Childlike, Love

Love your childlike self, and your neighbor

I’ve heard it said a number of times – to “love your neighbor as yourself” you must first love yourself.  I’ve often struggled with this idea of loving myself in a way that doesn’t feel conceited or egotistical.  The other day when I was pondering this, a new way of looking at it came to me…

When I was a little kid, my family and friends called me Kimi (well, they all spelled it differently at the time – some Kimmy, others Kimmie – but I like this spelling so I’m going to stick to it). 

I’ve recently been helping out a family friend who knew me when I was little and apparently refers to me as Kimi to her friends that I’ve also been helping , are so now they are all calling me Kimi… and it got me thinking about my childhood self… little Kimi Hedge.

What if I thought about just loving little Kimi… the little kid that was pretty smart (though really had to work at the good grades sometimes), athletic, good at art… and yet really awkward at times.  She was never one of the popular or cool kids … and spent years vacillating between wanting to be like everyone else and fit in, and then wanting not to be like everyone else and stand out.  I thought about how this kid loved summer camp and was full of life there, and wanted everyone else to love it just as much.  This kid was daring and brave and creative… and klutzy… and often had terrible haircuts.  

I just started to love this little kid in all her adorableness and awkwardness (and great outfits) and all the rest.  And I began to see her as God sees each one of us – as Her beloved child… innocent, joyful, free… and to love her just as God loves her.  

Well then I decided maybe it’s not bad to be called Kimi again… to remind me of that great, awkward, funny little kid… and to embrace my natural childlikeness even now… my innocence, purity, childlike joy and freedom.  

And then, when I go to love my neighbor as myself… I can love the little child they were and truly still are… the child of God.  And I can apply this even to people I don’t agree with or have much in common with… because we were all innocent little kids once.  And we are all God’s children – always.  So how can you see yourself and others as God’s child and love them as yourself?

joy, peace

True source of joy and peace

Sometimes in life it can seem like everything is good and going well and the next minute or hour or day, that is a distant memory and doubt or fear or frustration or other negative thinking creeps in and takes over.  I remember this happening once when I was feeling down and talking to a friend, whom I had spoken too just hours before when things were great and he said, “Seriously – what changed??”  

What he meant was that if we know that God, Good, Love is the source of all good and the true, constant and permanent source of our joy and peace – what could change?  I know God to be the source of joy and peace and that those are qualities we inherently possess, because we were created in God’s image and likeness (according to Genesis 1).  So they are a part of us and must be constant and permanent because those are also qualities of God that we reflect. I thought of his comment about “what changed” one morning as I was trying to figure out how the day before I went from having a great day to a lousy evening.

That day, I was so sure of my source of good and joy and felt totally at peace when I started my day, and that carried throughout my day of service work.  But then in the evening I chatted with a different friend who said some things that really bothered and frustrated me, and then I got mad and down on myself for being so bothered and frustrated… and in all this my thought was definitely not very focused on God, my true source of good.  

So while reflecting back on this, I came across this statement from Mary Baker Eddy which appeared in that week’s Bible lesson:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus xx. 3.) The First Commandment is my favorite text. It demonstrates Christian Science. It inculcates the tri-unity of God, Spirit, Mind; it signifies that man shall have no other spirit or mind but God, eternal good, and that all men shall have one Mind. The divine Principle of the First Commandment bases the Science of being, by which man demonstrates health, holiness, and life eternal.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340

I thought about the first commandment in a different way… what was it that I making another god?  Was I saying that this friend who had said those things was my source of joy or peace (and they failed)?  Wouldn’t that be attributing power, cause, source to something other than the one all-powerful, all-loving God?  

When I realized that, I started to feel more peaceful and more joyful.  I realized that this person had no control over my happiness.  And the more I focused on God, as the true source of joy, the more I felt closer to God and more at peace.  So now I’m on the lookout for what I might be making false gods – friends, sleep, money, home… basically anything that at any moment I give power to or think of as my source of some quality – love, energy, supply, peace… and turning it around to realize that God is our ultimate source of all good.

What are you making a false god?  

abundance, blessings, direction, God

Monday Meditations…

Another term for the Lord or God is Love… as stated in 1 John – God is Love.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. …11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 4: 7-8, 11-12

So it seems to me that if we commit ourselves to Love and trust in Love, then Love will bring it to pass, Love will help us and show us the way… So if we commit to seeing and loving each other, as God sees and loves each one of us – unconditionally… then there is nothing love cannot solve, or bring about in a harmonious way.

God, grace, Love

The journey begins with lessons on love

I’m on a journey for a few months to take my healing practice on the road… it has felt like an inspired idea, but for a while I didn’t know the “why” of it all… but I realized just before leaving and embarking on this adventure that the “why” of this journey is simply the “why” of life in general… our entire purpose… to learn more about God / Love… to learn more about grace… to learn to express more love… to live love more abundantly, more generously, more selflessly… 

I’m currently in Virginia just outside of Washington DC, my former home for 13 years… after an awesome stop in Pittsburgh with a dear old friend… My favorite thing so far about this trip is hearing what is inspiring others and sharing ideas about the power of love to bring healing to our lives…

My sweet dog Tillie and I left a few days ago, departing St. Louis, MO at 5am… and we drove through IL, IN, OH, WV, PA, MD, VA and DC… we will be venturing to NJ, NY, MA in the coming weeks/months… 

And despite the past few absolutely incredible few days of reunions with friends, lots of times for reflection… incredible inspiration from art, nature and community…  despite all of that, I just had a moment, where I felt super lonely and alone.  

