This Stuff WORKS!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been looking for something that I couldn’t even name.  I thought it was love, then maybe happiness, then self-forgiveness or acceptance or something I didn’t have.   Then one day last week, I actually found it and it changed my whole world.  Here’s what happened.

I’ve taken most of the classes CSLT offers at least once, many of them twice, and am currently in Meditation class for the second time.  Right teacher, right classmates, right me – it’s been so very good.  At the end of every class we hold hands in a circle and declare what we are willing to have more of in our lives.  I’ve usually stated the ‘usual suspects’ – you know, love, joy, prosperity, peace.  But two weeks ago, the words, ‘self-love’ popped out of my mouth from who-knows-where.  I felt a little weird and even selfish about it at the time but I let it be because it kinda hadn’t been my idea, you know?  (Right… remember God through me/as me?)

A couple days later during meditation I had an image that felt so good and was so beautiful – I was in front of a roaring fireplace in a huge, stony room of a castle – it was dark except for the fire and I was alone except for a couple of cats lounging on the hearth rug.  It felt as though everything would be perfect as soon as…. as soon as what?  When I came out of the meditation, I realized I’ve been waiting for something my whole life, pushing away love, joy, peace of mind until… when?  I realized I’ve been waiting for my foot to get better so I can walk again and enjoy the outdoors, waiting for my favorite aunt to transition so I can grieve and get on with life, waiting to meet my perfect someone so I don’t feel alone anymore, waiting for my body to get in better shape so I feel healthier, etc. etc. ad nauseum.  Life suspended.  MY CHOICE.  Wow.  This was a pretty big AHA, but God through me/as me wasn’t done yet…

Later that same day I was surfing through Facebook posts and a wonderful woman who had been my practitioner at Center for Spiritual Living Seattle shared something that felt like the answer to every prayer I’d ever had, which it was, really… and a manifestation of my declaration after Meditation class of being willing to accept more self-love.  After much therapy, AA, self-help books and classes, I had been unable to stop punishing myself for my past, but I hadn’t given up on the possibility that maybe one day, somehow, I could step into my life in the Big Way that I intuited was possible.  And then I read this, and crumpled into a soft, sweet, tear-soaked puddle of self-forgiveness, self-love, gratitude and relief.

I don’t know who wrote it, but it was posted by Empaths, Old Souls & Introverts.  Here it is, my Big Magic:

‘Forgive yourself for not knowing better at the time.  Forgive yourself for giving away your power.  Forgive yourself for past behaviors.  Forgive yourself for the survival patterns and traits you picked up while enduring trauma.  Forgive yourself for being who you needed to be.’

And the walls came-a-tumbling-down and I was free.  I mean it, FREE.   I re-wrote it using ‘I’ language and put it on my refrigerator.  Finding myself filled with love for pretty much everything, things began to shift as I now feel worthy of living my life, because it really is okay to be here.  And right away it became clear that regardless of the paperwork hassle, I have some more old skin to shed; my last name which was an ex’s name and it no longer serves me in a positive way.  I’m quite excited!

One last thing from Jen Sincero’s book, You Are a Badass:

‘To shy away from who you truly are would leave the world you-less.
You are the only you there is and ever will be.
Do not deny the world its one and only chance to bask in your brilliance.’ 

Now let’s do this life!

–Renee’

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

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

Happy isn’t just a song by Pharrell Williams

Yesterday I caught myself sabotaging my joy and declining the very happiness that has eluded me in the past.  The good news? – I caught myself and changed my mind.  Here’s how I busted myself:

Before church started yesterday morning, I was in the lobby and a woman who is very dear to me walked in.  She is in Tucson only four months out of the year and I hadn’t had a conversation with her all season, so we hugged, and she asked me if I was available for lunch after the service. I said I really shouldn’t as I had a newsletter article due and I didn’t even have a topic yet, so I needed to go home and write it.  What?  I couldn’t make time for lunch with this beautiful, kind, insightful, loving person whom I hadn’t seen in months?

Mind you, I am in Foundations (for the third time) to go deeper.  When old ways of thinking and doing have become so ingrained that I don’t seem to be able to find my way out, I do something about it – eventually.  My presence in Foundations class is the result of becoming sick and tired of feeling periodically depressed, going into isolation and despair, and never feeling truly happy.  When class began, we were asked to set a goal, something that we saw no way of attaining, and to begin spiritual mind treatment for it.   I boldly declared, “I want to experience happiness.”

So, after I said ‘no’ to my friend, I sat down to listen to the warmth and wisdom of Rev. Janis.  From Ernest Holmes book, It’s Up to Youshe shared a list of ten points for living life.  One of these made me gasp: ‘Learn to forgive myself and others for real’.  I had a huge ‘aha’ moment, realizing how much I let guilt and shame from my past sabotage my happiness, because though I have forgiven others, I had not yet forgiven myself.  I also realized how much I operate on the system of punishment and reward; i.e., I can’t have fun with my friend because I haven’t written my paper.  Seriously?  I wasn’t even disciplined as a child, so why have I become so hard on myself as an adult?  The answer is guilt, shame, and lack of self-forgiveness.

Ernest Holmes defines freedom thus: “To live in a space without guilt, shame and blame.”  If I truly want to be happy, it is time to forgive myself for real.  I thought I had, and to some degree, I’m sure that’s true.  But my life doesn’t look like I want it to, and for that, ONLY I am responsible.  And I know of only one way to change it – change my consciousness, because that’s where Cause lives.  My task is to be willing to change, and this isn’t something that just happens to me because I want it to.  It is mine to show up, remain teachable, tell the truth to, about and on myself, and be willing to give my attention to faith rather than to fear.

“Just keep right on knocking on the door of your consciousness until every ‘no’ becomes a ‘yes’, every negation an affirmation, every fear a faith.  You cannot fail if you remain steadfast.”

… and

“The only thing that can hinder you is yourself.  The only thing that can help you is yourself. Because it is you who reflects the image in the mirror.” — Ernest Holmes from This Thing Called You, pg. 45 and 46

Freedom lives in my consciousness, and I call freedom Heaven.  So I’m going to keep on knocking on Heaven’s door…

by Renee’ Mezzone