I bless the world because I bless myself.
You cannot give what you do not have. As we have discussed before, you cannot give someone $5, if you do not have $5 to give. In Course terms, we extend to the world through our experience within, as it is by knowing the roadmap of salvation that we are able to share it with our fellow brothers and sisters. It is also be witnessing God’s graceful miracles do we come to trust in the art of giving and receiving.
If you have never driven from Florence to Rome, Italy, how can you give someone directions? How can you explain to them the beautiful scenery or suggest great places to eat? This is also very similar to our limitations in giving. As we explore our inner world, we are able to be a way-shower to others since we have gone that way ourselves. Albeit, each journey is different for every person, we can still share in the awakening that we discover. Thus, the art of giving and receiving can really be boiled down to the simply the art of receiving God’s gifts.
It is because we have dared to follow the Voice for God, gone within, and loved ourselves, ego and all, that we have a deep reserve of love to share. Recently, I talked with a friend who told me that she is a much better mother when she has time go for a run. Is her statement not valid? If she does not take time for herself, to love and nurture herself in ways that are inspiring, what reserves does she have to give to her children? Her job? And the world around her?
I am sure we can all relate to the feeling of depletion. The only one who can fill that empty tank is you. Yet the manner in which we become filled is directed to us by the Voice of God. Sometimes a run will work or meditation or a nap or a nice meal or a vacation. The remedy isn’t always the same. That is the importance of always having a listening ear, as sometimes our most filling moments do not happen with a lot of space and time handy, like a vacation. Sometimes we have to tap into the art of stillness in motion, the ability to tap directly into Source without any pomp or prompting, you just abide where you are with what Is and let It replenish you. This is merely taking a moment to realize that who you really are is not a depleted person but a whole and holy being of Light. Giving yourself the gift of a moment, a breath, is truly replenishing.
Today’s lesson encourages us to not look at form but content, to be focused on the process and not the outcome. Remember that all finite things are just thoughts in a physical form. The world we see is just a lot thoughts dressed up in funny clothing.
“Yet we have learned that things but represent the thoughts that make them” (ACIM Lesson 187 2:3).
In the worldly sense of giving and receiving, the emphasis is solely on form. This only leads to the notion that there is loss and gain. Yet, through our previous lessons on giving and receiving, in addition to our experience, we know that true giving and receiving takes no form, except one that may be helpful to another. Thus, feel the flow of giving and notice how it feeds and nourishes your soul. In the experience of the process we notice that we never lack anything nor feel like anything is taken away. We come to find that giving is replenishing because it is the intention behind our giving that matters. And if we give from a space of love, we only fill our own hearts as we also extend from them.
“Yet value not its form. For this will change and grow unrecognizable in time, however much you try to keep it safe. No form endures. It is the thought behind the form of things that lives unchangeable” (ACIM Lesson 187 4:2-6)
Sometimes giving and receiving, in a spiritual sense, can be likened to telling a kid that your family is not going to celebrate Christmas this year, but instead make a list of God’s blessings. Most children would say, “What? No presents?” As humans of this world, we are all used to our achievements being presented to us in a physical form rather than feeling the flow of abundance that we swim in daily. But this shift is just a change in perception from form to content, outcome to process. It is a change in focus, emphasizing content, the meat and potatoes, that makes up our Holy Happy Meal. And the toy inside? Eternal Love and Oneness.
We have been privy to many lessons calling us to reflect upon how we treat ourselves, noting that what we give to ourselves, we also give:
To put it more succinctly, what you do for others is only rooted in what you do for yourself: we give what we experience; we give what we gift to ourselves. If you do not love yourself, it can make loving another rather complicated, no? If you do not know what it is like to take care of yourself, knowing your own desires and needs, how will another know? If you do not take some quiet time for yourself, how will you able to give that gift to another? I have often wanted someone else to tell me my purpose in this world. After many years of not finding happiness in places where others thought I would, it came to me, “How can another know what is best for me in my life? It is my life isn’t it?” Thus, the biggest gift I can give to myself is the blessing of my own curiosity to know myself inside and out and how God flows through this maze of a human body. What gift do you want to give yourself?
It is wonderful that lessons like today keep coming around. We all need to check in on how we are nurturing and loving ourselves, making sure we are in the process of Divine flow. Are you getting enough rest? Do you find yourself doing something for someone out of obligation rather than love? Have you taken a day to have no plans at all? Have you taken yourself on a date? What have you done to love yourself lately?
“Never believe that you can sacrifice. There is no place for sacrifice in what has any value. If the thought occurs, its very presence proves that error has arisen and correction must be made. Your blessings will correct it. Given first to you, it now is yours to give as well.” (ACIM Lesson 187 8:1-6).
Bless yourself in bliss. Take the steps needed to open your heart and receive the gifts of God. Be the open channel of Divine Receivership. As promised, it will overflow your heart so much so that you cannot help but give it freely to the world. May you be blessed and know you are blessed. Namaste.