Making The World A Better Place

No matter what our emotional storm, or what our objective situation, may be, there is always a something hidden in the inner being that has never been violated.  We may stumble, but always there is that Eternal Voice, forever whispering within our ear, that thing which causes the eternal quest, that thing which forever sings and sings.
— Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind, 33.3

I recently had the joy of reconnecting with my stepson, Mitch, who is the Prosecuting District Attorney of the big island of Hawaii.  We had not seen one another for many years, and I was curious if the nature of his job had changed him into a more negative-thinking man.  I was relieved to find him the same Mitch Roth, smart, funny, and optimistic.  He shared with me some of the policies and procedures he has put in place to help the people of his county.  His philosophy is, “If there is a problem, look behind it to see what is causing it. Create the solution there; do not rely on punishment to fix every situation.”

Several years ago there was a serious crime problem in the parking lots of popular tourist attractions in Hawaii.  Young people found opportunities to break into cars and steal valuables when they spotted tourists heading for hiking trails to view waterfalls, lava tubes, or rain forests. Mitch met with a group of older Hawaiian women who were weavers, creating beautiful birds, animals, baskets, and other items to sell to the eager tourists.  Mitch asked them to do their weaving in the parking lots where they could also they could monitor the tourists’ cars.  When the tourists returned, the women would warmly greet them and display their work. The grateful tourists thanked them, purchasing many of the items they had for sell.  Understandably, crime in those parking lots plummeted.

Noting an increase in juvenile delinquency in school-age students, Mitch visited a school that seemed to be a risk epicenter.  He asked the school’s administration to hang a picture of each student in the school.  He then asked the entire staff, teachers, janitors, support staff, and administrators, to put a star on the picture of any student with whom they had a positive connection, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.  Many of the students had many stars on their pictures; some had a few; and some had no stars at all.  Not surprisingly, the children without positive connections were the ones who had been most challenging.The staff made a huge effort to connect with the seemingly troubled students, and to no one’s surprise, the incidents of crime went down dramatically. Mitch told me, ”Those kids got no positive feedback anywhere in their lives.  When they started getting positive attention, they behaved in a more positive way.”

In May 2018, Kilauea Volcano erupted, burying villages, towns, farms, and roads with lava.  Mitch formed an interfaith group to aid the over 1700 evacuees on the island.  The group consists of a Jewish Rabbi, an Episcopalian Priest, a conservative Protestant minister, a Buddhist monk, a Muslim Imam, and Mitch.  They provided over 60,000 hot meals following the earliest days of the eruption, created a daycare for the displaced children, and helped create carpools to get people back and forth to work.  They provided necessities, including laundry facilities, for the people who had lost everything.  After the eruption crisis was over, the group decided to stay connected.  They meet monthly and to their surprise and delight, they have come to realize how similar their worldviews, and belief systems, are.  Instead of spreading discord from their differences, they have created cohesiveness through their discovery of how much they desire the same good.  What an example for the rest of us.

–Pat Masters

Curate Your Life

One of the big ideas that arose in last week’s ongoing Wild Mind class was this notion of  “Curate Your Life”.  It’s an interesting idea, one that alternately teases and encourages us to identify, decide on and choose the kind of life experience we desire.  If we are totally delighted with all aspects our lives as is, no change is required. If we’re not, and we wish to step into fuller self-expressions in any area of our lives, this idea requires us to recognize that we may have to change how we think about our lives, and how we choose to live.

This notion can be problematic if we are resistant to change, or we believe we don’t have the power to make a change and have it stick.  Most of us have a lot of evidence (and a lot of experience) about how hard it is to change habits.  Sometimes it seems easy to feel that we are powerless over our own life choices and life experiences.  This is not the truth of who we are, and may very well be our entire awareness, based on our past experiences.

How do we move from living from what-we-have-always-known into a different future?  Willingness to step into a different life experience, and to adjust or modify our thinking and actions accordingly, are just the first steps.  The next step is to persistently reapply and re-implement this new decision as many times as it takes, until it becomes the new habit.  Challenging? Yes.  Impossible? No.  Persistence is key, and not shaming, blaming, or guilting ourselves when we fail.  What would it take to just keep getting back up and moving ahead?  This shift of mindset is probably the most difficult, because we have all been acculturated into believing that we have to discipline, or punish, ourselves when we fail, or that we are stuck with what we know.  What if neither of those things are true?

