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

What Does The Funding Team Do?

The Funding Team is a behind-the-scenes team that advises on many of the financial decisions that our Board, and our Center, take.  It’s not a showy or exciting team, but remains a critically important team — one that pays attention to our continued financial well-being, and supports us in encouraging Our Board to take necessary actions to make sure we stay in-the-black and able to focus on teaching the principles of the Science of Mind philosophy to all and facilitating each individual to have a greater quality of life as they implement these tools and ideas.

Tasks of the Funding Team:

  • The Funding Team drafts the budget for each calendar year. In previous years, the Funding Team has recommended a growth agenda, which required greater attendance and higher contributions from participants and then provided additional services.  After much discussion, our projected 2020 budget has been based on current contributions.
  • It also makes recommendations about ways to encourage prosperity consciousness, whether through a Pledge Program and/or through educational curricula like Prosperity Plus III or home study groups like Art of Abundance, and also to assess our present level of prosperity consciousness, using monthly board financial reports and the quarterly range reports.
  • It also makes recommendations for Fundraising activities that benefit programs in and for our Center. Our Funding Team initiated the creation of our Facility Fund in 2009 when we realized we had a need to accumulate specific funds dedicated to the purpose of owning property in Tucson.
  • Our current activity of soliciting prospective local charities that support self-determined living is part of the Stewardship aspect of the Funding Team’s function. This team will take the suggested local charities and high-grade them for the ones that most clearly match our intention. They will count the ballots cast on January 5th when the attendees present that day will vote on our 2020 charity.

This team has made a recommendation that would be considered quite unusual inside other Centers for Spiritual Living. We have recommended that we do not have an annual pledge campaign at this time. Other Centers use the pledge program to encourage participants to decide their annual contributions, and then commit to giving that amount over the next year.  Having a pledge campaign theoretically allows the Funding Team to determine the probable funds available for use in the coming year. It has been our experience that pledge campaigns frequently do not provide accurate information for planning and budgeting. Instead we trust the Law and acknowledge that each individual contributes financially as they choose.  We also know that as everyone grows and deepens in their understanding of their own relationship with their own abundant life, their contributions grow accordingly.

If you have a few hours each month, and strong interest in engaging around the financial well-being of our Center, you are invited to talk with either of us about joining this team.

— Dick Laird with Rev Janis

 

Stepping into Life

As we went through Check-In at Prosperity Plus III this afternoon, Pat Masters remarked that in the last year I seem to have gotten lighter. That is so true. Last year I took Foundations for the 2nd time with the intention to change my relationship with money. That happened! It worked! I can’t point to an exact correlation between my actions and the changes in my life in the last year, but it has all been good and I know it is because of the connection I have to the One Mind, the One Life and the One Love.

I just returned from Las Vegas where I went to a 2-day tax conference. I learned many things regarding tax preparation. My husband, Chris, and I also spent 1 and ½ days enjoying Las Vegas. We lost a little money, won a little money, saw Love (the Cirque de Soleil program set to Beatles music) and Christina Aguilera. We walked the strip, had a wonderful dinner and I hugged Scooby Doo, which was may have been my happiest moment. So, we’ve experienced Las Vegas.

What is such a pleasure to me is that this is the first time that I’ve felt like I had enough money and enough time to make a trip. My previous MO was to squeeze activities into each moment and to do it on a shoestring. (I don’t know where the term “on a shoestring” came from but I mean that previously I would barely have had enough money to make the trip and would have been nervous and anxious every moment about spending any money.)

We drove my new Mini Cooper. Chris bonded with it and we listened to Raymond Holliwell’s book, Working With The Law on YouTube there and back. We started listening to NPR but soon turned it off, as the news coverage was frightening and depressing.

My business increased last January and I roughly doubled my income. When thoughts of fear arise concerning a reversal, I remind myself that I practice the Science of Mind. I tithe, I perform service on the CSLT Board and with other non-profits, and I have a regular meditation practice. I believe this. I access the One Mind. I trust. As Eddie Watkins sings, “I am the place where God shows up”.

For someone that lived in despair for many years, this is miraculous. I’ve had a fine life on the outside. I’m happily married for over 25 years; I have good relationships with my three adult children, with my siblings, and with my mother. I’m an active participant in a 12-step program. In July, I celebrated 43 years clean. Substance abuse was only a symptom of my problem and my method was to medicate myself to suppress the feelings of intense pain and blackness that I felt. When I got clean, it made sense to me, I couldn’t even use right. After 9 months in treatment, I immediately launched into an abusive relationship that turned violent before we separated. For many years, I attended a meeting every day because it brought me a respite from my emotional pain. Many people marveled that I was so consistent in my attendance at noon meetings with multiple decades clean. I attended because I needed the sense of connection I found there daily. I lived the life of quiet desperation to which Thoreau referred.

