Sunday, May 28, 2017

LEAP--From Planning To Action, Sunday Service

I am filled with the Spirit of Joy. I am filled with the Spirit of Peace. I am filled with Happiness. I radiate Life, I am Alive, I smile. And So It Is!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Timidity or Perfectionism

In David and Tom Kelley's book Creative Confidence,David writes: "We recently talked with two employees at IDEO from very different backgrounds. Yet both had the same fear of approaching the white board in a business meeting. One was an industrial design intern with sophisticated drawing skills who had studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasedena. The other was a business designer with a Harvard MBA and  a bright and analytical mind who didn't think of himself as artistic at all. The business guy didn't want to look silly trying to visually express an idea with a whiteboard sketch. And the skilled artist didn't want to be judged by the kind of drawing he could create in thirty seconds in front of an impatient audience. One was hemmed in by timidity, the other by perfectionism. But the end result was the same. Each preferred to sit in his chair rather than risk being judged by his peers."

This really struck me as true for many kinds of risk-taking situations.

I know I have let both extremes influence my choices or lack of them over the years.

As a former teacher, it has been hard to give up perfectionism. And to purposely do something that I already know I am not good at, gives me stomach flutters. (And not the good kind.)

So I have started to look at the things I have attempted and failed and then gave up on.

The first thing occurred twenty years or so ago. I wanted to learn to play syncopation. I had an excellent teacher. I just couldn't get my fingers to move the way they were supposed to. But instead of  doing what I could have done, practiced and played imperfectly, I stopped practicing altogether. I couldn't do it perfectly, then I wasn't going to do it all.

Now the truth is that Divine mind knows no limits. If I had continued to practice and to think optimistically I might have been able to play some of those funky songs now. I would still need to practice and do it imperfectly .

How many ideas have you scrapped because you were too timid or too much of a perfectionist?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

'SPARK-From Nothing to Insight'

Today I call forth the infinite and Inexhaustible Spark of Spirit to create through me. And So It Is!

Friday, May 19, 2017

God's Highest Idea of Itself as Me

Have you ever been off-course? Adrift in the stuff of the world? feeling disconnected? separate and lonely? One of the most certain ways to get back on course is to listen to the voice of God within. We call the process Visioning. It is a process that came out of the Agape International Center in Los Angeles. I am very grateful for Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, the founder of Agape and the originator of this process.

Visioning basically takes the manifestation process out of the hands of the ego and puts it in the hands of Spirit. Not that manifesting through visualization, intention-setting and imagination is wrong. It is a powerful tool.

Depending where we are on our spiritual path of awakening, we will be drawn to different techniques and tools. Basically there are four kingdoms of consciousness or stages of spiritual development. In the first kingdom, life happens to me. It is not my fault; things happen and seem to be completely beyond my control. Life is happening to me. If this is the level of consciousness you find yourself in, then manifesting through using basic spiritual techniques is very good. It actually takes  a person out of victim-hood and into the second kingdom.

In the second kingdom, life happens by me. No longer a victim, we start taking responsibility for our thinking, our choices, our decisions and we start to create what we do want. Still in this level of consciousness there is a great deal of effort, constant vigilance to see what we have been thinking about. There is a point in which we let go of control.

This is the third level of consciousness where life happens through me. I have learned to establish dominion over my life. I now realize that there is more to life than stuff. I surrender to the Spirit and let It use me. Visioning is natural at this level of consciousness.

The fourth level of consciousness is life happens as me. It is then when we realize complete identification with God. "I and my Father are one."

It is such a powerful practice and we are going to practice together on Sundays beginning June 4.
God is. I am. And So It Is!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

DARE---Fear to Courage, Sunday Service

I decide to be true to my creative nature and let it lead the way to a richer, more rewarding life experience. And So It Is!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mothers Day Thoughts

This Sunday, May 14, is Mothers' Day. It is a day set aside to express gratitude for the women who gave us birth, and the men and women who were our first care-givers. Each of us has her own story of how successfully our mothers gave us models for raising our own children. In my opinion, motherhood can be the most thankless job; yet it is the most important one for living a life that is healthy-minded.  Our mothers are our first gods. They held the power of life and death over us. They were responsible for our physical and emotional care. They fed us, clothed us and by their words and  example showed us what love is;our understanding of the nature of love paved the way for all our relationships.

There is a powerful quote that is attributed to many people including Jonas Salk,
"Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them."
My parents gave me roots and wings. I am living in Southern California, my parents, who had both been born and raised in the Canadian prairies, still lived within one hundred miles of their places of birth at the time of their passing. 

Two years ago, when my mom had a stroke and while she was still in the hospital she was struggling to ask me something. The stroke had left her weak. She finally managed to say,
"Why do you live so far away?"
I was very sad and did not have an answer. My inner answer seemed to be selfish and shallow. I was living my dream of being a New Thought minister in paradise. I was living where I wanted to be.

Lela Eugenia Clark, my mother, made her transition on June 23, 2016. She was not a woman without flaws. She had her own insecurities as well as an abundance of strengths: she modeled creativity, commitment, leadership and fierce independence. I am very grateful that she was my mother. Some traditions say I chose her. 

I talk to her when I see butterflies when I am out walking. I talk to her when I see a pair of doves building a nest, knowing she is now with my dad again.

And now, I can answer the question:
"Mom, I am living so far away because you did such an amazing job in giving me roots and wings."
Of the three daughters in the photo below, my oldest sister, Kathy stayed close to home, my baby sister Cheryl has lived in Calgary for thirty years, about nine hours away, and I have lived here in paradise for 24 years. Good job, Mom. 

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers. 

Lela Clark and daughters Kathy, Cheryl & Heather

Sunday, May 7, 2017

'FLIP-Creative Confidence

I am the powerful and potent presence of Love in the world. I find new creative ways to express this Love in everything that I do because I am inspired by the Divine Truth, that we are all One. And So It Is!

