Tag Archives: Self-Love

WHERE IS CHRIST?

Chicken Soup for the Soul tells the story of a priest who was so madly in love with his Christmas nativity scene that he often took a special inventory of his beloved life-sized plaster figurines and doted on his favorite, which was the Christ Child Jesus. So when the priest awoke on Christmas day to find the Christ Child missing from the manger, he almost lost his mind.  He chastised his congregation about the theft, repeating his tirade at each Mass. Yet, the manger remained empty. In order to calm down, the priest took a meditative stroll. Where is the Christ Child? He had to have pondered again and again. What happened? Where is Christ?

In John 14, Jesus said I might not always be with you in the flesh, but God is going to send the Counselor to be with you forever. Jesus called that Counselor “the Spirit of truth”, who Jesus said would live in us and be in us. He said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

In other words, Jesus Christ is not really in our nativity scenes, even though we remember him there. Jesus Christ is not really on our symbolic cross, even though we carry him there. Jesus Christ is not limited to plaster or plastic or wood or silver or gold. Jesus Christ did not limit himself to the physical but taught about the oneness of the spiritual realm. He said, I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you — not just in a manger or a scroll or a prayer. He said I am a reality that you touch every day. I am in every breath that you breathe and space that you take up.

In his wonderful book, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, says that Jesus is born every time the Holy Spirit in us is touched. He says that “The Christ within us is waiting for each minute to be born again and again.” Thich Nhat Hanh says that “the Holy Son has been born in you as a baby, but maybe it’s not strong yet. You have to strengthen and cultivate the Holy Spirit in you.” You have to practice your awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence. Otherwise, you will miss the beauty of the Christ that is right within your midst.

The Chicken Soup story says that the priest — worried about the missing Christ Child — walked through his neighborhood. As he walked, he saw one of the smallest members of his flock — bundled shabbily against the cold, dragging behind him a brand new red wagon. The priest was touched by how much sacrifice the boy’s family must have made to get him a brand new red wagon. So, he quickly caught up with the boy to wish him a Merry Christmas. But when the priest caught up with the boy, he could see that the wagon was not empty. Right there, in plain view, was the Christ Child wrapped in a blanket.

Grimly, the Priest stopped the boy and lectured him profusely: stealing was a sin — and robbing the church of such a sacred image — was an even greater one.
“But Father!” the little boy cried out after the Priest’s tongue lashing was over , “I didn’t steal the Christ child. It wasn’t like that at all. It’s just that I was praying to Him for a red wagon for Christmas — and I promised him that if I got it, I would take him out for the first ride!”

Where is Christ? The Christ left the manger eons ago. The Christ was resurrected in us as the Holy Spirit to teach us the power of the Divine Mind — over the material world, over plaster and plastic, and even flesh. The Christ lives within us in a place that never grows old, never grows weary, never grows tired, never needs surgery, never feels the economic decline or its surge because it is full and complete in the inexhaustible everything of all that God is. Jesus did not leave us comfortless. He is always present as the Holy Ghost — to teach us all things. The great Hindu spiritual teacher Paramahansa Yogananda, in The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You, says that this is not the body but the omnipresent Christ Consciousness present in all creation.

During these weeks of Advent, the time during which many people prepare for the celebration of the birth of Christ through prayer, meditation and other forms of worship, it is important to re-visit our spiritual practice so that we develop a consistent way to tune into the Holy Spirit within us. The most priceless gift that can be given now is the remembrance of this divine connection that unites us all. God is always calling us to greater works than those who have gone before us, always breathing into us the power to do better, create more, and evolve beyond the pure potential of the infinite realm of possibilities. Now is the time to release whatever we allow to block our good and allow Spirit to do its good work. Now is the time to stop chasing the plaster figurines of your Baby Jesus and know that the Christ within you has never left.

