Hide The Ball

I don’t know if you remember that old magician’s trick with the usually three upturned cups and the ball that seems to magically move from cup to cup, and the observer never quite knows where the ball is, or how it got there. In one of our Practitioner classes years ago, a dear friend said, “I play hide the ball with myself all the time, and it frustrates me!” When she said it, I realized I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate way to describe how we keep ourselves from knowing ‘stuff’ that we claim we want to know. Most of us do this, at least sometimes. This is not a criticism. I think it’s an aspect of being human.

I’ve been using this pandemic cloistering period to work on my writing practice in a world-wide community of writers. The way this program is set up, everyone has a page of their own as a place to show their work. It’s a little cumbersome until you get the hang of it (like most things are when they are new), but it’s really not hard to find your own page. I’m watching one of my writing friends do his darnedest to keep himself from writing, and letting himself acknowledge that he actually writes well and beautifully. He’s a smart guy. He’s got a successful day job. And he’s got this other side that’s creative, poetic, profound and astoundingly lyrical in its beauty and depth.

This morning I noticed that he’d written an extraordinary piece of incredibly touching poetry on someone else’s ‘page’, and sheepishly admitted that he didn’t know how to find his own page. We’ve been in this writing program for five months. Twice I’ve offered to zoom with him on his computer to show him how to find his own page. I know of two other people, moderators of the writing program, who have also offered to assist him. Someone even made him a ‘how to’ sheet of directions, and he persists in hiding the ball from himself. I just wanted to cry when I saw his commentary this morning.

If we, or someone else, don’t want to know something, there is nothing that can be done to force them or us to see, and know. It’s not like having a puppy and rubbing their noses in it when we catch them peeing in the house. We don’t learn that way. Once we finally do wake up to the game and see though, and are willing to own our own ability, agency, autonomy, authority, responsibility and power, there’s nothing that stands in our way.

Being part of a world-wide writing community is both exciting and terrifying. I was telling one of my artist friends about it, and she was horrified at the idea of showing her work to others as it was in process, specifically so that other people could comment on it. I told her it was really quite fabulous, because one of the rules of engagement in this group was that commenters were required to be constructive, and kind. Early on when I joined this online writers’ group, I noticed the moderators, quickly and decisively, removed two people who didn’t know how to be constructive and kind.

It serves each of us to have a small group of supportive friends, who we trust and who actually have our best interests in mind and heart, and who will help us see our blind spots. Without that, it’s easy to just keep playing ‘hide the ball’, and we don’t learn and grow.

–Rev Janis Farmer

Got Food for Thought?

I once was scolded by a doctor because she thought Sissy was obese. “What are you feeding her? I can’t even feel her ribs!”

I started to tell her Sissy’s diet and she stopped me in mid-sentence, holding her hand up at me. “Stop it. I’ve heard enough. She needs to be on a special diet which we will discuss, AFTER I finish my exam.” She glared at me, stethoscope in hand and listened to Sissy’s heart.

“I’m the one who needs to be on the special diet!” I told her. She rolled her eyes in disgust and continued writing down her notes. Our office visit was quickly over.

She couldn’t help me with my diet since she was a veterinarian. Sissy is my full-figured girl maintaining 160 lb weight throughout the years. For a St. Bernard, that is an average
weight. Since my veterinarian’s office has many vets there, we have never seen that particular doctor since. No other doctor ever scolded me. Sissy needing to be on a diet has never come up for discussion again.

Discussion of me being on a diet, well that’s a different story. I’ve been on many diets in my lifetime and I have to say they have all been successful. I have lost many pounds, almost too many to count. Oddly enough I find the pounds again and lately carry them where ever I go! Nothing is ever really lost. I must say I have never been scolded by a doctor for the weight I carry around. Someday, I’ll let the extra baggage go for good, probably when it no longer serves me.

Since we are discussing diets, here is the food for thought. This is the best diet I have ever been on, and I want to share it with you. You too can do this diet and see immediate results! Yes, you! You don’t even have to be overweight! I know, how can you imagine that? Wanting to be on this diet and you’re not even overweight? Well listen up, this is a really good diet. Try it out, take a bite and enjoy having a great day every day!

Here is a 5-day mental diet. It’s good for healthy mindedness. It will help give you a great day every day.

