Can’t? Or Won’t?

If you missed this past Sunday’s talk from Rev. Janis, it was not recorded, and the topic was “The Experience of Freedom”. What freedom to be means to me is that I don’t have to stay stuck in a world that has been defined for me in the past by my parents, teachers, experiences and my life’s choices.

The wonderful thing is that we can give our past stories up, and move forward in a more open, expansive way. What really hit me right between the eyes was Rev. Janis’ statement, “If you say you can’t, what you really mean, is that you won’t”. After reflecting on that, and thinking about the many ways I have remained entrenched in my own story, and the stories that have come from outside myself that I have agreed with, I had believed those stories defined me, and what I could or couldn’t do.

I told myself just last week, when I realized it was my turn to write this Newsletter article, that I just couldn’t do it, that I can’t write very well, and have always had trouble putting my thoughts on paper. I discovered after this morning’s talk that my “I can’t” thinking only keeps me entrenched in my belief about my inability to express myself.

Apparently, I needed to be reminded again that I can always, always, change my mind, my thoughts, my dreams and intentions. I am already equipped with all I need to do anything that I put my mind, heart and soul into. I am a creation of the One and only need to focus on whatever I choose to do. Oh, and practice, practice, practice. 🙂

So, I choose to give up some of the old restrictive stories that have programmed me over the years, and move forward in a totally new and free life, one that has always been mine to choose. I intend to continue to study the principles of Science of the Mind, continue to go to classes, continue to pray for inspiration and direction, and see what happens. While it may be easier to stay “in my rut of familiarity and safety”, I miss out on all of the wonderful opportunities that life has to offer if I am willing to step out of who I think I am, and become who God intended me to be.

Namaste, Janie Hooper

I KNOW WHERE I BELONG

“ This is the whole secret, a complete mental acceptance,
and embodiment of our desires.”
—– Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 398.3

Having grown up a gypsy child, moving and changing schools frequently, I never felt like I belonged anywhere. Since we were poor, as well as having no parent-figure(s) around to ‘raise’ me, I had the resultant low self-esteem and either just kept to myself or ran with the kids I probably shouldn’t have been. I was a very lost little girl and even my own skin didn’t feel like it belonged on me.

Enter drugs, alcohol, blah blah, blah, until I ended up in Alcoholics Anonymous. These were my people telling my story; I had paid my dues and, for the first time in my life, I had a sense of belonging. It was delicious, and I gave it my all. I did service work, sponsored newcomers, went to meetings, worked the steps, and reaped the rewards – I stayed sober.

Because of my thorough self-examination in working the twelve steps of AA, I began to heal and to feel like I belonged on the planet and that to live in my own skin might be an okay thing after all. Life marched on but it wasn’t really fulfilling until I found the Center for Spiritual Living Tucson (even though I’d attended and taken classes at CSL Seattle for a few years, I never felt like I belonged). This is my center, though it didn’t start out that way…

When I first walked through the doors and heard Rev. Donald Graves speak, I felt the effervescent energy and knew I wanted to be a part of it. But being an introvert and not knowing anyone, I didn’t know ‘how’ so I just kept showing up on Sundays. I made myself talk to strangers and tried not to be too star-struck when someone who had clearly been around for a long time would sit at my table during the potluck. I know it sounds silly, but such was my desire to be one of ‘them’. When the opportunity arose to take classes, I signed up and again started from the beginning, Foundations. Taking classes was a great way to get to know people because as we learned each other’s names, we learned each other’s stories. I began to feel a sense of belonging, and I added to it by volunteering to usher; then I asked if I could be a host, and before I knew it I was on the Board of Trustees filling out a term of someone who had retired. Since our classes are always inspiring and changing, I show up for them. And come this fall, I will be signing up online for Practitioner 2 studies. I’ve delayed it long enough and it’s time to step into my calling and let my light shine! (Yep, I said that.)

Belonging. I am so grateful to belong to this center that so obviously is experiencing the manifestations of our awesome collective consciousness — in one week, we are moving into our own education/office building! We will be paying a mortgage, not rent, while we establish equity and grow closer to realizing our intention of one day having a center that is all in one place. Do you realize how many things had to line up for this office purchase to transpire? It’s mind-blowing! Even when the road was rough and rocky over this last year or so, we declined to be discouraged and stayed our course, knowing without fail that in spite of appearances of lack, we move in abundance and everything is right on track, bringing our good, as we wish. And here it is!

