When Push Comes to Shove

Driving to the office on the Memorial Day Monday, aware that most people were taking the day off and enjoying themselves, I noticed I was thinking about the phrase, “When Push Comes to Shove” and I wondered that that phrase meant, and why it had come to mind.  Apparently, I was feeling ‘put-upon’, squeezed or constrained in some way, and I pondered what had brought that feeling on, and what I could do about it.  I started making lists to see what I could figure out what I might be feeling ‘bound up’ about.

1. The home study groups on Spiritual Economics complete this week, and have been pleasingly successful.  Participants have enjoyed digging into the material and learning, and also getting to know their home-study-group-buddies more deeply.  So that’s a joyous success, so that’s not it.  Two different centers have asked if they can use the curriculum that I had compiled.  One of the juicy bits from the fifth class that really caught my attention was the idea that living from a giving mentality (not expecting to get, so it’s not fostering codependency or martyrdom) makes more space for more good to show up.  I’m thrilled to share it, so that’s not it.

2. The planning for the next class, How To Change Your Life, is coming along well.  I’m enjoying working with one of my favorite ministers, Dr Linda McNamar from Laguna Woods CA, creating a juicy curriculum. And I’m getting to introduce her to the zoom videoconferencing platform, which is a double bonus.  So that’s not it.

3. The sign-up sheets are out for Visioning, which starts June 9th.  We had a good half-dozen folks say they were interested in taking it this summer and available on Tuesdays.  And I’ve thought about a new way to introduce the topic, that may make it more accessible to people who haven’t been able to ‘get’ it before. So that’s not it.

4. I’m really jazzed about the June theme of Imagination.  Carla has found some excellent quotes for us to use for our Spiritual Thoughts and has written some dynamite affirmations, and the Music Team is out-doing themselves with our own volunteer vocalists.  So that’s not it.

5. Barbara and the leasing agents are digging in and removing potential obstacles around a possible interim location that Alana found for us.  So far, so good.  So that’s not it.

6. Gail from my Spiritual Economics group volunteered to come help out for a few hours in the office on Mondays to reduce my administrative workload.  That’s awesome, and very welcome help.  So that’s not it.

7. I’m in the middle of working on a quilt, and haven’t finished painting my house.  Painting had begun to feel like drudgery, so I realized I’d be better off taking a break from painting and do something fun. Then I can go back and finish the painting with renewed interest and enthusiasm.  And if I finish two quilts before I feel like painting some more, who cares?  So that’s not it.

Coming up with nothing, but feeling much better after having made the list, I decided to ask Google.

This is what I found.  It’s a colloquialism that probably originated in black America.  It was first formally recorded by Thomas De Witt Talmage in 1873, in the United Methodist Free Churches’ Magazine: “The proposed improvement is about to fail, when Push comes up behind it and gives it a shove, and Pull goes in front and lays into the traces; lo! the enterprise advances, the goal reached!”

So, the original intention of the phrase seems to be something that wants to be created, and it just needs a little impetus or ‘shove’ to make it happen.  I especially love the phrase that isn’t part of the idiom, “Pull goes in front and lays the traces (track) … the enterprise advances.  The Goal is reached”.

Perhaps just examining possible areas of concern allows me to reframe my thoughts, not as troubles, but as things in gestation, in process, and just waiting for “Pull to show up and lay the track”?   It’s a little bit like setting intention and then waiting to take delivery from Divine Mind/Spirit/The Universe when the product is ready.  I’m so very good with that.

I love this philosophy… how it shows up and helps me make sense of my life.

— Rev Janis Farmer

The Center

The other Sunday I was driving to Sunday Services and I passed a new building in a medical complex. The name of the building was “The Center”.  Then yesterday, I was driving down Pima in Tucson and saw another new sign on a building.  It also was called, simply, “The Center”.  Why am I seeing this now?

