Our Youth Program Begins!

January 5 was the official start of the CSLT Youth program. No youth attended service that day, so the 1st day sharing the Science of Mind with a youth was January 12. A young fellow spent time with Maria and Jay, two CSLT members, during the service and enjoyed himself. The time began with a short treatment, they discussed unity and the three spent time drawing their favorite animals, talking about how we’re all connected with everything including the animals, especially our favorite animals. The youth shared his experience with the congregation after the three returned to the service before the final song. Maria shared how we are all the same age on the inside and all have something to share with each other.

The process for me, of pulling this youth program together has been challenging because working with children has been such an unfamiliar experience for me. Even though I have three adult children (who made it to adulthood), my parenting style was more of the making sure they were fed, clothed and at soccer practice on time and less of the being present with them, or helping them to understand feelings and reassuring them that everything was going to be okay and each child was perfect, whole and complete just the way they are. Over the last 10 years and especially since my introduction to CSLT, I have talked to my kids about the emotional support they did not receive, but desired, and have found that I can supply that now. I feel that I’m a better parent to them now than I was in their youth.

Assembling the youth program has involved reviewing three weeks of the 52-week curriculum, which has 6 different lessons for Preschool-High School. The lessons are very long and involved and being able to follow them seemed overwhelming. Meeting with Pat Masters, we simplified the curriculum to a basic format of Spiritual Truth from the CSL curriculum, Readings from the CSL curriculum, asking a question and discussion followed by a Craft and Closing Prayer. The Volunteer teachers can use the supplied curriculum and suggested readings (we have them all) to prepare for the class. The curriculum provides a thorough discussion of a topic with a summary so we can talk about a topic easily with the kids.

It turns out that I am having fun putting together the lessons and preparing the crafts. We will be making turtle symbols on river rocks, dusting our auras with turkey vulture feathers and doing Tai Chi for Kids. And that is just the next few weeks! I look forward to spending time with the kids.

My initial thought was that I would miss out on not being in the service but meeting with the children will be another way of nurturing myself. I wish that I had been exposed to SOM when I was young and since, as Maria said, we’re all the same age, I will be exposing that young person in Marya to Science of Mind in a new way. Teachers will receive a copy of the service at no charge so we can hear the Sunday talk & the fantastic music.

The young person returned to the service, with his two teachers, before the last song so all were present for the Closing Song & the after-service dance party. Please speak with me if you’re interested in getting involved.

–Marya Wheeler

What Do You Want in the New Year?

We have all heard a lot about the law of attraction and manifesting our dreams. It’s almost a mainstream idea these days. The Science of Mind philosophy has a very definite interpretation of this practice.

You may have tried to put some of the common principles and techniques into practice, and might have experienced some frustration and confusion about how to manifest the things you want to experience in your life. One of the most common frustrations I experience, when it comes to manifesting my dreams, is not being clear about exactly what I really want. That question requires some deep searching, and looking again, when I don’t have the experience I expect.

You probably have heard how important it is to focus your attention and intention on what you desire. Many people have trouble staying with one idea and end up sending themselves, and the Universe, mixed messages. Often, people believe they are engaged in asking for what they want, but they are actually complaining instead. For instance, “I want more money, because I am tired of being broke” or “I am going to find the person of my dreams as soon as I shed a few pounds”. Focusing on feeling broke, feeling overweight or not feeling loved or appreciated will not help you achieve your desires. Each of these complaints sets up crossed signals, making it very challenging to manifest what you really want to experience.

Noticing consciously that you may be mixing your messages is the first step in achieving your true desires. The Wednesday night classes coming up in January that Rev Janis will facilitate on the four basic spiritual practices of the Science of Mind may help you understand, and improve your use of, these spiritual practices.

In the meantime, identify one decision you can make in relation to this awareness and take action. Then pay attention to how your decision shows up in your life. When the ‘answer’ appears, and doesn’t look like what you thought you meant, take another look and reconsider any adjustment you might need to make to get clearer in your signaling.

Remember, the shortest way to a happy life is found through conscious choice, which every one of us has access to each and every moment of our lives.

