Constant Change is Here to Stay

No man steps in the same river twice – Heraclitus

You Can’t Go Home Again– Thomas Wolfe

Many years ago, I did this exercise at a retreat in Ojai in which I described in detail a place I wanted to live.  It had four distinct seasons, lots of trees, few neighbors, and lots of space for a garden and animals.  I came across this description when I was cleaning out a file a few years ago, and realized I had described my house in Pine Top perfectly.  I was stunned when I reread the descriptions.  No wonder I’m finding it difficult to sell this house, even though I feel complete about my life in Pine Top.  It still fits a vision I once held of where I wanted to live.

So, now what?  How do I change my vision of my perfect house to match my present ‘reality’?  I feel relief when I remember that the most frequently used phrase in the Bible is, “And it came to pass,” not “It came to stay.”  Right here, right now, never stays the same. Life moves on.

Sometimes change is welcome.  Those brand new babies we bring home change almost before our eyes.  In only one year many are pulling up, walking, recognizing people, beginning to feed themselves, and letting us know what they want or don’t want.

Other times change is unwelcome — like the loss of a job or a house, the loss of a relationship through death or divorce. When change seems hard, I can choose to remember I am being presented with a growth opportunity.  Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” The greater the difficulty, the greater the opportunity.

I can choose to remember that I am never a victim of the seeming whims of the Universe.  I can create the changes I desire in my life by being very specific about what I wish.  “Change your thinking, change your life” is not an empty platitude, but a statement of power and truth.

I can describe in glorious detail what I actually desire.  Then I can answer the hardest questions of all, “What do I need to let go of to have this? What will I feel like when this happens? And what else? And what else?”  When I have gotten clarity, I have moved mountains.

I have had marvelous success creating treasure maps using pictures, and words representing things or situations I want to create in my life.  I made one a few years ago, which had, among other things, pictures of two grand pianos.  What a lovely surprise several months later when we moved the second piano into my living room to store for our congregation until we discovered our own home for it.

I can create a very personal experience of the change I claim.  Emerson wrote, “Man surrounds himself with his own image.” I can ensure my new mental and physical space reflects my newly-reawakened sense of abundance, well-being, and order. My new space gives me room to stretch and breathe.

And I can be grateful for what I already have.  Eric Butterworth reminded us how lucky we are to have bills.  They represent the trust our creditors have in us.  It is never the situation, but how I choose to see it that continues to be the important.

I think it essential that I choose to unfurl my symbolic sails so that I can make use of the winds of change.  When I choose this, I come out on the other side healthier, stronger, more flexible, more abundant, and especially more confident in my ability to make good choices for myself.

Since I know it works for me, I know it works for you, too.

–Pat Masters

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

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

Remembering to Be Love

When I started ruminating about this article, I knew I wanted to follow our Theme for the Month of February: Love.

In doing our community prayer, Rev. Janis will often remind us that we swim in the Cosmic Soup of Divine Love. We access all of the Love that we can by our knowing the Truth of who and where we are. Sometimes we make a conscious decision to tap into this power; other times we tap into it on a subconscious level. Other times it filters into us by osmosis. In whatever manner we choose to access it, it always says, “Yes” to us.

I think of my own life as a continuing series of love events as I swim within the Big Ocean of Love. Some of them are fabulous, some of them are so-so, and a few, now and then, are downright hideous.

When I was younger, I could get very angry because someone had done something to me. Or I could get very insecure because I thought I was not enough and deserved whatever negative stuff was showing up for me. I had not yet learned that most of the “stuff” was a product of my own thinking.

As I grew older, I changed my mind about what might be happening to me. When anyone in my life showed up as someone I labeled as mean, snarky, rude, thoughtless, or insincere, I would climb up on my horse of Self Righteousness and ride by them with my Sword of Better-Than-Youness (new word). When I climbed down from my saddle of Superiority, I could see the truth of who they truly were: a perfect person, ACTING in an unloving way. What a relief to realize that “Being” and “Acting” are not the same. I can always love you, even while I am not happy with the way you are acting. Wow.

Many decades ago, I was standing in an early-morning line at the airport in Hilo, Hawaii. Standing behind me was a young mother whose whining, crying toddler was tugging on her skirt, demanding to be picked up and soothed. An older, much wiser, friend of mind looked down at the crying child and said, “He is exhausted. When children act the worst is when they need the most.” WHAM. That one sentence, delivered so casually, became one of the best life lessons I ever learned. Not only children, but all of us, do not act our best when we are tired, scared, or worried.

