Don’t Go There!

The theme for June was “imagination” and its power to manifest our experience in life. Like all of us, I have a vivid imagination which likes nothing more than to run hither and yon, unchecked, conjuring up all sorts of vivid images, scenarios, and outcomes, often the worst possible outcomes. The Science of Mind teaches that what you focus on or give constant attention to increases or manifests as our experience. Our imagination gives power to and solidifies what we believe, think and say, by giving them a strong visual and experiential component in our mind. When we strongly imagine something, do we not only visualize it, but experience as well as feel it? The Universe, or Divine Mind, which always says “Yes!” will always respond to the imagined scenario and reflect it back to us and manifest it as our reality.

In his book The Power of Awareness, Neville Goddard writes “…to become the master of your assumptions [beliefs, thoughts] is the key to undreamed-of freedom and happiness. You can attain this mastery by deliberate conscious control of your imagination. The great secret is a controlled imagination and a well-sustained attention firmly and repeatedly focused on the object to be accomplished.”

But how do you consciously control your imagination, which by its very nature seems impossible to direct, especially when it comes to thinking about the worst (which your mind seems so willing to do)? One way is to notice when your imagination is going in a negative direction and stop that train of thought. Thank your mind for sharing, then turn to its polar positive opposite and contemplate a higher idea. A phrase I’ve been using of late whenever my imagination starts down a negative free-for-all slide is “Don’t go there!” I’ve found that this puts on the brakes, so to speak, and sets my train of thought on to another track, in another direction, where I am free to choose a more positive idea. It works!!

Another process you can use (which I’ve shared in a previous article, but it bears repeating), is the following: after a treatment, while still in an expanded, high state of consciousness, indulge in an imaginary visualization voyage where you vividly see, experience and feel what it would be like if what you’ve just treated for were actually real in your life right now. It’s your trip, your imagination is infinite, and nothing is impossible. Should your logical mind want to step in with all its negative reasons and “yeah, buts” why your good cannot happen, DON’T GO THERE and continue imagining your good as vividly and thoroughly as you can. This is your time and this is a gift you are giving yourself! Immerse yourself fully in its “reality” and when you feel whole, complete, happy, and at peace, release it into the Universe, knowing it’s a done deal!

You CAN pro-actively direct your imagination to manifest the kind of life you want. Just get into the habit of noticing where it’s going, and if it’s not in the direction you want it to go, Don’t Go There!!

And so it is! Namaste. By Jon William Lopez, RScP

Living Love

Ernest Holmes wrote, “The Truth points to freedom, under Law. We do well to listen to this Inner Voice, for it tells us of a life wonderful in its scope; of a love beyond our fondest dreams…” (The Science of Mind, 25.3-26.1)

In my experience, Dr. Holmes spoke truly. As I examined all that did not work in any previous relationships, I had to admit to myself the truth of my level of involvement in them was what didn’t work. I knew there must be another way, a better way, but what was it? I also knew that by using the Law, I could answer my own dilemma.

Carl Rogers defined love as “unconditional positive regard.” This is the essence of the love Holmes referred to above. This unconditional regard is what might be called Divine Love, which already lives in us, and when we allow it, it expresses through us and leads us beyond anything we can dream of.

In the first session of “Love, Relating & Relationships”, I offered a paraphrase of Lao Tzu: “To know, do. To do, be. To be, know.” That circular expression explains the principle of knowing and the method to access it. By doing love, by loving, anyone can access Holmes’ ideal of “a love beyond our fondest dreams.” By loving, we access the use of the Law FOR Love and experience more of It.

Everyone already lives in relationship with everything in the world, whether conscious of it or not. Each person shares the air available on the planet. For example, everyone here in Arizona inhales the blowings of the humpback whales in the Indian Ocean and shares their exhale with the whales. Whether it is relating to the clothes covering the body, the chair on which one sits, the ground on which one walks, everyone is in relationship with everything, including all the love there ever has been.

By shining light on what doesn’t support experiencing healthy relationships, anyone can stop doing what doesn’t work, which opens a space in which to allow all relationships to work. Literally, anyone can do this, because already human beings are designed to relate.

As social animals, relating is built into us. It is encoded in our DNA. Relating is natural for us. We have difficulty only when we have decided otherwise. Just like the fact that the sun still shines, even when we can’t see it through the clouds, or because we are standing inside a cave, or because it is on the other side of the globe, the sun is still doing what the sun does naturally: It shines. So it is with relating and with loving. We have to convince ourselves otherwise, in order to experience that we are not in relationship, or that we are not loved.