–May the New Year Bless Us All,
Janie Hooper

Family Thanksgiving

I feel connected and complete. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I spent time with my aunt and two cousins whom I have not seen in over 40 years. And I saw my brother and sister. The occasion was attending the memorial for my uncle who transitioned in September. Uncle Proctor and Aunt Patsy lived in Wilmington, Ohio. This is roughly one hour north of Cincinnati which is on the border of Kentucky. The Cincinnati, CVG, airport is in Hebron, Kentucky.

Awakening at 1:30am on Thanksgiving morning to catch the 2:15am shuttle to Phoenix for the 6am flight was the start of my weekend adventure. When I made the reservations in October, I puzzled over the expensive airfare into CVG. I found cheaper flights on the Thursday before December 1, not realizing until two weeks later that it was Thanksgiving Day. The airports were not busy, and I had no problems with the flight, the car rental or the drive to the nursing home where I joined my cousins Sue and Nan, Aunt Patsy and Susan’s son, Matt, for a takeout Thanksgiving dinner. We ate in a small apartment that the nursing home provided for visiting family members. No microwave so the food was not hot, but it was yummy. I shared how my diet had changed after being vegan for 4½ years.

Sue, Nan and I shared primarily about our current life situations and what concerns we have regarding our adult children and aging mothers. Our mothers are both 88 and have dementia. Susan has been a widow for 17 years and is currently dealing with breast cancer which has metastasized to her bones although it is still breast cancer. She is on chemotherapy for two weeks and then off for one week. On the Wednesday before I traveled, I got my hair cut and my hairdresser gave me Shirley Temple ringlets. I was wearing my glasses on Thanksgiving and explained to everyone that this was not what I looked like. The next day when I wore my contacts and had fixed my hair and Susan spent time with me without her wig, we agreed that we were now our real selves.

Our mothers were best friends in high school. That is how my mom met my dad. Susan is 3 months older than me so they were pregnant at the same time with us. Aunt Patsy was especially close to my father, Jack. Their birth mother died when my dad was 6 and Aunt Patsy was 3. Sue and Nan gave us a set of old pictures which included pictures of our parents and Uncle Bill’s birth mother, Gertrude. She bares a striking resemblance to my older daughter, Nicole.

My brother, John flew in from Vermont on Saturday and within a short time we picked up our sister Maggie who flew in from Wisconsin. They both have children who are 12 and/or 13 and were relishing traveling solo. At dinner on Saturday night the cousins and Matt (sans Aunt Patsy) all shared about the relationships we had with our parents and about the times we remembered spending time together. My siblings and I shared about the pain we experienced as a result of our mother’s mental illness and her brutality. In the early 80’s our father came out to us as gay. His absence during our childhood had contributed to the sense of abandonment the three of us shared and dealt with us as adults. It was a bonding experience and I am grateful for it.

The next day was Sunday and the memorial. It was at Wilmington College, the Quaker college where my uncle taught Mathematics and MIS for many years. Music played and Sue, Matt and Nan shared about my uncle. He was one of five professors that were very good friends and whose families grew up together. Three children of these professors shared about growing up being a part of group and how welcome they had always felt at the Deans. People had come from out of town to attend the memorial including the adult children that shared. It was a lovely event. Aunt Patsy told Nan that she understood that the memorial was for Proctor and that she misses him. She told me that too and I agreed that I miss him and miss my father, Jack.

Spending time with Maggie and John was great fun. We shared a hotel room and lay in bed Saturday night laughing and talking about our children. We each have three and relate that to being one of three. Monday morning the adventure continued as I arose at 3:30am to travel back home to become immediately engulfed in my work life.

The surreal experience of re-establishing family ties comforted me at a basic level. I have texted with Matt and know that our connection will include more phone calls and visits. This feels especially important considering our aging parents and Susan’s illness. I appreciate the opportunity to process this through writing this newsletter article. Thank you, for allowing me to share this with you.

— Marya Wheeler

Crumbs or Cake?

I’m not sure what specifically ‘made me notice this particular hidden belief, but it resurfaces for me now and then. Every time I think I’ve made progress, then l discover another deeper layer wanting to be seen and addressed. In any case, it’s in my face again.

