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

Thinking It Through

I had a call this evening with a prayer partner. I admitted how I felt after this morning’s Sunday Service. Sunday evenings are not an ideal for me to ponder my life. Holliwell wrote about “singing praises in the face of adversity.” Tonight that idea challenged me. The lead post for the next newsletter needed to be done, and it was mine to do. The topic on my heart is problematic.

Leona, Abbie and the Orchestra were completely fabulous, as always, and I gave an acceptable talk. 41 adults were present today. A mentor of mine reminds me that I shouldn’t pay any attention to Sunday attendance numbers. I give the talk that I have received guidance on, and prepared, and it is enough. The number of people who attend has nothing to do with me. And yet, I wonder.

Late Saturday, a minister from back east had asked for prayer treatment from the larger ministers’ email group for their Center. She asked us to know for their Center that a higher level of engagement, and support (in all ways), arose in participants of their Center. They had a town hall after services on Sunday in which the local Center leadership team agreed to explore the possibility of ‘doing church’ a new way, because it had become clear the old way wasn’t working for them. I feel fortunate to be part of a larger organization that supports each other, and their communities in this way, and one willing to consider alternative ways of being. I wrote, asking if they had any specifics yet. “No, not yet”, was her reply.

Last Friday night, at our Board planning meeting, Mariann asked the Board members to ponder what community meant to them, what they need from this spiritual community, and what they were willing to do in support of that community’s existence. We will revisit the question during this week’s Board of Trustees meeting. I am grateful we have leadership willing to discuss hard questions.

We have our annual meeting coming up in less than three weeks. This is the Board’s report to the congregation about what we have collectively accomplished this past year, and what our leadership team envisions for the year ahead. When I look back at what we’ve done, I’m amazed and delighted. Common hour thinking would say we have had miracle on top of miracle. We know it as the Law of Mind in Action. We also experienced timing that no one could have dreamed up (again, Mind in Action) … in the space of just a few months — the sale of the raw land on 22nd Street at a very good price, being displaced out of 4200 E River Road with 25 days’ notice and having 911 S Craycroft suddenly materialize move-in-ready, us being able to occupy it almost two months before we even formally qualified for a loan, and get a mortgage on the property that is 1/3 less than what we previously paid in rent. You can’t make a story that good up, and yet we did it, without so much as a ruffled feather, and no co-signer or guarantor required. A rather important factor in us being able to get the mortgage was three years of consistent positive cash flow.

Why were we able to have three years of positive cash flow? It wasn’t due to increases in attendance or contributions. Our attendance is has diminished over the last 2½ years. The bulk of our donations come from less than 20% of our contributors each month, and always has. To those of you who have kept us whole, thank you. To those of you who have managed to do very good work with what we have, thank you. Your Board and I refused to spend money we didn’t have. That tenacious point-of-view served us well to get us into our education center which can serve as a home base for us, and we can use it to create a real physical, tangible presence for Science of Mind in Tucson, if we choose. We haven’t had a visible location (with a sign!) since the Board of the old Religious Science Church on Mountain Avenue sold the building out from under the congregation to give the retiring minister a pension. (Our bylaws have been changed so that something like that cannot occur now.) I also wonder if our frugality has hampered us, by limiting our thought processes. I don’t think so, but I don’t actually know.

In case you are interested, this chart tracks attendance and contributions to CSLT from January 2017 to present. The upper (blue) line represents contributions/person-Sunday, and the lower (pink) line tracks attendance. The straight grey line that runs through each of the squiggly lines represents the trendline, or average track, the line has. Averaged contributions per person continue to increase slightly and averaged attendance had dropped from around 80 to around 50. It is not unusual for a congregation to have 40-50% of their attendees leave when a minister retires, or leaves. Perhaps that’s all this is.

