Communing with Your Essential Self

Ernest Holmes (The Art of Life 115.2) wrote, Just as, when we are tired physically, a bath in fresh running water invigorates us, so when we are tired or discomforted mentally, spiritual communion, bathing in the ocean of the Infinite, invigorates the mind and clarifies the thinking. Every person should take time for this inner communion, time when they separate themselves from all that appears evil or negative, time to plunge into the living waters of their Being. Just as we take a sunbath, so there is an inner light into which we may plunge, an inner consciousness in which we may bathe. The rays of the invisible Sun penetrate the soul just as the rays of the physical sun penetrate the body, renewing and rejuvenating.

That’s a dandy idea, but how do we do it?

In the same way that David Richo (Triggers 69.3) wrote about deepening, expanding our psychic dimensions, and activating our potential, inner central resource, and the Zanders (The Art of Possibility 96.2) wrote about shifting away from the controlling, calculating self toward the central self which remembers that life moves fluidly like a constantly varying river, and so do we, Barbara Marx Hubbard (Emergence) reminds us again and again that we are more than our physical, externalized life, and she suggests one pathway whereby we can become more aware of, and open a dialog with, our Essential Self.

For herself, she has named this Essential Self, the Beloved. That name may not work for you, and it may work just fine. If you may need a different name, figure out what it would be and use that, or have your first question in your dialog with it, “What shall I call you?” But I get ahead of myself.

How do we commune with this part of ourselves that is already one within the Divine Nature? We get still, we open our minds, and we listen. We pose a question, and we wait for a reply. It often helps to do this as a journaling exercise, because then we have a record of our exploration and we can go back and look at it later, if we need to prove to ourselves that it did indeed happen.

Barbara suggests (Emergence 40.5-41.1) that a good place to start is to write and describe from memory those key experiences you had of inner guidance. This will help you get acquainted with the Essential Self by bringing it to your conscious attention. What did the voice, or inspired thought, tell you? What did it feel like? Describe any experiences you have had of your Essential Self, any messages or guidance you have received, any qualities you have noted that characterize the inner guide.

She then continues, Once you have done this, try this exercise: Write a letter address to ‘Dearly Beloved” or whatever name you choose for your Essential Self. Describe your current situation as precisely as you can, the good and the apparently difficult. Ask the most important questions you may have, as clearly as you can; then release all thought, have no preconceptions. Develop the habit of a poised mind, like a sailboat on a calm sea waiting for the wind.

Our purpose here is precise. It is to establish direct contact with the inner voice, the still, small voice of God expressing as your Essential Self. Start writing any sentence as the inner voice, and see what unfolds. Do not edit, judge or correct anything. If nothing comes, that is fine. Continue to be (mentally and physically) still.

If you have been hearing an inner voice and writing in your journal before, this process will be relatively easy. If you have not yet tried this, simply follow the steps with no expectations. Whatever happens will be helpful, this much I know for sure. Everyone has within a deeper, wiser, all-knowing self.

The Essential Self desires to commune with each and every one of us. It is the living water of our individual and collective Being. It wishes only good and greater good for each of us, and all of Life.

Take the plunge, the water’s fine.


–compiled by Rev Janis

Bringing Peace Into My Day

I am busy! I have commitments to clients, to Boards of which I am a member including CSLT, to my friends and neighbors, and to myself by which I mean my daily spiritual, exercise, and health practices. It is not uncommon for me to spend 6-8 hours on Zoom calls throughout the day. These are times where I cannot do my work-work when I have tax deadlines rapidly approaching. My days feel like they are filled to the brim and there is a resulting feeling of pressure fueled by fear of missing something or of being yelled at by an unhappy client because I did not fulfill my commitment.

This is the current Condition with which I work to introduce peace, poise, presence, prosperity, and power or P5, a term I learned from a member of our Morning Meditation. It was coined in a CSLT “Foundations of the Science of Mind” class. Am I ready to relax, to experience a greater peace throughout the day? Yes, to the best of my ability, which is probably about 85%. I so enjoy experiencing the many different activities of which I am a member. And I do not even know if the number of things I do will change. What I want to change is the feeling of dread, of pressure that has been a regular companion of mine for many years, throughout different life situations. I remember the summer of 1983 after my first child was born. She was an infant and I was a full-time student. I had only one class that summer, a correspondence course. I remember thinking I needed to appreciate that still time with Nicole as a baby as it would not happen again. And I do remember the peace and the appreciation for not needing to work.

