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

Experiencing the Father

Fatherhood often gets a bum rap. We are conditioned, almost from our earliest years, to have a limited or one-dimensional version of this person, this human who participated in our creation, and contributed in one way or another to our growth as an individual. In comedy, the father figure is often the brunt of jokes and in literature, he is frequently portrayed as the absent or distant winner-of-our-daily-bread, or some sort of dark and foreboding taskmaster. He can be the fixer of all things broken or the one who broke them.

One of my best early memories of my dad happened when I was about ten. We were living in southern California at the time, at the edge of chaparral country. All the kids walked to the elementary school that was a couple blocks down the street and most of us walked home for lunch. It was a pretty idyllic time and place. One of my two best friends lived next door on a family farm. I remember the climbing trees, the berry bushes and the chickens in the roost. My other best friend lived across the field behind the elementary school. I remember hurrying home across that field, more than once, so that I would be home by dark (my curfew). My major mode of transportation was my big, sturdy, hand-me-down, bicycle that took me everywhere.

I didn’t have much experience with my dad. He had been overseas a lot on remote duty with the Air Force. I knew him from the daily letters our mom would get in the mail while he was away, and the short visits between foreign tours, and when he would come home for extended holidays. This time he had gotten posted at an air base in southern California where we could be all together as a family. While he was on these remote assignments, he spent a lot of time building things at the Hobby Shop, a place on the base where the airmen could go, hang out, and make stuff. It was the safest and sanest thing that these young men could do when they were away from their homes and their families. And yes, I realize I am making up this story.

In any case, when we were in southern California, he built a large balsa wood glider. It had at least a four-foot wingspan and he worked on it in the evenings for months and months. When it was finally finished, he needed help to fly it. We went out to the cow pasture behind our house and I held it, his masterpiece up over my head. He had glued what looked like drapery hooks under the fuselage. The rope that he used to launch it was draped over these hooks only for launch. He ran, tugging on the rope, pulling the plane out of my grasp. When the plane became airborne the rope fell away and the glider moved freely, untethered. Most of the time it flew. Sometimes it was only a short glide and a hop as it skidded along the grass, sometimes it caught the wind and rode the currents of air, up and up and up. We flew his glider for a number of months, getting a little braver and more adventurous each time. One day we took it to a new place by a road. It lifted brilliantly, caught the drafts and rose and glided just like the buzzards that rode the currents of air. It was breathtaking. Then suddenly as if it had run out of air, it plummeted to the ground, nose first onto the road. We both ran over to it, a pile of splinters and fragments, nothing to salvage. Heartbroken, I asked if he could fix it. He shook his head sadly and said no. Dejectedly, we both walked back to the car. I am sure he mourned the loss of his creation, though I was not aware of it. He put his model building tools away and took up other hobbies. Mostly he did the typical family things with all of us, visiting picnics and playgrounds, playing with frisbees and balls, taking hikes and drives. He didn’t return to building models until our brother was old enough to want his help in building model airplanes or star fighters from pre-cut kits of plastic bits.

So what is the Fathering Principle? According to Fillmore’s Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, it is the “exact and immutable Principle of Being, lying back of all existence as cause, and approachable only along lines of perfect law. It is omnipresent and not subject to change or open to argument.” Holmes calls it the “Assertive Principle of Being; the Self-Conscious, Self-Propelling Power of Spirit; the Projective Principle of Life, impregnating the Universal Soul with its Ideas and concepts; the Self-Assertive Spirit in either God or humanity.”

How does this show up for each of us? We father ourselves, encourage, assert and support our own sense of being and purpose. Is it hard? It seems hard sometimes; sometimes we seem to fail. What then? We gather ourselves together, regroup and get back up. It is worthwhile? You bet. It’s the best game on the planet.

–Rev Janis

It’s OK to Feel OK!

It is okay to feel okay! In fact, it is even okay to be happy! My 89-year-old mother says that we feel guilty feeling happy when so many people are sad and when there are so many problems in the world. It is like a survivor’s guilt. If I am happy, does it mean that I do not care about global warming? Does it mean that I do not think it is important if the school kidnappings in Africa have included children as young as 4? Do I not express my concern through my feelings of distress?

I still struggle with this ingrained belief, but continue to focus on living in the belief of “All As Spirit” helps me feel some relief. I work hard at feeling good. The decision to feel good that does not always translate into the emotion. However, I also decide to act in ways that promote happiness.

