Soul Searching

Some of our members have been soul searching and asking questions like, is New Thought for me and is Science of Mind for me? It helps to know what one wants. Is it spiritual illumination? Is it prosperity? A relationship? A social network? I could only answer questions like those when I knew what I wanted.

As a member of CSLT, who facilitates book study and discussion and small groups, I have witnessed individuals reassessing their relationship with New Thought in general and with CSLT, specifically. They have been quietly asking themselves, where do I want to worship and celebrate the life that I have been gifted with? Has New Thought helped me get what I want? While obtaining an answer may sound very straight forward, feelings and muddled thinking have gotten in the way. Muddled thinking is cleared by knowing what you want.

To simply be disillusioned has never been enough for me. In a strange way, I have been guided by the words of JFK. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country”. Thus, to paraphrase, ask not what my spiritual center can do for me, but what can I do for my spiritual center? As for me, I give, and ask for nothing in return. My involvement in New Thought is not a transaction. If it is true that the greatest among us is one who serves, then if you want to know if New Thought or the Science of Mind is for you, then serve. I have found joy in service.

I also have viewed the decision-making process as a good thing, because CLARITY is the eventual outcome. Discerning our direction (want) is never a waste of time.

With clarity, you will be better equipped to confidently move in the direction of your dreams and hopefully be forever grateful for knowing that you were always at choice. If you understand this philosophy, then you will know that no New Thought individual will hold choice against you. It is our birthright. Finally, whatever the choice, embody it and be of service to others.

–Keith Gorley

In The Tree of Life, Everything is Interrelated

Last weekend, it was my turn to write the lead newsletter article, and for a double handful of ‘reasons’, Monday rolled around, and I hadn’t had the time or the available brainpower to create something. I wasn’t terribly happy about that, and it was the situation I found myself in. So when Marya Wheeler, who thought it was her turn to write, popped up in my e-mails with an article, I was absolutely thrilled. Obviously, we ran her article, and I gratefully breathed a sigh of relief. If you missed last week’s newsletter for any reason, and you want to read Marya’s article, Maria Schuchardt has already posted it on the blog on the website. If you haven’t seen our new website, please take a look. Mariann Moery worked extensively with our webmaster Graeme Hunt on it. The results are quite pleasing and inviting… and there’s always more that can be done, and will be done, eventually.

There are two related ideas that I’m going to meander around today. One, everything is interconnected, and two, the connections may not be visible unless you know where and how to look. This is not a unique feature of human civilization, but is actually implicit in all biological organisms, including us.

I’m going to geek out as a scientist for a minute. This image from Nature (Microbiology), published in 2016 shows a new phylogenetic tree, which visually represents the relatedness of all identified life forms on earth. Almost everything we tend to identify as ‘alive’ (plants, animals, fungi, even one-celled protists… every organism with defined nuclei and defined organelles) can be found in the pale green spiky bit at the bottom right corner. Most of the rest of the diagram, most of the rest of life on earth, is made up of simpler life forms without such internal structural definition.

So everything is automatically, inherently connected, because we all come from the same stuff, and are made of the same stuff. Another website showed the percentages of genes that humans share with each other (99.9+%) and with other life forms (chimps, 98%, mice, 92%, fruit flies, 44%, yeast, 26% and a weedy plant, about 18%). (Source: Koshland Science Museum).

Ok, I’m done being a science geek. So what? This week, I realized I had been thinking about a couple people that I hadn’t seen in a while, and they showed up at Sunday services. Who called who? I dunno. Doesn’t matter. Ernest Holmes wrote in The Science of Mind 77.2-3 “It is almost certain that between friends there is at all times a silent communication, a sort of unconscious mental conversation, going on.” No doubt, you’ve had the same thing happen for you. Friends you haven’t heard from in ages suddenly call, or write, and the first words that are said are something like, “I was just thinking about you!” What is that? Nothing more or less than the completely natural, profound and deep (unconscious) mental connection that always exists.

So why do I bring this up today? Some folks feel disturbed that Sunday attendance isn’t “what we think it should be.” Personally, I would love to see more people gathering on Sundays, because I acknowledge the intrinsic value gained by being regularly present in spiritual community. I also remember we are profoundly connected anyway, all the time. When someone chooses to intentionally gather, not out of duty or obligation, they express an intentional, personal decision to participate, engage and belong. I love that even more.

— Rev Janis Farmer

“Phantom Pain”

Ever feel like you’re suffering from an action or a choice or a betrayal that you know you’ve forgiven and moved on from? But when you stop and think about it, the emotional trail leads straight back to some happening that should be long gone.

The comparable physical feeling has long plagued doctors and amputee patients alike.

From the Mayo Clinic: Phantom pain is pain that feels like it’s coming from a body part that’s no longer there. Doctors once believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem, but experts now recognize that these real sensations originate in the spinal cord and brain.