Friday, May 5, 2017

More Helpful Than Harmful

We are all on a spiritual path whether we know it or not. Before I knew that there was a spiritual path to be on, I would often get stuck in ideas that would not let go of me. They stuck to me and I stuck to them. Most of them were not for my highest good. I practiced the blame game with alacrity. There was always something to fear, and then there was always someone to blame for that fear. (Believe me, I rarely considered that I could be the cause of my unhappiness.) I  was probably typical for women of my age -- there were so many things wrong with life -- there was the government, my spouse, low wages, parents of the children I taught, the children themselves, and the weather. Just to begin. It was not uncommon for me to declare that the weather was just miserable. And it may have been stormy, or cold, or icy, or too hot, but none of those conditions makes weather miserable. Feeling that there was someone or something to blame made me feel righteous. I was filled with righteous indignation. Imagine what charming company I would have been! Haha. Nothing was my fault. But I was playing the victim.  Of course, I would have railed against the idea that I was a victim. Through my eyes, I was simply describing what was so.

Later in my thirties, when I awakened to the awareness of divine presence, I was fascinated by God. I spent hours in meditations and contemplation. I wrote volumes about the nature of God. Most of what I thought I knew, I have now changed my mind about. But still it was a great change of direction to be contemplating something eternal, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent whose nature is love. I spent a great deal of time wondering about my purpose. What was God calling me to do or be specifically? That was not very productive as far as directing divine mind, but it was much better than the first two decades. It was healthier.

When I started understanding New Thought, I still contemplated God, but now as me. The Divine Presence that fascinates me is in me as me! During one of the first classes I took, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the vastness of subconscious mind, and how impossible it felt to change my entire way of thinking. I would often catch myself in negative thinking and often felt discouraged. Fortunately, we don't really have to erase every negative thought we have had, we simply need to keep filling up with positive ideas and hopefulness until the tendency of our thought is more helpful than harmful. 

Gradually, almost imperceptibly, I  started noticing that the tendency of my thoughts were positive, hopeful and life-affirming. I noticed that there is always so much for which to be grateful. I notice that more and more things for which to be grateful come into my life. (Were they always there, and I just couldn't see them because my filter was so negative? Or did my change in thinking actually change my life?)

I like to think it is the latter. Since then I did discover my true purpose which is to assist others in seeing their divinity. I feel thankful every day for my wonderful life!

Remember, it is  a wonderful life and all the better because you are in it.
A Gift From Some Students


Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Joy of Living, Sunday Service

I no longer limit Divine Law in any way. I trust and know that everything I declare comes to me with great benefits added. I experience the Joy of Living! And So It Is!

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Joy of Cause and Effect

The Joy of Cooking

I just had a funny conversation with our administrator Diane Hennessy about the talk title "Joy of Living." She said, "It makes me think about a cookbook." To which I replied, "It is a cookbook! I have it." Then she responded, "No, that is what I thought, too. The cookbook is titled "The Joy of Cooking!" We both have the cookbook.I must admit that I never really found joy in cooking. I have not used my cookbook for a long time, but it didn't change titles. 

Think about it: The Joy of Living! When I hear that phrase, I see Snoopy doing his happy dance. I think of someone who is deliriously happy!

Does your life feel joyful? Do you awaken every day and hug yourself because you are living your life? Do you appreciate your work? your family and friends? your health? Do you break into smiles for no reason other than you are deliciously enjoying being you?

My rigorously honest answer would be sometimes. Sometimes I am so happy, I smile all the time. Sometimes I appreciate my health and praise myself for the well-being I am experiencing. Sometimes I appreciate my friends and family. Sometimes I appreciate my life.

Yes, I am living a privileged, inspired life right now. I am living this inspired life not because of the color of my skin or where I am blessed to live. (Although they are both true as well.) I am living this inspired privileged life because I know who I am and how life gets to be the way it is. I know what causes things to be the way they are. Knowing who I am, automatically brings me joy. 
Pierre Teillard de Chardin wrote, "Joy is the infallible sign of the Presence of God."

Years ago I found some books by Danish philosopher, scientist and poet whose short, sometimes illustrated philosophical poems were called Grooks. His Grooks almost always made me smile.  The idea of cause and effect reminded me of this Grook: 

Rhyme and Reason
"There was an old woman
who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children.
She didn't know what to do.
But try as she would
She could never detect
which was the cause
and which the effect."

I smile when I read or even think about Hein's poetry.

Well, the old woman was puzzled about cause and effect on the physical plane. We can
   laugh about it now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Like many other people of my era, I thought that life was something that just happened
 to me.
I thought that if I were lucky, I would have happiness, health and peace of mind. 
Now I have come to understand that we have  a limitless power which is always 
responding to us.

I understand that with this Power I am constantly creating the life of my beliefs. 
My deepest beliefs, including all the unexamined ones and the shadows, all of them are
coming into the visible plane through my consciousness.

If I do not like the result, I go back to my perceptions, and after determining what my
false beliefs are, I use affirmative prayer to change my mind, to create a new belief.
I am so grateful for knowing what I know.

Life is good now. Take a moment and let Life tickle you!

Feeling Joy With Baxter and Freddy 


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dealing With Conditions, Sunday Service

There is One Power, One God, One All, One Life, and that life is in me now. I am a manifestation of that One. And So It Is!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Being in Glorious Community

On Easter Sunday, Wade Wooldridge sang a song that I had come across on the internet several months ago, "Glorious" by David Archuletta. I love this song: it has meaningful lyrics and a beautiful melody. I was grateful that Wade learned it. It reminds me of the value of community, of being part of something greater than our individual selves, part of the tapestry of all creation.

It reminds me of our connectedness, our oneness. The saying that "when a butterfly flaps its wings in New York, it can cause a hurricane in Tokyo." It speaks of the interconnectedness of all life.

