There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.--Albert Einstein
We think of a miracle, such as a sudden physical healing, as an event. Actually, the real miracle is not the event, but how we perceive the event in our lives. Ask yourself which is the real miracle: when the check finally arrives, the deadline is extended, the lawsuit is settled, the exception is made? Or when you cope, serene and smiling in the face of unbearable circumstances, triumphantly blowing everybody's mind - including your won - with your poise and courage?
Marianne Williamson describes a miracle as "a parting of the mists, a shift in perception, a return to love." The sacred continuum of Love is what makes miracles possible: Spirit's love for us, our love for each other, our love for Spirit. In her book A Return to Love: reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, she tells us that once miracles were all we knew, because we existed in Love. Then we woke up on earth and "were taught thoughts like competition, struggle, sickness, finite resources, limitation, guilt, bad, death, scarcity, and loss. We began to think these things , and we began to know them." Love was replaced by fear.
When we exist in fear - which for many of us is real life - miracles become the exception, not the daily round. But it doesn't have to stay that way. What we need to do is find our way back home, back to our authentic self.
There are many paths to Wholeness. The one Marianne Williamson began taking in 1977 was A Course in Miracles, which she explains is a "self study program of spiritual psychotherapy" based on universal spiritual truths transcribed by a Jewish psychologist in mystical dictation sessions during the mid-1960s. Through a daily meditation and workbook exercise, seekers learn to surrender all the ego's preconceptions - what we want, need, and think will make us happy - exchanging it only for the practical daily application of Love in our lives. "Whether our psychic pain is in the area of relationships, health, career, or elsewhere, love is a potent force, the cure, the Answer," she reassures us.
The introduction toA Course in Miracles states that the crux of the three-volume, 1188-page course is very simple:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lives the peace of God.
In becoming aware of this, we experience the miracle of Real Life. "In asking for miracles, we are seeking a practical goal," Marianne Williamson reminds us, "a return to inner peace. We're not asking for something outside us to change, but for something inside us to change."
-Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy©1995
My sister-in-law forwarded this to me this week. I thought I would share it with all of you, too!
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.
I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.
Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. "Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
I'm not sure what my sister would've done had she known she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing -I'll never know.
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with someday. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write - one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband often enough how much I truly love him. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.
You've got to dance like nobody's watching, and love like it's never going to hurt....
People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there.
If you're reading this it is because someone cares about you. If you're too busy to take the few minutes that it would take right now to forward this to the people you care about, would it be the first time you didn't do that one little thing that would make a difference in your relationships? I can tell you it certainly won't be the last. Anyway, take a few moments to send this to those few people, just to let them know that you're thinking of them.
And don't forget - enjoy the moment!
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