Graves’ First Law: “Use It All”

Driving home after potluck today and pondering all I had heard during services this morning, I reflected on a comment that Rev Donald made during his talk. Graves First Law: Use It All. That would have to include the good, the bad and the very ugly. The good is pretty easy, unless you are like my stepdad who doesn’t think he deserves a fabulous life. He does, but he has to own that realization, and since he doesn’t, it is done unto him as he believes and his life is less than wonderful.

The bad and the ugly take a bit more work. So let’s see what I can do with this. The other morning I woke up with an intensely sharp pain in both my right wrist and my right ankle and I knew I hadn’t done anything particularly physical that would have created that specific effect, so I got really quiet and asked the question “What’s this about?” The almost instantaneous response was that I was feeling severely limited in my movement and my choices. That’s what was manifesting in my physiology. Once I named and owned the feeling, the physical sensations disappeared within moments and have not returned. It didn’t have to be a big, gut-wrenching deal; it was as simple as a change of heart-mind. If there’s no baggage or history that needs to be shifted or cleared (that has more stamina than the present awareness), then it really can be that simple.

What about the very ugly? What about someone misrepresenting me and disrespecting me to others? That’s pretty ugly. And it happens. What then? Well, obviously to tell the truth and clear the air, cleaning up the mess as best I can without thrashing or trashing the other, because that doesn’t serve either. But then what? Forgiveness? Oh, that. If I carry around and magnify a hurt, then I’m the one hurting myself. The other isn’t hurting me, though they must be hurting pretty bad to do and say those things about me. To forgive another who seems to have wronged me can take a good bit more prayer and journaling work on my part, because there’s a part of me that would like to have a gigantic pity-party and play victim. The Adult of God in me, as me, knows that I’m never a victim. I’ve chosen to participate in this game for some unknown reason and I may never know exactly why. And that doesn’t matter either.

Taking the very ugly further, Rev Donald clarified his First Law by adding, “It’s all there for our good, so use it. It’s either there for our awakening, or for our joy.” Rev Donald suggests another possibility: “Look for the gift in it.” Finding the gift in misrepresentation and/or disrespect takes me even deeper, to see what I’m calling to myself, furthering my journey along my path of awakening and expansion. Maybe it’s to recognize that I have an old belief that I need to be punished. Perhaps I just need to further clarify my boundaries in my interactions with others.

That’s my take on the idea. What’s yours?

— Janis

Janet and Jeanie

My sister Janet died in the middle of February. On the day she died, I opened to this poem by St. John of the Cross from the book, Love Poems From God:

My soul is a candle that burned away the veil;

Only the glorious duties of light I now have.

The sufferings I knew initiated me into God.

I am a holy confessor for men.

When I see their tears running across their cheeks and falling into His hands,

What can I say to their great sorrow that I too have known.

The soul is a candle that will burn away the darkness,

Only the glorious duties of love we will have.

The sufferings I knew initiated me into God.

Only His glorious cares I now have. (p. 305)

In the last days of her life, Janet was in a tremendous amount of pain as her bones disintegrated from bone cancer. With any movement, she would moan in pain. From brain cancer and the morphine, she really wasn’t able to talk much, and not like before. As I was with her, I would sometimes think, “Oh my gawd. I want to do all the inner and outer work and the healing and growing that I need to in order not to end up dying the way she is.” The beautiful thing about it was that she knew these stages were coming, and as Rumi says, she allowed herself to die before she died. She contacted everyone that she knew and cleaned up any lingering unfinished business or wounds. We didn’t have much to clean up and I always I felt so treasured. She saw the best in me, the beauty of my inner bring, and she forgave the rest or else gave it no energy. Ultimately, she did that for everyone.

I think that through this very powerful experience, Janet burned away huge amounts of karma and illusion. When I attune to her now, I see her in mists of golden and white light as she prays for her family, her loved ones, and all of humanity. She surrendered deeply to Love, dying to her old sense of separation, and she is now reborn into an awareness of what Rev. Donald said in his prayer on Sunday, “I now know that all is Love.”