What it means to each one of us is that our lives matter. No matter what our actions are, whether big or small, what we do matters. Because we think the way we do, it also means what we think about matters.

Paul gave great advice to the Phillipians 4:8 with these words: " Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,and if there be any praise, think on these things."
It is great advice for maintaining healthy-mindedness because it helps us to stay focused on positive thoughts. 

Another reason for staying positive is to keep the thought atmosphere around you wholesome. Dr. Ernest Holmes writes about how unhappy people can influence a whole room without ever saying a thing. Just imagine what happens if Debbie Downer happens to come into the conversation. 

But you and I can decide to be difference-makers. We can decide to take the high road with our thoughts, words and actions thereby creating an atmosphere of love and possibility. A smile can make the difference.

The administrator  in my first Center in Bonita was a difference-maker. She noticed that one of the tellers at our bank was usually cranky and wore a scowl everyday. She came back to the office one day and told me that she had a project which was to prove that like attracts like. She purposely chose the cranky teller and while she was making her deposit, she would ask how the teller was, give small compliments and be "nice" no matter what response she got or didn't get. It only took a few weeks until she was getting smiles in return. 

All of us can make a difference like that.

The song that Wade sang contains these lyrics:
There are times when/ You might feel aimless/ And you can't see the places/ Where you belong. But you will find that there is a purpose. It's been in you, all along/ And when you're near it/ You can almost hear it/ It's like  a symphony/ Just keep listening/ And pretty soon you'll start to figure out your part./ Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies in each one of us! Ooohh it is glorious! And you will know how to let it ring out, as you discover who you are. Others around you will start to wake up/ to the sounds that are in their hearts/It's so amazing, what we're creating..."
I am including a video of  the children's choir singing "glorious" for the movie Meet the Mormons. From this video and song, it appears as if there is a golden thread of truth between our spiritual beliefs.

It is glorious! We are glorious! You are glorious! And so am I!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

'Awaken to the Christ Within', Sunday Service

Today I am transparent to transcendence. I am willing to be new and to love new life. I am open to the possibilities of renewal and rebirth because my life is God's life in me. And So It Is!

Friday, April 14, 2017

There is a Tide

One of Diane Hennessy's Roses

Something exciting is happening! Roses are blooming! Beauty is everywhere. I can feel it! Can you? There are so many things it could be. Last week I wrote about spring fever. It could be spring fever but it feels more definite and concrete. It could be Easter which is around the corner and all of Christianity is focused on new beginnings. It could be the energy that came from our town hall meeting last week in which we discussed the pro's and con's of selling our building and buying something with cash!  I am feeling the opening to greater and greater possibilities.
In the play, Julius Caesar, Brutus is speaking with Cassius and utters these immortal words: 
"There is a tide in the affairs of men, / Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;/ Omitted, all the voyage of their life/ Is bound in shallows and in miseries. /On such a sea are we now afloat, /And we must take the current as it serves, /Or lose our ventures."
Spiritually, it is partially true. We are always surrounded by that tide. When we know we are in the flow of Divine Energy we know good things happen because we are corresponding to the divine nature.  We are reminded that when we trust that divine mind, good is at hand. We don't need to make anything happen. We need to be available and willing for it to happen. 

The second part of the quote which could be fiscally true, is spiritually false. It is incorrect because it elicits fear. When we experience fear, we cannot feel the truth of our faith. It is either fear or faith; it is never both fear and faith.

So as mindful spiritual beings, we do our work. We examine our own motivations, actions, thoughts and beliefs. We look to see if we are making decisions from a sense of our history and lack or from a place of possibility and empowerment.

Are you a possibility thinker? Are you bold and certain? Or are you hesitant and cautious? Are you too quick to react?

The second part of the quote says that if you don't act now, you will struggle forever. As students of the Science of Mind, we know that is no way to think. Creative Mind is forever providing new possibilities. If there were only one tide, what a mean-spirited God that would be. "Oops, you missed it! better luck next life!"

I believe in a loving creative power that had so much faith in each one of us, that it set us free to discover our divine nature for ourselves. Every moment that One is making all things new. There is a new venture. We are encouraged to take action.

So we come to a Center such as this one. We grow in awareness. We listen to that voice for God within and we take action.

Sometimes we can only see part-way to our goal. But keeping the faith, and doing our work, the path is certain to unfold in perfect order. 

Let's trust in the wisdom of divine mind in each one of us to guide us to the right and perfect answer regarding our building and in all other decisions.

Friday, April 7, 2017

It is April and I am experiencing a little bit of spring fever, defined as  a feeling of restlessness. I have been researching short pieces for a wedding I will help officiate in August. Part of my research led me  to a website for on-religious weddings. On it I found a quote which I will share with you in a few minutes. 

First let me tell you that in 1968 in order to complete my Bachelor of Education degree, I needed one last undergraduate class. I chose an introduction to Philosophy -- Philosophy 101. It wasn't exactly Philosophy for Dummies but it was a course that touched upon the well-known philosophers from Plato to Kant. I was young and found most of it exceedingly ponderous. (By that time in my education, I had decided that most so-called intellectuals were neither scholarly nor bright. I was a jaded twenty-year-old!) Then our professor added to the prescribed reading list the book, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I adored the book. It helped me change my mind about the course.  It spoke to the larger concepts that the other philosophers were writing about but in the form of a timeless allegory about love and innocence. It spoke to my heart. It is about a prince from another planet who learned about life from the people and creatures he met on Earth.