An additional thought from Dr David: “I’ve rediscovered the valuable distinction between change and transformation. Change gives me the liberty to revert back to what I changed from, i.e. change my mind, change my habits, or change my job. Change leaves me a window of opportunity to return to the old thought, habit or action. Transformation does not. Just like an oak tree cannot return to being an acorn, one who is a conscious transformationalist sheds labels, patterns and even identities to align with their inherent ever-expanding nature. Devotion to transformation doesn’t include comfort seeking. Its intentional prayer passes from our heart to our lips by saying, ‘Onward, along the path of my soul’s greatest expression.’ Personally, I feel that the time for such devotion is needed more than ever. I consciously shed limitations, excuses and loyalties to people and things that are not congruent with this universal beckoning.”

…………………..

As far as I know, the idea of ‘curate your life’ originated with Dr David Ault.  The image in this post is his.  Dr David, most recently Senior Minister at one of the three CSLs in Atlanta, recognized that his spiritual path, and the paths of those who work with him, was best served by him leaving that position.  He, and his ongoing work, can be followed at www.davidault.com. If you join up to receive his e-newsletter, you will also receive access to his free e-book/training program, How to Sand Your Rusted Thinking, A resource guide to learning tangible actions for increasing self-awareness and living the life you want.  Sounds like a great tool to use in learning how to Curate Your Life more fully, should you be interested in that.  Happy exploring!

–Rev Janis Farmer

The Road Less Traveled

Robert Frost wrote a famous poem about taking “the road less traveled” and how it “made all the difference.” It describes my experience since becoming a Religious Scientist; taking the road of deliberate consciousness. Examining and questioning my default thinking, knowing it manifests my life experience, has become my practice. I was raised in a fundamentalist religion where I was taught that I was a victim to an outside negative power, the Devil, who was literally out to get me. I have worked to unlearn that pessimistic and helpless belief and I have felt joyful when optimism more often was my default. I have strived to embody the teachings of Ernest Holmes and the ideas represented in the poem by Christian Larson that Reverend Janis distributed in September. In that poem are the lines:

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind……

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best…..

I drive a new car today because of this effort to think differently.

In 2016 I became the owner of a 2013 turbo-charged red VW Beetle. I loved my little car, especially the peppiness of its turbo-boosted take-off from red lights. But several months ago, it began showing me the red Check Engine light on the dash. I was told I had a classic VW issue with fuel injectors and my car would require over a thousand dollars in repair. I took a second option of putting special chemicals in my gas tank to try to clean out the car’s system. But then, a few days before Labor Day, another red light appeared on my dash, this one signaling low coolant. I shrugged this one off and simply had the coolant levels topped up and scheduled a service appointment for more maintenance work. But 24 hours later, the same red light came back on, and I could see the minimum coolant level had dropped quite a bit. I consulted a knowledgeable friend who used mysterious diagnostic terms like “blown head gaskets” and said I was looking at more serious engine trouble. Between my two red warning lights I was looking at repairs of thousands of dollars.

The fact of the matter was that I did not possess thousands of dollars to fix my car and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. In the past I would have instantly begun to worry and agonize. Indeed, one family member muttered “it’s the Devil.” I instantly rejected that comment because I know the Universe is always for me, not against me. Someone suggested it was the Labor Day weekend and there might be car dealer sales going on. I was skeptical, however, that I could trade the car after only two years paying down my loan, without also having a down payment. But I reminded myself there are infinite possibilities in Spirit, and I went to my favorite dealership. I met a new salesman of only two weeks and told him I was investigating the feasibility of trading my car (with two red dash warnings) for another used vehicle. He did his best to find me a car within my budget and chose a nice one even older than my VW, but it was fine, and I liked it.

The finance folks shook their heads, telling me I lacked equity in my VW, and that the red lights were a big concern, so I needed many thousands of dollars down to qualify for financing on a car. I was leaving the dealership and my sad salesman when a manager whispered to him a solution. It was Labor Day weekend and there was thisonecar on the lot with a hefty rebate attached. They could apply the rebate, give me a bit extra in trade on my car, and see if financing would work. He drove up a 2018 base model Hyundai Elantra for me to test drive. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A 2018 Brand New Car? Yes please! It still took six long hours for the finance folks to find a funding source, but I was approved. I had arrived in a 2013 car in dire condition and drove away in a brand-new car with a platinum 8-year warranty and security system included. To top it off, I discovered the next day from my insurance agent that they updated my policy, keeping my coverage the same, yet saved me enough money on premiums to offset the small increase in my car payment!

