In 1953, a year before I was born, a start-up company experimented with a rust-prevention solvent for the aerospace industry. One attempt after another failed. Twenty times. Thirty times. Thirty-nine times. On the fortieth try, WD-40 was created.
WD-40 stands for “water-displacement perfected on the fortieth try.” Today, a can of WD-40 sits on a shelf in my house, and houses all across the globe, evidence of a tenacious team.
Tenacity, also labeled perseverance, persistence, and stamina, is a useful component of the power of strength. Tenacity provides us staying power. Drawing forth tenacity during unsteady circumstances means not giving up prematurely and remaining committed in our stand-ability, persistently acting with confidence.
The Mighty Caterpillar
One morning on retreat, while silently sipping coffee outdoors, I listened to life going on around me. The Cibolo Creek was babbling. A red bird called from a nearby tree, two high-pitched whistles followed by seven chirps, over and over again. Shrubbery rustled in a light breeze. The day had begun.
Swiping at my leg in response to feeling something on it, I saw the “something” was not a dried oak leaf like the ones that were raining all over me. I swiped at a small caterpillar-like critter. It landed on the deck next to my chair. Being in a state of quiet awareness, I watched the insect. It moved, undaunted, over the gaps between deck slats. It found the leg of my chair and began climbing.
When it reached the top, it projected more than half its mass over the edge of the chair, feeling for its next support and finding it on the surface of the table close by. It kept going until it could not sense a surface on which to proceed, at which time it doubled back, curled its long body around, arcing like a divining rod until it found solid land. All the other feet followed.
The busy little creature traveled a great distance, by caterpillar standards. It never seemed to be concerned with whether it was upright or sideways, retracing its steps or in new territory. Every time it came to an abyss, it paused long enough to feel its way to the next solid ground.
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I was thinking, as I observed the creature teacher, that I would do well to feel my way forward by the power of tenacity. Persisting non-anxiously is the activity of tenacity. Tenacity, along with stability and courage, makes up the habits of spiritual strength.
Meditation for Strength
To connect with the power of strength in my body, I begin by standing. I stand tall, with my feet positioned shoulder width apart. I lift my shoulders, press them back, and drop them down. I tuck my chin slightly, pressing the crown of my head up as if to hold up the ceiling. I breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Hold the posture while softening my stance. A few more times I breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
I center attention on the small of my back, the center of the spiritual power of strength. Here converge strong bones, flexible ligaments and tendons, large muscles and highly sensitive nerves. The small of the back is designed to be incredibly strong, protecting delicate nerve roots, yet highly flexible, providing for mobility.
I shine the light of verdant spring green through the area where my back curves at the waistline. I shine light throughout the abdominal cavity, out to embrace my body, out beyond my body, spreading across the earth like the invisible kingdom of the heavens.
Sitting, I repeat the words “I AM divine strength” or “I AM spiritual strength.” I concentrate on this truth idea. Gradually, I go deeper into silence, the wordless state of deep meditation.
When ready, I affirm:
Divine strength is my spiritual name and nature. I AM strong, stable, and steadfast in body, mind, and spirit. I AM the power of stand-ability, anchored to the shore while the winds of change swirl around me. I am centered in truth during times of instability. I am rooted to GOD, my source of strength.
By spiritual strength, I am confident, courageous, and determined, faithful to the truth I know. I am responsive from my position of spiritual strength. I claim these divine attributes, trusting they are part of the intelligence within the very cells of my body and throughout every dimension of my being.
I appreciate my limitless power to stay strong in all circumstances.
I AM spiritual strength, stable, courageous, and tenacious.
Practices to Cultivate Strength
- Read the Meditation for Strength daily, or make an audio recording and listen to it daily. Choose one of the affirmations in the meditation to recite and contemplate.
- Write about strength in your journal. Here are some questions you might choose to reflect upon:
- What do you rely upon as your foundation, that which stabilizes you?
- Thinking about your current hopes and dreams, what role could courage play? If you were courageous, what might you do?
