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

Letting Go To Discover

Let It Go – is a favorite poem by e e cummings. And now it’s my time to let go of membership on the CSLT Board. It seems appropriate to include the words from Dr. Holmes that currently guide me in my growth. I’ve changed the message to personal pronouns because that’s how it is for me.

The Universe holds nothing against me; It can hold nothing against me, because It can know nothing unlike Itself. Therefore, It only knows me as Perfection. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 561.4

Since there is no great and no small to the Infinite, all that seems of little consequence in my life has the Divine Guidance just as perfectly and completely as that which I think of as being tremendously important.
— Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 562.2

Which for me is practicing all the time every day to live from that space within which is “wholly holy”, congruent and serene — as I acknowledge and claim – I am always at choice.

There is nothing I have done, said or thought which rises up against me, which has power over me or which limits me; there is no memory of fear, no condemnation for previous mistakes. With the desire to free myself from further indulgence in the mistake, the effect of the previous mistake is wiped out, just as light dissipates the darkness. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 561.4

Freedom from guilt for past, present and future errors in judgment, moments of inattention and laziness. Only the necessity to learn better, to do better as the unique expression that I am.

The higher the sense of Truth, the greater will be the realization of the uniqueness of individual character and personality.

Individuality means self-choice, volition, conscious mind, personified Spirit, complete freedom and a Power to back it up. (Emphasis is mine MM) — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 332.4-5

In my Foundations class we created what I journal as P5: Peace, Poise, Presence, Power & Prosperity.

It has taken me till now to realize a proper meaning for Power – as the internal, singular power of Spirit in me allowing unique personal beingness. It allows me to let go of any person, place, memory or object that attempts to limit or to guilt me. It is very good, very important: my personal Power. It must be claimed and treasured as it is basic to personal freedom. And essential to live as whole.


I am one with the body of the physical world;
One with the Creative Law of the Universe in the mental world; and One with the Spirit of God in the conscious world. Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 333.2


For me the operative word in the above trifecta is “conscious”, to be consciously aware that I am One with the world, the Law and the Spirit. As much of the time as I can live there….it varies day-to-day.

Let me now let go of everything and enter into the consciousness of that which I believe. The Spirit within me is God, and It is perfect, It is love, reason, life, truth and beauty. It is limitless and perfect and complete and whole. It knows no lack and no limitation. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 561.3

Continuing as a permanent work-in-progress, I wish you and yours the claiming of more good each day and…


–Peace, Mariann

 

Having New Eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

The Long Haul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Rev Janis

Best of Times!?!?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or more directly, if somewhat less poetically:

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

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

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

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

Church Open, Building Closed

Last Tuesday, a reporter from the Arizona Daily Star sent an urgent e-mail request for an update on open/closed status of churches. Apparently they were queuing up to do a special report in Sunday’s paper. Since I wrote a piece for the Sunday “Keeping the Faith” section, which they published on April 19th, we got on their list of churches in Tucson. That’s very cool. When I got to the question about when the church/center was opening, I replied that our ‘church’ had never closed, just the building has closed. I firmly believe that.

Yes, we gather virtually on zoom. Presently, we gather for Sundays, for Wednesday night classes and for our daily morning practice. We’ve gotten better at the mechanics of doing Sunday services. We’re even up on YouTube with our own channel; other people have checked out our community and what we believe. Our stage band has been cranking out some amazing music. Most centers and churches default to canned music (YouTube videos and the like), because live music on zoom is just too hard. Our guys figured out how to do it. Leona Freeman even joined them, virtually, to sing the song she wrote, ‘Welcome to This Place’, which we have used for our opening song for the whole month of May. An old friend, Rev Lynne Heygster, guest spoke two Sundays ago from her living room in Justin Texas and in a couple weeks (June 14th) we are having a special musical guest, Bob Sima, from his home in Florida. The Music Team has wanted to bring Bob to town for years; it has not been possible, until now.

Our online meditation seminar has two participants in eastern Canada and one from Eloy AZ; we’ve had two guest facilitators, one from Las Vegas and one just left Tucson, and presently en route to Kentucky. The Prosperity Plus III mastermind group gathers twice a month. Keith Gorley’s men’s group meets virtually twice a month, and Keith starts a book study of Karen Armstrong’s 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life in less than two weeks. If you’ve never read this book, and can get a copy of it electronically, it will change your point of view about what it means to live compassionately. The Daily Practice group has been meeting steadily since the last week in March, every day except Sundays; attendance is growing. Additionally, there’s a survey further down in this newsletter soliciting interest in online classes over the summer. If you are curious, and potentially interested in participating in an upcoming class, please check out the very short survey and state your preferences.

No, it’s not the same as in person. It can’t be. We won’t be going back to the old model any time soon. The people who live far away are thrilled to hear that; that means they get to participate. There are those who, quite rightly, say that we are doing a better job of serving our community because we are more accessible to more people.

Your Board of Trustees met virtually this past week. We talked about what it would take for us to meet in person at the office next month. Given the constraints on meeting (10 people or less), we could theoretically meet in person, maintain safe distance (6′ between chairs), meet with facemasks on, & have the air handlers on high. The office would need to be wiped down, but it could be done. We could even have two guests at our board meeting, they would have to sit in an adjacent room, but they could still see and hear the discussion.

Last week the Board talked about how we identify congregants with some skill and interest in computers and videographic equipment, who also have time and interest in helping us get us set up for live-streaming when the time (finally) comes. Fortunately, there are a number of resources within CSLs around the country with expertise that are delighted to share what they have learned with us. Interested?

Yes, our center is open. If you haven’t been participating, we invite you to join us.

