I’d like to offer this feast day an upgrade as an example to all of us of how to change old associations connected to our traditions in order to create new associations for old traditions. You can consider this a lesson in how not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak.
So let us start with a question.
What are you currently conceiving in your life?
This is, after all, a day celebrating getting pregnant with something wonderful. What might that wonderful thing be for you? What would you like to carry within yourself like the best secret in the whole wide world for nine months all the while nurturing it, helping it grow, refining it, participating in its new life until nine months from now you give birth to it? (The week of Labor Day—no mistakes!—when school starts.)
Here are some of the pregnancies I know are being conceived today . . .
A dear friend with metastatic disease is conceiving her total health today—
A client is conceiving a brand new website today—
Another client is conceiving the beginning of a thrilling acting career—
A writer friend is conceiving the completion and sale of his first novel—
A close friend is conceiving the growth of her real estate empire—
A neighbor is conceiving a proposal and wedding plans—
You get the drift.
The thing is, on this particular feast day, we are reminded that we each, alone, can create what we choose immaculately (it means without stain) if we will take the process inside ourselves and allow it to grow us as we grow it.
I’ll give you the example of my own process, and if you feel moved to pray and hold this with me, go for it.
It’s taken me years to be able to boil down to one sentence what I want in life right now. That is:
I am a bestselling author.
Can’t be clearer than that, can it?
I have no idea what that looks like, even less idea what the path is to get me there, even less what purpose of God’s that might serve, but I am clear that I do want it more than anything else. I have been writing novels for many years and have a cache of them ready to go.
I was guided to record Oklahoma! Hex, the first one, over the summer. It ought to be released on Amazon.com very soon. (Yippee!) I listen for daily guidance in service to my dream and I take the actions I am guided to take. Can’t do more than that, right?
Not exactly. The other thing I’m doing in this pregnancy just like I did in my last one is dreaming it into being. I’m creating the felt sensations that I think a best-selling author experiences. I’m imagining calls from Oprah, Larry King, Terry Gross, Charlie Rose and their teams asking me to be a guest on their shows. I’m imagining book readings and signings, opportunities to give speeches and sermons, conversations with book club folk. Contracts with publishers for printed copies of the books. Answering the Proust Questionnaire in the back of Vanity Fair. A profile in The New Yorker.
And remember, I have no idea HOW this might happen. None. That’s what makes this conception immaculate—without stain. Because I have no idea how, I don’t have to, and therefore don’t consider how, so I am free to imagine it exactly as I’d like it to be—immaculately, perfectly, clearly in my own consciousness womb.
On this Feast of the Immaculate Conception, you too have this same freedom. C’mon, I double dare you. Get pregnant, and see what you bring forth.