By relating, by truly relating, anyone can experience more love and better relationships in every area of life. By living as the innate Love within, anyone can experience more love in life. That is what living love really is, and to the degree that we let love out, we experience a love beyond our fondest dreams.

Live your love and love your living.

BestBlessings,
RevDonald

The Universe is Prosperous

Prosperity is the nature of the Universe and abundance is the expression and experience of that prosperity. More leaves grow on trees this year than last, and anyone who rakes them notices this fact.

Even with evidence from Nature, some people have difficulty experiencing the natural abundance of life. If someone is unaware that abundance is natural, that lack of awareness can keep the abundance away. Using the same logic, if someone accepts the natural abundant state, their acceptance would make space for greater abundance into that person’s life.

Cultural consciousness, the collective and accumulated viewpoint that any society has believed and promoted, can hinder the experience of abundance by focusing on lack, deprivation, the “have’s” and the “have-not’s”. Everyone lives in the sea of his or her collective viewpoint, and those who are receptive to its siren song, or who are unconscious of it, are controlled or at least influenced by it.

Just like a river, thought flows along the lines of least resistance, and culture-consciousness can shift focus from the prosperity-is-natural viewpoint toward lack and limitation. There are plenty of examples of people focusing on this latter reality.

If you live in a lack-and-limitation culture and want to experience greater abundance, you must consciously direct your thinking away from the culture-consciousness of scarcity and redirect your attention toward abundance. You must consciously change your point of view about life and its possibilities. This can seem challenging or downright difficult at first; however, persistence really pays off … literally.

Even as prosperity is the Universe’s nature, it is also the Universe’s nature to say, “Yes” to our directives, our commands, especially when the command is sustained with strong feeling and/or emotion. Fortunately, or unfortunately the Universe only says “Yes” to true commands and not to every random thought that passes through our mind. Emotion and feeling holds attention, and this is what makes the directive a true command.

When you put regular attention on the wonder and possibility of your personal experience of an abundant life, that decision brings the opportunity to experience these things into view. By focusing on the abundance of life and living in accord with that intention, you can have more abundant experiences. Life eagerly says, “Yes!” by affirming the presence of supply, and it willingly becomes a more joyful adventure. More good then begins to come naturally and effortlessly.

By affirming “All I desire comes to me,” and accepting the truth of this statement for just five minutes, four times daily, the Universe says, “Yes” to greater joy and abundance.

Join others in The Experiment here at the Center, by affirming your abundant nature, and by living, loving and giving from that awareness. Watch the gentle explosion of good, as it overflows in your life.

“Divine Love, as me, blesses and multiplies all that I am, all that I give, and all that I receive.”
And So It Is.
BestBlessings,
Rev Donald

Envisioning – It’s Your Right to Invoke The Law

By Lynden Kidd, Chairman, CSLT

In this great country of ours we are invited to participate in our government; to vote for those who shape our laws and policies.  I’ve often been surprised when someone who holds a particularly deep belief about a ‘right or wrong’ also tells me that they’ve decided not to vote in an election for some reason. In my mind, that is an abdication of an essential and defining right of citizenship. That individual has dropped the ball on their role in improving the country by opting out of voting. They may have excuses or stories as to why, but in this era of mail in ballots and election-day transportation; there is no good reason not to have your choices be counted.

Clearly, Center for Spiritual Living Tucson is not a governmental entity. We aren’t a democracy either. The Board of Trustees makes decisions based on consensus: We all agree, by working to see the others’ points of view and come to agreement about the highest and best for all.

COMMUNITY ENVISIONING – This is one of our Center’s ways of inviting YOU to have a significant say about who we are and who we become and to be an active part of creating the future of our sacred Center. You may have joined us for one of our new classes in the yearlong series called, “The Journey”, or you may have a heard in one of Reverend Donald’s recent Sunday talks and know that we transform ourselves while we transform our community! This is an opportunity to participate in conscious transformation, by joining other community members for a few hours dedicated to envisioning our Center the way we want it to be.

We have the benefit of one of the brightest and most motivational leaders within Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL) – Reverend Dr. John Waterhouse, President of CSL, who is the senior co-minister at the Center for Spiritual Living Asheville, North Carolina. As CSL’s President, Dr. John coordinates communications and services between our centers and ministries and the rest of the global organization. We benefit from his wonder and wisdom for a full weekend, and you won’t want to miss a moment.  Starting at 6:30pm on Friday, April 17th, he will coax and cajole the best from each of us about our vision for our sacred community – our CSLT. Then on Saturday, from 9am to ‘at the latest’ 5pm, he will help us clarify our vision for the future of our spiritual home and assist us in articulating our objectives in reaching the big stretch goals for our Center.