During a recent “Roots of the Science of Mind” class, Rev. Janis began the session with a video in which there was a regular recitation of Neville Goddard’s meditation, “Isn’t it wonderful?” The goal was to experience a feeling of wonder and joy. In Resilient, the book we’re using in the June book study, there are short experiential exercises on grabbing hold of a happy feeling and basking in it. With both of those examples, I was not able to translate the feeling into a happy feeling or even a pleasant experience. It is like I tamp down those feelings.

Two weeks ago, I talked to my therapist about those experiences. I practice EMDR with her which is a treatment modality designed to free one of stuck emotional reactions by processing traumatic experiences that, in effect, get stuck in our psyche. I have found the process extremely helpful. My therapist talked to me about asking the Universe for help in feeling good and being willing to surrender fear. I wrote that on the back of the index card that I have by my PC with Emma Curtis Hopkins’ quote from page 96 of Scientific Christian Mental Practice, “I do believe that my God now works with, through, by and as me, to make me omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. I have faith in God. I have the faith of God.”

Daily, I have been asking the Divine for a sense of connection. This is also where I allow myself to recognize myself as the Divine and then surrender fear. What surrendering fear looks like to me is to relax and spend money that I used to hoard. We tithe on our personal income, and I pay the handful of medical bills that accumulate every few months. I allow myself to take money from an account where I have stashed it. My fear is often around financial lack which I imagine and then pull into me. For the last two weeks, I have been happier and have relaxed more. I repeat to myself when challenges arise that it is okay to feel okay. It is even okay to feel happy. I plan on reading the book and attending Rev. Janis’s class on resilience. Perhaps I will have a different experience this time.

–Marya Wheeler

America, An Incompletely-Actualized Ideal

America is an incompletely-actualized ideal. It will only qualify as a fully-actualized ideal when “selfish gain no longer stain, the banner of the free!” (Taken from the original 1893 poem by Katharine Lee Bates.)

Yes. The United States of America is the present ideal of the idea, though flawed, “of freedom beating across the wilderness.” As freedom beat across the land, indigenous people were displaced and slaughtered. In 1893, its successes were not all noble, nor its gains divine. The indigenous population as well as imported Africans and women were excluded from sharing in the gains.

True, the grace of God or the One in Whom We Live, Move and Have Our Being has shined on the idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all, the vision. It will only become a reality as Martin Luther King Jr has stated, when this nation rises up and lives out the true meaning of its creed that all men, women, and children are created equal.

Since the idea has not yet materialized, the full expression of our good, which is brotherhood, has not yet been crowned.

So, I ask that we not let our emotional reactions to the song “America, The Beautiful” override the facts.

–Keith Gorley

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Bev Holland (RScP, with the CSL in Tacoma WA) led the morning meditation practice today, and I got to join because my 4-month (zoom) class in Spiral Dynamics ended last Tuesday. It was a treat for me to just hang out as a participant for a change, instead of lead.

The reading that Bev chose for this morning was from Ernest Holmes’ 365 Science of Mind. As always there were certain phrases that jumped out for different people. Some of the big ideas presented in this reading:

“spiritual laws execute themselves, just as do other laws of nature”

“my word penetrates every unbelief in my mind, casts out all fear, removes all doubt, clears away every obstacle, and permits that which is enduring, perfect
and true to be perceived by my mind.”

“all the statements I make … will be carried out as I have spoken.”

We get to remember the power that lives as us delivers on our commands every time. This is wonderful, and sometimes horrible news, because it means we have built-in accountability. It’s not ever punishment, but simply a recognition that our words, and the thoughts behind them, already have the power to create our experience, whether we are conscious of this fact, or not.

We also get to remember that we seldom understand the whole picture of our experience until well after the fact. It was Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard who said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but must be lived forward.”

And from the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – “Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it’s not yet the end.”

We have lived through an ‘unprecedented, and historic’ (not really, but it sure feels like it) challenging 15-months. For some the individuals and groups, difficult and confronting times continue. None of these experiences are the truth of our being, they are just experiences we have had, and some continue to have.

One way to improve your ability to deal with life as it presents itself is to have a spiritual practice. If you don’t already have a daily morning practice of stopping for spiritual nourishment, I truly encourage you to start. If you don’t know what to do: read some spiritually uplifting writings or bask in some uplifting music or just simply lift your eyes to appreciate the beauty of where you live, followed by spending a few moments considering the wonder and beauty of whatever you’d stopped to notice, and then express gratitude to yourself, and to the greater whole, however you experience it. That’s a great place to start building a spiritual practice.