My mother was always settling for, making do with whatever life gave her, not imagining anything better or different, and it annoyed me immensely that this was the way things were. Some of the memories were challenging like hand-me-down clothes, wearing shoes that were a little bit too small, and sharing orders of toast when we would (rarely) eat breakfast out. Some memories are sweet, like the Christmas she sewed a pleated skirt and little blouse for my virtually hairless, much beloved doll, and made a boudoir chair (with cushion) to match the outfit out of a cylindrical oatmeal box. That’s just the way it was back then, when there was very little extra and you made what you had work for you, at least in our neighborhood.

There’s an old foreign film called Babette’s Feast‘. (In my mind, it is much older than 1987, but that’s what wikipedia says.) A French refugee spends her entire fortune to purchase ingredients, and prepares an amazing seven-course meal for some townspeople not used to ‘fancy food’. The elderly villagers who were recipients of the meal decided it was sinful to appreciate the food, and so they agree to eat it and say nothing. One guest, from out-of-town, raved about the meal. After the meal is done, they ask her when she is going back to Paris, and she says there’s no money left and she’s not leaving. Sigh.

My particular variation of this hidden belief is not particularly economic. I do always have what I need to do what is important to me. Partly because I recognize the law of circulation operates — when I generously give, I generously receive. It happens automatically. I don’t give to receive. I just give. Also, part of it is that I’m not particularly high-maintenance, except for books, and fabric. The spot where I get caught, and I feel like I’m operating from lack, is in collaboration/support. By way of explanation, my primary love language, as described in the Five Love Languages  is acts of service. I feel especially valued, seen, heard, and appreciated when people do things they say they will, or show up when they say they will. If I’m not managing my own internal resources, and not noticing when I have given control of my experience of well-being away to someone else’s action or inaction, I can feel unloved when people are not congruent. Most of the time, I’m pretty OK with the way life works because I generally pay attention to my own self-management.

[If you haven’t taken the free test at Five Love Languages, I highly recommend it.  If you are in relationship with someone, especially if you feel like you are sometimes not on the same wavelength, I suggest you ask them to take it too, and share your results with each other. It is eye opening to realize how you give and receive love and appreciation. If there is an absence of alignment in love languages in the partnership, there are suggestions of things you can do to strengthen the relationship.]

Almost as quickly as I recognize this old (irritating) story, name it, and release it, an email pops up from someone insisting they will take care of a necessary task. Then someone else chimes in too, to handle another choreIt almost doesn’t matter to me whether I accept the offers of help, simply that the offers have been made, and were genuine. Then a third person shows up. Now, I feel almost inundated by helpful people.

So, my awareness once again reminds me that I can see my life as crumbs, where I feel like I’m making do and settling for less than what I desire, or I can see my life as a beautiful slice of cake with a perfect cup of fragrant coffee, completely aligned with my needs and wants. As usual, it’s up to me, and how I choose to see my world. Is this a familiar story for you,too?  How do you handle it?

—Rev Janis Farmer

Notice What I’m Noticing

For several days before I begin a newsletter article, I begin observing my actions and running a dialog on them as possible article topics. Everything is fair game for inclusion and I note how fascinated I am with my daily activities. Everything I do, including climbing the stairs at a client’s office, making sure that if I begin one flight begins with my left foot, then the next flight must begin with my right foot and vice versa. I am not particular about whether I start with my left or right. That would be a little too OCD for me.  Another observation upon which I comment is the happy feeling I get when I pour out the exact number of vitamins and supplements from bottles each time I fill my weekly pillbox. If my husband is around, I usually share this exciting news. Those two examples of how my brain works are the types of things that occupy me. I find that my focus is often related to whatever I am feeling at the time.

In Prosperity Plus III, Mary Morrissey instructed us to “Notice What You’re Noticing”. This morning I woke up at 4:58 and started worrying about work and cash flow. After 20 minutes, I noticed what I was noticing and realized it was because I felt frightened. Whatever feeling I have is immediately justified by my thoughts. What is important is that because of the tools I’ve learned studying the Science of Mind at CSLT, I take action to change my feelings. It is a miracle for me to be able to do this and I am deeply grateful to the CSLT and to 12-step programs in which I participate.

