Staying “Home”

We look too far away for Reality.   — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 41.3

I grew up on a farm four miles outside of a small Oklahoma town and was seemingly okay with that, except in my head I was a million miles, several continents and frequently universes away.

I forgive myself for that, because it was after all pretty boring. It certainly seemed so at the time.  I was the one at High School graduation most definitely not in tears over leaving – but in glee about finally getting out-of-town on a semi-permanent basis.

Somehow though I think Dr. Holmes is talking about a different kind of “far, far, away…”

Spiritual evolution should make the Infinite not more distant but more intimate. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 89.2

And isn’t that the challenge?!?  Becoming more intimate with life as we live it.  More aware, more present to each moment, more here and now with every breath.  I still find my self flying off, off & away, though now I’m learning to make it a round trip ticket with a very short visa.

To find in each moment the perfection of that moment, of myself, and of all the world I live in.  Truly actually living in it.  Strangely enough after decades in big city business, I’m walking away from “focus clearly, sharply, specifically on whatneeds to be done”, and learning it is more about presence. The special art of being present to NOW, being aware of the energy-in-flow, aka the complete picture.  The important stuff is happening inside of my head.   It is happening and I pay attention to the swirl of people, places and energy that does give the color and depth that too frequently I’ve tried to find by looking for the “juice” in other people, a different job, a new title.  Or in any of those far away places.

And my extreme surprise and delight is discovering that the more I open to Presence as a learning experience – not a scene to be directed or controlled – but the more I allow myself to listen honestly and to see clearly, the more I come into seeing and knowing the Truth of my own being.  This is not surrender, submission or any version of “whatever”.  It is living from my core in the world around me.

…. The higher the sense of Truth, the greater will be the realization of the uniqueness of individual character and personality… Individuality means self-choice, volition, conscious mind, personified Spirit, complete freedom and a Power to back up that freedom.      –Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 332.4-5

And the true beauty for me is to be right here, right now claiming every bit of perfection and power, every morsel of learning from living a life that is HERE. And NOW. And it is so, especially when I remember to stay home.

–Pax, Mariann

The Road Less Traveled

Robert Frost wrote a famous poem about taking “the road less traveled” and how it “made all the difference.” It describes my experience since becoming a Religious Scientist; taking the road of deliberate consciousness. Examining and questioning my default thinking, knowing it manifests my life experience, has become my practice. I was raised in a fundamentalist religion where I was taught that I was a victim to an outside negative power, the Devil, who was literally out to get me. I have worked to unlearn that pessimistic and helpless belief and I have felt joyful when optimism more often was my default. I have strived to embody the teachings of Ernest Holmes and the ideas represented in the poem by Christian Larson that Reverend Janis distributed in September. In that poem are the lines:

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind……

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best…..

I drive a new car today because of this effort to think differently.

In 2016 I became the owner of a 2013 turbo-charged red VW Beetle. I loved my little car, especially the peppiness of its turbo-boosted take-off from red lights. But several months ago, it began showing me the red Check Engine light on the dash. I was told I had a classic VW issue with fuel injectors and my car would require over a thousand dollars in repair. I took a second option of putting special chemicals in my gas tank to try to clean out the car’s system. But then, a few days before Labor Day, another red light appeared on my dash, this one signaling low coolant. I shrugged this one off and simply had the coolant levels topped up and scheduled a service appointment for more maintenance work. But 24 hours later, the same red light came back on, and I could see the minimum coolant level had dropped quite a bit. I consulted a knowledgeable friend who used mysterious diagnostic terms like “blown head gaskets” and said I was looking at more serious engine trouble. Between my two red warning lights I was looking at repairs of thousands of dollars.

