It’s Been A Year…

And what a year it has been. When Marya asked for someone else to cover her board article this rotation (because she’s in the middle of tax season), I said I’d take it. It was only after the fact that I realized we are at our one year anniversary of being virtual for all things. What a perfect time for a little reflection on where we have been, and what we have accomplished in a time period with so much uncertainty flying around us.

I began by looking at the pandemics of history. Most lasted at least two years, and some last decades. In our present era, I think because of our interconnectedness, and the intensity with which information sharing has happened in scientific communities, we have a potential or partial solution to this worldwide experience in less than two years. Most impressive.

Religious Scientists (of which I am one, and most of us are) claim that physical experiences do not create our reality, unless we allow them to. I also know that unless someone has a highly trained consciousness, they are strongly biased toward reacting in default, or ‘common hour’, thinking. While I do not see the coronavirus as harmful to me, I do know that many people do. Some have had the experience of the virus, some have gotten seriously ill. Many have died. In the Christian Bible, Paul wrote to the church at Rome (Romans 14), cautioning them not to intentionally do things that they knew would cause ‘their brother’ to stumble, or act in sinful (harmful, hurtful) ways. Master Teacher Jesus also reminded his listeners, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). In my regard for consciousness of the whole, I continue to practice safe distancing, wear a facemask in public spaces, and maintain better-than-my-usual hand hygiene.

Today, I want to write about the benefits that I can presently see that have developed or evolved from our experience during this most unusual year:

  • We’ve been online on Sundays for an entire year. We’ve talked about having a true video presence for almost as long as I’ve been part of this Center, but have never actually had a compelling reason to do it. Now we’re beginning to think about how to continue this inclusive activity when we return to having in-person services.
  • We’ve attracted, and gotten to know, some really cool people from outside of Tucson, too. Our winter visitors have been able to remain active participants even if they have gone elsewhere for part of the year.
  • We’ve discovered the joy of being able to have and take classes without having to drive at night, or limit our participation to only those people who live in Tucson. We’ve had guest facilitators from other CSLs in classes, and there’s more of this shared learning coming. We’ve also had students from other Centers join us for classes.
  • Morning practice has been going continuously, daily (except Sundays) for over a year. Attendance fluctuates, as participants have other things they prefer, or need, to do. Morning practice has provided a source of individual connection and community for folks from all over North America.
  • We’ve discovered that the zoom squares don’t actually inhibit deeply shared personal, inter-personal and community experience, unless we decide they do.
  • Since we’ve been completely online we’ve been able to hear from speakers and musicians who would normally be unavailable by time, distance or our budget. Robin Hackett joined us from her living room in Evergreen Colorado this past Sunday. Faith Rivera will join us from her home in Hawai’I in late April. Jan Garrett & JD Martin join us live in early May, and Gary Lynn Floyd in mid-June. Life is good.It is done to us as we believe. Our opportunity, as Religious Scientists, is to consciously observe our own erroneous default thinking and upgrade it with a new level of default thinking that supports the life we want individually and collectively. This past year has either the worst possible thing that could have happened to us, or the best year ever (yet). We get to choose.

–Rev Janis

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