Bottom line, if you want a stronger sense of belonging at CSLT, show up! Join teams, take classes, stay for potluck, talk to people you don’t know but think you might want to. We’re a positive, growing, inspirational, and inclusive community of people who are aware enough to know we do experience a better life, more abundance, better health, and all the good stuff as we are able to allow it. So, come on, let’s do this thing called ‘Our Center’ together! There’s no doubt in my mind. You belong, too!

–Renee’ Mercer

C-C-C-C-h-a-n-g-e….

Nobody likes to have change forced on them. Nobody I know, anyway. Most of us don’t mind a little change, especially if it’s our idea. I think it was metaphysical teacher Stuart Wilde who once said, “If you are being run out of town, get in front of the mob and act like it’s a parade.” I got to see him in Las Vegas, shortly before he transitioned. He was masterful at making use of whatever life threw at him. Because he presented such a larger-than-life target, people were always throwing stuff. It didn’t matter to him at all. He’d use every bit of the notoriety, transmute it into fame, and use it for his benefit.

The world is in a period of great change, as is CSL Tucson, as are (likely) each of us. It isn’t as though we can actually say ‘Stop the world, I want to get off’, although there are ways we can sometimes lessen the effect of changes we experience. Not all of these techniques are useful in the long run. We can resist change, be in denial by pretending change isn’t happening, we can numb ourselves with any of our familiar, faithful and friendly addictions, or we can work with the change and turn it to our use, if not our benefit.

A few weeks ago, I listened to an audiobook by Thomas Friedman entitled Thank You For Being Late. In it, he described how the rate and intensity of technological change continues to increase ever more rapidly, and that changes that used to take decades or generations were now occurring within a few years. I know for me, I’m actively embracing some aspects of this technology change, and others I’m doing my best to drag my feet. Some changes, choices and options seem really cool, and some I really do struggle to see the merit or point.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature,
to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”
—Henri Bergson

In the case of moving the Office and Education Center, this wasn’t a change that we actively solicited. On one (status quo) level, we were hoping that the heirs of our previous landlord would never find a buyer for the East River Rd property and we could be left in peace to do our thing. It wasn’t the greatest workspace or classroom space ever, but it was familiar, and acceptably comfortable. Some people didn’t like the driveway or thought the old homestead was ugly. We really wouldn’t have been inspired to change anything on our own. Change is work! Change requires movement, action and decisions! And yet, once our office building had been sold, and we petitioned for extra time to get ourselves moved (we did get an extra week), we suddenly found ourselves motivated to discover & create beneficial change for ourselves. The unhappy rattlesnake under the trashcans was simply an encouragement. (No humans, snakes or trashcans were harmed in that encounter.) The outcome that is unfolding before our eyes is more magnificent that any one of us on your Board could ever have imagined, and I feel excited and enthused by our ‘greatest yet next to be.’

So if change happens whether we want it to or not, how can we make use of it? It sounds so noble to say ’embrace change’, and yet, that really is the best option when change seems mandated. Without this change that was ‘forced upon us’, we never would have even considered the possibility of purchasing and actually owning our Office and Education Center, and would have continued to pay rent to a landlord and be at their whim about raising the rent or selling the property out from under us. At the same time, I have this glimmer of awareness that we had shifted our collective consciousness enough that we were ready, as an organization, to become owners of our own Office and Educational Center, and start building equity for ourselves instead of for another. To me, that’s exciting growth for us as a spiritual community.

–Rev Janis Farmer

On Grieving

I lost both my brother in law and my only sister within 60 days of each other. I was present for both of their deaths. It has pretty much devastated me, so I have been thinking a lot about death and the grieving that follows. These are two subjects that are generally avoided in western culture.

One of the things about grieving is that it is exhausting. At first I seem to have had too much energy, so much so that I am unable to sleep all night, followed by oscillating waves of high energy and weariness. I find my balance of rest and activity isn’t working very well.

One of the reasons the death of someone close so profoundly shaking for me is that it holds up a mirror to me that says “This happens to you, too”. Sometimes it seems a welcome prospect to join my loved ones, especially when my aversion to life without them is great.

What I realize is that my whole system has sustained this major loss, and it will take some time for my psyche and body to adjust to the new alignments that await me. Perhaps only when I can rest in knowing that their passing was in perfect order in the Universe, that healing will eventually take place. The best memorial I can give to them is to live my own life fully, one day at a time.

Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity; it is the price we pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve. And live life to the fullest we are capable at each moment.