With her death and transition, something new was born in me as well. It is a deep desire and commitment to love and to see the highest good in everyone; to forgive, so that I can be free to let Love Itself flow through me in the way that my sister Janet learned to do. She truly took a “Leap into Love,” surrendering everything, and as a result, experienced who she really is and Life Itself. For her modeling of that to me, I am deeply grateful. I just hope to do it without going through what she did, but instead, clean up and transform my life every time I remember to remember that it is all Love. In that way, I hope to take on “the glorious duties of Love” that St. John of the Cross wrote about in his poem. I want to do it by choice, without being faced with a terminal illness as she was.

It is not easy to even contemplate, but through her, I can experience the glorious end result. For this parting gift, I give my deepest thanks.

– Jeanie Underwood

I Am Love

I am Love. Will you let me in?

To have me in your heart is to receive an essential element of life. Just as your lungs need air – you need Love.

I am Love and I’m not blind. I love you as you are today, unconditionally – a precious soul in a perfect life. I am God’s gift to you. Accept and trust me and allow yourself to take me in without fear that I will leave.

I make life worth living and inspire you to reach out and perpetuate the eternal connection with others so you all shine like candles in the darkness of doubt, fear, loneliness and uncertainty.

To express your unselfish best unites and transforms lack and limitation into all possibilities – ever growing, ever rising – miraculously new in every moment. This is Love.

Love is the key that opens channels blocked with resentments. It brings the fences down and opens ways to see anew without boundaries. Love grants wishes for forgiveness and makes dreams of a better tomorrow come true.

Can you stand and sing of beauty, filling empty spaces with your own vibration? This is Love.

Imagine what it would be like to see only the best in everything. Without judging, analyzing, and defining people, places, situations and things as positive and negative, simply make the decision to lift the things you do not understand about yourself and others up for the Sacred explanation, for it expresses solutions through Love.

Notice and feel the numerous moments in your day when I lift your spirits, your thoughts and your gait with kind and encouraging words and random acts you perceive as miraculous strokes of good luck.

I am Love and I am never wasted. I am never offered with limits and conditions. If care is given selfishly, I’m not there.

You cannot hear a child’s laughter without me being there. I bring the sound of angels singing to the tune of child’s prayer, for I am Love.

I reside in the unprotected layers within your heart, stirring emotions you thought were hidden under all your masks and shields. Even if you hurt, I am there.

My essence will shine brightly through your soul in every unselfish moment and tender expression of kindness. When you show Love, the angels dance to the rhythm of your heart and blessings abound.

So, Beautiful Child of God that you are, make this your quest – to express unconditional love and grant forgiveness; to live humbly with gratitude and joy in your heart; and graciously accept the gift of God’s rich blessings.

I am Love, God is Love and so are you!

– Serina French

Being in Peace

Today’s posting was written by a friend of mine, who captured a sentiment I desire for us all. Enjoy! And be in Peace…Rev Donald

I had an experience this week that was both remarkable and rare, at least for me.

I was at peace.

I was driving around the town where I live, a place I have grown to love as if it were another member of my family, my window was down and the bright sun was shining on my arm, and I thought to myself, that I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to achieve, no unmet dragons to slay or damsels to save, and for that moment and several moments after, I was at peace.

Now I know that peace is a difficult state of mind to cultivate. God knows I’ve tried my whole life either to find it, or keep it when it comes. But here it was, almost the antithesis of my personal mission, which is to do something remarkable with my life; to attain the impossible, and win the prize at the end.

And so I began to look into what allowed these few moments of peace. And this is what I found:

Peace is who I am – I am not the gerbil on the treadmill. I am free.

Peace is not a destination – It doesn’t come because you’ve been good, or because you’ve finally arrived. It comes with the realization that letting go is more fun than holding on.

Peace comes when you stop looking for it – You can look all you want, but eventually you come back to the moment you’re in, and the sheer joy of being alive and aware of it.

Peace is not a weapon, a political ideology, or a reason to leave – There are some things in life that are just fine as they are, with no need to label, change, or improve them. Peace is like that.

