Helping Ourselves by Helping Others

…let us begin to accept today more good than we experienced yesterday, and to know that we shall reap a harvest of fulfilled desires.
      Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 39.5)

A recent article in Psychology Today listed the many benefits of altruism. According to the article, acting with altruism can do more than make us feel good about ourselves mentally; it can actually release endorphins which give us a “helpers’ high.” These endorphins also enhance our immune systems, making
us physically healthier.

Also discussed were the emotional or psychological benefits of helping others. These included feelings of gratitude for what one has compared to those being helped, distraction from one’s own problems, and reduction in feelings of stress about one’s own life.

Mariann Moery and I were in PineTop last weekend. I made arrangements to meet Karen, a friend whom I had not seen for a year. When I first saw her, I noticed that she had lost a great deal of weight (60 pounds), was sporting a new haircut, and appeared to be happier than I had ever seen her. As we were waiting for our dinner, she began telling us about the new love in her life.

A year ago, she began volunteering at an organization called Walking Down Ranch that provides housing for homeless veterans in the White Mountain communities of PineTop, Lakeside, and ShowLow. Although it is difficult to say exactly how many homeless veterans are trying to eke out an existence there, the best guess is 200-plus.

Seeing a old lodge with 18 empty cabins in the community of Lakeside, the founding members of Walking Down Ranch made an agreement with the East Mesa Fire Fighters to rent the empty lodge for $1.00 a year. Volunteers went in and repaired each of the cabins, making each of them habitable for the individual veterans, and in some cases, for veterans and their families.

In addition to the 18 cabins, there are two additional buildings that are used as offices for the organization, and a thrift store, which provides income to help defray the cost of the repairs and utilities. They have a computer lab, a food pantry, a laundry room, and an exercise facility. While these facilities are not state of the art, they are functional and being put to good use.

While Mariann and I toured the facility Saturday morning, we saw a hair stylist providing free haircuts to the veterans. We saw veterans who were helping by washing windows, accepting and organizing donations, and providing information to visitors.

Because Karen believes in the organization to which she gives so much of her time and talent, her life is richly enhanced. She is passionate about the work they are doing, because she sees a need, a solution in which “everyone wins” and happy, healthy results.

If you are looking for a way to enrich your own life, think of an organization about which you have interest, gratitude, or passion. Is there a place where you can get engaged there? If nothing immediately catches your imagination, CSLT is primarily a volunteer run organization too. In our own community, we seek lively and enthusiastic individuals to help with Hospitality, Compassionate Hearts, Altared States, Hosts, and Ushers and Greeters. The time commitment to participate on one of our service teams is about once a month. Serving our community is a fabulous way to meet new friends, to serve in a very real way, and to enhance our community and you individually. As Rev. Janis would say, “We invite you to come play with us.” Each of us receives benefit individually from the shared experience and our community prospers.

–Pat Masters

Sacred Service

It was Dick Laird’s turn to write the Board Member’s blogpost. Since he tends to be a man of very few words and a whole lot of valuable and valued engagement, he didn’t mind too much that I wrote it instead.

Something Dick recognized early on was that regular participation in the life of his Center or spiritual community was an important spiritual practice for him. It’s not something one might do if they needed to be recognized, honored or ‘show off’ in the spotlight, but it provides useful and necessary services to the community as a whole and to individual members of the congregation and it, metaphorically, ‘keeps the wheels on the bus’. Plus, there’s the added benefit of supporting and engaging with something valued.

One of the traditional paths of enlightenment in the yogic tradition is the path of service. This is called karma yoga. According to the Yoga Journal Online (citation at the end of this note), ‘being aware that all of our present efforts become a way to consciously create a future that frees us from being bound by negativity and selfishness. Karma is the path of self-transcending action. We practice karma yoga whenever we perform our work and live our lives in a selfless fashion and as a way to serve others. Volunteering to serve meals in a soup kitchen or signing up for a stint with the Peace Corps or Habitat for Humanity are prime examples of selfless service associated with the karma yoga path.’