I was reminded of a story I’d heard about an idea that had been held by a Board President long before I came to CSL Tucson.  He thought we should rebrand ourselves as The Center, a clever triple play on words.  The Center where people learn about their own divine center (or nature), the central hub where people come together to experience the joy and aliveness of life in community, and the quote from Ernest Holmes describing the Infinite (The Science of Mind 330.2-3), “The Infinite is, therefore indivisible and consequently a Perfect Unit… That Whose Center is everywhere and Whose Circumference is nowhere.  All of It is present at any and every point within Itself.  It is not approaching a point, nor receding from it, but it is always at the point.  The whole of God is present at any and every point within God.  It was to this Indwelling Spirit that Jesus prayed, for God is within man as well as throughout all creation.”

This notion that each of us already is a center of divinity can sometimes feel like a tough pill to swallow, because we tend to think of ourselves as less than perfect expressions of the Divine.  But what if we are not “less than”?  What if we actually live, move and have our being as the perfect expression of Divinity Itself, as we understand it?  Our beliefs about ourselves, and how our world works, color our life experience to such an extent that we have to have a limited experience, because we have limiting beliefs.

The facilitators and I are working through the curriculum for the exciting upcoming home group book study of Eric Butterworth’s Spiritual Economics.  I forgot how splendidly lovely this material is, until I cracked the book open again and re-read it.  Butterworth is consistently very clear.  On p. 23 he wrote, “Claim your entitlement. I am a child of the Universe, richly endowed with the fullness of the All Good.”  He continues on the same page, “You are an expression of the infinite creative flow, entitled to as constant a support as the lilies of the field.   You see, the basis of entitlement is the startling assertion: The Universe owes you a living!  Yes, we are saying owes you a living.  Note: We are not saying the world owes you a living.  Actually, the world owes you nothing.  You are a creative expression of the Universe, with the responsibility to let your light shine.  Thus you owe the world a life.”

Oh, there’s the rub. We have all the support of the Universe standing with us, in us, and as us, and we have the responsibility to own that authority and act/live/move from that place.  So yes, we already are the center of our own wheel, the individualized hub of our own interactions and life expression, and we choose from our point of view.

And yet, I am encouraged by Butterworth’s words, because he gives us a roadmap that we can choose to use to guide us on this path.  On p. 19 he wrote, “A person who keeps conscious that the divine flow is ever centered (there’s that word again… centered) within one, has faith that limitless substance will find expression through him or her in the form of creative ideas, ingenuity, the will to work, and a security of work opportunities.  It could be said that when you realize your relationship to the dynamic Universe, you are forever in a field where you can drill for oil and bring in a gusher every time.”

Every time.  I totally like those odds.  Pick a host home location that works for you and join us in this awesome city-wide Spiritual Economics home group book study that starts next week, won’t you?

By Rev Janis Farmer

Interconnected

Seldom am I truly surprised. That’s not quite true. I wasn’t truly surprised on Wednesday night with Victor Shamas’ class on Deep Creativity.   In fact, I was totally delighted and thrilled that he had come to the same understanding of the unity of all things, the Oneness of It All, from a completely different (academic!) perspective and point-of-view. As I was sitting in the back of the room, watching his presentation, I kept nodding and smiling at his conclusions. The words he used were different, but he was speaking Science of Mind without knowing it. That awareness thrills me, because it reinforces the idea that there is only one originator, or Source, a.k.a. Divine Mind, with billions of individualized expressions. In his language, there is only one aquifer and we each, whether we are fortunate enough to know it or not, are individual wells tapping into that great aquifer. I love that. I’ll probably use it one of these days.

I was talking with my acupuncturist late last week about something that she and her business partner had noticed with their acupuncture business. When she gets complacent about the business, it just trundles along like it is running on autopilot. It certainly doesn’t grow. It’s adequate, but not stunning, or stellar. But when she ‘wakes up’ (her words) and starts paying attention to the business, the phone starts ringing and people walk in off the streets wanting to see if acupuncture will help them. When she and her son are in the office together, and they are both attentive to the business, they can barely schedule in everyone who wants to come in for services. Her partner says he has noticed this pattern at least five times. At some intellectual level we know this is true, because this is the way the Law delivers on our intentions.