This philosophy that I talk about and work at using all the time, and that we claim is true for us (when we remember to stay in our right minds) tells us that the cause of any event or experience must be invisible. Everything we can see, touch, taste or experience is an effect, a consequence, and … readily changeable. Our deeply-held, conscious and unconscious, beliefs are what really create our world. Raymond Holliwell (from Chapter 1 of Working With The Law) wrote, “A fatalistic belief is contagious, and when humanity submits to its influence, believing that the circumstances around them are stronger than the power within them, they are defeated before the race is run.”

I admit that I struggle with the idea that CSLT wants to be a real and vital force for good in Tucson. Maybe it’s my unbelief. I don’t know. I do know I bite my tongue when I hear someone say we aren’t growing or thriving because… (fill in the blank with your favorite way we aren’t “doing it right”). Every iota of that is an effect, an experience, something that comes as an after-thought, and not a cause.

When we remember that each of us has our own (mental) hands on the “steering wheel” of the most powerful creative and causative force known to humanity, our own thoughts, I just take a breath, and focus on what I can do, and get back to working on myself, because that’s what’s mine to do.

My request is that you think through what CSLT means to you, why you participate, or choose not to, and be clear and congruent within yourself. Know that your thoughts matter, make them work for you, and for the good of all.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Traditions

My sons recently planned a family reunion birthday gala to celebrate my 80th birthday, as well as the birthdays of my older son and grandson. The reunion was held at the family cabin north of Kohl’s Ranch, which nestles beside the Tonto Creek and under the Mogollon Rim. It is a stunning setting, and being there brought back a multitude of memories.

My husband’s grandfather built the original cabin. He belonged to the American Baptist Church in Phoenix; a group from that congregation bought the acreage and built five cabins as well as the church camp that stands there today. A flood washed the original cabin away in 1970, and my in-laws built the “new” cabin shortly thereafter.

The original Homeowners Association decreed that there could be no drinking, no smoking, nor any dancing on any of the properties. Only members of the American Baptist congregation could buy property there. As time went on, and the subsequent generations inherited the land and cabins, those rules became more relaxed and today they are ignored altogether.

What I especially enjoyed about the weekend was watching the family traditions unfold. My father-in-law taught my husband to fish for the native trout in the Tonto and Horton Creeks, as well as in the nearby lakes. My husband taught my two sons to fish in the same way. My son taught his two sons, and my grandsons have added a new dimension: they are teaching their fiancées to fish! When I was their age, it was the family tradition for the women to cook enormous amounts of food for the returning fisherman, and keep the cabin clean and tidy.

I appreciate that as time has passed, the family traditions have changed to accommodate the new thinking. The most important change I saw at the cabin was the gender-based roles have become nonexistent. I watched my sons and grandsons cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming, and doing laundry. The women grabbed fishing poles and headed for the streams.

I think rituals and traditions are important as long as they remain meaningful.

When I first joined this congregation, our opening ritual included reading a short description of each of the major world religions, and lighting a candle to honor each of them. Today we honor the same by incorporating the spiritual symbols that hang in our banners. When the banners are no longer meaningful, we will develop another method of honoring our shared origins, traditions and history.

We have kept some traditions through the years, and changed others. Almost a year ago, we decided passing the offering baskets no longer worked for us. Today people drop their gifts, donations and contributions into the baskets located in the foyer, a tradition that better serves our needs.

One thing that has remained constant in our service is the love and joy that is expressed through our Sunday talks (which we call “reminders”), our affirmative prayers, and our music. The words of Ernest Holmes, our founder, create the foundation on which everything else rests. We honor what stays germane, and change what does not. And that keeps us relevant.

*****

Whatever the mind holds to and firmly believes in, forms a new pattern of thought within its creative mold, as whatever thought is held in mind tends to take outward form in new creations. This is the secret – and the whole secret—of the creative law of mind. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 494.2

— Pat Masters

At Home

By the time this note is published in our newsletter, we will be the owners (with a 15-year mortgage) of our own Office and Education Center. It sounds so simple.

