~ Picture This Instead ~
I remember the moment well: I was traveling in a small commuter jet that was being rocked by thunderclaps. Bolts of lightning slashed through the dark sky spreading an electrical web into the night. But I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the turbulent weather; my thoughts and feelings were immersed in a plan that was brewing. With each clap of thunder and bolt of lightning, my body felt a growing thrill of anticipation, a rush of delight as I thought of the next twelve hours.
It was Thanksgiving and a miracle was coming; in fact, I could feel it already forming!
Removing the Wedge, Allowing the Healing
The real story began weeks earlier. My husband Ronnie and I were preparing a Thanksgiving Feast at our home for our family. This was an even more exciting and important celebration than usual because, this year, his extended family would be joining us.
It had been many years-over a decade to be exact-since we had collectively come together to celebrate a family dinner. A number of unfortunate events, decisions and choices, mixed with unresolved discordant feelings, had all come to a boiling point long ago. As a result, a huge wedge had been created between our extended family members, and that wedge split our kinship.
Thankfully, over time, most of our family began to feel a desire to change the situation. They started opening their hearts to the possibility of healing and to a reunion with one another. Little by little, they let that desire grow until they had the courage to admit a trickle of trust; that trust, in turn, created an opportunity for change.
Finally, after sufficient soul-searching, and after setting aside fear, ego and shame, different family members started reaching out to one another. To the family’s great relief, these efforts were reciprocated and the process of healing began.
The autumn holidays were approaching. Various relatives suggested Thanksgiving dinner should be at our new home since most of the family had never visited us there. Ronnie and I eagerly agreed and quickly began polling everyone for their input on ideas for the event. We made a list for the menu and noted down what each individual person chose to contribute to the feast.
Food, Glorious Food!
I could already imagine the delicious, mouth-watering dishes we would have that day. I saw myself washing, salting and peppering the insides of a giant bird, stuffing it with pieces of celery, and onion. I could see Ronnie wrestling this “tom” into the roasting pan, breast side down. I pictured myself pouring a quart of water into the roaster, covering the bird with a stick of melted butter and topping it off with more salt and pepper. (Ok, it’s a Southern recipe…we like butter!)
I imagined that it was morning and the house was filled with the delicious aroma of roasted turkey with oodles of gravy for mashed potatoes made with lots of butter and half-and-half cream.
I visualized the famous stuffing with a pone-or for those of us not raised in the South-a pan of corn bread with secret ingredients. (Mmmm, good: top it with a little gravy and it’s a knock out combo!) I imagined a broccoli rice casserole; so simple, yet delicious.
There were other amazing dishes I envisioned too, beginning with the appetizers and relish trays. I pictured the fruit salad with nuts shelled from the family pecan trees in Saint David, and steaming hot rolls emerging fresh from the oven. I imagined the colorful vegetable side dishes; so pleasing to the eye. I saw the fresh bunches of flowers that would bring a sweet, vibrant surprise to the table setting. I imagined the most delectable pies and Mom’s chocolate Texas sheet cake with the perfect vanilla, rocky road and chocolate mint ice creams to top them off. And of course, I envisioned Uncle Ronnie whipping up his secret recipe for lemon ice box pie with its rich, scrumptious flavor; no ice cream necessary.
After I imagined all of this delectable food, my thoughts turned to the family members who would be attending. There would be over forty people present at the celebration, most of them children.
Before the rift had occurred, there had been a tradition that each adult family member would contribute a dish to this feast. After the rift, we had continued to cook, but with no family to share it, it had never felt right.
We had even tried to duplicate the dishes of some family members on our own, but they had never quite tasted the same. Plus, the presence of those dishes made us think all the more about the person who used to make them. We would invariably feel a void. It was like preparing a favorite dish with the key ingredient left out.
With the family finally coming together again, I also envisioned everyone happily interacting with one another and playing outside. Our home is designed to welcome visitors of any number, age or physical ability during any season of the year. We had wonderful play areas and gardens for children to explore and let their exuberant spirits run free.
Ronnie and I both agreed that we would pull out all the stops for this special day. We would heat up the pool and the Jacuzzi, and we would tell everyone to bring their swimsuits.
Planning Our Miracle
While we were organizing our family celebration, several members of the family called to tell me they had been checking the weather forecast and that clouds, cold rain, lightning and thunder were predicted for Thanksgiving Day. They felt anxious and were concerned that the rainstorms would ruin the celebration.
On the other hand, my girlfriend Sue also mentioned the weather to me, but she was excited about it! She envisioned a fire in the fireplace as she cuddled up with her husband, while her children and grandchildren gathered around in front of the toasty crackling flames.
We live in the Tucson desert and it occurred to me that the desert could really use that rain!
Could I ask for sunshine for my celebration at the expense of the desires of others?