Reverend Cecilia Loving
Pastor,SPIRITMUV http://www.spiritmuv.com http://www.godisabrowngirltoo.com
(All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving. If you want to be included in the weekly audio prayer distribution, please email us with your request. You can also blog atwww.spiritmuv.wordpress.com)

LET’S CLEAN UP OUR ACT

love 103A lot of people reading my book Prayers for Those Standing on the Edge of Greatness have told me that it has been a tremendous blessing in helping them release toxic relationships, negative energy, old baggage, and other stuff that we all have to clean up in order to move forward in our lives.

LOVE 2Several weeks ago, at the SPIRITMUV Sunday Service, I addressed the commandment that best supports this process of spiritual de-cluttering, which is the Seventh Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.  In the flesh, we believe that the Seventh Commandment is just about lying to others.  But it is also about lying to ourselves.  The only way that we can cleanse what we don’t need in our lives is to take an honest inventory of what’s there.  Jesus taught that we should have so much integrity that if our right eye causes us to sin, we must “gouge it out and throw it away” and if our right hand causes us to sin, we must “cut it off and throw it away.”  

eyeIt takes a lot to cut off our hand or pluck out our eye and fortunately, it’s not required that we do it in the physical realm.  But Jesus said, do the work.  Do as much as you can to clean up your act.  Only then, do you even begin to see the blessings behind the door upon which your heart knocks. 

eye-14The Seventh Commandment’s mandate to clean up our acts forces us to dig well beyond the appearances of the lives we lead to remove all of the complex lies that we hide in.  In fact,  I believe that a better way of saying this commandment is not that you must not cheat on others but that you must not cheat yourself.  If you are lying to others, you are lying to yourself.  If you are cheating yourself, you are not being your best nor are you attracting the best relationships and experiences to you.

 stone-10Eric Butterworth taught that you can be in a marriage committing adultery, even if you are faithful to your spouse in the physical sense.  You are cheating your spouse and yourself if you don’t want to be in the marriage, but you don’t have the courage to leave.  Any time you are dishonest, you are committing adultery because you are cheating your Highest Self, by living a lie.  Jesus confronted everyone with their lies when he told the crowd at the Mount of Olives,  let he who has no sin cast the first stone.  (John 8:7 NIV) 

stoneNot one of us is perfect.  All of us have lied.  All of us have cheated.  All of us have sinned.  Cleaning our own house does not permit finger-pointing, unless it is at ourselves.   We know that each person on the Mount of Olives who had condemned the woman scorned disappeared when Jesus added the requirement that only those who had no sin could stone her.  The Bible said that each person left one by one, “beginning with the oldest even to the last.”  No one was spared.

clean-6Cleaning our houses means that we let go of the past, step away from the person who we used to be, and move forward in the divine energy of renewed commitment.  Jesus said, go and sin no more.  (John 8:11)   How exactly do we do that?  Sometimes when we look at where we are, it seems overwhelming.  First, we can start with the physical stuff.  We can throw away or give away the papers, the boxes, the files, the clothes, and other stuff that we no longer need — in order to make room for the new.  When we do this simple physical task, we open spaces in our consciousness to receive God’s good. 

clean-10 Second, we can forgive the people, the situations and the circumstances that we have been holding onto.  Sometimes we can’t do this part alone.  So we pray to Spirit, to God, to Love to do the work through us.  This often requires the heavy lifting of disappointments, pain and remorse.  This requires us to stop hanging on to crutches and stop languishing in the belief that we are less than God’s anointed.  Deep down inside, we are aware of the relationships that no longer serve our highest good, that are filled with jealousy and gossip and hatred. 

surrender-15Albert  Einstein said “arrows of hate have been shot at me too, but they never hit me because somehow they belong to another world with which I have no connection whatsoever.”  (Michael Beckwith, quoting Einstein in Spiritual Liberation)  The world that Einstein speaks of is one that is cleansed of his own bitterness and frustration, one where he has released whatever and whoever was not supportive of his higher good and greater purpose.  As Arthur Schopenhauer indicated, we have to release those we thought were friends when they will not support our success.

 surrender-7Third, we have to cleanse the consciousness and conduct that causes us to cheat ourselves out of being the divine creation that we are.  This is even more difficult.  In order to cast out the old hang-ups, fears and doubts, we have to first identify them; and then we have to be courageous enough to let them go.  We have to be honest with ourselves about what causes us to fall short of what we want to accomplish in our lives.   We have to be honest about what we need to do in order to demonstrate the power that we are blessed with.  

surrender-1Of course, this is not a seasonal but an ongoing process of self-examination and self-discovery. 

