Property News

Spoken Sunday June 9, 2019 by Mariann Moery
and published in the Special Newsletter (same day) and on our Facebook page (same day)

In the past few months the Board has received a number of unsolicited offers for our property at 22nd & Swan. We accepted an offer that will return to us roughly 2 ½ times what we paid for the lot. The annual payments, over the next 5 years, will contribute more to our Facility Fund than anything else we were likely to have done with those monies, or that property. We closed on the 22nd Street property last Monday and the new owner’s initial payment is already in our Facility Fund.

That money in the bank leads us to the next piece of property news. As I told you two weeks ago, on May 22nd we received a notice to vacate our Office and Education Center by June 28th. Your board quickly explored numerous rental and purchase options, everything that was potentially viable, available, and close to our budget, in this part of town.

Ten days ago, your board visited an office space that meets our needs for space, parking, access, and visibility at a price we can afford. This space was only available for sale, not for rent or lease. With the initial payment from the sale of the 22nd St property in the bank, we have sufficient funds available for a down payment. We have been extremely careful with the donations and contributions received by this Center for the last several years, not spending money we don’t have. It looks like we will be able to secure a mortgage on this property, with monthly payments less than we have been paying in rent. Dick and I signed the purchasing contract yesterday, which will close mid-August. Because of the generosity of the sellers, we will be able to take early possession of the property on June 18th. Many things are yet to be resolved, but nothing seems particularly difficult.

There is a sign up sheet on the Information table if you wish to help with any aspect of our upcoming move. And as always, your participation in the life of this Center, time, talent and treasure, is what makes it work for all of us.

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C-C-C-C-h-a-n-g-e….

Nobody likes to have change forced on them. Nobody I know, anyway. Most of us don’t mind a little change, especially if it’s our idea. I think it was metaphysical teacher Stuart Wilde who once said, “If you are being run out of town, get in front of the mob and act like it’s a parade.” I got to see him in Las Vegas, shortly before he transitioned. He was masterful at making use of whatever life threw at him. Because he presented such a larger-than-life target, people were always throwing stuff. It didn’t matter to him at all. He’d use every bit of the notoriety, transmute it into fame, and use it for his benefit.

The world is in a period of great change, as is CSL Tucson, as are (likely) each of us. It isn’t as though we can actually say ‘Stop the world, I want to get off’, although there are ways we can sometimes lessen the effect of changes we experience. Not all of these techniques are useful in the long run. We can resist change, be in denial by pretending change isn’t happening, we can numb ourselves with any of our familiar, faithful and friendly addictions, or we can work with the change and turn it to our use, if not our benefit.

A few weeks ago, I listened to an audiobook by Thomas Friedman entitled Thank You For Being Late. In it, he described how the rate and intensity of technological change continues to increase ever more rapidly, and that changes that used to take decades or generations were now occurring within a few years. I know for me, I’m actively embracing some aspects of this technology change, and others I’m doing my best to drag my feet. Some changes, choices and options seem really cool, and some I really do struggle to see the merit or point.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature,
to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”
—Henri Bergson

In the case of moving the Office and Education Center, this wasn’t a change that we actively solicited. On one (status quo) level, we were hoping that the heirs of our previous landlord would never find a buyer for the East River Rd property and we could be left in peace to do our thing. It wasn’t the greatest workspace or classroom space ever, but it was familiar, and acceptably comfortable. Some people didn’t like the driveway or thought the old homestead was ugly. We really wouldn’t have been inspired to change anything on our own. Change is work! Change requires movement, action and decisions! And yet, once our office building had been sold, and we petitioned for extra time to get ourselves moved (we did get an extra week), we suddenly found ourselves motivated to discover & create beneficial change for ourselves. The unhappy rattlesnake under the trashcans was simply an encouragement. (No humans, snakes or trashcans were harmed in that encounter.) The outcome that is unfolding before our eyes is more magnificent that any one of us on your Board could ever have imagined, and I feel excited and enthused by our ‘greatest yet next to be.’

