Imperfectly Perfect by Rev Janis Farmer

In a recent Saturday’s daily morning practice, we got another opportunity to look at, remember, and celebrate, that every individual human, including ourselves, is an individualized personification of the Oneness, as we understand, and experience, it in this moment. And that no matter how badly we fail, or we think someone else has failed, there is no failure. Every bit of that experience is simply the perfect expression of the imperfectly perfect human life.

In a recent daily missive, Fr Richard Rohr used this quote from Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection:
“It is in the process of embracing our imperfections that we find our truest gifts: courage, compassion, and connection. … When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging. When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. …

“There is a line from Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem” that serves as a reminder to me when … I’m trying to control everything and make it perfect. The line is, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” … This line helps me remember the beauty of the cracks (and the messy house and the imperfect manuscript and the too-tight jeans). It reminds me that our imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together. Imperfectly, but together.”

One of the sweet spots for me is in remembering that every time I feel judgmental, or judged, it is an opportunity to practice clear seeing, compassion and forgiveness. And every time I feel triggered by something that happens around me, or even something that seems to be happening to me, it’s not the thing that happens in this world of form that I need to fix, correct or change — it’s the way I perceive the situation. This doesn’t mean I always manage to remember any of this stuff in that moment, but I get back to that awareness as soon as I am able.

In working on this past week’s talk, I felt drawn to re-read Ernest Holmes’ ‘Final Conclusions’ in the Science of Mind. You can read them in their entirety on page 423. The sentence that jumped out at me the most was this one, from the second paragraph, “To hold one’s thought steadfastly to the constructive, to that which endures, and to the Truth, may not be easy in a rapidly changing world, but to the one who makes the attempt, much is guaranteed.”

I love that, because it doesn’t mean that if I haven’t succeeded at staying focused on the constructive, I have failed. The notion of ‘doing it right’ is a story that I make up, and that each one of us probably interprets differently. Further, there’s no way to actually get it right, since there is no definitive thing called ‘right’. (I realize there are people who disagree with me about that. And that’s okay too.) What it does mean is that, if I want to play, I have to stay in the game and continue to participate as best as I know how in the moment. And by making the attempt, ‘much is guaranteed’. I can make the attempt, even if I get to begin again a hundred times a day.

As we move into our month of gratitude and gratefulness, and into this period of mid-term elections, it serves me to remember to be grateful for it all, and know that every single one of us is exactly in the right place, at the right time, being beautifully, magnificently, imperfectly perfect.

Mental Equivalents II by Maria Schuchardt, RScP

Last blog I spoke about equivalents, how I have an overarching desire for a “rich and full life.” A few more thoughts have come up.

We must sense the embodiment of that which we wish to experience… the whole
problem is not one of creation, but one of direction, and there is no direction unless there is first an embodiment. Let us try this in our meditation. We know that we reflect the Divine Perfection and that there is an intuition within us which guides us. We know that all the power there is and all presence there is, is this perfect Spirit, this Divine Reality, which is around us and through us and in us. — Ernest Holmes

And also:
“You must have some kind of vision for your life, even if you don’t have a plan, you should have a direction in which you choose to go. I never was the kind of a woman who liked to get in the car and just go for a ride…. Do we have a destination? Do we have a plan? Or are we just riding? You have to be in the driver’s seat of your life because if you are not, life will drive you.” — Oprah

I was on the UA campus one day and I saw Dr. Marcia Rieke the principal investigator for the near-infrared camera on the James Webb Space Telescope. “How are things going?” I asked. “Much better than we could have even imagined.” She replied. I smiled. This is not the first time I have heard that statement. That the desired outcome, mental equivalent, was much more than the original idea. That the One Mind, hears our claim, and adds a touch of magic. One of my practitioner studies classmates said the same thing when she spoke about creating a studio space for herself.

Both Dr. Rieke and my classmate had a specific direction, a specific goal they wanted to manifest. A lot of my life, I have been a wanderer. I wrote these words in sometime in the 1970’s.