I reflected on the situation for a little while and then I formulated what I preferred to have happen. I saw a plan beginning to materialize in my mind. I received that wonderful, familiar feeling inside of me that I completely trust in.
Picture This for Thanksgiving
Holding on to that assured awareness; I began to respond to each family call about the stormy weather, by saying:
“Every time you think about our Thanksgiving, allow yourself to clearly visualize the following scene:
“Picture it raining, thundering and lightning during the beginning of that day. Then just before ten o’clock in the morning, the rain will stop-but only in the area of our home. After the rain stops, the sun will come out and warm everything up. The children will be able to run and play outside and even enjoy swimming. All the adults will take pleasure in each other’s company while watching and playing with the children.
“Then, visualize that at noon everyone will come in and enjoy our feast together. Afterwards, we will take a brief moment to put some of the food away and then we will immediately go back outside and play some more. Once we are finished playing, and everyone has dried off, and is getting ready to go home, it will start raining again.” (I do so love imagining win-win, mutually uplifting scenarios!)
I also suggested to those anxious family members that they let go of their need to keep checking the weather forecast and let go of any concerns. They were to only picture the wonderful day to come. I told them to simply allow themselves to focus on and feel the excitement of what was going to happen.
I then said, “Picture this change already happening now!”
I shared with each of them my sure belief that this was an opportunity for all of us to participate in creating a real miracle.
Everyone I spoke to became engaged in the vision that I was presenting, and they all began to allow themselves to feel the excitement for the potential of that special day.
This was an important moment for me and Thanksgiving Day began to take on special meaning. I knew I was already deeply united with the source that created me. I also knew my active faith was in itself enough to provide what was required to trigger a powerful chain reaction. I realized that if the rest of the family also united with that empowering group and with one another, what would be created would be exponentially more delightful and mutually uplifting.
I realized that no better blessing could come into this family’s life at this particular point in time. What else could encourage us all to weave back together as one, than to team up as a group to create the experience of a perfect day?
We had the opportunity to deliberately form this event by connecting with the Divine in order to celebrate our thankfulness that we were once again a united family.
I felt wonderful every time I focused on purposefully developing the activities of that day.
Let the Festivities Begin!
Just before Thanksgiving Day, I was invited to go on a short trip out of town: I flew with my son to see one of my grandsons in Washington State. We visited my grandson at school, enjoyed seeing him in his classroom with his classmates and we attended a parent-teacher conference. Afterwards, my grandson flew back to Tucson with us on Thanksgiving eve so he could be part of our family holiday.
It was that evening, during our return flight, as the rocking jet neared the Tucson area, that I noticed the clouds and rain with their beautiful displays of lightning and heard the sound of rumbling claps of thunder. Now you know why I was excited. The thunderstorm reminded me of our family plan for a miracle and I was filled with feelings of thrilling anticipation about what I was going to be a part of in less than twelve hours.
All night it rained. Each time I heard the thunder I smiled and felt that tickle of Enthusiasm inside my being.
The next morning it was still raining heavily. Sometimes the downpour would taper off to a slow steady drizzle-just what the parched, thirsty desert could use!
Ronnie and I set about assembling the huge twenty-four by six foot dinner table and chairs. We moved everything out of our living room so the family could all be together in one area. We also set up two small, low tables so the little children could be more comfortable and still be near the rest of their families.
The storm continued all morning; I felt a little giddy with my building feelings of excitement.
I couldn’t help but smile and laugh as we spread out white linen tablecloths and layered on deep green toppers. We arranged big pumpkins down the center of the table on beds of raffia and wove in greenery, flowers and candles to make a long centerpiece.
The turkey was falling off the bones and the mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls were already dished up and in the warming drawer, ready and waiting for the families to arrive.
Then just before ten o’clock, the rain stopped, the clouds parted around our home and the sun came out to warm up the patios! The front door swung open wide and the throng began to enter into our home. Their arms were filled with contributions for our feast.
The children burst out the back door into the play areas and gardens almost as quickly as they had come in the front door.
Two of them immediately started jumping on our trampoline and a couple more went down through the grape arbor to the room underneath to playfully tease and joke with those above them. Another couple of children began a game of tetherball; a few little ones received help taking the cover off the sand pile and started digging and sifting for hidden treasures of seashells and coins. One group formed a hide-and-go-seek game. I could hear someone counting, while others darted in and about the yard, fruit trees, bushes and gardens as they ferreted out the best hiding places.
As I watched, some of the family headed to the outside pool bathroom with swimsuits in hand. Soon, the swimming pool was filled with splashing, jumping and sliding. Those playing in the pool were arrayed in sundry life vests, floaties, noodles and goggles. Could the calls of “Marco Polo!” be far behind?
