You don’t have squat! But let me tell you, I do!

I haven’t always had squat. There was a time I didn’t have diddly squat. Squat (short for squatter) is the newest addition to our family. He picked up residence under my shipping container one day. After an extensive search for a lost cat turned unsuccessful, a health check and vaccination appointment were in order. With a clean bill of health, he moved into our home, just before the weather turned cold.

The intelligence in an animal which directs its actions and tells it where to go to find food and shelter, we call instinct. It is really Omniscience in the animal. The same quality, more highly developed, makes a conscious appearance in man and is what we call intuition. Intuition is God in man, reveling to him the Realities of Being; and just as instinct guides the animal, so would intuition guide man, if he would allow it to do so.  – Ernest Holmes. The Science of Mind. 342.2

The cat followed his intuition and relied on his instincts to find our home. He found a comfort & solace within us. To him, there was

Something Quite Unique About This.”

I’ve learned from THIS experience that in the future whenever I find such a comfort…I’m going to just squat too.

Madeline Pallanes

Report from our October 2 2022 Annual Meeting by Rev Janis

Apologies to the 6 folks, and any others, who tried to join on zoom. The sound was working when we tested it, so I don’t know what happened after that. Nothing changed, and apparently, something changed.

We had 14 people in the room. Maria ran the meeting. Each board member talked about their area of specific connection to our greater community. More on each group, team, and topic, are included in our Annual Report, which is linked elsewhere in this newsletter; specific details are shared in the monthly Board minutes. Board minutes are included in our weekly newsletter a couple weeks after each board meeting, and are made available on the website, under About Us, under Organizational Documents.

One question was raised about the number of major donors we have. Janet’s answer was a good one. We track that information by quarter, and report it to the Board, without attaching any names to the donation amounts. The information is also recorded and presented in the Board minutes. For the second quarter of 2022, we had 14 contributors who donated 80% of the monies that came in to our center. During the first quarter of the year, 80% of our donations came from 18 contributors. These are considered our ‘major donors’ and we especially celebrate them. We also acknowledge and celebrate all contributions of time, talent and/or treasure, in whatever form they occur. Generosity abounds. And as Rev Karen said last Sunday morning, “Money loves rhythm, … and flow.”

When I spoke about last January’s Community Envisioning, I mentioned that one of the desires of the community was to have more social activities. I reiterated that suggested social activities must arise from within our community. Board members can suggest activities, but they are not the only source of potential fun things we can do. These can be formal activities that take a bit of preparation and planning (see the next paragraph for how to do that), or more casual activities, such as going to Willcox to pick fruit, caravanning down to see the sandhill cranes, enjoying music and a meal at the lavender farms, or going for a hike or bike ride, or getting together to see a play at LTW, live music or a sporting event. Examples of other fun classes we have held in the past, tangentially related to learning, had to do with folding peace cranes, and coloring mandalas. Both of these are sneaky ways to expand each individual’s repertoire of meditation practices.

I didn’t mention it at the meeting, but we have an event proposal form on our website (under Organizational Documents). If someone were interested in proposing a big event, such as having a booth at the Tucson Pride Festival that happened this past weekend, this would be how they would do that. In the past, we’ve had a booth at the Tucson Festival of Books. There may be other events in town where we could have an identifiable presence. What are they?

In addition to the classes that I’ll be teaching, some of which will be certificated, Noreen Poli intends to offer an in-person, Wednesday afternoon book study on Emmett Fox’s Sermon on the Mount in January. You may remember when Noreen offered this book study four or five years ago when our office was still on E. River Rd. Also, Ethel Lee-Taylor intends to offer a book study on Brene’ Brown’s Braving the Wilderness in February. More book studies and assorted classes will arise, as other facilitators step up.

The last thing on the agenda was electing new board members. We had two seats available that had remained unfilled during the Covid years. No one rotated off the board this year. Linda Bullock expressed an interest in serving on the Board, meets the qualifications (as specified in our bylaws), and attended a board meeting to see what she was agreeing to. She spoke a few minutes to those assembled in the room, and was unanimously elected with cheers, and thanks.

