Friday, February 28, 2014

Photography as a Spiritual Practice



Join Juli Isola, San Clemente photographer and spiritual seeker, for March's Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley Women's Group meeting on Friday, March 7, 7 p.m., for an evening discovering Photography as a Spiritual Practice. The event is free and participants are asked to identify and bring 3 to 5 favorite images that they have created. The images can be from an Instagram feed, on their smart phone, printed on a home printer or snap shots from the past. We will be learning how to read photos and studying the ones people bring.

More about the Workshop:

From the moment Juli started her photography journey she realized that something greater than her was at work; and within the images she captured she found clues to revealing more of her spiritual truth. The more she studies the very accessible art of photography, the more she notices spiritual principle at work.

Photographer Juli Isola offers insight into photography as a spiritual practice
at March's Women's group meeting.
Juli believes that every photo we take is a window to our soul. It's the Divine within that entices us to bring out the camera or phone and snap the photo. We think, on the surface, it's the beauty or humor or memory we are trying to capture and preserve, but in reality it's our higher consciousness inviting us to stop and study what's right in front of us; to notice the reflection of our thinking.

Do you think of photography that way? Do you know why you pick up your camera? Do you see the visionary messages in your photographs?


Mark your calendar for Friday, March 7th, 7 p.m. You don't want to miss this enlightening photography workshop designed to give you more insight and a greater experience of higher consciousness in your life.






Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rain or Shine: It's all about Perspective

In just a couple of days, Saturday morning to be exact, I am slated to walk in the Festival of the Whales parade with my teenage daughters, Marissa and Alison. We volunteered to help carry the large balloons down the parade route as part of our National Charity League service hours. It’s something we’ve done every year since joining the chapter, and it has become something of a tradition for us.


It’s not easy to guide those balloons down the parade route. It can get pretty sketchy dodging the various traffic signals, street lights and trees along the way. Add some wind to the mix, and it really gets dicey. However, they assign someone from the balloon company to escort us down the parade route (to make sure we don’t inadvertently destroy the balloon – those things are expensive!) so we always manage to survive our adventure.

So here we are… gearing up for this year’s parade, which seems to be offering something new: rain. Lots of rain, according to the forecasts that Alison has been monitoring like this really is the storm of the century! I am grateful for the rain, and do not wish it away, but I’ll admit, the timing is inconvenient. They tell us the parade goes on rain or shine, so I’m looking forward to see how they’ll do this.  I am, however, even more interested in how the three of us have responded to the prospect of carrying the balloon in the rain…

"Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Viktor Frankl 

Alison plans to strike a deal with the cosmos. It is her intention that the heavens will part and the rain will cease for the duration of the parade. I am totally on board with that, however, I must confess, I feel the need to leave nothing to chance. I have been digging out the foul weather gear and trying to figure out how I can carry an umbrella without damaging the balloon. I welcome the rain, because I know we need it, but I want to stay warm and dry during the parade. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Marissa has embraced the whole adventure. Her only concern is that she hopes they will let us carry the eagle again this year, because it was particularly challenging last time. (It was rather windy, and our crew struggled to control the balloon. As if on cue, the eagle balloon took a nosedive as we passed the announcer’s booth, prompting him tell the crowd, “The eagle has landed.” Our crew was mortified, but it was funny!)

Hopefully, we will be greeted by sunshine breaking through the clouds. Regardless, my water polo playing daughters don’t mind getting wet (that would be me), but I’m going to pack some rain gear in the car. Just in case they decide that warm and dry is nice, too.

Rain or shine, the three of us will be there Saturday morning, each with our own perspective on how the rain affects our experience. 

In every situation we are at choice.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Good to Give from the Heart

My Orchid 


“Goodbye,” said the fox. “Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. . . . It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important. . . . People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said, “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose. . . .”
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

For my entire adult life, I have not been able to grow any indoor plants. My good friends wince and shudder when someone gives me a house plant for no matter how vital and alive it was when it arrived to my care, within weeks if not days, it starts looking bedraggled and puny. If not rescued by someone with a green thumb, it has little chance of surviving.

A few months ago I was given a beautiful orchid plant with large white blooms. I nurtured it by giving it an ice cube every day. Gradually it lost all its blooms and I was about to give it a burial when I noticed the wee sprouts of new leaves. With hope, I continued my regimen of a daily ice cube and nothing seemed to happen. I almost gave up hope, but I talked to it encouragingly every day. Then it shot up a stem which looked like nothing but a stick. Still I kept talking to her and nurturing her. I reminded her of her beauty and perfection.  By the end of January she had five or six buds. I could see that the largest one was ready to pop but it did nothing until I was away in  Florida.

What I returned to see is the beautiful orchid with two full blossoms and more on the way. I am ecstatic with joy for the beauty and also for the joy of being in the role of nurturer. It felt good to give.

One of the most quoted expressions in our philosophy is "There is a power for Good in the Universe and you can use it." 

Preparing for a class on the Law of Circulation, I read "There is a power for Good in the Universe and It uses me!" 

How important it is to remember that our teaching is based on two equally important aspects of the Divine-- Love and Law. As Ernest Holmes writes in the textbook, "Love points the way, and Law makes the way possible."

