“Moving Forward or Killing Time?”
Is the person you are right now the person you want to be forever?
No matter where we are in life, change happens. It may be a new awareness for the same old thing we’ve been doing for years, or a complete change of direction. What does this actually mean in a spiritual sense? What are the qualities we need for moving forward? It’s never too late for change, but how do we move forward rather than simply waste our time?
Speaker: Rev. Chris Kell
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A Blessing of Loving-Kindness
May every creature abound in well-being and peace.
May every living being, weak or strong, the long and the small,
The short and the medium-sized, the mean and the great,
May every living being, seen or unseen, those dwelling far off,
Those near by, those already born, those waiting to be born,
May all attain inner peace.
Let no one deceive another,
Let no one despise another in any situation,
Let no one, from antipathy or hatred, wish evil to anyone,
Just as a mother, with her own life, protects her only child from hurt,
So within yourself foster a limitless concern for every living creature.
Display a heart of boundless love for all the world
In all its height and depth and broad extent,
Love unrestrained, without hate or enmity.
Then as you stand or walk, sit or lie, until overcome by drowsiness,
Devote your mind entirely to this, it is known as living here life divine.
~ From the Buddhist tradition
A Prayer for Healing
Healer of Our Every Ill,
Breathe in and among all of us who dwell in this land.
Soothe our wounds. Calm our fears. Mend our divisions.
Hope of All Tomorrows,
Open our deaf ears and fill us with Compassion.
Tender our hearts. Inspire creative ideas to address
the cries of our sisters, brothers and Earth itself.
Send forth your Spirit of Love and Unity
Transform pointed fingers of blame
into hands open in reverence to receive one another.
Fan into flame the gift of our founding
And let us be known again as a people
United for the goodness, justice
and peace of all people forever.
~ Pat Bergen, CSJ, Congregation of St. Joseph, in Cleveland, Ohio
It’s Never Too Late
When Rev. Melanie told me about the theme for this month, It’s Never Too Late, I thought It’s Never Too Late to . . . what? It’s Never Too Late, and here you can fill in the blank: never too late to change your mind, your diet, your life style? Maybe it’s never too late to find a new job, or start a new hobby. If you are an old dog like me, maybe it is possible to learn new tricks.
But this was not quite the direction I wanted to go in.
Perhaps it’s never too late to . . . awaken, to grow, to become aware, to change our spiritual direction.
So then I found myself thinking about what it’s never too late means in a spiritual sense. In other words, perhaps it’s never too late to . . . awaken, to grow, to become aware, to change our spiritual direction. In other words, maybe it’s never too late to be and do what we were born to be and do.
No matter where we are in life, change happens. It may be a new perspective on the same old thing we’ve been doing for years, or a complete change of direction. In these cases, change is pretty straightforward. If we want another job, we start networking, brushing up our skill sets or acquiring new ones, and we begin to search for opportunities that match our new objective. Or perhaps it’s a new hobby, so we try out a few things to get a feel for what might satisfy our need for something different. We can change our hairstyle, the way we dress, and how we eat. Sometimes, the desire may be for a new relationship, which can be a little harder to satisfy, and even somewhat intimidating, yet, we’re willing to wait and watch for that right person to come along.
All we know is that something needs to change.
But what does it mean when we know something is missing from our life but nothing seems to satisfy that indescribable longing for an indefinable desire? Nothing we try fills up that empty space we feel inside. All we know is that something needs to change, and sometimes we are afraid we’ll never figure out what that is. Does that mean it is too late to change?
I think most of you probably know where I’m headed with this train of thought. When we are dissatisfied with our life, and outward material changes don’t seem to make it better, that’s when we must look to our inner spiritual life to find the missing pieces.
When it is time for a spiritual change, what opportunities do we look for?
But if that’s true, what does it imply? When it is time for a spiritual change, what opportunities do we look for then? If it is truly never too late for change, how do we move forward spiritually rather than simply waste our time looking outside ourselves for what’s missing?
In her talk last week, Rev. Melanie referenced a quote from George Eliot, who said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” In Melanie’s words, “no matter how tired, disillusioned, or disheartened we might be, we always have the opportunity for renewal and new beginnings.” If this is true, and I believe it is, how do we become the person we are meant to be?
It is important to understand that the person you are meant to be is who you already are.
Well, first off, it is important to understand that the person you are meant to be is who you already are. You’ve just forgotten who that person is. So, you don’t need to search for who you are because you already know. You just have to remember who that person is.
You were born with a specific purpose the day you were created.
Next, you were born with a specific purpose the day you were created, so you don’t have to search for your purpose because it has always been with you. Again, you just have to remember what that purpose is.
Now, the good news is, as C.S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” So, if you are not happy with who you are now, it’s never too late to change. Follow author Robert Brault’s advice; he tells us, “Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.”
When you are living your purpose, you are living to the fullest and happiest state of your being in this life. You are living who you are meant to be.