By the time I got to this course, I was burnt-out. I had been taking classes without  a break for three years. No summer break. No spring break... just the next class. I was trudging through my higher education. I wanted to be finished with it so I could get to the real work of changing the lives and hearts of teenagers. I had sailed through high school but my grades in University were disastrous; the only "A" I got in University was in Philosophy 101.My enthusiasm for the philosophy class had a great deal to do with the book.  I hope you enjoy this excerpt from The Little Prince.
"'To establish ties'?"
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . ."
"My life is very monotonous," the fox said. "I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."
The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.
 "One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . .""What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.
"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . ."
The next day the little prince came back... 
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near--
"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."
"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . ."
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"Then it has done you no good at all!"
"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields." And then he added:
 "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
Perhaps the solution to my spring fever is to find a friend that I can tame.According to Saint-Expurey, I will need to be patient. It will be much more important to be myself  rather  than to speak or do anything in particular.  "Only with the heart can one see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

Sunday, April 2, 2017

'99 Years of Private Lessons' Sunday Service

I choose Love this day. I know that Love always points me in the best direction and my conviction swells as I absolutely know this to be true. And So It Is!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Transformation and Evolution

Bhaksar & Sudha: Oneness Blessing Trainers 

Our theme for the month of April is "Spiritual Living Through Evolution and Transformation."
"We do deep inner personal work of self-discovery and healing to reveal the greater truth of our divinity, wholeness and freedom."

Coincidentally, I was approached by a woman last week to see if we would be interested in hosting a Oneness Blessing. Since I was introduced to the Oneness Blessing years ago, I was happy to give up my normal Sunday morning 20 minutes meditation time for them.

The Oneness Meditation is designed to give participants a deep experience of the Divine. The meditation originated in India but does not belong to any religion, faith or doctrine.

When I Googled Oneness Blessing the first article I acme to was on the website of Deborah Lindeman, a hypnotist from Fort Collins, Colorado.
"The Oneness Blessing is a process by which we are re-connected with this quiet, intelligent center of ourselves."

That sounded great to me and exactly the theme of our focus for the month of April.

Later in my research, I found some very negative articles about the founders and their character and motives. However, when you Google "Centers for Spiritual Living" the second item that comes up is "Centers for Spiritual Living Cult."

From my experience we are less like a cult than anything. We help people understand how their thinking has a direct influence on their lives. I leave it to the individual what it is they want to think.

If you intend to come to receive the Oneness Blessing on April 9th at 10 AM, please come a little early so you can be seated by 10 AM.

Here is another coincidence. This week in our history of the Science of Mind class, we are studying Ernest Holmes' book The Holmes Papers: The Philosophy of Ernest Holmes. 
On page 4, Dr. Holmes writes:
"In looking over these generations of teachings of India, we find a very great concept of unity of all life.  They believed in one god and only One; they didn't call it God; they called it the Absolute, or Brahma, but it doesn't matter what you call it. They believed in one Presence and one Power, and only One in the Universe. They believed (which later came out as a theosophical teaching) in the mind that sleeps in the mineral, waves in the grass, wakes to simple consciousness in the animal, to self-consciousness in the human and to cosmic consciousness in what they call the upper hierarchies, or ascending scale of evolution, ad infinitum."
I am very curious if my own experience will be different than it was the first one. Since I know that one cannot step in the same river twice I know it will be different, I am curious about how it will be.

By the way, I do not believe in coincidences! Everything is always perfectly unfolding as it should.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Aging As A Spiritual Practice, Sunday Service

My life is a full-on expression of the passion, potential and possibility of the wisdom and the life-givingness of Spirit.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Peace Be Unto Thee Stranger

Mural by Karen Meyer, RScP, and the first line from
Dr. Ernest Holmes' poem in the Science of Mind textbook.

Dr. Ernest Holmes' The Science of Mind begins with a dedication and  a poem:
"These lessons
are dedicated to that Truth
which frees man from himself
and sets him on a pathway of a new experience,
which enables him to see through the mist
to the Eternal and Changeless Reality."
It is an awe-inspiring idea that the Truth we discover is that we are one with that Changeless and Eternal Reality.

Then he writes:
Peace Be Unto Thee Stranger
"Peace be unto thee, stranger, enter and be not afraid.
I have left the gate open and thou art welcome to my home.
There is room in my house for all.
I have swept the hearth and lighted the fire.
The room is warm and cheerful and you will find comfort and rest within.
The table is laid and the fruits of Life are spread before thee.
The wine is here also, it sparkles in the light.
I have set a chair for you where the sunbeams dance through the shade.
Sit and rest and refresh your soul.
Eat of the fruit and drink the wine.
All, all is yours, and you are welcome." 
I love this poem because it clearly tells us that all the joys and pleasures of life are available to us. As the wonderful Emma Curtis Hopkins said,
There is good for me, and I ought to have it."
It is so true. All has been given. Our job is to embody more of it so we can receive.

On the feature wall in our sanctuary,  artist Karen Meyer, RScP hand-stenciled the first line of the poem when we bought this building 4.5 years ago. It is such a great reminder that our good is at hand right now.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Expanded Horizons, Sunday Service

I live in a friendly universe. God is for me and no one is against me. I make welcome my own vulnerability and let the healing take place. And So It Is!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Honoring the Students

I love teaching the principles of the Science of Mind. This week we completed ten weeks of study on a course entitled, "The Essential Ernest." This class is one of my favorites because it invites students to explore the ideas that excited and intrigued Ernest Holmes. It is based on a book compiled by Rev. Dr. Jesse Jennings of the same name. Dr. Jennings organizes the material into logical pieces and organizes it all around our Statement of Principles. I love seeing students have personal insights through committing to spiritual practices and awakening to being the directors of their own lives.Today I am going to share some of the amazing creativity that sprang from that class. Our class ranged from a college student to retired  people.

