New Year’s Resolutions

This being the first article of the new year, the idea of New Year’s resolutions came to mind as my topic. I used to make New Year’s resolutions, but stopped several years ago. Why continue to set myself up for failure in making a year-long commitment that I only seem to keep up for a few months or even weeks. What was I going to write about resolutions? I should choose another topic. But then I saw this in the newspaper:

I took this as a sign that I should explore this topic further.

Why is it that I fail to keep my resolutions going? The usual reasons came to mind first: They are not specific enough, A year’s commitment is too long, Trying to make too many changes at once, And so on. Then the true realization came to me – I had been coming up with these commitments and trying to bring them to fruition by myself, without God’s involvement. So this year, instead of a “resolution”, I’ve created a Spiritual Mind Treatment (SMT) for my intent of becoming more organized.

I actually did the SMT prior to New Year’s Day and am making progress already. I have a gift certificate to The Container Store and an appointment scheduled next week to start working with my organization tasker. I paid particular attention to the realization section or, as Rev. Janis refers to it, the juicy details of what it will look like when it manifests. I keep picturing how things will look, the ease with which I’m able to accomplish tasks more easily and the time I will save by being organized. This year, instead of grudgingly starting on a resolution, I’m excitedly advancing toward my goal.

Spiritual Mind Treatment, or Affirmative Prayer, is the type of prayer format used in the Centers of Spiritual Living. Many of us are familiar with this tool, but how many of us make a regular practice of using it? This year I challenge you to turn your New Year’s resolution into an SMT. There’s a template to get you started. The link is in newsletter. If you are not practiced in creating a spiritual mind treatment on your own, visit the CSLT website and complete a prayer request. Prayer Request – Center for Spiritual Living Tucson (tucsoncsl.org)

May 2022 be a happy, healthy, prosperous year for us all in Divine Order.

–Janet Salese

What Was I Thinking?

I woke up Sunday after having an anxiety dream about doing the Spiritual Mind Treatment for service. I’m still learning to do Spiritual Mind Treatments, and feel comfortable enough treating for my classmates, but larger gatherings I’m still working on. When I got up our internet was down. It had been working inconsistently, so we bought another router, and it was working. However, on Sunday morning after numerous tries to get it working, and not succeeding, I decided to go to the office. It was advantageous that I had hosted the watch party the previous week, so I knew how to connect to the internet.

I got to the office with Terri’s laptop, my itouch and ipad, (devices galore!) and connected with the internet, but had difficulty with my email (which had the Zoom link) on the laptop. Sometimes when things like this happen, I stop, laugh and ask myself, “Are you having fun with this? Seeing me panic?” I finally got the email to work and emailed Rev. Janis that I was in the office, and that perhaps my anxiety dream manifested my problems.

When the time came, I was able to lead the mediation, voice only, not knowing why the camera wasn’t working. On the PC laptop I borrowed (I’m a Mac sort of gal) it has a camera slider which acts like a lens cap, which I finally figured out.

Then came the giving of the Spiritual Mind Treatment. The laptop was working, I had the ipad with the spiritual thought. During the reading of the spiritual thought, I must have touched the screen and it disappeared, hence the long silence, and a scramble to get it back on the screen.

This term of Practitioner Studies I’m getting to look at my issue of feeling like a disappointment. It’s followed me around for too long. I think some of that crept into my dream and my morning. The shift that took place during the term was focusing on the word, belief, and behavior of “confidence”, instead. It was like I had never heard the word before! Yes, I need to think of confidence and not disappointment, because if I think of disappointment, that’s what I’m going to get. I choose to shift my thoughts toward confidence, and as a classmate suggested, “Not putting a limit to it,” which was a great reminder.

This reminds me of a time I went skiing, and took a group lesson. I was struggling, so the instructor took the whole class up the lift. When we got off the lift he said, “if you look over the cliff, you’ll go over the cliff,” then he disappeared over the embankment. “And if you look to the middle of the path,” he reappeared, “That’s where you’ll go.” It was a great lesson, one that I continue to work on.

–Maria

Got Skeletons?

Every year I look forward to the trick or treaters coming to my home. I enjoy preparing weeks in advance buying only candy bars and Little Debbie cakes that I enjoy just in case there are any leftovers. Usually, the day of Halloween I need to buy more treats since some have already disappeared. I wouldn’t want to run out and must be prepared for the trick or treaters. I get such a kick out of seeing the ghosts and goblins that appear. Skeletons? Well, not so much. I guess it’s because it’s too close to home.