Further, each one of us can strengthen our resilience muscles, which increase our ability to engage with life and not lose our spiritual center. Get the book (Rick Hanson’s Resilient), read and consider the ideas, join the exploration on Sundays, and/or Tuesdays 5:30-7:30pm, and practice being more of that divine being that I know you already are.

–Rev Janis

Gardening with Ernest

Guard well this garden of your mind. It is God’s garden of your soul. It is your Garden of Eden wherein may grow your fondest desires and hopes, blossoming into fulfillment.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

When I go out into the yard to plant flowers or pull weeds Ernest Holmes is with me. I think of his using the metaphor of planting ideas like seeds into the fertile soil of the Creative Medium. Seeds are put into the ground, the claim is made, and things grow in “thy time not my time” as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross used to say. Each type of seed has their own germination time. Sunflowers germinate in a week or so, and other plants may take many weeks to germinate.

Sometimes I buy plants from the nursery and when I remove them from the container, and they are root bound. This causes the plant to have stunted growth and it is time to put them in a larger container or in the ground. This is true with human life as well, roots need to spread to become stronger and healthier.

It may be necessary to cultivate your garden, to uproot the weeds and straighten out the rows, planting new seeds – new ideas, broader visions and deeper realizations of life. New aspirations must be bedded here, fertilized with the fervor hope, the conviction of faith, the beauty of wholeness and quietness of peace. Watch your garden carefully, guarded patiently, waiting for a new harvest –
for you shall reap what you have sown.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

When I pull weeds, my mother joins Ernest and me. She would say, “You have to pull out all the quackies,” which meant all of the roots needed to be pulled out. I get my weed digger and loosen the soil around the roots and gently pull. Most roots are surprising long. It makes me think of my doubts and fears, how they seem to resurface even though I thought I had dealt with them. By nurturing my connection with God, and tending to my thoughts, the doubts and fears seem to pop up less and less.

Go often, into your garden. Sitting under the tree of life in cool, quiet communion, you will find fresh inspiration. God will go forth anew too into creation through you.
— Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

I have planted the front yard with sunflowers, hollyhocks and snapdragons. They bring me much joy. And I see my neighbors stop and look at the flowers, which also brings me great joy.

Watch carefully, then, this garden of your soul. Plant there only seeds of happiness, of joy, of peace and of — Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You Chapter V

–Maria

Perspective, Perceptions and Expectations

Like everyone else, I dance, and sometimes wrestle, with my perceptions and my expectations of myself and of others. You bet, I get disappointed when (fill-in-the-blank, it almost doesn’t matter, does it?). Sometimes I have to take myself by the hand and remember that it’s not my job to delineate and define exactly how other people are supposed to live. It’s my job to love them, and cut them some slack when they (fill in the blank). It’s not even my job to get too rigid about exactly how I’m supposed to live. It’s my job to love myself, and cut myself some slack when I fail … and then pick myself up and try again. This is also not to say, I benefit in any way from wallowing in self-pity, self-criticism, or any kind of self-hatred, nor do I benefit by thinking that way about anybody else. Further, it doesn’t let me off the hook about continuing to persevere in living up to the beliefs that I hold dear.

During morning practice the other week, I realized I had been speaking poorly about a basil plant that I bought at a garden center. Every time I watered it, I felt sad that it was so pitiful looking, and I said so. On reflection, there was no surprise that it withered away. Duh.

Dr Ernest Holmes wrote (The Science of Mind 387.1), “The spiral is ever upward. Evolution carries us forward, not backward. Eternal and progressive expansion is its law and there are no breaks in continuity. It seems to me that our evolution is the result of an unfolding consciousness of that which already is, and needs to be realized, to become a fact of everyday life.”

Each and every one of us is forever, even if it doesn’t feel like, seem like it, or look like it, on an upward trending track. This evolution is not measured in individual acts, but is measured in large sweeps of our lives. Are we on a trajectory toward a more positive way of being in the world? Holmes affirmed “Yes”, even if there doesn’t seem to be any evidence at the moment. We may be moving in microscopically small steps, but the direction is always upward and forward. Always.

I’ve been taking a weekly social evolution class through an organization based in Amsterdam. The theory is that people, and groups, are always evolving towards more complex ways of being. They are pushed by what happens in their lives until they are pulled by their mental models. I first came across this theory, which is called Spiral Dynamics, when I was in ministerial school in 2012, and thought it was the clearest explanation of human psychology at both the level of individuals, and of groups, that I had ever seen.