Of course, this path of sacred service is not limited to participating at your Spiritual Center. Many of our congregants volunteer outside our Center for other non-profit groups and organizations, including public schools, hospitals, food banks, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens and in their own neighborhoods…

The path of sacred service also gives shy or introverted people an avenue to get involved and participate, and meet new people and feel connected to something larger than themselves, or their own human experience. Personally, I know of several individuals on the Hospitality Team, which seems like a hugely gregarious and extroverted bunch, who joined because it gave them a chance to get involved in a way that gave them some relatively simple, straight-forward tasks, once every couple months, and gave them a chance to be around people, feel useful, and not feel trapped or overwhelmed by the level of interaction. It also gave them access to a small group of people that they could work alongside of for a while and see if they might want to engage a little more socially. The same could easily be said about those who have worked behind the scenes, and behind the tables, to bring the Book Tables to Sunday Services, and those who provide assistance to the administrative functions of our Center.

So, look inside yourself and see if you have the appropriate amount of social engagement that suits your temperament and desires, and, if you find you would like a little more involvement in life and the idea of volunteerism works for you, reach out and touch a hand. There’s more than enough (joy, delight and potential connection) to go around.

https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/the-branches-of-yoga

–Rev Janis Farmer

Steps On The Journey

One of my all-time favorite Zen-based lessons goes as follows.  Two monks must travel together from their monastery to a distant place which involves crossing a fast-running river.  Upon arriving at the river, they discover a woman standing on the banks unable to cross on her own.  One monk simply picks her up and carries her across, depositing her on the other side.  All go their separate ways.  That evening, when their rule of silence is released – the second monk attacks the first for “touching that woman.”  The first monk replies – “I only carried her across the river, you’ve carried her all day.”

Oh my. How much time is spent carrying (if not nurturing) events, exchanges, actions that have no need to be remembered, much less retained, as emotional traumas?  I know that I do it way too often.  And, I know as well, that not only is it not good for me, it is truly bad for me.

Retaining, remembering, and hoarding those emotional upsets prevents me from being present to the actual Truth of Now.  The actual being aware and awake to my life as it is.  And let’s not even visit what neuroscientists say about how much easier it is for us to go to those bad, unhappy, defensive places.  Even without our practicing and reinforcing the choosing of unhappy.  We can of course blame those Neanderthal ancestors for constantly being concerned with food, fight, flight, sleep, and then leaving those emotions as primary in the genetic memory pool.  But, I digress.

One of my preventative measures is to write every morning.  It started a year ago as an “assignment” I gave myself from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.  It has become a must-do practice that allows me to discover, and frequently release, events both old and current that have lodged themselves in my state of being. Astounding how some long-ago (seeming) rejection feeds a current self-doubt. How a goal not met in the past, defines how freely, and how high, I let myself aim today.

For me, letting the pen go across the page has produced descriptions of sh*t that I thought I had long ago forgotten let alone released.  So why retrieve those memories?

Because I’ve learned I have a decades long habit of saying – this doesn’t matter, just let it go – when it really does matter. Or I go to — I won’t think about it – or worse yet I stuff it into a dark storage space and never let myself feel the Truth.  Every time I hide something, I add a layer to the walls blocking my growth, preventing my learning what I need to know, and I keep myself from being aware and present to the different choices I can make now.

Every time I do acknowledge something, historical or current, that hampers my focus on what’s happening now, I recognize that acknowledgement as the first step to releasing it.  Every time that release happens, I open space in my being to allow choosing the good.  I create the space to grow the opportunities – the options – to become more.

Our thought does not go out to influence persons or things. What it does is readjust our own consciousness, our own thinking, to include a larger and a more harmonious field of action. We learn that when we get our own consciousness straightened out, things in our external world adjust themselves to meet our new and better inward awareness.”      Ernest Holmes, Living the Science of Mind 204.3

We can only be in charge of ourselves, but we can be in charge if/when we choose to be so.   Peace.

by Mariann Moery

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

Life Lessons

My personal aphorism goes like this: The road to perdition is based on incorrect assumptions.

My most recent experience of that personal truth happened one night around 10 o’clock as I was on my way home from a meeting in downtown Tucson.

