Thoughts on Membership

In 2009, when I realized I’d found ‘my people’ at this Center, I had absolutely no intention of formally joining the organization. I had a long and unpleasant history of every organization that I formally joined imploding, exploding, disbanding, or being shut down. Yet I recognized that this was a philosophy I could really step into. (Little did I know how far…) These people were speaking, and practicing, what I already believed was The Truth. So I asked how I could participate.

At the time, we met at the Kiva on River Rd on Sundays. It was a Sundays-only use agreement. The main room at the Kiva was long, dark, and kind of dingy from long use, and not a lot of care. We had it reserved for our use between 9 and noon. Every week we had to set up everything, including the chairs, and any tables we would use. We had to set up our own sound system, and there was no projector. The ceilings were too low for projection. Oh, and there was one single stall toilet closet in the back. In fact, that was when Tom, Joe, Carol and Charlie started helping us. The Board was really small at that moment in time, and they took turns being responsible for making sure the space was set up correctly for Sunday services.

My friend and tai chi buddy Mark was Board President. Many weeks he carried a lot of the Sunday morning set up load by himself, working with Tom and Joe. I asked if I could help by hauling the church-in-a-box sometimes. He let me help. (I know this sounds like the old story of Huck Finn tricking his friends into whitewashing the fence, but it didn’t feel that way to me.)

I had already started taking classes. Like I said, I’d found my tribe; I intended to learn everything I could about this new/old way of seeing, and being, in the world. “Foundations of the Science of Mind” had been mind- expanding and earth-moving. I grabbed hold of this new way like it was fresh oxygen for my body.

Since I was still living in Arizona City (roughly 70 minutes from Tucson, each way), I asked if I there was anything I could do to help out at the office, since I had driven to town for either CSLT classes or tai chi classes. My first foray into helping was in making nametags, which then shifted to doing database entry (we didn’t have a paid bookkeeper to do it, then). Over time my involvement slowly increased. But I still wasn’t a formal member, because everything I had joined previously had crashed, and I didn’t want to create that here.

Still, I did ask how one got on the Board. The answer was, “First you have to be a member for six months.” Oh. That. (Guess I have to change my story about that.) They then followed with, “But you can attend Board meetings and see how we work, and you can still help out.” You can see for yourself how that turned out.

What I’ve realized in the last couple years is that I don’t have a strong need for people to become members of our Center unless they really want to. To me, membership is a very individual decision. I’ve seen people become members, and then we never see them again, like it’s some kind of bizarre ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. Since we don’t believe in hell, that’s kind of a hard one for me to wrap my mind around. Membership used in that way can’t be of much benefit to the member, and is of even less use, or value, to the Center.

I asked the ministers at our weekly ministers’ zoom lunch what their thoughts were about membership. The consensus point-of-view of the five ministers I asked was that membership in a Center is a public step in affirming a definitive formal relationship with the Divine.

That got me thinking. We don’t have a profession of faith like the traditional (primarily Christian) churches do. We don’t need it. Each one of us is already intimately one in the Divine Wholeness and Oneness. To become a member of this spiritual community is more about alignment and affiliation with a group of people who have decided it is more useful, and enjoyable, to expand and experience their spiritual growth with others than be a spiritual island. Everyone gets to decide how they want to play in this miraculous thing called life.

What called you to your present level of commitment and affiliation with CSLT, and does it still work for you?

Our Annual Meeting will be here before you know it. Presently, we are considering adding two qualified and interested persons to our Board of Trustees now, and have two new Board members joining us in October. 
 
If you are curious about the requirements for Board Membership, please see page 7 of our Bylaws. If you meet the requirements and would like to speak with someone about potentially serving on the CSLT Board of Trustees, please contact the office (admin@tucsoncsl.org) and we will get back to you.
 
–Rev Janis Farmer

Having Compassion for the Frustrated and Frustrating

Be kind to yourself, and then let your kindness flood the world — Pema Chodron

How can it be possible to practice compassion toward people who frustrate you, or to those who do so much harm in the world?