When we quit trying to get something, and instead focus on what is ours to give, the good in our lives increases. It's as if we had been stepping on the hose of abundance and only dribbles of good have been our experience.

To step off the hose, you need to shift your perspective, to a perspective of unity, love and harmony. There is no one against you and there is nothing that stops you from experiencing greater good. Not even I have a "black" thumb. As the fox says to the Little Prince, "You become responsible for what you've tamed." I was responsible for my orchid and now the orchid returns my love by bringing me joy and beauty.




What's in your Blind Spot?

Wednesday Wisdom 7pm Tonight with Pattie Mercado 
Find a place in nature and know.
The topic for my talk at Wednesday's Wisdom this week is "What's in Your Blind Spot?"  If you know the answer then - well it isn't really a blind spot! Or is it?  When we start exploring the uncharted territory that is our blind spot we find ourselves in that sometimes terrifying place of the unknown. When we start to understand that a blind spot cannot be seen with the human eye, but is sensed even though well hidden behind fear, arrogance, false modesty and more there is an opportunity to set aside, lie down the false belief that has held us back and for the Truth to set us free. My starting place for the inquiry into blind spots began many years ago when I first heard the words: "Can you afford the arrogance of not knowing something the knowing of which could transform your life?" The answer then and now is a resounding no! So, I find myself doing all sorts of contortions to make sure that I am checking my blind spot, being sensitive, checking in, etc. and really it is so much simpler than I have made it out to be!

It's a powerful inquiry that I am looking forward to deepening at our Wednesday Wisdom service. The exploration is so much better when it is shared and our mid week faith lift is the engaging and uplifting event where everyone has a part to play; where we share in the expansion of life and our understanding of it.

              Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley logo

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Forgiveness Walking the Walk


Today I forgive everyone and accept forgiveness by everyone. I know the eternal Spirit harbors no malice toward me or anyone else. Forgiving and being forgiven, I have an inward sense of peace and tranquillity. There is no anxiety, no sense of guilt, no fear of judgment. All mistakes of the past are now wiped out in my consciousness and I no longer carry any burden from them. I look forward to the future with joy, in peace and gladness, and live in the present day with an inner assurance of being one with all life. - Ernest Holmes
Put your hand over your heart and repeat after me, I am a modern day mystic, I sense the divine in me, I sense the divine in others. I practice the radical act of forgiveness. It is mystical, it fills me with light. It is good. And So It Is! - Rev. Dr. Heather Clark
Ernest Holmes
The Mystical Ernest Holmes

Monday, February 24, 2014

Forgiveness is the Ultimate Untapped Super Power

hot coals only burn the one holding them
“Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.” ~Buddha
It's hard to dodge that topic of forgiveness. It doesn't matter what spiritual tradition you follow someone is asking you to be forgiving. If you are searching for healing, mental, physical or spiritual you are going to run headfirst into the concept of forgiving.

If you are looking for greater success and abundance there is going to be forgiveness work involved. If you are trying to improve your relationships or searching for world peace some spiritual leader is going to remind you that you need to forgive.

You need to forgive the large and the small. There is simply no escape.

Forgiveness is the spiritual work to be done. It's the push up your sleeves and "get 'er done" stuff. It's where we feel resistance. And it seems so illogical to resist the very spiritual practice that promises so very very much.

Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. Forgiveness frees you to live life more fully and more joyously. Forgiveness adds power to your prayers and unleashes your creativity.

What's not to love about forgiveness! 
Geez ... it's like a freekin' super power. 

Oh but how, but how, but how??? What if I am just not feeling it? And how do you know when you are done? What if you recognize all the great gifts of forgivenss but you still can't bring yourself to do it? Where do you start?

Do you have a Forgiveness Practice?
You gotta practice to get good at anything. Why not practice forgiveness? What would a Forgiveness Practice look like?

Search your heart every day and honestly ask yourself "did I close my heart to anyone today?" You can use some of these tools to antedote yourself a little every day.

Oh and don't forget yourself in all this forgiving. It may be the most important work of all.

  • Try a Forgiveness Meditation. There are meditation tapes out there for the very purpose of forgiveness. Here is a Forgiveness Meditation from Jack Kornfield.
  • Trade resentment for gratitude. Did you know you can't feel both resentment and gratitude at the same time? Make a litany written or spoken of all that you are grateful for regarding the situation.
  • Write a forgiveness letter, you don't have to send it but start writing it now.
  • If writing isn't your thing use your imagination and set that person in a chair before you and talk to them. Work it out in your own heart.
  • When all else fails ask for help. (I always forget this one for some reason, it's not like it isn't for a good cause.)

Forgiving isn't forgeting. In fact remembering all that transpired and no longer being "hooked" by the memory is your indication that your forgiveness work is complete. Sometimes it takes a few rounds but with all that's promised you know that it's worth the effort.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Mystical Act of Forgiveness


There is nuclear energy that IS good in this life... that energy is Love. I tap into this force to heal my heart and soul of any wrong-doings, miscommunications or anger in my life. Love heals me now and forgiveness reigns free in my life...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Compassion: A Force for Change




When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. -Viktor Frankl-

The Consciousness of Kindness and Compassion can be a place where one's heart is pulled to change. Buddy Dumeyer is a retired Police Officer from the Louisville Metro Police Department.  He retired after 27 years of service, and became involved with the Coronor's office.  Buddy is the coordinator of the Indigent Burial Program. This is a program where burials are performed for those who's families are not able to financially afford the costs of burials, or for homeless individuals who's family members could not be located. Though this program provides for the cost of a burial, Buddy saw a need for change in regards to the actual burial ceremony.