When I see someone acting in their not-so-best manner, and I am in my Right Mind (The Divine shows up as me, too), I ask myself what they might need. Then I can love them unconditionally, even if I do not always love their actions or attitudes. I don’t know about you, but there are times that I am afraid if I give up my own need to be right, I might “lose” — lose face, lose position, or lose respect. After a round of self-talk, I come into the knowledge that I do not always act in perfect way (GASP!) And that is very ok, too.

But I am Perfect, because I was designed so. I am almost always able to swim in my Attitude of Gratitude for the loving world in which I find myself. I remember and bless my own experience and expression of the Spirit of Love.

— Pat Masters

Saying Yes to Life

My favorite paternal aunt, Merris, is here from my birth state, Iowa, visiting me for a couple weeks and I’m totally preoccupied, exhausted, excited, and I might as well throw in anxious, because I have a newsletter article due and haven’t a clue as to what to write.  But I do my best to be in integrity and keep my commitments, so I think I’ll just write about what’s foremost on my mind… gratitude.

It’s not that everything is hunky-dory and smooth sailing all the time, but I know I live in choice as to how I look at every single thing that happens in my life and I choose to see the cup half full and continuing to fill!  But I’ll get to that in a minute…

For starters, this is the aunt whom I had met only once, briefly, in the 1970’s.  Many years and a couple dozen address changes later, a Valentine card – a sweet, loving, old-fashioned Valentine from an aunt who had loved me since the day I was born (mind you, I didn’t know anyone had loved me when I was born) – found me.  We began to write and she invited me to visit her and Uncle Fred, and in a stroke of genius, I decided to do just that.  What a gift I gave to myself!  Now, because she decided to make her first flight on her own having recently lost her husband of fifty years, I get her all to myself for two whole weeks.  Country miles worth of gratitude, I tell you!

Aunt Merris and I have been hitting the Gem Show pretty hard the last couple days and as a result of so much walking and standing, my knee is super swollen and I pretty much hurt everywhere below my waist.  I cried myself to sleep last night from pain, and then gratitude. Yes, I hurt, but I had experienced so much pleasure in the company of my aunt as well as hundreds of other rock hounds!  We had both found some great deals on little treasures that made our hearts sing.  (And having shattered my hip and wrecked my back in ’04, I am so happy that I am able to walk and stand at all, let alone for hours at a time!)  To heck with pain, I feel grateful!

And there were little things today where I chose gratitude over grumbling:  We need rain; I would love to show Merris a lush, green Tucson vs. brown plants and dust everywhere, but until the rain comes, I’ll bask in the soul-warming February sunshine and let it soothe my body.  Then when leaving the gem show, we found ourselves trying to merge onto I-10 into crawling, bumper-to-bumper Friday rush-hour-gem show traffic, and voila! – a kind man let me cut in front of him – thanks, dude!  There was the jam-packed Costco parking lot (barely needed to go there as I only needed two items) when a spot right by the door opened up…I thanked God right out loud.  Silly little things?  Maybe, but I’d rather bank a bunch of gratitudes than a bunch of gripes.

Life is as good as I make it.  Are there ruts in the road and occasional roadblocks?  Sure, but if I continue to find the good in what may appear to be otherwise, it becomes otherwise.  Today my life is truly very good, and I attribute this to maintaining an attitude of gratitude.  I’m especially grateful for what surprises most assuredly lie around the corner!  Because you know what? – it’s gonna be good.  How do I know?  Because Good is already present and I am just saying yes to it!

“Every day and every hour we are meeting the eternal realities of life, and in such degree as we co-operate with these eternal realities in love, in peace, in wisdom, and in joy – believing and receiving – we are automatically blessed.” — Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 154.1

–Renee’ Mezzone

Connections

I drove home a new way on Sunday after services and noticed the bright blue sign of a Napa Auto Parts Store. It was the first one I actually remember seeing in Tucson. Part of me doubted that it could possibly be the only one, so I googled it to see how many there are in town. One. There’s only one. Huh.

The reason it caught my eye, I think, is because my mom worked in one for nearly a decade while my brother attended the lower grades of public school. She was of the generation who fiercely believed that moms needed to be home when their kids got home from school, so she wanted a part-time job where she could do that. I never could figure out how my mom worked in an auto parts store, since her interest in car parts was negligible.   Honestly, it was non-existent.