It used to be so hard to get out of bed in the morning and “step into my life”. No more. I still attend my 12-step meetings, but I don’t need the daily relief. I write a treatment most mornings or, on occasion, during the day if my morning gets away from me. I find the spiritual connection I need when I write the Unification step. And I find fellowship in the Sunday services and in the classes.

As I shared my thoughts regarding my Las Vegas trip with the PPIII class this afternoon, Pat exclaimed, “When it’s your time to write the newsletter article again, you have it in what you just shared”. I replied, “That’s tonight!” And so, it is.

— Marya Wheeler

Traditions

My sons recently planned a family reunion birthday gala to celebrate my 80th birthday, as well as the birthdays of my older son and grandson. The reunion was held at the family cabin north of Kohl’s Ranch, which nestles beside the Tonto Creek and under the Mogollon Rim. It is a stunning setting, and being there brought back a multitude of memories.

My husband’s grandfather built the original cabin. He belonged to the American Baptist Church in Phoenix; a group from that congregation bought the acreage and built five cabins as well as the church camp that stands there today. A flood washed the original cabin away in 1970, and my in-laws built the “new” cabin shortly thereafter.

The original Homeowners Association decreed that there could be no drinking, no smoking, nor any dancing on any of the properties. Only members of the American Baptist congregation could buy property there. As time went on, and the subsequent generations inherited the land and cabins, those rules became more relaxed and today they are ignored altogether.

What I especially enjoyed about the weekend was watching the family traditions unfold. My father-in-law taught my husband to fish for the native trout in the Tonto and Horton Creeks, as well as in the nearby lakes. My husband taught my two sons to fish in the same way. My son taught his two sons, and my grandsons have added a new dimension: they are teaching their fiancées to fish! When I was their age, it was the family tradition for the women to cook enormous amounts of food for the returning fisherman, and keep the cabin clean and tidy.

I appreciate that as time has passed, the family traditions have changed to accommodate the new thinking. The most important change I saw at the cabin was the gender-based roles have become nonexistent. I watched my sons and grandsons cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming, and doing laundry. The women grabbed fishing poles and headed for the streams.

I think rituals and traditions are important as long as they remain meaningful.

When I first joined this congregation, our opening ritual included reading a short description of each of the major world religions, and lighting a candle to honor each of them. Today we honor the same by incorporating the spiritual symbols that hang in our banners. When the banners are no longer meaningful, we will develop another method of honoring our shared origins, traditions and history.

We have kept some traditions through the years, and changed others. Almost a year ago, we decided passing the offering baskets no longer worked for us. Today people drop their gifts, donations and contributions into the baskets located in the foyer, a tradition that better serves our needs.

One thing that has remained constant in our service is the love and joy that is expressed through our Sunday talks (which we call “reminders”), our affirmative prayers, and our music. The words of Ernest Holmes, our founder, create the foundation on which everything else rests. We honor what stays germane, and change what does not. And that keeps us relevant.

*****

Whatever the mind holds to and firmly believes in, forms a new pattern of thought within its creative mold, as whatever thought is held in mind tends to take outward form in new creations. This is the secret – and the whole secret—of the creative law of mind. — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 494.2

— Pat Masters

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

Update on the Move to 911 S. Craycroft Rd

We have completed our move from 4200 E. River Rd into our new Office and Education Center at 911 S Craycroft. There are so many people who helped with our move, and so many more who volunteered to help, but for a variety of reasons were not able to participate in the experience itself. I don’t want to start naming names, but I don’t want to leave out anyone who helped. There were dozens of people who helped in various ways. I also want to thank those who contributed financially to our move.

I especially want to thank those who came out to move the irregular items and unsealed boxes, artwork and fragile items that we moved before the hired help came on Saturday the 22nd to move file cabinets, book cases, lawn furniture, tables, desks and boxes of books.

I want to thank those who uninstalled the bookshelves at 4200, and those who re-installed them at 911, those who took apart desks, and those who patched the drywall where we had taken things down. I want to thank those who hauled off the extra trash when the trashcans were full. I want to thank those who boxed up the kitchen, and those who figured out how to make best use of our new breakroom and snack area. I want to thank those who packed the boxes of books, and those who unpacked them. I want to thank the clean-up crew at both locations. I want to thank everyone who hauled items to other non-profits in town for re-distribution of items that we no longer needed, wanted or had a place for.

We aren’t completely settled yet at 911, but we have continued all the normal Center operations, both administration and education, as we continue settling in to our new space. There are always kinks to be worked out, and we are handling them as they come up, one step at a time.

–Dick Laird

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

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

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 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

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