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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Called To Be

In last week’s post, Angels Among Us, I shared about angels and how they are messengers of God. In my lesson at Unity Spiritual Center Denver this past Sunday (listen here), I talked about the angels’ messages in the biblical Christmas story. Their messages are: do not fear, have faith, believe, trust and follow.

Author, teacher and mystic, Matthew Fox said,

Angels are cosmic beings, beings of light that travel at the speed of light. When they are present, the Cosmic Christ is being alluded to. – The Coming of the Cosmic Christ

As messengers of God’s Light and Love, they are always guiding us to the unfolding and expression of our highest potential – the Christ.

The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary defines ‘Christas,

Christ is the only begotten Son of God, or the one complete idea of perfect man in Divine Mind.

This Christ, or perfect-man idea existing eternally in Divine Mind, is the true, spiritual, higher self of every individual. Each of us has within him the Christ, just as Jesus had, and we must look within to recognize and realize our sonship, our divine origin and birth, even as He did. By continually unifying ourselves with the Highest by our thoughts and words, we too shall become sons of God, manifest. (Excerpts)

Angels, as witnessed in the Christmas story, are always calling us to bring forth our Christ nature.

After further contemplating the messages of the angels in the story, I became keenly aware that they are also calling us to go and grow beyond the known, to stretch the boundaries of who we have believed ourselves to be and what we have previously believed is possible.

They called the Virgin Mary to step out in faith and accept that she, a teenage Jewish girl, was to give birth to Jesus. This required her to renounce the social norms and mores of her culture as they concerned a pregnancy outside of marriage.

They called Joseph to accept that his betrothed was to have a baby even though they had not yet “known” each other in the biblical sense. He was called to believe in the possibility that Mary was to give birth to a child conceived by the Holy Spirit, and to raise the child as his own.

Further, they were both called to leave their village of Nazareth and make the arduous journey to Bethlehem where Jesus was to be born.

The angels also called the shepherds to leave the safety and security of their field and to follow the star to where Jesus was lying in a manger.

The wise men from the Far East followed the same star from their homes to travel across rugged terrain to pay homage to the baby Jesus.

Later, the angels guided Joseph to, once again, leave home and travel to Egypt to protect Jesus’ life.

While the angels’ messages of Love and Light always lead us to our highest unfolding, they may also ask us to embrace things that are beyond our known world and to go beyond our comfort zones.

When we set a clear intention to be the Light of the World as Jesus said we are, we are called to share our Christ Light with the world and be in service to the greater vision of peace on Earth and goodwill to all people. In doing so, we may be called to people, places and situations beyond our imagining.

Our choice is whether to say ‘Yes!’ to the call.

We hear the call not with our ears, but with our hearts. In fact, the call is usually more felt than heard. Our hearts then transmit the knowing to the mind which interprets it and helps us along the journey. If we are clear in our intention to be the Christ in the world, there will be no argument or resistance. We will say ‘Yes!’ as did Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men.

Sometimes, in fact quite often, we are called to step into the unknown on our journey to be the Christ in the world. We can know and trust that no matter where we are led, we are provided all that we need when we say ‘Yes!’ and follow the guidance we receive.

This Christmas season, I encourage us to set a clear intention to give birth to the Christ through our thoughts, word and actions. Take time to be still and listen to the call of the angels. Breathe deeply into the heart space, feel into the energy of the messages of Light and Love. Follow the guidance received.

The angels may lead us beyond what we have yet known. They may well lead us beyond our wildest dreams or expectations. They will most assuredly lead us to the next step on our journey to give life to the Christ in the world.

As you travel this journey, always keep in mind the primary messages of the angels: Do Not Fear, Have Faith, Believe, Trust, and Follow.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Angels Among Us

The Christmas story in the Bible is filled with images of angels. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would give birth to Jesus. An angel came to Joseph in a dream to tell him to trust Mary and to take her as his wife. While the shepherds were abiding in the field keeping watch over their flocks by night, an angel appeared to them proclaiming the good news that Jesus had been born in Bethlehem.

Many religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam accept that angels are supernatural beings who reveal themselves to humans as messengers of God. Angels are often depicted in art with flowing garments, glowing auras, and frequently with wings. Many people report having had personal experiences with angels who have appeared to them when they were in need. Additionally, the belief in guardian angels is common.