Banks and credit unions don’t like to loan money to non-profits for purchasing property. Typically, they won’t touch it without an individual who has very good credit, and deep financial resources, guaranteeing the loan. They also typically require 30% down payment on the loan amount.

We have been extremely careful stewards of our financial resources over these last several years. Since we were able to sell the 22nd Street property, and the timing of that sale lined up perfectly with us being ‘chased out’ of our old East River Rd Office and Education Center, we were perfectly positioned to acquire our new Office and Education Center.

There have been a bunch of hurdles that we have had to jump to make this happen, but nothing we couldn’t figure out a way to address.

We have a bit of deferred maintenance to take care of in the next six months on our new property, as a condition of our mortgage with the credit union, but that is a small price to pay for a 15-year loan with only 25% down and no guarantor required, and the biggest benefit of all, having a suitable, visible location in which we are actively building equity for ourselves instead of paying rent to somebody else.

We’ve been in our new Education Center less than 2 months. We are already seeing an increased visibility for CSL Tucson in the community. There is more to come.

— Dick Laird

THE YEAR WAS 1969…

“You are an eternal being now on the pathway of endless unfoldment, never less but always more yourself.” This Thing Called You, Ernest Holmes, pg. 108

Later this month I will be flying to Everett, WA for my 50-year high school reunion, and I feel way different than I did for the other decadal gatherings. Mostly, it seems like another lifetime. Everything has changed. And for the first time, I feel like I can join my class as the woman I’ve become, not as the troubled girl I was.

My school years were not the carefree social or educational times that many other kids experienced. My school years were filled with the looming death of my mother, the death of my true-love boyfriend when I was a senior, too many drug-fueled parties and way too much alcohol. I missed 37% of my senior year, and was allowed to graduate with my class only because of the compassionate understanding of my teachers. I graduated in June, left town and never looked back. I hadn’t one single good memory from the years I spent in Everett.

I now know that for every other reunion I’ve attended, I was always looking back to the girl I was there, as I’d been in school, not caring to see or share who I’d been becoming. I still felt insecure, invisible, and unimportant. In order to feel safe at school, I’d needed to keep my world small and walled, so I didn’t remember most of the kids who remembered me. (This and the fact that I was frequently under the influence of mind-altering substances, notoriously bad for the memory.) It blew my mind, when at my 40th reunion, one of the popular boys who had married one of the popular girls told me he’d wondered if he’d see me there. What? Rick S. knew who I was? I had not an ounce of self-esteem.

I feel different this time. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing all the ‘kids’ I went to school with, whether or not I remember them, and I have no fear. Rather than just being excited about reuniting with the small band of boys I ran around with, I want to see the girls, too… the girls I felt I wasn’t good enough to be friends with. The girls who had both parents, lived in nice houses, had enough money for prom dresses, and were in social or service clubs and went to each other’s parties. I am Facebook friends with some of these girls now — they requested my friendship, not the other way around. There is still a wee bit of the insecure young girl inside me who couldn’t quite yet risk asking them to be my friend, even if only on social media.

So, I choose to leave my history, sob stories and ghosts behind, and show up as the strong, loving, worthwhile woman I am. My history does not define me, nor do I regret one iota of it. No longer do I view my school days as pitiful and sad; I needed all of those days and those experiences to become who I am. On August 24th, I will walk joyfully, confidently, and expectantly into a room full of my classmates from 1969 and it will be good.

My gratitude for the programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Centers for Spiritual Living is immeasurable, because my ongoing transformation began and continues thanks to ‘their’ two Big Books, the people who study and teach them, and the tools they taught me to use.

“I am co-creating with a Universe that does not ever have self-esteem issues or a lack of horsepower or compassion. I am discovering unknown power within myself as I walk into the unknown.”
A Year Without Fear, Tama Kieves, pg. May 21

— Renee’ Mercer

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