The fact of the matter was that I did not possess thousands of dollars to fix my car and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. In the past I would have instantly begun to worry and agonize. Indeed, one family member muttered “it’s the Devil.” I instantly rejected that comment because I know the Universe is always for me, not against me. Someone suggested it was the Labor Day weekend and there might be car dealer sales going on. I was skeptical, however, that I could trade the car after only two years paying down my loan, without also having a down payment. But I reminded myself there are infinite possibilities in Spirit, and I went to my favorite dealership. I met a new salesman of only two weeks and told him I was investigating the feasibility of trading my car (with two red dash warnings) for another used vehicle. He did his best to find me a car within my budget and chose a nice one even older than my VW, but it was fine, and I liked it.

The finance folks shook their heads, telling me I lacked equity in my VW, and that the red lights were a big concern, so I needed many thousands of dollars down to qualify for financing on a car. I was leaving the dealership and my sad salesman when a manager whispered to him a solution. It was Labor Day weekend and there was thisonecar on the lot with a hefty rebate attached. They could apply the rebate, give me a bit extra in trade on my car, and see if financing would work. He drove up a 2018 base model Hyundai Elantra for me to test drive. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A 2018 Brand New Car? Yes please! It still took six long hours for the finance folks to find a funding source, but I was approved. I had arrived in a 2013 car in dire condition and drove away in a brand-new car with a platinum 8-year warranty and security system included. To top it off, I discovered the next day from my insurance agent that they updated my policy, keeping my coverage the same, yet saved me enough money on premiums to offset the small increase in my car payment!

Sometimes the Law exceeds my expectations.When those red lights on my VW dash began to multiply I did not want to sink into the bog of lack and limitation and despair. I knew only that there existed some solution for me to have reliable transportation, so that I would either find the cash to fix my VW or I would find another car. I went into the dealership hoping to buy something used and came out with something far better. When I trust in my Good, I am blessed!

by Leah Hamilton

Steps On The Journey

One of my all-time favorite Zen-based lessons goes as follows.  Two monks must travel together from their monastery to a distant place which involves crossing a fast-running river.  Upon arriving at the river, they discover a woman standing on the banks unable to cross on her own.  One monk simply picks her up and carries her across, depositing her on the other side.  All go their separate ways.  That evening, when their rule of silence is released – the second monk attacks the first for “touching that woman.”  The first monk replies – “I only carried her across the river, you’ve carried her all day.”

Oh my. How much time is spent carrying (if not nurturing) events, exchanges, actions that have no need to be remembered, much less retained, as emotional traumas?  I know that I do it way too often.  And, I know as well, that not only is it not good for me, it is truly bad for me.

Retaining, remembering, and hoarding those emotional upsets prevents me from being present to the actual Truth of Now.  The actual being aware and awake to my life as it is.  And let’s not even visit what neuroscientists say about how much easier it is for us to go to those bad, unhappy, defensive places.  Even without our practicing and reinforcing the choosing of unhappy.  We can of course blame those Neanderthal ancestors for constantly being concerned with food, fight, flight, sleep, and then leaving those emotions as primary in the genetic memory pool.  But, I digress.

One of my preventative measures is to write every morning.  It started a year ago as an “assignment” I gave myself from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.  It has become a must-do practice that allows me to discover, and frequently release, events both old and current that have lodged themselves in my state of being. Astounding how some long-ago (seeming) rejection feeds a current self-doubt. How a goal not met in the past, defines how freely, and how high, I let myself aim today.

For me, letting the pen go across the page has produced descriptions of sh*t that I thought I had long ago forgotten let alone released.  So why retrieve those memories?

Because I’ve learned I have a decades long habit of saying – this doesn’t matter, just let it go – when it really does matter. Or I go to — I won’t think about it – or worse yet I stuff it into a dark storage space and never let myself feel the Truth.  Every time I hide something, I add a layer to the walls blocking my growth, preventing my learning what I need to know, and I keep myself from being aware and present to the different choices I can make now.

Every time I do acknowledge something, historical or current, that hampers my focus on what’s happening now, I recognize that acknowledgement as the first step to releasing it.  Every time that release happens, I open space in my being to allow choosing the good.  I create the space to grow the opportunities – the options – to become more.