So, please join us. Take ownership in what this Center has done for you and to you, as you’ve transformed. Help us reach a bigger audience. Help us accomplish our mission of moving more fully forward as THE premier hub for transformational teaching and growth in Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Thanks for joining me, the Center’s leadership team and the other champions, as we envision the highest and best for our community.  I trust I will see you on Friday and Saturday, as we invest with you in the growth, well-being and vision of our sacred Center for Spiritual Living Tucson.

Volunteering, or The “V” word

When I reflect on my life, I’m fairly certain that the first good decision I ever made was when I was thirty-four and checked myself into treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.  But it wasn’t just staying sober that changed my life – it was my introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous.  You see, AA is a spiritual program and I hated all that God and prayer stuff.  Not only that, they told me if I wanted to stay sober I needed to help the newcomers and do ‘service work’.  What?  As a totally self-absorbed addict it was beyond the scope of my imagination to do anything besides try to stay sober.  Plus, I’ve never been one to do what other people think I ‘should’ or ‘need to’ do.  Guilt-tripping me doesn’t work.  I didn’t want to volunteer and no one could make me!

So I simply went to meetings and didn’t drink.  And those kind, truthful, annoyingly helpful people got through my thick skin and I willingly began the volunteering phase of my life.

As a bonus, I found that volunteering in Alcoholics Anonymous gave me far more than continued sobriety – I became part of a community and it felt so very wonderful to truly belong somewhere.  The more I helped in various ways, the better I felt about myself.  Other people’s welfare became important to me, as did the survival of my favorite meetings and the organization itself.  I had found a healthy place to hang out and grow and I didn’t want to lose it.

Fast forward thirty years:  That’s the same way I feel about CSLT.  I am so in love with my spiritual community!  During the two years I lived in Kanab, Utah, the thing I missed the most was my ‘people’, my ‘tribe’.  A year ago when I decided to leave Kanab I contemplated where in the world I wanted to live next – it was a short internal discussion.  I came home.

The ‘V’ word has become one of my greatest pleasures in life…yes, folks, I volunteer and I love it!  I care so much about CSLT and I want us to thrive for me and to be a major, positive force in Tucson, in Arizona!  So I give of my time.  I invest in my incredible community of like-minded souls who count on us to be here every Sunday.  At first I ushered – easy, infrequent, yet I had an opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and greet everyone who came through the doors.   Then, against every argument to the contrary in my brain, I actually volunteered to be on the Host Team – to be on the stage all by myself and speak into a microphone to y’all!  And no one has boo’d me off yet.  But the biggest commitment (aargh, the ‘C’ word!) I’ve ever made is becoming a member of the Board of Trustees here at the center. I was scared; all those old voices in my head told me I wasn’t smart enough, good enough, educated enough, mellow enough.  But the sane part of me won and I decided to invest my time and energy in what I love and to become a part of the changes and growth I want to see happen around our center.

Yes, I am a volunteer and am richly rewarded in more ways than I have space to write about.  If you’re not yet a volunteer because you aren’t sure what you would like to do or what needs to be done, talk to me.  There are so many choices, some of which aren’t visible to the general congregation on Sundays.  Most ‘jobs’ take up very little of one’s time.  And it feels so freaking good!  I guarantee you’ll feel more a ‘part of’ because you’ve shared some of yourself with something that matters to you. If it worked for a tough case like me, surely it will work for you.

by Renee’ Mezzone

A Clear Plan to Wealth and Abundance in Just 30 Minutes a Day

In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever to get clear about your personal and professional goals—and to commit to a plan that will get you there. Financial abundance can be a game of fun and prosperity, but only when you realize that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Spirit wants to help you. Following is an overview of steps that you can take to allow it to do so:

1. Welcome your new spiritual partner to your financial advisory team and give it a name whose advice you value. I affectionately call my partner the Chief Spiritual Officer, or CSO for short. Create your own name for God, Spirit, Divine Intelligence, etc. which describes the characteristic of the all-knowing power of the universe that gives you advice through intuition, hunches, and other means.

2. Set aside 30 minutes a day to have a meeting with your partner. Follow a clear agenda that combines the force of 3 G’s – goals, gratitude, and God.

