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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Season for Nonviolence Week 1: Self-Care Brings Compassion

I do yoga for fitness, mental, spiritual and physical. Most often I take a power yoga class to get my blood flowing, but after my busy weekend I was called to take a slower paced yin yoga class. It felt good to listen to my heart and my body. The yin class ended up being the perfect restoration for my body and my soul. It reminded me that we just entered the Season for Nonviolence and what a perfect way to begin by caring for myself. 

The Season for Nonviolence, sponsored by the Association for Global New Thought, is an educational, media and grassroots awareness campaign spanning the 64 days between the January 30th and April 4th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The purpose of the Season for Nonviolence is to focus educational and public attention on the philosophy of attaining peace through nonviolent action, as demonstrated by legendary leaders including Gandhi, King, Cesar E. Chavez, Nelson Mandela, and His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. 

These great leaders represent people and faiths that span beyond borders and doctrine, limited only by the willingness of the individual. 

The organizers of this beautiful season offer suggestions for embodying the ideas of peace, compassion and kindness in daily life. In this first week, organizers suggest focusing on being more compassionate to ourselves. Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Do what's in your heart. Really listen to what is in your heart and take action.
  • Smiling is a way to establish a heart connection and a peaceful outlook. Smile and make eye contact with 5 people.
  • Focus on the good qualities in yourself and others
  • Think of ways you can better care for yourself. Put it into practice.
  • Believe that peace is a possibility. Offer a prayer or focus on peace in meditation.
  • Think of ways to free yourself from drama. Turn off the news or refrain from complaining.
  • War is born from ignorance. Try to learn something new. 

Or...maybe you just take a slower pace, stopping to smell the roses. Whatever you choose, I know it honors the Season for Nonviolence and spreads peace like wildflowers.