We remain grateful to every single individual who participates with, and supports, this center. It is your active participation and engagement, as well as in the sharing of your time, talents and treasures that we become a more effective place of learning and growth, connection and community. We are grateful for you all.

Mental Equivalents II by Maria Schuchardt, RScP

Last blog I spoke about equivalents, how I have an overarching desire for a “rich and full life.” A few more thoughts have come up.

We must sense the embodiment of that which we wish to experience… the whole
problem is not one of creation, but one of direction, and there is no direction unless there is first an embodiment. Let us try this in our meditation. We know that we reflect the Divine Perfection and that there is an intuition within us which guides us. We know that all the power there is and all presence there is, is this perfect Spirit, this Divine Reality, which is around us and through us and in us. — Ernest Holmes

And also:
“You must have some kind of vision for your life, even if you don’t have a plan, you should have a direction in which you choose to go. I never was the kind of a woman who liked to get in the car and just go for a ride…. Do we have a destination? Do we have a plan? Or are we just riding? You have to be in the driver’s seat of your life because if you are not, life will drive you.” — Oprah

I was on the UA campus one day and I saw Dr. Marcia Rieke the principal investigator for the near-infrared camera on the James Webb Space Telescope. “How are things going?” I asked. “Much better than we could have even imagined.” She replied. I smiled. This is not the first time I have heard that statement. That the desired outcome, mental equivalent, was much more than the original idea. That the One Mind, hears our claim, and adds a touch of magic. One of my practitioner studies classmates said the same thing when she spoke about creating a studio space for herself.

Both Dr. Rieke and my classmate had a specific direction, a specific goal they wanted to manifest. A lot of my life, I have been a wanderer. I wrote these words in sometime in the 1970’s.

Skipping stones into the sunset.
Watching waves caress the rocks
Soothing sharp edges
Into sensuous curves – Voices far away and melted.
The sun is a hazy circle
Descending upon the water
And I, I am a wanderer
In search of peace.
And my direction, my direction is to be my authentic self, that knows that God is my Source, and in that, I have found my peace.

Mental Equivalent

The Law is Infinite and Perfect but in order to make a demonstration WE MUST HAVE A MENTAL EQUIVALENT OF THE THING WE DESIRE. A demonstration, like anything else in the objective life, is born out of a mental concept. The mind is the fashioning factor, and according to its range, vision and positiveness, will be the circumstance or experience… Having a strong picture or mental concept and holding to that equivalent regardless of circumstances or conditions, we must sooner or later manifest according to the concept.

Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 281.4

The definition of a mental equivalent is having a subjective idea of the desired experience. As we bring ourselves to a greater vision than the range of our present concepts, we can then induce a greater concept and thereby demonstrate more in our experience (The Science of Mind, 610). This definition seems to indicate vision, idea, yet a mental equivalent goes beyond what it looks like. I also need to know how it sounds, feels, smells, tastes. I need to engage my entire being, to embody it.

I have a very broad mental equivalent: To live a rich and full life. Periodically, I have specific mental equivalents, that I can visualize. One was passing practitioner training and becoming a licensed practitioner. I visualized the initials RScP after my name. I even wrote it down repetitively on a several occasions.

A Cooper’s hawk swoops in and stands on the edge of the birdbath with its outstretched talons. Its head turns almost in a full circle as if it is looking to see if the other birds are watching, then hops into the birdbath, the full length of its legs immersed in the water. Across the street, in the background, a rabbit hops down the sidewalk. The Cooper’s hawk dips its head into the water, then raises his head, and then shakes its tail up and down. It moves so joyously, so energetically that the birdbath tilts to one side almost tipping over. The water is running over the rim.

This goes on for five minutes. I see the detail in its brown and white striped breast, small beak, dark gray back, yellow feet, and golden eye. It takes a deep breath, fluffs out its feathers, flaps its wings and looks around one more time before flying across the street over the neighbor’s house. There is a feather in the birdbath.