Peace is available when wanting ends – Nothing needs to be added or taken away, for me to be happy and at peace, right now.

If peace is the light that enters the room of my mind, then that room is brighter today. I can see more opportunities when I look out my windows, and I’m more willing to risk, that it might disappear, or even be greater than I ever imagined it could be.

My wish for you is to be at peace.

– Michael Davis

Where I Look From Determines What I See

Say what?

When riding to a work site with a colleague, he was bemoaning how nothing was working the way he wanted it to and how unfair life was. It was his favorite litany, his well-worn groove, describing how he experienced his life. The next thing I knew, a sparrow fatally dive-bombed itself into the windshield of our rental car. Startling to say the least, it reinforced my colleague’s perception about everything wrong in his life.

While stopped at a red light today, I saw a single dandelion growing in a sidewalk crack. It was perfectly formed, tall and proud. Glorious. It brought to mind an incident with the homeowners association (HOA) where I used to live. Texas was having a drought then too; we were on water restrictions.

One November day, I got a nasty-gram from the HOA about the weeds in my front flowerbed. I looked. It did need weeding, so I did. In December I got another nastier nasty-gram on the same topic. That letter I ignored, because I had weeded and thought it looked pretty good for a flowerbed in winter. In January, I got a very irate nasty-gram which said that they were going to send someone out to weed my flowerbeds, and send me the bill, because obviously I was ignoring them.

So I went outside and looked again, determined to see what they saw. Eventually it hit me. They weren’t recognizing my flowers as flowers because they were different than everyone else’s flowers. What I was recognizing as native plants, they saw only as nasty weeds. I went inside crafted a letter, letting them know I wasn’t ignoring them, I had in fact weeded in November upon receipt of their first letter. I also explained that I had worked with a horticulturist who specialized in native plants that could prosper in the absence of supplemental irrigation, since we had been limited in our water usage for a while. I offered to have this horticulturist speak with them about plantings that would be better for the environment, if they were interested. The silence deafened.

I also recognize the truth of this viewpoint when it comes to interpersonal situations. If I believe someone is basically on my side, then I am more likely to take any apparently challenging comments as useful and if I believe someone does not have my best interest at heart, I am much more likely to take it badly. Its just human nature, and at the same time, its a decision over which I have huge choice about.

As Master Teacher Jesus said, and Holmes so often quoted, “it is done unto you as you believe”. It is this perspective that I strive to look from and my belief about the world and how it works that determines what I see in my world.

Is this true for you, too?

– Janis

I Want That!

We think we know what we want. But do we, really?

Conscious wants are those things we are aware of wanting in our lives. Unconscious wants are those things that we are unaware of wanting, which can include things we say we don’t want. Unconscious wants might be old thought patterns, possibly survival patterns that may or may not serve us any more. They typically have strong emotions attached to them: fear, rage, grief, loss, anger, etc. Metaphysics teaches that a thought plus a feeling yields a demonstration, an outcome. Both the thought and the feeling can be either constructive or destructive. Thought is the filter and emotion is the mechanism that helps create the object of our focus, and both operate with the Principle (the law of choice and consequence) that’s always working.

If an unconscious want is in conflict with a conscious want, and especially if it has strong emotion attached to it, the conscious want is overridden. William James accurately observed, “The unconscious mind rules the world.” As an example, we may consciously desire to be prosperous, but if we have an unconscious belief in the need to struggle, or an unconscious want to prove our lack of deservedness, then the unconscious want neutralizes our potential and our desire for abundance.

Thinking about unconscious wants in the same way we think about conscious wants may seem confusing at first. Consider, “Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed,” from the Bible. An unconscious defamatory want can be viewed as something that wants to be recognized and healed because it is inconsistent with the Truth. Therefore, it reveals itself in order to be recognized and healed. If we add to this, the quote from Job, “What I fear the most is upon me.”, we have another piece of the puzzle. Taken together, we have some clues about the power of unconscious wants.