Same with emotions, the brain thinks they’re real, so they plague us.

I have, mostly in the past, accepted and retained other’s actions toward me as personal. I let them stick and stay — feeling small and wounded. Those wounds have largely healed–except for what I’m now calling “phantom pain.” The conscious version of it’s gone and past, but the unconscious version lurks and occasionally trips me into feeling bad and sad about myself.

And when I ‘feel it’, I limit myself and shrink to something less than I am. Because every time I let someone else’s action determine my reaction I’ve given away power and lost peace.

…old thought habits are prone to reassert themselves, to claim they have a right to remain in your consciousness, to harass and torment you. But now you are wise and you know they have no such authority. You see them to be exactly what they are—false impressions claiming to be the Truth.
–Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  121.6-122.1)

And there it is. The understanding, the encouragement, and the instruction on exactly what I should do.

The inclination is to go back and get angry with others or with myself for the unhappiness and pain that I took on – but the real goal, the path to actual freedom from them comes as Dr. Holmes continues

They are traitors to your True Self, false representations of the Divinity within you. They are a misuse of your Law of Freedom, but you will cast them out. You will say to them, “I no longer accept you. Begone!”
–Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  122.1)

Not exactly the language I use, but then Dr. Holmes probably never uttered some of the words I do. The language actually isn’t important. It’s claiming the Spirit within to fuel the belief to power the Law to free myself. Whew. And, then recognizing the thought that is triggering the pain, and practicing consistent, persistent rejecting of the old, embedded emotion and replacing it with Truth.

In short, I accept the Spirit within, believe in myself, replace negative moods, emotions, and feelings with something better. And if it is true for me, it is true for everyone else too.

And the sprinkles on that:
No greater good can come to you than to know that the Power already within you is the Power to live, the Power to create. Not only to create for yourself but for others– the Power to do good, the Power to heal, the Power to prosper. — Ernest Holmes (Living the Science of the Mind  123.2)

This Power: it’s mine, it’s yours, it’s everyone’s – accept it, claim it, know it, use it.

–Peace, Mariann Moery

At Home

By the time this note is published in our newsletter, we will be the owners (with a 15-year mortgage) of our own Office and Education Center. It sounds so simple.

Banks and credit unions don’t like to loan money to non-profits for purchasing property. Typically, they won’t touch it without an individual who has very good credit, and deep financial resources, guaranteeing the loan. They also typically require 30% down payment on the loan amount.

We have been extremely careful stewards of our financial resources over these last several years. Since we were able to sell the 22nd Street property, and the timing of that sale lined up perfectly with us being ‘chased out’ of our old East River Rd Office and Education Center, we were perfectly positioned to acquire our new Office and Education Center.

There have been a bunch of hurdles that we have had to jump to make this happen, but nothing we couldn’t figure out a way to address.

We have a bit of deferred maintenance to take care of in the next six months on our new property, as a condition of our mortgage with the credit union, but that is a small price to pay for a 15-year loan with only 25% down and no guarantor required, and the biggest benefit of all, having a suitable, visible location in which we are actively building equity for ourselves instead of paying rent to somebody else.

We’ve been in our new Education Center less than 2 months. We are already seeing an increased visibility for CSL Tucson in the community. There is more to come.

— Dick Laird

THE YEAR WAS 1969…

“You are an eternal being now on the pathway of endless unfoldment, never less but always more yourself.” This Thing Called You, Ernest Holmes, pg. 108

Later this month I will be flying to Everett, WA for my 50-year high school reunion, and I feel way different than I did for the other decadal gatherings. Mostly, it seems like another lifetime. Everything has changed. And for the first time, I feel like I can join my class as the woman I’ve become, not as the troubled girl I was.

My school years were not the carefree social or educational times that many other kids experienced. My school years were filled with the looming death of my mother, the death of my true-love boyfriend when I was a senior, too many drug-fueled parties and way too much alcohol. I missed 37% of my senior year, and was allowed to graduate with my class only because of the compassionate understanding of my teachers. I graduated in June, left town and never looked back. I hadn’t one single good memory from the years I spent in Everett.

I now know that for every other reunion I’ve attended, I was always looking back to the girl I was there, as I’d been in school, not caring to see or share who I’d been becoming. I still felt insecure, invisible, and unimportant. In order to feel safe at school, I’d needed to keep my world small and walled, so I didn’t remember most of the kids who remembered me. (This and the fact that I was frequently under the influence of mind-altering substances, notoriously bad for the memory.) It blew my mind, when at my 40th reunion, one of the popular boys who had married one of the popular girls told me he’d wondered if he’d see me there. What? Rick S. knew who I was? I had not an ounce of self-esteem.