Our experiences in the world do not support practicing compassion with people like this. First a global pandemic has turned the world completely upside down, with unclear messages from our leaders. We bore witness to George Floyd’s murder, which was traumatizing enough, even though it has become a catalyst to action for the Black Community and allies who have reached a tipping point with blatant racism so prevalent and pervasive in our nation and society. We see peaceful protests, and we also see rubber bullets, tear gas, looting, violence and the latest nebulous activity and arrests in Portland, OR.

While my external experience of the greater world at this moment is disturbing and unpleasant, I have to stop and remember that I can affect only what’s in my area of influence. Directly within my area of influence (at least sometimes) is my life and, to a lesser degree, the lives of my Renee and her children and grandchildren. Yes, it is hard to remember I am a great-grandmother to an 11-year old!

I recently had my granddaughter and 11-year old great granddaughter here from Texas for a visit. Oh my goodness, what an experience. Her Mother returned to Texas because she needed to go back to work and my great granddaughter stayed for another week. She was a handful, misbehaving constantly and continuously. She argued with both me, and her grandmother Renee, at every opportunity. She went through all the makeup she could find in the apartment and mixed a lot of it up together. She also went through every drawer in the house, looking for what, I’ll never know, but some things are now missing. She even brought Renee to tears several times. I managed to suppress my anger, but it was difficult! When Renee, my daughter, asked me what could we do about this, I told her the only thing I knew to do. Since we couldn’t possibly remedy her reasons for misbehaving in 1 week, was to just be firm, but let her know she was loved, in spite of whatever she did.

To be honest, participating in the 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life book study group for the second time(!) helped me through this difficult and awkward situation.

I truly believe when you practice compassion for others, you benefit as well, reaping better health, your overall wellbeing improves, and your relationships are better.

Here are some tips we can use to move ourselves towards a practice of greater compassion:

1. Separate the person from their behavior
2. Imagine whirled peas, when you see people whose actions don’t align with your values, imagine
that person enjoying a particular tasty vegetable you also like, to create commonality,
communion, and at least the possibility of collaboration.
3. Try a loving kindness meditation for that person. Keep working at it!
4. Don’t forget yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have!

Every single person on the planet deserves compassion, including each of us. No matter what.


–Janie Hooper

Yay for Boats in the Desert!

Reverend Janis described using a boat. She loves her boats. I love my boats. What we are referring to is the joke about the man stuck on his roof during a devastating flood. When a boat approaches, he declines help, saying that God will rescue him. A helicopter comes by to rescue him and he declines their help, explaining that God will rescue him. Then he drowns. When he gets to heaven, he asks God why God didn’t rescue him. God replies, “I sent a boat and a helicopter!” A boat refers to receiving help recognizing that, in unity, we are all one and that help received is the same as help given. And the awareness that the Divine will provide help to me through people.

My two most recent experiences of receiving help were from two of my coaches. I have a business coach and a Health and Wellness (H&W) coach. I also have a sponsor in the 12-step program to which I belong.

My H&W coach meets with me every 2-3 weeks. She is wonderful and helps me establish good health habits. We work on ways to deal with my feeling of panic that causes me to overeat. She helps me devise strategies that help me get to sleep as it often takes me 45-60 minutes to power down enough to fall asleep. I was explaining that I had stopped walking with my girlfriends because I was focusing on completing tax returns before the deadline. The problem was that I was not finding that I had any extra time as I gave up my movement. She advised me to start moving again. She has been working with me for about 1 year and commented on how important exercise is to me. And reminding me that I do better when I have a hard work out. That was on July 2. The next day I walked 21⁄2 miles with my friends. On July 4, I got up early and walked around Randolph Park from my house and back, a distance of 4.5+ miles. I have been doing that daily since and feel so much better. On rest days, I walk 3 miles because I need movement every day. My body expects it.

