Sandy Souder, November 22, 2015

Good Morning Beloved!

A man goes to the doctor and says “Doc, all my friends say that my leg talks.”

So the doctor puts his stethoscope to the man’s thigh and he hears the leg say “I need money.”
Then the doctor moves the stethoscope to the man’s knee and, again, the leg says “I need money.”

Finally he moves the stethoscope to the ankle and the ankle says “I need money.”
“I know what’s wrong with you,” the doctor said.

“Your leg is broke in three places.”

Remembrance Service

As we prepare to enter the sacred season of Christmas – of rebirth and new beginnings, we do so with an expanded awareness.

Anchored in the Truth that God is LOVE and knowing that Spirit is within each one of us, this morning helps us all be more accepting with ourselves and each other – to honor the changes and transitions that have happened in our lives – so that we can be awake to what is emerging in and through us and into our world.

Change/growth is the ‘consistent constant’…Energy/spirit never dies nor stops moving, it simply changes form, it transfers.

We honor those changes today.

By remembering – by honoring our past – we open the way for deeper awareness in the present – for the true peace that passes understanding so that the Prince of Peace, our authentic Essence can be born anew in us – and keep in mind that this authentic essence can be born anew every moment. We honor that rebirth every year and will do so again through this Advent Season.

Remembrance is also about being REAL – about acknowledging our humanness –
We acknowledge and remember losses in our physical form, associated with (1) changes in our lives; (2) loss of relationships; (3) loss of loved ones through physical death; and (4) the other unspoken losses that we are carrying with us.

Despite all of the hype and pressures of the world for us to be happy and excited about celebrating Christmas, for many of us this is a most challenging time of year. There can even be a tendency to withdraw – not go to the gatherings and celebration or to see the lights and reminders that we are supposed to be having a happy holiday.

Yet, if we acknowledge the challenges that the season can bring up in our lives, it is a wonderful opportunity for healing and for deeper understanding and new beginnings – for bringing real peace into our lives; the “peace that passes understanding.”

• For some of us, Christmas time reminds us of the anniversary of a loss of someone dear to us;
• Some of us have other losses – a job loss, financial loss, friends and family who have moved or drifted away, children who won’t be home to share the holiday for the1st time;
• Loss of health – our own or our loved ones;
• Concerns about the state of our world, hunger, disease, war, terrorists;
• Some of us may have loved ones who will not be home for Christmas because they are serving in the military somewhere around the world – and we pray daily for their safekeeping and the end of conflict. We pray for peace.
• And our 1st responders and those who work in hospitals, etc. and miss some holiday celebrations and we miss them during these festivities.

These changes and real life situations can bring us down.

We must keep in mind that changes is often the catalyst for growth. As we come to terms with understanding loss and ‘growth opportunities,’ we can see it has potential and value.

Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, writes “When your mind starts telling you what you have to do to make everything okay, don’t buy into what it’s telling you. And that’s the only time everything will be okay.”

When will you ‘be okay’ with these changes? When will you see them as opportunities?

A long ago tale tells of twin sons born to a king who never knew which of his sons came into the world first. Knowing that he must appoint a crown prince, he had to choose fairly which would be his heir.

He told his sons that being king was a very heavy burden. He said, “To discover which of my sons is able to more cheerfully carry that weight, they are to go to the farthest corner of the empire and bring back a burden that my counselors will place of equal weight on your shoulders. The crown will go to whomever returns bearing the burden as it should be borne.”

So the sons left, and on the way they encountered an elderly lady with a weak body unable to carry her bags. One son stopped to help while the other objected and continued with his search for his own burden to carry. The one who stopped continued to find people who needed his help. Eventually he reached the farthest corner of the empire where the king’s counselor put a burden on his shoulders equal to all he had experience in his travels, and it was so heavy he could barely manage it.

When he arrived home, the other brother was shocked as to how his brother could manage so heavy a load since he, himself, was unable to. The future king said that each time he stopped to help another with their burdens he developed the strength to carry his own.

We may not see the strength at the time, but if we learn from each ‘growth opportunity,’ we grow an inner strength to help us through our lives.

Wangari Maathai said, “There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.”
What could these ‘opportunities’ bring to us?