In The Science of Mind 37.2-3, Holmes wrote, “The Thing, then, works for us by working through us and is us, always. It cannot work for us in any other way. It spreads Itself over the whole universe and shouts at us from every angle, but It can become powerful to us ONLY WHEN WE RECOGNIZE IT AS POWER. (yes, he’s yelling). We cannot recognize that It is, while we are believing that It is not.”

When the Board spoke their personal covenant on November 26th, these were some of the things they affirmed:

  • I demonstrate my commitment through active involvement in the activities of the Center for Spiritual Living Tucson, and demonstrate, to the best of my ability, a spiritually principled lifestyle.
  • I regularly attend Center for Spiritual Living Tucson’s Sunday Celebrations, and its other activities and functions.
  • I warmly greet all who enter CSL Tucson’s doors.
  • I consistently and fully tithe my time, talent and treasure.
  • I attract new members to our congregation and encourage others to bring new people.
  • I regularly acknowledge the loving service of CSL Tucson’s staff and volunteers.
  • I actively engage in my own spiritual growth, take classes at CSL Tucson and do my spiritual practices.
  • I enthusiastically participate in, and encourage others in, voluntary service.

Since we are all connected at a level beyond our human understanding, what do you think would happen if everyone who chooses to be part of CSL Tucson decided to affirm even a few of these statements? This is not ‘my’ Center, nor is it your ‘Board’s’ Center, this Center belongs to every single individualized Divine Spark who chooses to walk through our doors and participate with us. Each of us is integral to the full functioning of this Center.   We’d hardly have enough space to accommodate the people clamoring to join with us each Sunday morning in the auditorium at The Gregory School, the Wednesday night classes would be overflowing, and the small groups would be buzzing with excitement and verve.

What shall we do with this All Power that lives as us, in and through us, All Together?   What should we do with this magnificent engine of All Good? I think we should do something wonderful, heart-expanding and amazing. How about we share this tremendous quality of life that we know as already ours?  You in?

— Rev Janis Farmer

Opulent Fruitfulness

Opulent Fruitfulness

Last Monday night in the 8-week Meditation class, the student-led meditation was a mantra meditation. The word that came to me to work with was ‘fruitfulness’. What an odd word. I haven’t really thought of that word since I read the Old Testament for Metaphysical Bible while I was in ministerial school. The phrase that came to my mind, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” (Genesis 1:28, KJV).

So what other ways am I, and are we, fruitful or full of fruits? Well, there’s the fruit of the spirit. (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22, NIV)). Many of the students who completed the How of Happiness book study this past Wednesday night felt that their time and energy expenditure was fruitful, because they learned that they could increase their own personal experience of happiness and contentment within themselves by working from their strengths. Holmes talks about bearing much fruit when he writes (The Science of Mind 481.7), “When we express a greater livingness, then Life is more completely expressing Itself through us. A barren tree does not express the principle of abundance and production, so a life barren of good does not fully express the divine ideal.

This past weekend, I had this joy of traveling to East Phoenix CSL with our practitioner students so they could take their oral panels and become licensed Religious Science Practitioners (that’s what RScP stands for). Two of them are now authorized to wear the purple stole of service. We will recognize them next Sunday. The third gets to continue to grow in her skills and consciousness and has the opportunity to re-panel next year. It was a sweet, and bittersweet, experience for me, and I think for them. It is easy to remember those days of nervousness and assessment; that feeling of being questioned and challenged about those important and seemingly intangible qualities that set practitioners apart from the gifted and talented lay practicers of our philosophy. For the two who completed their licenses, their spiritual consciousness was recognized and celebrated by the paneling ministers and practitioners who vetted their qualifications and skills. For the one who gets to continue her own personal deep inquiry, she was immersed in love, recognition and appreciation, and encouraged to stay the course. Each of these women, and I, experienced that sweet, and bitter, moment of fruitfulness that can come with certain experiences. I feel blessed and uplifted by these three powerful, prayerful women.