Our thought does not go out to influence persons or things. What it does is readjust our own consciousness, our own thinking, to include a larger and a more harmonious field of action. We learn that when we get our own consciousness straightened out, things in our external world adjust themselves to meet our new and better inward awareness.”      Ernest Holmes, Living the Science of Mind 204.3

We can only be in charge of ourselves, but we can be in charge if/when we choose to be so.   Peace.

by Mariann Moery

Aging Well

Everything I know about the world can be summed up in three words: it moves on.  (Robert Frost)

I just returned from a trip to Escondido, California to celebrate the birthday of one of my childhood friends.  He was six and I was three when he moved in across the street from us.  He knocked at our door one morning, asking if someone could help him get his boots on because his mom was sleeping.    I have no memory of that, of course, but I do have years of shared memories as we each graduated from high school, attended college, got married, had children, and continued through our parallel life journeys.

As one of the few out-of-towners in attendance at the large birthday bash, I had the chance to sit back and observe people of various ages.  I was struck by the differences, especially in the older people in attendance.  Some of them were quite vibrant and socially interactive, meeting new people easily and engaging in conversation that was stimulating, amusing, and interesting.  Others, not so much.

As I drove back home on Sunday I kept thinking about what made the difference in what I referred to as “aging well” and “aging not-so-well.”  Those who were doing well were interested and involved in a variety of activities.  They volunteer, they belong to organizations, they travel, and they attend dramatic and musical events. They live multi-faceted lives.

I had an extensive conversation with one gentleman who was a retired high school science teacher, and he seemed adrift and lost.  His identity had been “Educator,“ and after he retired, had not found a place to put his time and attention where he could create a more current role for himself.   He was quite happy to find that I, too, was a retired educator and wanted to exchange classroom war stories.  I shared a few amusing ones, but was not too interested in relating to the past only.  I am far more interested in Now.  It felt sad to me because he did not seem to know how to live Today.

In my experience, I have learned that the people who stay the most vibrant are the ones who choose to change with the times, who have a positive attitude about the world in which we live, and who are willing to change their minds about what constitutes “the good old days.”  They stay interested in the world in which we live, they stay involved with family and friends, and they embrace new experiences.  They know what is going on NOW.  They see the past as what it is:  the past.

At a memorial service for a beloved teacher’s aide, a friend of mine was talking about what a delightful person Susanne was.  Another friend said, “The older she got, the sweeter she became.”  The first friend said, “I have noticed that as people age, they become themselves.  Only more so.”  I have thought a lot about that statement, and I find it to be ever more true.  The sweet people become sweeter, and vice versa.

I drove home Sunday feeling enriched by all of the people with whom I interacted during the weekend. But I am even more grateful for the people here, and now, at home who continue to enrich my life so thoroughly and so regularly.

by Pat Masters

What Do We Do When…??

Both my sister and father have passed into their next phase of beingness in the past 6 months. Because I was my father’s sole caregiver, my daily life has drastically changed. I am tired — mentally, emotional and physically. I find myself pondering the question “What next?”

In the past I have been good at manifesting. I find it easy.  Usually I think about what it is that I desire, and then I feel what that feels like… Really feel it, let it go and voila!  Energies shift and anticipated change occurs!  A perfect example of Science of Mind and affirmative prayer in action.  Every time. We know this stuff works.

In this moment, I am at a loss. I find myself hungering for something that I cannot put my finger on. I believe that there is a “law of spirit which brings greater peace, comfort and joy into our experience” (from A Suggested Experiment by Ernest Holmes), but there is a part of me that is not willing to trust the unknown. There is a huge sense of security in what is familiar, and when that falls away, I feel insecure and uncertain.  It seems that we humans, even the most enlightened among us — even those who believe they are open to change often are surprised to discover how much we resist ‘it’ when something familiar begins to change in a big way. I am doing that, resisting. I know this resistance is born of fear.

I find myself wondering what it is, that I don’t know. When I am at the edge of all that I understand, what is it that I cannot imagine?  I want to go there, to move beyond the things that feel safe in the hopes of opening up to the next level of understanding. I feel that there is a lot that is clearing and moving in my own life and on the planet. And I am certain (at some level), all the outcomes are positive, even if unimaginable, to me.

