Imagine that you pressed into this dimension of reality for a unique and high, holy idea. Listen, watch, or read Lola’s talk titled “How Good Can It Get?”, as she opened our April Series, “AWAKE”.
This “talk” is electronically transcribed. Please excuse any errors or omissions.
Lola: So there is a big dream that is stirring in each of us. Can you imagine that you pressed into this dimension of reality for a unique and high, holy idea? It is not an accident or a coincidence that you are on the planet at this time and space. You have heard me say that so many times, but may it not become rote. May it not become something that is just like, “Yeah, yeah, I got the point.” That is the point. You are in this time and space for a high and holy idea. When I said yes to moving into this role of leadership of this community, I really had no idea what I was saying yes to. In fact, I didn’t have the full skill set to do what I had said yes to. So for those of you who are waiting to say yes to a dream when you have all the skills, that day will never come. That’s one of my early teachers said to me, “If your dream does not scare you, it is not big enough.” So if there is not an idea that is bubbling in you, that doesn’t make you slightly nervous, then you’re in some kind of comatose state and you might want to wake up out of that.
Lola: Like if life has gotten to the point where it’s about coasting, that’s actually not the nature of your being. There is a divine discontent that is always stirring in you that’s very distinct from dissatisfaction. But if any of us are sort of waiting to the point in time where we can just stop, that’s called death. Last Sunday I had the opportunity to speak at Christ Universal Temple, the home of our very good friend, the Rev. Gaylon McDowell, and founded by Johnnie Colemon, and it really was a complete honor to be there. I didn’t want to tell you I was there because I didn’t want you to be here. Some of you are like, “Why didn’t you tell us?” I wish I had because I was sort of lonely.
Lola: When I went to Johnnie Colemon’s memorial in 2015, not all of you who she is, but she was this really larger than life human that founded this community in the 1950s based on an alternative spirituality. She was really calling people forward into agency, into responsibility, into dismantling this idea that God is outside of you, separate and apart from you, dismantling this idea of some Santa Claus presence that is keeping track of you. That was a real radical idea in the 1950s for this woman to bring forward. It was the first mega church in the City of Chicago. I never met her. But if you have not listened to her YouTube videos, I highly recommend it. I mean she’s hysterical and she has this voice.
Lola: So I’ve listened to her many times and then standing at that place in front of these 3,000 room sanctuary was very moving, because I had been there four years before for her memorial before I had said fully yes to this role. When I stood there four years before, I had no idea what was to come. I just kept saying yes. Something showed up, yes. Something showed up, yes. Something showed up, yes. So the invitation I have for you is just to examine how available you are when the opportunities show up. A lot of times opportunities show up and then we have all kinds of reasons and considerations and rationale for why now is not a good time.
Lola: I remember when my sister-in-law wanted to have their first child and I was on the phone with my brother, I was sitting in the Jewel Parking Lot, and my brother is like, “I don’t have enough money in the bank.” I said, “Well, how much money do you need?” He gave me the number. I said, “So you’re just going to wait until that number is in the bank? The odds of you getting that number in the bank and then having another reason is very high.” There is never a convenient time to have a child. For those of you who have children, you know this. It is not as if all of a sudden life orchestrates itself and you’re like, “Well, what a blissful and easy journey.” So if that is not true of parenting, then why would that be true of dream-making? Why would that be true of birthing the big idea of who you’re here to be?
Lola: So there are two practices or two disciplines that I’d like to invite us into this month. One is the practice of mindfulness, mindful awareness, the ability to witness one’s thoughts. If you cultivate a very strong discipline to witness one’s thoughts, you have access to something called choice. If you do not have the capacity to witness your thoughts such that you are in a triggered reactive state all the time, there is no distinction between you and stimulus. You’re just like a walking reaction. That’s the whole idea of mindfulness, is the ability to have a pause and to not be in the trance of your egoic construct. So your ego is provoking fear to create a sense of safety and then you don’t realize that it’s just the ego doing what the ego does and you get swooped away by it, and your dream oftentimes gets robbed. So that’s one invitation.
