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

Valentine’s Day Cards

Many years ago, I came to regard Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday, a made-up occasion to buy and send a card, like Secretary’s Day or Grandparent’s Day. But, in practicing SOM principles, I’ve come to know God as Love and look for ways to express this Love. I changed my view of Valentine’s Day. Now I see it as a wonderful opportunity to share my love.

A few years ago, I began sending cards to family and close friends as reminders of my love for them. The first year I did this, I bought those cheesy cards kids exchange. Remember how special you felt getting a basketful of valentine’s from your grade school classmates? Remember the time and attention you spent choosing which classmates would get which cards from you?

As some of you know, my latest hobby is cardmaking. Now instead of buying cards to give, I make them, infusing them with love and creativity. I found that I had a kit to make 10 Valentine’s Day cards. I spent an afternoon assembling them, intending to send these out to family and friends.

I am following along with the “Science of Mind Textbook in One Year” handout. I decided to skip ahead to February 14 and read:

Love to the World
My Love goes out to everyone in the world;
I do not exclude anything, for I love all Nature and everything that is.
My Love warms and lightens everything that it touches, and it goes out into all places. The Love flowing through me is a Power to all who come into contact with it,
and all feel and know that I love.
Love within me is Complete and Perfect.
(SOM 547.M1)

 

This inspired me to expand my reach of card giving this Valentine’s Day. I will give those 10 cards to people in my world who won’t be expecting them, i.e., acupuncturist, house cleaners, etc. Inside each card will be a handwritten note including something it is about them that I love, a God quality I see in them.

 

 

Of course, I will still send cards to family and friends that will be looking for them. I feel like a
grade school kid again giving out so many cards! How will you share your Love with the world this Valentine’s Day?

 

–Janet Salese

 

 

It Takes a Community, to Build a Community

Thank you to the participants who came to some or all our community visioning earlier this month. The board shared that we are in the process of finalizing the location where we may meet in person in the near future. Exactly when, we are not sure. It has all the criteria that we need, space, parking, room for the band, place for meditation and children’s groups. We will be renting the space, and will need to follow their mask protocol. The watch parties that have been held at the office have been delightful, and it will be wonderful to meet in person again.

After the announcement we brainstormed what people wanted to experience in the upcoming year. The full notes are listed later in the newsletter. Some of the themes were to broaden our congregation, make the new space feel like home, and to have fun. After all joy is a Divine experience!

There are many ways people can participate in community activities, classes, daily meditation practice, full moon labyrinth walk, movie discussion group, Keith runs a men’s group. We are looking for more fun/social activities that can be done together, too. If you have some ideas and are willing to coordinate them, send an email to admin@tucsoncsl.org.

We thought about ways to use our powers of attraction to bring people into the fold. Some ideas are recreating CSLT informational cards which can be left in yoga studios, coffee shops and libraries, and having people make a short video on how CSLT has increased the quality of their life and put it on our YouTube channel and website. The best form of advertising is word of mouth. When you are out there in the world radiating your awesomeness and someone says, “I want what you are on!” Let them know about our community.

The credo for CSLT which was written a few years ago remains:

The Center for Spiritual Living Tucson inspires spiritual expression in community with all, and offers an accepting, loving, and peaceful way of living a joyful, healthier, and more abundant life.

Who wouldn’t want that?

–Maria

Got “Same Auld Lang Syne”?

Sissy wishes you a Happy New Year

Auld Lang Syne was a poem written by Robert Burns in 1788. The poem
was set to the tune in 1799 and sung to bid farewell to the old year and bring in the new year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. ‘Same Old Lang Syne’ was written and sung by Dan Fogelberg in 1980. Both are favorite songs that bring me to tears.

Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “To start your new year right, I suggest finding a deeper spiritual life. Something happens deep within you and thereafter you are filled with joy and warmth and beauty. This may happen quickly and dramatically. It could happen today. On the other hand, it may be a developing experience, unfolding as a rose, beginning with a bud and ending with full flowering. But, however it happens, this is the greatest experience possible to a human being.”

As I think back over this past year, I know I have found a deeper spiritual life with CSLT. I know I am filled with joy, warmth and beauty. My heart is filled with gratitude for all I have learned through our teachings and practices, all the friendships I have gained, and all the love I have received from all of you. I’m ready to bid farewell to 2021 and bring in 2022. How about you?