  1. First day: Think no ill about anybody-only good about everybody.
  2. Second day: Put the best possible construction, the most favorable interpretation, onthe behavior of everybody you encounter or have dealings with.
  3. Third day: Send out kindly thoughts toward every person you contact or think of.
  4. Fourth day: Think hopefully about everything. Immediately cancel out any discouragingthought that comes to mind.
  5. Fifth day: Think of God’s presence all day long.

With great gratitude I thank Dr. Norman Vincent Peale as I found this diet in his book HAVE A GREAT DAY EVERY DAY!

–Madeline Pallanes

Got Shot?

“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” –Ernest Holmes

What role do you play in making yourself sick? As easy as we unconsciously speak sickness into our lives, we can also speak good health into our lives. What sickness have others helped you to create just by the words they speak to you? What conversations are you having?

(My) Keith returned home after receiving his second shot (vaccination), sat down and sighed.

“How did it go?” I asked.

“9 out of 10 will get sick tomorrow.” He was unconsciously preparing himself to be sick. By already preparing his mind to welcome in the sickness, the seed was already planted.

“They told you that?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“Yes, they’re telling everybody that. They want everybody to be informed!” He was unconsciously affirming he will be sick tomorrow.

I was in disbelief. I imagined all the sick people tomorrow. I thought to myself, how can I change his thought on this? I don’t want him sick.

“Remember Keith, YOU ARE A 10!”

I said it a couple times and he got it. He didn’t get sick.

“It is done to you as you believe.”
— Ernest Holmes

Star-Stuff R Us

The Milky Way over Monument Valley Image Credit & Copyright: Tom Masterson From Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)

In a 1973 publication, The Cosmic Connection, Carl Sagan wrote, Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.

He wasn’t the first to say it. That honor probably goes to a Greensboro, North Carolina newspaper columnist, Ellen Frizell Wyckoff in 1913, though she wasn’t quite brazen enough to claim that special status for humanity, only for the earth, when she wrote, The spectroscope analyzes the light if you please, and shows what it is made of. What was the surprise of the tireless searchers when they found common earth metals burning in the mighty sun!

There was once a little girl who cried out with joy when she realized for one little moment that the earth is truly a heavenly body, and that no matter what is happening to us we are really living right up among the stars. The sun is made of “star stuff, and the earth is made of the same material, put together with a difference.” Astronomer Albert Durrant Watson in 1918 said in his address to the Royal Astronomical Society, It is true that a first thoughtful glimpse of the immeasurable universe is liable rather to discourage us with a sense of our own insignificance. But astronomy is wholesome even in this, and helps to clear the way to a realization that as our bodies are an integral part of the great physical universe, so through them are manifested laws and forces that take rank with the highest manifestation of Cosmic Being.

Thus we come to see that if our bodies are made of star-stuff— and there is nothing else, says the spectroscope, to make them of — the loftier qualities of our being are just as necessarily constituents of that universal substance out of which are made

“Whatever gods there be.”

We are made of universal and divine ingredients, and the study of the stars will not let us escape a wholesome and final knowledge of the fact. (Thanks to Quote Investigator for compiling all these quotes in one place.)

And so what? This image from Brian Andreas at Flying Edna reads, You are made of the same stardust as all creation. Why would you believe that something so marvelous as that can’t be trusted to know how to live?

So much fear and doubt surrounds us and our world right now, the sudden shift in what can be known with certainty and depended on, and the lack of predictability in … well… life. Still, when we remember who and what we are, infinite expressions of life walking around in our physical bodies, there is something deep within us that cannot be damaged, hurt, or ruined, not matter what chaos seems to surround us.

We are stardust. How do you grab hold of that certainty and own it for yourself? How do you remind yourself when you forget? (Hint: daily spiritual practice helps.) Find your center. Get busy shining the stardust that you already are. The world needs your presence. Now…

–Rev Janis

Consider Yourself Invited!

Nearly every year since (at least) 2008, CSLT’ers have chosen to gather together for a Friday evening and part of a Saturday to decide what our collective focus will be for the next 12-36 months. The results of previous envisioning weekends can be viewed on our newly improved website under “About” and then under “Organizational Documents”, as well as Board minutes for the past three years and Annual Reports (since 2009).

Together we decide what we have done well, what we could do better, and what we want to let go of. We also decide what we have will and stamina to bring into our world, and how we want to polish our collective light in Tucson and beyond. Everyone is welcome to bring their vision for CSLT forward, and attend as much or as little of this idea-planting activity as they have time and interest. We’ll build on the community visioning that occurred on Sunday, January 12. The collected notes from that visioning are presented below this document in this newsletter.