Lola: The other inquiry is to remind yourself to the extent that you’re willing to accept this as a possible truth, that you are the embodiment, you are the individualized expression of this vast and holy universe, that there is nothing separate and apart from you and that which you desire. See, if like there is this dream that’s out here like a carrot dangling before you, there’s always a sense of separateness, like I’m always working towards something as opposed to embodying. So when I sat in Johnnie Colemon’s memorial and I saw it was a six and a half hour memorial, may we all be so like prolific in our work that people want to sit for six and a half hours and hear about you. It was a beautiful thing. As each person walked across their platform, I just visualized myself as someone that would be up there one day. I had no real reason to believe that other than it couldn’t have been an accident or a coincidence that I was sitting there and something was projected on the movie screen of my life. I was sitting there with Michael Beckwith, with Carlton Pearson, with these big giants, and prior to that it was just an idea.
Lola: Your dreams, your reality become manifest to the extent that you invest in them. So, first, practice mindfulness. Yesterday, as we were driving home from this meditation retreat, the speed limit was 70 miles per hour. I would venture so as somewhere between like 82 and 89 miles per hour at a soccer game to get to, not mine, and I was driving very swiftly and all of a sudden I saw what seemed to be a raccoon, like a road kill on the highway. All of a sudden I had a quick thought. I notice I didn’t feel sadness. I just saw this dead raccoon. I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” Life goes fast, right? We’re like at 85 miles per hour and I’m thinking about sadness and dead raccoons. Fast, fast, fast, fast, fast. I have the thought, if that had been a cat, I would have felt sad. I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” I saw a dead raccoon and I had no real thought about it. But my mind said if it had been a cat, I would have felt some kind of sadness about it.
Lola: Then I asked myself, “Well, why is that?” because I don’t like cats. I mean I literally have a physical allergy to cats. That’s interesting. Well, the reason I have a greater affinity for cats than I do raccoons is because they’re allowed in people’s homes. Oh, that’s interesting. Now, keep in mind, this conversation is not actually about raccoons or cats; this conversation is just about the mind and all of the assessment and judgments and interpretations its always making. So our series this month is titled Awake. Awake to what? Awake to the mind. Awake to the busyness that is always running you through which you’re making choices and decisions, perhaps consciously or unconsciously. The word “bodhi,” although we are not a Buddhist community, we’re a community that honors all past, the word “bodhi,” it is said is the Sanskrit word for awake. It is the tree under which the Buddha sat and had an enlightened experience. What is an enlightened experience? I am not my thoughts. I have thoughts. I am not my thoughts. If I am not my thoughts, well then, what am I? I am a portal. I am a channel. I am an individualized manifestation, a personal expression of the God body. Okay, that’s good to know.
Lola: See, if we really got that we are the personalized expression of God in form, God in action, the universal intelligence, the consciousness of all that is expressing through you, through me, then there would be no dream that would come through you that you would say is not possible. You would say, “Of course, it’s possible.” I am one with all that is. See, the more that I have realized that in my own self, the easier life has become. Ain’t that funny? But the extent to which I am devoted to separation, life becomes very clunky. The mind is hardwired based on the go construct to look for evidence of separation all over the place. Isn’t that interesting? I had no interest in the raccoon? Why? Because I was raised with a narrative that raccoons were sort of nasty critters. They destroy things. We don’t domesticate raccoons. They are not nice. I actually have never had an experience with a raccoon. I don’t, in fact, know that.
Lola: Now, I think there’s probably some collective wisdom in that determination. I don’t feel compelled to go see if the raccoon is antithetical to the collective consciousness of humanity, and yet it’s just an inquiry. How do I decide what is for me or against me? How do I decide what is I’m open and available to and what I’m closed to? There is your reptilian mind, the one that is the fear-based state that is responding to the locus of control that is externalized and it is the warding off threat. Then there are higher states of consciousness that avail you to curiosity, creativity, wonder, possibility.