Sometimes the Law exceeds my expectations.When those red lights on my VW dash began to multiply I did not want to sink into the bog of lack and limitation and despair. I knew only that there existed some solution for me to have reliable transportation, so that I would either find the cash to fix my VW or I would find another car. I went into the dealership hoping to buy something used and came out with something far better. When I trust in my Good, I am blessed!

by Leah Hamilton

Standing in the Flow

I gained a lot from my participation in the book study of Eric Butterworth’s Spiritual Economics. It was an empowering and life-altering experience in confronting old attitudes of lack.

In his book on page 10, Butterworth says:

Prosperity is a way of living and thinking, and not just money or things.

Poverty is a way of living and thinking, and not just a lack of money or things.

 My prosperity is an inside job because I am responsible for my own thoughts. It has nothing to do with my monetary income. Now, while I knew that in an academic way, I found it harder to apply that knowledge and stand in the positive stream of life when it came to my financial affairs.

In the past, I was one of those people who experienced a lot of anxiety around looking closely at my financial state. I resolved to take Butterworth’s program to heart and change the way I do things around money. So, during our study I did something I had never done before. Instead of fearfully waiting until the last minute to pay my bills (and their accompanying late fees), I sat down and paid them all at the same time before their due dates. I continued my contributions to the Center and practiced a sense of gratitude for life. I could not imagine how there would be enough money to last the rest of the month, but I determined to believe in the flow of Good.

At the end of the month, I peeked at my bank account and was astounded to see the amount of money left!  I could not fathom what happened. For years I had been living the belief that there was “not enough” and thereby blocking the flow of my good. I had unkinked the hose!

Similarly, over the Memorial Day weekend, I caught myself at a red light on the way to Best Buy with my credit card. I planned to charge an expensive electronic gizmo that had caught my eye and that was on sale. But as I waited in traffic I thought about Butterworth’s program and asked myself why I was buying this thing I wanted but did not need? And why was I willing to charge it on a credit card to boot?  I needed furniture for my house and tires for my car, but I had rejected the idea of ever “affording” those with a knee-jerk attitude of poverty. That same attitude of lack was responsible for me trying to put a Band-aid on my feelings by going into debt for the momentary satisfaction of a new toy. I turned the car around and went home, choosing to live and believe that my abundance is assured, and that I stand in the positive stream of life.

I remind myself now of Butterworth’s image of prosperity as a faucet. I do not doubt water will come out of my kitchen faucet because I know it is connected to the city water supply. Now I trust that I constantly access my financial faucet for bills, donations and other life-affirming expenses, and rest assured that I remain in the flow of abundance from the one divine Source.

–Leah Hamilton

When Push Comes to Shove

Driving to the office on the Memorial Day Monday, aware that most people were taking the day off and enjoying themselves, I noticed I was thinking about the phrase, “When Push Comes to Shove” and I wondered that that phrase meant, and why it had come to mind.  Apparently, I was feeling ‘put-upon’, squeezed or constrained in some way, and I pondered what had brought that feeling on, and what I could do about it.  I started making lists to see what I could figure out what I might be feeling ‘bound up’ about.

1. The home study groups on Spiritual Economics complete this week, and have been pleasingly successful.  Participants have enjoyed digging into the material and learning, and also getting to know their home-study-group-buddies more deeply.  So that’s a joyous success, so that’s not it.  Two different centers have asked if they can use the curriculum that I had compiled.  One of the juicy bits from the fifth class that really caught my attention was the idea that living from a giving mentality (not expecting to get, so it’s not fostering codependency or martyrdom) makes more space for more good to show up.  I’m thrilled to share it, so that’s not it.

2. The planning for the next class, How To Change Your Life, is coming along well.  I’m enjoying working with one of my favorite ministers, Dr Linda McNamar from Laguna Woods CA, creating a juicy curriculum. And I’m getting to introduce her to the zoom videoconferencing platform, which is a double bonus.  So that’s not it.