I feel different this time. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing all the ‘kids’ I went to school with, whether or not I remember them, and I have no fear. Rather than just being excited about reuniting with the small band of boys I ran around with, I want to see the girls, too… the girls I felt I wasn’t good enough to be friends with. The girls who had both parents, lived in nice houses, had enough money for prom dresses, and were in social or service clubs and went to each other’s parties. I am Facebook friends with some of these girls now — they requested my friendship, not the other way around. There is still a wee bit of the insecure young girl inside me who couldn’t quite yet risk asking them to be my friend, even if only on social media.

So, I choose to leave my history, sob stories and ghosts behind, and show up as the strong, loving, worthwhile woman I am. My history does not define me, nor do I regret one iota of it. No longer do I view my school days as pitiful and sad; I needed all of those days and those experiences to become who I am. On August 24th, I will walk joyfully, confidently, and expectantly into a room full of my classmates from 1969 and it will be good.

My gratitude for the programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Centers for Spiritual Living is immeasurable, because my ongoing transformation began and continues thanks to ‘their’ two Big Books, the people who study and teach them, and the tools they taught me to use.

“I am co-creating with a Universe that does not ever have self-esteem issues or a lack of horsepower or compassion. I am discovering unknown power within myself as I walk into the unknown.”
A Year Without Fear, Tama Kieves, pg. May 21

— Renee’ Mercer

Choosing Positive (Yes, I know that’s grammatically incorrect)

“There is nothing good or bad in the world, but thinking makes it so.”
(William Shakespeare Hamlet Act II scene II)

I have stopped being surprised at the synchronicity between what I decide to do and how the world shows up to support my decision. I had decided on the topic of this article Saturday, and smiled as I realized the substance of Rev. Janis’ talk this week was the same. All things do, indeed, work together.

I have a saying taped up in my kitchen that I read several times a day. I displayed it in my classroom over 20 years ago, and have long forgotten where or when I first encountered it. It resonates each time I read it, staying fresh and vital in my mind because I know the truth of it:

LIFE IS NOT WHAT IT IS “SUPPOSED TO BE.” IT IS WHAT IT IS.
THE WAY WE CHOOSE DEAL WITH IT IS WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.”

One important lesson we have all had the opportunity to learn (if we are older than 12) is the harder the situation, the more valuable it becomes as we figure out what we have learned from it. My family moved from Arizona to Texas when I was in the tenth grade. I had never had to make friends before because I was raised in the area where my parents and grandparents were born and had lived since they were children. I made myself (and my parents) miserable for a year while I decided how to navigate the newness of living in Texas. I have never forgotten that time in my life, and later as I went to college, married a man whose job required us to move every four years, and then, later, as a widow moving to Tucson on my own, I knew I could make friends and where I had to go to find them.

I laughed often when Rev. Donald shared the analogy of the young child who opened a door and found piles of horse manure piled everywhere. The child exclaims, “Yahoo!! I know there must be a pony in here somewhere!!”

Like everyone else, I have navigated many life struggles: the suicide of my young brother-in-law; the death of my parents; the long illness and death of my husband, John; the sudden illness and abrupt death of my husband, Phil, have each forged an understanding in me of what is truly important. Grieving is hard work, and as I have gotten through that process so many times, I have very little energy or will to get upset over things that really do not matter in the long run.

I know we experience the world through the filters we create based on our belief about the world. Years ago I had a student say to me, “This world is so F–ed.” I said, “My world isn’t.” She really heard that, began to change her attitude about her world and as a result changed her life. She got sober, studied hard and earned a Ph.D in molecular biology. Today she is a teaching professor at a medical school in Colorado.

People with positive attitudes experience their world in a positive way, and the opposite is true. The Universe supports whatever we believe about the world and our place in it without bias or judgment.

Someone recently said to me, “You lead such a charmed life.” I thought about that and realized I change that statement (in my mind) to “I create such a charmed life” because I act on my belief that the world is, indeed, a positive place.

–Pat Masters

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

Curate Your Life

One of the big ideas that arose in last week’s ongoing Wild Mind class was this notion of  “Curate Your Life”.  It’s an interesting idea, one that alternately teases and encourages us to identify, decide on and choose the kind of life experience we desire.  If we are totally delighted with all aspects our lives as is, no change is required. If we’re not, and we wish to step into fuller self-expressions in any area of our lives, this idea requires us to recognize that we may have to change how we think about our lives, and how we choose to live.

This notion can be problematic if we are resistant to change, or we believe we don’t have the power to make a change and have it stick.  Most of us have a lot of evidence (and a lot of experience) about how hard it is to change habits.  Sometimes it seems easy to feel that we are powerless over our own life choices and life experiences.  This is not the truth of who we are, and may very well be our entire awareness, based on our past experiences.