I have found some relief from my sense of myself as a ‘naughty little girl’ that often kicks in around work. And when I take time off to go to the doctor, which I am doing now as I go to the chiropractor to deal with recurring pain in my hip. It kicked up recently and, because, I am tired of feeling this pain, I have visited the acupuncturist and now the chiropractor. I have slowed down my daily walks and will not do the weight machines for my legs at the gym to see if I can get this under control. Holistically, I attribute this pain to fear. Hip issues are, according to Louise Hay, a ‘major thrust in moving forward’. My acupuncturist gave me the affirmation – I am in perfect balance. I move forward in life with ease and with joy at every age – from Louise Hay’s book Heal Yourself.

With regard to the busy schedule, I am applying my numerous resources to this process. First there is Prosperity Plus 3 where I created a first draft of my vision that includes me working part-time. Second, I will work with my prayer partner from “Power of Your Word”. We continue to meet on Tuesdays now that the class is over. Third, my health and wellness coach will work with me to determine if this is a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out) or whether there is another underlying cause. And, of course, my own internal investigation, being honest with myself about my tendency to jam pack every moment.

So, this will be very interesting. Because this is the way I have lived for so long, I am intrigued to be dealing with this now – that I have become willing to verbalize this behavior as causing me a problem. And I laugh because whenever I address an emotional issue, it is so major and obvious. As always, there is more to learn and an opportunity for additional relief.

–Marya Wheeler

 

 

The Universal Human

Barbara Marx Hubbard

I first encountered Barbara Marx Hubbard, and the idea of the Universal Human, at Unity of Houston a whole bunch of years ago. Dr Michael Gott wasn’t there yet, and I remain forever grateful about that. If he had been part of that community, I can imagine feeling hard-pressed to leave Houston, and to move to the desert. Unity of Houston brought Barbara Marx Hubbard to town for a special series of workshops to introduce her new book Emergence, and to allow those of us who attended that day to arrange ourselves into home study groups.


So what is a Universal Human? As I said in my closing comments this past Sunday, A Universal Human is one who is connected through the heart to the whole of life, attuned to the deeper intelligence of nature, and called forth irresistibly by Spirit to creatively express his or her gifts in the evolution of the self that is a direct expression of Source. To become a Universal Human is to evolve consciously, choosing a path of development that has never been mapped before in a world that has never existed before. (p.4)

Is it attractive, or scary, to think that we might still be walking an uncharted path in uncharted territory? Probably both. And yet, are we ever really following in someone else’s footsteps if we are walking our own path?

Antonio Michado is credited with writing, …Wanderer, there is no road. The road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road – only a wake upon the sea.

There are those who say we are in the early stages of the 6th major extinction event, the first one where humans have been present. [The 5th major extinction event was 65 million years ago, and may have taken up to 2.5 million years to complete. It is believed to have begun with meteor strikes combined with increased volcanic activity, resulting in the extinction of non- avian dinosaurs, as well as many other species. The 5th major extinction event created opportunities and space for mammals and birds to rapidly diversify and evolve.] If indeed, the 6th major extinction event is underway, rather than being disheartened and distressed, Barbara Marx Hubbard saw it as a glorious opportunity for humans to step up as a species and intentionally evolve from Homo sapiens sapiens to something more, which she calls Homo universalis. Catastrophic changes often catalyze new beginnings both at the individual level and for the collective whole.

This is new territory, an untraveled road. I look forward to considering this potential new world that we can choose to create together, a world that works for all, on Wednesdays starting next week, September 9th from 5:30-7pm at our Sunday zoom link.

If you wish to participate in the conversation, get a copy (or an e-copy) of Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Emergence, The Shift from Ego to Essence, 10 Steps to the Universal Human, and let’s go exploring. Reading through the foreword, introduction and first 32 pages ahead of time will be useful preparation for our first conversation.