3. The sign-up sheets are out for Visioning, which starts June 9th.  We had a good half-dozen folks say they were interested in taking it this summer and available on Tuesdays.  And I’ve thought about a new way to introduce the topic, that may make it more accessible to people who haven’t been able to ‘get’ it before. So that’s not it.

4. I’m really jazzed about the June theme of Imagination.  Carla has found some excellent quotes for us to use for our Spiritual Thoughts and has written some dynamite affirmations, and the Music Team is out-doing themselves with our own volunteer vocalists.  So that’s not it.

5. Barbara and the leasing agents are digging in and removing potential obstacles around a possible interim location that Alana found for us.  So far, so good.  So that’s not it.

6. Gail from my Spiritual Economics group volunteered to come help out for a few hours in the office on Mondays to reduce my administrative workload.  That’s awesome, and very welcome help.  So that’s not it.

7. I’m in the middle of working on a quilt, and haven’t finished painting my house.  Painting had begun to feel like drudgery, so I realized I’d be better off taking a break from painting and do something fun. Then I can go back and finish the painting with renewed interest and enthusiasm.  And if I finish two quilts before I feel like painting some more, who cares?  So that’s not it.

Coming up with nothing, but feeling much better after having made the list, I decided to ask Google.

This is what I found.  It’s a colloquialism that probably originated in black America.  It was first formally recorded by Thomas De Witt Talmage in 1873, in the United Methodist Free Churches’ Magazine: “The proposed improvement is about to fail, when Push comes up behind it and gives it a shove, and Pull goes in front and lays into the traces; lo! the enterprise advances, the goal reached!”

So, the original intention of the phrase seems to be something that wants to be created, and it just needs a little impetus or ‘shove’ to make it happen.  I especially love the phrase that isn’t part of the idiom, “Pull goes in front and lays the traces (track) … the enterprise advances.  The Goal is reached”.

Perhaps just examining possible areas of concern allows me to reframe my thoughts, not as troubles, but as things in gestation, in process, and just waiting for “Pull to show up and lay the track”?   It’s a little bit like setting intention and then waiting to take delivery from Divine Mind/Spirit/The Universe when the product is ready.  I’m so very good with that.

I love this philosophy… how it shows up and helps me make sense of my life.

— Rev Janis Farmer

The Center

The other Sunday I was driving to Sunday Services and I passed a new building in a medical complex. The name of the building was “The Center”.  Then yesterday, I was driving down Pima in Tucson and saw another new sign on a building.  It also was called, simply, “The Center”.  Why am I seeing this now?

I was reminded of a story I’d heard about an idea that had been held by a Board President long before I came to CSL Tucson.  He thought we should rebrand ourselves as The Center, a clever triple play on words.  The Center where people learn about their own divine center (or nature), the central hub where people come together to experience the joy and aliveness of life in community, and the quote from Ernest Holmes describing the Infinite (The Science of Mind 330.2-3), “The Infinite is, therefore indivisible and consequently a Perfect Unit… That Whose Center is everywhere and Whose Circumference is nowhere.  All of It is present at any and every point within Itself.  It is not approaching a point, nor receding from it, but it is always at the point.  The whole of God is present at any and every point within God.  It was to this Indwelling Spirit that Jesus prayed, for God is within man as well as throughout all creation.”

This notion that each of us already is a center of divinity can sometimes feel like a tough pill to swallow, because we tend to think of ourselves as less than perfect expressions of the Divine.  But what if we are not “less than”?  What if we actually live, move and have our being as the perfect expression of Divinity Itself, as we understand it?  Our beliefs about ourselves, and how our world works, color our life experience to such an extent that we have to have a limited experience, because we have limiting beliefs.

The facilitators and I are working through the curriculum for the exciting upcoming home group book study of Eric Butterworth’s Spiritual Economics.  I forgot how splendidly lovely this material is, until I cracked the book open again and re-read it.  Butterworth is consistently very clear.  On p. 23 he wrote, “Claim your entitlement. I am a child of the Universe, richly endowed with the fullness of the All Good.”  He continues on the same page, “You are an expression of the infinite creative flow, entitled to as constant a support as the lilies of the field.   You see, the basis of entitlement is the startling assertion: The Universe owes you a living!  Yes, we are saying owes you a living.  Note: We are not saying the world owes you a living.  Actually, the world owes you nothing.  You are a creative expression of the Universe, with the responsibility to let your light shine.  Thus you owe the world a life.”