I stopped at my local gas station to fill up and saw an older man – obviously homeless. He was dirty, long tangled hair and scraggly beard. He was push/pulling a roller chair holding the plastic bags of his belongings.

He started across the station drive and honestly my first thought, was oh no – I don’t really want to deal with this tonight. And, I looked away.

When I looked back he had fallen and with extreme difficulty, was trying to get back on his feet.

Before I could do anything – enter two young men: baseball caps on backwards, dressed for shenanigans with the 12-pack on the pick-up seat, etc. etc. They went over, gently picked him up, talking quietly to ease him. They asked if they could take his stuff off the seat of the roller-chair so he could sit. They made sure he knew where his stuff was at all times. Then while one of them moved him toward the office, the other went in to have the manager call for assistance. Then the three of them got him settled and the manager stayed with him while waiting for help.

The guys, after saying good-bye and reassuring him other help was coming, got in their well-traveled pick-up and went on their way.

I just sat there and watched the great goodness happen. A great goodness that I was not a part of.

I had assumed the homeless man was going to ask me for something. I also assumed the two guys parked over to the side with their 12-pack were other than what they truly were: actual good Samaritans.

My lessons from that night were downright painful to accept, but amazingly good for my soul.

…God makes no mistakes. All mistakes rest in the experience of man. “There is no sin, but a mistake, and no punishment but a consequence.” We must declare that no mistakes have been made, none are being made, and none are going to be made. If mistakes have been made we must neutralize their effect by the direct declaration that they no longer have power over us.

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind 612.6

It certainly felt like I made mistake. Yet, the homeless man was in better physical hands with the two guys then any attempt I might have made to help him.

BUT, did I miss a chance to live/love the whole experience of knowing that we are all one in Spirit? Oh, you bet.

Am I working deeper and trying harder to master that lesson? That’s an even bigger you bet.

Travel well on your path and mind the lessons as they appear.

— Mariann Moery

Connections

I drove home a new way on Sunday after services and noticed the bright blue sign of a Napa Auto Parts Store. It was the first one I actually remember seeing in Tucson. Part of me doubted that it could possibly be the only one, so I googled it to see how many there are in town. One. There’s only one. Huh.

The reason it caught my eye, I think, is because my mom worked in one for nearly a decade while my brother attended the lower grades of public school. She was of the generation who fiercely believed that moms needed to be home when their kids got home from school, so she wanted a part-time job where she could do that. I never could figure out how my mom worked in an auto parts store, since her interest in car parts was negligible.   Honestly, it was non-existent.

As I pondered this, driving across town, what came to me was an awareness of what her expertise actually was. She was the undeniably, unstoppably, irreplaceably queen of customer service. People mattered to her. After my brother was old enough to drive himself home from football practice, my mom got a job working full-time at the photo lab on the airbase near where they lived. She served as the film librarian; her primary job was to interact with the customers and make sure they got exactly the service or the product they needed. People would stop by her desk all the time for hugs, and to take a piece of candy out of the candy dish on the corner of her desk that was always full. She kept that job for the next 40+ years and was still happily working when she became terminally ill; she could not imagine not being there to take care of ‘her people’.

I retired from my technical career at 52. She and I would often talk about how odd it was that her daughter retired before she did. I kept telling her that it was really obvious to me when it was time for me to stop working (at that job) and that she would know when it was time, and to retire any sooner would be silly. That seemed to satisfy her, mostly. There were times that she wished she could be a retired grandma and do the craft activities, the outings, or the book studies, with the old, retired ladies. When it got right down to it, she didn’t believe that she would feel as vital and alive if she didn’t have to answer to an alarm clock 5 days a week. So she kept doing what she loved – connecting with people.

There’s something about pleasant human interactions that adds brightness and liveliness to our days. Social scientists say we need a certain number of hugs each day to be emotionally healthy – four at a minimum. When I was working on last Wednesday night’s class on Mysticism, I was reminded that the need to connect with others is a basic human survival need. On Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it ranks just slightly above the need to feel safe, and just below the need to feel respected or esteemed.