Lola: There is this very amazing book called The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. If you’re not familiar with this book, I highly recommend it. This came through very strongly for me. He writes there are two wonder questions that you might provoke yourself with: how much love and abundance am I willing to allow? Just take a deep breath and ask yourself that. How much love and abundance am I willing to allow? Is it like (making sounds) “Didn’t grow up with much at home, so I’ll just expand a little bit.” Hold your breath. There are patterns. There are ways of being that you and I were raised with. Some of us were raised in the consciousness of greater possibility. The extraordinary thing about raising your kids in this conversation is they begin to know themselves as portals of possibility. They don’t relate to themselves as their limitations, their considerations. I see this in my kids all day long.
Lola: My son called me the other day, he said, “Mom, I’m not going to go back to school next year.” I say, “Oh, okay, all right.” He said, “I did my freshman year and what I’ve come to be clear about is that I went to college to experience security.” 19. And what I’m realizing is that there is a great desire that I have to make beats. He’s turned his dorm room into a little studio. I said, “Okay.” He said, “I feel fearless.” I’m like, “That is awesome.”He’s like, “So I just don’t understand why I would sit here and take all these classes and rack up all these student loan debt just to create the illusion of security, only then to be scared out of my mind when I have to pay them back in three years.” I was like, “Well, that’s a point.”
Lola: Now, I trust my son because I raise my kids to know that there’s something in them that knows what’s theirs to do and what’s not to do. See, if he thought that I was the source, then he would be looking to me to validate and affirm nothing that’s wrong, because I do, do that for my kids. But there is something stirring in him that knows who he is here to be, to do, to have. He listens to that because he’s been raised inside of a practice and he’s 19. He has a lot less to deconstruct. You and I, most of us are not 19. So the question becomes, “How much love and abundance am I willing to allow?” See, because if love and abundance is wrapped up in the security of an undergraduate degree, you will be disappointed. If love and abundance is wrapped up in that one you hope to meet on some app, nothing wrong with that, but that’s not the source of your love and abundance. How much love and abundance am I willing to allow right here where I am? I just invite you, take a deep breath in. How much love and abundance am I willing to allow? That’s the question.
Lola: Now, there is a second question: How am I getting in my own way? I preferred the first one, that was more fun. Can we breathe again more deeply and say that emphatically? Yes, but if you don’t ask the second question you’ll find yourself in something called spiritual bypass where you don’t have a sober relationship to yourself. See, you and I get in our own way. The thought of the raccoon came up. I don’t actually hear that as like, “Move on. Who cares about raccoons?” I’m like, “Huh, why did the thought about a raccoon come up? Life becomes like a treasure hunt. How do I get in my own way? How do I get in my own way?
Lola: Last Sunday when I was at Christ Universal Temple, I had this really extraordinary experience preparing for this 10:30 service and then they said, “It’s time to go.” I said, “Great, let’s do this.” I thought we’re going right to the sanctuary. I started to hear the music billowing and then they took me in this little room, and the piano was behind me and the choir was before me and I was nearly nose to nose with the choir. They were singing this truth about the high and holy idea of who I am. Oh my gosh, it was like a resonance of truth that started to move in my body and I started to weep, uncontrollably weep. What I knew in that moment was that I’d been in a state where I have been in the facilitation of such truths. I’ve been in the exploration, facilitating classes and workshops on oneness. Very different to think about oneness and to feel oneness. Very different.
Lola: I went in there, a weeping mess, which was not how I imagined my debut at Christ Universal Temple, let me tell you. No, I preferred a rah! That fiery “lola” that you know well. Instead, I started with like, “Well, thank you for having me.” I was like, “What in the world is happening in [inaudible 00:19:35]?” It was like so funny. So I pulled myself together and then at the end, I started beating myself up. I walked off the stage and I got on a loop of fixation. Mindfulness had escaped. I was in a trance of the inner critic, the ego construct: “Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough. Could have done better. Could have been better. Where was the fire? You are in this Christian space. You’re not Christian. Why didn’t you bring it? You don’t know how to bring it.” Trrrrttt. Do you know that voice?