I meet with my business coach monthly. She is an integrative coach who believes that personal and business are the same. I receive guidance of a practical sense – she transformed my time management by helping me set up a hybrid system using a Google sheets list of tasks and a daily planner because she says that I have my long list and then every day I tend to work off a separate agenda. That is totally true. When I talked to her about needing to trust my ability to complete my work on time and relaxing instead of living in stress based on deadlines, she later said that she knew that I needed to increase my connection to Spirit.

Through her skillful questioning I was able to come back into knowing that my business success is Spirit-based and that I can rely on the Divine to ease my way with regard to deadlines and tasks that appear challenging. This is extra important as I am preparing for an audit with my largest client. Last year’s audit was very difficult and so my “triggers” are in full force. Using our Science of Mind philosophy, I remember I need to see through appearances to know the reality that all is perfect and whole. Applying SOM to my work means that even though I experience stress dealing with strong personalities and the appearance of authority, it is my job to look beyond appearances and know that my tasks are manageable and that I have the resources I need to complete the task. Talking with her re- centered me and I was able to discuss strategies to remind me of my connection with Spirit throughout my day. And like Science of Mind, I looked over at my windowsill and saw my little altar full of keepsakes that I created several years ago with friends. It’s in a repurposed Altoids tin. I closed it up and put it in my desk drawer and I intend to look at it daily.

I also poured pink Himalayan salt that my coach, Tabitha, said is very clearing spiritually into a singing bowl to keep by my computer screen. I can play with it while on Zoom calls. She suggested I purchase some palo santos sticks, which I did, to burn daily to spread peace and positivity. I grabbed my Angel Therapy oracle cards and fired up my essential oils diffuser. I feel totally blessed to receive help, guidance and support from my friends. Ha!

I do pay both of them and they are also clients of mine so we totally help each other out! And the fact that Tabitha supports my spirituality is an added bonus. It reminds me that I am loved and that the Divine does indeed provide what I need by giving me boats in the desert.

-Marya Wheeler

Jaded

“Who are you – When you are NOT a problem to be solved?” Bryan Stevenson

And it doesn’t count as a solution when we project all our personal problems onto one or more “outside” entities. It doesn’t count as a solution, because we still own the problem of living surrounded by problems.

Having gained enough distance from my time in NYC and learned enough Science of Mind, I am beginning to understand that too much of my time was spent with unhappy, jaded people. They believed they had seen too much, been overlooked too many times, were not valued highly enough …. if only things were different: boss, money, job, family.

The solution, as Rev. Janis reminds us frequently, is not in the stars or even in the whatever we identify as “the problem.” That unhappiness, those choices are our very own, in fact our only, responsibility to own and improve.

Though this idea runs rampant in our world, allowing the common hour jaded cynicism to enfold us is choosing that as our reality. Yes, our current environment burgeons with challenges – oh you bet. And every time we, meaning you and I, sigh and say I wish it weren’t so – we make it more real. Every time, we contribute more energy to the overflowing sense of a world in chaos.

My personal challenge, one of them, is to hold and cherish both of these:
“Disregarding all evidence to the contrary, the student of Truth will maintain he lives in a Perfect Universe and among people potentially perfect…..At first he may be influenced by conditions, and he may appear to be weak, but as time goes on he will prove to himself that his position is a correct one…” Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 184.5-185.1

And along with knowing and living that –
“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.” Bryan Stevenson

The challenge for each of us is to know both the Truth and the brokenness – those things that need, in fact, must change. Move them away from our emotions, and into our vision of a perfect world. Only when we know Perfect as capital ”R” Reality, can we act not with despair or anger, but with the knowing it as already here – then we embody the Perfect not the pain.

Because finally:
“What we demonstrate today, tomorrow and the next day is not as important as the TENDENCY WHICH OUR THOUGHT IS TAKING…the dominant attitude of our mind…, if every day we are expressing more life, we are going in the right direction.” (Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 306.3)

Yes, that was Dr. Holmes YELLING. Consistent persistence in knowing and choosing our own thoughts and behaviors – we build the trend line to that Perfect that is Reality.