As autumn winds blow and colder days arrive, it is a perfect time to go within and at least begin this inner journey. 

At minimum, we can begin to clean up our acts, so that we can stop blocking the endless flow of good that God is pouring into our lives.  Yes, it is a process that we must grow through.  But ultimately, this process is far more important than the hopes and dreams that lead us through it. 

(All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving.  If you want to be included in the weekly audio prayer distribution, please email us with your request. )

 

 

 

 

A SEASON TO RELEASE

orange leafWhen we read the story of Cain and Abel, most of us stick our self-righteous noses in the air and get downright judgmental.  Most of us know the story told in Genesis — of Cain killing his brother Abel in a fit of jealous rage.  “I wouldn’t kill my brother — what a horrible thing”, we quickly conclude, as if we are above any sort of violence and most certainly above killing.
GBGII photo But Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, and a time to heal, as well as a time to kill.  One metaphysical interpretation is that Cain and Abel are two parts of a whole, or two aspects of our own consciousness.  There are times when killing can take the form of releasing the negative energy from our own lives, times when we should release the old in order to give way to the new.  The people, situations and circumstances that we experience change.  When they do, there is no reason to hang on to them.  We have to honor that regenerative part of life that uproots and restructures just in order to bless us with something new.
  GBGII Web Page One

 In 1st Corinthians 15:31, Paul said “I die daily” (NKJV), teaching us that the need to change, to deconstruct, to reinvent, to tear the feathers from our own wings and allow some aspect of us to be destroyed is tantamount to the resurrection that we need to move forward.   I feel as if I have been growing through this season of shedding the old, so that I can make way for the new.  Just like the beautiful trees whose leaves reflect the rays of the sun, and then fall when their branches dance in the wind, we too shake away that which no longer serves us.  We sometimes need to strip down to our bare essentials so that we can feel the ease of simplicity in everything that we do.   For me, that may mean doing nothing, moving slowly, watching carefully, listening deeply, being quietly, waiting patiently, releasing gracefully.  It’s not a time of mourning either; it’s a time of allowing every aspect of who we are to change.

 
Walking through Brooklyn alone, I encounter the sun-kissed golden of tulip trees, the vibrant crimson of red maples and the bold orange of sugar maples — just to name a few.  I am by no means a tree expert and am more content to lose myself in the soul stirring magic of Rachelle Ferrell singing  Autumn Leaves than I am likely to take the Crape-Myrtle Walk at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.  Neither experience, however, ceases to amaze me.  There is something so deeply Detroit in my heart that it opens up to the natural vibrations of street rhythms just as quickly as it gives way to the sweet harvest of apple orchards, the liberating sounds of Geri Allen’s At This Time or the cold winds doing a last dance with everything that shakes before winter comes.  The sacred is always here, and we are always in its midst.

 
GBGII Web Page OneIn Genesis, God told Cain “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”  And later, in the Sixth Commandment, Moses taught, “you shall not kill.”  All of these passages mean that we must master our tendency to release and destroy with our need to create and demonstrate.  Ultimately, it’s not what we harvest that matters but what we’ve learned through our sowing, pruning, weeding, and reaping.  If we do the necessary cleaning, we can release the stuff that we don’t need and open a better space to honor whatever remains.  We can look at ourselves with new eyes and a brand new possibility of salvation, not based on who we once were, but who we are.  Beech Tree Trunk
 
I’m not raising Cain anymore, but I can see the divine in this season of release.  I’m not worried ’bout the sin crouching at my door either.  I’ve learned to step — albeit politely — right over it.  When autumn leaves begin to fall…  I can heal from my whatever plagues me.  I can paint with new colors.  I can see with new vision.  I can be amazingly quiet, and listen to the sound of life giving way to me.  I can exhale long prayers and inhale the solitude of peace. 
 