I meditate for 20 minutes. According to Denise Gerace, the TM instructor I use in Tucson, reciting my mantra connects me to the One Life. What I like about mantra meditation is that I’m not told to still my mind. Attempting to still my mind is painful to me. I silently say my mantra and think my thoughts with the mantra running in the background. Reciting a mantra over and over suits me. I find one thing I like and stick with that. Ask my kids how they liked 3 years of Carnation Instant Breakfast every day. 🙂

I find it necessary to fill my day with positive actions. When I exercise, it really helps. I quit listening to the news every time I was in the car. It brings my focus to negativity. I understand that Reverend Donald can look at the Twin Towers collapsing and think, “I can’t wait to see how much good will arise from this!” But I can’t do that yet. My mind works like a sponge, picking up the vibration of the input I give it.

I make intentional changes to improve the input. I quit reading murder mysteries that are solved by Miss Marple-types because it is about murder. I quit listening to alternative rock music which I really like but contains depressing and despairing lyrics. I quit watching Law and Order a year ago although I find the first 5 minutes of the show so intriguing. As a result, I am consistently happier.

I operate on a higher vibration when I meditate, attend 12-step meetings and attend CSLT on Sundays. I also appreciate CSLT classes and hope that Pat Masters can start a Prosperity Plus III Mastermind class. Two more things that bring me joy and in which I participate almost every day – spending time with my animals. My cat Minnie Mayhem and my dogs Mickey Mayhem, Chaos (A little bit of Chaos) and Danger (Danger, danger Will Robinson) (You can tell we named them before Science of Mind) and connecting with my work colleagues, friends and clients at an emotional level brings me joy.

I look forward to working more with the Prosperity Plus III plans and to develop my 3-year vision in which I memorize the feeling of that vision, revisiting it often. Being able to stay in that feeling works great for me. Giving back to CSLT by being on the Board works great for me. And tithing continues to bring greater abundance. So, it works great for me too. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my life with you via the newsletter. And if you want to talk to me in person on Sunday, Yay!!!!

–Marya Wheeler

Reflections

In 2009, I began my transition from an exciting but longish career as an engineering technician to that of professional teacher with an initial mixture of nobility and naivete’. Thanks to Texas Instruments and Pima County, I sailed through Pima Community College’s “Post Baccalaureate” teacher training and ensuing board exams. I then began plowing through a rough trail of real experience, beginning with an aborted internship, on into an extended, eclectic series of experiences with charter schools in Tucson and Prescott.

By 2017, after a series of Fall-Spring gigs, it had become clear that I was a round peg in a square hole as a rote classroom teacher. Driving up and down the Black Canyon Freeway, into Prescott, and the Desert Highlands on holiday sojourns, I found that the look and feel of the land, and of free time, welcomed and called to me.

● In the driver’s seat of my car: Why do I feel as a pauper in the desert heat?
● In the confines of my classrooms: I know the math. But how do students learn?
● In my recesses of my mind: Who I am and What Am I Doing Here?

These questions lead me to the alchemy that extracts my mind’s enigmas into conscious thought. In the vocabulary of our Science of Mind, it is the clarifying methodology and psychological practice that we have come to know as Spiritual Mind Treatment. At this juncture, my inner quest is thus illumined as spiritual questions: Am I turning within to Spirit, tuning into Truth, diving deeper into Love but want more? Am I prepared to manifest a meaningful, fulfilling, prosperous, joyful life?

If so, I must:

● Align with Universal Principles and activate awareness of the Divine Presence within
● Apply positive, practical, spiritual tools, including meditation and mindfulness, affirmations,neuroscience, and self-awareness in your daily life
● Discover a profound spiritual technology called Spiritual Mind Treatment
● Go within…deeper than you have before…and experience Truth
● Uncover and discard hidden beliefs, set yourself free
● Enter a safe, sacred container for true transformation

(From Foundations of the Science of Mind, CSL Dallas)

With consultation, prayer, and encouragement galore: I logged onto my job-search engine with “Math Work Prescott.” Voila, one job: A small Waldorf-inspired middle school, a walkable half-mile from decades-old friends house right there in Prescott, where I would room for that school year. Another dash up the Black Canyon Freeway, an entire afternoon with the headmaster, and I’m committed to a school year. I believe our teaching calls this manifestation or demonstration.