The model’s originator, Clare W. Graves wrote, “When the individual is finally able to see themselves and the world around them with clear cognition, they find a picture far more pleasant. Visible in unmistakable clarity, and devastating detail, is the human’s failure to be what they might be. This revelation causes them to leap out in search of a way of life and system of values which will enable them to be more than they have been. They seek a foundation of self-respect, which will have a value system rooted in knowledge and cosmic reality where they express themselves so that all others, all beings, can continue to exist. Their values now are of a different order from those at previous levels. They arise not from selfish interest but from the recognition of the magnificence of existence and the desire that it shall continue to be.”

He also wrote, “Damn it all, a person has a right to be who he is.” Anytime I wish someone to be different than they are, or myself to be different than I am, I get to take a step back and re-look at my expectations. Almost certainly what has happened is that I have forgotten that everybody has a right to be who they are, and learn from whatever life experiences they’re having. Thankfully, it’s not my job to choreograph their life, and it’s not my right to critique it.

And so, after this great big attitude adjustment, I circle back to Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements and remind myself what’s actually within my own personal scope. “Be impeccable with my word” (Don’t speak against myself or others), “Take nothing personally” (Nothing others do, or say, has anything to do with me), “Don’t make assumptions” (Ask, speak, and don’t assume anything), “Always do your best” (Remember that everyone already is doing their best, including me.).

Reframing of my perceptions, perspective and expectations is always in order.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Got Unexpected Good?

As most of you know, I enjoy taking classes. I just completed the “Beyond Limits” class from CSL Reno (via Zoom). It was an enjoyable class studying the 10 principles of the Science of Mind in more detail. I learned a lot.

One of the exercises that was suggested but NOT required, was a simple practice that I chose to participate in. For 5 weeks I kept track of any unexpected income. This unexpected income could come from money saved from purchases that were on sale, a rebate check, money found on the ground or in a coat pocket, or anything like that.

As part of the exercise, I tithed 10% to CSL Reno from this unexpected income. (They use this money for expenses that are outside of their normal budget.) The idea behind this exercise was to increase our awareness that abundance flows to us easily and in unexpected ways. At the end of 5 weeks, I totaled up my list of unexpected income, which totally affirmed that abundance flows to me easily and in unexpected ways. My total was $3,150. $315 was happily tithed to CSL Reno.

Another practice from last week’s class has had an amazing effect on me this week. It’s called “Totally Possible.” When I recognized a thought, feeling, or experience I wanted to change, I said to myself with enthusiasm (usually in my mind and repeated like a mantra.) “It is totally possible for me to……..”

For example: I have been having difficulty falling asleep (as I did this week) I said to myself a few times over, “It is totally possible for me to fall asleep and rest well.” I easily and quickly fell asleep and slept well!

Here are some of the other thoughts I practiced with, and was able to shift or change this week:

  • ‘My’ Keith was the driver and I was the passenger driving on I-10, “It is totally possible for me to be relaxed when Keith is driving.”
  • “It is totally possible for Keith to not get grumpy with me.”
  • “It is totally possible to have the energy to complete my tasks today.”
  • “It is totally possible to buy the perfect home for me in Tucson.”
  • “It is totally possible for Sissy to behave around men.”
  • “It is totally possible for me to have blood drawn.”
  • “It is totally possible for me to write this week’s newsletter article.” ❤ And you know what? It totally works!

–Madeline Pallanes

Respecting an Individual’s Decision

Pilate asked, in John 18:38, “What is truth.”

My response has been to see truth as being in the eye of the beholder. It is my truth that there is one God and that Life is my life now. That is not necessarily another person’s truth. So what does this have to do with the pandemic?

Everything. Because if my life is indeed God’s life, then that life by its very nature is immune to sickness and disease. And, with that being the case, it does not need to be vaccinated. I thought that that was the end of the discussion until I was awakened at three o’clock in the morning and kept awake by the words of Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind, page 282. “To desert the truth in the hour of need is to prove that we do not know the truth.” I lay in bed wanting to know if I would be deserting the truth if my body were to get vaccinated? My final answer was no, but the no did not mean I would be vaccinated. However, before denying my mortal body the vaccine, my soul and mind would have to consent and then convince my body consciousness that there is nothing to fear.