The most recent issue of Unity Magazine contains an article about Sunny Dawn Johnston who, at the age of 13, saw an angel above her bed in the middle of the night. At the time, she did not know what it was. She reports experiencing a sense of unconditional love and oneness unlike anything she had previously known. When she asked her mother about it, she told her that the previous night she had prayed that God would send angels to watch over her. Her mother was sure that this being was her guardian angel who appeared in answer to a mother’s prayer. Over the ensuing years, Sunny has had many experiences with angels and has developed her ability to communicate with the spiritual realm. She uses her ability to assist others.

I recall that as a child I would often see swirling colors on the ceiling of my room. I never talked about it to anyone. I was sure that no one would believe me and would most likely tell me that I was dreaming or making it up. At the time, I didn’t have the idea that these images might be angels or spiritual beings there to watch over or help me in some way. As I reflect on it now, I am sure that those images of light were, indeed, messengers of the spiritual realm, the realm that we all have access to.

As Sunny is quoted in the Unity Magazine article,

“That ability is like a muscle that you can develop. You just have to start paying attention and being present. The more present you are, the more tapped in you are to the energy all around you.”

All too often, we believe that we are separate from the energies that exist beyond the physical realm. We may have been told that only those with special gifts have access to the spiritual realm. The truth is that we exist within the spiritual realm. We just happen to be focused through a physical body. Our physical senses are attuned to perceive frequencies that vibrate at a certain level. We all have spiritual senses that allow us to connect with frequencies beyond the physical. We must first understand that it is possible, then set an intention to connect and remain open to receive.

Some fear this ability and associate it with the “occult,” thinking that it is of the “devil” or of a lower vibration. I, however, believe that when we set a clear intention to only be in alignment and attract higher vibration, that is what we attune to. I encourage us to be open to messengers of God. They are all around us.

In addition, angels often show up in physical form. In Hebrews 13:2, Paul says “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (NRSV) Paul is saying that we never know when we might receive a message from God. We can never be sure where or from whom the message will come. It is important for us to be open, to be aware, and to be present. When something or someone shows up with a message, don’t pass it off as coincidence. It just may be the answer to prayer.

Finally, I believe that we are here to be angels for each other. As I reflect on my life, I know that many angles have shown up for me when I needed them most. When I have been at my darkest hours, someone has shown up to give me just what I needed most in that moment. It may have been a kind word, a smile, a hug, or a word of advice. I am grateful for all those angels who have shined the light of love on me. I hope that, in some way, I have been an angel in someone else’s life, as well.

At Christmas, we often see images of angels, whether on greeting cards, in decorations, depictions of the nativity, and many other forms. This Christmas, I encourage us all to look for the angels among us. Seek out their messages of hope, peace and love.

In addition to seeking them, I encourage us to look for ways that we can be an angel in someone's life. It may be sending a greeting card, making a phone call, writing a letter of gratitude, participating in an angel tree gifting opportunity, or simply being present.

Angels appear in both physical and nonphysical forms. Never doubt that there are angels among us. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Heart-to-Heart, Not Head-to-Head

Over the past several weeks, I have had multiple opportunities to experience first-hand interpersonal conflicts, as well as participate in helping to reconcile conflicts between others. It has, at times, been emotionally and physically draining.

I have to admit that I have never handled conflict well. In fact, I have spent most of life trying to avoid conflict. I am certain that it stems from early childhood experiences of witnessing conflict between the adults in my life and feeling the energetic effects of it. As I shared in an earlier post, I have spent a great deal of time and energy attempting to create safety, security and predictability for myself. Unfortunately, often at the expense of authentic connection with myself and others.

While this recent period has not been easy or comfortable at times, it has promoted me to reconnect with spiritual truth, recall information I have learned, and consciously engage in spiritual practices that have been helpful.

When fear is stimulated for me by something that someone says or does, my conditioned response is to withdraw inside, shut down emotionally and verbally, walk away, or all three. Others may react by fighting back either verbally, physically, or both. Still others may be so stunned by the conflict that they have no idea how to react. These are the most common human reactions to fear – flight, fight, or freeze.

Neuroscience confirms that when we perceive something or someone as a threat, our amygdala, the part of the limbic system in the brain, is stimulated. The amygdala is thought to store images and memories of past pain and fear, and for many, trauma. When we experience conflict which appears as a threat, our reaction is automatically informed by the amygdala. We react as if our survival depends upon it.