Two years in, evolving into a spiritually-oriented, Steiner-inspired teacher of both spectrum and gifted adolescents. And dipping into the deeper well: the psychology of learning for adolescents. Book studies, faculty collaboration and shared experience are in the treasure chest at the end of the rainbow. Here, the Waldorf-inspired “developmentally centered” teaching methodology: especially in the middle grades, where the teacher must see that emerging students are academically mature; thus solid with the concepts in concrete terms, before guiding them further into the abstractions: the hallmark of higher learning.

And now, further into the challenges of students’ learning in a troubled world. Cultural and psychological pressures on our children precipitate a plethora of learning and developmental difficulties. These distorting forces show up as hormonal and behavioral breakouts, precluding traditional classroom learning environments. Again, a more spiritual question: what’s this got to do with me?

Apparently, it’s time I begin teaching effectively, and continuing to learn myself, in a behaviorally challenged classroom. Thus, this next chapter comes with a real salary, more college in behavioral and psychological studies, and “more-better” encounters with forgiveness and learning, stemming from my own reflections on a disruptive adolescence, and war-torn early adulthood.

In Love’s Gift of Radical Forgiveness, Colin Tipping writes, “Radical Forgiveness challenges us to fundamentally shift our perception of the world and our interpretation of what happens to us so we can stop being victims.”

Teaching leads to more advanced questions, leading into deeper understandings of healing, forgiveness, and teaching. We learn to love ourselves and the culture in which we live, practicing and modeling:

● Self-control – with constructive thought and considerate behaviors with others
● Self-care – with nutrition, rest, and reflection
● Service toward the greater good.

In It’s Up to You, Ernest Holmes shows how to move from a life of “no” to a life of “yes.” We teach students that they, too, will be able to choose their future, because what we experience tomorrow depends on what we think and do today.

“It’s up to you,” Holmes writes.

It’s up to me. My Guide tells me “Keep up the Good Work,” and “Remember to stay tight with your teachers, (and Me)”

With Love — Robert

“Phantom Pain”

Ever feel like you’re suffering from an action or a choice or a betrayal that you know you’ve forgiven and moved on from? But when you stop and think about it, the emotional trail leads straight back to some happening that should be long gone.

The comparable physical feeling has long plagued doctors and amputee patients alike.

From the Mayo Clinic: Phantom pain is pain that feels like it’s coming from a body part that’s no longer there. Doctors once believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem, but experts now recognize that these real sensations originate in the spinal cord and brain.

Same with emotions, the brain thinks they’re real, so they plague us.

I have, mostly in the past, accepted and retained other’s actions toward me as personal. I let them stick and stay — feeling small and wounded. Those wounds have largely healed–except for what I’m now calling “phantom pain.” The conscious version of it’s gone and past, but the unconscious version lurks and occasionally trips me into feeling bad and sad about myself.

And when I ‘feel it’, I limit myself and shrink to something less than I am. Because every time I let someone else’s action determine my reaction I’ve given away power and lost peace.

…old thought habits are prone to reassert themselves, to claim they have a right to remain in your consciousness, to harass and torment you. But now you are wise and you know they have no such authority. You see them to be exactly what they are—false impressions claiming to be the Truth.
–Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  121.6-122.1)

And there it is. The understanding, the encouragement, and the instruction on exactly what I should do.

The inclination is to go back and get angry with others or with myself for the unhappiness and pain that I took on – but the real goal, the path to actual freedom from them comes as Dr. Holmes continues

They are traitors to your True Self, false representations of the Divinity within you. They are a misuse of your Law of Freedom, but you will cast them out. You will say to them, “I no longer accept you. Begone!”
–Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  122.1)

Not exactly the language I use, but then Dr. Holmes probably never uttered some of the words I do. The language actually isn’t important. It’s claiming the Spirit within to fuel the belief to power the Law to free myself. Whew. And, then recognizing the thought that is triggering the pain, and practicing consistent, persistent rejecting of the old, embedded emotion and replacing it with Truth.