–Rev Janis

Having Compassion for the Frustrated and Frustrating

Be kind to yourself, and then let your kindness flood the world — Pema Chodron

How can it be possible to practice compassion toward people who frustrate you, or to those who do so much harm in the world?

Our experiences in the world do not support practicing compassion with people like this. First a global pandemic has turned the world completely upside down, with unclear messages from our leaders. We bore witness to George Floyd’s murder, which was traumatizing enough, even though it has become a catalyst to action for the Black Community and allies who have reached a tipping point with blatant racism so prevalent and pervasive in our nation and society. We see peaceful protests, and we also see rubber bullets, tear gas, looting, violence and the latest nebulous activity and arrests in Portland, OR.

While my external experience of the greater world at this moment is disturbing and unpleasant, I have to stop and remember that I can affect only what’s in my area of influence. Directly within my area of influence (at least sometimes) is my life and, to a lesser degree, the lives of my Renee and her children and grandchildren. Yes, it is hard to remember I am a great-grandmother to an 11-year old!

I recently had my granddaughter and 11-year old great granddaughter here from Texas for a visit. Oh my goodness, what an experience. Her Mother returned to Texas because she needed to go back to work and my great granddaughter stayed for another week. She was a handful, misbehaving constantly and continuously. She argued with both me, and her grandmother Renee, at every opportunity. She went through all the makeup she could find in the apartment and mixed a lot of it up together. She also went through every drawer in the house, looking for what, I’ll never know, but some things are now missing. She even brought Renee to tears several times. I managed to suppress my anger, but it was difficult! When Renee, my daughter, asked me what could we do about this, I told her the only thing I knew to do. Since we couldn’t possibly remedy her reasons for misbehaving in 1 week, was to just be firm, but let her know she was loved, in spite of whatever she did.

To be honest, participating in the 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life book study group for the second time(!) helped me through this difficult and awkward situation.

I truly believe when you practice compassion for others, you benefit as well, reaping better health, your overall wellbeing improves, and your relationships are better.

Here are some tips we can use to move ourselves towards a practice of greater compassion:

1. Separate the person from their behavior
2. Imagine whirled peas, when you see people whose actions don’t align with your values, imagine
that person enjoying a particular tasty vegetable you also like, to create commonality,
communion, and at least the possibility of collaboration.
3. Try a loving kindness meditation for that person. Keep working at it!
4. Don’t forget yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have!

Every single person on the planet deserves compassion, including each of us. No matter what.


–Janie Hooper

Yay for Boats in the Desert!

Reverend Janis described using a boat. She loves her boats. I love my boats. What we are referring to is the joke about the man stuck on his roof during a devastating flood. When a boat approaches, he declines help, saying that God will rescue him. A helicopter comes by to rescue him and he declines their help, explaining that God will rescue him. Then he drowns. When he gets to heaven, he asks God why God didn’t rescue him. God replies, “I sent a boat and a helicopter!” A boat refers to receiving help recognizing that, in unity, we are all one and that help received is the same as help given. And the awareness that the Divine will provide help to me through people.

My two most recent experiences of receiving help were from two of my coaches. I have a business coach and a Health and Wellness (H&W) coach. I also have a sponsor in the 12-step program to which I belong.

My H&W coach meets with me every 2-3 weeks. She is wonderful and helps me establish good health habits. We work on ways to deal with my feeling of panic that causes me to overeat. She helps me devise strategies that help me get to sleep as it often takes me 45-60 minutes to power down enough to fall asleep. I was explaining that I had stopped walking with my girlfriends because I was focusing on completing tax returns before the deadline. The problem was that I was not finding that I had any extra time as I gave up my movement. She advised me to start moving again. She has been working with me for about 1 year and commented on how important exercise is to me. And reminding me that I do better when I have a hard work out. That was on July 2. The next day I walked 21⁄2 miles with my friends. On July 4, I got up early and walked around Randolph Park from my house and back, a distance of 4.5+ miles. I have been doing that daily since and feel so much better. On rest days, I walk 3 miles because I need movement every day. My body expects it.