Lola: Whoo! I sat in my car and I wept. It was like a dramatic weeping. I was to go to the senior minister’s birthday thereafter. I wept for so long on the phone with his incredible human being to the point where the senior minister texted me like, “Are you coming to the party?” “Oh yeah, just wrapping some things up. I’ll be in shortly.” It continued. I was hardly able to be present during the lunch. I was so in my head. I was being robbed of the beauty that was right before me. My mom would send me these texts periodically, “You’re amazing. You’re amazing.” That night I went home and watched the talk.
Lola: Funnies thing happened. It was an excellent talk. But do you know that one that robs you and then lives inside of a narrative of suffering, oh my gosh, it was so unfriendly to myself. Awaken to the inherent power and purpose that is right where you are. There is a high idea of and for your life. Everything is perfect, even when it looks a mess. Even when you start the thing weeping, disempowered or some kind of judgment that you have about yourself, turns out it’s perfect. Turns out it’s perfect.
Lola: So how am I getting in my own way? I get in my own way by few upper limit behaviors. I’d like to share those with you. Worrying, anyone? Blame and criticism; favorite. Favorite. Let me show you my PhD in blame and criticism. We talked quite a bit about this, this weekend. It’s from a course in miracles, the judger always feels judged. The extent to which we allow for judgment to be coursing through us without a conscious practice, a mindfulness practice, the judger always feels judged. Getting sick or hurt. Anyone take themselves out of the game by getting sick or hurt?
Lola: It’s called an upper limit. I’m expanding my container for my good. Life is going great and then a little voice pops in and says, “Whence the other shoe going to drop?” All of a sudden you have a cold. Huh, that’s funny. It’s a conscious practice. It’s a mindfulness technique to expand your capacity for good. How good can it get where you are? What’s your set point for good? Talked about this before. Your thermostat is set … I like mine at 71. My aunt and uncle, like theirs are like 59. It’s like, “Wow, wear a lot of sweaters over there.” I like mine at about 71. What that means is when it gets to 73, it gives me a two degree grace. When it gets to 73, bring it back down sister. Do you know that you have that in you? You have a set point for good, and if you’re not awake or aware to your set point, the thermostat of life starts heating up, starts getting real fiery and hot, juicy where you are, and then it’s like, “Whoa, whoa, hey, hey, hey, that’s too much.”
Lola: Squabbling, anyone? Favorite bickering conversation you like to have? Any favorite participants that you’d like to have join you? Hiding significant feelings. This is what that looks like. I wasn’t allowed to feel … this is not true for me. Imagine you are not allowed to feel joy, too much joy in your life as a child. You’re getting too big for your breeches. Bring it down. Keep it cool. I’m more committed to being cool than being self-expressed. Keep it cool. I went in to my conscious leadership circle last week and I said, “I oftentimes feel like I’m in a perpetual emoji, it’s the one that’s like …” I thought I just feel the need to say that so you know me more. I want you to know how excited I am about life. Do you allow yourself to feel that? I don’t have that evidence to be excited. I have a real situation on my hands. This is not called for joy, enthusiasm or excitement. This is called for seriousness. Well, expect to get more serious results. Remember, mindfulness, the ability to witness one’s thoughts and then truth, what is the high idea of who you’re here to be?
Lola: Not keeping agreements. Now we’re talking about upper limit behaviors, the ways that you prevent yourself from having the realization of your dream. You have a dream. There is something that you’re uniquely here to do on the planet. No one else can do it like you can do it. Would you be willing to consider that as truth? You pull up. We’re making this whole thing up anyway. May as well make up a good storyline. There is a high idea of and for my life. There is a unique expression that I am to bring forward. Rumi says there is never been anything placed on the heart of any one person that is not fully sourced and supplied with all that it needs to come to form.
Lola: Now, not keeping agreements is a way that you leak energy. So yesterday I asked Miqueas to participate in this morning’s service and it occurred to me at 5:30 this morning that I had actually not created a clear agreement with him about that. He said yes but there was no integrity around what that actually means. So all of a sudden at 5:30 in the morning during my meditation practice, I’m texting Jaye. You can imagine how much they appreciated that. The absence of clear agreement creates leaky energy, and all of a sudden there’s a level of chaos existing in your life that’s actually taking away from your power, your purpose, your presence on the planet. So I want you to be checking in which are your top two or three favorite upper limit behaviors. Not speaking significant truths to the relevant people. What I love about this is it doesn’t say not speaking significant truths. It says not speaking significant truths to the relevant people. In other words, talking to the person it doesn’t involve is of no service to anyone. You being in your recycled drama patterns, seeking evidence for your rightness in relationship with people who are not even involved in said situation is an upper limit. It’s actually a way that you dampen yourself. It’s a way that you prevent yourself from the aliveness, from the full expression of who you’re here to be.