Our focus has shifted over time from very grand ideas (from 2008) like operating a K-12 New Thought school in Tucson and a self-contained ministerial program into more modest, readily-attainable goals. Our “What We Would Love” list from last year’s envisioning included:

  • Increased visibility in Tucson (Our new education center is much more visible, accessible & available)
  • Well-funded, well-attended & well-known (Our Sunday attendance has begun to grow again, and we have had the most (economically) positive year in well over a decade, not to mention the sale of the raw land on 22nd St, the purchase of the new education center and the establishment of the Opportunity Fund (which is to be used for sustainable marketing, among other long-term goals).
  • Expanded number of groups (Multiple book study groups, Men’s group, P+III group, Sacred Cinema, Lunch Bunch, Music Appreciation Group…)
  • Prosperity Fair, community bulletin board (yep, and the Annual Meeting Raffle of beautiful donated art objects, proceeds used in purchasing our new sign)
  • Vibrant Youth Program (Teachers gathered, trained & vetted, and first youth program initiated)
  • Communal expression of talents & treasures (Multiple teachers with multiple educational offerings, awesome music, recreation of the Winter Solstice ritual to a social event, drum circle…)
  • Have a home space/kitchen (‘home’ space, yep; kitchen, not exactly)
  • Location where people can drop in and use the lending library (yep)
  • Sharing our Services (Binder available on Information Table, not well utilized)
  • Increased Visibility for Service Teams (Recognized in ‘Gratitudes’ and Invitations to join)

We continue to move forward in “Telling Our Story”, populating our YouTube channel, and creating a gallery of photographs on our newly optimized website. The blog, populated by articles written by our leadership, and others, continues to gain readership. Our newsletter readership continues to grow, as does our Facebook presence.

What wants to be done by each, and all, of us in the next year or so?

How do you wish to participate in sharing of our divine expression and our expansion throughout more of Tucson, and beyond? Come join the conversation Friday night 6-9pm and/or Saturday 10a-4pm.

–Your CSLT Board of Trustees

Telling Our Stories Still

Holidays frequently bring families together, and part of being a family is hearing some old stories more than once, but something special happens when we hear a story that gives us something new, something we didn’t know and gives us an insight not only into who we came from, but also into ourselves.

A new way of seeing who they are, but also aspects of ourselves. Sometimes it’s surprising. Because sometimes it’s how we are and sometimes it’s how we want to be. Or not.

The importance of these stories lies a lot in exactly that — what we learn about ourselves from their telling their stories.

Telling my story on these pages has been an enormous impetus to dig down and clarify exactly what my becoming and being a member of CSLT means to me. That meaning changes as I learn and grow in the teachings, the classes and in fellowship.

Last year’s Community Envisioning set as one of our goals “To Encourage the “Telling of Our Stories.” Because the importance and value of that sharing cannot be overstated.

We are not the same, therefore we should never be bored: occasionally mystified, perplexed and often amazed, but never bored.

Each of us is a unique expression. We know that. We say it often. Let the meaning of that resonate in your soul for a moment, or five. What you bring to CSLT and what CSLT brings to you is different from my experiences. Different from everyone else’s as well.

Far from meaning that your experience is too different to mean anything to anyone else — it is your uniqueness– that “special sauce” that CSLT is for you — which can help others expand and grow their own knowing. Our differences underline and strengthen the wonder of our uniqueness.

Sometimes it is the knowing that others did it differently, that enables us to do it our way.

And, sometimes we learn that others share our vision, our challenges our dreams.

We are always at choice to remain and grow in our own garden OR we can trade seeds with our neighbors and maybe add a new flavor to our lives and to theirs.

Which brings me to the request our Community sends out to each of you reading this.

Please share your story of finding, joining and experiencing CSLT.

It needn’t be long; it just needs to be your CSLT story. If writing is not your favorite thing, we have gentle folk who are experienced assisters and who share our love for CSLT.

Talk to any Board Member and we’ll be happy to help. We’re waiting to hear and to learn.

Or drop me a line or give a call:
mmoery@gmail.com Cell: 917.653.7378 – If I don’t answer, be sure to leave a message, or you’ll never hear back.

–Peace & Joy in this Season, and Beyond, Mariann

Crumbs or Cake?