In short, I accept the Spirit within, believe in myself, replace negative moods, emotions, and feelings with something better. And if it is true for me, it is true for everyone else too.

And the sprinkles on that:
No greater good can come to you than to know that the Power already within you is the Power to live, the Power to create. Not only to create for yourself but for others– the Power to do good, the Power to heal, the Power to prosper. — Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  123.2)

This Power: it’s mine, it’s yours, it’s everyone’s – accept it, claim it, know it, use it.

–Peace, Mariann Moery

The Road I Traveled

“The Sage does not hoard and thereby bestows, the more he lives for others the greater his life, the more he gives to others, the greater his abundance” — Tao Te Ching

Wow, does this quote ever speak to me. When I was much younger, I had expectations that the world was here to give me whatever I desired. Boy, did I ever have some lessons to learn about the life ahead of me.

I recall expecting to receive an automobile for Christmas the year I turned 15, only because another girl in my class had gotten one for her birthday. My Grandmother, who was raising me, could no more afford that, than she could fly to the moon. It has taken me many years of experiences to learn that my youthful expectations were both unrealistic and childish.

I rarely gave much thought to serving others in any way, until I went away to boarding school run by the Sisters of Saint Mary. That was my first exposure to a group of women who lived and worked, basically to serve others. It still took me a long time to realize that my own happiness was tied to minimizing my expectations of others doing for me, knowing that I had a relationship with a loving God that only wanted the best of life for me, and that Sacred Service was a path of belonging and participation that really worked for me.

When I became a young Mother, I believe, was the first time that I ever put another human being’s needs and wants before my own. My first child has brought me great happiness. I would have done anything I could to help her in her early years, and still will.

The first few times I was asked to volunteer I thought, “Not me. What could I possibly have to offer?” I was so wrong. It has only been later in my life that I have finally figured out how important my connections with others, and my service to and for, others has enriched my life more than I can express.

I have always received so much more than I have given in any service activity or volunteering work I have ever been involved in. My first opportunity as a volunteer was when I made the coffee at the place where I eventually got sober. Fresh hot coffee was always welcomed, and welcoming, at those AA Meetings a long time ago.

The reason I am sharing this is really a thank you to everyone who serves in any capacity at CSLT and an encouraging invitation to anyone who might want to serve. We are so fortunate that so many do, yet there are still opportunities to engage, and lots more things we could accomplish with more individuals participating in this way.

I know for sure that my life is happier, richer and fuller than I ever expected it could be as a result of stepping up on, and giving of myself in, the path of service.

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

Stepping into Life

As we went through Check-In at Prosperity Plus III this afternoon, Pat Masters remarked that in the last year I seem to have gotten lighter. That is so true. Last year I took Foundations for the 2nd time with the intention to change my relationship with money. That happened! It worked! I can’t point to an exact correlation between my actions and the changes in my life in the last year, but it has all been good and I know it is because of the connection I have to the One Mind, the One Life and the One Love.

I just returned from Las Vegas where I went to a 2-day tax conference. I learned many things regarding tax preparation. My husband, Chris, and I also spent 1 and ½ days enjoying Las Vegas. We lost a little money, won a little money, saw Love (the Cirque de Soleil program set to Beatles music) and Christina Aguilera. We walked the strip, had a wonderful dinner and I hugged Scooby Doo, which was may have been my happiest moment. So, we’ve experienced Las Vegas.

What is such a pleasure to me is that this is the first time that I’ve felt like I had enough money and enough time to make a trip. My previous MO was to squeeze activities into each moment and to do it on a shoestring. (I don’t know where the term “on a shoestring” came from but I mean that previously I would barely have had enough money to make the trip and would have been nervous and anxious every moment about spending any money.)

We drove my new Mini Cooper. Chris bonded with it and we listened to Raymond Holliwell’s book, Working With The Law on YouTube there and back. We started listening to NPR but soon turned it off, as the news coverage was frightening and depressing.

My business increased last January and I roughly doubled my income. When thoughts of fear arise concerning a reversal, I remind myself that I practice the Science of Mind. I tithe, I perform service on the CSLT Board and with other non-profits, and I have a regular meditation practice. I believe this. I access the One Mind. I trust. As Eddie Watkins sings, “I am the place where God shows up”.

