When Push Comes to Shove

Driving to the office on the Memorial Day Monday, aware that most people were taking the day off and enjoying themselves, I noticed I was thinking about the phrase, “When Push Comes to Shove” and I wondered that that phrase meant, and why it had come to mind.  Apparently, I was feeling ‘put-upon’, squeezed or constrained in some way, and I pondered what had brought that feeling on, and what I could do about it.  I started making lists to see what I could figure out what I might be feeling ‘bound up’ about.

1. The home study groups on Spiritual Economics complete this week, and have been pleasingly successful.  Participants have enjoyed digging into the material and learning, and also getting to know their home-study-group-buddies more deeply.  So that’s a joyous success, so that’s not it.  Two different centers have asked if they can use the curriculum that I had compiled.  One of the juicy bits from the fifth class that really caught my attention was the idea that living from a giving mentality (not expecting to get, so it’s not fostering codependency or martyrdom) makes more space for more good to show up.  I’m thrilled to share it, so that’s not it.

2. The planning for the next class, How To Change Your Life, is coming along well.  I’m enjoying working with one of my favorite ministers, Dr Linda McNamar from Laguna Woods CA, creating a juicy curriculum. And I’m getting to introduce her to the zoom videoconferencing platform, which is a double bonus.  So that’s not it.

3. The sign-up sheets are out for Visioning, which starts June 9th.  We had a good half-dozen folks say they were interested in taking it this summer and available on Tuesdays.  And I’ve thought about a new way to introduce the topic, that may make it more accessible to people who haven’t been able to ‘get’ it before. So that’s not it.

4. I’m really jazzed about the June theme of Imagination.  Carla has found some excellent quotes for us to use for our Spiritual Thoughts and has written some dynamite affirmations, and the Music Team is out-doing themselves with our own volunteer vocalists.  So that’s not it.

5. Barbara and the leasing agents are digging in and removing potential obstacles around a possible interim location that Alana found for us.  So far, so good.  So that’s not it.

6. Gail from my Spiritual Economics group volunteered to come help out for a few hours in the office on Mondays to reduce my administrative workload.  That’s awesome, and very welcome help.  So that’s not it.

7. I’m in the middle of working on a quilt, and haven’t finished painting my house.  Painting had begun to feel like drudgery, so I realized I’d be better off taking a break from painting and do something fun. Then I can go back and finish the painting with renewed interest and enthusiasm.  And if I finish two quilts before I feel like painting some more, who cares?  So that’s not it.

Coming up with nothing, but feeling much better after having made the list, I decided to ask Google.

This is what I found.  It’s a colloquialism that probably originated in black America.  It was first formally recorded by Thomas De Witt Talmage in 1873, in the United Methodist Free Churches’ Magazine: “The proposed improvement is about to fail, when Push comes up behind it and gives it a shove, and Pull goes in front and lays into the traces; lo! the enterprise advances, the goal reached!”

So, the original intention of the phrase seems to be something that wants to be created, and it just needs a little impetus or ‘shove’ to make it happen.  I especially love the phrase that isn’t part of the idiom, “Pull goes in front and lays the traces (track) … the enterprise advances.  The Goal is reached”.

Perhaps just examining possible areas of concern allows me to reframe my thoughts, not as troubles, but as things in gestation, in process, and just waiting for “Pull to show up and lay the track”?   It’s a little bit like setting intention and then waiting to take delivery from Divine Mind/Spirit/The Universe when the product is ready.  I’m so very good with that.

I love this philosophy… how it shows up and helps me make sense of my life.

— Rev Janis Farmer

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