Laughing Until It Hurts – Someone

Irony and sarcasm are forms of communication in which the literal meaning of the words is different, often opposite, from the intended message. In both irony and sarcasm, there may be an element of criticism and humor. However, sarcasm is a particular type of irony in which the underlying message is normally meant to ridicule, tease, or criticize. Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart

I enjoy being funny. When we make others laugh it can feel joyful and the ego gets a bump. Yet my primary motivation in relating to others is to be kind. Often humor at another’s expense can be unkind, even cruel. This is often accomplished with sarcasm. According to Oscar Wilde, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence.” Brené Brown asks, “Are you dressing something up in humor that actually requires clarity and honesty?”

I first practiced sarcasm as a defense against an older brother who was physically bullying at times when we were young. Of course, spewing mean words that put down the enemy doesn’t necessarily make up for receiving sticks and stones, but it was the best tool I had in my arsenal since I didn’t like hitting anyone, even my brother. It’s not unusual for a first-born to think “things were just fine until they brought that other baby home,” especially if there’s a short time between births. Sibling rivalry is an interesting phenomenon rife with opportunities for sarcasm.

I noticed a puzzled reaction from my 3-year-old grandson once when my husband said something sarcastic such as, “Gee, you don’t have any toys, do you?” Clearly, what my grandson was hearing wasn’t true and he seemed confused. He hadn’t been exposed to that kind of teasing and couldn’t perceive my husband’s motive to be funny.

Some April Fools’ jokes have caused misunderstanding, confusion, and embarrassment for the target of the joke. Often, I may not be clear that a remark is sarcastic and find myself asking.”Really? Or are you kidding?”

In the section titled Judge Not, That Ye Be Not Judged (Science of Mind, page 433), Ernest Holmes reminds us “…life must return to us the manifestation of our motives, thoughts, and desires – whether these motives, thoughts and desires were intended for ourselves or others. It means that the thought of judgment, criticism and condemnation must, in time, operate against the one who sets it in motion!” A good reason to be careful in what we put out verbally.

I think of Henny Youngman with his “Take my wife, please.” Making his wife the butt of his jokes entertained a lot of people and made him a lot of money. I believe this form of comedy can be offensive. A broad category of offensive jokes includes sexist, racist, and ethnic jokes along with jokes about sexual orientation, disability, nationality, profession, and other human traits.

Sometimes we are quick-witted and say something sarcastic or insensitive without first thinking it through. Making amends is sometimes called for. I believe that sarcasm can be an example of a passive aggressive attack and too often we think saying “I was just kidding” will excuse our lack of compassion. Sarcasm can be displayed in varying personal encounters from the boardroom to the cheerleading squad especially where there is competition.

I hope to avoid sarcasm but still enjoy humor and laughter. As Ann Lamott says, “Laughter is carbonated holiness.” To me the solution is recognizing that we are one with the Divine; that Source supports and guides us through any change or perceived difficulty; that love and compassion are our answer when dealing with our fellows. One of the Four Agreements, as written by don Miguel Ruiz is to “take nothing personally.” When we take the risk to live our ultimate truth, we don’t need anyone else’s validation. Kindness should be our primary intention in communicating with others.

–Linda Bullock

Prosperity by Living As …

As we prepare the way for our new minister I was reflecting about our center as – Vibrant Thriving Prosperous Center.

“We believe that the Universal Spirit, which is God, operates through a Universal Mind, which is the Law of God; and that we are surrounded by this Creative Mind which receives the direct impress of our thought and acts upon it.” CSL Doctrine

“We enter into harmony with the Law of Increase by actually becoming a person of increase. A Person of increase is a person who leaves each person or situation they encounter better than they found it. A person of increase is a person who offers to be of service, a person who offers praise and a person who lives from gratitude. This type of person has the mindset of service. When you do this, you allow the increase to move through your life. –Mary Morrissey (modified)

“Giving is Better Than Receiving Because Giving Starts the Receiving Process” Jim Rohn

We are moving into October and October’s theme is prosperity/abundance. I began to reflect on my experiences and how they have changed. My fears and scarcity mindset were changing even as I was approaching my involvement with CSLT. My wife convinced me to enroll in Prosperity Plus II.

Mary Morrissey presents a convincing and compelling case to reconsider our relationship with abundance and prosperity. Mary relates many personal anecdotes from her challenging experiences. She speaks to her own challenges surrounding survival and money. And conveys principles and spiritual laws that allowed me to take up her challenges to give to CSLT the tithe amount of 10% of all my income and give of my time to the tune of 4 hours a week.

I had taken the course because I was hoping for more information on how to create wealth. As it turns out what I walked away with was a newfound relationship with giving.