For someone that lived in despair for many years, this is miraculous. I’ve had a fine life on the outside. I’m happily married for over 25 years; I have good relationships with my three adult children, with my siblings, and with my mother. I’m an active participant in a 12-step program. In July, I celebrated 43 years clean. Substance abuse was only a symptom of my problem and my method was to medicate myself to suppress the feelings of intense pain and blackness that I felt. When I got clean, it made sense to me, I couldn’t even use right. After 9 months in treatment, I immediately launched into an abusive relationship that turned violent before we separated. For many years, I attended a meeting every day because it brought me a respite from my emotional pain. Many people marveled that I was so consistent in my attendance at noon meetings with multiple decades clean. I attended because I needed the sense of connection I found there daily. I lived the life of quiet desperation to which Thoreau referred.

It used to be so hard to get out of bed in the morning and “step into my life”. No more. I still attend my 12-step meetings, but I don’t need the daily relief. I write a treatment most mornings or, on occasion, during the day if my morning gets away from me. I find the spiritual connection I need when I write the Unification step. And I find fellowship in the Sunday services and in the classes.

As I shared my thoughts regarding my Las Vegas trip with the PPIII class this afternoon, Pat exclaimed, “When it’s your time to write the newsletter article again, you have it in what you just shared”. I replied, “That’s tonight!” And so, it is.

— Marya Wheeler

It’s a Wrap!

For the third time, I am completing my term as a sitting Board member for CSLT, and this is my last newsletter article as such.  I must admit, it’s frequently been a challenge writing these columns, but I’ve also grown a whole lot through doing so, so it’s definitely been worth it.  What to write about this time?  Being on the Board, of course!

Since I’ve been on the Board three times but none of those times has been a full term, Rev. Janis dubbed me a “pinch hitter,” (I like it!)  For one reason or another, three different board members were unable to fulfill their terms, so I was asked to step in and finish their duties until the next election.  I recall the first time, when out of the blue, Pat Masters asked me if I would consider being on the Board. I was stunned.  Surely, she had me mixed up with someone else, i.e., a competent, courageous, experienced person.  But nope, she meant me.  So, I braved my fears and insecurities, and stepped up to the plate, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

There was a learning curve involved and it took some time to build up confidence that I had anything at all to contribute to the meetings and my spiritual center.  But I kept showing up and giving it my best shot, doing what was asked of me and sometimes even volunteering for an extra something I felt comfortable taking on.

Being on the Board is so much more than the monthly meetings and newsletter articles.  The only other time I’ve ever felt a real ‘part of’ anything was at AA meetings, but being a CSLT Board member has provided me with a sense of community and belonging I never knew was possible to have.  I’ve witnessed integrity at a very deep level, learned how to have respectful conversations involving differing viewpoints, and been a participant in supporting the Highest Good of the Center being the primary objective.  I’ve watched us ebb and flow; I’ve seen new people come, others leave, old-timers return, and I’ve had an opportunity to not make anyone wrong for their choices.  Everyone is welcome to walk through our doors, and I love that about us.

Over the years I’ve been on various teams around the Center (still am) and have taken numerous classes, but nothing has given me the clarity of who I am, who we are, and what we have to offer as much as being on the Board.

If you have completed Foundations and have been a member for a minimum of six months, you meet the minimum requirements to be a CSLT Board member. Is this yours to do?  I promise you growth, a sense of belonging to something incredibly special, and joy beyond my ability to express.  Elections for new Board members is immediately after First Sunday Potluck on October 6th – might you consider taking your turn as a contributing member at the most amazing level?  If you don’t like it, don’t worry – I’ll pinch hit for you, LOL!

“If we search for it, happiness usually eludes us.  Absorption is the key, but absorption with something outside ourselves:  a craft, service, creation – these functions allow us to become enthralled and lovingly involved with what we do, take us out of our mind’s preoccupation with our own interests, and lead us to a fruitful state of being.”

Elegant Choices, Healing Choices by Marsha Sinetar, p. 77

–Renée Mercer, September 25, 2019

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