I’d like to say I have never had a skeleton in my closet, but there is not a word of truth in that. I had a rather big skeleton that enjoyed reminding me he was there. He scared me. I tried ignoring him by pushing him back in the closet and shutting the door. He didn’t go away. He kept reappearing either through a phone call, an e-mail, a letter in the mail, or an appearance on my credit report. It didn’t really matter how he made his appearance, he knew-and I knew- he was there. We both agreed he needed to leave my closet. He often reminded me of my error, which brought up feelings of embarrassment, failure and shame. These feelings I created with him, and just like my skeleton, I wanted them to all go away. He wasn’t going to leave me and would continue haunting me until I settled my debt with him. We needed to talk, and I needed to take action. No doubt, it was time to clean my closet.

I know we all have, or had, some sort of skeleton in our closet. The skeleton holds some piece of our past we would simply prefer to remain hidden or just totally forget. More often than not, it doesn’t remain hidden and we don’t forget. Recently, I cleaned my closet. I talked to my skeleton and took action to settle my debt with him.

I’d like to say I dance with my skeleton now, but there is not a word of truth in that.

Right now, I am repeating affirmations…

  • I forgive myself completely for mistakes I have made knowing I did the best I could at that time.
  • I let go of embarrassment, failure and shame.
  • I approve of myself.

I loving support you if it’s your time to clean your closet. There is every word of truth in that. Happy Halloween.

–Madeline Pallanes

Friends in Far Places

I’ve met some amazing humans as part of the writing group practice that I’ve been in the past year.

Simon and I first met when we were matched up in a book-finishers group. I knew he was working on a book of bedtime stories for adults, but that didn’t intrigue me enough to read his early drafts. Once I read his draft book in its entirety, I realized he was on to something big. He’d realized that he had been parenting his children the same critical and demeaning way he’d been parented, and he wanted to do a healthier, happier, saner job with his own children.

Simon decided to write about his process of self-discovery, and extrapolated his own self-work into exploring positive techniques of communicating, correcting and engaging with his children, and his wife. His background is traditional fundamentalist Christian, and his mind is wide open to exploring how he can change how he engages with those in his world. I am delighted to have met him and get to encourage him in his progress. He published his initial book on Kindle, with intentions of polishing it, and publishing in print later.

Lately he’s been writing about doing more meaningful work, and deepening his satisfying relationships with the other adult humans in his life. He credits being part of this writing community and getting supportive feedback from all of us for his shift in his way of being. I thought there was probably more to it…

Last night he dropped in with this:

“I have done something every day for over a year now that has had a hugeimpact on my self-confidence. It is called the Self-Confidence Formula, 
and it comes from Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich. In the book, it 
is phrased as if these things would take place in the future. About a 
month ago, I changed what I say to state these things in the present 
instead of the future. I repeat it out loud, at least once a day.

First, I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my 
definite purpose in life. Therefore, I demand of myself persistent, 
continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to 
render such action.

Second, I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind eventually 
reproduce themselves in outward physical action and gradually transform themselves into physical reality. Therefore, I concentrate my thoughts 
for thirty minutes daily upon the task of thinking of the person I 
intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear, mental picture ofthat person.

Third, I know through the principle of autosuggestion, any desire that Ipersistently hold in my mind eventually seeks expression through some 
practical means of attaining the object back of it. Therefore, I devote ten minutes daily to demanding of myself the development of 
self-confidence.

Fourth, I have clearly written down a description of my definite, chief aim in life, and I never stop trying. I am developing sufficient 
self-confidence for its attainment.

Fifth, I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure unlessbuilt upon truth and justice. Therefore, I engage in no transaction 
which does not benefit all whom it affects. I succeed by attracting to 
myself the forces I wish to use, and the cooperation of other people. I induce others to serve me because of my willingness to serve others. I 
eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, by 
developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative 
attitude toward others can never bring me success. I cause others to 
believe in me, because I believe in them, and in myself.

I have signed my name to this formula, I have committed it to memory, 
and I repeat it aloud once a day, with full faith that it is influencingand transforming my thoughts and actions so that I am becoming a 
self-reliant and successful person.

Signed, ___________, September 7, 2020.

I feel amazed, grateful, and exhilarated as I look back over the last 
year and see how I have grown and am growing into this firm declaration of belief in myself.”


Those of you who have read Napoleon Hill’s work, and have done this same practice recognize the covenant. Perhaps you studied it with Keith Gorley when he led a book study on this particular Napoleon Hill work several years ago. It’s not ever just about the studying, it’s about the application and the implementation.

I did smile when I read how Simon had changed Napoleon’s words from future tense to present tense. Good use of affirmations, man! And it’s the consistent, daily practice is critical.

As we move into a month exploring Edwene Gaines’ Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, we get to remember that prosperity is about a lot more than just money. As a member of a fundamentalist Christian faith tradition, I have no doubt that Simon is a tither. Beyond that, if you look at his assertions in his practice with Napoleon Hill’s covenant, you’ll see a very similar roadmap to the one that Edwene Gaines wrote about: goal setting, forgiveness and finding a divine purpose.

