Friday, February 27, 2015

Are You a High Roller?

One of the highlights of the Centers for Spiritual Living annual Leadership Conference was a trip on the High Roller, slow moving Ferris wheel that is designed to see the lights of Las Vegas. We were part of a group that were being honored fro supporting our parent organization financially. Each pod holds up to 40 people. It was comfortable and unlike any ride I have ever before experienced, much slower than the theme parks. At the top we were 550 feet above ground.
Waiting in Line for High Roller

It was a great deal of fun to look at the tops of the casinos and see their massiveness. Sometimes we need to get up above our situation to see the big picture, to put our life in perspective. Of course, you don't need to go to Vegas to accomplish this. 
View From the High Roller

You simply need to be able to see without judgement the direction and tendencies of your life. From the higher point of view, we don't have to watch every little thought or feeling, but rather be willing to notice the tendency of our consciousness. And if it isn't to our liking, we need to be able to take charge and change our thinking, which results in a changed life.

Last week I had a couple of physical challenges, not really challenges, more like reminders. I started sneezing, my nose was running, I felt really tired even though I had had enough sleep. 

What did I do? I took a long nap. Then I journaled about my health. I soon realized that I wasn't looking after my body. I didn't judge myself. I simply noticed. That awareness itself changed my conditions. It was as if I had seen something from a great height. had accepted it for what it was and decided to make my mind.

Me on the High Roller

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spiritual Tools to Finish the Race by Karen Meyer

Karen Meyer Proves She Can

I decided to walk the LA Marathon in 2013 all of a month and a half before the race. I’d never been an athlete, but, hey, I’d been walking regularly
for about a year, so I figured I could do it. I’d always been fascinated
with marathons. Something about finding a speed and a rhythm, something
about the tenacity of it appeals to me.

I signed up.

“Stadium to the Sea”. Los Angeles to Santa Monica. Walking on Los Angeles
streets, cleared of traffic just for us. 26.2 miles.

The race started from Dodger Stadium at 7:30 in the morning. Thousands of
us in giant corrals, one pack starting after another. The serious runners
were in the first group. I was in the very last group. I was a walker.
But I was just enjoying the whole scene: masses of people who showed up
just to cheer us on, bands set up on street corners, volunteers passing
out water and orange slices. I kept trying to figure out what my pace was
from the giant clocks, but between potty stops and the fact that I didn’t
know what time my corral actually started... I stopped trying.

Mile 10: I knew LA really well, so I was continually amazed to look around
and realize “Wow, I just walked to HERE!” and “Look where I am NOW!”.
Mile 15: my sister called. She was following my progress online. She told
me from Michigan what my pace was and what time I was expected to finish.
16-and-a-half-minute miles! I was on spite of the potty
breaks! YES!!! 

Mile 18: a friend called. By then I was starting to feel pain in my left
foot. I was favoring it. “It’s just pain” I told him, “it’s not going to
slow me down.”

But by mile 20, the pain was all the way up my leg to my hip. My entire
left leg was in pain. I was hobbling.

I had known that at some point in the race I would turn it into a walking
meditation. Now was the time. I turned inward, I focused on my feet. Heel,
toe, heel, toe, heel, toe...

I tried once taking a break by leaning up against a tree. Big mistake. It
was really painful to start walking again. Better to simply walk.
Heel, toe, heel, toe, heel, toe....

Mile 23: the cramping started. First in my left leg, then my right. Every
step was excruciatingly painful. I started prayer treatment: “Infinite
Spirit is everywhere present, Infinite Spirit is in every cell of my body,
in every cell of my legs, in the space between the cells...”

Aaahh, the cramping dissipated. Good, I can stop that...

Aarrgghh... “Infinite Spirit is everywhere present...”

If someone had seen me—and believe me, no one was looking, the few of us
still walking were each in our own private hells—they would have seen me
walking  down the street with my eyes closed, talking out loud to myself,
like a crazy person.

That last stretch seemed to take forever. It seemed I’d never reach the sea.
But when I finally saw Ocean Avenue a few blocks away, I knew I could
finish. Those of us who were still walking had been at it over 7 hours.
The race was officially long over. We were the stragglers.

I remember only one other person on that last stretch with me. Well, two.
A young man, seventeen-ish, fit, tall. He was shuffling his feet. And he
had one arm draped over the shoulder of a middle-aged man—father? coach?
As I passed him, I heard the older man trying to propel him on. “When you
commit to something, you finish it. You finish what you start.”

As I passed him, I could see that this young man had absolutely nothing
left in him. I imagined that seven hours ago he had started this race
running. I imagined he thought he would conquer it. This young man who had
everything over me: youth, fitness, long legs. He was empty, absolutely
empty. I was passing him. Me.

“You finish what you start.”? Boy, that wouldn't do it for me, not that
day, not at mile 26.1.

What I had, that in his youth he didn't yet have, was internal strength.
He had it over me in spades on the physical plane, but I had the internal
strength and spiritual tools to finish that race. 

And I did.
The Finish Line

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Always Do Your Best, Sunday Service

I always do my best but I don't overdo. I honor the Divine that I am and express myself in the best way possible. I realize that "my best" changes from moment to moment,and whenever I do my best, I avoid self-judgment and regret. And so it is.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Congratulations Reverend Pattie Mercado

Thursday, February 19, Rev. Patttie Mercado was honored by Centers for Spiritual Living, our parent organization, as the Youth Champion. Pattie definitely deserves this award for all she does in our Center: Kids Day Out, Middle Group, Sunday Mornings, Catalina Camp, and Parent Forum to name a few. She also is the Youth Director for the European conference in Geneva Switzerland. She is the Youth Coordinator or Region 1, which includes Orange County and San Diego County.
We are very blessed to have her as our Youth and Family Director. Here are a few pictures of  the award being presented.