Change and transitions teach us what matters; to treasure the smallest of blessings.

As we remember the names of friends and family who have transitioned and their stories, we smile and carry them in our hearts and cherish them even more. Some we remember and smile, some bring tears; some bring both!

And we learn from them, from those stories – each one has a lesson for us. It may be to take better care of ourselves and those we love.

One of the things we may learn is acceptance of the inevitable.

Death is part of the future for everyone. It is the last post of this life and the reveille of the next. Death, like birth, is only a transformation, another birth. When we die we shall change our state – that is all.

Another thing we may learn is to think safety when we are doing things around the house, or driving somewhere, whether near or far. The accident I had last year has made me even more safety conscious than I was prior to it. And experiencing breast cancer has allowed me to share my experience, encouraging others to take the steps necessary to take care of themselves.

And sometimes there is an understanding and an awakening that comes with the change. It may bring with it a different direction in our lives that we never thought would be ours.

Even 10 – 15 years ago, I really would not have imagined I would REALLY be here, doing what I am doing today.

And back in high school, I was planning to marry after school…until the death of the guy who would have been my husband. That changed those plans.

Then the realization that I was gay changed things again.

A change in career several times brought new and different opportunities.

And here I am! Amazing what change can do. And the steps were not large steps, they were one at a time, small steps.

How about you? What changes in your life have been the catalyst for a different direction?
Action precedes internal transformation.

Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did. It’s time to let it go.

Byron Katie would ask, “Is it true?” Is it still true that Fred died? Or that this body has cancer? NO! That was then, this is NOW.

Annoyances and interruptions are confrontations to your self – esteem, your ego; not your soul’s purpose. What’s in front of you will lead you to what’s next for you. Step-by-step you are raised to the next level with all that is necessary to encounter your soul’s assignment. It’s not a matter of your being the chosen of God but rather, are you choosing God’s expression with your actions?

How do you choose to act today? Tomorrow?

Let us turn within in a time of meditation:

As we are aware of all of these things we have talked about for ourselves and for others in this room, let us TAKE A DEEP BREATH and release it and let it go as we open to the awareness of the Presence of Spirit and the support and reassurance of community.

I invite you to take some more nice deep breaths and gently move your focus of attention to heart.

As you follow your breath inward, move to that place where your heart and your soul merge, where your wisdom lies.

Take another deep breath and as you let it go, take a moment to just gently be aware of everyone else letting go with you and supporting you on this journey as we relax and join our hearts with Spirit in this time of remembrance.

We come together today to honor all of the phases of our lives. The times of joy and the times of loss, the times of celebration and the times of grief, the times of companionship and the times of loneliness.

Today we acknowledge that which weighs heavily upon us as we enter this Christmas season.

There are times in each of our lives when we must say goodbye to love. We release a loved one into his or her eternal journey, while we stay in life. Yet our beloved remains in our hearts. We are reminded of them in many ways, especially during this special time of year. We take this moment to remember loved ones who have made their transitions this past year and in preceding years.

Other losses may have occurred, and these, too, need to be brought into the healing light of remembrance. We may have experienced the loss of love through divorce or separation. We may have experienced a loss in our role as child, parent or spouse.

We may have experienced the loss of our identity as it was defined by those roles. We take this moment to honor the old roles, so that we may realize the new roles.

We sometimes grieve other changes in our own lives; changes in employment, a move to a different home, loved ones or ourselves finishing and moving on from school.

In each of these changes, there is a letting go, a letting go of one stage in life and the acceptance of another. Let us now bring into consciousness the ways that we have changed in this past year – and let go.

As we bring this time of meditation to a close, we wrap our memories in love and acceptance. Our memories weigh lighter upon us, while at the same time adding color and texture to our lives. We are open to the ways we have been shaped by them. And we are open to shaping a holiday celebration that honors all of our experiences – all of our memories including our losses and our new beginnings.

We open to the inner space of God’s healing PEACE

We open to God’s unconditional LOVE

We are guided by our Faith in all that is good.

Let us use these words from the Qu’ran as a guide for the Christmas Season and all year: “Humans are one family. So make peace with your family.” (Qu’ran 49:10)

And as you are ready, gently bring our focus of attention back into this room – staying connected to our Inner Peace.