Thanks to the evolutionary process, our brains are also equipped with a neocortex which enables us to process, reason and rationalize information. When conflict arises, we can use this knowledge to know what is happening in the amygdala and consciously engage the neocortex. Instead of reacting to the fear, we can stop, breathe and ask ourselves questions, such as, “What am I thinking?” “What am I feeling?” “What memory is being triggered?” We can employ what we know about the functioning of the human brain to soothe ourselves and move from conditioned reactions to conscious responses.

Another tool that I find helpful is the Quick Coherence Technique from HeartMath Institute. It is a simple process of focusing attention and awareness in the heart, breathing in the heart and generating a feeling of appreciation. You may access the audio guide on their website here. There are also many YouTube videos available that will guide you through the process.

It is also helpful for me to remember that conflicts, whether interpersonal or internal, arise at the level of thinking. The mind’s job is to keep us safe and help us navigate the world we live in. It is continually evaluating and assessing the data it takes in through the senses. It is expert at dualistic thinking – good/bad, right/wrong, etc. It is important to our survival. It serves us well, except when it comes to connecting with ourselves or others beyond our past conditioning. Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore said,

We all have the thinking faculty located in the head, from which we send forth thoughts, good, bad, and indifferent. If we are educated and molded after the ordinary pattern of the human family, we may live an average lifetime and never have an original thought. The thinking faculty in the head is supplied with the secondhand beliefs of our ancestors, the dominant beliefs of the race, or the threadbare stock of the ordinary social whirl. Keep a True Lent

And, William Shakespeare said,

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

To that I would add, no one is good or bad, right or wrong except according to the mind’s evaluation, criticism or condemnation. Our opportunity is to move beyond the mind and into the heart.

As I said, when conflicts arise my first reaction is to retreat. I have accepted that. I am no longer trying to change it. I have, however, worked to change my response following my initial reaction.

Knowing that my amygdala has been stimulated, as soon as possible I take time to sit alone in a quiet space. I breathe deeply and connect with my body. I silently ask myself, “What am I feeling?” “Where do I feel it in my body?” I allow myself to completely feel my feelings without judgement or evaluation. Once I feel complete, I then breathe light and love into that area of my body. This helps to soothe me.

I then focus my attention and awareness in my heart and connect with the truth of my being as a perfect beloved child of God. I remain focused there until my mind and my body are filled with Light.

I am then more available to resolve any internal conflict as my mind and heart are open to hear the voice of Spirit and receive guidance. If the conflict is interpersonal, I am also more open to relate to the other heart-to-heart, rather than head-to-head. From a heart-centered space, I am more ready, willing and able to see the other as an innocent, beloved child of God. I can extend to them the knowing that, like me, they are walking this human journey doing the best they can in every moment. We all have memories of past hurt and pain. Some of us have experienced trauma. Our amygdalae get stimulated, and we all react from our conditioning.

My opportunity, to the best of my ability in any moment, is to be aware when I am triggered. I then do what I need to do to center myself in my heart, know my Truth, and soothe myself, so that I can be a calming presence for others and respond from love.

These tools are especially important to remember this time of year. Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is just a month away. It’s time for gathering with family to share meals and celebrate the season. For some of us those family gatherings can be at best challenging and at worst horrifying. It is one of the few times we willingly enter situations with people we care about deeply, but with whom we often share very little in common when it comes to our spiritual or political beliefs. Our families are often the best at “pushing our buttons” and triggering our amygdala. I have heard it said that our families know where our buttons are because they installed them. This may well be true.

As our lives get even busier than they already are, as we gather with friends and family, as we experience all that the holiday season offers, I encourage us to take time to breathe, center, connect, listen and remain open for the heart-to-heart connections we all desire. When conflict arises, remember and practice the truth that you know.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Clarity on Then and Now

Something has been nagging at me since I sat down after presenting my lesson this past Sunday at Unity Spiritual Center Denver. I said something that upon further reflection I feel may not have been helpful and in fact may have been hurtful. My intention is to only bring through messages of truth that are supportive and encouraging. I never want to say something that would damage or undermine anyone’s spiritual or human journey. Let me elaborate.

