Friday, April 18, 2014

I Won't Give Up

Have you ever had a favorite song that you've listened to hundreds of times, literally hundreds, and then all of a sudden you hear it with new ears and see it in a whole new way??  That is what happened to me this morning...

I am a HUGE fan of Jason Mraz, have been since I first heard him my freshman year of college.  His 2012 album, LOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD, came out the year I married my best friend and the most amazing man in my world.  We danced our first dance to Mraz's I'm Yours.  We were lucky enough to see him on his album tour and caught him in Barcelona, Spain on the last leg of our honeymoon.  It was a phenomenal show, the picture above was from that night.  This album has become one of my favorites because so much of it sings to the creative process, to Love and Law and how we interact with it.

The song I heard (again) this morning, released in January 2012, is called I Won't Give Up... maybe you've heard it?  It is definitely a love song, and I've always heard it from the perspective of a person singing to the person they love.

This morning, while watching the video below, I heard it completely differently...

Imagine singing these lyrics to all your brothers and your sisters.  All of humanity.  All of us... right here, right now... just as we are, and just as we are not.  Those that you love, and those that maybe you don't love so much, or not at all.  

Realizing that truly we are all one with the One, we all come from the One Creator of all Life... I know that Spirit, God, Divine Love is in us, as us, and through us.  I have faith.  

I won't give up on us.  

When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

Well, I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up, still looking up.

Well, I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

True to Your Nature

What does it mean to be true to yourself? 
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Polonius gives his son, Laertes,  this beautiful advice:
 This above all: to thine ownself be true, 
And it must follow, as the night the day, 
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

A couple of weeks ago, I was almost home when I met a small skunk in my lane. I swerved to miss him and did. But he ran the same way as I swerved and he sprayed the whole underside of my car. He was being true to his nature. Unfortunately, there are not as many fixes for cars as there would be for pets or people in the same position. Immediately the next day, I went to the car wash and had my car's underside sprayed but it did not reduce the smell much. One of my neighbors suggested that I go to a garage where they have  a hoist and get them to power wash the underside. Toyota wasn't able to help me. The skunk was just being himself. I scared him and he did what skunks do. Now I will live with the consequences as best I can.

Unlike the skunk, when I am called to be true to my nature, it will never result in hurt or harm to another. My true nature, just like yours, is pure Love. 
Ernest Holmes defines love as:
"Love is the self-givingness of Spirit through the desire of Life to express Itself in terms of creation... Love is free from condemnation, even as it is free from fear. Love is a cosmic force whose sweep is irresistible."
When we take Polonius' advice to be true to ourselves, it really means to be true to our real nature, to show up as who we really are. 

This means when things happen unexpectedly, we are called to remember who we are. We are called to Love ourselves no matter what and to remember that everyone is an express of Life's divine urge for expression.

Last Sunday I had an opportunity to practice -- my microphone, which I wear on my underwear, stopped working. It actually had changed channels, probably when I was expressing love to someone through a hug. No one knew how to make it start working; all obvious ideas were tried -- new battery, check connections, etc. I was attempting to get back to the platform for the Jesus Christ Superstar presentation. During our opening song I was hoping to have it fixed but it wasn't so I used a hand held microphone for the first part of the presentation. I was hurried and appeared a little harried. Ironically, moments after all this angst, Karyn Allen sang Mary Magdalene's poignant song, "Everything's Alright."  And I heard myself saying words of truth, that we cannot manifest our good, unless we relax into the moment and allow it to happen. (Being up-tight is never one's true nature, even if it is familiar.) A replacement microphone was found and the performance went on as scheduled.

But someone lovingly reminded me that I was a better leader than this, that it makes  a difference how I handle every situation. Self-awareness is where everything starts. I can't change the past, but I can bring more awareness and love to this moment and the next. And so can you.

Affirmation: I choose love in all situations and in each and every moment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Change Your Karma

karma purse
Everyone is in their true place. 
The above title only makes sense when the term Karma is misunderstood to mean Fate. Something from which you cannot escape. For a long time I have observed that many people use certain terms such as the term Karma without a full understanding of what the word actually means. 

According to the late Alan Watts, when Hindus and Buddhists use the word Karma they are using it as meaning action, from the Sanskrit root meaning to do. Watts offers a meaning of Karma as being that “this arises” “that becomes.” He notes that due to certain seldom unexamined assumptions prevalent in “Western Thought.” Western interpretations take it as meaning a law of Cause and Effect or Cosmic retribution.

Watts notes that in a fuller explanation in Buddhist philosophy there is a concept of the interdependent origination of all the forms and phases of life. Thus, what you do and what is happening to you and to every other person or thing is inseparable.

In one form of viewing Karma it is seen as a chain, often equated to bondage. Simplistic interpretations see it as “Good” Karma and “Bad” which then equates to the idea that if you do good things then good things happen to you and if you do bad things then bad things happen to you.

Watts adds ."Now, you may say, 'I did not mean to do that.' One school of thought will explain events by saying, 'You did something in a former life, or at a former time, that is now having this consequence.' However, that is a very superficial understanding of karma. You do not need to believe in reincarnation to understand karma ... 

With one aspect you are doing what you call the environment and with the other aspect you are doing what you call the organism, this living body. Since you cannot possibly conceive of the existence of a living body with no environment, there is the clue that the two are basically one. As with the two poles of a magnet, north is quite different from south, and yet they are both part of one magnet. 

In precisely the same way, you are both what you do and what happens to you. You have a little game in which you play that you are not responsible for what happens to you, you are only responsible for what you do. (emphasis mine) … Basically it comes down to the fact that you are responsible for everything … 

The place in life where you are is where you have put yourself. Just as on the surface of the sphere every point may be regarded as the center of the surface, so every place may be regarded as the true place. 

