Beyond The Gifts And Parties
December is one of those months that the gamut of emotions are up for grabs. There are some who find this to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” What with all the gift giving and receiving, the decorations to be put up, the meals to be planned, the parties to attend. Then there are those who, for religious or sentimental reasons, do not like the month because of all the carolling, the gifting, the celebrating the birth of a man they share nothing in common with.
Another group – and there are many groups but there is not enough room to detail most – that find this month the best time to start mapping out their New Year, while celebrating the meaning of this season, being with family, friends and even strangers .
Over my lifetime, I have moved along the continuum of these groups. However, for many years now, on December 31, New Year’s Eve, all of the busyness or even near nonchalance comes to a halt for me. It is on this night that I stay quietly at home creating my Vision Board. This is a practice that I started as I tried to put a cap on a tumultuous time of my life. A particular phrase heard years before started having real meaning for me. When I first heard it, it evoked mixed feelings in me:
It works if you work it!
The cynic in me at the time thought it was just one of those things that people say to feel good. I was supported in that thought by my then partner who scoffed every time it was said or I brought home reading material that made reference to the idea. However, after my first months as a regular attendant at the Universal Centre of Truth for Better Living in Kingston, Jamaica the idea that “it works if you work it,” started to make sense to me on all levels.
Johnnie Coleman, the late founder and then head of the parent church – Universal Foundation for Better Living – was credited with espousing this idea. Several publications were, and probably still are available, with her testimonies as to how she worked “it.” Initially, I was not too sure what the ‘it’ was or whether these testimonies were hogwash. It took several months of literally sitting at the feet of the senior minister, Reverend Sheila McKeithen, and another woman who would later become not only my Bible teacher but mentor and woman-friend – Reverend Dr. Phyllis Green.
Unlock The Secret This December
What these women and others over time taught me is basically now a fad. The Secret – was no secret to me by the time it was on Oprah. The Law of Attraction – the basic principle of The Secret is what Reverends McKeithen and Green taught me but not in those terms. They went way beyond what is now pseudo-spirituality for some, prosperity preaching for others and money magnets for others. Part of the ‘It’ that I learned was that “what you think about, you bring about.” Ever since learning this and other principles, alongside gaining a new perspective, understanding and Love for what I know describe as Source, I have tried to be mindful of my thoughts (a Buddhist approach to life that I also learned at this Christian church). My rate of success varied from dismal to overwhelmingly wonderful.
Many a stories I could tell about my ‘working’ the principle, not least of which would be how I got my permanent resident status to Canada against what then seemed like insurmountable odds. All I will say is that that was the first time two years after learning the principle that I was spooked!
For 17+ years now I have continued “working it,” and it has never failed me. Even in those moments when my life experiences could not seem more horrible – I was working it. You see, in my experience, it is has proven to be true that what you think about you bring about. Maybe it would be better to say whatever you think about – healthy or unhealthy – will most certainly be your experience. I have proven and continue to prove that.
Going back to the night of December 31, 2006 into the morning of January 1, 2007, I decided to do a collage. Being somewhat of a visual learner, making a collage of my goals and desires for the New Year was my way of focusing my thoughts on a new life for myself. Regular readers might easily recognize this period as the first festive season after a traumatic and devastating end of a 16-year relationship. While most people were out partying, I was at home literally struggling to make sense of my life. How to reconstruct a future from the heap of rumble that I was in the midst of was the biggest question facing me.
Vision Board A New Life
With limited reasoning ability, a weakened physical state having lost over 30+ pounds in less than two months and emotionally and mentally broken and empty, by December 2006 after my second suicide attempt, I knew I had to heal. My faith had forcibly yet gently sustained me to that point, and was now leading me to start thinking about the possibility of a future. Visualization is a major part of ‘working’ ‘it’ and so that December night, I had a poster board and all the ‘O” and Chatelaine magazines in my house spread out on my bed.
Fast forward to December 31, 2007 and I was emotionally in a better place but I was doing the same thing – consciously and intentionally ‘working’ It again. I took down the collage that I had made a year before and reviewed my journey through the year that was coming to an end that night. Prominent on it were specific health, career and friendship goals. Some things had manifested and specific to the goals were:
I was experiencing the best state of health in over 14 years. I was diagnosed with diabetes and thyroid disease almost two decades by then and struggled with my eating habits (rather addiction) for most of my life. By December 2007, my doctor was saying that my sugar levels were the best in years!
I had ‘accidentally’ landed on a career path that was nowhere in my imagination. Prior to migrating to Canada, I had decided that after 10 years in communications and marketing it was no longer the path for me. My sense was that non-traditional ministry, particularly spiritual counseling, was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. So soon after ‘settling’ in my new country, I entered that stream by enrolling for my second Master’s degree in Theological Studies. However by January 2007, Life was leading me to deeper involvement in the criminal justice system with a semi-permanent job at a women’s correctional facility – a position that blended my desire to do spiritual counselling, work with women and continue my passion for social justice.
With a break up, you lose relationships and even communities. This was probably the hardest part for me – saying goodbye to people who had played a role in my life over the years. What I received in their stead was a core group of friends who had encircled me during the most emotionally challenging period of my life. Those people – women, men, gay, straight and in-between – wiped my tears and kicked my butt through 2007.
These were three major manifestations but as I reviewed my 2007 collage that December, I realized that there was still more ‘working it’ to do, so I decided not to re-invent the wheel but refine the collage for 2008. Although not as spooked as I was back in 2002 when my permanent residency was ‘miraculously’ granted 4 days after I was told it was indefinitely delayed, the manifestations to now – 2015 – remain awesome.
Is It For You?
Those who have read or seen the DVD of “The Secret” will understand that this “it” – does not need any religious conviction but only a belief and an understanding that whatever you focus on – consciously or unconsciously – will be your experience. For too long, I like many of you have lived my life unconsciously, believing that my experiences and the manifestation in my life were the luck of the draw.
There are truly no accidents in life – even the abuse that I have endured. This is probably the most challenging aspect of this approach for many people. I know it was for me – understanding and accepting that all the forms of abuse that occurred in my life were learning moments for the journey. What I have come to learn is that ‘choice’ – my power to choose – is what makes the difference. I could choose to focus on the anguish and hurt that occurred in my life or I could choose to acknowledge and accept that harm was done to me and then use the experience as fodder for my growth.
That is a hard lesson to learn – no doubt about it. The last column in Oprah’s magazine is entitled “What I Know For Sure,” and what I do know, after years of experimenting is “It works if you work it.”
Nothing I have written here – and at any time – is meant to brag, boast or proselytize. Explaining her mission, Reverend McKeithen once said that her role is to lay a buffet, with all the teachings she has learned and invite us all to the table. It was our choice to take what we wanted and leave the rest. As she modeled for me, I too am merely setting a table with my experiences. Take what you will. My only addendum is that I honestly believe in personal testimonies and this is mine.
“It works if you work it!
If you would like to learn more about this or any other topic that we discuss here, feel free to contact me. As well, when you subscribe and join this community, you receive my monthly FREE newsletter that includes tips for “working it,” an affirmation poster and much more coming in the New Year.
Subscribers also receive downloads of my E-Books so sign-up today and make this a December like no other. My latest E-Book, Before The Year Ends, gives you tools to reflect on 2015 and start planning your 2016. Download it here.
Have a great day and Namaste!