–Rev Janis

Living in “Interesting Times”

There’s an old Chinese curse about living in interesting times. It’s pretty clear that we are. Fear bubbles just below the surface for a lot of people. Those who have lost loved ones, who no longer have a stable source of income, or who are afraid and cut off from the comfort of being with other human beings are suffering. May each of us remember to use this opportunity as a wake up call to our shared humanity, our shared vulnerability, and to nourish our compassion and strengthen our communities.

Personally, it has presented me with the opportunity to go inward more deeply every day (thanks to the tricks I learned in Into the Magic Shop), which fold in so beautifully with our Science of Mind principles and techniques, allowing me to access a deeper awareness of Oneness. Life and Wholeness. I also have been watching Deepak Chopra’s morning talks on Instagram, which help me remember how to stay sane in an out of balance world. These have helped me stay grounded and centered.

So, what can we do?

Turn off the television newsfeed, and just ‘be’. News doesn’t change that fast. Listen to the birds sing. Enjoy the sun and the fresh air. Go for walks and appreciate the beauty of nature. Find things to be grateful for and really enjoy them. Do affirmative prayer and meditate. Read our Center’s (and other Centers’) materials. Attend our Zoom services, or services of other Centers and churches that feed and uplift us spiritually. Expand our spiritual practices. Know that, as they say in AA, “ This too shall pass”.

Arizona DES (directorblog.azdhs.gov) recognizes that individuals with chronic illnesses are more susceptible to this virus and that it is even more important, if we are experiencing that condition, that we, and those who live with us, take preventative measures: stay home, take extra care with handwashing and prevent spread of potential contamination, keep up with our medications, keep good records of daily health monitoring and keep any scheduled doctor’s appointments. In addition, AZ DES recommends social distancing, engaging in an enjoyable hobby (scanning Facebook feeds is not an enjoyable hobby), being moderately physically active, practicing mindfulness and meditation, connecting with friends and family over the phone and video-chats. Reach out if you are experiencing persistent sadness, fear or feeling of hopelessness. If you feel like you have no one to comfortably call, please reach out to the AZ DES Mental Health Line 800 -985-5990.

AZ DES has also shown a drop in the number of new cases of the virus this past week for the first time since our awareness of the virus in Pima County was noticed (March 1) from 209 new cases to 94. Also that numbers of infected persons are higher in the 20-44 year age range (181) than they are in the 65- and-older age range (165). Us ‘seniors’ are doing a better job of keeping ourselves safe!

It’s time to re-imagine a new world, to envision sharing our common humanity, to vision how we can live in the deepest, most beautiful way possible. Coming through this difficult time, what we intend and nurture, we can certainly do.

“This is a time of mystery and uncertainty. Take a breath. The veils of separation are parting and the reality of interconnection is apparent to everyone on earth. We have needed this pause, perhaps even needed our isolation to see how much we need one another”

— Quote from Lion’s Roar

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

Update

Obviously, with the schools closed (by the order of the Governor of AZ) at least until the end of March and the restrictions on gathering (10 people or less, for now), we won’t be meeting in person on Sunday.

Watch for a Special Newsletter later this week with suggested online connection options with us and other CSLs around the country with online only services. Think of it as a virtually endless buffet of options!

If you wish to read what I thought I was going to write about this week, here it is.

These are crazy, and amazing times, and these may be the times that we have been have been called here for, or have chosen to incarnate on earth for, or however you wish to phrase it… These profound and special times may be why we are each, and all, are here, right now. I realize that statement could be perceived as totally egocentric and presumptuous on my part. Let me assure you, it is not. We are all represented by the ‘small man’ in the Hafiz-esque poem (right) when we forget our true nature; the ‘sage’ when we remember; we are always the beautiful rowdy prisoners. We hold the keys to our own prison, and we are the only ones who can free ourselves.

I made space and time to listen and watch Dr Edward and Dr Sharon host a CSL group spiritual practice last Friday morning. I felt deeply touched by the reminder that we all have the capacity to emanate the light of the divine presence, radiate the love of the One Heart, and flow like the river of peace that passes all understanding, because that peace is the peace that is unaffected by whatever happens to be happening around us, and in our minds when we just let them be taken over by the noise, fuss and bother of people who have forgotten who and what they are, divine beings walking around in human form.

This past Sunday, as we closed the service, we didn’t touch or hold hands like we usually do. A number of people attending were practicing social distancing, and we wanted to include them in our closing ritual without making them feel uncomfortable or left out.

Instead, I encouraged everyone to allow our individual radiant heart energies to expand, emanating from the core of our individuated beings and touching the other beings in the room, filling our 350-seat auditorium with love energy, and spilling out to the surrounding area. (This image from chapter 6 of The Science of the Heart by the Institute of HeartMath illustrates one possible representation of this experience and practice.) The heart is recognized as considerably more powerful than the mind; some say it is 1000 times more powerful. The good (scientifically-minded) folks at HeartMath have shown the heart’s electromagnetic torus capable of expanding considerable distances and positively impacting other beings. I believe this is what we do when we emanate and radiate Divine Love, caring and compassion.

In his address at the dedication of the Whittier Church in 1959, Dr Holmes said, We are a teaching order, not a preaching order. We are a practicing order, not a proselytizing order. The world has waited long for something to happen. Now the healing power of the unseen magic of the Spirit can be made evident. And so, as we move forward in these tumultuous times, knowing what we know, teaching what we teach, and practicing what we practice, we get to remember that we are the sage, the knower, and the doer who operates from love, wisdom and heart-power, remembering to honor, care for, and bless ourselves and everyone we meet.

–Best Blessings, Rev Janis

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