As I pondered this, driving across town, what came to me was an awareness of what her expertise actually was. She was the undeniably, unstoppably, irreplaceably queen of customer service. People mattered to her. After my brother was old enough to drive himself home from football practice, my mom got a job working full-time at the photo lab on the airbase near where they lived. She served as the film librarian; her primary job was to interact with the customers and make sure they got exactly the service or the product they needed. People would stop by her desk all the time for hugs, and to take a piece of candy out of the candy dish on the corner of her desk that was always full. She kept that job for the next 40+ years and was still happily working when she became terminally ill; she could not imagine not being there to take care of ‘her people’.

I retired from my technical career at 52. She and I would often talk about how odd it was that her daughter retired before she did. I kept telling her that it was really obvious to me when it was time for me to stop working (at that job) and that she would know when it was time, and to retire any sooner would be silly. That seemed to satisfy her, mostly. There were times that she wished she could be a retired grandma and do the craft activities, the outings, or the book studies, with the old, retired ladies. When it got right down to it, she didn’t believe that she would feel as vital and alive if she didn’t have to answer to an alarm clock 5 days a week. So she kept doing what she loved – connecting with people.

There’s something about pleasant human interactions that adds brightness and liveliness to our days. Social scientists say we need a certain number of hugs each day to be emotionally healthy – four at a minimum. When I was working on last Wednesday night’s class on Mysticism, I was reminded that the need to connect with others is a basic human survival need. On Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it ranks just slightly above the need to feel safe, and just below the need to feel respected or esteemed.

“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.” — James Baldwin

When I first saw this quote by James Baldwin, I thought of it as a negative commentary, but the more that I pondered the lifestyle that my mom chose, this idea remained quite valid and uplifting. She was the undisputed queen of making people feel important, no matter who, and no matter what. Even on Sundays and with the youth ministry at church, she was the first of the women to be given a plaque that read, “Mother of Our Youth”. I always thought the plaque was a little disconcerting, but it recognized the identity she had created for herself, and how she wanted to be seen in her world.

It seems I picked up just a smidge of that connecting mindset myself. I’m OK with that.

— Rev Janis

Growing And Grateful

“…the human is really Divine but will ever evolve into newer and better states of conscious being”. ~~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 410.1

So for a few minutes I got ticked off and wondered to myself, “How the *bleep* many times do I have to process this same stuff?  I’ve done ‘tons’ of ‘work’ on my ‘issues’ – in Alcoholics Anonymous, with therapists and in numerous classes at CSL Seattle and CSLT.  What does it take, anyway?”

Well gang, once again I am reminded that growth is an ongoing thing as it must be since Spirit is ever-evolving through and as me/you/us.  I will never get a doctorate in any of the ‘issues’ I thought I had nailed.  However, I choose to embrace growth and thereby, more life, more love, joy, and peace as a result of being willing to be honest with myself and do what needs to be done by me.  But growth is frequently preceded by pain, discomfort, angst and/or confusion.  I mean, who really needs to grow while lying next to the pool in the sun, listening to the birds sing?

But let me get to the causal factors behind this article.  Money, for one.  I thought I understood and totally had it down how the Law of Divine Circulation works and that I always embodied prosperity consciousness.  It was easy to think that way because I had enough money for everything (within reason) that I wanted, plus enough to share.  I tithed.  I actually would occasionally find ‘extra’ money in my checking account.  But then I joined a gym and hired a trainer, my kitty got sick, I took a couple trips and not only was the ‘extra’ money gone, but I realized I was a bit overextended.  Lack and limitation consciousness can be subtle, and just because one is aware of it doesn’t necessarily keep it at bay.  It crept in and I was dumbfounded to find myself sprawled out in the Ditch of Lack.

Enter humility.  Enter actually using the spiritual practice tools we have been instructed to use.  Enter the remembering that God is Source, and that my prosperity is not limited to the Social Security Administration and monthly withdrawals from my retirement fund.  Enter God as Creative Spirit and great ideas!  Seemingly out of the blue, I realized I had several pieces of jewelry that I no longer wear and that there is a great store in Tucson that might wish to sell these items on consignment; they agreed and so far, I have picked up checks for $795!  The community in which I live held a semi-annual yard sale and I sold a bunch of stuff l didn’t need or want to the tune of another $190.  I was reminded and reassured that God is always my source, no exceptions.  In my fear of not being able to manage things on my predictable income, I had forgotten where my good truly comes from.   I just need to remember and live in that certainty.  In The Science of Mind 402.1 Ernest Holmes shares this, “Let us be happy to begin right where we are and grow.”  Deal!