I’m excited to see what new pathways open up for those of us who choose to engage deeply with these principles and practices.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Concealing My Natural Bindi, No More

Over the past many months, not seeing people except on Zoom or wearing a mask when I did see someone in person, I stopped wearing any make-up. Now that I am starting to get out and show my face to others more, it was time to re-examined my make-up routine.

I have worn make-up to cover “flaws” and even out my complexion. Taking a good look at myself in the mirror, I noticed that the red patch between my eyebrows appeared more significant than before. It reminded me of the red dot Hindi women wear.

I did not know what it was called. An internet search led me to the following:
… one of the most internationally-known body adornments worn by Hindu and Jain women is the bindi, a red dot applied between the eyebrows on the forehead. … There are seven main chakras that run along the center of the body, and the sixth one (called the ajna chakra, the “brow chakra” or “third eye chakra”) occurs exactly where the bindi is placed.

In Sanskrit, ajna translates as “command” or “perceive,” and is considered the eye of intuition and intellect. … the bindi’s purpose is to enhance the powers of this chakra, specifically by facilitating one’s ability to access their inner wisdom or guru, allowing them to see the world and interpret things in a truthful, unbiased manner as well as forsake their ego and rid their false labels.

… The two physical eyes are used for seeing the external world, while the third focuses inward toward God. As such, the red dot signifies piety as well as serving as a constant reminder to keep God at the center of one’s thoughts. (The Purpose of the Bindi by Shuvi Jha June 5, 2018)

After reading that, I no longer saw my naturally occurring “bindi” as a flaw, something to be covered up. Maybe it’s a little more pronounced these days because my connection with my internal Guide is getting stronger. The inside is being reflected on the outside. I am listening to the internal voice more and allowing intuition to guide my actions. In fact, the intention I have been asking my fellow MasterMind group participants to hold for me is “Spirit Guides me. All is well.” My bindi is a visual reminder of this connection to Spirit. I will now proudly leave it exposed.

Signs of Change

Queen Butterfly

This summer’s rains have brought a plethora of butterflies. This morning a single queen butterfly flutters past me while I’m on my walk. I see the orange glow of light shining through its wings. “Go little butterfly, go!” I exclaim. And they encourage me in the silent way that butterflies do.

 

A little further on my walk I look at the ground and pieces of dried Texas ranger flowers and leaves are magically moving, seemingly by themselves. Upon closer look I see the ants under the moving plant parts. It is the subtle sign of the shift of season, the time of year when ants start preparing for the winter. Seeing these small creatures carrying their load, I ask, “Where are you going?” There was no ant hill in sight. With my eyes I follow the single row of ants crossing the street to their home, a beautiful circle of dried flowers. My heart sinks knowing many of them will not finish their work. I want to put up a detour sign, ANT CROSSING.

Abert’s Towhee

At home looking out the window where the bird feeders are, I see mourning doves, sparrows, house finches, sometimes Abert’s towhees scratching the ground like chickens looking for seeds, but there are no more white winged doves, gone for the winter. Subtle, gentle signs of change.

It is hard to believe a full year has gone by since I became a CSLT Board member. Both Marya and Janie finish their terms for serving on the board at the Annual Meeting on October 3rd. I thank them for their time and talents, and for all the many ways they continue to support the operation of this Center.

On Sunday, October 3, during our Zoom annual meeting, Madeline, Janet, Rev. Janis and I look forward to welcoming three potential new members to our board.

I encourage you all to come to the meeting.

–Maria

Change is the Only Constant

“Success can only be measured in terms of distance traveled” — Mavis Gallant

We are forever moving from one experience to another, one challenge to another and one relationship to another.

Our ability to handle confidently all encounters and challenges is a gift from God, the One that accompanies us throughout every day, and we humbly express only gratitude for the One. We are never standing still, no matter how uneventful our lives may seem to be, we are traveling toward our destiny, and the thrills, tears and joys are contributing to the success of our individual and collective adventures.

We can reflect on yesterday, better yet on last week, or even last year’s problems. It’s doubtful we can even remember them. We have put distance between them and us, by Gods grace, knowing they were handled in some manner.

We continue to progress, and then eventually succeed, in getting free of and moving beyond them. How far we have come as a community of like-minded souls since COVID began. We will keep traveling forward with the courage and adaptations necessary for us to succeed.

It has been a blessing and a privilege in more ways than I could have imagined, being a member of the Board of Directors at CSLT these last 3 years. I am ever grateful for the experience and feel encouraged to move forward with my own choices and my own life.