Everyone is in their true place. 

In whatever language you say it, everybody is a manifestation of the divine, playing this game … Your not knowing it, if you do not know it, is part of the game … " ~Alan Watts...

This Wednesdays evening at 7:00 pm we will look at practical ways to make your life work better for you.
Rev. Bruce Fredenburg

Remembering Spiritual Truths in San Clemente

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependency on initial conditions in which a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane's formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks earlier. ~ Wikipedia
I am always struck by how the topic for today from the Joyous Living Journal matches what is going thru my head before I get out of bed in the morning to write my blog post. "Remembering Spiritual Truth" is the title for today, and we are reminded that the most powerful spiritual practice is more than sitting on our meditation cushion in the morning and seeking the Presence of Spirit. The most powerful spiritual practice is taking Spirit with us throughout our day. Knowing that we are the Voice, The Hands of Spirit on Earth as the song says, in our every action and reaction. Like the butterfly who's wing beat can start a hurricane on the other side of the planet our interactions with those around us can show the power of our God Qualities as we personify them.  If we think about how we are living in this way, everything we say, everything we do becomes a prayer and matters.
Even the smallest act of kindness will reverberate across great distances and spans of time -- affecting lives unknown to the one who’s generous spirit, was the source of this echo of good. Because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage, years later, and far far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each expression of hatred, each act of evil... ~ Dean Koontz
Contemplation: What are some of your favorite spiritual principles and truths? and more importantly how will you personify them on this day? Because You Matter.

butterfly effect
You Are The Wings Of Spirit On Earth
Affirmation: Spirit is all there is, in every situation, person or event, I remember a spiritual truth in any moment of concern, worry or doubt.
And So It Is! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Three Questions for Healing

Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native American Healing
Stories of Hope and Healing
The other week I found this book on my mother-in-love’s bookshelf. I was a little burned out on the books I was reading and it really called to me. She had picked it up from the used bookshelf at the CSLCV's  bookstore.

The book is called “Coyote Medicine” by Andrew Weil, M.D. It relates the journey of a medical doctor traversing the path of both western medicine and primal spirituality, digging deep to uncover the truth about what brings health and what heals us.

I devoured the book in a weekend. I couldn’t get enough, in fact I am going to go back for a second round because there were so many ideas and stories that deserve serious contemplation.

One of my juicy tidbits that keeps revolving around in my head is this:
“Before a person can be healed, one medicine man told me years after medical school, he or she must answer three simple questions: “Who are you?” “Where did you come from?” and “Why are you here?” This California elder believed that anyone who could give clear answers to these three questions would be well.”
Who are you?

Where did you come from?

Why are you here?

Who are you?
Just how far down the rabbit hole do they expect us to go I wonder?
How do we discover and articulate the answer of who we are?
I don’t think this is one you come to a definitive answer but is important to seek the ever evolving and revealing the question brings.

Where did you come from?
This question always receives more than a little resistance from me as my ancestral heritage is unknown, but at 45 I do have a personal history that I can reveal to myself.

In our Essential Ernest class one of our assignments is to create a personal timeline. I am fully committed to this assignment and already themes are being revealed. Sometimes it’s happy and sometimes it’s a little painful but it’s an exercise I would highly recommend to anyone.

Why are you here?
We all have “Work” to do here. And I mean work with a capital W. Julie Pellegrino really nailed it with her post on Thursday. Please read her post What is Your Sacred Work?

Have fun contemplating your three questions.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday - Jesus Christ Superstar

Today I recognize my innocence with God... I seek to be within my heart and let go of the challenges of my physical world. My conversations with Spirit are the greatest prayers I pray.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Celebrating Palm Sunday with Jesus Christ Superstar

Celebrate Palm Sunday with Us
Palm Sunday service at the Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley will feature music from the smash musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" along with a New Thought narration that draws insight and wisdom from the last week of Jesus' life, on Sunday, April 13, 10:30 a.m.

"There is so much we can learn from the events and actions of Holy Week," explains Rev. Heather Clark, senior minister for the Center. "For Jesus, that last week was filled with love, betrayal, compassion, cruelty, and injustice. The metaphysical insight and wisdom that we can draw from him, the disciples, and even his persecutors and apply to our lives is definitely a heart-opening experience."

For more than 10 years, the Center has offered this popular service to a traditionally standing-room-only crowd. Featured performers in this year's service include: Rev. Heather Clark as the narrator; Wade Wooldridge as Jesus; Rick Dale as Judas; Karyn Allen as Mary Magdalene; Clark Wilson as King Herod; Michael Garamoni as Pilate; and Hans Smith as Caiaphas. The performance also features live music from the Center's band under the direction of Diane King Vann. This year's annual performance promises to be a toe-tapping, heart-opening, and inspiring experience for all.

Children are welcome to join their families in the sanctuary for the family-friendly performance, however there will also be a special Palm Sunday activity for the youth. In the Youth Center, children will be invited to dress in robes and adorn themselves with flowers and reenact Jesus' heroic walk into Jerusalem to the cheering crowds. This is always a favorite service among the children and is not to be missed.

To experience the weekly service and message, please visit the Center on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. The service is preceded by a 15-minute guided meditation at 10 a.m. The Youth Center offers a safe and vibrant youth program guided and managed by Rev. Pattie Mercado, youth minister, and she, along with trained volunteers, provides age-appropriate lessons, inspiration, activities and connection for children, birth to 13 years old.