Oh, there’s the rub. We have all the support of the Universe standing with us, in us, and as us, and we have the responsibility to own that authority and act/live/move from that place.  So yes, we already are the center of our own wheel, the individualized hub of our own interactions and life expression, and we choose from our point of view.

And yet, I am encouraged by Butterworth’s words, because he gives us a roadmap that we can choose to use to guide us on this path.  On p. 19 he wrote, “A person who keeps conscious that the divine flow is ever centered (there’s that word again… centered) within one, has faith that limitless substance will find expression through him or her in the form of creative ideas, ingenuity, the will to work, and a security of work opportunities.  It could be said that when you realize your relationship to the dynamic Universe, you are forever in a field where you can drill for oil and bring in a gusher every time.”

Every time.  I totally like those odds.  Pick a host home location that works for you and join us in this awesome city-wide Spiritual Economics home group book study that starts next week, won’t you?

By Rev Janis Farmer

Interconnected

Seldom am I truly surprised. That’s not quite true. I wasn’t truly surprised on Wednesday night with Victor Shamas’ class on Deep Creativity.   In fact, I was totally delighted and thrilled that he had come to the same understanding of the unity of all things, the Oneness of It All, from a completely different (academic!) perspective and point-of-view. As I was sitting in the back of the room, watching his presentation, I kept nodding and smiling at his conclusions. The words he used were different, but he was speaking Science of Mind without knowing it. That awareness thrills me, because it reinforces the idea that there is only one originator, or Source, a.k.a. Divine Mind, with billions of individualized expressions. In his language, there is only one aquifer and we each, whether we are fortunate enough to know it or not, are individual wells tapping into that great aquifer. I love that. I’ll probably use it one of these days.

I was talking with my acupuncturist late last week about something that she and her business partner had noticed with their acupuncture business. When she gets complacent about the business, it just trundles along like it is running on autopilot. It certainly doesn’t grow. It’s adequate, but not stunning, or stellar. But when she ‘wakes up’ (her words) and starts paying attention to the business, the phone starts ringing and people walk in off the streets wanting to see if acupuncture will help them. When she and her son are in the office together, and they are both attentive to the business, they can barely schedule in everyone who wants to come in for services. Her partner says he has noticed this pattern at least five times. At some intellectual level we know this is true, because this is the way the Law delivers on our intentions.

In The Science of Mind 37.2-3, Holmes wrote, “The Thing, then, works for us by working through us and is us, always. It cannot work for us in any other way. It spreads Itself over the whole universe and shouts at us from every angle, but It can become powerful to us ONLY WHEN WE RECOGNIZE IT AS POWER. (yes, he’s yelling). We cannot recognize that It is, while we are believing that It is not.”

When the Board spoke their personal covenant on November 26th, these were some of the things they affirmed:

  • I demonstrate my commitment through active involvement in the activities of the Center for Spiritual Living Tucson, and demonstrate, to the best of my ability, a spiritually principled lifestyle.
  • I regularly attend Center for Spiritual Living Tucson’s Sunday Celebrations, and its other activities and functions.
  • I warmly greet all who enter CSL Tucson’s doors.
  • I consistently and fully tithe my time, talent and treasure.
  • I attract new members to our congregation and encourage others to bring new people.
  • I regularly acknowledge the loving service of CSL Tucson’s staff and volunteers.
  • I actively engage in my own spiritual growth, take classes at CSL Tucson and do my spiritual practices.
  • I enthusiastically participate in, and encourage others in, voluntary service.

Since we are all connected at a level beyond our human understanding, what do you think would happen if everyone who chooses to be part of CSL Tucson decided to affirm even a few of these statements? This is not ‘my’ Center, nor is it your ‘Board’s’ Center, this Center belongs to every single individualized Divine Spark who chooses to walk through our doors and participate with us. Each of us is integral to the full functioning of this Center.   We’d hardly have enough space to accommodate the people clamoring to join with us each Sunday morning in the auditorium at The Gregory School, the Wednesday night classes would be overflowing, and the small groups would be buzzing with excitement and verve.

What shall we do with this All Power that lives as us, in and through us, All Together?   What should we do with this magnificent engine of All Good? I think we should do something wonderful, heart-expanding and amazing. How about we share this tremendous quality of life that we know as already ours?  You in?