One of the assignments was to create a one-page paper on the distinction between a diagnosis and  a prognosis from both a medical and a metaphysical viewpoint, and how and why you would explain this to a friend suffering from an unwanted condition -- or otherwise communicate your sense through a musical, visual or poetic representation. We received some lovely answers including from Robert Welch:
"Medical works with appearance in the world; metaphysical works with spiritual world.
Medically a diagnosis is the art of identifying a disease from its signs, e.g. finding arthritis. A prognosis is a forecast of what will happen. Looking again at a person's arthritis, medically the prognosis is the forecast is going to be on the illness. This is the world of appearance. 
Ernest Holmes, (Page 134 of The Essential Ernest) relates diagnosis to facts or present situation. This is relating to the appearance of the condition arthritis.Now there is a great distinction between medical and metaphysical. Prognosis metaphysically means seeing the truth or anticipated reality coming from a field of external reality. 
The condition of arthritis can be explained to another person as a condition that does not have to be accepted but can be seen beyond the present. There instead is wholeness, wellness and love which are greater. The worlds of medicine and metaphysics work together to create wholeness and wellness. This is for a better vision of life."
College student, Kay Allen wrote this beautiful poem about her friend, Pamela. You will see by Kay's words that she paints a picture of wholeness and beauty, always the spiritual Truth.
"I picture your rosy smile when I hear the name Pamela. I see your tiny body wrapped in sepia braids and love awards. It is not the bandanna covering your forehead, or the hospital gown, or the Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It is simply the high, pink cheekbones, squinty blue eyes, and that wide smile that I see. I only wish you could see the golden dust on your fingers, the electricity pumping your blood, instead of the anger. Your diagnosis carries no gun. And, you are in no danger. Instead, you are branching out, growing leaves, reaching with your roots, and allowing yourself to be. With a prognosis in development, you are out there, lighting the fires for the stars to see, and dancing with the embers."
A person who decided to write a song to answer this question is the amazing Rick Dale, RScP. Rick demonstrates both his musical skill and his skillful use of language to encourage the person who is afraid of dying. "All Things Right," is a tender ballad  about fear, disease, God's love, and the power of faith.

For our last project, students were asked to write about what they thought Ernest's  Cosmic Illumination experience was about. We had a wide range of answers. Two people wrote about having a felt  sense of Presence. Both examples were about the Peace that accompanied the confirmation that life is eternal.Both about their own parents who had made their transitions. It was very sacred as they both revisited a special time in their lives. Three people wrote stories which were accompanied by their own photography. Toni Sparks made a beautiful key to consciousness, based on Holmes' idea that the whole key to consciousness is "It is done unto you as you believe." Kathy Storey shared the dramatic effects from the question, "Am I Seeing Rightly?" Kathy showed us a large poster board that seemed to be blank except for a large pair of glasses. When illumined with black light we saw all the qualities of the Divine. Her point was simply, when we see with the heart we see rightly.
Dena Hart Van Slyke wrote a long narrative poem titled "Cosmic Illumination"  It follows:
While on a recent mountain vacation/ I took some time for relaxation
And sat in silent meditation/ Observing creek side animation.
Sometimes I kept a gaze fixation, / Then watched as bubbles in formation
Created foam in swift flotation/ Which slid to the next elevation.
I sat in deepest contemplation/ Of all the breadth of God's creation.
I sensed a head to toe vibration. / Then came a bright illumination!
My heart and body felt elation/ While hearing my heart's palpitation -
I felt a cosmic inspiration.
I don't recall the time duration/ But, when it came to culmination
I had a really strange sensation/ Of shelter and emancipation.
And thought I heard, a congregation/Of all the souls in Syncopation
The sang a song of sweet flirtation...Was All this just hallucination?
I prayed in full anticipation/ While standing on my God's foundation
I said, "Right now, here in our nation,? We see an increased circulation,
We end all hunger and starvation, / No victims of discrimination." 
Then just as if taking dictation, / I channeled cosmic conversation/
(I swear this is no fabrication.)/ Or was it my imagination?
InSpired by that Holmes' quotation/ About his cosmic revelation? 
So then, fluid fascination, / I wrote, "God, should we seek salvation?"
Before I reach my destination/ What is my real motivation? 
God answered with this declaration,/ There's no such thing as termination.
When you let go of 'separation' / You are assured a transformation.
You'll be reborn at full gestation. 
I asked "Can we have visitation/ Is death our final limitation?
Or is there life's reincarnation?".../ My hand wrote without hestitation,
"Though some may have the inclination/ Upon further examination
You'll find, it's mostly simulation / or, just a good impersonation. 
Well, I was filled with exaltation!/ Then after further rumination,
The writing seemed an ordination:/ "There's no such thing like pre-destination.
Your life comes from your orchestration,/(with focus and determination)
and your assertive integration/ Of your thinking's cogitation
With your loving heart's pulsation. 
Then I asked for an explanation/ "Are we equipped for transmigration?"
Or multiple space incarnation?" / Or is that future speculation?
The answer came without flirtation/ "I'll give you this one confirmation
there's no such thing as your damnation/ Or burning in hell and conflagration
Or even 'death as termination. / I'll make this simple proclamation:
"Reliable as gravitation,/ Just one thing's sure, -- and that's Taxation." 
So class, I offer this summation, / and say, without humiliation
This is my final class's obligation. I thank you for your concentration.
And take my bow at your ovation. 