–Take care of yourself and your loved ones, peace to all everywhere. Mariann

Guard The Gate

All thought is creative and how I choose to think creates my own personal experience.

With all that is happening around us, it is especially important to be in charge of our thoughts. We are thinking all the time and we are creating all the time. So knowing this, we need to be vigilant about what we are allowing into our minds.

There are times when balancing being informed about what we need to know vs. how it is being presented can be challenging. We need to be watchful and not allow anything that has “hateful” or “negative conclusions” into our minds. This can be difficult when we find ourselves agreeing with a point of view or thinking someone or some group deserves it. In order to filter these thoughts, I created my “guard at the gate” of my mind, not letting these thoughts and judgments in.

Sometimes the thoughts can be presented in a seemingly innocuous way. How many love songs are about heartbreak vs. happy endings? Right? Think of the plethora of television shows based on dysfunctional lives or movies with conniving and despicable characters. What messages are we letting in?

It helps to remind ourselves that there is a better way to think when we are being bombarded with difficult news. We can tell ourselves that, more often than not, positive outcomes happen, even if we can’t see it right then. Think of a time in your life when you thought that something was the worst thing that could happen. Looking back on it, what was the longer-term result?

We know that if we take charge of our minds, we take charge of our lives. No one else can do this for us. Recently I spoke with two friends. One records every Sunday morning news program with multiple opinions about the current events. As we know, these tend to be contentious and not positive. Every program is then watched. Same stuff over and over again. The second person just finished watching the entire Dick Van Dyke series. Who do you think is happier today?

We know that it can be challenging when you are in a conversation and someone says something negative, judgmental or even cruel. What do you do? Arguing, as a rule, does not help. Instead, we reply can be “Interesting” or “You don’t say” or some other innocuous comment that is essentially meaningless. And then if possible, stepping away from the conversation and returning to thoughts that have more value.

The guard at the gate of our minds has a full time job. It is constant awareness of what is being allowed into our minds. We can find ourselves exhausted and wondering why, if we are not vigilant about it.

The greatest power available to us as individuals is the power of our own minds, the power of our own thoughts. In the creation of a personal life worth living, the action— the essential action — must be mental. Remember, all thought is creative, even goofy thought. — J. Kennedy Shultz in You Are the Power


–Susan Seid

Having New Eyes

Can a rebirth that comes from spiritual adversity and dis-ease cause us to become new creatures, and create a more conscious platform from which we can go forward in these difficult and unpredictable times? I think it can. I think this most unusual time may be the only thing that does move us out of our complacency into new awareness.

That, for me, is the question of the hour. How can I grow from this experience? I see it as an opportunity to increase my spiritual life and open my heart to ask the God of my understanding, how can I be of service this day? What is mine to do in order to make my own life, as well as those I love, a richer more meaningful experience, in spite of the current restrictions we all are living with?

I never dreamed I would be grateful for the Internet! It is the main way, through the tools of Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, emails and text that I can keep My connections with my beloved family, friends and Spiritual Community.

❤ One of the joys for me personally of using the Internet is that I get to do the Twelve Steps to the Compassionate Life bookstudy online with Keith and several others on Zoom. It is my second time in three years to do this class, and I can’t believe how intimate and close we have all become after just the first two weeks. I feel bonded as though we were actually together, using Gallery mode in Zoom, I can see everyone at once. What an unexpected
delight!

I am blessed in that I do not live alone, but have my daughter living with me. My heart goes out to those that live alone.

So, keep your eyes, ears and heart open to all the good possibilities that lie ahead, and as they say in AA, “ This too shall pass.”

 

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

The Long Haul

There’s so much I want to say, so I’ll see if I can get the words to come out in any sensible order. Perhaps I should have entitled this post, The Heavy Lift. Both titles would apply equally. I’ll start with Dr Ernest Holmes, from The Science of Mind 51.1. “One of the great difficulties in this new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice. As a matter of fact, we only know as much as we can prove by actual demonstration.”