When people feel like they have no sense of direction, no purpose in their life, it’s often because they don’t know what’s important to them, they don’t know what their values are, especially their spiritual values. So, if you are on a quest to “find” your purpose, think of your most vivid memory of when you felt the most alive and happy. What were you doing? Who were you being? Your purpose is a state of being. When you are living your purpose, you are living to the fullest and happiest state of your being in this life. You are living who you are meant to be.
So instead of reinventing your outer life, maybe all you need is a spiritual reboot. Maybe it’s time to open your spiritual toolbox and take inventory of what’s available to you to help you get you moving forward on your spiritual journey instead of simply killing time until you die.
Every moment of every day can become a spiritual step.
The spiritual path is simple. It is already right here. There is nowhere to go; there is nothing special that you need. Consequently, just about anything in your life can be a spiritual tool to keep you on the path and true to who you are meant to be, who you already are. Every moment of every day can become a spiritual step.
Author and modern day philosopher Mark Manson offers some sage advice. He says:
“We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. The unimportant ones basically just kill time. Discovering purpose in our lives should be something that’s fun and interesting, not a chore. Discover what feels important to you.”
To help you figure out what’s important and what’s not, I’d like to offer some toolbox suggestions I picked up from Mark to help you get started on the path to re-discovering yourself and your purpose.
We all have a tendency to lose touch with what we loved as a child.
At whatever point you are in your life, you may have forgotten about some of the simple pleasures that gave you joy when you were younger. We all have a tendency to lose touch with what we loved as a child. So here are three reminders to think about when you need a boost:
1. Passion always begins with a sense of play. Bring out that inner child for a playdate once in a while.
2. What childhood passion did you lose to adulthood? Think back and recall what made you said you wanted to be when you grew up. Maybe you can do that now.
3. What activity should you revisit, just for the fun of it? Going back to the time and place of happy memories may be just the reminder you need of what you are missing now.
Find a problem you are interested in and start solving it.
Next, one answer to the question of “What can I do with my time that is important, that I feel passionate about, and that I can have fun doing?” is to find a problem you are interested in and start solving it. You may not end up finding the answer (for example, it would be hard to come up with the perfect solution to world hunger), but you can contribute at some level to finding a solution and making a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment.
For many of us, the enemy is complacency and procrastination. We get into our routines. We distract ourselves. We don’t have time for anything new, so nothing new happens.
Passion is the result of action, not the cause of it.
What most people don’t understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it. Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a trial-by-fire process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.
And don’t be scared to be scared. If you avoid anything that could potentially make you anxious, embarrassed, or uncertain, then you will never end up doing something that feels important. It all comes down to your willingness to be vulnerable, and to do that can be scary.
Determine your priorities and let your intuition guide your actions.
Determine your priorities and let your intuition guide your actions. It’s not about some great achievement, but merely finding a way to spend your limited amount of time well. And to do that you must take the time to think beyond yourself, to think greater than yourself, and to act.
When we try new things we discover old truths. We conquer our doubts. We stop retreating. We value ourselves enough to take risks — to trust, create, and move forward.
Remember what C.S. Lewis said: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” You are never too old to try something new, and your chance of success has little to do with your age anyway. It really just boils down to doing what you love, and doing it now.
Your chance of success is shaped by your willingness to listen to and trust your intuition to guide you.
And finally, your chance of success is shaped by your willingness to listen to and trust your intuition to guide you. That’s what these people did. Think of Alan Rickman, who you may know as Professor Snape. His first movie role came at age 46. There’s Ray Kroc, who joined the McDonald’s franchise at 53; Nelson Mandela, who emerged after 27 years in jail, became his country’s president at 76. Julia Child was 50 when she published her first cookbook and then hosted her first TV show.
You probably have all heard of Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses. This American folk painter took up painting at the tender age of 78, proving that it’s never too late to follow your dream. And then there’s J.K. Rowling, who was 36 years old when the first Harry Potter book was published and suddenly everyone in the world was desperate to be a wizard. All these people did not become successful and famous overnight. They succeeded because they discovered their purpose after trial and error, by staying true to their dreams, and by staying on the path towards those dreams.
Every goal, even spiritual goals, has its barriers and challenges to overcome.
These people and so many others I didn’t name, people we hear about all the time, famous or not well-known at all, all lived stories that demonstrate that it is possible to find the courage to push past challenges and overcome obstacles. Every goal, even spiritual goals, has its barriers and challenges to overcome. When we continue to move through those barriers, persevering and growing and strengthening our inner resolve and awareness, we continue to move forward on our spiritual path towards discovering who we are, who we are meant to be.
There are many ways to be spiritual in the modern world, but they all require that we move in alignment with our intuition. Trusting our intuition takes practice, yet once we become clear about how to listen for and receive inner guidance, trust it, and follow it, we can begin to make decisions in accordance with that guidance. Over time, you may find yourself moving forward in a new direction. And, when you feel a positive sense of expansion and fulfillment, you will know you are on the right path.