Kay Allen wrote an experimental prose piece titled "THE POWER OF I IN A LAND CALLED HOME." Until she read it to us, I had never heard of an experimental prose piece. It reminds me of the genius of Jason Silva's "Shots of Awe."Enjoy:
"There's a globe around my head, spinning on a fixed axis of generous proportion. I drift with the seasons, alive with the warm breeze, a recluse in the snow. I memorize the ebb and tidal splay of my inner volume and reel in nets full of both useful and dull thoughts carrying silver moon water and flashing eels. This planet of a head, still showered in whispers of passersby, hotdog stand vendors, or crying infants, can still manage to hear the ballad of Pluto, ringing Saturn, and swiveling comets slicing up the dark blue. Inside my head, there's boiling magma which churns and folds, neon and flamboyant. It circles around like koi in a pond, rippling outwards a magnetic field and setting off lights in my atmosphere. The glory in my world is something I wish to share, with cousins, godfathers, professors, and ministers. And as I make my revolution around the home star, I see the faces of other globes, other hemispheres and continents of intricate blueprint, glowing cloud-forests, glittering leaves, and a chameleon river.Each, uniquely designed by the individual globe. And, I see there are more constellations still to discover with all of them, a one-on-one show-and-tell of each thriving and radiating light. Still, I sometimes envy the moon, for its gray quietness, the lack of voices murmuring about kitchen appliances and Machiavelli's The Prince. But, I find that my breath slows when I see my northern lights, and know that the gravity of my spinning is the same force which makes those other globes spin. It is a force of nature which allows stars to implode and sprouts to surface, and it is a force that I nor anyone has ever parted with."
I feel honored, privileged and blessed by every person who studies these principles.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Webs and Boxes, Sunday Service

All that I am and all I will ever be is an expression of God. Therefore I am enough and my life matters. And So It Is!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Are You Willing to Tell the Truth?

"Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor -- the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.' Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about our experiences -- good or bad. Speaking form the heart is what I think of as 'ordinary courage.'"  Brene Brown
This idea moves me to tears. Why? I feel that I have not been speaking from my heart and I want to but am scared to do so at the same time.

This week I was disappointed and discouraged. Discouraged means to be disheartened.We had a relatively small crowd on Sunday. I judged myself as being not good enough. My story is that if I were really doing my job as a Sunday speaker, the room would be packed.

Am I feeling sorry for myself?  Am I blaming the lack of attendance on something other than consciousness? But consciousness is all there is. Whose consciousness? Mine of course. The only thing I ever see is my own consciousness.

Am I measuring my worth by the number of chairs that are filled?  Somewhat.

What do I want?  I want a sanctuary full of life-long learners who are excited about the Truth of their being, who love to be with their spiritual community and who practice and depend upon the Science of Mind principles and the Presence of Love in their lives; I want to know that I make  a difference. 

Now I remember the starfish story: A man was out walking and came across a stretch of beach that was littered with thousands of starfish.The tide was receding and the starfish were beached on the vast expanse of sand. A boy was racing around the beach picking up a starfish and then throwing them into the deep water. The man shook his head at the uselessness of it all asked the boy what he was doing. The boy answered that he was throwing the starfish back into the water so they wouldn't die. The man tried to dissuade the boy, by saying that there were thousands of starfish and only one of him. He could not hope to make a difference. The boy kept doing what he was doing, threw the next starfish into the ocean and and replied, "It made  a difference to that one."
Make a Difference to that One

I want to know that my ministry is making  a difference to the people who participate. I want to know that I am enough. I am enough to inspire, enough to support, enough to enlighten. That my own practice inspires others. My health and vitality inspire others. My stories inspire others. My consciousness inspires others. I want others to be healed of false beliefs simply by being in the same room I am in. (Okay, that may be a fantasy!) I want to glow with Spirit's love, confidence and energy. I want to feel supported even when I make mistakes. I want to feel supported when everything looks good and also to remember I am doing my best when the "ship is sinking." I want to be open and available to connect with others. I want to know that my innermost fears are safe with the ones with whom I share them. I want to love myself no matter what.

I want to remember the times when one person's life was changed because I could see and speak the Truth for them. Honestly, there are many such times to remember. I want to remember that others have also felt discouraged, that I am not alone in my human experience. And I want to remember that the One Source is immediately available,"nearer than breathing closer than hands and feet." 

I want to know that I am contributing to life, that I am a giver and life responds to me through that givingness. I want to be fully engaged in my life not a spectator of it. I want to live whole-heartedly. I want to know that as a human being I have imperfections as well as strengths.

When I started writing, I thought that a person with courage would not be discouraged. A person with heart would never be disheartened. But now I am thinking that a person with courage would be willing to tell the truth. Admit the pain. And then she would get back up, dust herself off and start all over again.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reachable and Teachable, Sunday Service

I am open to the transformational process at work through my relationships, my work, and my life. I step boldly into my day sharing the magnificent gift that is my life. And So It Is!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Every life is Sacred Starting With Mine

When I know that every life is sacred, I act in ways that are respectful, kind and loving. I begin with myself.

Ernest Holmes is very clear that God is everywhere present. He is clear that the Absolute, indestructible Power of Life Itself resides within each one of us. Since God is taking up residence in me as me, my life is sacred. Since God is residing in every being, all beings are sacred.

It follows that we would not want to harm with words, actions or inaction any other being.

What a difference that would make in our world. If we could embrace and embody this idea, our individual lives would change. We would become transcendent. I love the phrase that we would be transparent to transcendence. It would be God AS us .

I think of my personal habits and realize that some of them that do not honor the Divine presence within me. I sometimes set an intention to change those habits... and often find myself mindlessly breaking them the very same day. Then an even more odious thing happens... I criticize and judge myself. I certainly would not be silent if someone was saying those things to a good friend. Yet, part of our spiritual practice  is to form new habits while being as kind, generous and loving as we can. I can practice self-forgiveness in honor of the Divine in me. And I can begin again. A powerful practice is to write good thoughts about your life. If you can't find any, borrow from someone like Ernest Holmes.

The twentieth Season for Non-Violence began on January 30 and will end on April 6. It is a great time to practice.

If you would like to know more, the following is a beautiful video about the purpose of non-violent communication.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Active Listening, Sunday Service

I hear Spirit's voice through my listening heart and I answer through my compassionate action! And So It Is!

Friday, February 24, 2017

What Lion Taught Me

I love the movies! Currently, I am preparing for the Oscar Party I will be attending Sunday afternoon by seeing some of the nominated movies.

