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

Ride That Pony!

I remember learning in Foundations class that everything that happens in our lives is ultimately for our good. I think it was phrased like “when the brown stuff starts to pile up around you look for the pony”. I have had ample opportunity to work with this aphorism of late. Upon my 30-year anniversary at my job I received the shocking and unsubtle hint that it was time to leave. I began the stumbling transition into retirement.

At first, I confess I saw this situation as a pile of poo and I was mighty angry about it. All the conditioning from subjective mind rushed into my brain telling me I was now obsolete, powerless, likely to become a bag lady, and get sick and die if I retired. Whoa, I had to rein in that thinking! As a metaphysician I know I get to choose my thoughts and my story and I really did not want to be a victim.

Not long ago, near the end of my practitioner training, I had a meditation in which I saw myself climb out of a dumpster. I knew it meant I was leaving behind my small life of limitation based on old beliefs. At that same time, I found myself chafing more and more at the constant battling in my legal job in which the goal is to “win”. I knew I had outgrown that paradigm and I started wishing I could do something different. As Reverend Janis pointed out a few weeks ago, the Law acts to manifest what we really want and believe more than what we think on the surface. Did the Universe just give me what I secretly wanted?

As I ponder my future, I understand my situation in a new way. I have found that pony in my situation of retirement! I have been gifted a new vista of opportunity. I get to choose how to spend my time! I am not being stripped of identity, power or purpose. I know my identity: I am a unique expression of Spirit! I know my power does not lie in the trials won, the committees chaired or the legal knowledge in my head. My true power is always in BEING my authentic divine Self and my true purpose is bringing my light to the world. I know I am always supported by Spirit. There is no way I will be a bag lady!

I like to remind myself of this quote by Ernest Holmes, “When we learn to trust the Universe, we shall be happy, prosperous and well.” I am going to ride that pony on my new path. I think I will celebrate by adopting a new name!

–Leah Hamilton (for now)

Birth of the Light

Today I had the experience of awakening suddenly to the faint light of predawn in my room. My alarm had not rung but I was wide awake. Panic set in. What day was it? What time was it? Why didn’t the alarm ring? What was I supposed to be doing? Going to work? Attending Saturday court? Taking up Board or practitioner duties at CSLT? Just then the alarm rang, and I finally tumbled to the conclusion that it was Sunday and I was going to CSLT. My new day, however, was already marred by anxiety over things I needed to accomplish.

This is the season of the winter solstice, the rebirth of the sun. I considered the anxiety my forebears felt during the long winter nights wondering if they had preserved enough food, so the elders and children would survive until spring. The return of the sun at solstice was, for them, a literal celebration of life. In my life I may not depend literally upon the sun for my survival, but I asked whether I was celebrating my life day by day. Was I living from my core or was I simply “doing”?

With divine synchronicity, Rev. Janis’ reminder talk addressed this very topic. She spoke about how we can accept our own magnificence, acknowledge our light and find our own unique way of shining that light. Thinking back to my experience of the morning, I realized that I spend a lot of time stressing about things I should be doing and not a lot about just being present for my life. The things I stress about are not even necessarily things I chose for myself. Many times they are “shoulds” I inherited from other people and from that nasty bullying voice in my head that is always ready to berate me.

In her talk, Rev Janis asked, “how do we become self-aware?” How do we find our unique light and expression apart from the “shoulds”? She said the answer would be different for everyone. As I sat with the idea I realized the answer, for me, was self-love. I am very skilled at bullying myself about what I should be doing. I hide the ball from myself about what I want. I build defenses. In so doing, I shutter my own light. In a moment of radical acceptance, I broke open to my own lack of self-love. I saw a way to live more authentically.

My authentic Self wants to express It’s unique light. With a self-loving intention, I can be my own friend, be on my own side and tell the bullying voice in my head to shut up. Being there for myself I can discover who I am at my core and exercise sovereignty in my own life. I can be honest about what I want.

As a Practitioner, I already see the light in others with love. For these last long nights of winter, I am doing the same for myself. I hold my own hand, drop my barriers and defenses and walk open and unafraid into the light, my own and the light of the reborn sun.

— Leah Hamilton, RScP

On Eagle’s Wings

“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree” – Unknown

“Believers do not carry their faith, faith is their wings. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary.” – Ibrahim Emile

In my dream,​ I’m standing alone in an expansive ​barren field. My view is clear, far into the distance and high above. I look way ​up in the sky and see a bald eagle majestically riding the current of the wind. Intuitively, I know this bald ​eagle will fly down within seconds to land on my left shoulder. I brace myself and prepare for the powerful whoosh of the eagle’s landing and the piercing of the eagle’s mighty talons as they grip onto my body. Astonishingly, the eagle lights without a sound, without so much as raising a hair on my head, softly and gently as a single feather. The eagle perches on my shoulder and together, we stand and just look, for a very long time.

​Have you ever felt like you’re lost in your life and you don’t know what you’re doing anymore? Like you just wanted to sleep until everything sorted itself out? Like you were alone and lost in a barren field of nothingness not knowing how to find yourself and just at that breaking point, an “eagle” of sorts appears – possibly as a new insight or a remembrance of something you already knew, but had forgotten in the flurry of your despair?

​Some that know me well are aware I’ve been grappling with what’s next in my life. I’ve given up trying to hide my struggle. My journey hasn’t been very pretty and it’s definitely not over.

Oddly, through this writing, I discovered for myself that I don’t really like change. I see that while I crave change desperately, I have been resisting it by staying mired in confusion and feelings of hopelessness. Carolee Dean’s quote​ “As long as you’re breathing, there’s still hope” gives me comfort as some days I wanted to do nothing more that retract, retreat, close down and give up!

Another fairly obvious insight I imagine many might identify with is that I forget what I ‘know’. As a ‘practicer’ in the Science of Mind philosophy and teachings, I now ‘rechoose’ the truth of our teachings. I choose Faith now and move into a place of gratitude for this transition I have so stubbornly resisted. I let go of my need to know what’s next and I embrace now as a time to purge, to rethink priorities and to be intentional about new habits. I choose to move forward freely rather stand still and continue to suffer.

​Holding this view when we consider our beloved CSLT and the transition we too as a community are going through, might serve us well. Let’s fully embrace this fertile transition with excitement and exuberance! Let’s proudly acknowledge our progress and forward movement! Our currently barren but fertile land on 22nd St stands ready for the seeds of new creation just as my life is now fertile for that which I choose to plant, when the time is ripe for the planting.

As a community, it’s time for us to solidly ground and practice our Faith and hold on, because when we do, the power of our collective creative imagination will and must manifest!!

We wish a faith based on the knowledge that there is nothing to fear! Faith is a substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The thought of faith molds the undifferentiated substance, and brings into manifestation the thing which was fashioned in the mind. This is how faith brings our desires to pass. When we use our creative imagination in strong faith, it will create for us, out of the One Substance, whatever we have formed in thought. In this way, man becomes a Co-Creator with God…This is not a difficult task, but a thrilling experience. (Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 156.5-157.2)

Funny, how we forget what we know…

In fearless faith,

Holly Baker​

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