Blessings to all and Thank You.
Namaste,
❤Janie

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The Magic of Words

Love casts out all fear, removes all doubt and sets the captive free.

Ernest Holmes

These words are found in many places in the writings of Dr. Holmes. Words do have a magical power of words, like casting a spell. Words that I believe, take to heart, do affect my behavior, most of the time unconsciously. It takes a conscious effort to look at my thoughts to see where the thought obstacles are keeping me stuck.

In a recent Sunday reminder, Rev. Janis read from Frederick Bailes book Hidden Power for Human Problems.

Therefore, I now declare that it is a vestige of my former destructive thinking. I emphatically state that it is completely out of line with the Infinite Thinker’s thoughts, which are trying to manifest perfectly through me. It is a squatter living on territory where it has no rights of any sort. I call in the Law to evict, dissolve it, and negate it right now. I wash my hands of it. I don’t have to fight it, worry about it, or pay any attention to it. It is nothing trying to be something. It is no more real than the bogeyman that scared me as a boy. I turn every last thread of my thought to the contemplation of God in me, through every single cell of my body…

Bailes did a spiritual mind treatment (a reverse spell) on beliefs he had held to be true about his diabetes. I too can reverse my beliefs that are stuck in my memory, no longer to be relived, but relieved by casting a new spell, making a new claim. I choose these words joyously, by finding a wand, and playfully touching my shoulders and claim, “I now am free from all doubt, I open myself to my Divine Inheritance of a life filled with joy, wonder, love and light.” And so it is.

–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

Work-Around(s) for Feeling Unworthy?

In many belief systems or teachings, the one who delivers the message or facilitates the healing isn’t as important as the message, or the healing. In many of the native cultures, the speaker or healer often describes themselves as a hollow bone or a hollow tube, and offers their gift with as little of their own personal spin as possible, and takes virtually no credit.

In one of last week’s daily practices (Guidance for a Spiritual Journey), Dr. Daniel Lee Morgan wrote about the inter-connectedness of life. We are part of God’s self-expression. God sings a song, and that song is us. We are the song of the Divine Singer, and celestial harmony is our nature.

Participating in that morning’s daily practice, Gregg Molzon interpreted Dr. Daniel’s words in his own unique voice, The Divine Singer performs its solo, the magical notes and vocals carry outwards throughout the Cosmos at warp speed, creating individualized souls to join together in unison.

One of the challenges of spiritual maturity is honoring and exploring that continuously moving and ever-shifting balance ‘point’ between feeling like a hollow bone which is individually unimportant, and recognizing because we are each, and all, ‘part of God’s self-expression’ we do individually matter and have worth. How do we do that?

How do we see ourselves as intrinsically worthy as we are, flaws and all, and not just how we look, or because we serve some function, while at the same time not seeing ourselves as more special, or more valuable, than the next person?

Emma Curtis Hopkins (Scientific Christian Mental Practice, p 96) offers us some clues. “I do believe that my God is now working with me, through me, and by me to make me omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I have faith in God. I have the faith of God.”

One of the constant practices that Emma strongly encouraged was to speak out loud what was true for you, and to admit, acknowledge and truly embody and know it. Many of the students in the “Exploring the Roots of the Science of Mind” class took on the practice of repeating this affirmation for a week. Two things happened for many of the individuals who honestly engaged in this practice, and certainly happened for me, were that the words of this affirmation shifted and morphed over the week, and I began to experience what it would feel like for a human to ‘grok’, and experience, the three omni’s.

I want to dig into these two ideas a little more.

How did the words of Emma’s affirmation shift (for me)? Here’s what the affirmation became for me as I worked with it over the week. “I do believe (declare/claim/recognize/know) that my God now works with me, through me, (as me) and by me … to make me (aware that I am already) omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. I have faith in God. I have the faith of God.”

Just breathing into those words and repeating them hundreds of times over the course of a week, I recognized I felt/feel more powerful (to accomplish my goals and intentions, not power over anyone else, or even anything else, empowered by the Divine operating in me, and as me), more grounded and centered in my beingness (rather than centered in my doingness or my accomplishments). I also feel like I have greater comprehension and understanding of what I think, how I think, and to a greater degree, why I think what I do. This gives me a window into seeing the situations and times where I have believed common hour, or default, thinking was the Truth (and it seldom is), and being able to see myself more clearly (as God sees me) and a window into seeing other people as God sees them.

Pretty cool, huh? More to be revealed, I’m sure. Yes, I’m continuing to practice this practice. I like what I’m seeing, and feeling, as a more conscious, participating, and empowered ‘part of God’s self-expression’. The Divine sings its song through me. I love the song I’m part of, and I sing my part in the celestial harmony.

–Rev Janis

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