So I have decided to stay in the now moment, trusting that all is proceeding according to a Divine plan for me and for the earth. I am remembering that there is only One. As I stop and wait and dwell in that One, I allow the emotions of confusion, depression, sadness and sorrow to flow through me without resistance. I notice the sensations, bless them and let them go.  I am beginning to see that the pervading belief system here on earth represents an evolution towards something unknown to us, as yet.

What if our current collective pervading belief system rests on the lowest rung of a very expansive, multi-dimensional and many-faceted ladder?

I accept that we can only be as awake as we are right now, and that there is no longer any need to seek and search outwardly for what is already fully present within. Even if I don’t have any experience of it.  I trust the process that everything proceeds according to plan and I wait with excited expectation for that which I, at this time cannot imagine.

By Sheila Campbell

Contemplating Freedom

“You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, but rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.”  Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Except for a couple years when my mother was still alive and we had family get-togethers on holidays, my Fourth of July celebrations have been non-existent.  It was just another day, except there was no mail delivery and the banks were closed.  So when I realized my newsletter article would be published on the 4th of July, I decided to contemplate freedom and what it means to me, and now I’ll find out what I have to say about it.

‘Big picture’ freedoms are the ones that come with being born in the United States:  Freedom to cast a vote; freedom to walk down the street with my head, face and limbs uncovered; freedom to marry anyone I want; freedom to support or protest anything or anyone; freedom to participate in any religious or spiritual teachings I choose; freedom to fly any flag I wish, be it the stars and stripes, the Seahawks, rainbow, or my freak flag… you get the picture.  I admit, I take all of the above for granted and unless my freedom to do so is threatened, I seldom give those things a second thought.  Certainly, I am grateful for all the ‘big picture’ freedoms I enjoy, I just haven’t spent much time beinggrateful.  Most of the time I have just lounged in the shade… 

“We can sit in the shade or move into the sunshine.  Sitting in the shadow we may not really believe that there is any sunshine.  But the sun would be there all the time, and all the time we are in bondage, the real freedom exists.  It is there but we must awaken to it.”  Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind,411.3

But my #1 freedom is this:  When I step out of the shade into the light of my consciousness, nothing is more precious to me than my freedom to choose.  What is currently on my plate presents to me a beautiful opportunity to choose the brightest sunshine imaginable:  My beloved Aunt Von — soul sister, mother when I needed her to be, confidante and dearest friend — is fighting for her life… again… and she’s tired.  Of course, I do treatments for her, but what I know for her isn’t what I would have ‘prayed for’ in the past, when prayer was ‘out there’.  I don’t pray for her to get better or to get out of the hospital soon (she may not even want that!)  I simply know wholeness, ease, and peace of mind as the Truth of her; this knowingness can be no other way because she/I/we all live and express in Divine Mind/God/Spirit as individualized sparks of the One Life.  I know that regardless of any apparent disease, the life flame that fills Aunt Von can never be extinguished.  Her body form will eventually relax and let go, as will everyone’s, but the Life that fills her will continue to shine brightly in a way totally unknown to me (yet)!

I feel so grateful that I can choose how to ‘be’ in this situation.  I allow myself the freedom to get scared and cry and to not make myself wrong for doing so, and I allow myself to feel joyous even in the midst of her suffering (and, again, to not make myself wrong for doing so).  My job is to remember that there is only God, and to look for the God/Good in everything. How could I stay fear-filled and sad as I remember and experience this truth?  I just feel love – love for her, love for me, love for Omnipresent God which is radiant light and love everywhere, everywhen, always and forever without end… THIS is the freedom in which I live, in which we all live.  God. 

“If you can see God in everything, then God will look back at you through everything.  When the time comes that nothing goes forth from you other than that which you would be glad to have return, then you will have reached your heaven.”  Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You, 24

Happy Independence Day, everyone!  May we all be filled with a sense of sunshine-y freedom!