This past Sunday, I spoke about how we often choose to constrain our own experience of freedom, which is a secret code word for fruitfulness, when we unthinkingly or unwittingly accept the directives of others, and do not choose our own life experiences. We got to look at hidden beliefs around the necessity of struggle for the experience of success and the ever present critic, who lives in our own head and decides whether we are good enough, or not.   Spoiler alert: The critic is mistaken. Societal pressures would prefer to keep us as compliant consumers, and that’s not what we are here for. (Lest you think, I am against consuming, that’s not what this is about. It is about you, and me, choosing intentionally and not being led by someone else’s ideas of who we need to be.) To quote Robert Heinlein, “Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite.”   You get to decide what freedom, and fruitfulness looks like for you, and also to change your mind when that particular path no longer works for you and you realize you have a new and better idea. (The audio of this past Sunday’s talk should be uploaded onto the website within the week. Check the link, here.)

In August we are going to start a community wide book-study using Edward Viljoen’s Ordinary Goodness. A limited number of books are available at the book table. You can also read along on your e-reader if that is more your style. Books are not required, but if you desire to follow along, or read ahead, they are available. We will explore how each of us can experience our own greater fruitfulness, in simple powerful ways, through expressing and experiencing goodness, kindness, compassion and faith.  Stay the course. Notice, experience, and enjoy your own fruitful life expression, as you.

Thank you for being part of our community.

By Rev Janis

Invisible Abundance

Since becoming a student in Prosperity Plus II, I have thought a lot about abundance and prosperity. In agreeing to tithe, I found myself contending against a fear of “not enough”. It has been a liberating experience working to conquer that fear and grow my faith in Divine Abundance. I have found, right outside my window, a perfect parable of infinite Substance.

A month ago, I noted that I spend many of my waking hours at my work desk where I am blessed to have a window looking out on a tree and a distant view of the mountains. Wanting to share an experience of nature, I purchased a bird feeder that consists of a holder for up to three different cakes of bird food. I hung the feeder in the Palo Verde tree outside my window and waited for the birds to come to enjoy the suet, nuts and seeds.

Days passed by without any visitors to my bird feeder. I was puzzled because the clerk at the Wild Bird store assured me the birds would go crazy for the different seeds and nuts, especially during this season of hungry baby birds. Every day I kept watch on the tree and more than four weeks passed with the feeder remaining untouched. It looked quite forlorn just hanging there offering food without any notice.

Then I took a week away from the office. When I returned, I was startled to see a mad flock of birds at the feeder with the seed and suet cakes nearly decimated. Sometime last week, the birds discovered the bounty of food in that tree. Tiny sparrows and red headed finches battled for access to the hanging feeder, pecking their competitors away from the food.

Seeing how quickly the food was disappearing, I went back to the store and purchased a second feeder with more cakes of varied bird food that included cranberries, mealworms and smaller seeds for the tiny birds to peck. The presence of the second feeder in the tree did nothing, however, to lessen the competition for spots at the feeder. Such is the way of nature.

It seems to me the bird food hanging unnoticed in the tree is like the infinite Substance of Spirit all around us. That invisible Substance is available to us with the ease of a thought, and can manifest anything we desire or choose. It is always there but unless we recognize it, the Goodness remains untouched. Once we become aware of how we can tap into Divine Abundance, we realize we do not have to struggle for our prosperity. As Jesus said, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” The birds do not know there is an invisible giver behind the reappearing seed cakes, or that they need not worry about sharing the abundance, but I now have a constant reminder, right outside my window, that Spirit is my Source and that I am eternally supported.