I’m not sure what specifically ‘made me notice this particular hidden belief, but it resurfaces for me now and then. Every time I think I’ve made progress, then l discover another deeper layer wanting to be seen and addressed. In any case, it’s in my face again.

My mother was always settling for, making do with whatever life gave her, not imagining anything better or different, and it annoyed me immensely that this was the way things were. Some of the memories were challenging like hand-me-down clothes, wearing shoes that were a little bit too small, and sharing orders of toast when we would (rarely) eat breakfast out. Some memories are sweet, like the Christmas she sewed a pleated skirt and little blouse for my virtually hairless, much beloved doll, and made a boudoir chair (with cushion) to match the outfit out of a cylindrical oatmeal box. That’s just the way it was back then, when there was very little extra and you made what you had work for you, at least in our neighborhood.

There’s an old foreign film called Babette’s Feast‘. (In my mind, it is much older than 1987, but that’s what wikipedia says.) A French refugee spends her entire fortune to purchase ingredients, and prepares an amazing seven-course meal for some townspeople not used to ‘fancy food’. The elderly villagers who were recipients of the meal decided it was sinful to appreciate the food, and so they agree to eat it and say nothing. One guest, from out-of-town, raved about the meal. After the meal is done, they ask her when she is going back to Paris, and she says there’s no money left and she’s not leaving. Sigh.

My particular variation of this hidden belief is not particularly economic. I do always have what I need to do what is important to me. Partly because I recognize the law of circulation operates — when I generously give, I generously receive. It happens automatically. I don’t give to receive. I just give. Also, part of it is that I’m not particularly high-maintenance, except for books, and fabric. The spot where I get caught, and I feel like I’m operating from lack, is in collaboration/support. By way of explanation, my primary love language, as described in the Five Love Languages  is acts of service. I feel especially valued, seen, heard, and appreciated when people do things they say they will, or show up when they say they will. If I’m not managing my own internal resources, and not noticing when I have given control of my experience of well-being away to someone else’s action or inaction, I can feel unloved when people are not congruent. Most of the time, I’m pretty OK with the way life works because I generally pay attention to my own self-management.

[If you haven’t taken the free test at Five Love Languages, I highly recommend it.  If you are in relationship with someone, especially if you feel like you are sometimes not on the same wavelength, I suggest you ask them to take it too, and share your results with each other. It is eye opening to realize how you give and receive love and appreciation. If there is an absence of alignment in love languages in the partnership, there are suggestions of things you can do to strengthen the relationship.]

Almost as quickly as I recognize this old (irritating) story, name it, and release it, an email pops up from someone insisting they will take care of a necessary task. Then someone else chimes in too, to handle another choreIt almost doesn’t matter to me whether I accept the offers of help, simply that the offers have been made, and were genuine. Then a third person shows up. Now, I feel almost inundated by helpful people.

So, my awareness once again reminds me that I can see my life as crumbs, where I feel like I’m making do and settling for less than what I desire, or I can see my life as a beautiful slice of cake with a perfect cup of fragrant coffee, completely aligned with my needs and wants. As usual, it’s up to me, and how I choose to see my world. Is this a familiar story for you,too?  How do you handle it?

—Rev Janis Farmer

Things I Learned

“Everyone has been made for some particular work,and the desire for that work has been put in every heart”             — Rumi

I was thinking today about some of the things I am so grateful for.

My introduction to Science of Mind in 2008 was right up at the top of my list. I was lost and confused about the state of my life at that time, having been divorced and living alone and feeling that something else was lacking. I began to take any and all classes available to me at CSLT, and slowly things began to shift.

So, here are some of the things I learned that literally turned me around & up.

I learned that a loving God put me exactly where I belonged, with exactly the teachers I needed to have.

I learned that I was capable of bonding deeply with like-minded people that I barely knew.

I learned to trust, at a much deeper level, both with my God self and others.

I learned that life is ALWAYS what I choose to make it, and that I am always at choice.

I learned that it’s OK to make mistakes, and that if I do, I am still loved.

I really got it, that I am an eternal being and death holds no threat for me.

I learned and saw that Spiritual Mind Treatment really works.

I’m learned that supply and prosperity come to me in many forms, when I allow it to be.

I found out that I am not a separate being but one with the One.

I came to understand the complex workings of the Law and how to use it constructively.

I found out that I spent more time worrying and praying how to put these thoughts on paper than it actually took.  🙂

Thank you Science of Mind for the blessed life I now have.