So if change happens whether we want it to or not, how can we make use of it? It sounds so noble to say ’embrace change’, and yet, that really is the best option when change seems mandated. Without this change that was ‘forced upon us’, we never would have even considered the possibility of purchasing and actually owning our Office and Education Center, and would have continued to pay rent to a landlord and be at their whim about raising the rent or selling the property out from under us. At the same time, I have this glimmer of awareness that we had shifted our collective consciousness enough that we were ready, as an organization, to become owners of our own Office and Educational Center, and start building equity for ourselves instead of for another. To me, that’s exciting growth for us as a spiritual community.

–Rev Janis Farmer

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Enneagram

When I look back on my life, over the passing years and decades, I sometimes reflect on the things I’ve encountered that have helped transform me, to greater or lesser degrees. Movies. Plays. Books. Pieces of music. Art and poetry. Oh, I could certainly name a number of favorites (we all have them), but for me, the greatest tool I’ve ever encountered, when it comes to personal growth and transformation, is the Enneagram.

I was first introduced to the Enneagram a number of years ago one summer, courtesy of my mother. At the time, she was 71 years old, and in the mail one day came a copy of “The Big Blue Book” (as it is known and lovingly referred to): The Wisdom of the Enneagram, by Don Riso and Russ Hudson.

I still have her note tucked inside my copy, and it starts off with these observations:

“This is an unusual book to give to someone (books like a textbook), but it is a book I wished I had had access to in my younger years. Although the theories presented here were developed a few thousand years ago, they are making a startling comeback. The seminar I attended a few months ago has made a profound difference in my life, from the inside — a place where few people see and where I (as well as others) attempt to hide and cover up.”

She goes on to describe herself (a Type 2 “Helper”) and my dad (a Type 5 “Investigator”), and talks about how the Enneagram opened her eyes to her “false self” — i.e., the persona that we all create as a survival mechanism growing up. She goes on to say, “Up to this point this shell or false self does not just melt away,” adding, “I have work to do, so I can become mature for myself and for others. I am excited about the possibilities for my future, but saddened for some of my behavior in the past.”

She then goes on to apologize for her own personal shortcomings while she was raising me, and my two older brothers, saying, “I am fully aware that this ‘doesn’t make everything alright.’ It’s just that I want to own up and work at what I need to become.”

And… at this point, I wished I could say that I dove right into the Big Blue Book that mom gave me, absorbed all of its content for the betterment of myself, and moved boldly forward into my newly discovered “authentic self.” But I didn’t. I thumbed through its pages, found some of the information fascinating and compelling, but over the passing months and years, it sat by my chair where I had morning coffee, gathering dust.

As we shall see in an upcoming series of video lectures delivered by renowned author Richard Rohr, as it turns out, the Enneagram is an ancient oral tradition, and in that regard, it’s typically best learned by hearing about it first — from someone else — just as my mother had done by attending a seminar.

It wasn’t until a decade later, visiting mom one summer on Bainbridge Island, that she had the idea to borrow Richard Rohr’s series of lectures from her church library. An entertaining and engaging speaker, I was quickly engrossed, taking extensive notes, which are tucked into the book next to my mom’s letter.

Not long after, my own personal copy of Richard Rohr’s lectures arrived one Christmas — again, courtesy of my mother. Since I know that she (as a ‘Helper’) would want me to share them with others, they’ve been on loan to one friend or another, pretty much continually (with occasional breaks for me to go over the material again as a refresher course).

As my mom discovered, learning about the Enneagram can be an eye-opening experience (“This book is wonderful but hard!” she exclaims halfway through her letter), and as I’ve often joked to others, the Enneagram can also be a short-cut to years and years of therapy. Simply because it has the power to cut through layers and layers of bullcrap that the false self has used to hide itself, expose our ego for what it is, and lay bare our inner motivations that have become our methods of coping and adapting as full-grown adults.