3. Establish clear job descriptions for both yourself and your new partner. You will decide what you want with gratitude. The CSO will create the path to achieve your goals and give you one step to take at a time. You will either take the step or ask for another lead. Then, you’ll reach your goal and celebrate.

4. Through this process you will experience a complete shift in your thinking about how financial wealth and abundance is created.

In my book, The Path to Wealth; Seven Spiritual Steps for Financial Abundance, you’ll also learn to go deeper into the practice to gain insight about your purpose, gain tools to successfully navigate financial ups and downs, overcome the fear of failure, as well as eliminate old beliefs and behaviors that have kept you from experiencing the success you really want.

Best of all, you will learn how to develop your own financial intuition, which is key to noticing and pursuing the opportunities that will present themselves once you are on this path.

Your spiritual advisor wants to help you. Make the commitment to begin your new partnership today!

May will be our guest author at our booth (#160) at this year’s Tucson Festival of Books on Saturday, March 14th between 11am and 3pm and will be speaking on Sunday morning, March 15th, during our Sunday Celebration Service at 10:30am and holding a workshop at our Office and Education Center from 1-3:30pm. Tickets for the workshop are $20 and can be purchased by contacting the office.

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May McCarthy has cofounded and grown six successful companies over her thirty-year career, with the largest growing to over $100 million in annual revenues. She credits her success to the spiritual new thought principles described in her book, and firmly believes that financial success and freedom are available to anyone who is willing to apply them. Visit her online at www.maymccarthy.com.

Groupon and the Farm Box

tomato-9This story could more comfortably become a story I heard rather than something that actually happened to me today. About a month ago, Groupon offered a Farm Box for half the normal price. I had been curious about what local fresh organic produce delivered from the farm to consumer was like. I hadn’t been so curious that I wanted to sign up for regular delivery, so this was a perfect opportunity for me to find out how the FarmBox system worked and what was in a normal delivery. When I went on their website to arrange for pickup of my first (and probably only) FarmBox, I was not happy to learn that they required a credit card, in addition to my Groupon code to actuate my delivery. I communicated with their helpful customer service person about this and how I was unhappy that it really, really looked like I was being set up to be charged beyond this initial purchase, for regular weekly or twice-a-month-ly deliveries. The kind and helpful woman assured me that I would not be, that the consumer had to authorize any change in the program.

So the first box came and the contents were lovely, lively and fresh.  Still I was not inspired to change my subscription to start arranging for regular deliveries. The FarmBox people charge your card at the interval that you designate and if you do not pick up your box, they donate it to an organization that can use the fresh produce. This is a good business practice and good use of resources, since produce is so perishable, they have created a mechanism whereby it is not wasted.

Imagine my dismay this morning when I received an email from them that my credit card had been charged for this next week’s delivery, which I never set up and never authorized, but had been afraid would happen.

Emmet Fox wrote (in Around the Year with Emmet Fox), “When you give your mental assent to an idea, good or bad, you associate yourself with that idea and you incorporate it into your consciousness… It is the mental assent that counts.”

Oh that.

I e-mailed the helpful woman back and she got straightened out immediately. She remembered me from our previous interactions, was terribly apologetic, couldn’t imagine how it had happened, and that it must’ve been human error and wanted to make it right.

I knew exactly how it happened, and I know what to do about it. Shift my focus. Now.

—  Janis

Suffering is Not God-Ordained

If the statement is true that, “The Christian religion gives more value to the individual life than do most of the others and that is why it has made such an appeal to the more vital races of the world, then the conjunction of Christianity and the African peoples was inevitable.

While the initial contact turned tragic; fortunately, over time, through its emphasis on the individual life, the peoples and descendants of Africa are beginning to rise sphinx like from the ashes of colonization and slavery.

Both movies, Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave are psychologically significant, because they effectively captured and portrayed the spiritual aspirations of a people long oppressed. Oppressed in the sense that we were ignorant of our true nature and prevented from learning how to read and write. One film illuminated a mind set that had to be destroyed and the other illuminated a mind set that must be kept alive and vibrant.

Ernest Holmes goes on to say that, “Being what we are there are certain responsibilities that go with our natures-certain obligations; if our thought is creative and if we are unfolding to a discovery of our true nature, which must already be perfect, then the obligation and responsibility of this nature could impose freedom or bondage upon us temporarily, but our bondage cannot be real from the standpoint of the Absolute.” Our enslavement was not real from the standpoint of the Absolute. As one of African descent, having chosen to identify with the Absolute, bondage exercises no power over my soul. Incrementally, the world is moving towards identification with the Absolute.