Buddy felt a pull to honor the homeless people who were being buried, who sometimes had no family members or friends to attend their funerals. Several high schools in the area joined the program, and has several of their students attending, and being pall bearers at the services. Buddy has said this was his calling, and the students felt a change in the way they view and honor their current relationship from the work they have been involved in.  From hearing of this story, and the high school students who teamed up with Buddy, a young filmmaker, Edward Heavrin decided to make a documentary about the subject. The film is titled The Potter's Field.
https://www.facebook.com/ThePottersFieldFilm

Our charge is to look for the places where we can be of service. Kindness is active, and just a small act allows a change within ourselves. We have the capability to be a Force for Change.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Intention Without Action is Not Enough

ACTION!

Not action on the movie screen but action in our own lives... Action towards our own personal dreams!

Today's entry from the Joyous Living Journal is Action and it starts off by saying:

"Intention, without action, is not enough.  Decide, act, move in the world with confidence, knowing you are coming from and toward your intention.  Do not allow your fear, doubt, or uncertainty keep you from doing, acting, or moving in the direction of your dreams..."


After reading the entry for today, I was immediately reminded of a quote attributed to Goethe:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
- GOETHE                                     

(I will add that upon further research there appears to be question as to who the original author of this quote really is, in the end the words are powerful regardless of who originally wrote them.)


I believe the "genius, power and magic" in the boldness of action is really Spirit.  Coming from your intention is the main ingredient, when you come from the place of your dreams you have the excitement and power of the feeling you get from seeing the dream as reality and that vibration is what propels our actions forward.  It is amazing the "coincidences" that will come into play when we come from and toward our intention.  The whole Universe conspires to support us the moment we decide and take action in the direction of our dreams!

Think about what it is that typically prevents you from taking action on your intentions... Fear of failure?  Not having the all the right resources at hand?  Not sure of all the steps required to get "there"?  Whatever it is, let it come to mind, with out any judgement, and let it go.  Release the "could have, might have, should have" thoughts with unconditional love.  

It's all good, you are in the right place at the right time, exactly where you are.  And exactly where you are is the PERFECT place to start heading in the direction of where you want to be!  See yourself there, feel what it would feel like to be there, and coming from that place, decide what is the best first step you can take right now, from where you are at, with what you have.  Continue taking those steps... That is how the journey unfolds! 


Affirmation: I act easily and boldly in alignment with my intentions.  I let my intention lead me, acting and doing without stress or worry.


Namaste.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Love Lifts Us Up!


Love lifts us up where we belong..... in clarity, peace, joy, creativity- in unity with Life. It happens in the present moment transforming any and every experiences unlike itself by the light of Love. 

 Together, this month, we have been lifting the vibration of our lives and the life of our planet with the practice of Living in Love. We have shone the light of love upon ourselves and each other with random acts of kindness, intentional prayer and contemplation. We have, together, brought our awareness to the power and the presence of Love in a greater way. 

We often remind ourselves:  look up! See the Good that is all around! By lifting our eyes and our hearts upward we are reminded to lift our consciousness up.  We lift our consciousness by being in service, seeing the good, practicing Random Acts of Kindness, and by being in the moment (just to name a few). When out hiking this week I reminded myself to look up from watching where I was walking to see the beauty and the magnificence that was all around me. In doing so I caught the most beautiful moment in nature as the sun was beginning to set and the Saddleback Mountains were glowing with the setting sun. It was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. My heart and my mind were lifted in the beauty of the moment. 

Love is up, down and all around us!
And then I was reminded Spirit is everywhere when my friend and our office administrator, Diane showed me a picture of what happened when she looked down this morning. The fallen flower petals just outside our office window look just like hearts! The truth is Love is everywhere. Up, down, to the left and to the right. It's everywhere we look because it lives within each of us. When we open ourselves to seeing it we find that it is already there.

For me, it was best said by three-year old Kate: 

"I am happy because I love you". 

Thank you Life for showing me Love truly is everywhere present 
making Itself known by means of all of us!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Visioning: What is Waiting to Express?



A quote from Dr. Michael Beckwith ~
"As far as a very basic description, you first center yourself through meditation or contemplative prayer in which you commune with the Ineffable, activating a field of unconditional love. Once your consciousness is open and receptive, you place questions before your higher Self: What is the highest vision for my life? What must I become in order to manifest this vision?  What qualities must I cultivate?  What qualities must I release?  What talents, gifts, skills and qualities do I already possess that will serve this vision?  Then follows a deep listening with an open heart, pushing away nothing that arises or judging it. This practice can be effectively applied in all aspects of one’s life. "Life Visioning Technology - Michael Beckwith



After reading Dr. Beckwith's definition of visioning and watching his two minute video,  I think you will agree with me that this is a very powerful spiritual practice.