There is more to the Enneagram than just finding out what makes us tick, however. For those who attend the upcoming series of classes at CSL this summer, you’ll also find that the Enneagram is about growth and transformation — and how, by a nifty trick of grace — our greatest weakness flipped on its head, and rotated 180 degrees, becomes our greatest strength.

One of the most profound gifts my mom ever gave me was the power of the Enneagram, and the inherent wisdom it contains. By the time she died, in the fall of 2014, my mom had become that wise soul she wrote about in her letter — overcoming the core issue of her “false self” (pride), and fully integrating into her greatest gift — humility. And if she were here today, I think she would say that the Enneagram played a huge role in that.

So, come be transformed this summer, every Wednesday night in June and July, as we explore the wisdom and the power of the Enneagram. Together.

–Steve Franz, a Type 9 “Peacemaker”

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Making The World A Better Place

No matter what our emotional storm, or what our objective situation, may be, there is always a something hidden in the inner being that has never been violated.  We may stumble, but always there is that Eternal Voice, forever whispering within our ear, that thing which causes the eternal quest, that thing which forever sings and sings.
— Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind, 33.3

I recently had the joy of reconnecting with my stepson, Mitch, who is the Prosecuting District Attorney of the big island of Hawaii.  We had not seen one another for many years, and I was curious if the nature of his job had changed him into a more negative-thinking man.  I was relieved to find him the same Mitch Roth, smart, funny, and optimistic.  He shared with me some of the policies and procedures he has put in place to help the people of his county.  His philosophy is, “If there is a problem, look behind it to see what is causing it. Create the solution there; do not rely on punishment to fix every situation.”

Several years ago there was a serious crime problem in the parking lots of popular tourist attractions in Hawaii.  Young people found opportunities to break into cars and steal valuables when they spotted tourists heading for hiking trails to view waterfalls, lava tubes, or rain forests. Mitch met with a group of older Hawaiian women who were weavers, creating beautiful birds, animals, baskets, and other items to sell to the eager tourists.  Mitch asked them to do their weaving in the parking lots where they could also they could monitor the tourists’ cars.  When the tourists returned, the women would warmly greet them and display their work. The grateful tourists thanked them, purchasing many of the items they had for sell.  Understandably, crime in those parking lots plummeted.

Noting an increase in juvenile delinquency in school-age students, Mitch visited a school that seemed to be a risk epicenter.  He asked the school’s administration to hang a picture of each student in the school.  He then asked the entire staff, teachers, janitors, support staff, and administrators, to put a star on the picture of any student with whom they had a positive connection, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.  Many of the students had many stars on their pictures; some had a few; and some had no stars at all.  Not surprisingly, the children without positive connections were the ones who had been most challenging.The staff made a huge effort to connect with the seemingly troubled students, and to no one’s surprise, the incidents of crime went down dramatically. Mitch told me, ”Those kids got no positive feedback anywhere in their lives.  When they started getting positive attention, they behaved in a more positive way.”

In May 2018, Kilauea Volcano erupted, burying villages, towns, farms, and roads with lava.  Mitch formed an interfaith group to aid the over 1700 evacuees on the island.  The group consists of a Jewish Rabbi, an Episcopalian Priest, a conservative Protestant minister, a Buddhist monk, a Muslim Imam, and Mitch.  They provided over 60,000 hot meals following the earliest days of the eruption, created a daycare for the displaced children, and helped create carpools to get people back and forth to work.  They provided necessities, including laundry facilities, for the people who had lost everything.  After the eruption crisis was over, the group decided to stay connected.  They meet monthly and to their surprise and delight, they have come to realize how similar their worldviews, and belief systems, are.  Instead of spreading discord from their differences, they have created cohesiveness through their discovery of how much they desire the same good.  What an example for the rest of us.

