Friday, March 23, 2012

Divine Devise

Divine Devise

"You can get past your pain when you leave it behind and
withdraw the energy it needs to keep up with you."-Douglas Holzmeier

There has been a lot written and much debate  about our health-care system in recent years. Regardless of where your sentiments lean politically on the issue, we all devise well-being and a good health insurance plan with benefits in our time of need. And the time does come - for everyone - eventually. When it time does and you receive benefits -  you are called a "beneficiary" or, devisee, one whom a devise is given. 

Interestingly, a definition of devise is "arrange in the mind", to "imagine", and in legalese,  to "transmit by will". 

Spiritually speaking, you have been given everything, including health. You are perfect, whole and complete. You are the beneficiary of divinity! Yet, we know and experience the appearance of ill-health and other kinds of so-called suffering from time to time.  Much of it is of our own making that we have ignorantly devised for ourselves. Our minds and nescient thinking is the device to these sporadic spasms. Discomforts range from mild aches to excruciating agony. 

I don’t write about pain very much. The opening epigram is the only one in which I use the word pain. It isn’t because I haven’t suffered – it’s because I’ve suffered enough!

I wrote this about suffering just to give you an idea of how little mind I give it these days.

"The only thing suffering ever taught me was that it is an unnecessary subject."

Here are a few additional thoughts about suffering:

"The day you decide you have had enough suffering; you will have had enough suffering."

"To abide suffering is to betray Divinity."

"The beginning of love marks the end of suffering."

Abiding pain is different than abiding suffering. There are two kinds of suffering that come to mind: The anguish that comes from the illusion of being separated from our Good and the suffering generated by physical pain. We’ve covered the part that consciousness plays in alleviating mental suffering. I always thought that the “sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you” childhood saying was a bunch of hooey. But it is spiritually true.  If you have ever been told by someone that somebody you don’t know has said something terrible about you – you have no real negative response because you are not emotionally attached to the opinion of a person you have never heard of. This – in truth – should be the way we feel about all criticism – warranted or otherwise. It is just an opinion which isn’t yours or God’s. If you find the critical opinion of another helpful – then, by all means, put it to use. It’s always a choice.

Physical pain – is harder to just ignore or dismiss because it is yours. Or – it seems to be. I stubbed my pinky toe – and broke it. There’s not much you can do about a broken toe – I know – I’ve broken four! (The hazards of having size 14 feet) They get black and blue and it is hard to walk and it hurts like – well – it hurts! While I was sulking about my most recent (not so bad) break, I saw a show on TV about the parts of our body that we no longer have an important use. The pinky toe was number one on the list. If you lost your pinky toes, you’d still be able to walk and dance – just fine.

Other kinds of physical suffering in my life include busting my head open twice in Stevie Harmon’s basement - once at age four and again at age eight. There was a lot of blood; plenty of stitches, and a fair amount of pain. Come to think of it, Stevie Harmon also dropped a cement block on my foot when I was only three. My Mom took me to a doctor who took something that looked like a black telephone from the wall and burned off whatever grew on my toe in the twenty minutes after the accident. (What was that anyway?) I stopped going over to Stevie Harmon’s house.

I fell off my bike once and impaled the area that is beneath the knee and above the shin with the bike’s back axel. That hurt! The surgeon had to clip away a lot of flesh and then sewed it up the best he could. There is still no feeling there. My sister Dianne was chasing me one day and while I was reaching for the back door handle it slipped and went through the plate glass window. The gash on my wrist just missed the really important arteries. Blood - sewing and pain. On another day, my sister Dianne was chasing me (again), and this time my whole body fell out the front door plate glass window. This pane of glass was as tall as I was at age ten – about five feet. The glass shattered in a million pieces. Miraculously – I landed on top of all of it – and did not receive a scratch.

I fell from a tree at age twelve (you can read about that story in YAGBI) and I fell off the back riser during a 7th grade concert. My trombone broke the fall and I broke the trombone!  I also had pneumonia when I was in 3rd grade. I missed two weeks of school. I still don’t do cursive writing well because of it. (The missed days of school not the illness – I think) This was pretty scary stuff for a kid my age. It was usually pneumonia that killed off the characters in those old Cowboy and Indian movies I was so fond of. Someone falls off their horse into the river and then dies of pneumonia while huddled next to the camp fire.

Did I mention that my lungs collapsed at birth and I almost choked to death in 2003 and I’ve been in two high speed car crashes and I threw by back out in 2001 and was laid up in bed for a month and I fell over a picnic table and broke my leg in 2006 and the hardest collision I ever experienced was when – at age eleven - I tackled Danny New in a football game who was running free down the left sideline and I threw by body in front of his and we both knocked each other out? No one had ever stopped Danny “There’s Nothing” New from scoring before.

Why am I sharing my long list of physical ills? Two reasons: To remind you that life is a contact sport and bumps and bruises and even some broken bones and bloody noses come with the territory. And that pain and suffering does subside and the scars heal in time. And this is true of EVERYONE!

I am writing this piece just minutes after the Ohio State Buckeye college basketball team beat the Cincinnati Bearcats in the semi-finals of the 2012 NCAA East Regional. The OSU coach is Thad Matta. Thad hurt his back at age 15, which required a visit to the Mayo Clinic.  He recovered enough to become a star high school basketball player in his hometown of the appropriately named, Hoopeston, Illinois. He received a scholarship to Butler in neighboring Indiana. In his senior season playing for the Bulldogs he collapsed during a basketball game and could not get up. His back gave out. But he didn’t. Thad Mata has been in some kind of pain for nearly 30 years now. But - does he suffer?