During my lesson this past Sunday, which you may listen to here, I said I believe that we, as humanity, have evolved to a place where we no longer need to process all of our past experiences, deal with our past pain or work through our history. I asserted that we only need to accept our Divinity, focus on our truth, and live from it.

I used the analogy of Moses encountering God in the burning bush on Mount Horeb. I stated that if, rather than doubting himself and questioning the voice he heard in the burning bush, he had instead listened, accepted and believed the voice, which metaphysically represented the inner knowing that we all have access to, he would not have had to wander in the desert for 40 years without ever entering the Promised Land. He could have entered the Promised Land in that instant and lived into his Divinity in doing what he was called to do.

I either said or strongly implied that Moses and the Hebrew people wandering in the desert for 40 years metaphorically represents our struggles to free ourselves from our past, sometimes circling back over and over again to the same issues and telling the same stories, rather than accepting the true Light of our Divinity and allowing that Light to be the source of our healing. Further, I said, while psychological counseling and therapy has its place, it is not necessary at our level of evolution.

These are the statements I have struggled with since Sunday. If I had the opportunity for a “do over,” I would chose to follow up with additional clarifying statements. I fully believe that in the Absolute realm there is only Light. Further, when we are willing and able to touch that realm and more fully embody that Consciousness as our consciousness, we will no longer need to explore our past because it will have no meaning for us. However, I fully recognize that we are all in process.

As Paul said in I Corinthians 13:12,

“For now we see as through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know only in part. Then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

We all have life experiences that are painful. Some more intense and traumatic than others. These experiences can leave residue of heavy energy that may darken our minds and our hearts. Each of us is in the process of cleaning the glass through which we see ourselves, each other, and the world. We do that by bringing Light to the darkness. Sometimes we need help. That help may come in the form of a qualified professional counselor or therapist who helps us to shine the light on our past and work through it. I know from personal experience the value of that work. Alternately, help may come in the form of a spiritual teacher who shines the light of truth through the words that enlighten our minds. Additionally, help my come through energy workers, a prayer partner, or others who speak words of truth for us. It may come through our spiritual practices – prayer, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or many other forms.

The point I intended to make on Sunday and the one I am attempting to clarify here is that the Light of God is the only power that can transmute and transcend the darkness. That Light is within us all. There is nothing and no one outside of us that can provide the Light. They may help us to remember the Light. They may help us to reclaim the Light. But, the source of Light is within. All good counselors, therapists, ministers, healers, energy workers and the like know this. They are simply vessels for Light to draw forth the innate Light within their clients, patients, or congregants. If they claim to be anything other, run!

Every moment is an opportunity for us to remember the Light that we are. With every breath we can stoke the flame of the Light that is burning within us. The Light of God that we are is perfect, whole and complete. It knows nothing of past pain and suffering. When we allow the Light that we are to fill our minds and hearts, lifting us from the heaviness of our past, we enter the consciousness of Oneness – The Kingdom of Heaven.

It may happen for us in an instant. There are those who have had miraculous instantaneous awakening experiences and healings. Up to now, however, those experiences have been the exception. Most of us grow in our awareness of our inner Light through various paths of exploration and discovery.

Whatever our path, the important thing is that we begin right where we are to intentionally and consciously awaken to the Light that we are. Invite the Light to fill our hearts and minds. Draw forth the Light in our DNA through the power of our imagination. See it. Feel it. Sense it. Visualize it igniting in every cell of our body. This is how we can know ourselves as we have been eternally known in the Mind and Heart of God.

Now is the moment that we may “see face to face” and “know as we are known.” There is no more “then;” there is only NOW.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

God's Will Illumined

As a Unity minister, I hesitate to admit that I have grappled with the concept of God’s Will. Since beginning my exploration of New Thought teachings, I have presumed and taught that the only Will that God has for each of us is that we realize our innate divinity and live it. Having rejected the concept of an external deity, I resisted the idea that God, by whatever name or nature we know it to be, has a Higher Will for the way in which we express our divinity.

For example, I did not fully accept that it is God’s Will for me to be in ministry. Even though I have felt the inner nudge to be in ministry since I was 14 years old, I believed that, according to New Thought teaching, it was and continues to be my freewill choice.

I now have a different perspective on the concepts of “God’s Will” and “Free Will” in large part, but not solely, thanks to Dr. Jacob Israel Liberman. Since hearing him speak and attending his workshop on Sunday, October 27 (listen here), as well as reading his latest book, Luminous Life, I find that I am returning again and again to his teaching on Light. He and others from whom I am currently learning have opened my eyes to see in a new way.