How do we move from living from what-we-have-always-known into a different future?  Willingness to step into a different life experience, and to adjust or modify our thinking and actions accordingly, are just the first steps.  The next step is to persistently reapply and re-implement this new decision as many times as it takes, until it becomes the new habit.  Challenging? Yes.  Impossible? No.  Persistence is key, and not shaming, blaming, or guilting ourselves when we fail.  What would it take to just keep getting back up and moving ahead?  This shift of mindset is probably the most difficult, because we have all been acculturated into believing that we have to discipline, or punish, ourselves when we fail, or that we are stuck with what we know.  What if neither of those things are true?

An additional thought from Dr David: “I’ve rediscovered the valuable distinction between change and transformation. Change gives me the liberty to revert back to what I changed from, i.e. change my mind, change my habits, or change my job. Change leaves me a window of opportunity to return to the old thought, habit or action. Transformation does not. Just like an oak tree cannot return to being an acorn, one who is a conscious transformationalist sheds labels, patterns and even identities to align with their inherent ever-expanding nature. Devotion to transformation doesn’t include comfort seeking. Its intentional prayer passes from our heart to our lips by saying, ‘Onward, along the path of my soul’s greatest expression.’ Personally, I feel that the time for such devotion is needed more than ever. I consciously shed limitations, excuses and loyalties to people and things that are not congruent with this universal beckoning.”

…………………..

As far as I know, the idea of ‘curate your life’ originated with Dr David Ault.  The image in this post is his.  Dr David, most recently Senior Minister at one of the three CSLs in Atlanta, recognized that his spiritual path, and the paths of those who work with him, was best served by him leaving that position.  He, and his ongoing work, can be followed at www.davidault.com. If you join up to receive his e-newsletter, you will also receive access to his free e-book/training program, How to Sand Your Rusted Thinking, A resource guide to learning tangible actions for increasing self-awareness and living the life you want.  Sounds like a great tool to use in learning how to Curate Your Life more fully, should you be interested in that.  Happy exploring!

–Rev Janis Farmer

Just Doing It . . . Later

One of my favorite ways to deal with change is as follows:

First: I hear or read something fabulous,
Second: I realize “I get this!” It is something I need to do.
Third: I can do this
Final Step: And I will – just as soon as I’m in a better place or not so tired or have cleaned the house, etc.

Reading Howard Falco’s TIME IN A BOTTLE has pushed (more like shoved) me to seriously acknowledge how I procrastinate really well on the more important things like change. And, how assiduously I hang onto the history I keep trying to learn from.

  “Regret has no positive value. …. {Regret} will poison your mind, body or soul in another area of life. …. Subconsciously regret limits what you feel you are worth…. must be dissolved to release the limits it imposes on you.
         Howard Falco: TIME in a BOTTLE – 55.3

  “Change is the dirty word here. Fear often fills in the space that opens up when change is on the horizon. …. the mind has found a way to protect itself from the idea or perceived threat of annihilation. This innate process…can become very dominating…and be a big reason that you may be unable to take the necessary steps you desire. “
         Howard Falco: TIME in a BOTTLE – 58.3

How often have I felt the immense uplift of reading or hearing something which creates a huge AHA moment, only to let it slip away in the comfort of routine and the ease of habit: reading the pleasantly written, happily-ending novel rather than the mentally-stretching, different point-of-view work sitting on my bookshelf. Or, not going to my computer and actually working on creating the photography I sometimes see in my mind’s eye. Because what I am ‘seeing’ is ‘not what I do’. When I let this different form of creativity call to me, asking to be made real and actual, I am intrigued and challenged. But it is so much easier not to work through the learning to work differently. Not now, tomorrow.

  “Creation happens only NOW. If you are mentally living in the past, you cannot simultaneously create something new and more positive.
         Howard Falco: TIME in a BOTTLE – 55.3

The problem with NOW is that it seems so — ephemeral – here and then gone. And, there will be more of “NOW” tomorrow. The trick to NOW seems to be a matter of actually being present to whatever I’m doing. The issue with that is what I’m doing frequently seems to be learning, practicing, making mistakes, learning from them and repeating those steps. It seems to take a lot of that before l ever get to the part where change actually occurs. I don’t remember signing-up for that. Even though when I do that process – it works. It carries me down the road to where I want to go. I just really hate not knowing everything – already.

   “I have something more important than courage—I have patience. I will become what I know that I AM.”
         Michael Jordan – courtesy of H Falco: TIME in a BOTTLE – 131.3

So, I work on acquiring patience, and doing the practice and learning to see what I want to become as Reality.

And,

  “To overcome fear is the greatest adventure of the mind of man.”
         Ernest Holmes: SCIENCE OF MIND – 404.4

–Peace, Mariann

1 2 3 5