Even if my leaves blow and leave me naked in the wind; my roots are strong and keep me sturdy — cleansed from my old sins and directed in the purpose of God.

Namaste,  

Reverend Cecilia Loving                                 
Pastor, SPIRITMUV  (Services are every Sunday at 2:30 PM at the Unity Center of NYC, 213 West 58th Street, right off B’way near Columbus Circle)

 

 

(All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving.  If you want to be included in the weekly audio prayer distribution, please email us with your request.)

www.spiritmuv.com

HONOR THE DIVINE WITHIN by Cecilia Loving

GBGII 2012 BBBAs the first God is a Brown Girl Too “Opening to Consciousness” Retreat approaches, I grow excited by what promises to be a powerful celebration of who we are in mind, body and spirit.  Sherri Roberts Lumpkin will be teaching us to honor the divine within through her amazing ragbaby-building workshop.  Michelle Bernard will be guiding us through the breath of love and the transformation of the body.  Myreah Moore will be blessing us through her visualization meditations, which help us see past appearances to the God in which we live and move and have our being.  Caryl Lucas will give us the tools that we need to clean up the clutter and release the past.  I, along with Wendy Sealey and Raquiba LaBrie, will take participants on a soul-stirring journey to recreate, reclaim and resurrect the resources that God has given us.

Some have asked where Jesus Christ stands in relation to what appears to be a bold, unorthodox and perhaps even brazen affirmation that God is a Brown Girl, Too.  How could God be a dark chocolate, caramel, latte, cinnamon, peanut butter, crème, red clay earth co-creator throughout the world, the continents and the ages, with locked hair, twisted braids, tight curls and bone straight, moving through every conceivable size, shade, shape and language — above all things, as a girl?

Who dares to celebrate the least celebrated as the God within?

Well, Jesus did.
In John 10:34 (NIV), he said, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’?”
In John 14, Jesus said, the Holy Spirit would live in us and be in us; he said I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. GBGII 2012 F
In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you.”

Not only does Genesis say that we all — male and female — were made in the image and likeness of God, but Jesus taught in Matthew 23:9, that we should not call anyone on earth our father; for One is our Father, He who is in heaven — the same Kingdom of Heaven within.

Paramahansa Yogananda said that it is God who becomes the father to protect the child, the mother to love the child unconditionally, and friends to help the soul without the limitations of familial instincts.  It is God who becomes the food and breath and the life-sustaining functions.  It is God who penetrates our understanding and awakens us to the duty and privilege to worship God templed in ourselves.

The Fifth Commandment teaches us to honor our mother and father.  But our mother and father are not merely our human parents; our parents are also the divine presence of the Spirit within.

It’s easy to try to push the responsibility of our power to something outside of ourselves, rather than to honor the divine within.  It’s easy to rely on words already spoken and expressions long over-used rather than to create new ones that empower rather than minimize the greater things that Jesus promised us that we could do.  It’s easy to sit back and allow ourselves to be disinherited, disenfranchised and disowned by the gods that we are, simply because we allow ourselves to be pushed by appearances rather than to be pulled by prophecy.

But it is time to stop taking the easy way out and be the co-creators in Spirit that we are — daring enough to accept the victory of the God in us.  We have to honor the divine ideas that the Holy Spirit keeps anointing us with — telling a new story, blessing new souls, finding new strength, expressing as new energy.  We have to honor the success that the Holy Spirit gives us, overflowing with the abundance of our gifts, talents and dreams.  We must be resurrected in  a new faith and a revitalized holiness that does not despair or condemn but is uplifted by the all-encompassing light of our being.  We can no longer diminish our magnitude by wasting time “hating on” each other.  We have to step up to the plate and manifest the joy, the strength, the wisdom, the love, and the freedom that we have been blessed with — through every breath of life that we breathe.  We have to reclaim the divine that we have lost through the ages and receive the prize for the race that we have so long pressed forward to win.