On Wednesday, February 19, at 7 p.m.  September Warren,  who was trained in the visioning process by Dr. Michael Beckwith, we be leading us in a visioning for our Wednesday's Wisdom service at the Center.  I invite everyone to attend this creative and inspirational evening. 

There are so many wonderful spiritual practices that we already are familiar with and participate in on a daily basis (i.e.  prayer, meditation, silence, chanting, listening, and many more!)  So! I am very excited to experience this relatively new avenue to a higher consciousness.

Dr. Beckwith also says, "The cool part of it all is that none of us never know how far what’s birthed by the inspiration of the heart can reach out and impact the world in a positive, uplifting way, which is why I encourage people to go beyond self-consciousness and have the courage to deliver their gifts, talents, and skills in the world."

So let's create something wonderful and new together!

Sweet Blessings,

Reverend Judee Chapman

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We Are One Of The Ways The Universe Knows Itself


In today's excerpt from the Joyous Living Journal we are reminded about the Law of Attraction. Many people have discovered this law from the movie, The Secret. Those of us who attend a Center for Spiritual Living know that this is how the world works.
Like a magnet, our attitude, beliefs and words are our attractors. We are taught to focus on what we want, rather that what we do not want. We discover that we attract more good, love and joy, into our life by expressing good, love, and joy. That is the way of the walk, to notice the positive, talk about the positive and be grateful for the good things in our life. 
Affirmation: Today I discover that I am a magnet for the positive life I want, I release my negativity and any old patterns that no longer suit me. I look for the good in everything and praise it.

Something Wonderful Is Happening As Me Today!
It's this thing called life, thank you life!
And So It Is.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love is the Action, Joy is Your Natural State

Jumping for Joy on the Beaches of Laguna
Go Outside & Feel the Joy
Express the Love and feel the Joy.

Shame and regret are just as much hooks as blame and anger.

We aren't here to be sad ... we are here to experience love, joy and beauty.

It isn't so much what happens to us as how we react.

And if there is someone in your past whom you feel you could have loved more, helped more, treated with more kindness and you chose not to or you just weren't able to at that time ... you can still express that love now.

It may not be a direct exchange with that person but it won't matter as we are all one.

If you are still breathing you are not done yet.

Don't sluice your joy. And if you need a little help ... go outside, look and listen.

And so this morning Jason Mraz's song "Outdoors" just kind of fell into my lap. I can only consider this confirmation!

"Well open up your door
And be like me
Open up your door
And then breathe free
Look at all the beauty you'll feel
Love love love love

"Listen to the music of the wind
And the birdies sing
We're just one big family
And all of nature deserves to be
Loved loved loved loved loved"

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Transformative Power of Love



Love is caring, accepting and kind. I mindfully choose to speak my truth with loving kindness knowing that love is the most powerful force in the world. Love transforms me and those whom I connect every day.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Love for a child is transformative



The soul is healed by being with children.
                                              -Fyodor Dostoevsky-

On the February 15th entry of the Joyous Living Journal titled, The Power of Love, the reflection of the love for an ill child is written.  It mentions a time where all the love in your heart is being summoned by you to relieve this child from their pain.“Without knowing how to make your child feel instantly better, you sit by, watching and waiting, which can be a heartbreaking sense of helplessness; but somehow it turns into an outpouring of deep love.”  “There is a calling in of a transformative power, you don’t know where from, but with all your being you believe there could be Divine Intervention.”

Typically, I would reflect on my own children when reading this passage, and at first read I had.  The image above found on the Thich Nhat Hahn Facebook page, is an image by Chiceaux Lynch, and it portraits the exact sense of my reflection.  But, yesterday, as Spirit would have it, an Agape Soul Sister blessed me with a story of a divine nature. A man, a London stockbroker, who was on his way to a vacation ski trip in Switzerland, was asked by a friend to abandon his plans and join him in Prague, the year was 1938. The reason, to assist his friend in a Jewish refugee camp. Sir Nicholas Winton, as knighted in 2002 for his work, established an organization to aid children who were at risk from the Nazis. Through his efforts he transported 669 children to adoptive families or groups. The fate of many of their parents were their death at Auschwitz. The last train to leave, on September 1, 1939 included 250 children aboard. As this was the beginning of World War II, this largest transport of children did not make the journey to safety of the previous trains. They instead were sent to concentration camps and put to death.

Those children who Winton did save were named, “Winton’s children” and it wasn’t until 1988, when his wife found a scrapbook in the attic, that the story surfaced into the mainstream. The scrapbook detailed all the children and their destinations.

In 1988, Winton was asked to appear on a BBC television show, That’s Life! Host Esther Rantzen asked if anyone owed their life to Winton and about 30 people stood. This appearance brought Winton to tears.

While we, as parents, have the Love associated with our own children, imagine having that Love for 669 and the heartache with those 250?

Today I will know that the Love I show to my children is not only a responsibility, it is a privilege. 
Let my Soul be healed by being with children.



Friday, February 14, 2014

Taking a Lesson from the Girls, the Men's Spiritual Group of South Orange County is Here!