I shared some thoughts on this in my post last week, and in my lesson this past Sunday. It continues to work on me and in me to reveal a depth of understanding for which I am extremely grateful. I am not attempting to summarize or comment on Dr. Liberman’s work, I am simply sharing my experience and what it has awakened in me.

God, the One Source of all that is, expressed the full potential and possibility for all creation as what we know as Light. Think of the “Big Bang” theory. Even though Light is invisible, it is the foundation, or substance (not matter), of all that is manifest, as well the potential for all that is unmanifest. Scientists have observed that Light exhibits the properties we assign to God – Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Omniscience. The One Light of God holds the code, the Divine DNA, for all creation and expresses aspects of Itself as the potentiality for all that is and is yet to be.

Charles Fillmore, the cofounder of Unity, asserted that God “ideated” the universe. In other words, everything we perceive in the physical world began as an idea in the One Mind of God and came into manifestation through the evolutionary process. The Earth as we know it did not just appear. It was a Divine Idea that gradually took shape over time. Likewise, the plants and animals were Divine Ideas that evolved over time. Additionally, humans were not created, but “ideated” by God and continue to evolve into expressions of the Divine Idea in the One Mind for each of us. Unity calls that Divine Idea for humankind the ‘Christ.’

The Divine Idea, the Christ, is encoded within the DNA of each of us. We are each a unique expression of the Light of Christ which we are here at this time and in this place to awaken to and express. Our uniqueness, encoded as Light within our DNA, is “God’s Will” for each of us. Our opportunity is to connect with that Light, nurture it, and allow it to break open and blossom forth as us and in the world.

Our power of “Free Will” lies in our capacity to resist the Light or align to it. My experience has shown me that when we resist it, we suffer. When I denied my Light as a teacher, writer, singer, and channel which are all gifts and talents I use in ministry, I was not happy or content. I was constantly longing for something more. When I embrace my gifts and talents, express and share them, I am being true to the Light of my soul, the seed code of my Divine DNA, and I feel much more alive and enthusiastic. That, I believe, is how I can know I am following God’s Will for me.

Using our Free Will to follow the path of God’s Will may lead us to places we never thought possible, but will always be enriching to our soul. Reflecting on my life to this point, I can clearly see that God’s Will for me has unfolded in ways that I could not have consciously imagined or expected. Becoming a Unity minister was not originally my plan, but I now can see that there was a higher plan. Further, moving to Denver was not something that I had ever considered. I thought it would be too cold and snowy. There was obviously a higher plan that brought me here.

I recall vividly when I announced to my congregation in Arlington, TX that I was moving to Denver, someone asked me why I chose Denver over them. I replied, quite honestly, "I believe Denver chose me."

In using my Free Will to say ‘yes’ to the invitation to become a Unity minister and to move to Denver, my choice was to follow the Light, not resist it. I could not have planned any of this. I believe it has unfolded and continues to do so because I have, to the best of my ability and understanding, aligned to God’s Will for my life in service to the world.

I do not mean to suggest that connecting with and following the Light of our Divine DNA is always a bed of roses. It can be challenging. It can be scary. It can be lonely. Look at Jesus, the Buddha, and other masters who have awakened to their Divine DNA and followed the Light. Their lives were anything but easy. However, I am choosing to trust, and I invite you to trust that we are given all that we need in every moment to support us in living as the Light, and in following God’s Will for our lives.

I’m grateful for the newly awakened awareness and understanding that I am not in charge. I can take charge, and have done so at times to my detriment. There is a Higher Mind. There is a Higher Will. There is a Higher Knowing. There is a Higher Plan. Our opportunity is to open our hearts and minds to the revelation of God’s Will for us, and to the best of our ability, with all the spiritual tools we can master, align with that Will and follow the Light using our Free Will to say ‘yes’ to it.

Follow where it leads. Celebrate each step along the way. We are ever unfolding as the Divine Idea that we are – the Christ – the Light of the world.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Truth of Light

This past Sunday, we at Unity Spiritual Center Denver had the honor of hosting Dr. Jacob Israel Liberman as our guest speaker and workshop facilitator. Over the past five decades, Dr. Liberman has become a respected and accomplished expert in the fields of light and vision. I would do a disservice to him and his work by attempting to summarize his insightful teaching. Instead, I recommend visiting his website and reading his books. I will, however, share my perspective on couple of things he talked about.  

