Rise above

This was a sermon I gave 3 weeks ago as a sub minister in our local Center for Spiritual Living. I was inspired to re-read and post it now. Enjoy.

rise above…

Climb a mountain for the view

In this time of societal revelations of what desperately needs healing, and in this time of amped up rage, disappointment, discouragement as responses to the revelations, I offer a perspective that helps me:

When I feel burdened and stuck in the chaos of mass consciousness, I pause to meditate on this image: I climb a mountain for the view, for the perspective of where we have come from, and where we might be led to go. Whether mountain climbing is an activity you’ve experienced or not, I think we can all enjoy the message inherent within a picture or view of a mountain

This morning, while sprucing up this sermon, I paused to gaze eastward to the view of Mount Baker peeking over the rooftops of our neighbors. At first I saw the swirl of marine fog blanketing the horizon, but then, there it was: Kulshan—a coast Salish name for the gorgeous white peaked mountain. It made me remember to visit that place in my mind once in awhile, especially when I feel burdened by circumstances and dire experiences. Even when this summer’s smoke from many fires across the region smothered the view of the mountain, I could still picture it, knowing that it indeed is still there.

And that is the power of our imagination, as well as the power of our faith in something beyond our mortal bounds. Just because we do not see the sun on rainy days, we know it is there. And just because we often cannot see the works of Spirit in our lives, it doesn’t mean that Spirit is gone, disappeared from our lives.

Close your eyes for a moment, and using your considerable imagination, picture the earth from space. You’re probably picturing a circle, mostly blue thanks to the oceans, with swirls of clouds and the occasional green and brown land mass. The entire sphere is floating in a ocean of black.

Open your eyes and let’s see a show of hands for a snap survey: How many of have ever traveled to space? Yea, I thought it might be a minuscule percentage. Yet you’re picturing Earth in a way that you’ve never actually seen with your own two eyes, and your mind is able to do so because a revolution in perception began when, on December 7th, 1972, astronauts aboard the Apollo 17 space mission took a famous picture of our home planet. And that picture fueled our imagination and shaped it forever, even as countless other images now have been taken. Before these images poured in, our view of the planet was very different: our view was earthbound.

The men and women who experienced first hand this gorgeous blue marble were profoundly changed by it: “The world itself looks cleaner and so much more beautiful. Maybe we can make it that way—the way God intended it to be—by giving everybody that new perspective from out in space.” said NASA astronaut Roger Chaffee.

Loren Acton, Physicist and Space Shuttle Astronaut stated, “Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled with the glory of a universe of lights, I saw majesty—but no welcome. Below was a welcoming planet. There, contained in the thin, moving, incredibly fragile shell of the biosphere is everything that is dear to you, all the human drama and comedy. That’s where life is; that’s were all the good stuff is.”

All the good stuff. It’s here. All the beauty. All the opportunities to create and thrive and change what needs to be changed. All the emotions and thoughts that either hinder us or support us. All the stuff that distresses us and all the stuff that helps us transcend the stresses.

As a practicing shaman, I do not make a distinction between the world of materiality and the world of Spirit. Spirit and matter are intimately entwined, and one cannot be without the other. And so nature constantly speaks to me in a spiritual language. When I walk in the beautiful forest near my home, I am often deep in thought. Walking is my thinking time. And yet, when there is a bird call of some kind, I pay attention: “What was I the thinking?” Or “What is your message to me?”

A few weeks ago, I came upon a family scene: mama hawk was engaging her two youngsters in flight school—the initial sojourn from the nest. She would softly call out from a tree nearby, and at first they would answer, pleading: “Come here!” “Nope,” she replied, “you come this way.” And so they did. One of them was bolder than the other, but eventually, over the ensuing days, their flights went further afield and their confidence soared.

So too we need to build our flight muscles, and occasionally take wing to gain perspective and to acknowledge where our true source of abundance and food and possibilities come from: Spirit entreats us to fly further from our dependencies on our ego mind, and come see the view from on high.