By Leah Hamilton

My Prancing Doe

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure“– Unknown

Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality” – Emily Dickinson

Mother tiptoed away in the dark and drowsy wee hours of the morning when most are enveloped in slumber. Sleeping a rare sleep, one so deep and luxurious, I fought waking like a Grizzly Bear might fight to extend her winter’s hibernation.

What had began as a faint irritation far off in the distance; the ring tone of the phone gradually became louder and more insistent. Failing to reach the phone in time, I hit “redial” and was connected to Research Medical Center’s stroke unit in Kansas City. Mother was in Cardiac Arrest; the nightshift docs were giving CPR. They wanted to know my wishes, should they continue?

Fighting my desire to sink back into the depths of night and trying to kick start my thinking brain, the first words I could muster, with lots of pauses in between, were “Well … Hmmm … She has a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate order)…” Their response: “Do you want us to stop the CPR then?” Me: “Hmmm …..well …., she has a DNR so ummm, … Yes, I guess you should stop.”

There was not even a full minute to mull over or think through the ramifications of this decision, not a second to grasp or to cling. A decision was needed that very moment; it could not be undone and would change everything. Mom had tiptoed away after a stroke four days earlier. She had been playing the piano.

The day after the funeral, I visited mom’s grave. As I started down the lane to the family plot, I noticed a young deer literally dancing, a young prancing doe dancing as if to a lovely melody.

Mind you, I know Mount Moriah cemetery. I’ve been there for funerals and each year to commemorate Memorial Day with mother; decorating the graves of family members on both sides from her stash of colorful plastic flowers. I had never seen a deer in all my years there.

I knew immediately this dancing playful deer was my mother’s spirit, now set free. Mother was showing me her spirit – joyful and boundless, free from her paralyzed by stroke and pain-filled body.

Another ‘sign’ from mom came once I had arrived back in Tucson and started back to work. Quite extraordinarily, in broad daylight, a mother javelina and her baby curled up and sleeping for hours with their noses pressed against my office window.

My mother’s death unfolded perfectly, for her and for me. Given the chance, I would not rewrite this memory. It’s a perfect memory of my mother’s perfect life song.

By Holly Baker

Copy Watches

More than 15 years ago, I worked for about a month as a technical consultant at a petrochemical plant in Singapore. I was filling in for a colleague who had been working there for over a year straight and he needed a little time off to take care of some family business. While I was there, I had a number of incredible and amazing experiences. One of the oddest, besides eating chicken feet, durian fruit and grilled stingray on a banana leaf ‘plate’, was learning about an entire subtext of ‘copy watches’. These weren’t knock-off watches that you could possibly mistake for the original; they were obvious fakes that bore the label of the high-end manufacturer. The watch I purchased, for about $20 US, might have approximated the quality of a Timex with a faux-leather band, but the logo on the watch face clearly said Rolex. The street-hawkers weren’t pretending that they were selling Rolex watches, they were very clear with their cries, “Copy Watch, Copy Watch, Copy Watch…”

So, why would anyone buy a knock-off that wasn’t even a believable knock-off? For me, it was a memory aide that connected me to this place that was on the one hand incredibly familiar, and on the other hand inconceivably foreign. For some, I imagine it was a way to thumb their noses at the economic aristocracy that felt compelled to flash their legitimate high-end watches and such. Singapore was such a cultural mixed bag. For me, my copy watch also served as a reminder of what is true, beautiful and powerful, and what is facade, imaginary, sheep-like behavior, or simply made up.

I was handed a book this week. Really, I was handed a book this week to pass on to someone else. It wasn’t meant for me. (Ha Ha!) That book, The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna, is a stunning, playful reminder that we continuously get to choose between following the crowd, doing what is respectable, or concurring with the ever-present shoulds and ought-tos, and actually acting on that deepest creative desire of our essential being. Even when we don’t choose, we choose by not choosing. I’ve always hated that part, because every time I try to shirk my responsibility for myself, it sticks like gum on the bottom of my sandals on a hot day.