This is the richness I desire, moments of beauty, awe and wonder, and Spirit knows the perfect experience to fulfill my request.

Full Moon Labyrinth Walks

Go forth under the open sky and list / To Nature’s teachings. ~ William Cullen Bryant

I began doing the full moon labyrinth walks on October 31, 2020. It was also the second full moon of the month, so it was a blue moon. Being closer to the earth than usual, it was also a Super moon. And it was Halloween. It had been 76 years since all these last occurred on the same night. A labyrinth walk seemed an appropriate way to celebrate the Full Super Blue Boo Moon. That night it was only myself and one other, but we had just a good time so I decided to make it a regular event.

We meet in the parking lot of the Unity Church on Camino Blanco. Unity has a beautiful outdoor labyrinth that is open to the public. It does have a dirt path, but it is level and well maintained. Even though it is in the middle of town, it feels secluded being surrounded by desert vegetation. We have had owls fly by overhead and often hear coyotes howling in the distance.

Sometimes the tiles of the labyrinth glisten in the moonlight. Sometimes the moon is not able to break through the clouds. There is always enough radiant light to see the path without any additional lighting sources, although I do recommend bringing a light source to guide your way from the parking lot to the labyrinth entrance.

I start with a short centering exercise. We then start walking the path one after another with space in between each to allow for contemplation time at the center. Once done, we gather around the labyrinth, holding sacred space for those still walking the path. When all have completed their walk, I end with a brief prayer of gratitude.

“Walking meditation is to enjoy the walking – not in order to arrive, but just to walk. The purpose is to be in the present moment and, aware of our breathing and our walking, to enjoy each step. Therefore we have to shake off all worries and anxieties, not thinking of the future, not thinking of the past, just enjoying the present moment. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Taking a walk is like medicine for the soul. It’s hard to remain stuck in the yuck when you are out moving your body through the fresh air.” ~ Rev. Dr. Christian Sorensen, SOM Magazine 2/16/2022

In two years, there has only been one night when no one showed up to join me. (It was an extremely cold night.) We have had as many at ten join in, on average we have 4-5. As well as being outdoors, there has been plenty of space for physical distancing. The next full moon is tomorrow, August 11th. Won’t you consider joining us at 8pm?

–Janet Salese

Time again to reach out and share some thoughts that relate to Tucson CSL

I made it to the first meeting of the book study “Atlas of the Heart.”

The discussion was centered on the introduction and the first chapter. I realized that some of my problems following the line of thought had to do with my defense mechanism of avoidance.

At one point during the introduction the author was lamenting along with her siblings their intense disdain for having to move literally tons of accumulated stuff that the previous, now dead, generation had gathered and refused to let go of. I was a good student of said generation and I am a visual learner. I also depend heavily on physical prompts to jog my memories.

I have a real addiction to stuff.

I tend to avoid anything I see as unpleasant whatever it takes. And if emotional work is involved, I have a tendency to run away.

Okay, so the introduction was just how the book came about and some background information. My stories are different and that’s ok. Because as individuals we are different, the emotional response pattern is similar.

Chapter one touched on stress, overwhelm, anxiety, worry, avoidance, excitement, dread, fear and vulnerability. The author gives brief examples of stress, overwhelm, anxiety and worry.

I particularly related to avoidance. The author states: “Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run, but it will never make you less afraid.” Also, I hadn’t considered the consequences of this coping mechanism and its effect on others.

“The premise of the book is that language has the power to define our experiences.” Anxiety and excitement are defined and contrasted to practical fears.

Then an analysis of vulnerability leading to the conclusion that vulnerability can also be an asset.

I have begun chapter two “Places We Go When We Compare” and feel like I am beginning to make some progress and finding more relatable material. I hope to attend this discussion for the next 12 weeks. The class is a drop in and not a certificated affair, so read along and feel free to participate as you are able.

–Chris Wheeler

Invoke. Who, Me?