“Giving doesn’t really empty our soul, it literally expands us” Mary Morrissey

–Chris Wheeler

Falling into Place

In June I took a meditation retreat in Colorado Springs with Dr. Roger Teel, who led Mile Hi Church for 25 years. I have enjoyed watching his online talks and when he mentioned his mediation retreat, I knew I wanted to go. I looked online and when registra6on for the workshop opened, I immediately signed up.

The workshop was at the Franciscan Retreat Center in the foothills of Rockies. The setting was lovely, with big trees, old buildings, and lots of space to wander. There were deer roaming freely. One morning I went to get my journal out of my car and there was a deer five or six feet away from the driver’s side. I unlocked the doors with the remote and the deer lifted its head then returned to eating. I opened the passenger door and rooted around for my journal. When I looked out through the driver’s side windows there were three deer looking at me as if they were wondering what I was doing. What a treat!

The workshop consisted of lectures, stories and lots of time meditating using a variety of techniques, and free time to walk around the grounds and contemplate. It was liberating to have 3 days where I didn’t have to think about anything, as our days were scheduled, meals prepared.

Going to the retreat jump started my meditation practice. The app Insight Timer has kept track of my meditations and I have reached 60 days in a row. I have given myself the rules that I can’t have coffee or open my Fitbit app to see what my sleep score until I sit. Those boundaries are working for me. After sitting the rest of my day seems to fall into place and I’m more productive since I have been consistent with my practice. Taking the retreat, was a treat, an immersion I highly recommend. Here’s a little taste of the workshop: Affirmation Meditation for JOY – Dr. Roger Teel.



Recently life has been distracting with a few experiences definitely needing some improvement. And then I was having a hard time finding my topic. So when in doubt, go to the Source. Thank you, Dr. Holmes.

For me the following quotes support this month’s always important theme of Passion & Purpose. They address what is needed to claim a purpose with passion and then deliver with power. When I allow myself to recognize and commit to an idea with full personal force then these passages come to Life and Law delivers for me.

“We must consciously know that we can use creative power. The more complete such acceptance on our part, the more completely we shall be able to use this power for definite purposes. Ernest Holmes – The Science of Mind 401.3

“Mind as Law is helpless without direction. It has nowhere to go and nothing to do of Itself. IT MUST BE DIRECTED OR IT WILL DO NOTHING OF PERMANENT WORTH…. Ernest Holmes. – The Science of Mind 396.3

“The Law of Mind obeys the orders that are given It whether we are conscious or unconscious that such orders are being given. Ernest Holmes – The Science of Mind 397.3

These are the reminders of the three actions needed: Claim the Creative Power that is mine. (That is everyone’s). Admit and define completely what I want. AND do that persistent, consistent direction of attention thing.

“We should be careful to distinguish day dreaming and wistful wishing from really dynamic and creative treatment. When we treat we do not wish, we KNOW. We do not dream, we STATE. We do not hope, we ACCEPT. We do not pray, we ANNOUNCE. We do not expect something is going to happen, we BELIEVE THAT IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED. Ernest Holmes – The Science of Mind 399.3

And for those unclear times we all experience:

“If one does not know exactly what he wishes to do one should treat for general success in whatever one attempts to do…. One must treat for guidance … remembering that the Inner Mind knows infinitely more than the intellect…. how to take ideas and form objective circumstances around them. Ernest Holmes – The Science of Mind 400.3

And the last words I have for all of us: If you haven’t re-read the General Summary of the Text recently, it’s a really good read.

–In Peace, Mariann


CSLT is a “Spiritual Alternative…offering spiritual solutions to everyday challenges.” We offer principles and practices that aid in spiritual exploration and discovery. Some of our practices include meditation, classes, study groups and affirmative prayer practiced by our community eager to learn and to live a life more abundant in all ways.

There is a Power in the Universe greater than we are, and we can use it. Ernest Holmes

Along with CSLT, many of us are also involved in a variety of 12 step programs. For those of you who are not familiar with 12 step programs, they are international mutual aid anonymous programs, supporting recovery from substance addictions, behavioral addictions and compulsions. Participants in the 12 step programs study/work the steps and traditions, principles and promises of the program. Speaking from personal experience, working a 12 step program is like taking a stairway to heaven. I was simply delighted when one of our recent guest speakers shared the promises of the program in her talk, as these promises are also in alignment with our teachings at CSLT!

  • We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
  • We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
  • We will comprehend the word serenity.
  • We will know peace.
  • No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experiences     can benefit others.
  • The feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
  • We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
  • Self-seeking will slip away.
  • Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
  • Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
  • We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
  • We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

In closing I’d like to share the OA Promise prayer as this too is in alignment with CSLT and one of my most favorite prayers.