It is too easy to look at the abundance of upset and disarray that surround us in the world of form right now and look for someone to be at fault, or at least someone we can blame, or for us to feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed by something we, or people like us, have done in the past. Pointing fingers, damning, discrediting or demeaning someone, and looking for some statue to tear down, or somebody to fire or send to jail, doesn’t get to the root of the apparent issue, or lead to any sort of solution with lasting effect. Those actions do create a brief feeling of satisfaction; we did something and made some noise. Yay, us. These are not short-term blips that we can put a splint on (like a broken finger) so they can heal ‘enough’ and we can get back to business as usual. At least I hope they’re not.

The Stage Is Set
The Bighorn Fire (18+ days, started by lightning, 65,500+ acres burned (as of June 23 @ 3:51am), remarkably only 4 minor heat-related injuries). The Incident Management Teams (and the 900+ firefighters that have been involved in the response so far) have masterfully handled the Bighorn fire. The smoke that hangs over much of southeast Arizona like a shroud, and the fires that light up the night (in a bad way), leave us all a little on edge and more than a little uneasy. This just adds to the general malaise and discomfort.

Covid-19. Our experience of the physical world has changed drastically in the last 3 months. Who would have guessed, besides some dystopian science (fiction) writers, that a novel virus would send all of us to our rooms for an indeterminate period of time? And that the very human desire to gather together, for companionship and comfort is the most dangerous thing we can do for the protection of our most vulnerable members of our society. And the feebleness of our food supply, and our health care system. And, and, and (I could go on)…

Political divisiveness, extremism (on all sides) and groundless ‘haterade’. I’m just going to leave this right here.

The Main Event
I’ve been listening to E.O. Wilson’s audiobook, The Meaning of Human Existence. He writes about the strong tribal need for belonging, and the primitive/primal need to have an other, so that we have some made-up reason to band together, separate ourselves and protect our group. He goes on to say that we create enemies to make ourselves feel stronger, and safer, as long as we are in the ‘in crowd’. The idea of us-versus-them is embedded in human consciousness, and of primary importance in default thinking, or the collective unconscious, or race tendency. A bias toward or against any particular ethnicity is not implied by that unfortunate word choice. These phrases represent a way to describe thoughts and beliefs that are commonly held by many/most people. They do not include only ‘bad’ thoughts or beliefs; they include all shared thoughts and beliefs. If we don’t intentionally choose a thought or belief, we choose default thinking, by default.

Remember Jane Elliott’s blue eyes-brown eyes exercise with her third grade class in 1968? (read more @ janeelliott.com) She wanted her students to see the embedded irrationality of people with one eye color being superior to people of another eye color. The kids bought into it hook, line and sinker. When they were the favored ones, they treated the other children badly. When they fell out of favor (for no apparent reason), the felt crushed by what seemed like the entire weight of the world on their backs, and the opposite group repeated the pattern of assumed superiority. There’s something very primitive about being favored and on top. It wasn’t until later, when they were discussing the exercise that they could begin to see that they had done anything irrational. On one level, it seems that tribalism is an innate human condition.

In Cynthia James’ ‘Conversations of the Heart’ call last Friday night that I spoke about last Sunday, one of the participants rather dejectedly asked, “Why would the people in power give up their superior position?” None of us had a good answer to her question. Why would they?

E.O. Wilson also wrote about the differences that had been observed by scientists in studying animal behavior between success of individuals within groups and the success of groups as wholes. Within a group, selfish individuals tend to do better than the remainder of the group, but between groups the groups with more altruistic individuals tend to do better than groups with lots of selfish individuals. This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who thinks about human dynamics either.