I meet with my business coach monthly. She is an integrative coach who believes that personal and business are the same. I receive guidance of a practical sense – she transformed my time management by helping me set up a hybrid system using a Google sheets list of tasks and a daily planner because she says that I have my long list and then every day I tend to work off a separate agenda. That is totally true. When I talked to her about needing to trust my ability to complete my work on time and relaxing instead of living in stress based on deadlines, she later said that she knew that I needed to increase my connection to Spirit.

Through her skillful questioning I was able to come back into knowing that my business success is Spirit-based and that I can rely on the Divine to ease my way with regard to deadlines and tasks that appear challenging. This is extra important as I am preparing for an audit with my largest client. Last year’s audit was very difficult and so my “triggers” are in full force. Using our Science of Mind philosophy, I remember I need to see through appearances to know the reality that all is perfect and whole. Applying SOM to my work means that even though I experience stress dealing with strong personalities and the appearance of authority, it is my job to look beyond appearances and know that my tasks are manageable and that I have the resources I need to complete the task. Talking with her re- centered me and I was able to discuss strategies to remind me of my connection with Spirit throughout my day. And like Science of Mind, I looked over at my windowsill and saw my little altar full of keepsakes that I created several years ago with friends. It’s in a repurposed Altoids tin. I closed it up and put it in my desk drawer and I intend to look at it daily.

I also poured pink Himalayan salt that my coach, Tabitha, said is very clearing spiritually into a singing bowl to keep by my computer screen. I can play with it while on Zoom calls. She suggested I purchase some palo santos sticks, which I did, to burn daily to spread peace and positivity. I grabbed my Angel Therapy oracle cards and fired up my essential oils diffuser. I feel totally blessed to receive help, guidance and support from my friends. Ha!

I do pay both of them and they are also clients of mine so we totally help each other out! And the fact that Tabitha supports my spirituality is an added bonus. It reminds me that I am loved and that the Divine does indeed provide what I need by giving me boats in the desert.

-Marya Wheeler

Jaded

“Who are you – When you are NOT a problem to be solved?” Bryan Stevenson

And it doesn’t count as a solution when we project all our personal problems onto one or more “outside” entities. It doesn’t count as a solution, because we still own the problem of living surrounded by problems.

Having gained enough distance from my time in NYC and learned enough Science of Mind, I am beginning to understand that too much of my time was spent with unhappy, jaded people. They believed they had seen too much, been overlooked too many times, were not valued highly enough …. if only things were different: boss, money, job, family.

The solution, as Rev. Janis reminds us frequently, is not in the stars or even in the whatever we identify as “the problem.” That unhappiness, those choices are our very own, in fact our only, responsibility to own and improve.

Though this idea runs rampant in our world, allowing the common hour jaded cynicism to enfold us is choosing that as our reality. Yes, our current environment burgeons with challenges – oh you bet. And every time we, meaning you and I, sigh and say I wish it weren’t so – we make it more real. Every time, we contribute more energy to the overflowing sense of a world in chaos.

My personal challenge, one of them, is to hold and cherish both of these:
“Disregarding all evidence to the contrary, the student of Truth will maintain he lives in a Perfect Universe and among people potentially perfect…..At first he may be influenced by conditions, and he may appear to be weak, but as time goes on he will prove to himself that his position is a correct one…” Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 184.5-185.1

And along with knowing and living that –
“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.” Bryan Stevenson

The challenge for each of us is to know both the Truth and the brokenness – those things that need, in fact, must change. Move them away from our emotions, and into our vision of a perfect world. Only when we know Perfect as capital ”R” Reality, can we act not with despair or anger, but with the knowing it as already here – then we embody the Perfect not the pain.

Because finally:
“What we demonstrate today, tomorrow and the next day is not as important as the TENDENCY WHICH OUR THOUGHT IS TAKING…the dominant attitude of our mind…, if every day we are expressing more life, we are going in the right direction.” (Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 306.3)

Yes, that was Dr. Holmes YELLING. Consistent persistence in knowing and choosing our own thoughts and behaviors – we build the trend line to that Perfect that is Reality.