Skipping stones into the sunset.
Watching waves caress the rocks
Soothing sharp edges
Into sensuous curves – Voices far away and melted.
The sun is a hazy circle
Descending upon the water
And I, I am a wanderer
In search of peace.
And my direction, my direction is to be my authentic self, that knows that God is my Source, and in that, I have found my peace.

Moving Forward

My journey at CSL Tucson started around my relationship with money. My wife and I were taking Mary Morrissey’s Prosperity Plus course at the office. That experience changed from the focus on money into ‘What does it mean to be prosperous?’

My wife was attending CSLT and I reluctantly agreed to show up at a service. I continued showing up on Sundays to hear the messages. Hearing the reminder reassured me. The talking points were relatable and fit with many of my conclusions about reality and the universe as I perceived it. Wanting to have a deeper understanding, I took “Foundations,” then “Visioning” and “Power of Your Word.” The classes made me uncomfortable. And I was encouraged to stay engaged and participate. I continued because I wanted a better understanding.

It was becoming clear to me that I was able to apply the ideas and get results. The ideas presented made it possible for me to expand past my old comfort zones and understand that my thinking influenced my reality more than I had realized. I have since come to embrace this teaching and follow it to the best of my ability.

So why don’t I see more of the world seeking to become enlightened? We have regular gatherings to explore, consider and gain new and exciting insights into the spiritual world. We have opportunities to progress — expanding the exciting possibilities of the human condition.

Humans have evolved to fulfill certain conditions for our survival. The chemical cocktail that is our physical feedback system is understood to the degree that we know that feedback loops have evolved to keep us safe, satisfied and alive.

It is natural for us to want to stay in our comfort zone. And in our present world we have a multitude of distractions that stimulate other chemical feedback loops that keep us satiated — whether that satiation is productive or not. Humans are physically wired to interact with the world in groups, we have evolved this way to insure our survival.

Rev Janis asked some specific and pointed questions on Sunday.

  • How do we encourage participation in our center?
  • Do I want to continue with the method I use?
  • Is gathering old fashioned? What are the benefits of gathering?

Some of my thoughts are:
Tell people
Attract people
Excite people
Visualize people
The reality we live in is our creation.
Involve people
Solve your problems
New world view
Connect people
Connect with G0D
Two heads are better than one.

These ideas have been repeated over and over for thousands of years
People, as mirrors, give us a reflection of ourselves. We gain clarity when we see that.

What thoughts do you have about how we might encourage more participation?

–Chris Wheeler

How Do We…?

“Continuing to do pioneering sacred work in a world as crazy and painful as ours without constantly grounding yourself in a sacred practice would be like running into a forest fire dressed only in a paper tutu.” — Marion Woodman
The world of our experience can certainly seem topsy-turvy right now, and it seems like just one thing after another continues to pop up and challenge us to retain our center, and our balance, and remember what’s ours to control, revisit, and reimagine, and then act accordingly.
And there’s another thing we need to add to this already quite messy mix, which is the desire to pretend that everything’s working out just fine, when that’s a mental wish we have but not something we actually believe & embody in our lives. I want to use today’s blogpost to write about both these things.
When we pretend that everything is okay in our world, but if we check in with our physical experience (our body, and our true mental state), we discover that we don’t truly believe it, that avoidance behavior is called a ‘bypass’. Sometimes bypasses are necessary in the short term, to get us through particularly hard times, but they are not a great place to try to live.
I don’t know anyone who enjoys difficult conversations. I do know folks who are pretty good at having them. When we use bypass to avoid discomfort during difficult conversations, we avoid solving the challenges, so they don’t go away.
I have some home repairs that I’ve been avoiding, because I just don’t want to have to deal with problems that I took on when I bought my little house. I don’t want to deal with the financial expense of making it right. I don’t want to deal with my own internal dialog (again) about how I listened to the realtor and fooled myself into thinking this house was wonderful and perfect, without flaws, just as it was. All the repairs I’ve gotten to pay for have made it more ‘like it was supposed to be’. It is a wonderful and perfect house – the size I wanted, with the amount of upkeep I wanted, in the part of town I wanted, and it’s giving me the opportunity to see where I’ve pretended that things were great when they weren’t.
So how do we do the spiritual work that we need to do in order to keep ourselves grounded, in integrity, in our bodies, congruent with our beliefs, and remembering those things that are within our control? Yes, I realize that’s a tall order. If we don’t do these things, it is, as Marion Woodman suggested in that opening quote, like running into a forest fire wearing a paper tutu.
We can pretend that catching our tutu on fire is part of the program, which it is, if we don’t choose differently in our daily spiritual practice. What do I mean by daily spiritual practice? It’s what you do every single day to keep yourself centered and grounded in your Oneness with all Life. Like what, you might ask? (I hope not but you might.) Meditation, journaling, reading spiritual materials, singing, walking in nature, moving, praying loving others in your world, affirmations, peaceful breathing, generosity… What are these practices for you?
–Rev Janis Farmer

