Sunday, November 24, 2013

10 Days of Gratitude: Day 1 - Unshakable Joy

At Create Love we are celebrating gratitude in a big way. We are inviting you to immerse yourself in the energy of gratitude with 10 days of gratitude, starting today! The Thanksgiving season is my favorite time of the year. I have never been a huge proponent of the holiday itself, but it is a time when there is a palpable consciousness of gratitude. It is an energy that thrills me. This season is the one time of the year when it is culturally acceptable to stop and bask in the appreciation of your life and the people in it.

Personally, there is always one thing that rises to the top of my gratitude list every day and certainly at every annual reflection. That one thing is my humble appreciation for an unshakable joy. While it may sound simple and somewhat ethereal, it is everything to me. Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about happiness. Happiness is wonderful, but it is fleeting. Unshakable joy is much deeper. It is something you feel beyond your skin and it lives at your soul level. It is a visceral "knowingness" that you are one with all creation and that your life is part of a greater plan, even when it doesn't appear to be so. It is the ability to rest in a belief that all things work for your highest good--not just sometimes but ALL THE TIME.

Acquiring an unshakable joy, ironically, came for me only after losing everything. From about 2001 – 2003 I lost everything that I had come to depend on. You see, I had always prided myself on an ability to quickly find a job and always be independent. After all, I had an advanced degree, worked extremely hard, and was consistently lauded for my efforts. I began working at age 15 and had never stopped for any substantial length of time. However during this time, I couldn't buy a job despite my diligent search.

My fully loaded Jeep Grand Cherokee, limited edition, with heated leather seats was repossessed. My utilities were being threatened for shut-off every month. I had a pink eviction notice on my door regularly. Until finally I was actually evicted. I remember being so depressed that one night I had a dream that my walls were crying. Talk about depressed at the foundation of my being! Sometimes the mere memory makes me cry. But throughout it all there was one truth that was ever present in my heart; I do not serve and honor a God who desires my suffering. This I knew without a shadow of a doubt. So I knew that my circumstances had to be an illusion of suffering designed to make me pay attention to something greater… And I did!

You see, when everything you think you know about yourself is taken away and all the things by which you defined your self are ripped from your life, you have been broken down to your lowest common denominator. The question you have to ask yourself at this point is, who am I? Not what is my job, not how much money I make, not what do I have, but at the core of my being who am and why am I here? I began to explore these questions for myself at that time and the process changed my life as much as the answer. Here is what I learned:
  • For as much as I defined myself by things, those things were never really about me. They were not me, instead they were what I did and what I had. All of which was by the sheer grace of the Most High.
  • I was proud of my independence, but the truth is that I was always being supported even when I didn't acknowledge that support. Sometimes my support came in small ways, like from a kindness displayed by a stranger. Other times that support came from friends who supported me even when it didn't seem like enough for me. But most importantly, and always, I was supported by the divine universe whose support was unwavering.
  • My ego had become my God. And while I would have never defined myself as materialistic, too much of my identity was held in my pride. I had to restore God to her rightful place, which meant my ego had to die. What a humbling experience that was!
  • Finally I had to learn that people, places, and things are resources, but only God is THE SOURCE.  When I overstood that, then the blessings got bigger.
These four lessons where the gateways to my unshakable joy. I survived during those two years on miracles. Sometimes the miracle was small and sometimes it was so big that it was unmistakably God's presence. The miracles were so numerous and many would be simply unbelievable to most. I remember one day a friend called me up and gave me a lottery ticket just because she had a good feeling about it. Now, I had never played the lottery but she did on a regular basis. I took the ticket even though I didn't think much of it. That night I sat and watched the Cash 4  numbers play. 1-7-5-3... I hit and won-- straight! I was able to pay my rent. Yes, I am clear that miracles were happening every day.

During this time, I felt the call to write a book called Today Is The Miracle (Now only available by e-book). It was a labor of love to get it done and published. I ultimately sold 1000 copies of my book. I
had speaking engagements and met people who shared the ways that the book and the exercises in it had changed their lives. I was deeply grateful. Four months after the book was released, I found a job that I held for the next five years. I am clear that God had been calling me to write that book and reach people well before I had lost everything. However, my ego was in the way and I always put my "busyness" first. Having everything taken away was God's way of saying, "Now what is your excuse?" Hmmm...

So now I am diligent about listening to the whispers of God, so that I don't have to be shouted at again. Knowing whose and who I am is my unshakable joy. What is yours?  

It is incumbent upon each of us to listen to the gentle call on our lives and step up when we hear our name. We are all a culmination of everything and every moment we've ever experienced. Gratitude is the foundation to remembering each experience, the good and the bad, without judgment and in reverence for its contribution to our soul.

Remember to come back for the next 10 days to share in our celebration of gratitude. However you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I wish you great success as you embark on your journey to create more love in your life.

Nya Akoma,
Imani Evans, MA
Today Is The Miracle on E-book

We look forward to seeing you at the 
Create Love Conference
March 8, 2014

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