Ernest Holmes on grief and loss (The Science of Mind 387.3 – 388.1)

It is human to grieve the loss of dear ones. We love them and cannot help missing them, but a true realization of the immortality and continuity of the individual soul, will rob our grief of hopelessness. We shall realize that they are in God’s keeping, and they are safe. We shall know that loving friends have met them, and that their life flows on with the currents of eternity. We shall (eventually) feel that we have not lost them, they have only gone before. So we shall view eternity from the highest standpoint, as a continuity of time, forever and ever expanding, until time as we now experience it, shall be no more. …. Time heals all wound, adjusts conditions, explains facts; and time alone satisfies the expanding soul, reconciling the visible with the invisible. We are born of eternal day, and the Spiritual Sun shall never set upon the glory of the soul, for it is the coming forth of God into self-expression.

–Janie Hooper

Helping Ourselves by Helping Others

…let us begin to accept today more good than we experienced yesterday, and to know that we shall reap a harvest of fulfilled desires.
      Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 39.5)

A recent article in Psychology Today listed the many benefits of altruism. According to the article, acting with altruism can do more than make us feel good about ourselves mentally; it can actually release endorphins which give us a “helpers’ high.” These endorphins also enhance our immune systems, making
us physically healthier.

Also discussed were the emotional or psychological benefits of helping others. These included feelings of gratitude for what one has compared to those being helped, distraction from one’s own problems, and reduction in feelings of stress about one’s own life.

Mariann Moery and I were in PineTop last weekend. I made arrangements to meet Karen, a friend whom I had not seen for a year. When I first saw her, I noticed that she had lost a great deal of weight (60 pounds), was sporting a new haircut, and appeared to be happier than I had ever seen her. As we were waiting for our dinner, she began telling us about the new love in her life.

A year ago, she began volunteering at an organization called Walking Down Ranch that provides housing for homeless veterans in the White Mountain communities of PineTop, Lakeside, and ShowLow. Although it is difficult to say exactly how many homeless veterans are trying to eke out an existence there, the best guess is 200-plus.

Seeing a old lodge with 18 empty cabins in the community of Lakeside, the founding members of Walking Down Ranch made an agreement with the East Mesa Fire Fighters to rent the empty lodge for $1.00 a year. Volunteers went in and repaired each of the cabins, making each of them habitable for the individual veterans, and in some cases, for veterans and their families.

In addition to the 18 cabins, there are two additional buildings that are used as offices for the organization, and a thrift store, which provides income to help defray the cost of the repairs and utilities. They have a computer lab, a food pantry, a laundry room, and an exercise facility. While these facilities are not state of the art, they are functional and being put to good use.

While Mariann and I toured the facility Saturday morning, we saw a hair stylist providing free haircuts to the veterans. We saw veterans who were helping by washing windows, accepting and organizing donations, and providing information to visitors.

Because Karen believes in the organization to which she gives so much of her time and talent, her life is richly enhanced. She is passionate about the work they are doing, because she sees a need, a solution in which “everyone wins” and happy, healthy results.

If you are looking for a way to enrich your own life, think of an organization about which you have interest, gratitude, or passion. Is there a place where you can get engaged there? If nothing immediately catches your imagination, CSLT is primarily a volunteer run organization too. In our own community, we seek lively and enthusiastic individuals to help with Hospitality, Compassionate Hearts, Altared States, Hosts, and Ushers and Greeters. The time commitment to participate on one of our service teams is about once a month. Serving our community is a fabulous way to meet new friends, to serve in a very real way, and to enhance our community and you individually. As Rev. Janis would say, “We invite you to come play with us.” Each of us receives benefit individually from the shared experience and our community prospers.

–Pat Masters

Getting After “It”

“Oh, this is going to be good!” exclaimed Reverend Donald Graves. It was Monday, January 29, 2017 after I had relayed how my morning had started with a run, then yoga, then being laid off/fired from my position as an auditor at the firm where I had been working for the past 2.5 years. I told him that I had kept visualizing going in to my boss that morning and resigning because I had another job. The other job had not come through but leaving their employ had materialized.

I had found the Science of Mind and CSLT in 2013 and had experienced a radical change in my level of happiness and peace. From taking classes to Sunday services to working with Rev. Donald, I had embraced the change. Now I had another opportunity to spread my wings and fly.

