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A Culture of Abundance…

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in Minister's Column

“The world is full of abundance and opportunity, but far too many people come to the fountain of life with a sieve instead of a tank car… a teaspoon instead of a steam shovel. They expect little and as a result they get little…” (Ben Sweetland)

There are many religious/spiritual sages who share a similar insight which makes it hard to believe that humanity has still not gotten it, how can we create abundance in our lives and the world if what we fear and focus on is scarcity? What does it take for us to shift our thinking to a place of abundance? I often think of positive affirmation as a way to cultivate an abundant mind and using mantras as a way to change the way that we think. For example, if we hold the mantra in mind that, “I have an open and loving mind and heart” ultimately we will create a life that is open and loving. What we are willing to mindfully cultivate in our lives will shape us and everything that we do. This is why I feel that it is critical to engage in strategic and abundant thinking so that we can create and cultivate the life and congregation of our dreams.

With this in mind I have been working with the Board of Trustees and your Stewardship team to imagine what First Parish would look like if we were fully funded with resources to spare. What would our weekly programming offer, how might our facilities change and what would our members be focusing on? When we think strategically about our future it is critically important for us to think towards a culture of abundance instead of scarcity because ultimately we create what we imagine. We can even find this in basic ways, for example, if we wake up in the morning saying to ourselves, “I feel tired and burned out” guess what happens… We are tired and burned out. If we go to bed believing that we will “fall right to sleep and wake up rested” the chances are that we will do just that. The key to this practice of abundant thinking is to realize that our thoughts are far more powerful that we can possibly imagine.

What you think and how you think matters. This is why on Saturday, March 8th I want you to come to the seminar that we have planned on thinking abundantly. Many of you believe that this is all about strategic planning, which is half true, but it is also about taking note of how we each think. How and what we feel about First Parish is important but even more important is what our assumptions are. In this daylong session, with lunch provided, we will investigate our assumptions individually and as a congregation. Our collective imaginings will enable us to understand how we have created the congregation that we are and how we can mindfully and strategically create our future. I realize that we are all busy, now there is an affirmation that can be overbearing at times, but I need for all of the members and friends to attend this session. I cannot steer the USS First Parish without you and this is a critical moment to clear the decks and fully participate.

I have seen how you, the members and friends, have evolved as individuals and as a congregation in the short time that we have been together. It is palpable how reenergized and excited you all are about the community that we are working to create. The goals and tasks that we will endeavor to raise up over the next couple of months will be culled from your dreams. We will build a plan and our goal is to vote on this plan at our annual meeting in June. This plan will include your lists of projects, events and beloved traditions, it will be a living plan that will continue to evolve as we do.

I have dubbed March the month of abundance as we are about to embark on a journey that will begin with the sharing our dreams, continue with the annual canvass to garner renewed volunteer and financial support and end on the 30th with my installation as your 44th minister! Let us venture into this month feeling joyful for all the bounty and blessings that we have in this life! Be joyful for moments without pain, for a sunny day in the midst of a bounty of snow and for a community that truly cares about who you are and what you believe.

Peace and much love,

Rev. Marjorie


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Abundance or Scarcity… You Choose…

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Minister's Column

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into. (Wayne Dyer)

image014A sense of abundance is not something the we can acquire nor is it something that someone can give us; it is a state of mind that we choose. In a world that assigns value to items that are scarce, it is  no wonder that we disregard the bounty of abundance that exists all around us. We tend to seek and treasure the items that are difficult to find. Think about gold or platinum, both considered a commodity because they are rare, and yet at the end of the day they are still rocks. Diamonds are beautiful based on the clarity and cut of the stone, but again they are just stones. Oil over time has become a commodity, especially since it has become less available; when we first started using oil it was a prevalent and a cheap source of energy but our mass consumption has made it less available and expensive. We value that which is not prevalent, and we ignore that which is all around us. What is this all about?

Water, we literally need it to survive and yet we pollute it, waste it, and do not give it a second thought. There are people in this and other countries who have to walk miles to get clean drinking water and realize its worth. We could consider time in the same way. When we have so much of time in front of us we are unconcerned, and yet when we are faced with the reality of the finite nature of life we take stock and get serious about a bucket list. Why do we only recognize and value the scarcity in our lives instead of revel in what exists abundantly all around us?

Last Sunday, I shared in my sermon that First Parish is in good financial shape, and afterward I was asked how could I possibly say this because there is clearly a deficit budget. Based on what I have seen with regard to your budget and the commitment to this community you are so close to having a balanced budget, you have funds set aside which are growing, and you care about the future of First Parish. If every member extended their pledge by $100 this fiscal year we would reach our goal of being balanced. Think about it, the difference between a sense of scarcity and abundance is $100. If that isn’t good news I am not sure what is. Yet First Parish propagates a history/story of scarcity instead of abundance. You are concerned about not having enough, and that “story” holds this community back from truly blossoming. I wonder if this is just the human condition rearing its “fear-based” head? Do we need that sense of scarcity to value what we have in our community? Is it possible to imagine abundance at First Parish and still want to participate, donate, volunteer? Last Saturday we had the fall cleanup and there were quite a few people pitching in and let me tell you more is way better than less… it was easier to do the work together, it was way more fun, and we got the work done faster.

Here is a truth — abundance is always available to each one of us; we just need to wake up, open our minds and hearts, and tune into abundance. We are wealthy in all the stuff that really matters: air, water, food, laughter, friendship, music, love, spirit, and we are comfortable with many of the commodities in life. Do we need more of the commodities to be truly happy? What do we need in our lives to feel like we have enough to be truly generous?

Thank you for all that you do and share with the First Parish community and one another!

In love and peace,

Rev. Marjorie

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