If we start by viewing experiences and conditions in Life as only feedback, feedback about our thoughts and nothing more, then we can take the emotional intensity out of them. We can choose to look at our experiences simply as information instead of making negative conclusions about ourselves. Our tendency to conclude that our experience is right/wrong, good/bad, etc., or to conclude that we are right/wrong, good/bad, etc., does not really help us. When we pretend that a condition is more than just feedback, we tend to forget that we always have choice, and that we can change our thinking, which is the real cause of the condition in the first place. Our outcomes are nothing more than our own thoughts manifested; however, because of our tendency to judge them, we experience victimhood, suffering, etc. From this shifted viewpoint of “It’s only feedback,” we can look at our experiences as nothing more than feedback and not empower this other stuff.

We are always at choice, have always been at choice and the Law always says “Yes”. Can you recognize and empower what you really want? Obviously, the answer is “Yes” again. So the next question becomes, “Will you?”

If It Ever Works, It Always Works

Dr. Ernest Holmes wrote, “If Principle ever works, It always works.” In plain language, Principle is the law of cause and effect, choice and consequence. If we really want what we say we want in Life, our part is to keep our minds focused on what we want, rather than on what we don’t want. This is not always easy and sometimes it seems virtually impossible.

The world clamors for attention, distracting us from the Truth and from our real desires. However, the secret to peace of mind, health, emotional balance and all the good in life is to keep our minds focused on these things, rather than their opposites. This way, Principle can work for us for these positive supporting ideas instead of for us for something else.

The swamp opossum Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Jesus said, “Our only enemies are in our own households,” (i.e. in our own minds). If we can see these so called enemies as nothing more than misjudgments or misperceptions, then we can choose again and experience a different outcome. We can embrace beauty, magnificence, power, intelligence, joy, and discover our desired Life in all Its glory.

I heard a song a long time ago. “Nothing is too wonderful to happen, nothing is too good to be true, nothing is too good to last forever, everything is possible to God, through me and you.”

Open your hands, heart and mind and accept more than you ever thought possible. If Principle ever works, It always works, and It’s working right now in you, and it is capable of fulfilling your greatest dreams if, when and as you choose It.

Sunday, 3:11am – Shut Up and Drive

In the wee hours this morning I was reflecting on a conversation with a friend when I blurted out “Shut up and Drive”. It wasn’t intended to be offensive. I wasn’t even intending to say it. I thought the quote “Shut up and Drive” was from the movie ‘Thelma and Louise’. It isn’t. It’s the title of two very, very, very different songs, neither of which I ever remember hearing. I feel like somehow we are each being sandpapered and polished to do *great works* that only we can do. And only we can each do them. I don’t like that thought and yet, at the same time on some level, I feel like its time. And it’s right.

It sounds incredibly big-headed, too big for my britches and some part of me just wants to shrink over to the corner and vanish into the wallboard instead of doing *this thing*, whatever it is. There are times that I feel that Marianne Williamson quote (about being frightened of our own light, our own brilliance) taunting me, chasing me down the street, pointing and laughing. I don’t like it at all and I’d just as soon go iron a shirt, clean a toilet, or something incredibly, routinely and safely, mundane.

And yet…

One Sunday morning some years ago, I spoke at a Spiritualist Church in Houston. A friend had asked me to speak on the Harmonic Concordance and I said, “Sure, why not?” I didn’t even know what it was, but I figured I could pull stuff together. I had taught 7th grade earth science for two years, I could certainly do this. So I started reading and studying and thinking and gathering information and nothing, absolutely nothing would come together. There was no flow, no form, and no sense. As the date got closer, I intensified my striving. Finally the weekend of the talk rolled around and I still had nothing but jumbled words and I was beginning to really sweat over it. The night before the Sunday morning talk, I had only the barest hint of anything and I felt like it was garbage. The morning of the talk, I cobbled together some things, disjointed but adequate and I went and did the talk. I was only relieved when it was over.

