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What’s Your P.L.A.N.?

What’s Your P.L.A.N.?

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by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
November 13, 2019

Do you have a P.L.A.N.? A Positively Life-Affirming Narrative? It’s always good to have a P.L.A.N. to live from and pull up as needed. Years ago, I started what I call a brag book to cultivate my first P.L.A.N. In this book, I recorded every wonderful compliment and praise received.

Then whenever the critic, the doubter, the negative storyteller, or other conditioned aspects within would startup, I would refer to my brag book to remind myself of how others saw me. The compliments quickly canceled out the harmful noise, which freed me to think spiritually magnificent thoughts instead. As I began to believe those thoughts instead of the others, life became a vivid joy-filled reality.

Eventually, I began stringing the compliments together for one giant positive life-affirming narrative, which, when reading it aloud, made me feel light, giddy, joyous, and free. It’s a great way to begin writing a new story for yourself and your life. Often individuals are seduced by their own story of negativity and victimization. Then they retell that story to themselves, share it with their friends, talking about it so much that they believe it to be true. All the while contributing to their suffering.

There is an old Buddhist quote, which states: “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” This human existence is sometimes messy, and we will all experience pain at different times in our lives. I believe we are called to remember this statement in those times. “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”

Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl observed: “Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. How will you respond? Have a P.L.A.N.!

Everyone needs to have a P.L.A.N. I’m not speaking of a method for achieving an end, but instead, a positively life-affirming narrative. It’s helpful to have some empowering words you can turn to in your time of need, in those moments when you’re feeling less than 100% at the top of your game. As we approach Thanksgiving, it’s an ideal time to begin filling your spiritual bank account with gratitude, especially if you aren’t feeling it now.

Try this P.L.A.N. for gratitude on, let it transform you.

I’m grateful, thankful, and much obliged. My heart overflows in appreciation for all that is. I am gifted, shifted, and lifted. I’m well blessed, highly favored, and my cup runneth over. I lean into my good and say yes, bless, bless. I’m on the high side of awesome at the top of my game. I praise my life in the name of love. I give thanks for the abundant good all around me.  I’m on fire for Spirit and unafraid to show it. My words uplift, inspire and create. And oh yeah, I’ve lost a little weight. Suffering is optional. What’s your P.L.A.N.? You can borrow mine.

And so it is.

Rev. Elizabeth Rowley

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