In game theory, there is a strategy called tit-for-tat. Essentially, if a player is provoked, they retaliate. If they are not provoked, they cooperate. In long-term games, those who cooperate have greater success. Earlier this month, I read a report (theconversation.com/nondiscrimination-against-lgbt-individuals-isnt-just-the-law-it- helps-organizations-succeed-140810) that gives me hope that altruistic (nondiscriminatory) behaviors can be seen as benefitting individuals as well as the whole.

The Goal, and One Possible Route
Futurist Buckminster Fuller wrote, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Some of us are just becoming aware of how biased existing systems have been, and are looking for new models that value everyone’s contribution, while dismantling the old systems one interaction at a time. It’s a slow process, an uncovering of old stories that are so old, and so buried, we don’t even know they are there.

We are starting down a path that could lead to a new world, one that works for everyone. We won’t succeed using the same rules and playing the same game. We won’t get there by discarding what presently exists, and disenfranchising participants in the process. We need a new model that makes the old model obsolete.

In the next three months, CSLT will be exploring this new territory. We start with a guest speaker on Sunday July 5th, Dr Karmen Smith speaking about how “Love Changes America”. I hope you’ll plan to attend our zoom service that Sunday. She is a powerful speaker.

Then we’ll move through a series of three quick book studies in July (David Richo’s Triggers (How We Can Stop Reacting and Start Healing)), August (Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility, which is about the importance of relationship and connection, and how our small separate, calculating, selves inhibit our progress and get in our way) and September (Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Emergence, The Shift from Ego to Essence (10 steps to the Universal Human)). [The book links will lead you to Amazon. However, if you log in to smile.amazon.com and choose “Center for Spiritual Living Location: Tucson, AZ”, our Center will receive donations, which will be greatly appreciated]

The path of the Universal Human may be a new model that moves us in the direction we long for and desire.

Ernest Holmes wrote in 365 Science of Mind 186.1, “We are made perfect when we enter into the communion of love with one another and with the invisible essence of Life. Love is the fulfillment of the Law, that is, we do not make the highest use of the Law unless that use is motivated by Love, by a sincere desire to express unity, harmony, and peace.”

Join me in envisioning and embodying this new world, the world that works for everyone.

–Rev Janis

Best of Times!?!?!

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” — Charles Dickens

I’m sure you recognize the famous introduction to Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I think I’m still working on “the best of times part”. My intention for this essay was to discover “the best of times” amid the confusion and contradictory happenings that make up today’s news.

But I couldn’t find an organized, literate place to start sharing from. So, here’s what I’m contemplating with the knowing that if I go quiet and into the stillness something good will be enabled. And, asking for help from the ones who have gone before me into the fray is one way to find help — if I let it.

“Beware the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.” — Ben Okra

This quote – beware the stories you read or tell – most importantly the stories I tell myself – because those personal stories are the ones that shape & mold the choices I make. It is the time I spend in my own head that needs most careful tending and observation. Just because it sounds cool when I skim it – doesn’t mean it is good. Or “god” as I first typed it.

“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose,
and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” — Aristotle

Yet it is one of the tasks at hand: to respond with care to our world, which feels totally off plumb. Someone must be to blame. Pick a topic, an event and it is so very easy to get crazy upset. And absolutely nothing is gained through unfocused sound and fury. Nothing is right until we see the “best of times” which are the perfection that is the heart and S/spirit of our universe and our teaching. As we are taught and reminded repeatedly – this life is perfect – we need to know it and accept to get there, but how, where, who, what?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy
not on fighting the old but on building the new.” — Socrates

Or more directly, if somewhat less poetically:

“Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe

My goal now is to choose a place, a way, a focus and do what I can in the best way I understand that will help free the perfect within.