Dave Friedman - Practitioner and Facilitator
of the Spiritual Men's Group of South
Orange County
I find myself involved in a Men’s Group. What is a men’s group? A group of men, for starters. And what do we do? Why even have one? Allow me to share with a few random thoughts about this.
Women talk to women all the time. About what? Stuff. Guys don’t know what girls talk about, or even how they have so much to say. I got to thinking, who do we talk to about stuff? And what kind of stuff? Well, it did take a couple years to fully percolate, but I finally decided it would be fun to talk with other guys about stuff, too. Like who are we, Where are we. Why are we here. How ‘bout them Seahawks? How did we get here. Are we happy? What's next? How do we get there? How do I feel about this? Why do you say that? You know, just stuff. 

And what might be different about this? First, it's just guys. We are (more or less) officially the Men’s Spiritual Group of South Orange County. We've been meeting for about 3 months now. We have a very strong dedicated core group of guys. And a few guests who wander in and out every once in a while. The conversations can get very spirited. But we always end up with smiles and hugs and a see you next time.

The nature of guys is to do! And we’re trying to spend some time just Being. So that is a little different for us. I find, though, that it causes me to go through my days looking at things a little differently, paying attention in a different way, as anything out there could and does spark a debate/discussion. That’s where the learning and growing happens.

It’s fun to go to a meeting with a half an idea of what we may discuss, then have someone present a thought that has been bouncing around in their head, and realize two hours just passed in a moment. The connection is real, heartfelt and lasting. Ahh, maybe that’s what the girls have always known. Now, the secret is out. Thanks Girls. And Thanks to the guys who are making this something special. We are by no means a closed group. We invite men of all kinds to come and spend an evening with us. 

Please contact, me, Dave, with any questions or to inquire about the next men's group.  daveamon (at)yahoo(dot)com.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Dizzy Path to Consciousness Connection




"The children are acting like a bunch of whirling dervishes!!" I would tell my husband amid screaming and wild energy, thinking in my mind of the Tasmanian devil from Looney Tunes fame.

Well, this weekend I was schooled! During the after-Sunday-service Conscious Connection, September Warren, Conscious Connection leader and practioner, revealed that a whirling dervish is actually a sacred order of the Islamic Sufi tradition and was created by the centered, wise Rumi. And they still exist! The whirling dervishes' Sema Ritual dance, a seven-centuries-old tradition, is a sacred event.

September shared the science behind this traditional dance:
It is scientifically recognized that the fundamental condition of our existence is to revolve. There is no being or object which does not revolve, because all beings are comprised of revolving electrons, protons and neutrons in atoms.  All of these revolutions are natural and unconscious. But the human being possesses a mind and an intelligence which distinguishes him from other beings. Thus, the whirling dervish or samazen, intentionally and consciously participates in the shared revolution of other beings. (sourced from http://www.whirlingdervishes.org/whirlingdervishes.htm)

During Conscious Connection, September explained how to whirl and we did!

Left foot remains connected to the ground and the right foot facilitates the spin. 
The right arm reaches up to the heavens and the left palm points down to the Earth. 
Then you move counter-clockwise. 

Now, the true whirling dervishes also rotate around each other. So, imagine that you are planet Earth spinning on it's axis and rotating around the sun. That's exactly what the whirling dervishes look like. It's an amazing feat.

I will say, I found a true respect for these individuals who spin for more than a few seconds and at an amazing rate. After about 5 or 6 revolutions, I was feeling extremely dizzy. But, I did notice, in less than 30 seconds, an energy or vibration coming from the heavens, through me, down to the Earth. My fellow participant suggested the feeling of centrifugal force and maybe that's what it was or maybe it was a new realization of the sacredness of whirling. Either way, I felt something and it was really cool.

And that's exactly what Conscious Connection is all about. It's an opportunity to notice and touch the sacred and spiritual being within, using an experiential exercise. For me, Conscious Connection moves the spiritual ideas from my mind into my body, grounding me in the spiritual energy of life. Conscious Connection takes place after Sunday service at noon in the sanctuary and everyone is welcome to attend.

In life, there are no accidents. After contemplating the truth of the whirling dervishes, I now realize that maybe calling my children a sacred order of Rumi followers was more correct than incorrect. Maybe simply affirming their divinity in a moment of wild energy was absolutely perfect, a recognition of oneness with all life.



The Secret Turning
A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.
Rumi
Compiled by Coleman Barks, i.b.i.d

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

You Will Do Amazing Things

Good morning!  It's a brand new baby day!  A brand new opportunity to do amazing things!



Don't think you can?  I know we all have our ups and downs, and sometimes we need a little help remembering who we are and what we are capable of.  So this morning I am going to share with you an AMAZING person, singer and musician, who is here to remind you exactly who we are and what we can do.

I invite you to close your eyes as you listen to this song.  Really LISTEN to it.  Hear the lyrics, what they mean and what they are saying.  He is singing to YOU!  He is singing about YOU!

Take it in... let the words wash over you.  Allow your heart to open up a little more to the amazing possibilities of Life...





I hope you started singing along with him around 3:20,  I can't help myself.  It opens my heart, fills it with love and brings tears to my eyes.  I realize, despite the way things in this world may appear, it's all good.  We've got this.