–Pat Masters

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The Value of Contemplation in Modern Life

In 2000, I had the privilege of taking a two-week trip through the ancient sacred sites of Ireland as part of a tour group.  We had a tremendous guide named Mark who was well versed in the lore, fact and fiction of pre-historic religious sites as well as the early Christian sites.  One of the sites that caught my imagination was Skellig Michael, a medieval (6th and 8th centuries C.E.) monastery and hermitage. Legend has it that the sacred and secular literature of Europe was saved during the Dark Ages by the monks who collected, preserved and protected those writings which had been brought to them for preservation while Europe was in turmoil.  Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization expresses that point of view.  While some critics doubt the accuracy of his proposition, there probably is some merit in the idea that those individuals did indeed protect knowledge that could have been lost during the time when Europe was not valuing education and learning as much as they might have previously.

Typical functions of a monastic community include prayer, worship, service and contemplation.  So what is this thing called contemplation?  Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness meditation practice (in box to right) is a gentle and generous example of a contemplative practice that is centered in the body.  Father Richard Rohr makes it a larger practice when he says, “Everything you do is connected in loving union with the moment, with whatever is in front of you.  That’s contemplation.”   So, how can this translate in modern life?

In his poem “If” Rudyard Kipling wrote, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too.  If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating…”  His concluding couplet, “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”, has more to do with recognizing how much we each are responsible for our point of view in our world than it has to do with any specific gender reference.

One of the best ways we have to maintain our mental, emotional and spiritual autonomy “when all about you are losing their (heads)” is by remembering that we get to decide what to focus on, and how we choose to pay attention to our lives.  This is far from a simple challenge, simply because of the extremes present in the external world today.  Marcus Aurelius wrote, “You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”  When we repeatedly remember that we have control over our focus, we have an opportunity to see our world, not as a made-up, imaginary fantasyland, but from the point of view of the wholeness that it actually expresses.

Holmes, in The Science of Mind 200.4-201.1, wrote, “… is an experience operating through people, which does not belong to them at all.  Recognize that it is neither person, place, nor thing, that there is no spiritual law to support it, that it is discord fleeing before harmony, that there is nothing but the Truth.”  With Thich Nhat Hanh’s gentle encouragement we can breathe, “deep, slow, calm, ease, smile, release”, and, regardless of external conditions, have the opportunity to continuously practice the contemplative prayer of “present moment, wonderful moment.”  Breathing, smiling, and remembering the Truth, I move forward in my life.

–Rev Janis Farmer

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On Grieving

I lost both my brother in law and my only sister within 60 days of each other. I was present for both of their deaths. It has pretty much devastated me, so I have been thinking a lot about death and the grieving that follows. These are two subjects that are generally avoided in western culture.

One of the things about grieving is that it is exhausting. At first I seem to have had too much energy, so much so that I am unable to sleep all night, followed by oscillating waves of high energy and weariness. I find my balance of rest and activity isn’t working very well.

One of the reasons the death of someone close so profoundly shaking for me is that it holds up a mirror to me that says “This happens to you, too”. Sometimes it seems a welcome prospect to join my loved ones, especially when my aversion to life without them is great.

What I realize is that my whole system has sustained this major loss, and it will take some time for my psyche and body to adjust to the new alignments that await me. Perhaps only when I can rest in knowing that their passing was in perfect order in the Universe, that healing will eventually take place. The best memorial I can give to them is to live my own life fully, one day at a time.

Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity; it is the price we pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve. And live life to the fullest we are capable at each moment.