I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone.
No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower.
We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.


High Hopes as Spiritual Practice

This month we study and explore self-care as a spiritual habit.

Re-reading Edwene Gaines’ Rules for Spiritual Prosperity. Trying once again to craft goals specific enough and scary enough to warrant intention and attention several times a day to manifest that which I want for me.

Problem is every time I sit down to write it out, my brain usually decides to go play elsewhere.

Something ingrained, trained or absorbed rejects the concept of it’s not only okay but that it’s time to ask for something for me. Ernest Holmes has this to say about that rejecting:

“We need to teach ourselves to think just as consistently, just as emphatically, about the things we do want. We must declare for ourselves, in no uncertain terms, the things of life we desire.

Followed immediately by

“And In between the times we set aside for this purpose there must be no backsliding, no letting down of the barriers we have raised against negative ideas. A ‘yes’ one moment and a ‘no’ the next will hold us in the very position we want to get out of.
–Ernest Holmes, A New Design for Living, page 210.2

Well, backsliding has always been easier than persistent consistence. But I’m learning. The actual process of writing down, with truly specific details, what it is I want to manifest, brings it to Life in full living color. The more specific I allow myself to be, the easier it becomes to know it as a Reality. And then attending to it repeatedly during the day, keeps it fresh and vivid. And most importantly to be very generous with myself in my defining.

Because the most important part is to know and remember that all Good flows from the One Infinite Source. And that Source is truly unlimited – knowing neither big nor little but always delivers to our individual knowing.

Limitation is not in Principle nor in Law, but only in the individual use we make of Principle. … We cannot demonstrate beyond our ability to provide a mental equivalent of our desire.
–Ernest Holmes Science of Mind page 118.2

Settle back and let yourself dream big and then bigger. Know that as you believe – so It is.

–In Peace, Mariann

Shadow Work Creates Growth

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The title page of the May issue of Science of Mind Magazine reads:

Light Within the Shadows — Embrace All Aspects of Your Sacred Being The Shadow: Healing Through Revealing

My favorite article is titled “Nobody Said Spiritual Growth is Easy” by Kelly Robbins. Our speakers in May have addressed the ‘shadow.’ Patrick Harbula said that embracing our humanness is part of the story of Oneness and reminded us that what we resist magnifies. Dr. Karmen Smith referenced David Hawkins’ Map of Consciousness Levels in her talk and stated that trauma from childhood must be dealt with; otherwise, we may stay stuck in lower frequencies, staying in victimization. The Map is a scale where the lowest level is 20 – Shame and the highest 700 – 1000 which is Enlightenment. At 200 is Courage where we reach a level of empowerment and shift from destructive energy to creative energy. Dr. Benjamin Hardy reports that the average person only grows about 5 points over their lifetime on this scale. He further states that all progress starts with telling the truth.

As the ancient sages all confirm, everything softens in time. If we want to soften while still alive, we have to bring our hurt places into the light. Mark Nepo

Jung first gave us the term “shadow’ to refer to those parts of our personality that have been rejected out of fear, ignorance, shame, or lack of love. He believed that integrating the shadow would have a profound impact, enabling us to rediscover a deeper source of our own spiritual life.

I am intrigued by this topic because I have encountered parts of my shadow at various times with the result being uncomfortable at best and embarrassing/humiliating at worst. I have found that at times I have ‘overreacted’ to situations and conversations. I wasn’t responding to current circumstances; previous hurt had been triggered, my mask of protection was pierced, and unhealed trauma came to the surface. Have you heard the phrase ‘if it’s hysterical, it’s historical’? It is clear that our hurts arise to be dealt with and healed if we have the courage.

Another area where our ‘shadow’ is displayed is in our critical judgment of others. We deny in ourselves what we react to in others. The truth is there is nothing we can see or perceive that we ourselves are not. Dr. Karmen talked about this projection also.

Shadow work is complex and uncomfortable but worthwhile. I found The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford to be enormously helpful.

–Linda Bullock


They say that everything you ever learned, you learned in kindergarten. If this is true, my memory brings me back to my first feelings of fear. It was 1967-68 and I was in kindergarten.

It was music time and my classmates and I were sitting in a row as the teacher was at her piano. She picked 10 of us and assigned us our number. I was number 3. We were lined up facing the other kids that weren’t picked. We were going to sing 10 little Indians. Each kid sings the number they are, as she accompanied on the piano. I don’t remember why, but I didn’t want to sing so I didn’t.

The first kid sang 1 little Indian; the next kid sang 2 little Indians; she continued playing but had to abruptly stop. In her stern voice as she glared over at me, “Madeline! You have to sing 3 little Indians.” I stood there and said nothing, but I remember thinking I did not want to sing. “If you don’t sing, you are going to have to stand out in the hall! Ok class let’s start this again.” She resumed playing and 1 & 2 sang but I kept my mouth shut.

