Welcoming The Divine Feminine

The Valley Spirit never dies.
It is the woman, primal Mother,
Her gateway is the root of Heaven and Earth.
It is like a veil, barely seen,
Use it, it will never fail.
— Lao Tzu

I have been participating in a 21-day Meditation practice with Alicia Keys & Deepak Chopra that has made me aware of the Divine Feminine, which is a part of every being, and has often been pushed aside by a more Patriarchal view of many religions.

The Divine Feminine is grounded in spirituality and represents the connection to that part of our consciousness that is responsible for nurturing, intuition and empathy, regardless of our gender.

It is the aspect of ourselves that is associated with creation, community, and sensuality (in a experiential or felt sense rather than in a thinking sense) and collaboration.

The Sacred Feminine is the aspect of the Divine that brings the spark into being through the currents of love that reveal an ocean of Oneness into the multiplicity of all creation.

Through honoring the Sacred Feminine we can find a natural access to spiritual qualities like receptivity, patience, the ability to enter and to care for all of life.

I need to tap into this Divine aspect of my own being and am studying how to do it.

Isn’t it something that we all need to tap into in order to become more balanced and centered in this ongoing Pandemic?

I don’t know about you, but I need all of the above.

–Namaste, Janie

 

A Real Need

Hexagram 49

In the ancient Chinese text, The I-Ching, hexagram 49 is about transformation, metamorphosis, or intentional change. According to this hexagram, there are five considerations for effective change: “A Real Need, Right Timing, The Necessary Support, Unselfish Motives, Avoiding Excesses.” We’ve lived in a period of great change for the past 15+ months. I would be mistaken, and naive, to claim that these were intentional changes for most of us. I would also be naive to assume that most people are consciously choosing to see, or use, these changes as transformational, or an opportunity for personal metamorphosis.

Watching what is going on in our physical experiences, and processing it through the lens of our philosophy, I continue to be reminded that capital-R Reality is not contingent on what is happening in the world ‘in front of my eyes’, but is entirely dependent on my interior awareness. This is not the thinking held by most individuals. It remains a core principle in the teachings of the Science of Mind. It is also not unique to us. Most New Thought teachings look a lot like ours in this way, and mystics of many faiths (Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu) also recognize that what’s on the inside of each one of us determines how we each experience what’s on the outside of us, in our 3-dimensional world.

In last Friday’s daily reading from 365 Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes wrote, I now withdraw my thoughts from the world of confusion and realize that in the One Universal Mind, which is the Mind of God, there is quietude, peace & order. This is Reality…

I come to this great Fountain of Supply at the very center of my being, to absorb that for which I have need, mentally and physically, and I am filled with a joyous sense of the Reality of that which I desire. As I am filled with Reality, I permit It to flow into my world of thought and action, knowing that It brings peace, harmony and order all around me. It flows out into the lives I touch. Where I am, there is peace, order, joy, & harmony for I am One with Reality.

Christian (Jesuit) mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, Joy is the most infallible sign of the Presence of God.

As we move into this next stage of our collective physical existence, we get to contemplate what it means to each of us to re-gather in person, and what it means for/to us to begin to re-engage in an in-person social life in our world. We get to remember where our Reality lies, attend to our own sense of what is ‘right and true’ for us, as well as notice, and manage, our own judgments about others who may feel differently than we do, whether we understand, or agree with, their reasoning, or not.

As more in-person opportunities arise for our congregants and their friends, we’ve seen an unsurprising dip in participation in many of our online activities. We continue talking with our point-of-contact at the school about when they will again allow renters, like us, to use their facilities. Their current tentative open date (always) subject to change, is an in-person return in early September.

The online pop-up book study on Troward’s Dore Lectures has been well attended, with good engagement. Participation in the daily morning practice, which has been *live* for over 400 days straight, continues to drop off. We’re considering reducing the number of days/week the daily practice room is open.

We also progress with acquiring technology (cameras, etc) and the ability to live-stream and broadcast from the auditorium, so that our out-of-town participants, and those who prefer to participate from home, can continue to engage with us.