Think of what we are doing collectively... God is all there is, in each and every one of us.  More and more people are waking up to the Love that God is.  With God, all things are possible.  God is in us, as us and through us... We will do amazing things!

This song is filled with spiritual principle and fabulous reminders.  Really listen to the lyrics... he is singing your Truth!  Let this be a theme song for your day.  :-)

If you enjoyed the video, know he is even more amazing live!!  We are blessed to have Michael Gott performing at the Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley in April - more details to come!!

In the mean time, you can visit his website: www.michaelgott.com or find more videos available on YouTube.

Now go forth this day, your heart filled with Love, and remember, you are capable of and will do amazing things!  Right here right now!  And so it is!

Musical Message of Love

Wednesday Wisdom February 12th at 7:00 p.m.
Whenever two or more are gathered in the name of the Infinite, there is Love. And so, Karyn Allen and Rick Dale have come together for this Wednesday's Wisdom with the divine offering entitled "Musical Messages of Love."

While words of Love are important, they need a vehicle to take them from the realm of ideas into the kingdom of heartfelt emotion, and that vehicle is music.

Through songs of Love, Karyn and Rick reach into the Deep to bring eternal truths to all who are open to the Love of the Divine.

With a little help from their friends Wade Wooldridge and Hans Smith, Karyn and Rick bestow their gift of music and wisdom in the form that is accessible to young and old, from all walks of life.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Freedom of a Private Thought


The inherent nature of man is ever seeking to express itself in terms of freedom, because freedom is the birthright of every living soul. ~ Ernest Holmes 
A free society should not have private laws. Most of all we need a space to think a private thought, today that space has moved to the internet, with email, texts and blogs like this one. It is only in this space of freedom that we can come to know the Creator in our own private way. Please join me in contacting congress and asking them to support the freedom of thought, and the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Click here for more on todays action plan https://thedaywefightback.org/

https://thedaywefightback.org
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentines for the Fullerton Police Department?

seaweed heart in Dana Point
Can you find the love?
I was all excited for our Living in Love project this month. I chose to create Valentines and to add spiritual messages of truth on them. The kind of things that people need to be reminded of.

I started to really listen and write them down. "This is gonna be great. Spirit is going to guide these messages to just the right people at the right time." Some will go into "blessing bags" to be handed out to the homeless, some I will stick in random books in the library, I'll sneak some into unlikely places so that some anonymous person will find them.

Talking to Kate about my project I even started to get a little choked up myself. "Sometimes people forget who they really are and they need to be reminded." I reflected on all the people out there hurting.

Kelly Thomas, I couldn't stop thinking about Kelly Thomas. His last moments were not filled with love and acceptance. Kelly Thomas was lying on the ground being brutally beaten by a group of Fullerton policemen as he screamed for mercy from those hired and trained to "serve and protect."

And I started to get really mad ... and all those peaceful, loving little messages that we post on Facebook and retweet on Twitter and share ad naesum started to come back to taunt me.

I know they are truth but the enormous chasm to leap to the side of unconditional love seemed so very vast.

Do you want to transform the world? 

Do you believe in the transformative power of unconditional love? 

Can you forgive the small stings as well as the epic violations? 

Sometimes it's the person who gossiped behind your back or criticized you for a very real failing that is the hardest to forgive. Sometimes it's even the one who has been the most generous to you.

Human beings have done some horrible, horrible things thoughout the history of mankind. People have poisoned the earth, beat a homeless man, raped and killed children, committed genocide.

Can our hearts open large enough to truly forgive? To find love where we once wanted to only seek revenge, to demand justice, to make them pay for the damage they have done?

"From selfish reasons alone, if from no loftier reason, we cannot afford to find fault, to hate, or even to hold in mind anything against any living soul! The God of love cannot hear the prayer of the one who fails to love. In our meditation for friendship, let us make our unity with all people with all life"
~Ernest Holmes 


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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Relationship as Spiritual Practice


Today, I accept an overflow of love. I allow it to pour over me from whomever or whatever sends loving energy my way. I recognize it, I give thanks for it, then I give love from the depths of my being.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

It's Cool to be Kind: February is the month of Love & Kindness

It's Cool to be Kind: February is the month of Love & Kind
Looming to spread Love


Traditionally, when we think of February, we think of Love.  We think of Valentine's Day. We think of spreading our love to those around us with special cards or gifts of Love. 

In current times, it has also become the month of Kindness.  Everywhere you look, Kindness is in the air.  My children's school is participating in #26 Acts of Kindness campaign this month.  The school will be instructing the students about what it means to everyone to be kind.  It will encompass an Anti-Bullying week, and an All Abilities Day, arranged by yours truly.  All Abilities Day is day of activities to allow the students a glimpse into the life of a person living with certain restrictions, or special needs.  Our Spiritual Center created "Living in Love" activities where we spread our love creatively.

Next week is the "official" random acts of kindness week per http://www.randomactsofkindness.org and Kindness is in the air.  My daughter has created symbols of love by making rainbow loom bracelets to share with her friends. 

Still in the first full week in February, we all have a chance to participate. Take the whole month to spread love or just pick one day, just one day, to share your love with someone. 

In video below, John Butterill shows us his virtual Photo Walks. What came out of his videos are an amazing connection to others through his hangouts. Photographers throughout the world starting sharing their virtual Photo Walks as well!