Last night we began our 10-week foray into Mary Morrissey’s Prosperity Plus II materials. For those of you who have participated in this activity before, you know it isn’t actually about collecting money for the center, or the dreaded “T” word — tithing. I won’t lie and say that tithing is not a component of the class, because it is. From the very first video Mary talks about conducting your own experiment of tithing, just for the duration of the class, to find out if choosing to share of your financial abundance increases your general, and specific, experience of abundance in your life. For many participants, it does. It is not too late to join the class. Just call or e-mail the office and we can order class materials for you. The full set of materials, 10 CDs and workbook, is priced at $50. If you have taken the class before and simply want a blank workbook to use in retaking the class, we can order that for you for $15.

So what does this have to do with copy watches? We can attempt to be a copy of someone else, try to blend in with the crowd, pretend to be invisible or inconsequential, or we can recognize our own gifts, desires and talents and be seen as the unique and magnificent expressions that are known by our own names. Scary, I know, and yet, I believe it is a game worth playing.

To act is to modify the shape of the world — Jean-Paul Sartre

During the month of April, we continue to talk about discovery, creation and re-creation. With the energies of the holidays of Easter and Passover upon us, why not make use of this inherently creative time to break out from your own bondage into freedom, and enjoy your own resurrection?

by Rev Janis Farmer

It’s Good To Be Queen

As part of my job I frequently visit kids in custody at the Juvenile Detention Center. To soften the impact of the stark institution, the administration lets kids paint murals on the walls and memorialize their educational achievements with painted handprints. There are also many inspirational quotes on the walls of those long hallways. One quote blazes in iridescent gold paint and I look at it on each visit. It says: Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision is just passing time. Vision with action can change the world! Lately this quote reminds me that my choices, too, create my experience of life.
In Victoria Castle’s workshop, she described two ways people tend to deal with their problems. Some people jump into action and busily do, do, do things to address issues while others take a passive and reflective approach to their problems. So, as in the quote above, some people just pass time by inefficient action and others just live in their heads and daydream. I happen to be the type of person who defaults to dreaming away inside my head, not effectively handling things. Victoria taught us a technique that works for both types of people. We can effectively address problems by managing our “state”, our internal response to circumstances. We can be in our bodies, breathe and remember our purpose and choose to be unaffected by outside conditions. Our state is where our sovereignty lies.
Likewise, in her Sunday message last week, Reverend Janis pointed out the importance of conscious choices. She said it is our responsibility is to pick what we want to experience or risk getting the default result based on race tendency of the Collective Unconscious. So, for example, we are not at the mercy of inherited health tendencies. We decide. If we pick and do not like the result we are free to pick again. To consciously choose is to exercise freedom and sovereignty in our lives.
I recognize my challenge is to get out of my head, to stop being passive and to exercise my freedom by making conscious choices and manifesting my desires. I get to be the sovereign of my own life. As a former people-pleaser, I had to learn that being sovereign means acting on my values, beliefs and intuition without seeking permission or approval from the outside world. To be sovereign is to be Self-reliant. In his book, Spiritual Liberation, Michael Beckwith said: “We are, each of us, kings and queens sitting on the throne of consciousness ruling our lives.” As I exercise my faith in Spirit I no longer feel fear about making decisions and acting on them. There are no limits to what is possible in God, but Spirit can only act through me. I must couple my vision with action if I want to change my world, and then ‘the’ world.

by Leah Hamilton

Changing My Relationship With Water

“I don’t need easy, just possible …. and if you have faith anything is possible, anything at all.”  — Soul Surfer, Bethany Hamilton

Many summers ago, while visiting family friends at an apartment complex, I sat on a lounge chair in the pool area while my parents stood a few feet away engaged in adult conversations.  Overwhelmed with boredom, the polished reflection of the shimmering Sun swaying in the swimming pool captured my seven-year-old imagination.  Without any of the adults noticing, I rose to my feet and systemically placed one foot in front of the other and walked along the edge of the swimming pool.  My attention was focused on balance and perfect poise as I delicately took each step with exact accuracy.  Uncertain of how it happened, I momentarily deviated from my methodical stepping, lost my balance and plunged into the deep end of the swimming pool.