— Rev Janis Farmer

Recycling, Eating Organic and New Thought

I remember when the concept of recycling was new. I remember when the idea of eating organic food was uncommon. It wasn’t so long ago really. In my lifetime I have watched as our culture embraced the values both of these concepts represent. Today both ideas are familiar and commonly practiced. It took just a few decades for the concept of recycling to become a common household practice. Likewise, today organic foods are found on the shelves in all major grocery stores. There was a time these ideas were “cutting edge”.

This for me is very fun to see.

I think that philosophy we embrace at CSLT is “cutting edge”. It is an idea whose time has come, an idea that makes good sense. More and more people daily embrace some aspect of New Thought philosophy. Witnessed by the work of well know TV celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra, and the myriad of other New Thought teachers, literature, CD’s, mp3s, workshops and tons of information available on the internet. The basic concepts that Dr Holmes proposed are being explored and lived by many, whether they are aware of the origin of those ideas or not.

Now in 2017 I am reminded of how it felt to be involved in getting the word out about recycling and eating organically. I remember the feeling of momentum building and awareness growing. Today I hear folks espouse the merits of eating a clean diet and I smile. There was a time when this was “cutting edge” thinking. Today it is commonplace.

When I apply this to New Thought I get goose bumps (the good kind), because I can see, very soon, a day when we’ll all know that we live in choice. A day when we all know that available to everyone, right now, are useful tools that work to help each of us stay centered in the Divine, tools that allow joy and contentment to define our lives. I feel the momentum building, as everyday more and more people become aware of, and choose to use these tools, and to play in this field of unlimited potential. I delight when I think of the kind of place our earth becomes.

Here is to the day when the awareness of New Thought principles is as common as a recycling bin in every home. It is just around the corner!

I feel thankful to know this truth,

Sheila Campbell

“When consciousness is changed, experience automatically changes”          — Ernest Holmes, Living the Science of Mind 207.4

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

Creating a Common Vision

Reverend Janis’ recent reminder of the faith of Genevieve Behrend to manifest study with Thomas Troward even though he was across the sea and she had no money to get there, inspired me to think how we in our Center can manifest the home of our desires.

We now own property on 22nd Street near Swan, a flat buildable five-acre parcel on a busy and visible thoroughfare.  What is our vision for the asset that we now own? Even when we do not yet know how the Universe will provide it, just as Reverend Janis suggested during her recent reminder, I propose we come up with a vision that we can share and envision together.  A common vision requires a picture that we can focus on individually and collectively as we imagine the reality of how the building that houses our sanctuary and education center looks like on the land we now own.

As Genevieve Behrend, we have some legwork to do to educate ourselves on the cost and processes so our vision has a point of direction. Genevieve knew how much money she needed to bring her dream to reality, she knew her mode of transportation and costs, she knew where she would stay when she arrived in England and she knew where to find Thomas Troward. She had done her research so she could direct her mental work to accurately envision herself counting the cash she needed from one hand to the other, cruising on the ship carrying her to England, residing in the room she would occupy, and once there, walking up to Troward’s house and knocking on the door.

With a collective vision, we can each picture the money we need already banked in the facility fund, the city granting permits, the electric and water being run into the property, the foundation being poured, the hustle and bustle of the building going up, the spades turning the earth and the gardens been planted, and the parking lot being paved.  We can each imagine ourselves in the light-filled sanctuary for Sunday celebration, hearing the music the stirs our hearts and animates our energy. We can each listen to the spiritual message of Reverend Janis’ inspired and challenging words of truth resounding in the warm and inviting new space.

We can each picture ourselves in the education center partaking of exciting classes, brimming with knowledge and tools to help us shape our lives, supported by the smiling faces of our loving Community. We can each smell the gardens growing on the land and mentally walk the meditation path or labyrinth to remind ourselves of Omnipotent Bounty. We can each envision the sign out front boldly declaring our new home to all those who pass by. We can see the paved parking filled with cars transporting those of us already participating at our center to our new digs, and those who are new to the center curiously coming in to find out what we offer.

With a common vision and a common purpose, we could each model the actions of Genevieve Behrend and do the mental work to put ourselves in the place we want to be and hold to that vision with absolute trust that it is already so because the abundant Universe knows how to deliver it even when we don’t.  Let’s make our vision a reality!  So It Is!

By Carla Hodge

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