“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.” — James Baldwin

When I first saw this quote by James Baldwin, I thought of it as a negative commentary, but the more that I pondered the lifestyle that my mom chose, this idea remained quite valid and uplifting. She was the undisputed queen of making people feel important, no matter who, and no matter what. Even on Sundays and with the youth ministry at church, she was the first of the women to be given a plaque that read, “Mother of Our Youth”. I always thought the plaque was a little disconcerting, but it recognized the identity she had created for herself, and how she wanted to be seen in her world.

It seems I picked up just a smidge of that connecting mindset myself. I’m OK with that.

— Rev Janis

Birth of the Light

Today I had the experience of awakening suddenly to the faint light of predawn in my room. My alarm had not rung but I was wide awake. Panic set in. What day was it? What time was it? Why didn’t the alarm ring? What was I supposed to be doing? Going to work? Attending Saturday court? Taking up Board or practitioner duties at CSLT? Just then the alarm rang, and I finally tumbled to the conclusion that it was Sunday and I was going to CSLT. My new day, however, was already marred by anxiety over things I needed to accomplish.

This is the season of the winter solstice, the rebirth of the sun. I considered the anxiety my forebears felt during the long winter nights wondering if they had preserved enough food, so the elders and children would survive until spring. The return of the sun at solstice was, for them, a literal celebration of life. In my life I may not depend literally upon the sun for my survival, but I asked whether I was celebrating my life day by day. Was I living from my core or was I simply “doing”?

With divine synchronicity, Rev. Janis’ reminder talk addressed this very topic. She spoke about how we can accept our own magnificence, acknowledge our light and find our own unique way of shining that light. Thinking back to my experience of the morning, I realized that I spend a lot of time stressing about things I should be doing and not a lot about just being present for my life. The things I stress about are not even necessarily things I chose for myself. Many times they are “shoulds” I inherited from other people and from that nasty bullying voice in my head that is always ready to berate me.

In her talk, Rev Janis asked, “how do we become self-aware?” How do we find our unique light and expression apart from the “shoulds”? She said the answer would be different for everyone. As I sat with the idea I realized the answer, for me, was self-love. I am very skilled at bullying myself about what I should be doing. I hide the ball from myself about what I want. I build defenses. In so doing, I shutter my own light. In a moment of radical acceptance, I broke open to my own lack of self-love. I saw a way to live more authentically.

My authentic Self wants to express It’s unique light. With a self-loving intention, I can be my own friend, be on my own side and tell the bullying voice in my head to shut up. Being there for myself I can discover who I am at my core and exercise sovereignty in my own life. I can be honest about what I want.

As a Practitioner, I already see the light in others with love. For these last long nights of winter, I am doing the same for myself. I hold my own hand, drop my barriers and defenses and walk open and unafraid into the light, my own and the light of the reborn sun.

— Leah Hamilton, RScP

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

Opulent Fruitfulness

Opulent Fruitfulness

Last Monday night in the 8-week Meditation class, the student-led meditation was a mantra meditation. The word that came to me to work with was ‘fruitfulness’. What an odd word. I haven’t really thought of that word since I read the Old Testament for Metaphysical Bible while I was in ministerial school. The phrase that came to my mind, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” (Genesis 1:28, KJV).

So what other ways am I, and are we, fruitful or full of fruits? Well, there’s the fruit of the spirit. (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22, NIV)). Many of the students who completed the How of Happiness book study this past Wednesday night felt that their time and energy expenditure was fruitful, because they learned that they could increase their own personal experience of happiness and contentment within themselves by working from their strengths. Holmes talks about bearing much fruit when he writes (The Science of Mind 481.7), “When we express a greater livingness, then Life is more completely expressing Itself through us. A barren tree does not express the principle of abundance and production, so a life barren of good does not fully express the divine ideal.