By Renee’ Mezzone

Standing in the Flow

I gained a lot from my participation in the book study of Eric Butterworth’s Spiritual Economics. It was an empowering and life-altering experience in confronting old attitudes of lack.

In his book on page 10, Butterworth says:

Prosperity is a way of living and thinking, and not just money or things.

Poverty is a way of living and thinking, and not just a lack of money or things.

 My prosperity is an inside job because I am responsible for my own thoughts. It has nothing to do with my monetary income. Now, while I knew that in an academic way, I found it harder to apply that knowledge and stand in the positive stream of life when it came to my financial affairs.

In the past, I was one of those people who experienced a lot of anxiety around looking closely at my financial state. I resolved to take Butterworth’s program to heart and change the way I do things around money. So, during our study I did something I had never done before. Instead of fearfully waiting until the last minute to pay my bills (and their accompanying late fees), I sat down and paid them all at the same time before their due dates. I continued my contributions to the Center and practiced a sense of gratitude for life. I could not imagine how there would be enough money to last the rest of the month, but I determined to believe in the flow of Good.

At the end of the month, I peeked at my bank account and was astounded to see the amount of money left!  I could not fathom what happened. For years I had been living the belief that there was “not enough” and thereby blocking the flow of my good. I had unkinked the hose!

Similarly, over the Memorial Day weekend, I caught myself at a red light on the way to Best Buy with my credit card. I planned to charge an expensive electronic gizmo that had caught my eye and that was on sale. But as I waited in traffic I thought about Butterworth’s program and asked myself why I was buying this thing I wanted but did not need? And why was I willing to charge it on a credit card to boot?  I needed furniture for my house and tires for my car, but I had rejected the idea of ever “affording” those with a knee-jerk attitude of poverty. That same attitude of lack was responsible for me trying to put a Band-aid on my feelings by going into debt for the momentary satisfaction of a new toy. I turned the car around and went home, choosing to live and believe that my abundance is assured, and that I stand in the positive stream of life.

I remind myself now of Butterworth’s image of prosperity as a faucet. I do not doubt water will come out of my kitchen faucet because I know it is connected to the city water supply. Now I trust that I constantly access my financial faucet for bills, donations and other life-affirming expenses, and rest assured that I remain in the flow of abundance from the one divine Source.

–Leah Hamilton

The Chameleon’s Visioning

The first challenge I had in finding a therapist with whom I could work was simple: I must not be able to “con her.”

Most are familiar with personality graphs: usually a quadrant chart with different “types” in each quadrant, The further away from the cross in the middle, the more prevalent that square’s behavior pattern: extrovert, introvert, analytical, emotional. My entire life was lived at the cross hair.  As close to the exact center as is possible, which translates into no distinctive personality trait – totally chameleonesque.  Whatever was needed – there I was.

Now, I did this with intelligence (thanks Mom and Dad), and with a certain amount of style and standards.  BUT it was almost always based on what I assumed, or was told directly, that my behavior should be.  My Father in particular had a precise vision for/of me, and lots of control over what I did.  He chose a college other than where I wanted to go.  Then when I had settled in and become happy, he decided I needed to transfer to a larger State University.  And, so there I went.

There was some rebellion along the way. Some was covert – though I still regret the math classes I didn’t take to spite him: and some were overt: married a boy/man he hated.  The usual stuff.

Luckily, I had enough time with him on this plane to realize his attempts to control and the forced choices were due to his amazing love and concern for me. The fact that his choices frequently didn’t work for me was simply because I was not the daughter they had requested.  No ribbons and bows for this one. Puh-leese.  That took a while to work out on all our parts.

Which brings me to now, and my participation in the CSLT Visioning Class.  Any idea how hard it is for a chameleon to decide on what color she personally wants to be today?   And let’s not even think about accepting, claiming the way I personally want to be creatively, or socially, or even how to decorate my very own house.  I am actually supposed to open my mind and get my personal concept special delivery to me from the One Mind about my individual self.  It was so much easier when a boss, a friend, a parent or society issued instructions.