After highly successful stints as head coach of his alma mater and Xavier, Matta took the same position at Ohio State in 2003. His record in eight years with the Scarlet & Gray is 220-64 so far. That’s an average of 27.5 wins a season. He is arguably one of the top three or four college coaches in the collegiate game these days. In 2007, just after leading the Buckeyes to the NCAA Championship game, he suffered a setback - requiring a four-hour back operation. He was told that there was a 200,000 to 1 chance something could go wrong. He was the one. He incurred what is called “foot drop”. He has no feeling in his right foot. His right foot offers no stability. The limp that fans have witnessed for the past five years is not because of the pain in his back, it is because of the brace on his foot. A foot he almost lost when he broke it just weeks after the 2007 surgery. His foot swelled; turned black and blue; and required additional surgery in order to avoid amputation.

Over the past five years, Thad Matta has continued to recruit the best student-athletes in the country to play hoops at Ohio State while compiling one of the best records in America, and until this week, few outside of his inner circle knew he was unable to walk without a brace. Thad Matta has been in a lot of pain over the past 30 years – but he refuses to suffer. He falls – often. He had to attend handicapped driving school. When his daughters Ali and Emily were age 7 and 8, he could not play like most fathers – so he spent a great deal of time reading books to them. Thad Matta used to run up to eight miles a day. He was a top quality athlete well after his Butler basketball days. Now he needs help putting his shoes on.

During his team’s time in Boston, the site of the East Regional, Matta had this to say about his situation: "It is what it is. It's the hand I've been dealt. It's definitely affected my mobility, but I can't let it completely change my life. I've never really asked, ‘Why me’? I know I'm not getting it (the feeling in the foot) back - and I'm OK with it now."

Today’s Life Coach Lesson is about understanding the difference between pain and suffering. Pain – from a broken ankle or broken heart – subsides - unless we covet it. Emerson writes in his essay on Spiritual Laws:

In these hours the mind seems so great, that nothing can be taken from us that seems much. All loss, all pain, is particular; the universe remains to the heart unhurt. Neither vexations nor calamities abate our trust. No man ever stated his griefs as lightly as he might. Allow for exaggeration in the most patient and sorely ridden hack that ever was driven. For it is only the finite that has wrought and suffered; the infinite lies stretched in smiling repose.

Our body is finite – our spiritual being – that which animates our body and all bodies – is Infinite. I have a friend who is a Practitioner of Healing. She is a powerful personality which is exceeded only by her Spiritual Presence. She heals as she reveals Truth. She also has a skin condition. This causes redness and flakiness. There is some itching and discomfort and a degree of pain. It is not a rare skin condition – but it affects much of her body.  Much of the pain she experiences is from the conflict she feels from not being able to clear the appearance from her body. Even though she has helped hundreds of people see and realize the Spiritual Truth of their health and well-being – her anxiety about her own dis-ease has made her withdraw, thereby being less accessible to those who might benefit from her ability to assist in facilitating a healing consciousness with and for them. This may have happened due to an unkind (and ignorant) assertion that someone carelessly made suggesting - since she cannot clear this condition in herself – she cannot help others.

I guess this is the point of the essay. Just because Thad Matta can no longer run up and down a basketball court does not disqualify him from coaching one of the top basketball programs in the nation. Just because Stevie Wonder “suffers” from blindness – does not mean he lives a life of suffering. One of my favorite words is Abide. Abide means to submit to and put up with. It also means to accept; acknowledge; be big about; endure; hang in; hang tough; and withstand. Some of the greatest figures in human history simply abided (as much as overcame) ailments and disadvantages to make their mark on and change the world. In fact, all truly extraordinary people come with a requisite back-story that is just as extraordinary.

Speaking of extraordinary stories – if you get a chance – visit Kyle Maynard’s website if you can at

Here is the snapshot bio of this amazing human being:

Kyle Maynard is a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and athlete. Despite being born with arms that end at the elbows and legs near the knees, Kyle has wrestled for one of the best teams in the Southeast, set records in weightlifting, fought in mixed martial arts, and most recently became the first man to crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

His story has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, ESPN’s Sportscenter, HBO’s Real Sports, ABC’s 20/20 and Good Morning America, and as a cover story in USA Today. He continues to inspire as the author of his book, No Excuses (2005), a New York Times bestseller.

Kyle has almost no arms or legs – and in less than 30 years - has achieved more than the lifetimes of a hundred men. He is working with our Wounded Warriors – men and women from our armed forces who are enduring physical and mental injuries from combat. I saw Kyle’s story recently on ESPN. Watching him crawl on his hands and knees - climbing up Mt. Kilimanjaro in the freezing cold - made me almost ashamed I had been bellyaching about my broken pinky toe. But shame is a bad vibration. My work is about inspiration. Thank you, Kyle, for your inspiration and my reality-check.

I’m sure Kyle has good and bad days – he states as much in his book and website – but he doesn’t suffer – he endures; abides and triumphs!

"Now is your duration. Love is your endurance."

Ernest Holmes wrote:

We recognize that we experience pain, but how could there be an eternal reality to pain? If this were true, we would have a suffering Universe; a suffering God; an agonizing Deity; all of which seem untrue, unreal and impossible.

Flesh is the heir to our missteps; miscalculations and mistakes – not our divinity.

You are well. Your spirit suffers not. You are loved. You are the Beloved.

You Are God's Best Idea!

~Douglas Holzmeier
Author of You Are God's Best Idea! Divine Acceptations and Living the Undeniable Life! (Balboa Press/Hay House)
If you are seeking a Life Coach who can give you direction – inspiration - motivation and treat you like the star you are – contact me at:

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