This past weekend, I had this joy of traveling to East Phoenix CSL with our practitioner students so they could take their oral panels and become licensed Religious Science Practitioners (that’s what RScP stands for). Two of them are now authorized to wear the purple stole of service. We will recognize them next Sunday. The third gets to continue to grow in her skills and consciousness and has the opportunity to re-panel next year. It was a sweet, and bittersweet, experience for me, and I think for them. It is easy to remember those days of nervousness and assessment; that feeling of being questioned and challenged about those important and seemingly intangible qualities that set practitioners apart from the gifted and talented lay practicers of our philosophy. For the two who completed their licenses, their spiritual consciousness was recognized and celebrated by the paneling ministers and practitioners who vetted their qualifications and skills. For the one who gets to continue her own personal deep inquiry, she was immersed in love, recognition and appreciation, and encouraged to stay the course. Each of these women, and I, experienced that sweet, and bitter, moment of fruitfulness that can come with certain experiences. I feel blessed and uplifted by these three powerful, prayerful women.

This past Sunday, I spoke about how we often choose to constrain our own experience of freedom, which is a secret code word for fruitfulness, when we unthinkingly or unwittingly accept the directives of others, and do not choose our own life experiences. We got to look at hidden beliefs around the necessity of struggle for the experience of success and the ever present critic, who lives in our own head and decides whether we are good enough, or not.   Spoiler alert: The critic is mistaken. Societal pressures would prefer to keep us as compliant consumers, and that’s not what we are here for. (Lest you think, I am against consuming, that’s not what this is about. It is about you, and me, choosing intentionally and not being led by someone else’s ideas of who we need to be.) To quote Robert Heinlein, “Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite.”   You get to decide what freedom, and fruitfulness looks like for you, and also to change your mind when that particular path no longer works for you and you realize you have a new and better idea. (The audio of this past Sunday’s talk should be uploaded onto the website within the week. Check the link, here.)

In August we are going to start a community wide book-study using Edward Viljoen’s Ordinary Goodness. A limited number of books are available at the book table. You can also read along on your e-reader if that is more your style. Books are not required, but if you desire to follow along, or read ahead, they are available. We will explore how each of us can experience our own greater fruitfulness, in simple powerful ways, through expressing and experiencing goodness, kindness, compassion and faith.  Stay the course. Notice, experience, and enjoy your own fruitful life expression, as you.

Thank you for being part of our community.

By Rev Janis

It’s Good To Be Queen

As part of my job I frequently visit kids in custody at the Juvenile Detention Center. To soften the impact of the stark institution, the administration lets kids paint murals on the walls and memorialize their educational achievements with painted handprints. There are also many inspirational quotes on the walls of those long hallways. One quote blazes in iridescent gold paint and I look at it on each visit. It says: Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision is just passing time. Vision with action can change the world! Lately this quote reminds me that my choices, too, create my experience of life.
In Victoria Castle’s workshop, she described two ways people tend to deal with their problems. Some people jump into action and busily do, do, do things to address issues while others take a passive and reflective approach to their problems. So, as in the quote above, some people just pass time by inefficient action and others just live in their heads and daydream. I happen to be the type of person who defaults to dreaming away inside my head, not effectively handling things. Victoria taught us a technique that works for both types of people. We can effectively address problems by managing our “state”, our internal response to circumstances. We can be in our bodies, breathe and remember our purpose and choose to be unaffected by outside conditions. Our state is where our sovereignty lies.
Likewise, in her Sunday message last week, Reverend Janis pointed out the importance of conscious choices. She said it is our responsibility is to pick what we want to experience or risk getting the default result based on race tendency of the Collective Unconscious. So, for example, we are not at the mercy of inherited health tendencies. We decide. If we pick and do not like the result we are free to pick again. To consciously choose is to exercise freedom and sovereignty in our lives.
I recognize my challenge is to get out of my head, to stop being passive and to exercise my freedom by making conscious choices and manifesting my desires. I get to be the sovereign of my own life. As a former people-pleaser, I had to learn that being sovereign means acting on my values, beliefs and intuition without seeking permission or approval from the outside world. To be sovereign is to be Self-reliant. In his book, Spiritual Liberation, Michael Beckwith said: “We are, each of us, kings and queens sitting on the throne of consciousness ruling our lives.” As I exercise my faith in Spirit I no longer feel fear about making decisions and acting on them. There are no limits to what is possible in God, but Spirit can only act through me. I must couple my vision with action if I want to change my world, and then ‘the’ world.

by Leah Hamilton

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