One of the bravest of the children gathered up his courage, climbed up the circular stairs to the top of the ramada and sat down in the entrance of the boulder lined slide-a slide so daunting that even grown men have been known to have second thoughts. Letting out a loud squeal (a blend of terror and delight) he victoriously entered the pool with a gigantic splash.
Soon, other thrill-seeking souls were scrambling up the stairs to join him, while others got a gush of excitement from being shot from one side of the pool to the other by the swim jet’s fast current. The less adventuresome went to sit on the benches near the fireplace inside the pool’s cave grotto, located just behind the waterfall.
Our home and gardens were something Ronnie and I had created along with our Teams to provide opportunities for joy and pleasure to those who lived with us or visited us. I watched all this activity and enjoyed every second of the morning and soon the noon hour arrived.
Giving Thanks and Feeling Thankful
My husband called his family all together; the banquet was spread out before us. Our watering mouths and gnawing appetites were ready to start the feast. Ronnie gave thanks and asked for a blessing upon our bounty and the feast began! Everyone dove into the meal.
After some time had passed and our family members had settled in and gotten comfortable, I suggested we go around the table and share what we were each thankful for. The exchanges were moving and heartfelt; a few tears of gratitude and appreciation were shed. There were some very tender and happy moments. A sweet spirit had filled the room, and our souls were nourished that afternoon as well as our stomachs.
When we completed our expressions of thanks and were sufficiently stuffed, we cleared off our plates and put some of the food away. Most of us headed back outside to pick up swimming and playing where we had left off before the feast. A few even jumped back into the pool, clothes and all. Some of the men checked out the football game on the flat screen TV in the family room. Meanwhile, a couple of others picked out two cue sticks and racked up the balls for a quick game or two of pool.
Everyone kept remarking that day, as we shared our time with one another, how wonderful this celebration was and how perfect the weather had been the entire time.
Finally, the afternoon started winding down and the tryptophan in the turkey began to kick in. The little ones started showing signs of wearing out. Everyone decided it was time to come in and gather up his or her belongings to prepare for their journey back home. We said our good-byes and gave each other our final hugs and kisses.
And do you know what? Just as the families rounded up their offspring and counted heads, it started to sprinkle outside. In fact, they barely managed to make it into their vehicles before the rain started pouring down again at a steady pace!
It was astonishing to see and experience how perfectly the day had followed the plan that we-as a united family-had asked for. I marveled how every detail of our preferences was met and I expressed my heartfelt thanks to all who assisted in that miraculous creation.
Each time we had thought about our Thanksgiving plans, an immediate feeling of excitement had followed and had become attached to our desired goal, which gave our request even more Power to be created.
We had given zero attention to the weather forecasts after we had expressed our preferred plan. Hence, the opposite of what was deliberately chosen was not acknowledged and therefore was completely released from our experience.
I am continually amazed at how we are capable of lifting our lives to a more desirable place when we deliberately choose the life we prefer and invite those Divine Beings to join us in that creative process.
George Burns used to say, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
Most of us have or have had families and extended families in our lives. We eventually recognize that living with a family can bring us some of our greatest opportunity for growth as well as some of our greatest challenges. No one knows quite how to get to us or understand us like our family does. It is our family who will try, try and try yet again to get it right, when friends and acquaintances will have long since walked away.
But it is also true that even family members can sometimes use a time out from one another to go lick their wounds and get some perspective. Hopefully, they will eventually allow themselves to heal and will return to their relationships as healthier, more enlightened persons.
I am so grateful that our family chose to unite with the spirit of goodwill that Thanksgiving. We open-heartedly embraced one another while celebrating our kinship and feelings of gratitude. As a result of our actions, we drew something extraordinary into our lives that we will always remember.
Our family really did participate in creating and witnessing a miracle that day. We allowed ourselves to trust as we activated our personal faith, completely believing that this experience would happen!
Each of us is able to enjoy similar blessings. We, as individuals, can allow ourselves to trust and then activate our personal faith bringing miracles into being. We can also send our desires out to others; extending an invitation for them to join with us in this mutually uplifting adventure. Creating with others while being connected to the Divine is an exceedingly enjoyable experience!
TAKE ACTION! 1
Creating amazing miraculous situations with others is a profoundly rewarding experience that strengthens and enriches relationships. Command into your life a wonderful opportunity to do just that! Plant the seeds within the hearts of those who are coming into your life to mutually create with you. Go ahead and put a date on it!
Whenever you visit with one another, encourage everyone to allow those seeds to sprout and grow as you each eagerly speak in detail about the visions and feelings of what is being formed. These types of adventures are lots of fun!
TAKE ACTION! 2
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If you would genuinely love to transform your life and command your world with such exactness that you can even put a date on it, click here and experience Pamela Ann’s powerful classes.