To Playlist, or Not…

Let’s just say certain types of music are not and have never been on my playlists. There are exceptions, I get caught up in the melody or by an artist or songs. I like to hear stories etc…but a considerable amount of music contains messages that I do not want to involve myself with. If the music is exceptional I may listen to it in spite of any message but again they are exceptions.

Like most of us I was influenced by my parents and the world about how to think about things. One of those opinions influenced me to believe that country and western music was not something I should listen to. Over the years I have reinforced this conclusion and sought support from others. I held a belief that the country and western culture was a threat to my ideas.

I now understand that my thinking – my view of reality – and my happiness are connected. Holding thoughts of dissatisfaction regarding anything disrupts the ease and flow of my life.

I recently had the opportunity to accompany my wife to a business function in Nashville at one time known as the capital of the country and western music recording industry. During the preparations for the trip I made the decision to not succumb to my old thoughts and ideas.

Visit the Grand Ole Opry as planned and take things as they come.

This was my very first trip to Nashville Tennessee. I was able to experience the fluid nature of my thoughts and my ability to influence them. Whenever I find I am having thoughts that are causing some sort of resistance to my peace of mind. I do my best to consider them. In other words I avoid deciding to turn and swim upstream.

This approach proved to be optimum for my happiness because I had a remarkable time. Unburdened by the hardships that come with attitudes of various uninvited conclusions that have been a part of my thinking for a long time.

–Chris Wheeler

A Teaching and Learning Organization

As part of what I’ll loosely call Continuing Education, I attended a CSL ministers’ zoom panel discussion last week on the topic, “Certificated Education Programs That Thrive.” The four panelists represented different sizes of Centers – two were rather large, one was medium-sized and one was on the smaller. One of the big Centers, and the medium-sized one had co-ministers, and the other big Center had several supporting ministers working with the senior minister.

Each of those four Centers have had thriving certificated CSL education programs over the years, and each one said that maintaining their educational programming in a meaningful way in these last few years has been quite the adventure. One minister called it a grand, continuing, experiment. I agree.

From the very beginning of our organization, Ernest Holmes made a point of saying that our focus was to teach, learn and practice those techniques, practices and tools that empower every individual (who engages) to improve the quality of their lives, and the lives of those around them. That focus attracted me to this teaching in my early days as a student of Religious Science. Learning to live a life that I love, and assisting/encouraging others to live lives that they love is a really ‘big’ idea for me.

I was heartened, and a little disheartened, to learn that none of the ministers had programs that were substantially different than what we have at CSL Tucson. Most of them cycle through the 6 primary pre-practitioner courses (core curricula) every 2-3 years, and offer other classes that are not part of the core curricula. The larger centers have enough active students to hold their own 2-year Practitioner Training programs, the smaller centers will send their students to the online practitioner programs to complete their practitioner training, just like we did.

One of the panelists said that they saw their Sunday Experience as an inspirational, but a little bit superficial, and that if students wanted to go deeper in their own spiritual practices, and deepen their relationship with others in their community, they took classes. I guess I never got that memo, though I do understand the reasoning behind it. I don’t believe in wasting any opportunity to encourage and empower learning and growth, on Sundays or otherwise.

We also have created a unique situation in CSL Tucson with our shared Daily Morning Practice. This practice allows for regular, deep and powerful practice, learning and heartfelt sharing among those who choose to participate. The group remains open and welcoming to anyone who would like to engage in regular group practice.