Ernest Holmes on grief and loss (The Science of Mind 387.3 – 388.1)

It is human to grieve the loss of dear ones. We love them and cannot help missing them, but a true realization of the immortality and continuity of the individual soul, will rob our grief of hopelessness. We shall realize that they are in God’s keeping, and they are safe. We shall know that loving friends have met them, and that their life flows on with the currents of eternity. We shall (eventually) feel that we have not lost them, they have only gone before. So we shall view eternity from the highest standpoint, as a continuity of time, forever and ever expanding, until time as we now experience it, shall be no more. …. Time heals all wound, adjusts conditions, explains facts; and time alone satisfies the expanding soul, reconciling the visible with the invisible. We are born of eternal day, and the Spiritual Sun shall never set upon the glory of the soul, for it is the coming forth of God into self-expression.

–Janie Hooper

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Curate Your Life

One of the big ideas that arose in last week’s ongoing Wild Mind class was this notion of  “Curate Your Life”.  It’s an interesting idea, one that alternately teases and encourages us to identify, decide on and choose the kind of life experience we desire.  If we are totally delighted with all aspects our lives as is, no change is required. If we’re not, and we wish to step into fuller self-expressions in any area of our lives, this idea requires us to recognize that we may have to change how we think about our lives, and how we choose to live.

This notion can be problematic if we are resistant to change, or we believe we don’t have the power to make a change and have it stick.  Most of us have a lot of evidence (and a lot of experience) about how hard it is to change habits.  Sometimes it seems easy to feel that we are powerless over our own life choices and life experiences.  This is not the truth of who we are, and may very well be our entire awareness, based on our past experiences.

How do we move from living from what-we-have-always-known into a different future?  Willingness to step into a different life experience, and to adjust or modify our thinking and actions accordingly, are just the first steps.  The next step is to persistently reapply and re-implement this new decision as many times as it takes, until it becomes the new habit.  Challenging? Yes.  Impossible? No.  Persistence is key, and not shaming, blaming, or guilting ourselves when we fail.  What would it take to just keep getting back up and moving ahead?  This shift of mindset is probably the most difficult, because we have all been acculturated into believing that we have to discipline, or punish, ourselves when we fail, or that we are stuck with what we know.  What if neither of those things are true?

An additional thought from Dr David: “I’ve rediscovered the valuable distinction between change and transformation. Change gives me the liberty to revert back to what I changed from, i.e. change my mind, change my habits, or change my job. Change leaves me a window of opportunity to return to the old thought, habit or action. Transformation does not. Just like an oak tree cannot return to being an acorn, one who is a conscious transformationalist sheds labels, patterns and even identities to align with their inherent ever-expanding nature. Devotion to transformation doesn’t include comfort seeking. Its intentional prayer passes from our heart to our lips by saying, ‘Onward, along the path of my soul’s greatest expression.’ Personally, I feel that the time for such devotion is needed more than ever. I consciously shed limitations, excuses and loyalties to people and things that are not congruent with this universal beckoning.”

…………………..

As far as I know, the idea of ‘curate your life’ originated with Dr David Ault.  The image in this post is his.  Dr David, most recently Senior Minister at one of the three CSLs in Atlanta, recognized that his spiritual path, and the paths of those who work with him, was best served by him leaving that position.  He, and his ongoing work, can be followed at www.davidault.com. If you join up to receive his e-newsletter, you will also receive access to his free e-book/training program, How to Sand Your Rusted Thinking, A resource guide to learning tangible actions for increasing self-awareness and living the life you want.  Sounds like a great tool to use in learning how to Curate Your Life more fully, should you be interested in that.  Happy exploring!

–Rev Janis Farmer

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Releasing Myself From My History

With two drunk driving arrests by the time I was 18 in 1976, I was in a bad space. Although drinking, drugs and partying are often teen-age activities, my emotional state of desperation made alcohol a dangerous substance for me. Drinking to black-out began with the 2ndtime I used alcohol. I was a time bomb exploding. Going through treatment and a halfway house that year introduced me to recovery through a 12-step program, which I still practice today.

Getting clean, however, did not relieve me of the desperation. It did start me on the path to finding the Science of Mind for which I am most grateful. For me, practicing the 12-steps involves developing a spiritual practice. My practice involves action, giving back, meditation and journaling.