We get to practice being alive, awake and aware, and conscious of our real needs, our right timing, what necessary support looks like, why we choose to engage as we do and what it means to avoid excesses.

What a joyful opportunity we have to practice and live as our enlightened, enlivened selves!

–Rev Janis

Gardening with Ernest

Guard well this garden of your mind. It is God’s garden of your soul. It is your Garden of Eden wherein may grow your fondest desires and hopes, blossoming into fulfillment.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

When I go out into the yard to plant flowers or pull weeds Ernest Holmes is with me. I think of his using the metaphor of planting ideas like seeds into the fertile soil of the Creative Medium. Seeds are put into the ground, the claim is made, and things grow in “thy time not my time” as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross used to say. Each type of seed has their own germination time. Sunflowers germinate in a week or so, and other plants may take many weeks to germinate.

Sometimes I buy plants from the nursery and when I remove them from the container, and they are root bound. This causes the plant to have stunted growth and it is time to put them in a larger container or in the ground. This is true with human life as well, roots need to spread to become stronger and healthier.

It may be necessary to cultivate your garden, to uproot the weeds and straighten out the rows, planting new seeds – new ideas, broader visions and deeper realizations of life. New aspirations must be bedded here, fertilized with the fervor hope, the conviction of faith, the beauty of wholeness and quietness of peace. Watch your garden carefully, guarded patiently, waiting for a new harvest –
for you shall reap what you have sown.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

When I pull weeds, my mother joins Ernest and me. She would say, “You have to pull out all the quackies,” which meant all of the roots needed to be pulled out. I get my weed digger and loosen the soil around the roots and gently pull. Most roots are surprising long. It makes me think of my doubts and fears, how they seem to resurface even though I thought I had dealt with them. By nurturing my connection with God, and tending to my thoughts, the doubts and fears seem to pop up less and less.

Go often, into your garden. Sitting under the tree of life in cool, quiet communion, you will find fresh inspiration. God will go forth anew too into creation through you.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

I have planted the front yard with sunflowers, hollyhocks and snapdragons. They bring me much joy. And I see my neighbors stop and look at the flowers, which also brings me great joy.

Watch carefully, then, this garden of your soul. Plant there only seeds of happiness, of joy, of peace and of — Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

–Maria

Perspective, Perceptions and Expectations

Like everyone else, I dance, and sometimes wrestle, with my perceptions and my expectations of myself and of others. You bet, I get disappointed when (fill-in-the-blank, it almost doesn’t matter, does it?). Sometimes I have to take myself by the hand and remember that it’s not my job to delineate and define exactly how other people are supposed to live. It’s my job to love them, and cut them some slack when they (fill in the blank). It’s not even my job to get too rigid about exactly how I’m supposed to live. It’s my job to love myself, and cut myself some slack when I fail … and then pick myself up and try again. This is also not to say, I benefit in any way from wallowing in self-pity, self-criticism, or any kind of self-hatred, nor do I benefit by thinking that way about anybody else. Further, it doesn’t let me off the hook about continuing to persevere in living up to the beliefs that I hold dear.

During morning practice the other week, I realized I had been speaking poorly about a basil plant that I bought at a garden center. Every time I watered it, I felt sad that it was so pitiful looking, and I said so. On reflection, there was no surprise that it withered away. Duh.

Dr Ernest Holmes wrote (The Science of Mind 387.1), “The spiral is ever upward. Evolution carries us forward, not backward. Eternal and progressive expansion is its law and there are no breaks in continuity. It seems to me that our evolution is the result of an unfolding consciousness of that which already is, and needs to be realized, to become a fact of everyday life.”

Each and every one of us is forever, even if it doesn’t feel like, seem like it, or look like it, on an upward trending track. This evolution is not measured in individual acts, but is measured in large sweeps of our lives. Are we on a trajectory toward a more positive way of being in the world? Holmes affirmed “Yes”, even if there doesn’t seem to be any evidence at the moment. We may be moving in microscopically small steps, but the direction is always upward and forward. Always.