Just like us, most of the Centers are keeping the bulk of their classes and educational offerings online. The few that have offered the option of in-person classes have mixed results with classes filling up. It seems we’ve all learned that we appreciate being home in our comfy pants and fuzzy slippers and not having to get in our cars and drive to town to participate in evening classes.

We’ll be creating a brief education survey in the next couple weeks to find out what certificated classes would be of interest as we begin planning our fall and winter classes, and discovering what days of the week and times of day are best.

Thank you for engaging in your own spiritual development. We all benefit. I appreciate you.

–Rev Janis Farmer

GOT RESENTMENT

Yeah, me too. I don’t like it. How about you?

In the Resilient book study class offered last year, I had mentioned that I often feel resentful and that I didn’t want to have those feelings in me. I didn’t like how I felt. Rev. Janis casually mentioned, ‘being resentful is a learned behavior.’ I almost didn’t hear what she said. Learned behavior? I thought who did I learn THAT from? Bam. I answered my own thought immediately. I can only begin to tell you the relief I felt just hearing those words, then. Knowing it was only a learned behavior, IT IS totally possible to UNLEARN that behavior! I felt instant relief.

Jump ahead to this year and I’m in the Atlas of the Heart book study class. We started to discuss the section on resentment, and I quickly announced, “I’m the Queen of resentment.” I said it as though it were a good thing! Ha! What? What am I thinking? Let me tell you, I’ve been thinking about this ever since I said that. Every thought we think and every word we speak, is creating our future (Louise Hay). I don’t want to be the Queen of resentment. I’m happy to let someone else wear that crown.

Why do we hang on to resentment? I don’t know but it’s obvious I do. Since I haven’t quite figured out how it serves me, I know it must, since I haven’t let it go. As I was walking past the 40′ shipping container on my property, the thought came to me that ‘hanging onto resentment is kind of like hoarding.’ The effects of one afflicted by it are basically the same since it is so difficult to let it go. I speak from experience in both areas.

Let me just clarify that a bit.

Resentment: a feeling of anger because you have been forced to accept something that you do not like. (Cambridge Dictionary)
Hoarding: a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. (Mayo Clinic)

Resentment is a thought; hoarding is an action. Both of which I don’t want. Neither serves me well.

What serves me well are thoughts and actions that bring me peace calm and order. That’s what I want to focus my attention on. Many years ago, I showed up at CSLT looking for a little bit of spiritual guidance. I got it, and a whole lot more than I ever bargained for. I love a good bargain. How about you?

Madeline Pallanes

fear, fight, flight, freeze, flop, fawn…

                                        … Faith, Forgiveness, Flow, Freedom

The seed of freedom must be planted in the innermost being of man, but… man must make the great discovery for himself.
Ernest Holmes The Science of Mind 25.2

I have finished the Spiritual Practitioner classwork, and my panels to become a licensed practitioner are this Saturday, June 25. This journey has been about living life from my center, going within and being one with the Source, with Life. It has been an awareness of how much of my time has been spent on looking outside myself for guidance. Aligning with Spirit is a constant monitoring of my thoughts, and when I get off course, to re-align. How can I assist someone to find their Divine Center if I can’t do that myself?

Looking at my life experiences and how I have related to them in the past; fear, and the five responses to being challenged (some would use the word trauma), fight, flight, freeze, fawn, flop. My top two behaviors are freeze, and fawn, which means compliance and people pleasing. These lifelong behaviors are not easy to change, but with awareness, practice, and weekly time with my prayer partners, I started transforming those experiences through faith and forgiveness, to get to flow and freedom. Ernest Holmes words on freedom became more than words, they became an experience.

This journey is about living life inside out, to know my truth by deepening my union with God. My Truth is not always comfortable, but it is Freedom.