We have amongst us friends and allies who seemingly transcend the limits most of us put on ourselves. Recently, the world has lost to heaven 3 transcendent leaders in their field : Senator John McCain, singer Aretha Franklin, and playwright Neil Simon. Mr. McCain was a man of integrity who often transcended politics in order to put things right or make decisions for the good of the country he loved. That he was so honored by people on all sides of the great political divide demonstrated how much one man in his integrity can inspire us.
So too the inspiration of using one’s gifts as Aretha Franklin did. Her powerful voice carried us through turbulent times, and taught us to r e s p e c t one another and ourselves. What a force!

Neil Simon elevated the theatre by writing plays in the language of the common human. Plus he himself went for his passion and said ““Don’t listen to those who say, you are taking too big a chance. Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says ‘They are all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections.’ I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects.”

More self respect! That’s what elevation can do. Rising above our tiresome, cranky thoughts gives us the spiritual perspective we need to move on with grace.

I have a dear friend who is kind, compassionate, a seriously amazing nurse practitioner—and her heart has been hurting to the max lately. Current state of our country stuff has her reeling.

So, she’s been actively doing what she considers her duty to mitigate and maybe even stop the awful behaviors and noise: circulating petitions, attending protests, writing letters, volunteering and fundraising and and and…

The news of immigrant children being separated from their parents and housed in jails tipped her over the edge though. Her attitude got more and more negative. Mood was dark. She felt overwhelmed and asked questions like “Whats the point? and…

She told her husband they needed to leave the country. She even researched moving to New Zealand, and applied for jobs in Canada. Her husband has been concerned: this was not the woman he knew and loved. Her anger was consuming her, her grief knew no bounds and she felt betrayed by her country. Lied to. I think you get the picture.

Eventually, Spirit led her to the very town I live in for an interview to work as a nurse practitioner here. She has many pals here, including me, and perhaps the fresh perspective would help her reset her attitude and mood. That said, I stated that we too have people on all sides of a divided nation: this is a town of political diversity. I also stated though, that Spirit is leading her to a place—wherever that might be—of being in the world with grace and sharing her gifts because they are needed. Yes they are.

So are yours, ya know. And sometimes, in order to see how our gifts can be shared in health and with grace, we need to rise above our doubts and fears and see from a different perspective. This requires going within. And through the power of observation and perspective, we rise above our darker thoughts and so we can then plunge right back into our lives, refreshed and renewed.

Over nine weeks ago, as evidenced by the bright orange caution tape decorating my arm, I fell and fractured my humeral head. Ouch! Such a big ouch that I’ve had to give up several things in my life in order to heal:

At first, and continuing to now, it was giving up teaching my beloved Zumba Gold classes 4 days a week—probably the most joyful work I did. I also initially let go of my work as a healer and spiritual guide because I was in too much pain. Healing a fracture needs stillness at first, now followed by intense therapy and rehab in order to restore range of motion and the ability to, say, eat and drink and shift car gears and draw and type using my dominant arm. Even typing today’s sermons took some doing and many breaks and lots of ice on my arm.

Now, though, baby step by baby step has brought me to more and more use of the wing. And the fracture has given me some immeasurable gifts in the process—now I see that fractures can actually allow in more light.

For instance, my friends rallied around me, and insisted on supporting me in so many ways: food, rides, and even money in the bank—which was not my idea, and hard for me to accept, but I got out of my own way and allowed them to be of service.

Another gift came within the first week of pain and stillness: I was trying to rest on a cushy recliner, but rest was not coming: the pain was too intense. Yet, while breathing through the pain, a new work was downloaded into my mind: a book series on the every day souls amongst us: a series of stories shared about you and me and our pals and relations who are gifted by Spirit and need to be supported in sharing those gifts. More to come about this, but suffice it to say that in a moment of rising above the painful circumstances of my fractured wing came what I had been asking Spirit for: A way to sustain me through doing my beautiful work. How’s that for a gift?

So, lovely gifted people, take a moment out of your life now and again, and rise above in consciousness. Through meditation or prayer or simply being present to possibilities, rise above your so-called limitations and know that Spirit has a whole heck of a lot of good in mind for you.

As Science of Mind teacher Earnest Holmes reminds us: “”I am guided by the same intelligence and inspired by the same imagination which scatters the moon beams across the waves and holds the forces of nature in it’s grasp.”

Rise above and be inspired!


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Elke Macartney

1 Comment

  1. diana on October 25, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Beautiful Sermon

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