The music stopped and she escorted me out to the hall! As soon as I hit the hall and she went back in the classroom, it occurred to me that Andrew, my brother may walk by and see me. Everyone knew if you were standing in the hall you were in trouble! If he saw me, he could tell our mom and dad and I would be in so much trouble (or so I thought). At that very moment fear of being in trouble kept me frozen by myself in my own thoughts. Andrew never saw me.

Jump ahead 55 years and I’m still that same little girl often frozen by fear, with the thought of being in trouble. I’m still doing some of the same actions. If I don’t want to do something, or don’t know what to do, I do nothing. I’m still carrying the fear of getting in trouble from my actions or lack thereof.

What can I do to release this fear?

The thought came to me to do some inner work. What is inner work? Google says, “deliberate and ongoing reflective practice that increases awareness of self, others, and the systems in which complex social problems arise. At its core, inner work is the process of getting to know yourself. It’s a form of introspective self-care where you can help yourself let go of harmful attachments, habits, people, and thoughts.”

Oh yeah, I need to do some inner work. I’ll start with prayer as written by Ernest Holmes:

Greater than fear is Love.
Love dissolves all fear, casts out all doubt and sets the captive free.
Love, like the River of Life, flows through me and refreshes me with its eternal blessings.
Love cannot be afraid; it is fearless and strong, and is mighty in its works.
It can accomplish all things through the Inner Light of that faith in all Good,
Which fills my very Being with a Powerful Presence.
Love casts out all fear.

–Madeline Pallanes

Prayer Partners and Practitioners

I meet with two prayer partners and have a session with a Spiritual Practitioner once a month. Each relationship is unique and vital to my being. With one of my prayer partners we talk about spiritual principles, and our humanness. I shared an experience that activated my inner two-year-old and I didn’t want to play anymore. I could feel it and see it as it was happening. And learning to recognize limitations, I know that I am at choice with my feelings and behavior and don’t have to stay stuck, or in bondage, as Ernest Holmes would say.  As I talked about my humanness, I saw the humor, and both of us start laughing. In the lightness of laughter, I saw that the comment someone made, was simply data about something I didn’t do. At first, I took it as a criticism. Then I realized that my behavior (the data), was not the truth of who I am, and I can change my behavior to live my truth. It gave me a totally different way to look at those words that seem critical. It is merely an opportunity to get back to my Truth. It is God nudging me to choose a course correction.

In practitioner training we would get a new pray partner every 10 weeks. My first prayer partner and I decided we would continue meeting with each other. from class. At first we would talk a little and go directly into prayer. Now our conversations are an hour long. It has been wonderful to see our time together expand and see our lives grow and manifest our prayers.

My monthly meetings with a Spiritual Practitioner, anchor me in my practice. It is a time of emptying out and refueling for the next month’s journey.

These meetings with pray partners and practitioner are compass to keep me on course.


We Always Succeed

We always succeed.
We need to learn to succeed in the right things.

Ernest Holmes – Art of Life – page 148

Without realizing it we too often negate what we affirm.

Ernest Holmes – A New Design for Living – page 144.3

One of the main reasons people don’t reach for their goals is that they believe there is something about themselves that will prevent them from getting whatever it is they really want in their deepest heart of hearts.

Edwene Gaines – The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity. page 69

One benefit from spending 6 years exploring New Thought at CSLT is discovering the incredible number of tools and practical methods of bringing more of what I want into my Life. Basic to all of them is the need to be clear on what I want and to be consistent – in a good way.

Consistency is all important. Consistent negative thought gets us into most of our trouble; consistent positive thought is the only thing that can get us out.

Ernest Holmes, A New Design – page 146.1

Mental equivalents were one of the first things I heard about during Rev. Janis’ classes on Wednesday evenings. Those classes were the teasers that intrigued me to read more and to begin attending Service. And Mental Equivalents were intriguing, yet somehow they felt just out of my reach.

Now creating a Mental Equivalent of my highest dreams is an ongoing effort. Getting past the limits others or more frequently that I create for myself is my daily job. Journaling daily is one of my primary tools. First, I define what I want, then all those internal voices tell me why I can’t or shouldn’t or that it’s beyond my reach.

And immediately I know what & how not to think.

It’s then I reach for Holmes A New Design for Living, or Edwene Gaines Four Spiritual Laws and let them fall open to any page and I re-read and I re-learn and practice once again – Affirmative Prayer as an active answer to all the doubting voices in my head.

It’s pretty amazing when I get it right and remember the unlimited Good already available to me and to all.

–In Peace, Mariann

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