Another thing I thought I had nailed beyond question was boundaries and saying ‘no’ with love.  Alas, I manifested a situation that triggered numerous unpleasant feelings and in taking my own personal inventory as to my part in the breakdown of the relationship, I realized I had set sloppy boundaries and been out of integrity with myself.  I appreciate what Tama Kieves wrote in her book Inspired and Unstoppable, p. 292, “The difficulties are supposed to arise.  Challenges position you to evolve into more than you ever thought possible.”  …and from p. 281, “Wild success isn’t a destination but an awakening, and the evolution continues, as far as I can see.  Even as I know I will continue to face the unknown and unknowable, I feel more peaceful and grateful than ever before.  I know this way will take me all the way.” 

I overflow with gratitude that I am alive and aware of who I am, and that growth continues with every breath I take… I embrace growing pleasures as well as growing pains as I evolve more and more into the knowingness of God as me, as you, and as us.

by Renee’ Mezzone

One Earth

I am an avid YouTube fan and wander through its riches frequently. Recently I fell in love with a channel that shows NASA footage livestreamed from the International Space Station. With a background of soft New Age music, I like to watch when the camera is trained on Earth as seen from orbit. I never cease to marvel at the beauty of our big blue marble in space. As the space station orbits Earth, I can see the brilliant sparkle of sunlight off waves in the distant oceans. Clouds hug the surface of our planet and seem to glow with an internal light as they also absorb and reflect the sun. Continents become visible and are revealed as smooth expanses of brown under the clouds. At first, I thought the landmasses looked odd. They were just like the maps of my childhood schoolroom in shape, but they looked at the same time completely different.

When I was in school, a large glossy map of the world always hung at front of the room. I spent a lot of time gazing at the map, wondering how it came to be that South America’s shape could nestle like a puzzle piece into the coast of Africa across the Atlantic Ocean. I was not surprised when scientists brought forward the continental drift theory that the landmasses were all once a giant supercontinent, Pangaea, which broke apart billions of years ago. Another thing I noticed in those maps was that every continent was divided up by lines that enclosed shapes of different colors. Africa and Europe looked like patchwork quilts of many colors describing the various countries’ borders.

It was the lack of lines on the continents that at first made the world from space look odd to my eyes. There are no visible borders and boundaries on the Earth’s landmasses. There is no separation visible between nations, people and resources from space; it is evident that Earth is Whole. I was reminded of John Lennon’s song “Imagine”:

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace

I like to imagine our world in peace, without nationalistic or religious fighting. I once read something about describing one’s address in purely ecological/geographic terms, not using man-made GPS coordinates or country names or political subdivisions of the earth. I tried it out for myself and found it difficult to avoid all “names” but with my new address I felt like a citizen of a whole earth community. Here it is: I live on planet Earth, in the northern hemisphere, almost in the middle of the longest landmass that extends nearly from pole to pole, in a vast desert which is the only place on earth where saguaro cacti grow, in a basin between three mountain ranges, in the Upper Santa Cruz watershed, west of the river itself, and east of the high pass of the western mountain range, near the base of a hill.

I like to watch the NASA livestream and think of myself as a denizen of this planet, unlabeled, undivided and whole and remember with Black Elk:

And while I stood there

I saw more than I can tell

and I understood more than I saw,

for I was seeing in a sacred manner

the shapes of all things in the spirit

and the shape of all shapes as

they must all live together

as one being.

I remember that I am the sparkling waters. I am the shining clouds. I am the blue Earth

and the blackness of space that swaddles it. I AM.

By Leah Hamilton, RScP

Releasing the (Inner) Warrior

I am ever grateful for the philosophy and tools I have learned here at CSLT because they have changed my approach to living. During the last few weeks I faced some challenges that would have defeated my old self. But I learned way back in Foundations class that when the brown stuff starts to pile up that is the time to start getting out the spiritual tools like meditation and prayer. One of my lifeline quotes from Ernest Holmes in The Science of Mind is on page 282.4. (I know it is important because it appears totally in caps):

TO DESERT THE TRUTH IN THE HOUR OF NEED IS TO PROVE THAT WE DO NOT KNOW THE TRUTH.  When things look the worst, that is the supreme moment to demonstrate, to ourselves, that there are no obstructions to the operation of truth.