Lola: And deflecting. I don’t deflect. That is actually not one of my upper limit behaviors but I do watch it a lot. I said to someone yesterday, “Would you be willing to start what you juts shared without apologizing for your existence?” because I would actually like to feel you free of the preamble of you. Do you know that one in you or the one in others that is explaining why you’re qualified to do something, explaining, explaining, explaining. The only person’s permission that you need is your own. That’s it. To deflect is to delay. To deflect is just to delay.
Lola: So we have been conditioned to survive and out of that comes this fixation on separation. You’re called to expand your capacity to experience good and then you’re called to leap. You’re called to leap into your dream. That does not necessarily mean absolve yourself of the responsibility you currently have. If you have bills, I am not … please don’t have your partner call me and say, “She told me quit the job.” Did not say that. Organize yourself. Organize yourself. I left Bank of America, first time it was too soon. I hadn’t gotten myself together. I had to go back. Nothing wrong with that. I remember on day one why I left and I had to organize myself such that I was actually set up for my dream to thrive. There is an awake state in you and there is a sleepy state in you. Your sleepy state will always lull you by a lullaby of separation.
Lola: In other words, if fear is coursing through you and it’s causing a kind of drama pattern, different than excitement, know the distinction … fear is coursing through you, be very suspicious. That’s your sleepy state. You can also invoke an aliveness, a curiosity, a wonder. How good could it get? How good could your life get and what upper limit behaviors do you invoke to keep your set point at a manageable level? That’s not what you’re here for. You are extraordinary. You are brilliant. No one can do this thing like you can. It’s highly self-indulgent to keep all of the reasons and considerations, excuses alive. Highly indulgent.
Lola: So Gay Hendricks goes on to say human beings have very little experience with consciously cultivating the ability to feel more and more positive energy. So if you know that is true for you, if you know that you actually have a limited capacity to feel good, then the onus is on you to find people to practice with. The 24 people that were gathered in a retreat for three days were literally just practicing feeling good. It was said by a couple people throughout the time, “I feel scared, like this is too good to be true.” Of course, that’s what the mind will do. Keep it safe. Don’t get too excited. Life can’t be this good. There are threats out there. This is serious. Someone’s going to get you. It’s varying degrees and if you don’t have a mindfulness practice, it feels very real. So you have to practice.
Lola: One of the things that came up during our retreat was the practice of non-sexual physical touch. Something adults know very little about. Do you know how to be in a place of receptivity, of goodness, of love, and support, of touch without it becoming an overture for something else? I mean I know I’ve had to navigate that myself where it’s like “I’m experiencing touch. Now what does this one want from me?” Oh my goodness, how good can it get? What’s your set point for receptivity? What’s your set point for allowing? What’s your set point?
Lola: Would you be willing to speak this affirmation with me? I think it would be a great service. I expand … I’ll read it first and then you can see how you feel about it. Don’t run to good too quickly. I expand in abundance … everyone’s like, “Okay, thanks for the note.” I expand in abundance, success and love every day as I inspire those around me to do same. Just take a deep breath and see if you’d be willing to consider that you could expand into love, abundance, and success. You ready?
All: I expand in abundance, success and love every day as I inspire those around me to do same.
Lola: There’s a formula here. You see, part A is “I expand,” but part B is “I invite others to expand.” There is a reciprocal nature to life. As you give, so you receive. As you say yes to the high and holy idea of you, the universe mirrors that back. The law of this universe is impersonal. If you want to play small, it will say, “And so it is.” If you want to play big, it will say, “And so it is.” You choose. What you put into it comes back to you.