl and Suzanne, that’s what Boxing Day SHOULD be. We should get everyone those super soft battering clubs and let them have at it! Release all those pent up frustrations and long-held resentments (“Mom loves you best!”) that ooze up to the surface during these joyous family get-togethers at times of overwrought expectations.

        [Full disclosure: The other day someone said to me: “You don’t have a passive-aggressive bone in your body.” I thought about it for a minute (knowing he didn’t really mean it as a compliment) and then said “Thank you! Thank you very much!”]

  11. The holi-daze really mean nothing to us except for gatherings of friends, and they’re getting few & far between. Relatives mostly long gone or too far away. Many times we’ve been in Mexico or Hawaii when we were working & had a little money. We were just in the SW desert for a month & I would have been glad to stay out of the snow & the fuss for a couple more. But good to hear cheer seems to be abundant here! We may do an open house & music jam if the weather cooperates.

  12. Thank you for sharing this Mary, this so perfect to keep in mind as we go through the hustle and bustle of the season.

    Have a wonderful holiday with your family.

    It also reminds me of the following quote:

    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things Phil 4:8

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