The image “Invoke” is from Cheryl Richardson’s Grace Cards. The back of the card reads, “Ask for a blessing. There is an endless supply of Divine support awaiting your request.” As a hard-core Religious Scientist, I feel a little twitch with her imagery, and what’s implied by her words. It looks like she’s asking for a favor from a God ‘out there’. We know that’s not where the Divine lives. It lives in us, through us, as us, and also all around us. It’s clearly not a big daddy in the sky that gives us candy when we ask nicely.

Neither does that image convey the typical notion I have when I think of the word ‘invoke’. To me, invoke is more engaged than that, more like demanding, asserting and claiming. The magician creating a spell uses an invocation, and so does someone speaking affirmations that they actually believe. According to dictionary.com both the passive and active meanings of the word apply. Invoking is a tool we each have available to us, right now, that we can use to claim and receive our endless supply of good.

We are invoking a new creation this month. We’re returning to in-person services, but they won’t be the same as what we had before. We’re in a different place, and each one of us has experienced a different sort of life for these past 27 months. How will we show up differently for ourselves, for each other and for our spiritual community?

This isn’t something that I’m doing single-handedly, though I do have a part in it. Every Sunday this month I’m going to ‘dance’ with the text of the Hafiz poem, “The small man builds cages for everyone he knows. While the sage, who has to duck his head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful rowdy prisoners.” And it’s not something me, your board, our practitioners and our beloved music team are creating for the enjoyment, and the spiritual growth, emotional well-being and social enhancement of our community, though we trust those things will happen too.

For the remainder of the month of June, we, the community of CSL in Tucson that chooses to gather in person is going to begin to gather in person again. Are we invoking an endless supply of good? What does that good ‘look like, sound like, and feel like’ when we do that? What probable experiences are we creating, feeling and invoking together? What are we ready and willing to ask for, claim and receive? Back in January when we did the Community Envisioning practice for this year, one of the big-ticket items was to find more ways to experience joy together. (Hint: that’s not a top-down agenda.) How do WE invoke joy, peace and blessings (aka ‘good’) for ourselves, each other, and our community?

We’ll also be invoking a greater understanding and appreciation of our emotions, through reading/discussing Brene’ Brown’s Atlas of the Heart, so that we may speak more clearly and effectively in all aspects of our relationships and our lives. Having the emotional clarity in our word choices lets each of us speak clearly and accurately about our experiences, and those we desire to have. We’ll increase our recognition of good, and be able to see more clearly the good that arises from those things that don’t necessarily look like good at first.

I invite you to consider your answers to these questions. Is it just business as usual, the same-old-same-old, or are we invoking something new that has never been experienced by us before? We get to call it into being. What do we create?

If you choose to participate with us in person, or choose to remain online, I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning at 9:30am for our Sunday Celebration Services, and preceding that, at 9am for our in-person only Sunday morning meditation at our new Sunday location, Live Theater Workshop, 3322 E. Fort Lowell Rd.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Hollyhock Magic

Coming home from my walk I see a man in a black SUV parked in front of my house. I know exactly what he is doing. He has been called by the hollyhocks. I am surprised by his stopping because the flowers have not begun to bloom, but the leaves are a big beautiful green and there are a lot of them clustered together. Hollyhocks take two years to grow into plants that bloom. They are also independent, hearty plants that do not need to be covered when it frosts, nor do they need to be watered.

            Still curious about his stopping, I say, “You look in deep contemplation.”

“Are those squash plants? I’m putting a planter in my friend’s backyard and am looking for some vegetables to plant.” I tell him the plants are hollyhocks. We chat a bit, then he pulls out his phone and wants to show me pictures of the work he has done. We are still in the middle of the street. I suggest he puts his car in park, and he does. He shows me the photos and where he is working a street to the north. In the photos I notice beautiful iron work on the wall where he is putting in the planting beds. When he says they have similar ironwork on the wall around the front of their house, the one with the pontoon boat, I know exactly which house he is talking about. It’s a beautiful yard, with two big Mesquite trees with flowers around the base of the trees. We marvel about the trees together. I learn his name is Hector, and Joe is the friend he is helping out. “What’s his wife’s name?” I ask. He closes his eyes and thinks about it, then remembers “Judy. Joe and Judy.” In my daily walks around the neighborhood, I have greeted Joe, now I can do it with his name.