The Divine Plan is one of Freedom; bondage is not God-ordained.
Freedom is the birthright of every living soul…. The truth points to freedom, under Law. Thus the inherent nature of man is forever seeking to express itself in terms of freedom. We do well to listen to this Inner Voice, for it tells us of a life wonderful in its scope; of a love beyond our fondest dreams; of a freedom which the soul craves.
Ernest Holmes The Science of Mind 25.3

Photo by Jill Wellington

–Maria

Visioning

Of the four spiritual practices used in Science of Mind (Affirmations, Spiritual Mind Treatment, Meditation, Visioning), Visioning was the one I had worked with and understood the least. I was delighted that enough people joined me in making this class, which recently concluded, happen.

I had in the past used visualization, such as making a vision board or seeing myself succeed at a task. Maybe even wanting this class to occur now, I helped to manifest it. This is different from Visioning. As the class’ student guide puts it, “It is the difference between directing Spirit to have our way (visualization) and allowing Spirit to have Its way (visioning).”

I had practiced visioning a little as part of a class or in a group visioning for the highest for CSLT. The practice has usually been to center in Oneness, then open to the vision by asking a series of questions: 1-What is your highest vision or ideal for ____? 2- What changes, evolves or becomes as this highest vision comes into existence?

3-Is there anything else which wants to be known, understood or realized? We write down any images, feelings, sounds, etc. that come to/through mind. The leader will then gather these from all the individuals and compile a list, which is then distributed back to the individuals. This has been where I have usually stopped with the practice.

This class taught and allowed me to practice the next step which is that, in identifying themes, you articulate the vision through spiritual discernment. It is fascinating to see what comes through during the visioning process, but what do all these seemingly random ideas mean? What could Spirit be trying to tell me through images of: Dogs barking happily, blue jeans, plaid shirt, playful winged insects, beach, chair on a cloud? Could it be, as one of my classmates suggested, to loosen up, dress down, be happy and relax?

The full title of the class was Visioning: A Way of Life! So, after we figured out what our visioning session was telling us, we were asked to develop a Vision Statement which we make a commitment to become. When you embody the vision, you attune to Spirit and allow Spirit to show you how it wants to express itself through you to bring forth your highest and best experience of life. Bring on the happy, relaxed, casual Life!

Now that I have finally taken this class, I look forward to joining the Vision Core which meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30pm on the Sunday Zoom channel. If you have taken the Visioning class, recently or before, you are welcomed to join in also.

–Janet Salese

GOT WORRIES

I do. My guess is that you do too. It’s been said, “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.” “Let your worries go.” Yeah right. I’m working on that.

Why do we worry especially when it keeps us in a state of anxiety and uncertainty? I don’t know for sure, but I think it is a learned behavior that became a habit. It’s what we know how to do well. Most of us have had a lot of practice and experience worrying. I think we worry at times because it shows care & concern for others. “I was worried about you!” We worry ourselves into a tizzy and sometimes even get sick from it.

But how can we not worry? I don’t know. I’m still working on that. What I do know is I have many practices that have helped to ease my worries over the years:

•      I mentally throw my worries into the church service and leave them there to dissolve into a sacred space. I remind myself, ‘wherever I am, I am in sacred space.’
•     I have a Worry Basket that I mentally throw my worries into to dissolve. (See picture of the Burden Basket. It was used for gathering crops and once a woman returned home, she would hang her basket on the front door. Those that considered their home a sacred space, the basket was a symbol that visitors were to leave all their worries, anger, and negative emotions in the basket before entering to protect the space.)
•    I use a prayer box that I have o my nightstand when a worry is
creating insomnia.
•    I practice Worry on Wednesday. I remind myself to only worry on Wednesday between 12 and 2 pm.
•    I remind myself that the great majority of what I worry about never happens. The little bit that does, really isn’t as bad as I worried about.
•    I attend our morning meditation regularly and surround myself with like-minded friends.
•   I study the Science of Mind.

o Faith is the only complete answer to our worries-faith in something greater than we are”-Ernest Holmes- How to stop worrying. This PDF available from Science of Mind Archives
o “We must heal ourselves from worry. This tension is relaxed as we gain confidence in good, in truth and in beauty.”- Ernest Holmes Science of Mind 245.3

This haiku was written during morning meditation by Susan Seid:

“Release all worry
In God’s hands, troubles dissolve
Lay them down, have faith”

–Madeline Pallanes

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