Stay Connected. 
Be Kind.
It's Cool. 





Friday, February 7, 2014

Whenever the Time is NOW

This year's retreat at the Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley was hosted by Dr James and Rev. Leslie Golden.  The retreat was titled "Whenever the time is Now" ... and, well, when you think about it, the time is always NOW.  Now is the only time it can ever actually really be.  People have written books about it.  The sages say to "be here now" but sometimes that seemingly simple idea can be difficult to experience.  Our mind has an uncanny way of keeping us in the past and the future, reflecting back, multi-tasking and planning ahead.

Spiritual practices are tools we learn and use to make it easier to experience the beauty of presence, being in the Now.  This retreat was an amazing opportunity to explore new practices, as well as remember and reinforce those we already knew, to deepen our personal spiritual understanding and awareness.

Spiritual practices can take some effort, a bit of discipline, and this weekend was about honing our skills in that area.  Dr. James and Rev Leslie used the analogy of these various spiritual practices as different types of forks, all of them used for the purpose of feeding our soul food that comes from the One Source, God.  It doesn't matter which fork you use, what matters is that you remember to feed your soul!

We learned about and were asked to practice more mindfulness during the retreat and over the entire weekend.  That means to slow down... move slower in all your actions.  Drive slower (at the speed limit perhaps), eat slower and chew your food more thoroughly.  Bring more conscious awareness into everything you do.   

All the participants took a vow of silence.  I had never attempted something like this before, leading up to the retreat I was excited and a little nervous about this part.  With an open mind and an open heart, I decided I was ready for some quiet time... to hear the voice of Spirit within me, the One who created me.  

I have to say, the mindfulness, coupled with the vow of silence, made my mind seem MUCH LOUDER at first!  I had to, as gently and non-judging as possible, quiet the mind chatter and listen for that still small voice within me.  The one that reminds me not only am I loved unconditionally, but that our essence is purely and simply Divine Love.

We also learned some Siddha Yoga practices, including singing a chant (yes! out loud!  with our voices!).  We listened to and sang together, in a call and response format, the phrase: "Om Namah Shivaya" which means "I bow to the God Self that dwells within me - as me."  Everyone received a strand of mala beads, which are sometimes referred to as Buddhist prayer beads.  They are essentially used for keeping count during mantra meditations and have an added benefit of helping to keep the mind focused.  My mala beads are a new favorite "fork" of mine, I use them every day.  :-)

This retreat was an amazing experience.  It has deepened my spiritual awareness and fortified my spiritual practices in such a complete way.  My heart is wide open, filled and over flowing with the Divine Love that God is.  

I encourage you, whatever your "fork" is, if your soul is hungry then feed it!  If you haven't found a fork you like, come visit us... No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, know that you are always welcome here.

Namaste. 



To learn more about the retreat visit...
James and Leslie Golden: www.DreamANewDream.net
Siddha Yoga: www.siddhayoga.org

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Self-Love is Just the Beginning. So Let's Get Started!


Today’s entry from the book “The Joyous Living Journal” is entitled “Self-Love,” and the affirmation reminds me:

“I love myself just the way that I am.
 I know I will continue to grow and learn,
but who I am is already precious and beautiful.”


I just love the timing for this!

Tomorrow, of course, the Women’s Groups is hosting a Girls Night Out at 7pm that will feature a workshop/intuitive art class with an emphasis on self-love. (Lisa McClure gave all the details in her blog post "Art Workshop with Psychic and Local Medium Ginger Roberts", but you can email amygreenroyd at gmail dot com for details.)

I had already signed up to attend to workshop, but if I needed any confirmation, the universe gave me a gentle reminder with today’s journal entry. The messages always seem to come, don’t they? Even if we’re not particularly listening... The thing is, they keep coming when we refuse to listen - they just get much louder, until we can’t help but listen, but that is another topic...Fortunately, I am learning to listen to the gentle nudge.

Learning to love ourselves is truly the key to being able to enjoy happy, fulfilling relationships, and to having any sort of meaningful success..

Perhaps it is time to put away the tapes of negative comments that have been playing in your head ever since you were a child, and replace them the knowledge that you are a miracle of love, light, life, beauty, power, peace and joy. It all resides within you and radiates as you.

I’m looking forward to the workshop tomorrow. Not sure what the outcome will be, except that I’ll spend the evening with a group of wonderful, witty, wise and compassionate ladies who always leave me feeling better for having spent time with them. If you’ve never had a chance to hang out with the ladies from the Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley Women’s Group, I encourage you to do so – you’ll be glad you did.

Melissa

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Who Have You Come Here to Be

Today in the Joyous Living Journal the title is "Live From Being" and begins by asking the question, "Who would you be if you weren't so busy doing?" What a great question!

Another way of asking the question is, "Who have you come here to be?" What is your real identity. 

Many of us have had times in our lives when we felt that we didn't fit, that we were not part of the group or family.

As a child, the second of five, I often felt like I was not a member of our family. I didn't seem like any of them. I would ask if I were adopted and who my real parents were.