To bring this year to an end, I hope you join us for Endings and Beginnings — Friday, December 31, 5:30 pm on the Sunday morning zoom link. Music by Michael Zimmerman.

2022 is offering us many fun opportunities to engage, learn and spiritually grow with each other! Consider joining us at our next “Watch Party”. We are also offering fun new classes to start off the new year with class. As I have said many times, “I’ve got class.” All the information can be found in our weekly electronic newsletter, and on our website.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, pleasantly abundant, blessed, deeper spiritual life. Happy New Year! Let’s bring in 2022 together as We Are All One.

–Love, Madeline & Sissy

Hi! I’m Chris (Wheeler)

My path to the Center for Spiritual Living Tucson started when my wife told me she had discovered an interesting group of people that gathered on Sundays. This automatically sent me into “This sounds like too much work” mode and… “People! I need to run and hide.”

Soon after my introduction to the idea, I was able to avoid gathering for many Sundays. I had gone to churches as a child. We joined the Unitarian Universalists to give our children exposure to a faith community. And to give our youngest child the opportunity to wear her shiny shoes once a week. That’s another story.

My first contact with CSL was by taking Mary Morrissey’s Prosperity Plus program at the office on River Road. Prosperity was a subject I could relate to. The approach to the subject was different than I expected. And the hints of the metaphysical approach gave me a feeling of some sort of connection and I really liked the other participants. So, I said I would go to the Gregory School and attend a service.

It was while in the prosperity class we were responding to a question about dreams and goals and I realized I wanted to become a working musician again and play drums professionally. (I think there is a connection here) It was suggested that I could be the backup drummer for Sunday service. Around the same time the drummer for CSLT decided he wanted other things. I auditioned with the music director, David Prouty, and started playing drums for the CSLT Orchestra on Sundays. Around the same time as this event a musician friend pointed out a bulletin board ad for a drummer at a music store. I auditioned for, and started a gig, that was every second Saturday downtown that continued for several years.

I have been getting involved in more and more classes ever since. The CSLT experience has really helped me broaden my spiritual life, and my life all around.

Thanks to the all-inclusive aspects of the Science of Mind teaching and the loving support of this community, I get to expand my life. Even to the point of serving as a board member! That in and of itself would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Yet here I am, and I am looking forward to the next 3 years.

–Chris Wheeler

Tucson’s All Souls Procession

If you are new to Tucson, you may be wondering what’s up with all the skulls and skeletons (many brightly decorated) still around town. Did people forget to take down their Halloween decorations? And why are so many still constructing skeletal costumes? The calaveras (sugar skulls) and calacas (skeletons) are traditional symbols of the Mexican celebration of Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. They represent loved ones who have passed on. They are also heavily represented in Tucson’s All Souls Procession.

Grieving the loss of her father, Susan Johnson sought a way to gather with others in a similar situation to “remember together”. In 1990, she and several of her artist friends got together and the first All Souls Procession made its way through downtown Tucson. Starting with a few hundred that first year, the celebration has drawn over 150,000 participants and spectators in years past.

I have been part of this crowd several times, particularly in years when I had lost a loved one. While I have not walked the parade route, I have painted my face and included symbols to represent those whose lives I was remembering. I have laughed and cried while watching the individuals and groups march down the street. It has been very moving and cathartic to know that I was certainly not alone in my process.

The most significant part of the procession each time I have participated has been the Burning of the Urn. A very large steel urn leads the procession. Throughout the parade, attendants will distribute and collect strips of paper on which you can write a prayer or message to your deceased loved one. At the finale, the urn is set on fire. Watching the energy of the messages turn into fuel for the fire has always brought a great sense of release for me.

This year’s procession will begin at 6pm on Sunday, November 7. Visit their website for more info All Souls Procession – Remembering together. If you are not able to attend in person, you can participate virtually through a livestream All Souls Procession 2021 Livestream – All Souls Procession. You can submit your message to be included in the urn through their website Restoration of Care and Burning of The Urn Ceremony – All Souls Procession. You can watch previous years’ processions Videos – All Souls Procession.