The action I follow is attending 3-4 12-step meetings each week and attending the CSLT service on Sundays. I give back to the programs that nurture me spiritually.  I sit on the CSLT board, host one Sunday/month and have 2 regular commitments in my 12-step program. Meditation, as I practice it now, is a twice-daily (usually) mantra meditation of 20 minutes. I use a mantra I received when I attended TM (transcendental meditation) classes in the halfway house back in 1977. I took the classes and was instructed in the discipline but felt that it was cult like and did not continue. When I investigated again at age 58 after talking to a friend that practiced TM, I found out that once you go through the training (and pay the fee), you receive lifetime support. I have been a daily meditator since June 10, 2016, using the Insight app that Shelly Dunn introduced me to. And I write a daily Spiritual Mind Treatment.

But what of the desperation? The sticky tar from which I sometimes think I will never escape. I see it as the La Brea Tar Pits pulling me down as I struggle against it. When I am engaged throughout my day, I am less aware of it, but when I pause, I feel it.  What the heck!  If I perform all these regular, helpful and healthy activities, why aren’t I walking on air and feeling connected to the Divine all the time? I mean, c’mon, I even listen to CSL podcasts when I drive instead of the news.

The Science of Mind taught me that the Divine manifests me. The connection I feel AS the Divine serves as the antidote to my desperation. Learning that the Divine expresses as me, breathes me, sings me, acts for me as It acts through me changes the way I feel. As I write this, as I type the words, I feel the shift.

I attended my 1st CSLT Sunday service in 2014. Shortly after, I began the Prosperity Plus II class. I pulled my husband into the class and now we both attend. The Sunday reminders, the classes, especially the certificated classes, the book studies, the movies and happily spending time with fellow members contribute to my sense of connection. I also work with a therapist to help process stuck emotions through a process of EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing).

Daily I work on cultivating my awareness of the connection. My life has blossomed since I discovered CSLT and particularly since I began meditating daily. So often, I would perform my daily ritual feeling guilty that I was taking time away from work. The story I told myself was that I was a privileged, selfish, needy woman. Now I know that I flourish because solidifying my sense of myself as the Divine, is my priority. Yay me!

–Marya Wheeler

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Thoughts on Receiving

“Let us do away with a ponderosity of thought and approach the thing simply and quietly. It is the nature of the Universe to give us what we are able to take. It cannot give us more. It has given all, we have not yet accepted the greater gift.”    — Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind, p 42.4

I’ve never been one to ask for help. Having grown up without a parent or anyone else around most of the time, I learned to rely on myself and became fiercely independent. That usually works for me, though lately I’ve been experiencing much consternation regarding living alone in my sixties, and having no children I might be prone to rely on (without my asking, of course) should I become infirm.

In discussing this issue with a friend, I realized that I am able to comfortably and gratefully receive help if it isn’t personal, for example from my insurance company when they paid the entire $90K for treating/curing hepatitis C… thanks, much appreciated! Nor is receiving help difficult when I am able to barter; in the community where I live, I have reached out to trade cat care with several other women. The plan is, they watch my cats during vacations, I watch theirs – no monies are exchanged and everything works out ‘evenly’.

Yet there’s so much more to this than just feeling uncomfortable asking for help. Why don’t I think anyone would want to do anything nice for me? I think I have better-than-average self-esteem; is it contingent upon being self-sufficient? Gaaaah…

So, we create situations for our evolvement. I’m not saying I necessarily created the neuroma in my foot that required surgery, but I musta kinda have done so, because there it was, and my last option (short of manifesting it away) was surgery. The doctor told me I’d need to have three things in order before they’d agree to operate – a ride to the surgery center, a ride home, and someone to spend the first twenty-four hours with me.

Oh no.