This is quite ironic since I was and still am the spitting image of my mother. Biologically there is no doubt that my family is my family, but spiritually I believe I was simply homesick for heaven. I now believe the reason I felt like an alien was because I was longing for the unconditional Love and Acceptance of the Divine Presence. The place where I wasn't wrong for being different.

One of my uncles was a great tease. I had a lazy eye and he would call me cockeyed. I didn't know what it meant but I knew it wasn't good. I was being picked out for something that made me different but not special.


Here is the truth. I am different and so are you. We are unique individualizations of the One Life. Our uniqueness is God in us as us. Today, from an awareness of my spiritual wholeness, I know that I am here to be the love, harmony, power and grace of God. Whenever I remember my true identity my activities have meaning. I no longer feel hurt by others' opinions and labels.

Here is something else that is true: I don't have time NOT to do my spiritual practices.  I cannot afford to show up without meditating and praying. Time stretches when I begin with God. Celebrate your true self. You are one with the One.
Lisa & Kate McClure with me, celebrating my birthday

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Science of Mind Coming Alive


The entry for today from the Joyous Living Journal asks us to come alive and share our gifts with the world, We just need to awaken to the possibilities of our divine self, of being the hands and the voice of spirit on earth, But you don't have to be Mother Teresa, Gandhi or Jesus to share your gifts, we just need to ask, what makes me come alive? You are meant to be you, so be the best you that you can be, the power of the I Am. The Power of One. Who are You? Why are You Here Now? And how will you share those gifts? These answers are different for every one of us, so please repeat after me,

I have a unique gift to give. I have a necessary and needed talent to share. I make a difference. 


And pass it on. 

Science of Mind Coming Alive
May Your Light Shine So Brightly That Others May Find Their Way.
Namaste
 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Disconnection is the Root of All Violence

Disconnection is the Root of All Violence
The beauty we see in nature is the same beauty we must know in ourselves and each other.
Photo credit: Darin R. McClure
I was really inspired by a story I read about a teacher's response to the dreadful events at Columbine. This teacher recognized that "all violence begins with disconnection." She knew that bigger problems start with smaller patterns of loneliness and isolation. Read her story here and be prepared to shed a tear or two.

Being a "Disconnection Detective," an emotional first responder begins with ourselves. As we heal our own separation by knowing and reflecting on the truth that the Divine is alive and well within each one of us and that we are created uniquely and perfectly we align ourselves with that truth and our prayers become more powerful.

We cast off our darknesses not only for ourselves but for each other. We learn to come from the heart and to see our Divine selves within ourselves and within each other. We drop the veil of separation.

It's no coincidence that our Spiritual Mind Treatment begins these two steps:

1. Recognize: Use the words you speak to acknowledge the One Creative Intelligence, Express your conviction that Spirit is all and permeates the Universe.
2. Unify: Declare that you are one with the Universe and everything that is true of the Universe is true of you because you are made of the same stuff.

and that the strength of our Recognition and Unification is the power behind our prayers.

Knowing that we are truly all one in this life and that it is a good life.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Self Love



I am aware of and let go of any thoughts, beliefs and actions that no longer serve me. I open myself up to daily patterns that enliven, enrich and expand by life when repeated. I love myself so I can help evolve the world.

Art Workshop with Psychic and Local Medium Ginger Roberts

a girls night out celebrating creativity with psychic Ginger Roberts
Come explore your creativity.
The Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley Women's Group welcomes Ginger Roberts, local medium/psychic, to our upcoming Girls Night Out on Friday, February 7, 7 p.m., for an art workshop designed to open participants up to information from their higher selves. 

Women of all ages are welcome to attend the group's gathering and participate in a psychic/intuitive art class with emphasis on self-love led by Roberts. Cost for the workshop is $5 for materials. The workshop, called The Shape of Emotions, will teach participants to work with color meditation and our higher selves to receive guidance and learn to love ourselves more fully.

Roberts is a local, clairsentient and clairvoyant medium who works with guidance from her spirit guides. Following in the footsteps on her mentor, famed English medium Robert Brown, Ginger has studied mediumship for more than 10 years and attended numerous Brown workshops and retreats.


For more information or to RSVP for the event, email AmyGreenroyd@gmail.com. The event will be held at our Center, 1201 Puerta Del Sol in San Clemente.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

National Freedom Day- African American History month

National Freedom Day- African American History month
Where has a dream become reality? 

On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.  Because of the efforts of Major Richard Robert Wright, Sr., a law was signed in 1947, making February 1st National Freedom Day.  As this is also National African American History month, as proclaimed by President Barack Obama http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/31/presidential-proclamation-national-african-american-history-month-2014 let us honor those who have come before us to pave the way of the abolishment of slavery and racism.

http://www.uhaul.com/SuperGraphics/175/1/Enhanced/Venture-Across-America-and-Canada-Modern/Ontario/An-Underground-Introduction

Today I am reminded of the Men and Women who have paved the way to make Freedom a reality in America. 
I celebrate the bravery of these men and women who stood strong in their knowingness of the goodness of this country.
I know my brothers and sisters, around the country, and I are One and reside in Spirit.
The evolution of America is set in motion through a Spiritual intention and a Spiritual revolution.
Today I look for the reality of the dream that was spoken of by Martin Luther King, Jr. 
And So It Is.
Amen