Dr. Liberman spoke about how animals have been observed to possess a “sixth sense” that alerts them to potential danger. He used the example of the wild animals who sought higher ground in advance of the tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004. While no wild animals died, more than 200,000 people were killed.

He asserts that we, too, have a “sixth sense” or intuition, but that we have learned not to pay attention to it. Instead, we have learned to operate from our conditioned minds which insist that we conform to societal norms and learn to fit it. Thus, at the detriment of our essential nature, we learn to respond to external prompting, rather than to the natural light of our souls and the Light of God that is constantly drawing us to the perfect unfolding of our innate nature.

Rather than being guided and moved by the natural flow of light in us, through us, as us and all creation, we resist and restrict our awareness through our thinking, which he calls “worrying.” He states that most of our thinking is worrying about what we did in the past or what we need to do in the future. Our worrying prevents us from entering into a state of presence with all that is revealing itself to us in every moment.

As I sit here in my office gazing across the room at the amazing schefflera plant pictured below, I notice that each leaf is turned toward the light of the sun shining through the window. Years of seeking the light has resulted in branches that twist and turn as they stretch toward the sun. I can’t imagine that this plant worries about whether the light will shine or if it is the most beautiful and perfect specimen of a schefflera. It simply seeks, follows, and takes in the light and grows in its own perfect expression.

Just as plants are designed to grow toward, assimilate and reflect the light without care or concern, so are we humans. The Light of God is always calling us to everything we need when we need it. We can trust it, or not. We can align to it, or not. We can say ‘yes’ to it, or not. In truth, that is the only function of what we know as freewill. Either we follow the light, or we don’t.

When we can relax and trust that each moment will and does reveal to us what we need to know and what we need to attend to, we are more receptive to the call of Light. To assist us in reconnecting with this guidance, Dr. Liberman suggests we practice attending to anything and everything that calls to us or “catches our eye.” For example, if you walk into the bedroom and the unmade bed catches your eye, make the bed. If you walk into the kitchen and dishes in the sink catch your eye, wash them. If a book on the shelf catches your eye, pick it up, open it and read. The more we practice following the light that “catches our eye” the more in alignment with Light we become. We eventually remember our true nature and allow it to unfold naturally, just as the plant does.

He also shared something that struck me at my core. He said that we humans spend a great deal of time and expend inordinate amounts of energy trying to create safety, security and predictability in our lives, even though they do not exist in the world as we know it. Life is constantly moving, flowing and changing, and we are being carried along with it. Attempting to create safety, security, and predictability resists the natural flow of light and life and creates stress.

As I contemplated it this morning, I became aware of how many choices I have made in my life in an attempt to create safety, security and predictability. I know that the desire for those things is based in fear. With the assistance of years of therapy and introspection, I also recognize that the fear stems from childhood conditioning. Previously, I would have said that, in my case, the need for safety, security and predictability had more to do with emotional safety than with physical safety. However, I now realize that the fear of emotional abandonment by my mother, father, or other primary caretakers also extended to a fear of physical abandonment. Even though I now know that I do not need to fear abandonment, my limbic brain is conditioned in that way.

I was nearly brought to my knees this morning with a sudden flash of light. It struck me right between the eyes when I became aware of the many ways I have given up on myself and refused to follow the guidance of the Light in an attempt to maintain what I believed to be safety, security and predictability.  

In denying the light and life of God calling to me and expressing as me, I have, at times, succumbed to fear and “hidden my light under a bushel.” I feel grief as I embrace this awareness. I know that I can mourn having denied my truth. I can also celebrate the new awareness. And, I can begin now to make different choices. I can choose to slow down, pay attention to the light that is calling to me, as well as to the light that is shining as me. I can allow the light to guide me to my greatest unfolding.

Above all, Dr. Liberman’s talk, workshop and book have reminded me that everything is born of Light. Even the biblical account of creation told and shared by those with no empirical or scientific knowledge states that the first emanation of God is Light.

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. – Genesis 1:1-3 NRSV

We are inextricably connected to all life through the Light that imbues every cell of our bodies. It is the same Light that lives as all creation. We may appear separate, but at our essential nature, we are One. As we awaken to this Truth, we are set free. Free to love. Free to follow our own Light. Free to be all we are created to be.