DSC_0143God is a Brown Girl Too is the beginning of my calling to reclaim the divine in us all, starting with me: the most marginalized, despised and disrespected.  For if I can see God as me, the faith of my vision of God as all humanity becomes clearer.   If I can see God as me, I know who my ancestors are, even though I was stolen from their bosom.  I know where my true home is, even though I have never lived on her soil.  I know that the place where I began is not really a time or space at all, but is the magnitude of the Holy Spirit within.

In this truth, I can embrace my mother and my father — not merely in terms of those biological, adoptive or chosen parents who nurtured me, but I can feel again the Divine that brought me to this moment to express the marvelous being that I AM.  With Spirit as my true legacy, I know that there is nothing that I cannot do.  Nothing and no one keeps me from my good because I am not limited by mere flesh but am lifted by omnipotent Spirit.

I honor the God in me — not simply as a prayer but as the enlightened purpose and endless possibility of all that I AM.  I honor the Breath that the Holy Ghost breathed as us in the transformational moment of our spiritual liberation.  And I sing a new song for a new freedom that will relieve the shackles of our past and bless us with a brand new consciousness.

Yes, Beloved, God is a Brown Girl, too, simply means . . .  so are you.

 

 

(The materials on this website and blog are copyrighted and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving, sole owner of God is a Brown Girl Too.)

CLEANSE YOUR MIND by Caryl Lucas

When was the last time you cleansed your mind?

good 5 Just like our physical bodies require a daily cleansing regimen, so do our minds.

It’s amazing how our minds collect so much internal clutter and mental grime — accumulated over time from the daily mental stresses, disappointments and negative thoughts floating through our consciousness.

Proverbs 23:7 says, as “a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”, or as I like to affirm, “as a woman thinketh in her heart, so is she.” This means that whatever you allow to occupy in your thought pattern is what you will eventually become, so you must to cleanse your mind in order to reflect your best self.

Before I discovered the transformative power of a mental cleansing, I, like so many other people, was not in the habit of clearing my consciousness of fear, doubt and lack.  I failed to scrub away the mental residue and dead cells of a consciousness that clogged my creativity, concentration and discernment.  Years of negative self talk and verbal attacks from others had resulted in layers of dirty, self-defeating thought patterns and habits.

For most of my adult and career life, I was oblivious to the universal principle of cause and effect as it relates to the body of thoughts which together form my consciousness and my resulting life experiences.  I had read Paul’s scripture, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2), but I had never really focused on what those words meant.

Looking back I realize more than ever how I was constantly worrying about everything and everyone, every situation and each encounter.  Without the benefit of a spiritual cleansing, my life began to mirror the battle ground of my mind instead of the peace of my soul.  My life began to reflect my inner struggles, self-doubt and persistent pain.  Indecisiveness became middle name.

I worried about what others had to say about my career choices, relationships and even my dreams.  I worried about my brother’s drug addiction.  I worried about my father’s alcoholism.  I worried about my mother’s health.  But my habit of worrying about the appearances of things  did not help me or the people who I was worried about.  Instead, their challenges became painful distractions that usurped my energy, focus, clarity, and commitment.

Until I discovered how to cleanse my mind with the help of Spirit, I could not help anyone.  I remained trapped in unproductive roles.  For example, I starred as the enabling sister, the distraught daughter, and frantic friend.   I lost myself in fighting everyone else’s battles except my own.  In hindsight, I realized that by allowing all of other folks’ stuff to cloud my consciousness, I could lose myself in the defeat of depression because I was really helpless to help anyone until I could first help myself.  I was drowning in the depths of inadequacy because I did not have the strength to redeem others.  But I should have been first been focused on redeeming myself.

Have you ever been there?

Today, I am truly blessed to have a consistent mental cleansing regimen that consists of  affirmations, prayer and meditation.  Through this daily practice, I wash away the  negative thoughts, fears, worries, and pain that once polluted my consciousness.

A few years ago, the deep desire to change my life resulted in a quest to transform my perspective.  I began to embrace all of the self-healing materials and tools that I could find.  I also studied biblical scriptures, self-help books,  and metaphysical readings.  I meditated as often as possible, using the power of affirmations to cleanse my mind, strengthen my self-esteem, and release my prayers to the Kingdom of God within.  To really get a thorough cleansing, I had to be honest with myself: only the truth shall set you free.  Only seeing you for who you really are and coming face to face with your personal challenges will free you from them.