–Take care of yourself and your loved ones, peace to all everywhere. Mariann

Having New Eyes

Can a rebirth that comes from spiritual adversity and dis-ease cause us to become new creatures, and create a more conscious platform from which we can go forward in these difficult and unpredictable times? I think it can. I think this most unusual time may be the only thing that does move us out of our complacency into new awareness.

That, for me, is the question of the hour. How can I grow from this experience? I see it as an opportunity to increase my spiritual life and open my heart to ask the God of my understanding, how can I be of service this day? What is mine to do in order to make my own life, as well as those I love, a richer more meaningful experience, in spite of the current restrictions we all are living with?

I never dreamed I would be grateful for the Internet! It is the main way, through the tools of Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, emails and text that I can keep My connections with my beloved family, friends and Spiritual Community.

❤ One of the joys for me personally of using the Internet is that I get to do the Twelve Steps to the Compassionate Life bookstudy online with Keith and several others on Zoom. It is my second time in three years to do this class, and I can’t believe how intimate and close we have all become after just the first two weeks. I feel bonded as though we were actually together, using Gallery mode in Zoom, I can see everyone at once. What an unexpected
delight!

I am blessed in that I do not live alone, but have my daughter living with me. My heart goes out to those that live alone.

So, keep your eyes, ears and heart open to all the good possibilities that lie ahead, and as they say in AA, “ This too shall pass.”

 

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

The Long Haul

There’s so much I want to say, so I’ll see if I can get the words to come out in any sensible order. Perhaps I should have entitled this post, The Heavy Lift. Both titles would apply equally. I’ll start with Dr Ernest Holmes, from The Science of Mind 51.1. “One of the great difficulties in this new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice. As a matter of fact, we only know as much as we can prove by actual demonstration.”

It is too easy to look at the abundance of upset and disarray that surround us in the world of form right now and look for someone to be at fault, or at least someone we can blame, or for us to feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed by something we, or people like us, have done in the past. Pointing fingers, damning, discrediting or demeaning someone, and looking for some statue to tear down, or somebody to fire or send to jail, doesn’t get to the root of the apparent issue, or lead to any sort of solution with lasting effect. Those actions do create a brief feeling of satisfaction; we did something and made some noise. Yay, us. These are not short-term blips that we can put a splint on (like a broken finger) so they can heal ‘enough’ and we can get back to business as usual. At least I hope they’re not.

The Stage Is Set
The Bighorn Fire (18+ days, started by lightning, 65,500+ acres burned (as of June 23 @ 3:51am), remarkably only 4 minor heat-related injuries). The Incident Management Teams (and the 900+ firefighters that have been involved in the response so far) have masterfully handled the Bighorn fire. The smoke that hangs over much of southeast Arizona like a shroud, and the fires that light up the night (in a bad way), leave us all a little on edge and more than a little uneasy. This just adds to the general malaise and discomfort.

Covid-19. Our experience of the physical world has changed drastically in the last 3 months. Who would have guessed, besides some dystopian science (fiction) writers, that a novel virus would send all of us to our rooms for an indeterminate period of time? And that the very human desire to gather together, for companionship and comfort is the most dangerous thing we can do for the protection of our most vulnerable members of our society. And the feebleness of our food supply, and our health care system. And, and, and (I could go on)…

Political divisiveness, extremism (on all sides) and groundless ‘haterade’. I’m just going to leave this right here.

The Main Event
I’ve been listening to E.O. Wilson’s audiobook, The Meaning of Human Existence. He writes about the strong tribal need for belonging, and the primitive/primal need to have an other, so that we have some made-up reason to band together, separate ourselves and protect our group. He goes on to say that we create enemies to make ourselves feel stronger, and safer, as long as we are in the ‘in crowd’. The idea of us-versus-them is embedded in human consciousness, and of primary importance in default thinking, or the collective unconscious, or race tendency. A bias toward or against any particular ethnicity is not implied by that unfortunate word choice. These phrases represent a way to describe thoughts and beliefs that are commonly held by many/most people. They do not include only ‘bad’ thoughts or beliefs; they include all shared thoughts and beliefs. If we don’t intentionally choose a thought or belief, we choose default thinking, by default.