            Hector tells me of his arthritic hands, the cancer that is remission and about his kayaking and upcoming 77th birthday. But mostly he tells me about the importance of staying busy.

            I tell him he must come by when the hollyhocks are in bloom, he assures me he will.

            During the time we had our conversation in the middle of the street, no cars came by. It was a scared time of communion and grace.

–Maria

The Merry Month of May

By the time you see this post, my month-long sabbatical will have started. According to my contract, this should have happened in 2020. We all know what happened in 2020, and I was committed to keeping CSLT on the air, and connected, during those challenging times. It wasn’t until I put myself in the hospital for the first time in almost 60 years, and then tweaked my back for the first time ever, that I really realized that I was doing a lousy job of ‘putting my own mask on first’.

When I was in ministerial school, one of the teachers said ‘You’ll get to live out your unhealed history in front of your entire community.” I didn’t know what she meant by that, though I’m beginning to understand. Years ago, a therapist encouraged me to buy, and read, Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More, and Jacqueline Castine’s Recovery from Rescuing. I didn’t get it. In my mind, I didn’t fit the pattern of needing to control people, situations or outcomes that I saw in these books. However, there is an aspect of ‘taking care of things so other people don’t have to’ that rang very true. It still does. I continue to let those old stories of ‘helicopter mom’, ‘hero’, ‘martyr’, ‘saint’ and ‘shepherd’ fade away.

Now you know what I’ll be doing during May. And I have a request for each of you. I’ve found five amazing speakers who will be giving the Sunday talks while I am away. These ordained ministers and exceptionally gifted ministerial students bring different energies and modes of expression that you won’t be able to experience any other way. None of them are local. One you’ve enjoyed twice before – Dr Karmen Smith. Two are Canadian. One emanates love, another is much more intellectual. One speaks joy, and one speaks power in most unexpected packaging. Some are younger, some are more seasoned. Experience these individuals sharing their gifts, and participate in your spiritual community over zoom. Additionally, Sharon Whealy’s class on Dr Edward Viljoen’s Bhagavad Gita starts May 4th at 6pm on our second zoom channel.

I know some of you have stayed away from zoom because you’ve decided it’s not possible to connect during online Sunday services (I wonder if you’re mistaken about that), or because we’re not holding in-person services yet. Our Sunday morning production team continues to work on creating a high-quality in-person and live-streamed experience. We’ve wanted to do this for years, but never had a great enough need to make ourselves do the heavy lifting. That’s happening now. We’ll be in person, and online, starting June 12th.

Reach out to your CSLT friends that you haven’t seen in a while, and re-connect with them. We are more than our Sunday service experience. We are a community of beloveds.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Some ‘Things’ I’ve Discovered at CSLT

We have this teaching. We can study it, ruminate on it, discuss it and practice it.
It seems to me that all aspects of this teaching are strengthened and become clearer when it is shared with others. Especially when those people are seeking to understand and practice what they have learned.

I am amazed at how my understanding changes and increases while participating in discussions.

I often participate in our morning online meditation. After the meditation we have a brief discussion of our thoughts, feelings and insights. I always come away from the discussion with food for thought.

Book studies are another avenue that I treasure. Very often I am overwhelmed with all of the information contained in so much of our literature. The discussions bring me perspectives I could otherwise miss. These ideas often are critical to my understanding.

Classes may fall into the category of community building activities but I consider them to be part of the community in a general sense. Again, it is the interaction with others that seems to nurture me on my path to better understanding.

I appreciate the support and the feeling of being heard.

I am grateful for this expanding community, looking to create the present and the future.

–Chris Wheeler

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