Old Choices, New Resolve
© 2008 June Johnson

We can choose to let the coming of this new year mark a turning point in our lives. We can make this a year in which we more consciously determine to choose in favor of our highest and best and most whole selves.

I’ve titled this essay, “Old Choices, New Resolve,” because I want to encourage you to remember your hopes and goals for this life—the “old choices"—and suggest three “new resolves” to meet that aspiration.

  • First, resolve to consult within to recall your hopes;
  • Second, resolve to accept what you’ve already accomplished; and
  • Third, resolve to build for yourself an environment that supports your aspirations.

For the old choices: Think back to your hopes and goals from your childhood. Often, as children, we have a clearer vision of what we set out to do in this lifetime—a vision less clouded by other people’s ideas about visible status and power.

Aspire to be your good, not just strive to “look” good. We gain true self-esteem not by winning exterior prizes but by becoming the person we want to become.

The Rev. Florence Becker, founder of the Golden Gate Spiritualist Church, was a medium who brought a treasure of thought-provoking material through from spirit. In her lessons, she stated: “ If you would tune within to find that which you wish expressed in your outer world, you will have learned one of the greatest secrets of the universe.”

Tune Within to Find That
Which You Wish Expressed in
Your Outer World

Setting aside time for daily sittings to concentrate and meditate is probably the most powerful tool for discovering who you have already chosen to become. Make an effort to keep that commitment with yourself and your inner guidance.

The Rev. Florence Becker also taught that “Memory and Promise” are a reality that stays with us throughout eternity. Consider this idea of memory and promise in terms of remembering who you are and the promise of who you can become.

Isn’t it true that each of us already has in mind things which we would like to do, which we want to increase in our lives, and things which we would like not to do, which we want to decrease in our lives? We all have an ideal self in mind—how else could we get so frustrated by our shortcomings? Your true ideal is already within you.

So why aren’t we doing what we already know we want to do? Often, it’s simply because we forget their long term importance as we get caught up in addressing short term issues. Or we can get sidetracked by society and confuse our true goals with transient goals that have nothing to do with us, and may even prove destructive. For example, a trendy focus on thinness as opposed to a model of robust health.

To enact the changes to reach our promise, we need to look beyond the obvious and visible world, and we need to look beyond ourselves. According to the Rev. Florence Becker, the spiritual quality of aspiration, that which we truly seek, is inseparable from harmony and acceptance.

This is a major clue. Try concentrating on it before your meditation.

Aspiration Is Inseparable
from Harmony and Acceptance

If you find yourself at odds with yourself and the world, check for the following red flags—things which are almost always a mistake and doomed to failure because they move us away from harmony and acceptance:

  1. The thought of total control;
  2. the thought of forcing anything by sheer will power;
  3. blaming others for our unhappiness or displeasure;
  4. making harsh judgments; and
  5. seeking power over others rather than power-with, or empowerment.

Whenever you experience a sense of alienation and disharmony, it indicates a need to look to a more informed source than your own ego.

Ego tries to convince us of our independence. Ego tells us we’re tough. “I can do this alone.” “I don’t need anyone’s help.” “I can quit this unwanted habit if I simply put my mind to it.”

If at any time you feel you have no options or find yourself in a situation that feels limited, question whether your exterior rational ego-driven mind is leading you toward isolation and deprivation by limiting your focus and not allowing you to consider the wider range of options available.

When we choose to move in the direction of remembering and fulfilling our eternal promise, we realize an increasing sense of unity, both within ourselves and with the world. Remember, aspiration is inseparable from harmony and acceptance.

Acceptance tells us now is the time to stop insisting on perfect friends, the perfect mate, a perfect job, a perfect home and garden, a perfect world—and enter into expression and appreciation of the God within—however imperfectly, or differently, it seems to express.

In 1981, spirit brought me a poem about appreciation for those who express their truth differently by asking the question:

How Can Artists Get Along?

How can artists get along?
Those who are most like us
Are those whose visions are
Uniquely their own!
Therefore, it is our differences
That form a bond.
We delight in that
Which leads
To further exploration and experience.

The second resolve of acceptance calls upon you not to be hard on yourself or your loved ones. Review the obstacles you and they have already overcome. Offer your appreciation to God for your collective ability to achieve those accomplishments. Rather than being critical of yourself for not meeting a perceived ideal, recognize that ideal as a signpost on your path, think of it as a gentle reminder of the direction you wish to move toward.

Set reasonable, achievable goals that take you nearer to what you wish to become. Consciously substitute new behaviors for old—actively establishing positive habits and new, more productive routines which support your goals. Be willing to move toward your aspiration in manageable, comfortable steps.

Keep in mind, the Rev. Florence Becker would have us affirm:
Throughout my acts and actions of daily education, I am unchangeably and unalterably complete.”

Remember, true aspiration is inseparable from harmony and acceptance.

Our third resolve is to develop an environment that harmoniously supports your goals and helps you to take those constructive steps that will lead you to true contentment.

We are all part of the interdependent web of all existence. We become the person we want to become in relationship with others. As we are a part of one interconnected whole, we have all the resources of the whole available to us. Engaging in a supportive community builds our resolve.

Spirit recognizes this. I was led by spirit, some twenty years ago, to move from the community in which I’d raised my children into San Francisco. As I was preparing to leave, my spirit guides advised: “Maintain participation in three families.”

Maintain Participation in Three Families

I recommend this.

These families do not have to be your relatives. They can be co-workers, fellow church members, a book club, friends or classmates. I’ve learned four ways others can help you attain your aspirations:

1) Choose to make of your work a practice of your ethical values. How you relate to your co-workers, your clients or students, or anyone with whom you work can not only build your character toward who you want to become, it can affect the larger world for good or ill. Choose to make of your work a practice of your ethical values.

2) Become a member of a religious community. You will need the support of others who care for you, educate you, learn from you, companion you on your spiritual path. Few of us follow that path easily alone. You need others with whom you share your joys and frustration, your fears and accomplishments. Become a member of a religious community.

3) Make room for the sacred in your life. Take time, every day, to reflect on how the spirit is working in your life, through your life, so that you may come to see everything you do as being imbued with the presence of spirit. As you find your growth tip, that part of you which wants to grow and explore, join a group that supports and practices what you wish to develop, such as dream work, literature, health and exercise, or a creative arts class. Or start your own group. Make room for the sacred in your life.

4) Take time to nurture and grow your personal relationships. Make sure you have enough touch and quality time with your partner, a close friend, or family member. The outside world can make many demands. Relationships take work and time, time when you are not rushing off early in the morning, or tired at the end of the day. Take time to nurture and grow your personal relationships.

Your true ideal is already within you. Resolve to consult within to recall your aspiration.

Resolve to accept what you’ve already accomplished.

Resolve to build for yourself an environment that supports your aspirations.

Consider that true aspiration is inseparable from harmony and acceptance.

We become who we want to become in relationship with others.

Make this a year in which you more consciously determine to choose in favor of your highest and best and most whole selves.

And may you be much blessed in the coming year.

June: Essays