Remember Jane Elliott’s blue eyes-brown eyes exercise with her third grade class in 1968? (read more @ janeelliott.com) She wanted her students to see the embedded irrationality of people with one eye color being superior to people of another eye color. The kids bought into it hook, line and sinker. When they were the favored ones, they treated the other children badly. When they fell out of favor (for no apparent reason), the felt crushed by what seemed like the entire weight of the world on their backs, and the opposite group repeated the pattern of assumed superiority. There’s something very primitive about being favored and on top. It wasn’t until later, when they were discussing the exercise that they could begin to see that they had done anything irrational. On one level, it seems that tribalism is an innate human condition.

In Cynthia James’ ‘Conversations of the Heart’ call last Friday night that I spoke about last Sunday, one of the participants rather dejectedly asked, “Why would the people in power give up their superior position?” None of us had a good answer to her question. Why would they?

E.O. Wilson also wrote about the differences that had been observed by scientists in studying animal behavior between success of individuals within groups and the success of groups as wholes. Within a group, selfish individuals tend to do better than the remainder of the group, but between groups the groups with more altruistic individuals tend to do better than groups with lots of selfish individuals. This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who thinks about human dynamics either.

In game theory, there is a strategy called tit-for-tat. Essentially, if a player is provoked, they retaliate. If they are not provoked, they cooperate. In long-term games, those who cooperate have greater success. Earlier this month, I read a report (theconversation.com/nondiscrimination-against-lgbt-individuals-isnt-just-the-law-it- helps-organizations-succeed-140810) that gives me hope that altruistic (nondiscriminatory) behaviors can be seen as benefitting individuals as well as the whole.

The Goal, and One Possible Route
Futurist Buckminster Fuller wrote, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Some of us are just becoming aware of how biased existing systems have been, and are looking for new models that value everyone’s contribution, while dismantling the old systems one interaction at a time. It’s a slow process, an uncovering of old stories that are so old, and so buried, we don’t even know they are there.

We are starting down a path that could lead to a new world, one that works for everyone. We won’t succeed using the same rules and playing the same game. We won’t get there by discarding what presently exists, and disenfranchising participants in the process. We need a new model that makes the old model obsolete.

In the next three months, CSLT will be exploring this new territory. We start with a guest speaker on Sunday July 5th, Dr Karmen Smith speaking about how “Love Changes America”. I hope you’ll plan to attend our zoom service that Sunday. She is a powerful speaker.

Then we’ll move through a series of three quick book studies in July (David Richo’s Triggers (How We Can Stop Reacting and Start Healing)), August (Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility, which is about the importance of relationship and connection, and how our small separate, calculating, selves inhibit our progress and get in our way) and September (Barbara Marx Hubbard’s Emergence, The Shift from Ego to Essence (10 steps to the Universal Human)). [The book links will lead you to Amazon. However, if you log in to smile.amazon.com and choose “Center for Spiritual Living Location: Tucson, AZ”, our Center will receive donations, which will be greatly appreciated]

The path of the Universal Human may be a new model that moves us in the direction we long for and desire.

Ernest Holmes wrote in 365 Science of Mind 186.1, “We are made perfect when we enter into the communion of love with one another and with the invisible essence of Life. Love is the fulfillment of the Law, that is, we do not make the highest use of the Law unless that use is motivated by Love, by a sincere desire to express unity, harmony, and peace.”

Join me in envisioning and embodying this new world, the world that works for everyone.

–Rev Janis

Introducing Susan Seid, Our Newest Board Member

Looking back over my life, one of the “constants” has been my connection to God. As a young child in Sunday school, our teacher asked, “Where is God?” I answered, “ I think that God is inside of me”. It was clear that was not the answer she was looking for. However, I have always felt that God was both around and within me. Despite being one of six children, I often ended up being the only one to go to Sunday school and then to church. I even attended a Bible camp one summer in Maine but it was run by the Baptists and that was another story.