Although I did not have another job, I received 2 weeks severance plus my last week of pay. It was enough to carry me as I started my business, CPA Check Up. I had been a CPA for 3 years, having received my certificate at the age of 54. Experiencing lay-offs twice after long-term employment, once after 10 years at a savings & loan and, again, after 18 years at a large catalog company, I wanted to have a profession where my livelihood wasn’t dependent on One Big Customer. But with little accounting experience, I had been working for small CPA and accounting firms and had experienced the ups and downs of small business, working for 7 companies in 10 years. The shock of leaving a job involuntarily is difficult. I live my life with my co-workers, establishing friendships and caring relationships with friends and clients. I simply could not look for another job and, again, be at the mercy of another boss.

That first year I filed taxes for a handful of clients sitting at my friend Mo’s children’s computer. He was kind enough to let me e-file through his firm, as I was not set up to e-file. I have been working from home for the last 2 years, starting in a bedroom equipped with my computer, a desk and an easy chair. Last September I moved into a space that had previously contained my husband Chris’s drum sets. In November, I hosted an open house on a Wednesday morning for my new office space. About 50 people attended, including Rev. Janis, two fellow Foundations class members and a number of networking friends and colleagues.

As far as flying goes, it has been a mixed bag. I have come to find out that I do not like working for someone, being under someone’s thumb. And, for me, I am embarrassed to say that I need very regular praise and support and I have never found an employer that has supplied the level of engagement and Way To Go support that I need. I’ve also cried in my car due to financial fears. But with the loving support I’ve received from my family and the SOM philosophy and a 12-step support system to stand upon, I know that what I’m doing aligns with my higher self.

As far as manifesting my greater good, I have experienced great abundance, recently starting a contract where I earn more than 4x the amount of money per hour than my last job! I have had 4 clients that stressed me out and none of them are still with me. They left of their own accord although I am learning to, perhaps, not attract people that stress me out.

I grow in my sense of connection to the Divine and I learn to feel the Divine breathing me when I meet with clients and when I sit with situations to which I don’t know the answer. As I research and as I do my job, my capacity to live in love, as love, grows and my life improves.

So . . . Rev. Donald was right. This is “going to be good.” It has already been good, and as I become more practiced at spreading my wings, it, along with my life, continues to improve.

–Marya Wheeler

The Reason for the Season

I read somewhere and quite some time ago that Jesus came to earth as God in human form to show us that it is possible for us to live, and act, in a “Christ Conscious” way. Basically, the message was that Christ came here to show us that humans can live in love, that we can and should strive to live like Christ. Jesus-the-human-as-divine showed us that this was possible.

The first time I heard this, it rattled my Christian-based understanding of the reason for Christ/Jesus to have lived on earth. And even more than that, it changed my thinking from God as other who lived out there somewhere, to God-showing up-as-me-right-here-right-now. In an instant, it made clear to me that living a Christ Conscious life was not only the reason we came to live on earth, but was also the easiest, most joy-filled and most fruitful way to live. This is a radical and momentous realization!

In The Hidden Power of the Bible (191.5), Ernest Holmes wrote:

“To have the same mind that Jesus used implies a power

which is available to all and may be used by all.

The mind which Jesus used was the Truth:

hence he became the way. But we are also to become the way…”

As I ponder this thought, I know that believing that a Christ Conscious life is possible (and in fact, expresses THE way to walk in the world) is the first step to living this en-Christed life. I have also realized that it is not a difficult path, but instead it is a joy-filled path. Making Christ Conscious decisions by default becomes a wonderful way to live.

Much of the world will soon celebrate Christmas in the belief that it represents the birth of the only Son of God. To me, there is an additional and possibly more valuable celebration, and that is the opportunity to recognize the birth of Christ Consciousness as it takes place in each and every person who chooses to find the ease-filled comfort of resting fully, thoroughly and deeply in the Divine. So with this in mind, I raise a glass of holiday cheer and say:

 

“Merry Christ Consciousness to You and Happy New Year!!!!”

Namaste’, Sheila

The Way It Is

“Life is not the way it is supposed to be.  It is the way it is.

The way we choose to cope with it, is what makes the difference.” –Anonymous

I went to Ojai, California, recently to attend a memorial service for a dear friend.  I had not been there for almost two years, and was concerned about how much damage remained from the Thomas Forest Fire that raged there last winter.  Although the damage was evident in both the town and the surrounding areas, I was very surprised and pleased to see green growth sprouting up from groves of trees blackened by the flames, and wildflowers blooming in the meadows. Many homes and outbuildings that had been ravaged by the fires were being rebuilt.