Had the Science of Mind been written prior to the slave trade, and read throughout the entire continent of Africa, the road to self-discovery could have been a conscious one, and who knows, maybe in harmony with the aspirations of the white races, because suffering is not God-ordained.

The world has learned all it should from suffering.

Keith A. Gorley

Confusion is a place we hang out when we don’t want to let ourselves know what deep down we really do know. Because we don’t want to have to do what we have to do if we let ourselves know what we really do know. –Mary Morrissey

Entering the Eye of the Storm and Embracing the “I” of the Storm

By Anna Mello

Recently I sang a song called “Eye of the Storm” by singer/song writer Jen Hajj, who was a guest musician at our center a couple of months ago. I mentioned that this song had a profound effect on me, and I said that I would share this experience in writing. Although there are many musical selections that touch my soul deeply, the timing of this song literally brought me to my knees and evoked overwhelming emotions.

Some people know this about me, but there are many who still don’t. Although I have become a regular volunteer singer at CSLT over the last couple of years, the fact is, that for many years I did not join a choir or sing in front of large groups of people, even though I loved to sing, knew I could sing and wanted to sing. For some reason I didn’t feel like I was a good enough singer to be in a simple high school or church choir, and even when I finally did, it took me awhile to really allow myself to fully share what was inside at that time.

Around 2002, I was involved in a spiritual book study group through Unity, and it was revealed to me that I was supposed to solo. I was so nervous, but I shared this with the facilitator and the group. The facilitator, who was an Arizona State legislator at the time and involved with Toastmasters, firmly, yet lovingly told me to get up and sing for them right then, and she didn’t care how long it took me, or if I had to stop for tears or whatever, but she assured me that I was going to finish! Well the tears did come, and I did finish; however the tears that flowed did not only represent my fears, but was a sense of release or the birth of something that was supposed to come out and express. The next step for me was to sing by myself for the whole congregation. I was extremely anxious, more so than most people ever fully knew. In fact, I started to realize and notice that I would try to avoid the anxiety by sabotaging myself and physically getting sick. When I started to honestly take a look at this, I had to admit to myself that I had done this before, in other areas of my life and with things that I said I wanted to do, but didn’t because having an excuse for not doing them was more comfortable than facing my fears of being vulnerable.

After talking through this with a few trusted people, I decided I was going to solo for my birthday and it was going to be the gift to myself from myself! Well of course, all of the physical obstacles came up, but I committed to this challenge and told myself I was going to do it, no matter what! As I worked through my own habits of resistance and mind chatter, an original song “Come Within” emerged with the starting lines being, “Oh my child, say the WORD and you are healed. Come within and know that we are ONE.” I continued moving through my physical and emotional healing and finished writing the song and actually did fine on my first solo, despite the nervous ticks, wobbly legs, and the need to remind myself to breathe. I continued to solo at least once a year on my birthday at Unity, and started to take on challenges in other areas of my life as well, and began reaching some of my big goals that I set out to accomplish. Since I’ve been here at CSLT for almost four years now, I continue to grow in many areas, but I honestly feel like I am on WARP speed in allowing some new changes to emerge from within, and I feel like I am at an increased level of awareness with everything and everyone around me. In addition to our Sunday services, I undoubtedly, know that this is a result of taking the offered classes, and making a commitment to use the spiritual tools that are taught in this philosophy. All of the classes I’ve taken have been very meaningful for me, but Foundations and Visioning have been my favorite so far, and have opened me up so much! I know this is a result of stepping into the practices whole heartedly, and loving myself enough to allow my full potential to continually unfold and express. In doing this I am finding that sometimes that means having to pick up my oars and point my boat right towards the “storm”, AKA “the scary stuff” or the excuses I make up to keep myself small and comfortable. The problem with playing small is that it keeps me from getting to the “eye” and “I” of what is truly desired in my heart.