I was born in Syracuse, raised in the Boston suburbs and attended the Congregational Church. Like many, I drifted away during college and early adulthood. In my early twenties, a friend invited me to go to the UCC Congregational Church in Norwell MA and it re-ignited my connection to God. A few years later, I was going through a very difficult divorce. My minister and church family were especially supportive. One day I sat by myself in a courtroom waiting for the judge to order a restraining order. And then, I had a physical sensation of a warm hug. Puzzled by it, I mentioned it later that evening to one of my church friends. It turned out that they had all been together praying for me at that moment. Since then, I have never doubted the power of prayer.

As single mom with two young children and no support, I began to work full time. I had graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a degree in buying and merchandising. After a few years in retail, I began working in the mail order industry. Later in 1990, I was recruited by Arizona Mail Order, which is how I found my way to Tucson. I loved it here immediately.

During the following decade, I was recruited away by companies in other parts of the country but always wanted to return. It was during this time I found myself being drawn to New Thought. While working in Atlanta, I heard an ad for the Church of Religious Science on the radio. I wandered in one Sunday morning and listened transfixed to Reverend Paul Gonyea speak and knew I was home. I began feverishly taking classes and learned the wisdom of Holmes, Troward and Emerson. Science of Mind began a major transformation of my life. So when an opportunity arose to buy a portion of the business for which I had been working, I took a life-changing leap. Troward said, “When we have the end held firmly in consciousness, the means to bring it about has already been set in motion”. And during this time, I was honored to serve on the Board of Trustees for a newly formed center, CSL Midtown.

Despite some unforeseen major challenges, my company survived and thrived. Some years later, I sold all but the art portion of the company and was able to return to Tucson. I live here with my little dog, Brady. And although they are not near, I enjoy my seven grandchildren and yes, five great grandchildren. Such wonderful abundance!

–Susan

Caring: Without Clutching, Comparing or Competing

Like most of us I can be really good in some circumstances and with some people. But there are times when I know that I allow common hour thinking to initiate reactions that are not even close to my best choice. I find myself fretting or stressing over/about something/someone. And I am heading off course while steadfastly ignoring the fact that I am screwing up. This tends to muck up my own energy and obscure what would actually be best for me.

So, I’ve set a goal for myself to use this present time to clear out both physical and emotional clutter, and I’ve come to the following C’s.

Caring without Clutching, Comparing, or Competing. All of which sounds pretty cool and very Zen.

And very hard to do in this world that teaches us to value primarily how we compare to others; how well we amass and keep stuff forever; and how our behavior, work, car, practice is always better or worse than others and so on.

When, in fact, the only measurement of importance is the wholeness I find inside. Whether one calls it Spirit, self-fulfillment, heart or purpose, if I am not always looking to live from and as Peace within – my without is seriously compromised.

We are all individualized centers of God-consciousness and spiritual power, as complete as we know ourselves to be, and we know ourselves only as we comprehend our relationship to the whole.
— Ernest Holmes, How to Change Your Life 123.3

From Gay Hendricks’ THE BIG LEAP: …. When I was growing up my next-door neighbor shared a powerful bit of wisdom with me …. On Judgment Day, Mr. Lewin said, God will not ask ‘Why were you not Moses? ‘ He will ask ’Why were you not Sam Lewin?” I replace the ‘god judging day’ with a more immediate personal presence and practice. The questions I ask myself regularly:

To start a new day – How can I be my best self today?
Evening contemplation: When was I my best self today? When was I not?

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde

“Know Thyself.” — Dead Greek personage. Or Polonius. Or Hallmark.

“Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the self-reliance of every one of its members.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

And finally, a bit of advice I keep posted where I see it regularly. Because change is hard, and learning to live in a more present, aware state of being is quite the challenge.

Success is not final,
Failure is not fatal,
It is the courage to continue that counts.
— Winston S. Churchill

So taking this time when we have been plucked from our “old normal” into a strange and unsettling time, I’m working to find and release those old rules of comparison, competition, clutching and replace them with a sense of self that springs from Spiritual Peace and personal choice.

Staying awake to inner Truth as well as the best practices needed here and now, we will all emerge different and better when we come back together.

–Peace, Mariann

1 2 3