In Native American culture, forest fires are welcomed as a natural cleansing of the forest where they occur. In fact, fire is necessary to heat the pinecones that release the seeds that create the new trees. I watched from my house in PineTop as members of the White Mountain Apache tribe used controlled burns to keep the undergrowth cleaned out so both the trees and the animals that live on the reservation could thrive.

Most of us view fire as a destructive force.  I watched the news coverage of the fire, and felt afraid for my family, friends and other residents, when they were required to evacuate.  No one was sure what they would find when they were allowed to return.  Some did lose their homes; most were lucky, as the firefighters fought successfully to save their property.

On my drive back to Tucson, I thought about the difference in attitudes about forest fires in general. I found myself thinking that while the fears were very real about the possibility of lives and property being lost in the record-breaking fire that lasted so long and covered so much acreage, long-term damage was small in comparison to what could have happened. Most deservedly, the firefighters were hailed as heroes.

While I was in Ojai, most of my friends were glued to their television sets to watch the Senate hearings to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.  I like to figure out what I can learn in any situation that might help me in another.  I saw the parallels between the massive fire last winter and the political climate we are in right now.  I heard friends lamenting,  “This is the worst time our country has ever experienced.  We are so divided.”  Part of the reason I believe this seems true is because we know instantly when anything happens anywhere in the world.  In our 24-7 cable news world we are bombarded by facts, opinions, hidden and obvious biases, and blatantly inflammatory vitriol. (Mary Morrissey calls CNN Constantly Negative News.)

While some see very little good that can come from this heated interaction, I believe that this is a cleansing time for us a nation. I see individuals getting involved politically who had never been involved before.  More people are registering to vote for the first time, paying attention to party platforms, and women and minorities are running for office in record numbers.  I see a firestorm of political change, and I believe that is healthy for us as a nation.

— Pat Masters

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

Visiting Washington DC

A week ago, I was in the middle of an incredible visit to Washington D.C.  Having never been there, I had high expectations about what I would be seeing.  I had no idea that these expectations were miniscule in comparison to what I actually would experience.  My trip to the various monuments and memorial sites were such a shot in the arm, boosting both my pride in our country and admiration at the skill with which our Founding Fathers created this great nation of ours.  The Grand Experiment indeed!

For the past several years I have grown quite weary of the pervasive negative attitudes that permeate our national discourse.  As a former teacher and therapist, I thought I should be an “informed citizen,” taking that role very seriously.  I developed an anxiety that, at first, I could not identify.   I felt I was being bombarded by negativity coming at me from all directions, left and right, up and down. When I realized the cause of the angst, I made a conscious choice to stop watching news.  I also posted a sign on my front door:  “You are entering a politics-free zone.”    I took a vacation from news!!!  (I also knew that if there were some monumentally important events I needed to know about, someone would call and let me know.)

As I stood at the base of the Lincoln Memorial and studied the expression on his very familiar face, I was struck both by the look of strength and compassion it exhibited.  I read the powerful words excerpted from various writings, and was moved to surprising tears.  All of the pictures I had seen of this very familiar icon of American history did not prepare me for the power of the actual memorial.  I felt both humble to be in this place, and proud that our country had such a giant as a loving, competent leader.

That was the first of many surprising reactions to familiar words from familiar, diverse Americans. After three days, I saw the pattern of language that at first eluded me:  Jefferson, Lincoln, F.D.R. (Roosevelt), Martin Luther King, J.F.K. (Kennedy), and so many others used the same language as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Ernest Holmes.  It is a language of positivity: love, accept, encourage, inspire, embrace, move forward, learn, find a way, succeed.

My daughter-in-law told me she wants to organize a compulsive field trip for all persons holding office in government.  She believes that if they will stand in these places of honor and respect, and ponder the words of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, and so many others, they will remember that they are about the business of the people, and not the various special interest groups. She is sure this could heal the political chasm that so permeates Washington politics today.   We become the change we wish to see.

I visited the Pentagon, the National Library, the National Cathedral, the many monuments, museums, and memorials; and of course, the iconic cherry blossoms, just days short of their peak explosion of color.  As we walked beneath them, I appreciated how Mother Nature and Man conspired together to create this awesome tableau.

Home now, I feel reinvigorated by my experience, confident that we are a great nation based on sound principles.  As a (still) young nation, we learnas we go.  As Abraham Lincoln said, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”  I choose to remember my kinship with all my fellow Americans … and all citizens of the world.  Will you join me?

by Pat Masters

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