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Have you changed your mind lately?

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There's a reason I chose a picture of a carnation to go with this post. It reminds me how important it is, especially as we age, to be able to change our mind when appropriate...

Obviously, there are times when changing our mind isn’t appropriate. I’m glad, for instance, that the British people refused to change their mind when faced with the preening might of Nazi Germany.

But being flexible, willing to change our mind when appropriate, is crucial to our happiness, success, fulfillment, and of course, relationships. Sometimes our first impression of someone or something isn’t always accurate...

Here’s a case in point. A year or so after JoAnn and I had moved to Denver to downsize, I decided to check out a church located near our home. I’m not religious, particularly, but I am spiritual, and I was also interested in the possibility of finding some kindred spirits and making new friends.

So I drove over to investigate this church one Sunday morning, and was immediately put off by the fact that it was apparently housed in the corner of a commercial building.

It didn't look like a proper church

It doesn’t look like a proper church, I thought, with mild annoyance, as I went inside. The proceedings had already begun, so with no-one to say hello to me, I took a seat at the back to do some more investigating. A man was playing on a small piano, and a woman was singing some songs, but again, it seemed kind of hokey to me. I wasn’t very impressed.

Perhaps you can see a pattern unfolding here. In any case, finally the minister, who was a woman, stepped to the podium and began to speak. Now I’ll be able to get a feel of things, I thought. But the woman started out by telling a story, and although I usually enjoy stories, for some reason I didn’t find this one very interesting.

After a few minutes I decided this wasn’t the right place for me, and without further ado, I got up and quietly left the hall.

Now let me bring you up-to-date

Bear with me, please, as I bring you up-to-date.

Last weekend, for some reason, I remembered the little church I had visited a year or two ago with such disappointing results. “You should go and visit there again,” a little voice said in my heart. “You might really like it. You may have been a bit hasty and jumped to a conclusion when you went there before.”

I try to listen to my inner nudges. It’s true, I thought to myself. I may have written off the church, and more important, the people who meet there, prematurely.

I didn’t put on a tie, but I put on my nice sports jacket and drove to the church.

It was a wonderful visit. I was so glad I had changed my mind. At the door, as I entered, three women were waiting to greet arrivals. I caught the eye of the nearest greeter, an older woman, and I thought, as I shook her hand and smiled at her, “What a delightful person. I feel at home already.”

Exactly the same man was playing the piano. Exactly the same woman was singing. But it all sounded quite different this time.

The speaker was different – it was the woman whom I had met at the door, and I knew, even before she began to speak, that she had a lot of wisdom to share, and that I would enjoy listening to her.

Things just kept on getting better and better. I like people, so I hung around after the service for a coffee and chat. I love sailing, and the first person I started chatting with had just been sailing in San Francisco bay. I met a friendly member of the church board who told me all about her daughter, an adventurous 49-year-old currently teaching in Tunisia.

My Sunday morning visit at a local Unity Church was all I could have hoped for and then some. One of my new friends even gave me a carnation to give to my wife, which I presented proudly to JoAnn when I got home. Good move.  I got some extra brownie points without even really trying.

It's one of life's most precious gifts -- the ability to change our mind now and again if we want.

I send you blessings and love and would love to hear any comments you may have on the above.

Picture credit: Copyright All rights reserved by Martin P Davies

 

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Nunn February 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

With time moving so quickly nowadays, the right to change one’s mind can be significant. Putting my mind into a fixed position interferes with listening to guidance of Spirit. Thinking the same things about people over and over again creates distorted reality which prevents seeing them differently. I call that “freeze frame” memory.

I have a relative who has consistently been rude to me. As I prepared to visit her home in another city, I picked up the booklet Prayers of the Cosmos, by Neil Douglas-Klotz. In this book, the author takes the Lord’s Prayer back to the original Aramaic and gives several possible meanings to each phrase. Of course I turned to “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”.