But it only lasted a brief moment… because I remembered something a good friend recently told me… we were talking a few weeks ago and I had left him a message that I was feeling on top of the world, so alive and filled with love because I was having fun sharing love with friends and community members … and then two hours later I was in a funk and reached out to him for help getting out of it.  He laughed and said – “What changed in 2 hours??  You literally left me a message 2 hours ago about all the good you’re doing and experiencing and all the love you’re sharing…. What changed in 2 hours?!” Well… nothing.  Nothing had changed… I laughed because I could see what he was saying.  He was not being insensitive… he was helping me see that I was and always had been the loved of Love… both the recipient and the expression of Love itself… and nothing had or could ever change that fact. Nothing can ever separate us for a moment from Divine Love.

So I recalled this conversation just now as I started feeling a bit low…and snapped out of it in a matter of seconds…   because 3 hours ago I was sharing with a friend with whom I was visiting that I’m so in my element on this divinely directed journey, sharing love and exploring ideas about healing and the power of Love with friends, sharing a meal… exploring a city I love and seeing the many, many diverse expressions of beauty and soul… from festivals on busy streets to drum circles and jams sessions and yoga classes in one of my favorite parks to people play chess listening to jazz and smiles of passers by…It was an incredible day filled with abundant good!!!

I realized that like my friend had pointed out in the first instance… that is how it is… call it evil, the devil, error, mortal thought…  whatever… it tempts us to feel down… suggests that we are not whole and complete, but rather lacking or missing someone or something… tempts us to compare ourselves with others on social media… or to where society says we “should” be…  but we don’t have to buy it…  and when we pause for a moment and instead fill our thought with gratitude for the good that is present… for the love that is present… for the generosity of spirit that is present… the seeming lack is minimized until it is nothing… when we realized that nothing has actually changed…that we are and always have been the loved of Love… and that it was merely a suggestion of a thought of lack which we can know t doesn’t need to cloud our thought … We can continue to basque in the goodness and the grace of unconditional, every present Love.

I’m so grateful for these moments of learning and growth and recognition of the abundant good and grace of the Divine.  That is what this journey is about… Learning about love… as my favorite author, Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures – Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. (page 494)

That is so true… Love is ever-present… we just get to tune into it! It will meet each and every need…

More on this journey and the inspiration and lessons to come…

blessings, future, Life

To bless and be blessed

Through my work in the healing ministry I often get the opportunity to talk with college students and recent grads.  At this point in life (as well as perhaps many times throughout our lives) there is the question of what’s next?  It seems that with this question, there comes with it a lot of worry or fear about finding one’s right place including – right employment and place to live.  Sometimes this fear can lead us to some self-focused thinking, and a lot of “I” statements and questions…  

  • I want “x”… and I don’t want “y”.
  • What can I get out of this job or what can I gain from it?
  • How much will I make?
  • What’s in it for me?

In these conversations, I’ve sometimes been lead to pose the question – “Have you thought about it this way perhaps – “how can I be a blessing?””  In other words, how can I best serve… God, my fellow man, my community, the world, etc.?  

Often I find a light goes off for the person I’m chatting with… you can see the light break across their face and a weigh lift of their shoulders.  Sometimes I’ve been met with the response – “Wow, I never thought of it that way.”  Or “Hmmm, you know, I’ve really only been thinking about what’s in it for me, but that’s a good way to look at it.”

I found in one case, when the person and I chatted a week later, new possibilities were unfolding in a harmonious way that had not been there before or hadn’t been considered.  And when one considers how one can be a blessing, then thought opens to new possibilities and ideas and a willingness to consider options that at face value may not seem in line with personal benefit.  But the thing is, when we are willing to be a blessing, we cannot help but be blessed in return – as Mary Baker Eddy puts it:

“…whatever blesses one blesses all…” 

Science and heatlh with key to the scriptures

This was certainly the case when I lead a study abroad program in New Zealand with a group of college students.  One of our goals of the trip was to be a blessing wherever we went.  We found that in doing so, our thought was more open and aware of the people around us, and not so inward or self-focused.  It allowed us to engage with others without thinking about what we might get in return.  But the result was that people were more open with us and willing to share of themselves, and how can we not be blessed by that sharing?  

In another instanced, I was helping a friend, who was moving back to the US from another country and needed to sell her car.  We talked about how the car had been a blessing to her and her family and would be a blessing to the next family, and that seeing it as a blessing to be share rather than a mere transaction to get done and checked off the moving to-do list, we would see the situation unfold harmoniously.  Well, it was getting down to the wire, time-wise, but we persisted in knowing the car would bless someone else.  One night, just a few days before departing, there was a big storm that brought down trees and branches.  The next day, we got a response to the add.  A family was very much in need of a new car, because theirs had been crushed by a falling tree in the storm.  My friend’s car was a perfect fit for this family’s needs.  And in fact, the woman who was interested in purchasing the car said her father had worked overseas when they had been growing up and she was aware of all that needed to happen in a move such as my friend was doing.  The woman offered to take the car “as is” without my friend getting it cleaned and “detailed”, as she had planned to do upon sale, for a slight reduction in the cost.  It was certainly a blessing all the way around because it freed up much needed time on our end as well.  The woman also offered to let us keep the car a couple more days, right up until the night before we were all headed to the airport.  It all couldn’t have worked out more perfectly if we had planned it, and in fact even better than we had imagined, and everyone was blessed by the entire situation.

So how can you make decisions based on being a blessing or seeing the blessings all around you?  And how are you going to be a blessing to those around you today?