And then, being a Spiritualist Church (a completely unknown commodity to me), the host, my friend, asked if anyone had received any messages for anyone else. Several people stood and delivered messages. I became fascinated, completely curious, about what I was observing. Then this diminutive man in this three-piece brown polyester double-knit suit stood up with a message for me, the speaker. So i stood up, as I had seen others do and he said something to the effect of, “You had three angels standing with you when you spoke; the biggest guardian angel I have ever seen, a scruffy drunk Irishman angel and a little blue haired fairy angel. The Irishman angel was shaking his head sadly and said something like, ‘she’s never going to just trust and speak, that she will always have the words she needs.'” I sat down dumbfounded and wrote his words down precisely. I still have the feeling in my body. Holy cow. I heard that challenge, and responded. Never again did I massively prepare a talk – even technical ones. I’d do the charts and graphs and the ubiquitous Powerpoint slides, so I could show people what I had seen, but I never, ever wrote another talk. And it has always worked.

Two owls are hooting outside with each other at this moment. The cadence: one-and-two, three four … who are you not to be? As soon as I write these words, they stop talking to me. This feels like a similar challenge and I don’t know presently where it is headed. With a knot in my stomach, I say ‘yes’.

You?

— Janis

Do You ‘Know’ This?

God Expression
Free Will
Choice
No Accidents
No Blame
No Sin
No Sinners
No Victims.

I claim the door open to remembering who we are, why we chose this Spiritual Center philosophy, what we believe as a philosophy, living from love, and remembering we all agreed to play for what ever it was we agreed to give or receive, and to be made aware of to grow.

Knowing love surrounding and embracing all and everyone, I declare peace, ease, reflection, and acceptance for what each individual brings to the table. Releasing into Universal Mind/Subjective Mind, in the big picture all is already good.

And so it is.

– Lynne Heygster, Practitioner

To Desert the Truth…

Saturday, I dumped a 24 oz cup of scalding hot tea over my hand and down the front of my sweater and pants leg in a coffee shop. It may have splashed on my sandaled, essentially bare feet, or not. I don’t know. The table had wobbled when I set this cup down and the whole cup went over. My first thought was “What??” My second thought was “No.” People around me started reacting, panicking, certain that I had gotten burned. Ummm, no. My pants legs were quite cool, almost chilled. My knuckles were stinging a bit. I looked at them and mentally said ‘No”. It was as if they said ‘Oh, OK.” and they calmed down. There was quite the commotion, and I went up to the counter and told the barista that they needed to remove that table from service because it was dangerous. I got replacement cup of hot tea, and I burned my tongue when I took a sip.

One of my friends tells about one morning when she woke up the muscles in her back seemed to have gone into spasm and seized up. She could hardly walk. She fainted, and when she returned to her senses, she was lying on the floor. When she came to, she was scared and asked the Divine what she should do. She heard, clear as day, ‘to desert the truth in the hour of need is to prove that we do not know the truth.’ (SOM 282.4) Oh that. So she started praying, not in a begging or beseeching or fearful way, but knowing that all was truly well and that she was actually OK. It only took one prayer, said with certainty and conviction. Within 20 minutes or so, she could get up off the floor and walk relatively unencumbered to the kitchen. She had a bruise on her chin from where she hit the floor.

I used to firewalk several times a year. The only time I got burned was the first time I walked, only on the pads of my toes, corresponding to the reflexology points for sinus congestion. My toe pads blistered up slightly, were totally back to normal within 12 hours with no medicinal care on my part (besides washing the dirt and ash off them) and my sinuses stayed totally clear for about six weeks. When I pondered this, I determined that it happened for three reasons. First, so that I would actually believe I had walked on fire; second, so that I would actually believe that the acupressure or reflexology points really were what I thought they were and did what I thought they did, and third, to recognize that I really did have that much control over my reality.

Why would I tell of these events? It isn’t to assert that my friend and I are in any way, remotely, special. It is to point out that we are each and all actually infinitely more capable and responsible for how we handle what happens in our lives, and what we create in our lives, than any of us are actually willing to concede.

Why is that, I wonder?

– Janis Farmer

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