As I continue to cleanse my mind daily, I clear space for more productive experiences.  I find that I have greater focus.  I stand on more solid ground with the positive self talks of the Spirit within because for once in my life, I can actually hear God speaking through me. The wisdom of Spirit embraces my soul with dynamic thoughts, dreams and life experiences.  The energy of faith manifests all my desires with quicker results.  The vision of victory pulls me toward the completion of what God has called me to accomplish with a steadier, less resistant pace.  I can give to others with better grace, clarity and conviction; and they are able to receive the nurturing love of Spirit expressing through me.

If this is what you need in your life, please join me on Saturday, October 24, for the “Cleansing the Mind” workshop during the God Is a Brown Girl, Too conference, where we will open our minds to release the clutter of  past wounds and the appearance of present “mess” for the future joy of a purifying transformation.   Regardless of your springtime attempts to clear the debris, we are all in need of a “Fall” Cleaning.  Come join us and be lifted by an “internal” makeover that will bless your mind, body and spirit with radiance, rejuvenation and recreation.

REST WHILE YOUR GOOD MANIFESTS, by Cecilia Loving

7 - Copy (2)One of my favorite scriptures is from the Book of Job, when he was at his lowest, but he still had faith. In the New King James Version, Chapter 23, Verse 14, it says, “For He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him.” Job is saying, I may not see the process. I may not see behind the scenes, but God is building, growing, shaping, forming, creating, and completing what God appoints me to do. So, after I have done all — every single thing that I can do, I rest. I let go, and I let God.

The Fourth Commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Genesis teaches that God created the universe in six cycles of activity and on the seventh day, God rested.

Moses, who we know was a heightened spiritual individual, is teaching in the Fourth Commandment that we — made in the image and likeness of God, should also rest in our cycle ofGod is a Brown Girl Too 2010 Retreat 250 activity.

In every activity that we do, whether it be weight-lifting, writing, sculpting, teaching, managing, lawyering, or singing, there must be resting periods, when we cease all outer activity and trust God to do the requisite work, to facilitate the necessary connections, to make the divine appointments, to open the closed doors, to find the desired partner, to manifest the right resources, to tie the loose ends, to make a way out of no way — to do what we could never do for ourselves.

Georgiana Tree West gives a beautiful analogy of the need to surrender to Spirit in her book, Prosperity’s Ten Commandments. She says that when a farmer selects the seed, that’s like us deciding what we want. When a farmer prepares the ground for planting, that’s like us praying and acknowledging the one Source from which all of our good comes. Planting the seed is when we accept our desires. We plant in the soil of the mind; we plant in the soil of the heart; we plant in the soil of our soul — the divine idea that is to be made manifest. Tending the weeds is when we pour our faith upon our goals; when we prune and shape and water the soil through denials and affirmations; when we join together with like-minded people to center in Spirit; when we journal about it; when we meditate on it.

cropped-dusk-skyBut after the farmer has selected the seed, prepared the ground, planted the seed and tended the garden, he has to wait. He can’t send roots down into the soil. He can’t create upward shoots of green. He can’t put leaves on the stalks. He can’t put blossoms on the flowers. He has to let go and know that Spirit is working through natural law in cooperation with the seed that is planted to reveal the good that is constantly creating itself in the universal ethers. He has to do his part by surrendering.

When we learn to be true to ourselves and do what we were called to do, we will find that our needs are beautifully met — without struggle. Whether we are dealing with a week cycle; a year cycle; a 40-day accomplishment cycle; or a life cycle, we must balance all that we do with rest — and in that consciousness of rest, surrender to Spirit. In Spirit, we can surrender to the Love in which we live and move and have our being. We can surrender to Infinite Source, trusting that the Universe is always blessing us, always anointing us, always prospering us, always protecting us. We can surrender to Divine Mind, knowing that even in the unseen — all of our good is taking shape.

