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December 2016: Heretics & Heroes:

by Cathy Combs


December is such an interesting month for so many reasons. It is the month we celebrate the highest holy day of many of our world's religions. It is the month we are moving toward the shortest day of the year as we then move toward each longer day. It is a contemplative time where we look back on all the blessings and challenges of the year as we then contemplate so many new beginnings and endings. It is a time of many new awarenesses as I look with new eyes on some unanticipated events that I know are asking me to move up higher, to see the blessings I do not yet see.

Two blessings I now see are: Michelle Obama's mantra, "When they go low we go high." Fabulous. I don't know when she said that but I can't think of a more inspiring uplifting way to live, love and lead. How beautiful. I also saw my own mantra for 2016 "Joy-filled Faith. Say YES to Life." I can't think of a way I'd rather live than living a Joy-filled, Faith-filled Life. I've certainly needed Faith lately because I certainly haven't been feeling Joy-filled. I still give thanks for the experience because it gives me a great deal of Compassion and Understanding for what others are dealing with on a continuous basis.

It's the day after Thanksgiving as I continue this sharing with you. It's a sunny mild day here in the Midwest. It's mild enough that I was even able to sit out on my front porch and be warm and comfortable. It's a simple activity but it is one of my most favorite Joys to do. I live in a quiet multiracial economically diverse neighborhood. I live here by choice! I want to be in an area that reflects the diversity of the world. I have said before how open and welcoming the neighborhood is. It actually is a neighborhood where we talk with each other, we go to parties together, we work for the common good, we know each other's names!!! That's how we build community. That's how we bring Peace into the world!!! There is nothing I would rather do than bring Peace into the world!!!

I have said before that it is absolutely stunning to belong to some of the communities I belong to and see such dead faces, faces filled with so much trouble and despair. I have spent my entire life being dedicated to uplifting, educating and inspiring all I meet. It is stunning to see and feel how much work there is yet to do. Make no mistake I see and feel the happy Joy-filled faces too. I am one of them most of the time. That's what allows me to continue living the Inspired Life I live. I never take for granted the blessings I receive. I am very, very aware of how different life can be.

As I go forward into 2017 one of the most powerful blessings I am aware of is the Joy of simple pleasures: the profound Beauty of Mother Nature, the Beauty of the sunsets I so often enjoy watching, the Beauty of the sunrise when I'm up early enough to see it, the spectacular Beauty of rainbows. I have even seen triple rainbows several times in my life. The spectacular Beauty of the full moon at midnight as it made its way across the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii when I visited there in 2006. Even seeing pictures of beautiful places is Awe-inspiring. Beauty Itself is Awe-inspiring!!! Once I saw a picture of this humongous field of sunflowers and I was so uplifted I felt like I was flying I was so Joy-filled!!!

In part I'm saying this because Appreciation is such a magnet for Good!! Appreciation also simply feels good!!! Appreciation is a powerful healing agent. It releases endorphins (our feel good neurotransmitters) into our body. We feel uplifted when we are feeling Appreciation. We feel strong and courageous. We feel our Worthiness!!!

In part I'm also saying this because it's an expression of how Power-full we are. No matter what is happening in us and all around us we don't have to live lives of despair. We can choose to think and feel differently about ourselves and all others and we can reach out for the help we need and the help we wish to share. Yes, it takes Courage. Yes, it takes Will. We have all of that and more inside us. We are that and more. It is our very Nature to be all that we are!!!! That is why we are here!!! I've said that a thousand times. I'll be saying that for the entirety of my Life. That's how much it means to me!!!

As I say that I remember one of my favorite quotes I saw many, many years ago in Reader's Digest: "Fear knocked at the door. The door was answered. No one was there!" Acknowledging our fears is the first step in releasing them. I find fear to be such a fascinating paradox. It can feel so very, very real and yet it is an illusion. Once we truly face it, it goes away! We ask ourselves, "Do I want fear to be the entirety of my Identity or will I allow Magnificence to be my Identity?" Our answer to that question couldn't be more profound. It changes us forever!!! As I say this I am reminded of one of my favorite words from Rev. Mary Manin Morrissey as she talks about the green growing edges of our lives. As we continue in this contemplative preparatory season before Spring blooms yet again let us sit in the Joy-filled Vision of what our green growing edges will blossom into in our Life yet to come! What will we allow room for in our lives yet to be?

As we get ready for our venture and adventure into 2017 let's consider what our individual and collective highest holiest dreams are that we would like to bring into expression! Who is that amazing Being within you that you haven't dared to honor yet? How about letting your Magnificence shine so the whole world can be blessed by your radiant Joy-filled Life and Light and Grace? I assure you that you are needed like never before. You will add so much Joy and Light to the world and you will be so incomparably blessed in return. I have experienced that Joy so many times as I let my Light shine. I never get tired of that feeling! Are you ready? I hope so. The world is certainly ready and waiting for us. The song "Joy to the world" isn't just about Jesus. It's about all of us coming into the full recognition and acceptance of who we are: sacred and holy expressions of our divine Nature. That is my Understanding of who we are and why we are here. It is my Vision and Mission to awaken to this amazing Presence and Magnificence more and more each moment. I look forward to seeing you out and about as we share this precious community-based connectedness as we honor and celebrate our inherent worth and dignity now and always. Namaste. So mote it be!!! Blessings to you!!!