Thankfully, Ernest cleared up my confusion in the 1926 (original) Science of Mind text: On page 131, he states, “We have no objection to any form of healing. Anything that will help overcome suffering must be good, whether it takes the form of a pill [or shot] or of a prayer.” My faith has been placed in spiritual mind treatment. He continues, “We are glad when any one is healed or helped by any method. We believe in any and all methods and know that each has its place in the whole.” Holmes did not infringe upon the rights of others to choose their own way. Therefore, the decision to be or not to be vaccinated is a personal decision.

I am not making a case either for or against vaccination. The case I am making is that whatever an individual’s choice may be, within our community, it ought to be respected.

I had been contemplating the issue of vaccination for more than two months. Would I get the shot or not? The topic has been passionately discussed in our men’s group, with some getting the vaccination and others not. My issue was, what is truth to me? What is my truth towards vaccinations? Because that truth must guide my decision. As a point of emphasis, our individual choices have to be respected.

In Romans 7:23, Paul helped me to discern my truth. “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Sin for me is simply missing the mark, that is, falling short of one’s personal integrity. My personal integrity tells me that I am a whole, perfect and complete spiritual being. For me to act otherwise would contradict that and usher me into the law of sin.

To be, or not to be, vaccinated was reconciled and answered when I gained an understanding of one sentence in the Lord’s Prayer. “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Thus my will in heaven is to be perfect health in mind and thereby have perfect health in body.

–Keith Gorley

 

It’s Been A Year…

And what a year it has been. When Marya asked for someone else to cover her board article this rotation (because she’s in the middle of tax season), I said I’d take it. It was only after the fact that I realized we are at our one year anniversary of being virtual for all things. What a perfect time for a little reflection on where we have been, and what we have accomplished in a time period with so much uncertainty flying around us.

I began by looking at the pandemics of history. Most lasted at least two years, and some last decades. In our present era, I think because of our interconnectedness, and the intensity with which information sharing has happened in scientific communities, we have a potential or partial solution to this worldwide experience in less than two years. Most impressive.

Religious Scientists (of which I am one, and most of us are) claim that physical experiences do not create our reality, unless we allow them to. I also know that unless someone has a highly trained consciousness, they are strongly biased toward reacting in default, or ‘common hour’, thinking. While I do not see the coronavirus as harmful to me, I do know that many people do. Some have had the experience of the virus, some have gotten seriously ill. Many have died. In the Christian Bible, Paul wrote to the church at Rome (Romans 14), cautioning them not to intentionally do things that they knew would cause ‘their brother’ to stumble, or act in sinful (harmful, hurtful) ways. Master Teacher Jesus also reminded his listeners, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). In my regard for consciousness of the whole, I continue to practice safe distancing, wear a facemask in public spaces, and maintain better-than-my-usual hand hygiene.

Today, I want to write about the benefits that I can presently see that have developed or evolved from our experience during this most unusual year:

  • We’ve been online on Sundays for an entire year. We’ve talked about having a true video presence for almost as long as I’ve been part of this Center, but have never actually had a compelling reason to do it. Now we’re beginning to think about how to continue this inclusive activity when we return to having in-person services.
  • We’ve attracted, and gotten to know, some really cool people from outside of Tucson, too. Our winter visitors have been able to remain active participants even if they have gone elsewhere for part of the year.
  • We’ve discovered the joy of being able to have and take classes without having to drive at night, or limit our participation to only those people who live in Tucson. We’ve had guest facilitators from other CSLs in classes, and there’s more of this shared learning coming. We’ve also had students from other Centers join us for classes.
  • Morning practice has been going continuously, daily (except Sundays) for over a year. Attendance fluctuates, as participants have other things they prefer, or need, to do. Morning practice has provided a source of individual connection and community for folks from all over North America.
  • We’ve discovered that the zoom squares don’t actually inhibit deeply shared personal, inter-personal and community experience, unless we decide they do.
  • Since we’ve been completely online we’ve been able to hear from speakers and musicians who would normally be unavailable by time, distance or our budget. Robin Hackett joined us from her living room in Evergreen Colorado this past Sunday. Faith Rivera will join us from her home in Hawai’I in late April. Jan Garrett & JD Martin join us live in early May, and Gary Lynn Floyd in mid-June. Life is good.It is done to us as we believe. Our opportunity, as Religious Scientists, is to consciously observe our own erroneous default thinking and upgrade it with a new level of default thinking that supports the life we want individually and collectively. This past year has either the worst possible thing that could have happened to us, or the best year ever (yet). We get to choose.

–Rev Janis

1 2 3 7