Instantly, I was consciously aware of drifting downward towards the bottom of the swimming pool.  I was also aware of my Dad’s quick reaction of jumping into pool and lifting me out of the water.  Once I was out of the pool, my Mother wrapped a towel around me and I felt the warmth of her embrace.  It was not until I stood back and looked into the faces of both of my parents that I realized how frightened they were by the unfolding chain of emotional events.  From that day forward, I never had any inclination to learn how to swim or any desire to get near a pool of water.

I have always enjoyed the kinetic energy that is naturally generated from being in the immediate nearness of the Ocean.  The mysteries of the endless waves and the massive grandeur of the Ocean soothes my soul.  Nevertheless, in all its majestic wonders I could not allow myself to relax and go into the water.  I ensured my safety by remaining on the edges of the shore.  My favorite stress releasing activities were skydiving and driving big trucks.  The idea of jumping into a pool of water sunk my heart into despair.

“If you want to learn to swim jump into the water.On dry land, no frame of mind is ever going to help you.” — Bruce Lee

Recently during a meditation, I experienced a vision of myself relaxed and calmly floating in water.  During my meditation, I felt confident and supported as I floated in an open body of crisp blue water.  In that moment, I felt the mental distractions of hydrophobia melt away.  Faith of myself and of my abilities as the Greater Me opened the doors to the possibility of learning how to swim.  As a matter of fact, this past week I took a brave step towards making my meditative vision a reality and I enrolled myself into adult swimming lessons.

The most amazing part of this new venture of my life is that the day after I committed myself to taking swimming lessons, I received an invitation to a pool party! I smiled as I graciously accepted the invitation.  Somehow, I know that this day and every day is the start to a beautiful and fearless summer that has never been swam before.

So It Is!  By Carla Hodge

My New Activism

Over the past few weeks I’ve talked to many people groaning over the outcome of the Presidential election and fearing catastrophe for our country. I’ve been asked to participate in a march or some other protest as an activist. I respond that I decline to be discouraged because I hold faith that everything works out for good and that even painful change leads to greater possibilities. Usually, my words are greeted with skepticism and sometimes frank astonishment or criticism. But I know from our teachings that I own the responsibility to construct the story of my reality, so I’m not choosing any story of doom and gloom. Instead, I choose to stand on the truth of All One, All God, All Good. I strive to see the good in every person and every event, and to live from my internal divine guidance and core values. I call this “quiet activism” because it is so different from the way society, under the influence of collective consciousness, deals with things that seem to be “bad”. Instead of protests, petitions and marches, I choose prayer as my method of activism.

Over these same few weeks, I’ve reviewed my core values just as I know many others are doing at our Center. I have examined my actions to see where they were not congruent with my values. I meditated and I prayed. I got several “intuitive imperatives” that came in hard and fast. The first was that Compassion means, for me, means that I shift my diet and become a vegan. I cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the suffering of other beings, human or animal, that results from factory food production. The second imperative came a few days after I learned the news of Reverend Donald’s retirement plans. Love moved me to volunteer to sit on our Board of Trustees to help our Center navigate the change.

None of these decisions have been easy for me to implement. For example, I swiftly discovered, as a vegan, I can’t grab a quick bite to eat anywhere ever again. I am required to plan and be far more present about the food I eat. As a new Board member, I have new duties and meetings to add to my already busy schedule. My new activism is far from comfortable. When in doubt, I pray.

I believe the state of the world of our experience reflects our consciousness. If I want to see a world of love, plenty and right action, I must hold these things in my own consciousness first. As Michael Jackson sang, change starts with the man (or woman) in the mirror. My new activism is to believe one prayer of Truth can change everything, and then I pray.

by Leah Hamilton

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