We can surrender to the invisible ethers that are attracting the right people, the right circumstances, and the right situations that will manifest our greatest dreams. We can surrender to the flow of inexhaustible supply and the energy of endless possibilities. We can surrender to the joy of letting go and letting God. In this consciousness of surrender, we can trust that Spirit is doing its work without us.

I do all that I can do; and then, I let go, and allow Spirit to bless me through the manifestation of my good.

IT’S TIME TO TELL A NEW STORY by Cecilia Loving

God is a Brown Girl Too 2010 Bonding in FaithI used to tell the same story over and over again about my life, growing up in a housing project in the inner city of Detroit, in a single-parent home, with four brothers — without a lot of the material things that other people take for granted. Even if I didn’t tell this story to other people, I told it to myself — over and over again. It wasn’t a horror story by any stretch of the imagination, but it was one where I felt the confines of being less than the infinite potential of who I AM. It was one where I felt limited by the appearances of the physical world and deprived of the pure potential of the greatness of God expressing as me.

The story that I was telling was that of an African American girl who was born in a drug-infested, rat-infested, roach-infested, alcohol-addicted world of violence and imprisonment and prostitution and poverty. No matter who I was or what I became, I couldn’t escape it.

And then, an amazing thing happened, the world that had provided me with the dark journey of my soul was bulldozed, razed to the ground.I AM My husband and I drove to Detroit and saw the demolished community that I had called my home for 21 years. I was astonished that what I had once believed was an entire world looked like one New York City block . . . of dirt.

The field of dirt made me feel a little silly, like someone had pulled back the curtain and showed me that my life had been no more than a stage set. And there it was, bare again: ready for the next show. I had always been standing on the edge of something more powerful than who I was in the physical realm. And there it was — the substance of pure potential. That patch of soil helped me see that I am now and have always been the inexhaustible source of unlimited possibility. It made me realize that life is full of opportunities to re-write our personal script of misery into one of lasting deliverance, by re-envisioning who we are and telling a new story.

I am not talking about forgetting the past. I am talking about using it to realize our victory in the present. I am talking about standing on its shoulders as though they are the rock of a mighty ancestor who gives us nothing but strength and courage and fortitude and power and love and might and grace and wisdom to bring our best to a new day.

We don’t have to be confined to someone else’s vision of the past and their perspective of who God is. Jesus told us all we needed to know; he said you are gods!

Gathering for Morning Prayer Aboard the ShipSo, if you live a meager existence that never seems to know you were born to create but simply satisfies itself with less, tell a new story that allows you to realize that the Kingdom is yours.

If you are struggling in the drama of someone else’s hell and cannot seem to reach the door of your own awakening, tell a new story that gives you the courage to leave and begin a new life journey of freedom and independence.

If you keep repeating the same mistakes again and again, then tell a new story where you have used the error of your ways to help other people change their habits.

If you are tip-toeing around the periphery of your calling — afraid to believe that you have the ability to shape and form everything in your midst, then tell a new story — one in which you take the bull by the horns and become all who you were blessed to be.

God is loveIf you are losing a race that you never seem win because you press forward but each lap moves you further from the finish line, then listen up. We were breathed from Spirit and shaped from the brown soil of mother earth, which is called adam in Hebrew.
Our dreams were born in the rising sun and spun through the glorious stars.
We are more than you could ever imagine.
We were born from kings and queens.
We are heirs to the throne.

That’s why I’m stepping out of the closet where I used to be to tell a new story for myself.
I’m not going to worry about pleasing other people; I’m going to be true to who Spirit summoned me to be.
I’m going to stop re-playing the same tapes.
I’m going to stop suffering through the same issues.

I’m going to write a new story, a powerful story, a story of unlimited resources, a story of divine ideas, a story that stops me from being captive in a melodrama without end, a story in which I leave the nets that I have been hanging onto, a story where my very name invokes the power of God.