- Remember the details of times in your life when you were tenacious.
- Identify a situation in your present experience that calls for the light of strength. What thoughts and acts could demonstrate stability, courage, and tenacity?
- Create or select a symbol for strength to display where you will see it often. Here are some examples: an image of or actual tree branch; an original drawing, collage, or sculpture.
- Practice the upright posture described in the first paragraph of the Meditation for Strength (above). From an upright position, bend at the waist into a forward bend. Linger in the forward bend while concentrating on the small of your back. Sense the seat of strength in your body.
Courage: Another Aspect of Spiritual Strength
Centered in strength, we can proceed boldly. Courage is another aspect of spiritual strength. One of my favorite words, audacity, applies to the power of strength.
In 2003, when I was seeking to be hired by a Unity community as their minister, I was considered to be in a tenuous position. I was in training toward Unity ordination, licensed but not yet ordained. Many colleagues recommended I not set my sights on a full-fledged ministry because a full-size ministry might not be inclined to hire someone of my status.
With nothing to lose at this point—I was not at the time serving in a ministry—I sat in prayer activating the power of strength. I concentrated on the stabilizing power until I felt courageous enough to proceed. I became absolutely clear there was a ministry that I would recognize as perfect for my vision, talents, and skills. And they would recognize me. Reminding myself at every turn that I did not need to rely upon anyone’s statistics, I became convinced my fate could not be subject to “the way it is” in the world.
I swiftly identified five churches that seemed promising to me, and I sent them my paperwork, including a cover letter extolling the value of their hiring a minister-in-training. Audaciously, I expressed that my spiritual community and I would have the benefit of the most contemporary Unity teachings for ministers; that we would have a seasoned mentor supporting us through the process; and other facts that I wholeheartedly believed relevant to any church that would consider me. Instead of attempting to conceal my status, I turned it into an asset.
Two of the five churches immediately dismissed my application because they considered me not qualified. The other three churches interviewed me by telephone and all three invited me for weekend on-site visits. Within three months, considered record time by many Unity ministers, I celebrated my first Sunday at Unity in San Antonio. (June 2013 marked my tenth anniversary.)
Strength of Character and Courage of Convictions
My son Adrian was a young teen, soon to lose interest in childhood holiday rituals, when one Halloween he and his friends decided to go trick-or-treating together. Giles and I were surprised when, less than an hour later, Adrian returned home alone. He told us that the rest of his friends thought it would be fun to steal candy from the younger trick-or-treaters. Adrian disagreed. He told them so, and left them on the street.
We all face such dilemmas. We want to go along with the crowd because we want to belong. We want to be liked. We also want to be true, to be in integrity with our values. The courageous power of spiritual strength is valuable when we want to distance ourselves from colleagues telling jokes at the expense of a particular culture, religion, or gender.
Strength is valuable when a friend has kept us waiting once again and we have decided to wait no longer. Strength is valuable when we are worried for the safety and well-being of a child in our neighborhood. Strength is valuable when a coworker has taken credit for our innovation.
We can practice asserting courage in minor daily matters, fortifying ourselves with strength for greater challenges. Anytime we fail to express courage in a situation, it is never too late. We can always speak to our colleagues later or call our friend the next day.
Bold, inspired, courageous action stemming from spiritual strength makes for a thrilling life experience. It also uplifts one and all.
Copyright 2015 by Linda Martella-Whitsett.
Reprinted with permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Co.
Dist by Red Wheel Weiser, www.redwheelweiser.com
Divine Audacity: Dare to Be the Light of the World
by Linda Martella-Whitsett.
About the Author
Linda Martella-Whitsett, winner of The 2011 Best Spiritual Author competition, is an inspiring, respected Unity minister and spiritual teacher. Linda's message about our Divine Identity inspires people across cultures and faith traditions to meet life's circumstances with spiritual maturity. Linda is the senior minister at Unity Church of San Antonio and a mentor for emerging leaders in New Thought. Visit her website at www.ur-divine.com/
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