The more I read these translations, the more I relaxed and made space to know her in a different way. It’s like I softened inside. As a bonus, I began to understand the words in an expanding, deeper, clarifying way. While in the home of my relative, I could see her relax into the flow of our time together. It was as if changing my mind was an invitation for her to do the same. The visit was lovely. I look forward to returning.

There are many ways to change one’s mind. But for me, a willingness to let go and to take action in order to redirect my thinking teaches my mind not to judge and get fixed ideas as to how things probably never were in the first place.

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Christopher Foster February 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Beautiful thoughts and very helpful thoughts too Elizabeth. Thanks so much for sharing. “Freeze frame” memory. Doesn’t sound good to me.

I really appreciate you sharing about the booklet by Douglas-Klotz. It sounds a very healing document, where did you get hold of it? But the real crux is being willing to change our mind isn’t it. I like the way you speak of “redirecting my thinking.” Without getting obnoxious we really can assert a little authority over our mind now and again, can’t we?

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Lorraine Pollay February 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Dear Chris,

About 40 years ago, Dr. Bill Bahan advised me to see a Chiropractor on the North Side of Chicago for a serious back ailment. When I arrived, I saw his office was in a store front in a ghetto type neighborhood. Being from the suburbs, I was afraid to exit my car and go in. I drove around the block while praying for guidance. I decided to take the plunge and embarked on an amazing journey.

The first thing I saw as I entered the store front was a sign that said; “Expect a Miracle.” Then I saw Dr. Toby Campion approaching to welcome me. Knowing Dr. Bahan had directed me there he said; “While I will be working on adjusting your back problem, you can help by spiritually raising the vibrations of the neighborhood.

It took about 6 months of care and adjustments – and as I healed, the neighborhood was beginning to heal. Broken store front windows were replaced, graffiti was removed from the walls, and flowers were being planted. Now, it is the most desired location on the North Side of Chicago, known as “Wicker Park.”

Dr. Campion was part of the spiritual group of Sri Chimnoy and went on to work with natives in back countries of South America. To this day I continue my spiritual work to heal and repair the human consciousness on this planet. All my Love and Light, Lorraine

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Christopher Foster February 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Thanks for your gorgeous comment Lorraine. My goodness. What a victory you had, and what a remarkable healer you met in the person of Dr. Campion. Could I ask where you live now? Wherever it is, it is blessed by your presence. My love is with you. Sail on Lorraine.

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Scott Mitchell February 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

What you conveyed Chris reminded me of “What the Bleep Do We Know”. The Original 108 minute film was released in theaters in February 2004. Starring Marlee Matlin and 14 Scientists and Mystics. Exploring the worlds of Quantum Physics, Neurology, and Molecular Biology in relation to the spheres of Spirituality, Metaphysics and Polish weddings. Part documentary, part drama, part animation, the film explores, “How does it all fit together??? ”

The thesis of the film really in my mind is that reality is not so much a static external and internal condition. Rather, we shape the reality we seek by the depth and extent of our consciousness. I think part of transforming our experiences is recapitulating and being willing to see things in a different light by going back to old scenarios a second time with new eyes… Thanks for stimulating this conversation and hope you are well my friend…

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Christopher Foster February 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

It’s a privilege to share your very illuminating input Scott. Thanks. I’m afraid I never did read that book. I really must get hold of it.

The central premise you convey in your comment always stirs my blood. It is an intoxicating notion, isn’t it. “We shape the reality we seek by the depth and extent of our consciousness.” As an executive coach, do you get into this aspect sometimes with clients?

I do so agree about the profound value of seeing past events and experiences in a new light. It’s an option that I think really creates a whole new experience of living. I’m doing well thanks and it was great hearing from you. Best regards.

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Evan Griffith February 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Christopher!

It seems only right and natural that you would find your way to a Unity church. From time to time I’ve been a Unity junkie, traveling among several within an hour’s drive. Many open-hearted, open-minded writers and teachers I admire seem to have connections there too . . . Unity will have much to glean from you as well, from your expansive sense of soul.

Thank you always for your you-ness!