Jen Hajj’s song was so profound for me, and literally had me on my knees in tears when I heard it the first time, because a couple of weeks prior to her being our guest musician, one of the symbols and messages that I received during a visioning class was a tornado and the words “eye of the storm”. At the time, I just allowed the vision to be what it was and didn’t analyze or try to figure it out, since the process of visioning is to surrender to Divine Mind and trust that what needs to come forth will reveal itself naturally. When Jen Hajj showed up the following Sunday, it was the first time I had met her and heard any of her music. Afterwards, I introduced myself and bought a CD, but didn’t really take time to even look at it because I had another commitment to rush off to. I put it in my binder and forgot about it. The next week, I was needing to make some final choices on some significant job changes and was getting uncomfortable with taking the leap that I knew I needed to take. I decided to take a break and work on choir music, and when I took out my binder, I saw the CD that I had forgotten about. On the front cover, the name of the CD read “I of the storm”, and one of the songs on the CD was “Eye of the Storm”. At that moment, I recalled my visioning and I played the song. The words were EXACTLY what I was feeling and needed to hear, and while I was so grateful for recognizing the synchronicity with my visioning, it was also extremely overpowering for me, and stirred up those anxious feelings once again. I was excited AND nervous because I knew I had to face some more of my fears and expand from “the box” that had become familiar, knowing I had outgrown it and didn’t want to be in it anymore. I reached out to one of our practitioner’s Lynne Heygster, who was teaching the class, to help me get grounded in spiritual truth and we shared a spiritual mind treatment together. I even made an appointment right afterwards with our own Zach Saber from Wellness First, to help me release some of the physical pain that had shown up as well. So now I have at least made peace with getting into “the boat”, and I’ve started rowing once again towards another “storm”, committed to facing my doubts and fears as I row into the “eye” to get to the “I” of this new storm. The “I” is my authentic Divine self, the self that shines as bright as it can, without the need to receive 100% approval from everyone and without worrying that allowing myself to shine might be taking away from another’s light. In this moment, I know and live from the truth that Divine light is inherent to everyone, and expresses in each one’s own unique way, and I encourage others to shine their light BRIGHT and bless us ALL! I am continually inspired by witnessing people around me step out of their comfort zones and allowing their lights to shine brighter and brighter. It is my sincere hope that we can lovingly honor and truly support those in our spiritual community and all around us, who are taking chances and moving outside of their familiar places to discover their Divine potential and passions. It may not always appear “perfect and polished” on the outside to everyone, especially at first, but I hope instead of criticizing, we can appreciate the bigger accomplishments that are springing forth and interact with loving kindness to one another. And, as we step out, when we do come across those critical experiences in our lives, may we remember that we can choose to lovingly look at what we can learn from them and then remember the sacred “I AM”! Can you imagine what we would each look like, what our Center for Spiritual Living Tucson would look like, what Tucson and the world would look like, if we all rowed into the “I” of our own made up storms and allowed our authentic light to shine as bright as it can and then share it and encourage others to do the same?! WOW!!…… Let’s get out our sunglasses!!!!

If you’re interested in the artist and song mentioned, you can check her out at http://www.jenhajj.com/i-of-the-storm.html

Self Determination – It was up to me and it’s up to you too

Have you ever had people want you to share information about another person; information which was that other person’s story to tell? Recently, I had the opportunity to be reminded of the power of love, and the marvelous way God works through us. I find whatever experiences I’ve gone through in life, it’s been well worth those experiences to have and feel AH-HA moments.

Recently, I watched a woman friend go from sheer fear in her eyes to being relaxed, calm and ready for whatever would happen next. I saw her change her mind from thinking it was time to leave us – to being prepared to return home and live more.

Some people tried to ‘pressure’ me (as though it was up to me) to share information about my friend, or to give them permission to go see my friend, or to tell others about her condition based on what I knew. I didn’t give into the pressure. I stood my ground by remembering I was supporting her. I helped her to stand her ground by doing as she had asked. I insisted that others understand it was not within my right or theirs to alter her experience to influence her right of self-determination. What was happening was hers and hers alone. It was my responsibility to honor the word I had given to her; and to help her honor her wishes for herself. It wasn’t a personal decision against anyone; it was the right decision for me and for my friend.

Priorities were messed up. What I saw were some putting their “but we must show our concern” in front of “but we need to be respectful of that persons request.” There seemed to be an underlying belief there was an obligation to “do for” others, rather than to allow them ‘to do’ for themselves, especially when they ask for that freedom. I wondered why some seemed to think they knew more or better than the individual. Honestly, I think sometimes we forget it’s not our obligation at all to replace our judgment for another’s.

Our obligation, in my opinion, is that we assist others in finding their own voice, in feeling respected for the choices made even when we don’t understand them and by remembering; it’s not ours it’s theirs. Self-determination can be challenging to bump up against when individually, we have a different opinion of the actions an individual chooses.

I am grateful for my extended family at CSL Tucson. I believe that as my extended family, I choose to be available to assist when I am able; when I am asked. I choose to extend my love and compassion to each of you and to do what I am called to do, when asked, in a way that assists you, but which does not decide for you. I trust others to appreciate that as well.

Zach Saber

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