Reading Dr. Holmes, listening to weekly reminders, attending classes and meditating daily, I know the time is NOW.    And, now I have the tools to accomplish that personal change and growth. It is hard work but frequently joyous. It must be done every day.

I understand that all my past chameleon’s attempts to be socially or corporately accepted just delayed my becoming the unique expression of Spirit that each of us truly is.  The most important idea for me – being unique.  My gifts are my own, and I am becoming jealous of them. (In a good way!) I want nothing so much as to deliver the truth of my special gifts from and to the Universe.  My goal now is not to meet other people’s expectations (based on my own frequently incorrect assumptions), not to help others with their goals or plans – but to deliver my unique self.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love others, that I don’t respect their ideas and goals.  In fact, for me, it is quite the opposite. I can now help out and contribute, knowing it is not for others,but just me doing my very own thing. Accepting, claiming that the time is NOW for me to be the singular expression of my one true self.

— Mariann Moery

…. Coming to one’s self, coming to awareness, coming to understand why and how we started on the wrong path emotionally, explaining this to the self — this is what is meant by self-awareness. … But self-awareness alone is not enough, for this reason: there is an incessant urge back of everything to create, to express life, to come to the gratification of happiness, peace, joy and self-expression.  Self-awareness is not enough.  It is merely clearing the track for right action.                 — Ernest Holmes: Living The Science of Mind 429.2&3

The Smooth Break Down

Raised Catholic and finding that tradition lacking for my own spiritual connection, I began searching for something else. I played with ashrams, Silva Mind Control, EST and then in my teens I found Earnest Holmes’ book The Science of Mind.  I began reading it and it made sense to me.  It wasn’t until I came to Tucson in 2009 that I found Tucson Center for Spiritual Living.  Delighted to have others of like mind to explore and grow with I embraced the community and the opportunities for learning and centering it offers. Fast forward 9, almost 10 years, living the Science of Mind has brought me many incredible joys. I have lived many of my dreams from living on and running ranches, riding my horse both for work and pleasure, and financial freedom. I remodeled a cute little house and have great place to live.  I am loved and I love many incredible people. Demonstrations of the bounty of living the Science of Mind abound.

Then on my birthday in December of 2017, after celebrating with friends I received a phone call.  My father who lives in an assisted living facility was being transported to the hospital. So at 10:30 at night and a little drunk from the birthday fun, I drove to the VA and spent the night in the emergency room. Heart issues and my fathers 90+ years on this planet determined that there was nothing that could be done to fix his condition. Together he and I chose hospice.

On New Year’s Eve while dancing I fell and broke my finger. Not really a big deal and no, this time I was not drunk, but the pain and inability to use the right index finger set me back. I wondered why I called this in.

On January 6th of 2018 I received the phone call that my sister had died. The call was shocking and her death was gruesome. I flew to New Orleans, where she lived and spent a week taking care of her home, dog and belongings.

So three things happened in a relatively short period of time. All of which had a bearing on the course of my Life. By the time I returned from New Orleans, I was angry. My life was not my own. My sister’s estate was a mess, my dad needed me a lot and my normal duties and commitments were taking a hit because I did not have the time or mental capacity to give to them. It seemed I was always playing catch-up. And I felt confused… pondering how I have placed myself amidst this craziness. What is it that I have done or believe that called this all in at once or even at all? What the heck was going on here? I totally withdrew and questioned my beloved Science of Mind philosophy.

It was not until a friend of mine came over to tell me about a trip she took. The first words out of her mouth were “I have to tell you about the smoothest break down”. She, like myself, travels alone with horses. Her truck broke down in the middle of nowhere. It rolled to a stop in front of a house, the only house for miles, and in that house lived a diesel mechanic. Many amazing things happened in a very short time to get her back on the road.  She was ecstatically focused on the connections that were made during this event and not on the break down.