I’ve been taking a weekly social evolution class through an organization based in Amsterdam. The theory is that people, and groups, are always evolving towards more complex ways of being. They are pushed by what happens in their lives until they are pulled by their mental models. I first came across this theory, which is called Spiral Dynamics, when I was in ministerial school in 2012, and thought it was the clearest explanation of human psychology at both the level of individuals, and of groups, that I had ever seen.

The model’s originator, Clare W. Graves wrote, “When the individual is finally able to see themselves and the world around them with clear cognition, they find a picture far more pleasant. Visible in unmistakable clarity, and devastating detail, is the human’s failure to be what they might be. This revelation causes them to leap out in search of a way of life and system of values which will enable them to be more than they have been. They seek a foundation of self-respect, which will have a value system rooted in knowledge and cosmic reality where they express themselves so that all others, all beings, can continue to exist. Their values now are of a different order from those at previous levels. They arise not from selfish interest but from the recognition of the magnificence of existence and the desire that it shall continue to be.”

He also wrote, “Damn it all, a person has a right to be who he is.” Anytime I wish someone to be different than they are, or myself to be different than I am, I get to take a step back and re-look at my expectations. Almost certainly what has happened is that I have forgotten that everybody has a right to be who they are, and learn from whatever life experiences they’re having. Thankfully, it’s not my job to choreograph their life, and it’s not my right to critique it.

And so, after this great big attitude adjustment, I circle back to Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements and remind myself what’s actually within my own personal scope. “Be impeccable with my word” (Don’t speak against myself or others), “Take nothing personally” (Nothing others do, or say, has anything to do with me), “Don’t make assumptions” (Ask, speak, and don’t assume anything), “Always do your best” (Remember that everyone already is doing their best, including me.).

Reframing of my perceptions, perspective and expectations is always in order.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Got Mom?

As most of you know, I am the mother of 2 boys. My oldest son David recently turned 30.

Madeline’s son David

He has brain damage and a severe handicap.

Since about the age of 3 David has needed a wheelchair, which is nothing any mother wants for their child. I have always felt deep sadness that my son needs a wheelchair.

I remember the perky little physical therapist bouncing around with such great excitement, paperwork in her hands, “David’s insurance is going to cover his 1st wheelchair! Aren’t you excited? David’s going to get a wheelchair!”

As I responded I began to cry, “No this is nothing to be excited over.” My son needs a wheelchair.

She viewed it as kind of like ordering a new car from the dealership. “You get to pick out the colors!”

I didn’t feel that way. I still don’t feel that way even after ordering his next one about 10 years later and so forth. I’ve become an expert on non-motorized wheelchairs through the years, yet I still don’t like them but that’s a whole different story.

This story is about a personal experience I had with a mother, 25 years ago, in Tucson. An experience I know I will never forget. I had this experience because I am a mother of a handicapped child who uses a wheelchair. I have always wanted to submit my experience to Chicken Soup for the Soul, or a letter to the editor of the Tucson newspaper, to honor this mother on Mother’s Day.

I’m glad I can share this story with all of you.

I was standing in the checkout line in a grocery store. David was about 5 years old seated in his wheelchair.

In front of us was a mother holding a baby on her hip with one arm, using her other arm to empty the groceries from her shopping cart onto the conveyor belt. Standing alongside her was her son who was probably about 4 years old. He was pulling on her leg to get her attention, looking back at us and saying, “Mom! Look! There is a boy in a wheelchair!”

I slightly cringed and pretended not to notice. It was a very awkward feeling. A feeling I had only a couple years experience with.

She said something to him that I couldn’t quite hear. Neither did the boy. She continued to remove the items from her cart with one hand, rather methodically, baby on hip, never looking back at us.

The boy continued pulling on her and now at the same time pointing at us, and with great urgency continuing to say, “Mom! Look! There’s a boy in a wheelchair!”