Often movies allow us a peek into the psyche, motivation and beliefs of the characters. which in turn gives us an opportunity to examine our own beliefs and motivations. "Sad movies always make me cry." Happy movies make me cry too. I like going by myself because I am  not a "pretty cryer." In fact, I experience swollen red eyes and a lot of snot. There is not a pretty way to say that. I am a person who easily suspends disbelief and I welcome the characters into my heart. Then, if the movie has tender parts,  I am a blubbering mess by the end of the film.

No matter how many times I watch "A Wonderful Life," I cry, when people are praying for George Bailey,  when George is presented with a bucket of money, and when Zuzu explains that another angel got his wings, I weep. 

If you haven't seen the movie Lion, I invite you to watch it when you can. It is a true story of Saroo, an adorable five-year old boy from a small village in India who finds himself thousands of miles away from home, lost and alone in Calcutta, unable to communicate with the people he meets because they don't speak his native Hindi. He lives on the streets, sleeping on cardboard boxes, scavenging food from dumpsters and almost being sold for nefarious purposes. He finds himself in an over-crowded orphanage, where he is adopted by an Australian couple. He was a sweet child and his new parents were loving and kind. He seemed to have a happy, well cared-for childhood, and then as a young adult, triggered by some candy at an Indian party, he starts to reflect on his mother, brother and baby sister. He knows that his mother has been worried about him.he imagines that is brother has been looking for him every day for 25 years. He is homesick for his roots. 

Saroo had a deep love for both his biological mother  and his adoptive mother. He cared for his siblings both in Australia and in India. 

Against all odds, he was reunited with his Indian mother who expressed her deep gratitude to his Australian mother. It was  a happy ending.

So what moved within me that I was awash with tears for most of the movie? I empathized with the human condition. Saroo was so small in such a large city.  He was cold, hungry and alone, completely vulnerable and living on his instincts.

I have never been completely alone. I have never had to live on instinct. But I think I tap into a universal fear of "There isn't enough." Or what if there isn't enough?

I was counselling with someone recently and we together determined that old fears were driving this person, not to make bad decisions, but to torture himself with the possibilities of what could go wrong.These fears were irrational but were keeping my client awake at night. When he saw the benefit of acknowledging the fear and thanking it for the gifts it brought, he was able to let it be, to let it become something he noticed, no longer something he ran away from.

Going to movies by myself, helps me feel my feelings safely without being seen. Without being vulnerable. But what if being vulnerable is a way of being strong. What if what I was responding to was the courage and vulnerability of a small child. Maybe the small child within me needs to know she is safe to be herself. She is neither alone nor starving. If a five-year-old child could wander the streets of Calcutta and survive, I am certain that a mature woman can be vulnerable and even thrive.

What do you learn about yourself from the movies?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Thin Slicing, Sunday Service

Today I keep my mind stayed on the Spirit. All of my thoughts lead to my greatest good and to the greatest good for this planet. There is no limit to the good which is mine. And So It Is!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Losing My Peace

Recently, I was nudged backwards in time to my mid-twenties. Although I treasured how smart I was, I was undoubtedly very unenlightened. I have never been much of an athlete, but I was exceptionally good at jumping to conclusions. Many of them were false, some were potentially harmful, and for some of those opinions, the harm was done fifty years ago and is still perpetuating all manner of negativity. I may have worked through the stuff personally, but what happens when strong words affect someone else? Those ideas may still be in someone's subconscious mind.

Let me try to explain.

The other night my younger sister called, very happy that she had finally seen a psychologist for counselling. She sounded so hopeful and free. She said that she had spilled her guts, revealing secrets that she had never told anyone.

She did have some terrible secrets. She had some heart-breaking experiences. 

So she wrote about the two major secrets she had been keeping and sent them to her four siblings. She began the letter by saying that we all had had different parents and she knew that we would not have seen our family the way she saw it. Metaphysically this is true for all families. We each have our own experiences and our memories will reflect our world-view.

I thought I knew about the secrets but was shocked to see that I had played a big part in one of them!  Me--her biggest supporter!         

Right when she needed my love and compassion the most, I made assumptions about the situation that were only partly correct. I judged her.  I scolded her. I belittled her. I probably made her feel worthless. (Hold on a minute, no one can make you feel anything.) My self-righteous words acerbated her feelings of low self-esteem. They helped her feel ashamed and guilty.

It reminded me of one of our core concepts that we can use by examining our motives with the question: "Would you rather be right or would you rather be  healed?" Now I know I would rather be healed.  I know I was not completely heartless. If I had known her whole story, I would have been kinder and more compassionate. But at the time, I was pretending to be Don Quixote, wanting everyone to be respectful and wise. These qualities are great qualities,but maybe disrespect was the perfect way to be in  those circumstances.

This is not the first time I have had to look at how my judgmental, critical self has gotten in the way of deeper intimacy.  However, seeing my actions through the eyes of an injured heart-broken child has given me a gift of self-reflection.

There are three questions you could ask yourself before saying anything. These questions have been attributed to Rumi, Sai Baba, the Quakers, poets and many others. I could not determine who said them originally but they are: "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?"

In my case, I was not yet self-reflective. The world seemed pretty black or white to me then. I could only have answered yes to the first question and then I only had part of the facts.

When I read her email, I lost my peace. I felt regret and sadness. Then I remembered the power of self-love and self-forgiveness. I remembered that given who I was at the time and what I knew, I did the things that would have been typical for me. If I had known better, I would have done better. 

Now is the time to accept what is. Now is the time to forgive myself. Now is the time to choose to see through a peaceful heart and a quiet mind. Right now I choose to feel hopeful and filled with Divine Guidance.

This was a perfect week to begin our Peace Meditations. I needed it.