I encourage us all to follow the light of our souls. It is leading us to the remembrance of who we are as the Light of God that enlightens the world.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Living Our Mission

Over the past few weeks in my lessons at Unity Spiritual Center Denver where I serve as senior minister, I have been sharing my thoughts on our recently created mission statement. Our mission statement is –

We inspire transformation. We live consciously. We connect authentically.

Each week I have talked about one of these three elements. You may access audio recordings of those lessons here.

When I talked about connecting authentically, I spoke about the importance of connecting with our thoughts, feelings, desires and needs. In addition, I shared about the value of giving ourselves empathy and compassion when we are stimulated by another or by the events in the world. Further, that authentic connection also includes sharing our feelings, needs, and desires with another while being open and willing to hearing theirs as well. Authentic connection requires us to be honest with ourselves and vulnerable with others.

When I shared about inspiring transformation, I said that transformation begins in consciousness, but that true transformation most often requires us to take some action that will demonstrate our transformed consciousness in the world. Transformation asks us to be willing to connect with our judgments about ourselves, others and the world, to inquire about them and to understand them. When we are willing and able to do that, we are released from bondage to them. It is claiming ourselves as new creatures through the processes in which we consciously engage and the actions we take as a result.

This past Sunday, I talked about living consciously which is first and foremost about connecting consciously with our divine nature and the divinity in others and in all things. It is also about being conscious of ourselves and how we relate to others in our humanity with their humanity. Living consciously requires us to be in relationship to ourselves and with others from the awareness of our oneness – our shared spirituality and our common humanity.

As a spiritual community, our opportunity is to afford avenues for people to connect with their divine nature; learn spiritual practices that will assist them in living from their divine nature; and support them in living lives of connection, peace, sufficiency and love. We do that through our services, classes, workshops and events. My prayer is that we are successful at doing that.

In line with those intentions and in alignment with living our mission, we are offering a 4-week class entitled, Divine Sparks – Living our Compassion as Spiritual Practice. The class is based on the principles of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), the life work of Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. The class has been developed and will be facilitated by Susan Kaplan, a certified NVC trainer. It will meet on the four Mondays in November from 6:30 – 9:00 PM. If you are in the Denver area, I highly encourage you to register and participate in this workshop.

I was first introduced to NVC in 2004 by a friend who had recently returned from an International Intensive Training (IIT). An IIT is a residential immersion experience of learning and practicing the principles of NVC. She was on fire with what she had learned and couldn’t wait to share it with others. Her passion for it was contagious. I, along with a group of other members of our spiritual community, participated in the first class she facilitated. I was intrigued by what I learned in that class, but in no way did I fully grasp the enormity of what I would experience with NVC in the ensuing years.

In the months that followed, I not only attended other introductory classes offered by her, I also volunteered to be her assistant for one of them. Over the years, I hosted and participated in her workshops and in those presented by other NVC teachers who came to the Dallas area where I was living at the time. I couldn’t get enough. I learned more with every experience. I have continued to attend workshops and training intensives, as well as facilitate classes and workshops based on the principles of NVC.

While at its foundation NVC is a simple four-step process – observations, feelings, needs and requests – integrating it as a way of connecting with self and with others constitutes a profound paradigm shift. NVC is more than a way to communicate: it is a spiritual practice. 

As with any spiritual practice, NVC has the potential to transform one’s consciousness. In fact when practiced intentionally and intently, the principles of NVC, primarily empathy and compassion for self and others, will inspire a profound shift in the way we connect with and understand ourselves and each other. As we are transformed, we assist in the transformation of the consciousness of humanity. As consciousness is transformed, we practice authentic connection and model it for others. In practicing authentic connection, we live consciously. When we live our mission as stated above, we contribute to manifesting our vision. Our vision is

A spiritually awakened world living Oneness.

I so fully believe in the life-transforming potential of NVC that we are offering this class for a $10 materials fee and requesting an “intentional contribution” at the end of the class. An “intentional contribution” is an opportunity for class participants to make a financial contribution which reflects the value each one places on what they have received. There is no set minimum, maximum, or suggested amount. This will be discussed further in the class.

If you would like to experience the power and potential of Living Compassion as a Spiritual Practice, please REGISTER HERE.