It’s never too late to make the choice.
In the long run, the path you take will depend on your own experience, commitment, and beliefs. But remember, it’s never too late to make the choice.
To help you, there are spiritual tools in your toolbox in addition to the more practical lifestyle tools I just described. Most of these we hear about many Sundays throughout the year. They are the intangible tools, or spiritual values, we practice every day.
The authors of The Joy Within website describe a few of these values in connection with following a spiritual path in our everyday world, helping you achieve your spiritual aims by applying these principles to your life.
The world is a reflection of exactly where you are and where you need to be.
The first practice they talk about is self-reflection, openness, and receptivity. The world is a reflection of exactly where you are and where you need to be. Spirituality, they say, is about learning continuously and allowing every detail of your life to become your teacher.
When you open yourself to looking at the world with fresh eyes, asking what you can learn from each moment, from every circumstance and every interaction, you begin automatically to live more consciously, and to develop a higher sense of awareness about your place in the world.
Begin looking at the world with new eyes.
And as your awareness expands, you begin looking at the world with new eyes; you begin to see that everything, including yourself, is already perfect, and continues to evolve in its perfection. Reverence and gratitude for every creature, every idea, and every object, animate and inanimate, becomes a fundamental part of your consciousness.
Mindfulness is a tool for connecting with the present, moment by moment, and appreciating life more fully. When you become mindful, you become more attuned to the subtle joys that are always around you. Take the time to stop and focus in on the now moment and how you feel, how there are always new details available when you take the time to see them.
As you proceed down this spiritual path, loving kindness becomes inevitable. As you understand that you are always learning and always evolving, and as you approach the world with reverence and respect, you will begin to see that everyone else is also on their own path. Engaging with your community, and being a positive light for those around you, leads to understanding and compassion. Even if you cannot physically help someone, you will begin to love them. You will begin to think kindly of them, and you will act in accordance with that kindness.
Understanding your purpose is who you are, not what you do.
We don’t have to separate out our spiritual life from our life-style. We can bring the two together. The more you are familiar with who you truly are, the more contentment you will have in both your outer and inner self. Understanding your purpose is who you are, not what you do. Notice how you are showing up in your life. What kind of thoughts do you wake up with? Remember that your thoughts, words, actions, and feelings, when aligned, will remind you of who you are; they will show you who you are meant to be.
Auguste Rodin once said: “You don’t sit and wait for inspiration; you sit down and get to work . . .”
Becoming spiritual is about deciding that the way you feel every single day is your number one priority.
Becoming spiritual is about deciding that the way you feel every single day is your number one priority. You have to be willing to let your ego move to the side as you choose to follow what your intuition tells you about who you are and who you want to be.
The universal energy that binds us – however you name it – is an energy of love, joy, and beauty. Your connection to All That Is begins with your ability to follow your joy. As you look for the beauty in the world around you, appreciating what is before you even when it seems difficult to do so, you your feelings of peace and gratitude cannot help but grow. As you increase your own peace, you develop a stronger connection with universal energy. You resonate at a higher frequency, and you act effortlessly from a state of love. Begin to take the time to get in touch with that joy, and a new world will open before you. You will start to remember who you really are: a divine being of light, one with the Universe.
It’s never too late to remember who you are.
Your purpose is your state of being. It means that you are awake in your life, aware of your purpose and your vision, and are willing to do whatever it takes to live the life that reflects who you want to be and truly are.
It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to remember who you are, and who you are meant to be.
About Rev. Christine Kell
Rev. Chris Kell is an Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister, an ordained graduate of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, a graduate of the Priestess Emergence Process, and a Certified Life Success Consultant. She has a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in Women’s Studies and Small Group Communication, and post-graduate studies in Feminine Spirituality. Rev. Chris has a deep appreciation for the aspirations of the human spirit. She has been fortunate in discovering how nurturing and supportive a positive environment can be, how it encourages spiritual strength and expands the possibilities for living a good life. Her goal is to be a catalyst for others in envisioning and discovering for themselves a spiritually enriched life. She can be reached at Rev.ChristineKell@gmail.com.
Today’s reading comes from Louise Hay and is read by Kathleen Rieter.
I love and accept myself exactly as I am.
I support myself, trust myself, and accept myself wherever I am.
I can be within the love of my own heart.
I place my hand over my heart and feel the love that is there.
I know there is plenty of room for me to accept myself right here and now.
I accept my body, my weight, my height, my appearance, my sexuality, and my experiences.
I accept all that I have created for myself—my past and my present.
I am willing to allow my future to happen.
I am a Divine, Magnificent Expression of Life, and I deserve the very best.
I accept this for myself now.
I accept miracles. I accept healing. I accept wholeness.
And most of all, I accept myself.
I am precious, and I cherish who I am.
Awake, Awake written by John Philip Newell and David Poole
It’s a Good Day written by Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour
This service aired on September 19, 2021