This is what I know for certain. It is never too late to make a new decision. Consciousness is always demonstrating itself. Life is good. The Universe is for us, even when we don't know it. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Part of our Peace Garden

Sunday, February 12, 2017

God Comes Through the Wound, Sunday Service

Today I hold myself in unconditional loving arms. Everything on my path has served me. And So It Is!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Heart of Peace

Do you realize that your thoughts are impressing Divine Mind at all times?

When your thoughts are focused on Peace, Love, Harmony, Beauty and Joy as being true for you, they emit the atmosphere of those qualities.

We have all felt this. Imagine walking into a room and you immediately feel uncomfortable. Then you notice that conversations are loaded with fear and suspicion. You see the people are frowning, bodies are rigid and lips are pursed. Most of us would leave that place as quickly as we could.

Now imagine walking into a different room-- this one looks different. All the colors seem to enhance the room. People are chatting happily or smiling enjoying the ambiance. the music is up-lifting and inviting. You are comfortable and decide to stay for awhile.
Ernest Holmes describes Thought Atmosphere as: "An influence or condition surrounding a place, person or thing. A person whose atmosphere is always of love and cheerfulness, will always attract friends."
I love the words of St. Francis, "Let me be an instrument of Thy Peace."  I know that many people resonate with the idea of being peace-keepers and difference-makers.
We began the Season For Non-Violence on January 30th. Recently,  I have noticed that many people were feeling fearful about the changes in the nation and what those changes could mean for them. The antidote for Fear is always Love. 

Coincidentally, Centers for Spiritual Living has been working on a Peace Initiative in which all communities would commit to participate in some way. Rev. Pattie Mercado has been part of that team. They have done great work. Their initiative is based on the principles of oneness, and the inherent nature of Peace. 
Dr. Nancy Anderson states: "We can help change the consciousness of people from fear and chaos which may be caused by ignorance of our inherent creative power as direct expressions of God. The force or influence of beliefs and emotions fostered by ignorance is dissipated by the power of spiritually trained minds and hearts of love. We learn through the practice of collective meditation to more deeply embody or BE PEACE and then Peace is automatically amplified and resonates through humanity."
Those of us who have been meditating for awhile know that the atmosphere in a group meditation is Deep Peace. 

With that in mind, we are initiating several Group Peace Meditations for our community.Please let everyone know that they are welcome to attend. They do not need to be part of our community. They don't need to be Religious Scientists. They don't need to be aware of their spirituality. The only requirement is to being a safe place where Peace can be known. Some meditations will be guided. Some will be more free flow. We will hold them in the sanctuary because it has the thought atmosphere of prayer and loving kindness.You can start the meditation before you enter the sanctuary by mentally taking your concerns and setting them down in the peace garden until you come back out. We are starting with three meditations:
      Monday: 12:15 to 12:45 PM  I will lead this one. I will lead this meditation.
      Tuesday:   6:15 to 6:45 pm. Kathy Storey, RScP and Toni Sparks, RScP will lead this one.
      Thursday  10:00 to 10:30 AM. Rev. Pattie will lead this meditation.
More times an dates may come available. Check our website.

Remember you are the one who makes a difference! Choose Peace.
Ernest Holmes wrote: " Peace is the Power at the Heart of God."

A Portion of Our Peace Garden

Friday, February 3, 2017

Consciously Planting Your Spiritual Seeds

Many New Thought teachers have used the metaphor of a garden for the creative process. Sometimes, the preparation for the planting is omitted in the process.  When we omit preparing the soil, we will end up with a garden that is sparse and looks neglected. For we find that we rarely stumble across soil that is tilled, fertilized and weed-free. We often find in our garden plot: stones, clumps of dirt, and unlimited weeds.

The same is true for metaphysical planting. We are always experiencing the sum total of our consciousness, known and unknown. This is one of the reasons for being in the habit of keeping a personal journal. It will help you discover what are your deep thoughts, known and unknown, and beliefs. It will show you where you are repeating the same experiences for years despite the conscious, stated intention to have a new experience.
Socrates lived by the words: "An unexamined life is not worth living."
Someone quipped: "An unlived life is not worth examining!" 
The second statement brings some humor but it is equally false. An unlived life is the result of thinking the same monotonous, false beliefs as ever.  

Thee beliefs include: "There is never enough to go around." or "There is never enough for me." Or the terrible too's can set in, "I am too old...too fat...too short...too tall...too uneducated...too over-educated." or "Why did I lose that position? or husband? or friend?"

When we discover that we have been abusing ourselves with these false beliefs, we must begin at once to reverse our thinking. (This is akin to pulling up weeds.) It helps me to remind myself that I am made in the image of Divine Mind, Infinite Presence. Then I simply ask myself if what I have been declaring could be the case for God. Could it be true that God is too old? Could Divine Mind be too poorly educated? Could First Cause be limited by any negativity?

Clearly the answer is, " No, It could not."

Then what? Get some vital seeds and plant them. You will know the seed's vitality by your confidence that what you are planting you shall surely harvest.  Having a vision of your manifest good, is helpful.

Years ago I saw my eventual ministry in a visioning. I saw myself in a place with palm trees by the ocean. At the time I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. There is not a single palm tree and the ocean with palm trees is 1450 miles distant.  Now I live by the ocean and there are palm trees everywhere.

I offer the following Affirmative prayer for each one to expand his or her consciousness:

Divine Mind is all-knowing, everywhere present, Infinite Peace and Infinite Love. Its Nature is Love and It operates through Its own impeccable Law. Knowing that this One is everywhere present, i know It is right where I am. it is in me, for me and as me now.  I know that Divine Love opens my heart to all people. I see Grace, Beauty, Joy and Light in all others. I see myself as a peace-maker and peace keeper. I let go of my ego and undefended go about the business of seeing Good everywhere. I joyously accept this as the Truth. With gratitude, aware that my word has already been acted upon, I place this word in God's perfect law. It is complete. And so it is.
Palm Trees Everywhere