Growing Wings

Surely, you’ve heard this cry: Live from a perspective of abundance, not scarcity! It’s a rainbow truth, a call to renewal, the lodestar of many a spiritual teacher. One of my favorites, Wayne Dyer, spent a lifetime liberating people from limited thinking. As he famously said, “Change your thoughts and you change your life!”

The art with any powerful guideline is to apply it daily. This may require the painful dismantling of cultural conditioning heaped on our minds and shoulders. Personally, I have had to unburden myself from two heavy influences.

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A popular form of Christianity: I know there are Christians who uphold the essential worth of humanity. They believe that their “God” created us in “God’s image” with an inner core of goodness.

But the Christianity I grew up with—a faith practiced by millions—teaches the opposite. Focused incessantly on the “fall of humanity,” it repeats the mantra that we are born sinners, we remain sinners, and that we need a savior for our redemption. Many churches claim that they celebrate victory—the past is gone, the new has come—but this is only because an external character, Jesus of Nazareth, “paid the price” for their freedom.

My daughter calls this an “outsourcing of authority.” I agree with her. It’s a clear message that we are fundamentally flawed, lacking the inner fountain of life. Too many institutions traffic in doctrines that prescribe, control, and limit. We ALL know what can happen when we cede our power to others.

I raise a different banner. We are unique and wondrous beings. We hold within us the keys to our enlightenment. It may take many years to peel back the layers of acculturation masking our divine identities, but the effort is worth it.

Sue Monk Kidd, a woman who did the hard work of emerging from theologies of scarcity, says it beautifully with her own set of metaphors.

“Here is where our real selfhood is rooted, in the divine spark or seed, in the image of God imprinted on the human soul. The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.”

The disease model of recovery.  Alcoholics Anonymous helped me rise from the ashes of my addiction. For this, I am eternally grateful. I also sympathize with the warnings from those who have seen loved ones return to deadly compulsions. Don’t grow complacent! Once an addict always an addict! Your disease is doing pushups in the dark, waiting to pounce again if you allow it!

I still attend AA periodically. I enjoy the no-bullshit atmosphere of people who have experienced the bottom and are now increasingly grateful for life. However, there is a moment at the beginning of each meeting that makes me cringe. A member reads from the Big Book, including this phrase: “We are like men (sic) who have lost their legs; they never grow new ones.”

What a crippling of declaration of scarcity and woundedness! I have a heartfelt response to this cursed phrase.

I am not an amputee. I am not a prisoner of my disease. I am a man who has realized a stunning new power and freedom. I am flawed, certainly, but the spiritual process of my daily growth has revealed a metamorphic truth. I am not only growing new legs; I am growing new wings.

I urge you to transcend ANY familial, societal, or religious notion of scarcity that is holding you down. If a person or institution is communicating that “you are not enough,” shed those lies starting now.

I pray we will ALL learn to soar!

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