Some Me of Beauty ― Carolyn Rodgers
“I took a good long look at myself in a full length mirror
Sometimes it’s good to look in a full length mirror
And what I saw was not some soul sister poetess of the moment
But I saw just a woman
Just a woman feeling
Just a woman human
And what I felt was
What I felt was a spiritual revelation
And what I felt was a root revival of some love coming on
Coming on strong
And I knew then, looking in a full length mirror,
That many things were over
And some me of beauty was about to begin”

–May our beauty grow and flourish. Peace to you and yours, Mariann

Reflections on Life in our Changing World

Writing newsletter articles as a member of the Board of Trustees is a unique experience. While intimidating initially, I have found that what I have to share is available to me if I pause and relax, breathe and start to write. This is my 11th newsletter article. Oh, yes, I am counting!

My work keeps me terribly busy and I missed my last spot in the newsletter rotation. I am grateful that Reverend Janis was able to accommodate my lapse in availability and that other articles replaced my missive. I have owned my business for over 3 years and I am so much happier as a business owner than as an employee. It has been through following the Science of Mind principles that I was able to move in the direction of my dreams and goals.

That said, work challenges wear me down. I have not had any kind of work slow down during the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, my work has been busier as I have supported clients in applying for pandemic unemployment and in applying for Paycheck Protection loans from the federal government.

What I have found that I need to do is to ask for help from both the people I work with and in hiring independent contractors who work for me. And I have learned that I need to trust myself. What often happens is that I will reach a point at which I must stop work because I am just plain tired. My brain turns off and I do not have any more oomph. So I rest, for a bit.

Although I experience stress around my work and concerns with family, it is starkly apparent to me that I live in a white bubble of privilege, as do many of my friends. I have changed my daily meditation to include deeper reflection and introspection, supporting to truth that Black Lives do Matter (and they haven’t mattered as much as they should have in the past, and even in the present, sometimes), and have also donated money to BLM causes.

I have also begun to read How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi and plan to read White Fragility by Robin Diangelo. Coworkers at the PCC Foundation recommended both books to me. That is how I am beginning to do what I can, with what I have, to support necessary and positive change in this country.

The pause created by Covid-19 has benefitted me greatly. My husband worked from home for two months and that has been great. It has given us a taste of his retirement. I have reconnected with friends from California, Oregon and Massachusetts over Zoom. And the morning 8:30 meditation with Reverend Janis is a highlight of my day.

Thank you CSLT, for all you’ve given me and for the opportunity to give back through Board Service.


–Marya Wheeler

Welcome to Brady’s World

As I sit here today and contemplate all that is happening here in our world, I am reminded of the truth. We are always at choice. No matter what is on going on out there, I have the power to choose what is going on in here. I can begin my day by scrolling through the news, which is now a strange confluence of health and politics. I can focus on the tragedy of the loss of life and the myriad opinions about it. However, as we know, where thought goes, energy flows! And so I can choose to not get caught up in all the noise and fear that is going on. Otherwise, I may simply be co-creating something even more from this fear and panic.

In the midst of this, I realize that the perfect example for me to follow is my sweet little dog, Brady. Throughout these days, he is always in the moment. He does not have a “to-do” list or regrets about yesterday. His thoughts and behaviors are simple.

For Brady, the Covid-19 epidemic means:
“My person is home with me nearly ALL the time! I get extra attention, play times and even more than one walk a day! If she is acting sad or upset at times, I just hop up into her lap or lay quietly at her feet. I especially like listening to the concerts on line with her or attending her Zoom meetings. Yay! Company but I’m still getting all the attention! I always wake up in a playful mood and now I can visit with her for a long time during breakfast. It doesn’t matter to me what is on the news—I don’t listen to it. But I do pay attention if there are other dogs on TV!!! I like being home and playing outside with her. She says I am her role model—always being in the present, whatever that means. I am here just to show and receive love. And get treats!”

For those of us who have chosen to share our lives with furry friends, you probably can relate. I can’t imagine going through the last several months without him. I also wonder — how much more peaceful would my mind be if I followed Brady’s example? Be in the moment and release judgments. Take time to play and always be open for new adventures. Sit quietly and contemplate by going within. Keep my life simple and loving to others. And always be on the lookout for treats!

 

–by Susan Seid

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