She continued removing the groceries from her cart, never looking back at us and repeated what she had said a moment earlier.

This time I heard what she said, “Did you say Hi?”

The boy stepped over close to David, looked directly at him and smiled. They were now face-to-face. He raised his hand in motion and said, “Hi!”

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful Mothers reading this.

Madeline Pallanes

 

Life As An Emerging Force

Writing a newsletter article during tax season is a challenge. I was excused from the rotation through April 15, not anticipating that the deadline would be extended to May 17. So, my name came up again. And then I realized that I would be able to share part of my final presentation for the Roots class as my article. So here goes …

For Roots, we studied Emerson, Troward, and Hopkins. I was struck by their focus on the insistence of life as an emerging force. I had an onion in the kitchen that had sprouted, and I was growing it. I showed everyone on Zoom. I do not have a green thumb and, sadly, it did not transplant well.

Another example of emerging life was a trip to White Water Draw to see the Sandhill Cranes. The website estimated that there were 20,000 this year, a record. We had been talking about the Sandhill Cranes in morning meditation and at the Community Envisioning. We had a map of the sites where they usually fed. On March 13, Saturday, Chris and I were up and out of the house at 4:45am. Immediately before we arrived at White Water Draw, we saw formations of Cranes flying away. When we go to the Draw, it was empty. We spent the morning going to the locations on the map with no luck. A breakfast burrito in Willcox and we were back home. The following Monday, we arose at 3:00 and were on the road by 3:45. We arrived at White Water Draw at 5:30 and could see the Cranes before they left for the day. Over the next hour, the noise of the roosting Cranes grew and grew as they began to take off for the day. Although there were campers parked up in the parking area, we were the only ones at the pond watching the Cranes. It was magnificent. I share a 3:47 minute video of our experience. It was wonderful. We saw them later in the season. There would be more if we had gone one month earlier. That is the plan for 2021/2022.

Finally, I shared the following Spiritual Mind Treatment. Rev. Janis had asked us to write a treatment about a challenging area of our lives. I thought of Finances but knew that even when I feel financially secure, there is another deeper issue that arises. I decided that my real condition, which often attaches to finances, is my belief in conditions as real. If I truly had faith, I would relax.

Here is my spiritual mind treatment.
Condition – I believe in matter when none exists.
Purpose – I grok All as Spirit.
Recognition – I recognize the Divine as the Source of all creation. I recognize It as harmony, ease, love, liberation, beauty, order, and health.
Unification – Harmony, ease, love, liberation, beauty, order, and vibrant health flow through me, in me, as me, for me.
Realization – I grok All as Spirit. Even though I forget All as Spirit and tense and worry, I remember and smile and relax and pull in peace and ease. My body softens, my spirits lift, and I feel contentment. I realize that I possess the power to manifest, and I create my vision. Although fears crop up in my day, I act, the answer appears, and the fear evaporates. I salute my competent self.
Thanksgiving – I feel thankful for Divine guidance I receive organically or through others.
Release – Trusting the Divine to work brilliantly, I live the life of my dreams. I release these words to law. And so it is.

–Marya Wheler

Course Correction

I have had some experiences lately that have pulled me way off my spiritual path. Negative thinking about myself, and my situation, have caused me to stop and reconsider my life, and take another look at solutions.

Recently, I ran across 3 pages of notes from Rev Janis’ class on affirmations while shuffling through some paperwork that really reminded me of all the possibilities that there are available to me.

A quote from The Art of Life by Ernest Holmes:

“Life works by direct affirmation.
There is no other way for it to work.
That is why we are told to be still and know that all things are possible to God.
We are told to affirm, positively to assert, to declare this truth,
in the face of all apparent opposition;
to claim abundance in the midst of poverty;
to affirm health in the midst of sickness;
to declare joy in the midst of sorrow;
and to announce the Kingdom of God here and now.”

Affirmations are positive statements that help me to challenge and overcome self-sabotage and negative thinking, which come from my Ego. When I repeat them often, and believe them, I can start to make positive changes.