Holmes is talking about keeping the faith in Good when everything seems grim. All around me everything sure felt negative. I had been personally attacked and undermined on my job. I saw a long- time coworker and friend involuntarily transferred out of my unit. A friend at the Center decided to steer her life away in a different direction. I had my faith denigrated by a person close to me as “fortune cookie nonsense.” I was left thinking “What the hell?” I felt angry, very angry, and I also experienced a sense of loss for the people no longer in my daily sphere.

I have a card on my altar with a quote by Ram Dass that says: Everything in your life is there as a vehicle for your transformation. Use it! That means everything that happens to me is ultimately for my good. I knew I had to start looking for that Good. I remembered Reverend Janis quoting Nelson Mandela as saying that if he continued to be bitter and angry at those who held him captive, it would be like keeping himself in prison. That told me I had to process my anger too, and that didn’t mean eating a box of chocolate to numb out. It meant a form of radical acceptance, just letting myself feel my emotions. I sat with my anger in meditation and let it tell me where it lived in my body and what it wanted me to know. I was aware that behind every emotion is a thought. As I sat I discovered the thoughts behind my feelings of anger and loss and the story I created about my reality.

My freedom of choice allows me to reframe the meaning of any experience, to rewrite my stories. I asked myself “is there a different way to look at this situation than as a victim?” That’s when I remembered that I had stated my desire to get in touch with that warrior woman archetype within me a few weeks ago. I had said I was attracted to the independence, decisiveness and strength of the warrior archetype and wanted to bring it into my personal life. Bingo! I had brought the perfect opportunities to myself to practice! When attacked on the job I strongly asserted myself and spoke my truth in a way I had never done before. When ridiculed for my beliefs, I accepted that I no longer needed others to accept me and approve what I do. When the two friends moved on, I realized I had not lost them but their daily absence from my life did spur me to remain independent in my work and growth. I indeed began to see all these events as catalysts for my transformation. I found God and saw the good in the events that had seemed so hurtful.

Like dough to make good bread, I sometimes need the leavening yeast of challenges, along with a good kneading, to make me rise and be strong. Once risen I know I can go out into the world and help others rise as well. In the New Testament, Luke 13:20–21, Jesus gives his shortest parable:

To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

I now know I can prove the Truth to myself. It only takes a few people living the Truth to help others so we may all rise together and create the Kingdom of God right here.

And So It Is!

By Leah Hamilton

Invisible Abundance

Since becoming a student in Prosperity Plus II, I have thought a lot about abundance and prosperity. In agreeing to tithe, I found myself contending against a fear of “not enough”. It has been a liberating experience working to conquer that fear and grow my faith in Divine Abundance. I have found, right outside my window, a perfect parable of infinite Substance.

A month ago, I noted that I spend many of my waking hours at my work desk where I am blessed to have a window looking out on a tree and a distant view of the mountains. Wanting to share an experience of nature, I purchased a bird feeder that consists of a holder for up to three different cakes of bird food. I hung the feeder in the Palo Verde tree outside my window and waited for the birds to come to enjoy the suet, nuts and seeds.

Days passed by without any visitors to my bird feeder. I was puzzled because the clerk at the Wild Bird store assured me the birds would go crazy for the different seeds and nuts, especially during this season of hungry baby birds. Every day I kept watch on the tree and more than four weeks passed with the feeder remaining untouched. It looked quite forlorn just hanging there offering food without any notice.

Then I took a week away from the office. When I returned, I was startled to see a mad flock of birds at the feeder with the seed and suet cakes nearly decimated. Sometime last week, the birds discovered the bounty of food in that tree. Tiny sparrows and red headed finches battled for access to the hanging feeder, pecking their competitors away from the food.

Seeing how quickly the food was disappearing, I went back to the store and purchased a second feeder with more cakes of varied bird food that included cranberries, mealworms and smaller seeds for the tiny birds to peck. The presence of the second feeder in the tree did nothing, however, to lessen the competition for spots at the feeder. Such is the way of nature.

It seems to me the bird food hanging unnoticed in the tree is like the infinite Substance of Spirit all around us. That invisible Substance is available to us with the ease of a thought, and can manifest anything we desire or choose. It is always there but unless we recognize it, the Goodness remains untouched. Once we become aware of how we can tap into Divine Abundance, we realize we do not have to struggle for our prosperity. As Jesus said, “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” The birds do not know there is an invisible giver behind the reappearing seed cakes, or that they need not worry about sharing the abundance, but I now have a constant reminder, right outside my window, that Spirit is my Source and that I am eternally supported.

By Leah Hamilton

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