After she left, that phrase “smoothest break down” kept cycling through my brain. I began thinking about all of the amazing demonstrations of the Science of Mind philosophy that I live.  From enjoying my birthday before my Dad went into the hospital to finding a great home for my sister’s beloved Pit Bull after I had been told it would be impossible. The same people that bought her car took the dog… She was cremated and her cremains returned in 3 days.  Another thing that I was told could not possibly happen. The AirBnB that I rented for the stay in New Orleans turned out to be right next door to her house.  There are many more wonderful things that happened with my dad, my finger and my sister’s passing.

So as I look around I see the amazing demonstrations that keep happening within the context of craziness.  I begin to see the “smooth break down”. Does this philosophy promise that life will always be fun, easy, and happy? Or is it contentment amidst the chaos that is the gift?

So 6 months later, after kicking and screaming my way through Life’s challenges, I see the results of my own smooth break down.  Staying centered in the Divine, mountain pose in yoga, deep breathing and knowing that I am of the Divine, that there is nothing that can change the eternal One that is me allows me to see the demonstrations in the chaos. I know that tapping into this Perfect energy as the world does what it does is where contentment lives and where I too can dwell. So here’s to hard-core living with lemons, in retrospect seeing the lemonade that has already been made (and served!) of those lemons, and living the smooth break down. Namaste!

— Sheila Campbell

Constant Change is Here to Stay

No man steps in the same river twice – Heraclitus

You Can’t Go Home Again– Thomas Wolfe

Many years ago, I did this exercise at a retreat in Ojai in which I described in detail a place I wanted to live.  It had four distinct seasons, lots of trees, few neighbors, and lots of space for a garden and animals.  I came across this description when I was cleaning out a file a few years ago, and realized I had described my house in Pine Top perfectly.  I was stunned when I reread the descriptions.  No wonder I’m finding it difficult to sell this house, even though I feel complete about my life in Pine Top.  It still fits a vision I once held of where I wanted to live.

So, now what?  How do I change my vision of my perfect house to match my present ‘reality’?  I feel relief when I remember that the most frequently used phrase in the Bible is, “And it came to pass,” not “It came to stay.”  Right here, right now, never stays the same. Life moves on.

Sometimes change is welcome.  Those brand new babies we bring home change almost before our eyes.  In only one year many are pulling up, walking, recognizing people, beginning to feed themselves, and letting us know what they want or don’t want.

Other times change is unwelcome — like the loss of a job or a house, the loss of a relationship through death or divorce. When change seems hard, I can choose to remember I am being presented with a growth opportunity.  Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” The greater the difficulty, the greater the opportunity.

I can choose to remember that I am never a victim of the seeming whims of the Universe.  I can create the changes I desire in my life by being very specific about what I wish.  “Change your thinking, change your life” is not an empty platitude, but a statement of power and truth.

I can describe in glorious detail what I actually desire.  Then I can answer the hardest questions of all, “What do I need to let go of to have this? What will I feel like when this happens? And what else? And what else?”  When I have gotten clarity, I have moved mountains.

I have had marvelous success creating treasure maps using pictures, and words representing things or situations I want to create in my life.  I made one a few years ago, which had, among other things, pictures of two grand pianos.  What a lovely surprise several months later when we moved the second piano into my living room to store for our congregation until we discovered our own home for it.

I can create a very personal experience of the change I claim.  Emerson wrote, “Man surrounds himself with his own image.” I can ensure my new mental and physical space reflects my newly-reawakened sense of abundance, well-being, and order. My new space gives me room to stretch and breathe.

And I can be grateful for what I already have.  Eric Butterworth reminded us how lucky we are to have bills.  They represent the trust our creditors have in us.  It is never the situation, but how I choose to see it that continues to be the important.

I think it essential that I choose to unfurl my symbolic sails so that I can make use of the winds of change.  When I choose this, I come out on the other side healthier, stronger, more flexible, more abundant, and especially more confident in my ability to make good choices for myself.

Since I know it works for me, I know it works for you, too.

–Pat Masters

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