Also, my attitude is a choice. I have decided I won’t be pushed around by my fears, and worry about what I can’t control. I can shift my energy to what I can create. I can become my own life coach via regular meditation and prayer. Repetition strengthens and confirms whatever I wish my conscious thought to tell me.

Meditation helps me in so many ways, especially in bypassing my monkey mind chatter and generally puts me in a more receptive way of seeing my life. I have participated in enough workshops and courses to know how to get to the solution. I am so grateful for the teachings and beliefs in Science of Mind.

I am back on the road to recovery from my scrambled thinking.

Namaste, Janie

 

What’s Next?

In the blissful afterglow of completing 14-week runs of “Exploring the Roots of the Science of Mind” and “Foundations of the Science of Mind”, the question always arises. “What’s next?” The answer, “It depends…”

In one way, we are entering into a transition period — between winter and summer. Each one of us is beginning to look at our summer plans, and consider that we might actually have summer plans this year. Those winter visitors who actually made it down this year have left, or are leaving us soon for the summer, or thinking about when they will head north.

We’ve had a steady push of online classes since the lock-down began, completing 5 of the 6 major certificated classes in the last 15 months. That’s not entirely true, “Essential Ernest” completed the week before lock- down began, and last year’s “Foundations” class only finished online, after starting in person. The 6th of the primary certificated classes, “Visioning” will be offered on zoom beginning in mid-May by a practitioner and ministerial student from CSL Reno, Laura Arneson.

Keith Gorley has had a steady feed of classes and groups throughout this period too — Men’s group, Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (twice), Ernest Holmes’ Art of Life & Emerson’s Essays.

We have plans for some small book study groups starting later this month, one on zoom with Pat Masters hosting, & one in-person with Elaine Rockhill hosting for fully vaccinated (+2 weeks) individuals. The book is Julia Cameron’s The Prosperous Heart. It’s not too late to join, yet.

We’ve not skipped a beat with our Sunday Services and have enjoyed our own CSLT Orchestra, as they have figured out how to do great music, regardless of the constraints of zoom. We’ve enjoyed many guest speakers and musicians, almost one a month, that we would not have been able to celebrate with, had we been meeting in-person. Our next one is Faith Rivera on April 25th, joining us *live* from her home studio in Hawai’i. The week after that, Jan Garrett & JD Martin will be with us *live* from their Colorado home studio. We look forward to these talented guests.

Daily practice has continued daily without exception since mid-March of last year. Attendance continues to drop off slowly, after hitting a high of 14 persons/day on average back in December & January. On those days when I can’t facilitate because I have another commitment, practitioner/friend, Bev Holland from CSL Tacoma, has stepped up to lead. Maria Schuchardt runs the zoom platform for her. As things begin to open up more, there may be less need for this kind of connection. I dunno.

So what’s next? We have begun thinking about how we can live-stream, and video-record when we do return to in-person services, which could be as early as September.

We’ve begun thinking about new places we might advertise, so that people who don’t know about us can find us. In our last two community surveys, we asked individuals how they found us. In both the 2018 survey and the 2020 survey, the majority of the respondents told us they found us in one of three ways: word-of-mouth, online searches, or because they had attended another CSL and were looking for something similar in Tucson. The results were similar in earlier surveys. Two or three people find us through advertising. A few more find us ‘accidentally’ like I did back in early 2009, when I happened to see our sandwich board sign while driving on River Road. Or they happen to walk in to see what we are doing on a Sunday morning and decide they like what they see and hear, or stop by the office when they suddenly notice the sign that has been in front of our office on S Craycroft Rd since 2019.

What happens next for you? You get to decide. Isn’t that simply fabulous?

–Rev Janis Farmer

Got Unexpected Good?

As most of you know, I enjoy taking classes. I just completed the “Beyond Limits” class from CSL Reno (via Zoom). It was an enjoyable class studying the 10 principles of the Science of Mind in more detail. I learned a lot.