You can recreate yourself in the same way that I am. You can tell a new story: one that dares not diminish who you are or any aspect of your divine inheritance. You can write a storyGBGII Cover without pity, sorrow, or despair; a story without a victim. A story with a hero and a happy ending; a story of prophecy about the true Kingdom of God that is right here inside of us — a place where there is no trepidation, only the realization that you can be and that you are anything that you want to become; a story about every hope, every dream, every desire, every pre-paving prayer that you can utter; a story of greatness that has never been told before — one in which you stand shoulder to shoulder with success; a story where you are one of many catalysts through which others recognize their power; a story of new ideas and fresh insights and infinite abundance and perfect opportunity embracing you, and uplifting you, and anointing you right where you are; a story that unfolds your power and your creativity and your passion and your talent and your spiritual gifts into a victory that is ever-lasting.

Know that the universe will back you up as you speak the story of a new and a great and a fantastic life that you can seize here and now in this moment.

Write your story beloved. Write a new one, and don’t utter the old one ever again.

Cecilia Loving is the owner and creator of God is a Brown Girl Too LLC , as well as the Pastor of SPIRITMUV (www.spiritmuv.com), a nondenominational church in NYC. She will be doing two of the workshops at the retreat, “Tell A New Story” and “Creating Abundance.” Her book, Prayers for those Standing on the Edge of Greatness (www.prayersontheedge.com) will be sold at the retreat.

RELEASE THE PAST AND BEGIN AGAIN by Cecilia Loving

Rev Loving listening to SpiritI was watching one of the cat fights on The Housewives of Atlanta, and as much as I love all of my beautiful sisters, it reminded me of the need that we all have for forgiveness and release. If we let go of the past, we free up so much energy to be productive in the present. When we aren’t bickering and hating, we have a lot more energy to manifest the change that we need in the world. The irony was that the “reality” television show was juxtaposed by continuous advertisements about brown girls starving in Africa.

We have a lot of work to do, but everything that we give to others begins with ourselves. We have to start by loving ourselves. Only then can we share the powerful love that we need to give to each other.

The following is an excerpt from my book, Prayers for Those Standing on the Edge of Greatness. It’s about our need to let go and release the past, which is part of the journey that we will be taking at the God is a Brown Girl Too “Opening to Consciousness” Retreat (www.godisabrowngirltoo.com).

The most important lesson I learned in the past decade is that forgiveness is not for the person I need to forgive; forgiveness is for me. When we hold resentment against anyone, we DSC_0343bind ourselves to that person; we give that person power over us, so much that the blockage interferes with our spiritual awareness.

In Romans 12:2, Paul said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The more we change our level of thinking from being limited to what we believe we can do in the physical world, the sooner our prayers can be answered. There is no question that God can answer our prayers by God’s grace, despite our failures or refusals to center ourselves in Christ consciousness. But when we realize that Spirit is always allowing us to manifest our desires through the right state of consciousness, we relieve our suffering and begin to manifest our goals with greater ease.

In Jeremiah 29:11–14, the prophet tells us that God said, “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” True prayer, then, is the act of seeking God with all of our heart, which is seeking Spirit without the baggage of hurt or resentment that we all love to lug around. True prayer is the process of centering in divine love by releasing and letting go.

beauty elevenJohn said “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) True prayer or communion with God is the realization of the love that expresses as us; we are made in the image and likeness of God. When we truly pray, we embrace that image and likeness.

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To have the clarity to let go, we must open our eyes and see people, places, relationships, circumstances, and situations without denial or resistance. When we open our hearts with forgiveness rather than condemnation, we can accept that our spouses will not change simply because we want them to, that they are on their own path, learning their own lessons, which have nothing to do with us.

We can accept that our parents did the best they could and are doing the best that they can and their criticisms of us have nothing to do with us, but are reflections of their own struggles. We can accept the past, realize that past mistakes cannot be changed, and move forward.

We have to accept that people are in our lives only for a season, and when that season ends, we have to let them go. We cannot control the manner in which people make decisions, andmirror 3 we must respect them for who they are, regardless of our differences. We also have to recognize that sometimes people will not accept us for who we are; however, that is not a sign that we need to change.

Instead, it is a signal for us to go on about our Father’s business. We cannot change other people; they have to do that for themselves. But we can change how we allow other people to impact our lives and how we use our thoughts, gifts, and energies when we relate to them.