–Janet Salese

What A Lovely Open House!

Saturday, August 7 from 10am to 2pm, the Board of Trustees hosted an Open House at the Education Center on south Craycroft. The Board showed up with plenty of individually wrapped, Covid-safe snacks. One of the Covid specific adjustments that was made were the name tags at the door with three different color markers. Green meant that hugging was welcome. Blue meant ask before hugging and Red meant I love you but prefer not to hug at this time.

For some period of time, it was just the Board but then we had our first visitor. I won’t reveal her name as I have not asked if I could share it in the newsletter but her name is lovely as she made it herself. She follows us primarily through the newsletter and had a long-time connection with one of the CSLs in San Diego as a practitioner! Affiliation with CSLT would be fabulous if she has interest, and it is even an option.

After 12 noon we had several more visitors. They were all regulars, and included our new practitioner who hadn’t yet experienced the in-person camaraderie of CSLT. We were able to pull up chairs to the table and all share in a fun conversation and in the numerous snacks. Marsha M had asked if I would eat a bag of chips for her, which I did. Eating Fritos for Marsha meant the calories did not count. Lucky for me, as I was also able to eat a bag of Doritos for Gregg as well. 

Seeing people in person was the goal of the Open House and we certainly accomplished that! There were many hugs all around and it was sweet to see people in person. A member was even brought to tears by the experience. For me, meeting in the Education Center felt like we’d never stopped meeting in person and that Covid hadn’t happened. I mean it felt totally normal although everyone started out with masks before they ate something.

I understand that Zoom does not work for some people. They don’t feel engaged by watching on a computer screen. I am lucky as I use my 24-inch computer monitor. I am also so grateful that, through my work, I regularly have several Zoom conversations almost every day. This has taught me to feel engaged through Zoom. One of my networking meetings has elected to stay on Zoom as it is so much more convenient. And our CSLT Board has also met on Zoom a number of times, after meeting in person once, because it is simpler.

Meeting in a Science of Mind group in person yesterday was great fun and felt good. Science of Mind is such a powerful way of life. I could relate to what Cerise Patron said in Sunday’s service focusing on Power, Connection, Oneness and Light. Her affirmation reflects my experience with our Open House and with being a part of CSLT. “Spirit within me, Spirit that is me, Breathe as me, Speak as me, Sing as me, Love as me, Live as me. Every wall that I have ever built to hold You back, I now tear down to set You free.”

Here’s to tearing down more walls, alone, on Zoom, and in person!

Marya Wheeler

Got Relief?

How do you spell relief? R-o-l-a-i-d-s? How you spell relief tells me a lot about you, without possibly even knowing you. For those of you too young to know, many years ago there was a commercial for Rolaids on TV. In the commercial the question was asked, “How do you spell relief?” The answer was R-o-l-a-i-d-s.

This past month I struggled with what to write about for this week’s newsletter. I kept thinking the words and thoughts would come to me, so I kept putting it off. I wanted the feeling of relief, knowing it was done. Last night as the deadline was drawing near, I received a lovely text from one of my dear friends who happens to be a member of CSLT. I blabbered on about the frustrations I was dealing with and then said, “Right now my mind is bogged down… I’m just feeling slightly overwhelmed… feeling a bit worn out….. but I know this too shall pass and tomorrow will be better.” She replied, “(Big breath in…then out…ahhh) I center and relax in the peace that all is well.” I felt immediate gratitude and joy for her companionship and guidance AND I felt immediate relief.

My morning meditation practice also gives me the feeling of relief. How fortunate I am to be able to rely on my morning meditation to feel relief. Morning meditation is my participation in our daily morning practice of meditation. Often during our discussion, I’ll write down what someone has said so that I can remember it later. Here are some thoughts that have come up during discussion and are held on my refrigerator by my CSLT nametag:

  • Live life on purpose
  • Who am I without my stuff?
  • Help me to understand
  • Divine ideas guide us to the best solution
  • If problems arise, get help
  • What is your greatest worry? Why do you tolerate it?
  • Lead me into situations I desire
  • Leaders don’t have to be vocal
  • Train your thoughts so that your outcome is always good

I feel relief just reading them.
So how do you spell relief? I spell it C-S-L-T.

Madeline Pallanes

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