One of the exercises that was suggested but NOT required, was a simple practice that I chose to participate in. For 5 weeks I kept track of any unexpected income. This unexpected income could come from money saved from purchases that were on sale, a rebate check, money found on the ground or in a coat pocket, or anything like that.

As part of the exercise, I tithed 10% to CSL Reno from this unexpected income. (They use this money for expenses that are outside of their normal budget.) The idea behind this exercise was to increase our awareness that abundance flows to us easily and in unexpected ways. At the end of 5 weeks, I totaled up my list of unexpected income, which totally affirmed that abundance flows to me easily and in unexpected ways. My total was $3,150. $315 was happily tithed to CSL Reno.

Another practice from last week’s class has had an amazing effect on me this week. It’s called “Totally Possible.” When I recognized a thought, feeling, or experience I wanted to change, I said to myself with enthusiasm (usually in my mind and repeated like a mantra.) “It is totally possible for me to……..”

For example: I have been having difficulty falling asleep (as I did this week) I said to myself a few times over, “It is totally possible for me to fall asleep and rest well.” I easily and quickly fell asleep and slept well!

Here are some of the other thoughts I practiced with, and was able to shift or change this week:

  • ‘My’ Keith was the driver and I was the passenger driving on I-10, “It is totally possible for me to be relaxed when Keith is driving.”
  • “It is totally possible for Keith to not get grumpy with me.”
  • “It is totally possible to have the energy to complete my tasks today.”
  • “It is totally possible to buy the perfect home for me in Tucson.”
  • “It is totally possible for Sissy to behave around men.”
  • “It is totally possible for me to have blood drawn.”
  • “It is totally possible for me to write this week’s newsletter article.” ❤ And you know what? It totally works!

–Madeline Pallanes

Respecting an Individual’s Decision

Pilate asked, in John 18:38, “What is truth.”

My response has been to see truth as being in the eye of the beholder. It is my truth that there is one God and that Life is my life now. That is not necessarily another person’s truth. So what does this have to do with the pandemic?

Everything. Because if my life is indeed God’s life, then that life by its very nature is immune to sickness and disease. And, with that being the case, it does not need to be vaccinated. I thought that that was the end of the discussion until I was awakened at three o’clock in the morning and kept awake by the words of Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind, page 282. “To desert the truth in the hour of need is to prove that we do not know the truth.” I lay in bed wanting to know if I would be deserting the truth if my body were to get vaccinated? My final answer was no, but the no did not mean I would be vaccinated. However, before denying my mortal body the vaccine, my soul and mind would have to consent and then convince my body consciousness that there is nothing to fear.

Thankfully, Ernest cleared up my confusion in the 1926 (original) Science of Mind text: On page 131, he states, “We have no objection to any form of healing. Anything that will help overcome suffering must be good, whether it takes the form of a pill [or shot] or of a prayer.” My faith has been placed in spiritual mind treatment. He continues, “We are glad when any one is healed or helped by any method. We believe in any and all methods and know that each has its place in the whole.” Holmes did not infringe upon the rights of others to choose their own way. Therefore, the decision to be or not to be vaccinated is a personal decision.

I am not making a case either for or against vaccination. The case I am making is that whatever an individual’s choice may be, within our community, it ought to be respected.

I had been contemplating the issue of vaccination for more than two months. Would I get the shot or not? The topic has been passionately discussed in our men’s group, with some getting the vaccination and others not. My issue was, what is truth to me? What is my truth towards vaccinations? Because that truth must guide my decision. As a point of emphasis, our individual choices have to be respected.

In Romans 7:23, Paul helped me to discern my truth. “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Sin for me is simply missing the mark, that is, falling short of one’s personal integrity. My personal integrity tells me that I am a whole, perfect and complete spiritual being. For me to act otherwise would contradict that and usher me into the law of sin.

To be, or not to be, vaccinated was reconciled and answered when I gained an understanding of one sentence in the Lord’s Prayer. “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Thus my will in heaven is to be perfect health in mind and thereby have perfect health in body.

–Keith Gorley

 

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