— Janie Hooper

 

Soul Searching

Some of our members have been soul searching and asking questions like, is New Thought for me and is Science of Mind for me? It helps to know what one wants. Is it spiritual illumination? Is it prosperity? A relationship? A social network? I could only answer questions like those when I knew what I wanted.

As a member of CSLT, who facilitates book study and discussion and small groups, I have witnessed individuals reassessing their relationship with New Thought in general and with CSLT, specifically. They have been quietly asking themselves, where do I want to worship and celebrate the life that I have been gifted with? Has New Thought helped me get what I want? While obtaining an answer may sound very straight forward, feelings and muddled thinking have gotten in the way. Muddled thinking is cleared by knowing what you want.

To simply be disillusioned has never been enough for me. In a strange way, I have been guided by the words of JFK. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country”. Thus, to paraphrase, ask not what my spiritual center can do for me, but what can I do for my spiritual center? As for me, I give, and ask for nothing in return. My involvement in New Thought is not a transaction. If it is true that the greatest among us is one who serves, then if you want to know if New Thought or the Science of Mind is for you, then serve. I have found joy in service.

I also have viewed the decision-making process as a good thing, because CLARITY is the eventual outcome. Discerning our direction (want) is never a waste of time.

With clarity, you will be better equipped to confidently move in the direction of your dreams and hopefully be forever grateful for knowing that you were always at choice. If you understand this philosophy, then you will know that no New Thought individual will hold choice against you. It is our birthright. Finally, whatever the choice, embody it and be of service to others.

–Keith Gorley

Livingness and More Light

As we *stroll* into this season of light, maybe we are joyfully sprinting into the season, and maybe we are dragging our feet. Regardless, the season of light is upon us again. What those words mean for each of us is unique to each of us. There are some things that I know as universally true.

What I know:
There are as many ways to express and experience light and livingness as there are individuals. Perhaps even more ways than that. At times, two or more contradictory opinions wrestle for first position in my mind, and I am sure this also happens for others. That recognition does not diminish the fact that I live, and each one of us lives, as the Divine Essence at every moment, at our own personal level of awareness and understanding in this moment.

It’s OK to be completely satisfied with our lives exactly as they are. In fact, if we don’t accept what is, it is hard to move forward, but that’s a different conversation. It’s also OK to want to learn and grow. It’s even OK to be asleep on purpose. (That one is a hard one for me personally to grasp, but it is still OK.) There’s no big-mean-daddy-god-in-the-sky judging us for our choices and punishing us by sending us to our room without supper for misbehaving. There’s not really even any misbehaving, we simply make choices and experience the consequences of our choices. It’s also OK to not know, or not believe, that we can choose a different life than we have. It’s personally sad to me, but it’s OK.

Two of the statements Ernest Holmes made in the Declaration of Principles: We believe in the eternal Goodness, the eternal Loving-kindness and the eternal Givingness of Life to all. We believe in our own soul, our own spirit and our own destiny; for we understand that the life of all is God.

Master Teacher Jesus is quoted as saying, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Religious Science doesn’t interpret this to say that we depend on the individual personage of Jesus to give us this life, since the gift of our divine sonships and daughterships has already been given, but that he showed us, by his example, how to live an abundant life. What example did he give us to emulate? Love. Blessing. Kindness. Compassion. Inclusion. Acceptance. Appreciation of the All Good in every moment. Joy. Celebration. Generosity. Presence. Poise. Power to become. Peace.

Two additional statements Holmes made in the Declaration of Principles: We believe that heaven is within us, and that we experience it as we become conscious of it. We believe the ultimate goal of life to be a complete freedom from discord of every nature, and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.

Heaven is within us already, and we have the delicious and delightful opportunity to become aware of this gift of life and light, unwrap the beautiful package, and explore the contents. If I believe I am trapped by any condition or circumstance, then I am not able to experience heaven now. Even if I can’t see a way out, I can feel comforted in knowing that at some point in time I will attain this goal of complete freedom. The gift has already been given. I get to receive it, and I get to decide how I want to experience and express it.

Spanish poet Antonio Machado wrote, Wanderer, your footprints are the path, and nothing else; wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. Walking makes the path…

We get to walk our own paths, following them wherever they lead. I think it is more fun to do it in the company of our beloved community. That’s a personal choice we each get to make, too. Blessings to you.

— Rev Janis Farmer

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