Evan
Evan Griffith recently posted..My favorite prayer (for myself)

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Christopher Foster February 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Thanks Evan. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you. Blessings and love to you.

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Maureen Moeller February 26, 2013 at 5:11 pm

What a beautiful essay on the importance of flexibility, Christopher. Just thinking of the opportunities and relationships I may have missed in life because of my early adult adult inflexibility saddens me. As a teacher for many years, before becoming a counselor, flexibility was stressed in our training and prepared us for the unpredictability of working with young people.

I recognized its importance professionally, but somehow that did not transfer to my personal life. Judging people and situations was my forte! Perhaps part of aging’s bliss, for me, includes expanding and suspending judgment. It feels so much better to recognize that flexibility is wise and so much less hurtful in the long run. Blessings to you and your wife Christopher!

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Christopher Foster February 26, 2013 at 7:20 pm

You’re an inspiring woman Maureen. Deep change such as you are describing here takes some real humility and strength of character. Thank you so much for your comment and I send blessings and love right back to you.

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Allan Jonas February 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Hi there Chris

I always appreciate and resonate with your spirit. We still have an EDL board here in Calgary and last week at our meeting I introduced the possibility of offering you some financial support through donation. As a charitable society it is part of our charter to release funds on a yearly basis to individuals and or organizations whose
endeavors mesh with those of the society. Your work most certainly qualifies.

As a charitable society, donations cannot be given for so called personal living expenses and so have to be clearly tied to actual operating costs related to operating you blog and related activity. So if you feel it appropriate we would require detailed information on the costs involved and we’ll see what might be possible. We are scheduled to meet again in a month or so to look at where our support could go this year so I look forward to hearing from you if possible at your convenience. Love and cheers
your friend Allan Jonas

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Christopher Foster February 27, 2013 at 1:44 pm

This is very kind of you Allan. Thank you so much for bringing this possibility up to the board, and my thanks to the board for considering it. I’ll get some info to you. Can you believe, I started this blog in May 2009, and come May (when I will be 81, can you believe that?) I will have been blogging for four years. It has been a good four years. A labor of love, for sure.

My love to you and other friends in Calgary. I’m very thankful for the friendship I experience with you. Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts, isn’t it?

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carolyn February 26, 2013 at 10:06 pm

I went to Unity 25 yrs ago- and haven’t left:)

After living in Florida for nearly 18 yrs I chose to relocate. As I traveled across country (from Orlando to Seattle) in search of my next community, I visited many Unity churches and found my new home in Albuquerque mostly due to the
openhearted welcome I received at my new home church:)
carolyn recently posted..Under Construction

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Christopher Foster February 27, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Many thanks for your comment Carolyn. That’s quite a story. It was a real pleasure to share some of your experiences, and it’s a pleasure to be on this journey of life with you. All the very best.

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Alina February 27, 2013 at 9:13 am

Thanks for the excellent post. I was able to get this to work fairly easily. I think you’ve made some truly interesting points. Not too many people would actually think about this the way you just did. Really great stuff here.Very helpful!
Alina recently posted..Are we a nation of shopping addicts?

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Christopher Foster February 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Alina, it was lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your kind comment. It looks like you’re doing a great job with your blog, I send you blessings and best wishes.

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Ken Wert@MeanttobeHappy March 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Hi Christopher! Great read!

I was going to be a baseball player. Then I changed my mind and began to prepare for my rock star life. Then I changed my mind again and decided I would be a psychologist. Then I changed my mind to become a teacher. I’m still a teacher, but am in the process of changing my mind to be an author/blogger. I’m not at the full-time level yet, but am working toward making that changed mind a reality.

Thank goodness for the ability to change our minds and take new paths!
Ken Wert@MeanttobeHappy recently posted..Turn the Garbage of your Life into Music (a true story)

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Christopher Foster March 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Great to hear from you Ken. Thanks for being a kindred spirit, and thanks for sharing some of your own experience in such a graphic and interesting way. I do wish you every success in your new path. Sorry I was a bit slow picking up on your comment, been a bit distracted lately.

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