I mentioned this situation at a CSLT board meeting and wouldn’t you know, three people offered to do these things for me? I mean, they worked it out who would do what and made sure I would be covered. I was floored. For one, I live on no one’s way to anywhere. In fact, I live so far northwest that I’m almost in Phoenix (according to a friend of mine, anyway.)

I had to say yes. I had to let them care about me. I had to trust that I really didn’t live too far away to bother with, that just maybe I was worth it. I had to let my good come to me in the form of loving friends. (Kindness makes me cry, sniff…)

It’s always been so much easier for me to give than to receive. Thankfully, I’m in the Wild Mind book study and I’ll probably find out why. I know how good it feels to me to give, to do things for people because I care about them. Why would I deny someone else that delicious feeling if they want to do something for me? Can I allow myself to be the object of someone else’s compassion?

“Keeping oneself from being loved was to refuse the ultimate gift. She was someone whose heart and mind, and very soul, had been battered and bruised. It was still – and always – safe to give since there was a certain deal of control to be exerted over giving. Taking, or allowing oneself to receive, was an altogether more risky business. For receiving meant opening up the heart again.” — Mary Balogh

–Renee’ Mercer

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Telling Our Stories

It’s only fitting that I write about the importance of “Telling Our Stories” since my entire involvement with CSL in Tucson stems from reading a book filled with the stories of a CSL Minister in Milwaukee. He had a small community to whom he ministered and his stories of his and their growth together was the prompt for me to research (i.e. google) Centers for Spiritual Living in Tucson. That was three years ago and now I have my own stories to share and friends’ stories to listen to and learn from.

But what exactly does it mean to tell-our-story? Humankind has always told stories to teach, to express emotion, to share our lives. We’ve used cave art, dances, music and words. And at times we use them as a way to make sense of the “not ordinary.”

We are blessed with Rev. Janis’ storytelling woven throughout the reminders we hear every Sunday. Her accounts of living, learning and loving shine light on the choices we have to make every day. Those choices and the results from them build our story. (Ahem…not the stories we create to cover-up, shift blame, or rationalize whatever.) Our real, true story about who we are and who we claim as our core self.

And most importantly, our stories give us, and whomever we choose to share with, the brilliant understanding that we can — and have — and will do more of what is bright beyond belief for ourselves. As much as we choose to claim for ourselves, our unique individual choices that create our story.

My story is the growing ability to shed the baggage that I had carefully collected and maintained to insure remembering every thing that didn’t work. Doing the work as prescribed by Dr. Holmes to journal, to meditate, to stay always with the focus of remembering the perfection within. To remember every day that I choose HOW I respond. Even when things go wobbly or worse, I am in charge of how it affects me. And that continued growth in CSL teachings brings me to that beautiful place in my life.

I still have some of the same crazies, the same drivers on the road, the unbelievable high price of gas this week, yet when I remember what I’ve learned, it changes my response and thereby changes my story. The story I choose to live and share. Because now, when I remember, I know that I am in charge of my life.

We learn best from each other. Changing our choices becomes more possible when we know that others have already done it, and that there are as many ways to change and grow as there are members of the
community.

So now we are asking who else in the community would like to share their stories of CSLT. The Board and Rev. Janis are available and ready to help. Pat has even offered to do a writing-your-story-workshop. The sharing need only be 300-500 words as it will become part of our Newsletter and website. (500 words is shorter than this essay, which is 620 words).

Each of us has our own reason or experience for participating in this community, what it’s brought us, what it’s taught us, how we’ve grown, recovered or become better in any way. Let’s share.

If you have a CSLT story to share, please contact Rev. Janis or one of the Board Members: me, Pat Masters, Renee’ (Mezzone) Mercer, Janie Hooper, Marya Wheeler, or Dick Laird.

–Peace, Mariann

P.S. The book of stories I read is in the CSLT Bookstore: SUBURBAN MYSTICISM: A Love Story by R. Scott de Snoo. And yes, his name is really spelled “SNOO”.

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