GOT PROMISES

CSLT is a “Spiritual Alternative…offering spiritual solutions to everyday challenges.” We offer principles and practices that aid in spiritual exploration and discovery. Some of our practices include meditation, classes, study groups and affirmative prayer practiced by our community eager to learn and to live a life more abundant in all ways.

There is a Power in the Universe greater than we are, and we can use it. Ernest Holmes

Along with CSLT, many of us are also involved in a variety of 12 step programs. For those of you who are not familiar with 12 step programs, they are international mutual aid anonymous programs, supporting recovery from substance addictions, behavioral addictions and compulsions. Participants in the 12 step programs study/work the steps and traditions, principles and promises of the program. Speaking from personal experience, working a 12 step program is like taking a stairway to heaven. I was simply delighted when one of our recent guest speakers shared the promises of the program in her talk, as these promises are also in alignment with our teachings at CSLT!

  • We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
  • We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
  • We will comprehend the word serenity.
  • We will know peace.
  • No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experiences     can benefit others.
  • The feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
  • We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
  • Self-seeking will slip away.
  • Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
  • Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
  • We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
  • We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

In closing I’d like to share the OA Promise prayer as this too is in alignment with CSLT and one of my most favorite prayers.

I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone.
No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower.
We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.

–Madeline

GOT LOVE

Since February 14 is Valentine’s Day, my thoughts bring me to want to write about Love.

Wait! Did I just say that? Want to write? Yes, I do want to write. ‘Change my thinking, change my life’ is definitely becoming apparent. But what’s love got to do with it?

Everything!

Love is one of the greatest feelings I receive every moment of my life. My mind and heart overflow with love. Love is everywhere and in everything.

“As for love, when our minds are filled with thoughts of love for others it seems that we are surrounded by people and situations of a loving nature.”
“Today I bestow the essence of love upon everything. Everyone I meet shall be lovely to me. My soul meets the soul of the Universe in everyone. This love is a healing power touching everything into wholeness.”

Ernest Holmes-A New Design for Living pages 80 and 238 (And a whole chapter on Love can be read in this book.)

For me, feeling and being a part of the love is very easy and comes quite naturally when life is going along as I desire. But (there’s always a but) being in the state of love can be quite challenging when life can change in an instant. That instant is usually something someone said or did to me. I know I am overly sensitive (I’ve been told) and my feelings easily get hurt (and that really matters to no one). Knowing this doesn’t ease the pain or change the way I feel in the moment. When that moment hits, I quickly shut down as the lump in my throat starts to grow. (That’s the mind/body connection which I’ll save for another article.) The only way I know to immediately try and ease the pain of the moment is to quietly cry to my self. The tears help to wash the hurt away. With time, everything heals although the experience often isn’t forgotten.

Then I return to love. I always come back to the love.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered.
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.                                    Love never fails.
-1 Corinthians 13:4

–Madeline Pallanes

A New Design In Living

Starting on Tuesday, February 7 Mariann and I will be co-facilitating a book discussion group on A New Design in Livingby Ernest Holmes. By being a facilitator, instead of one signing up for the class, it shifts my perception of myself, and is starting a new design for my life.

Many people follow their passion. I have been one to follow the voice, wondering “what are you thinking?” and find the passion later. Sometimes, many times, there is resistance on
my part. This time I told Spirit, I want to move forward with strength, power… with love. I am grateful of the reminder of that I can choose Love (curiosity and wonder…)

Love dissolves all fear, casts out all doubt and sets the captive free.
Love, Like the River of Life, flows through me and refreshes me with its eternal blessings. Love cannot be afraid; it is fearless and strong and is mighty in its works.
It can accomplish all things through the Inner Light of that faith in the All Good,
Which fills my very Being with a Powerful Presence.

Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 522.3

It is interesting, meaning I sense Divine Timing, that CSLT is going through “a new design in living,” when this book discussion group will be happening. With Rev Janis moving on to other adventures, we get to decide how our center will move forward. There will be ways for you to participate in shaping our future.

Join us on Tuesday evenings if you would like to share, play, grow in your life. We intend on sharing the readings and applying what we learned to our life, indeed, A New Design for Living.

–Maria

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

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