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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Let It Shine!

Following a recent Sunday service, a friend from Dallas sent me a message telling me how much she appreciated my talk. She also shared the following with me.

Your Gifts Are For The World!
Your Gifts Are Your Seed That You Plant Into The World To Grow And Build The
World So You Can Leave A Legacy.
Your Gifts Are Your Currency! Take Them And Plant Them Into The Rich Soil Of
The Earth, And See Them Spread Out Into The Atmosphere And To All The People!
They Are Your Special Talents, Things You Have To Offer, What You Are Good At,
Your Ideas, Your Prosperity, Your Areas Of Creation – And The Created Products!
They Are For Both You And The World! The World Needs Your Contribution, And
The World Is Waiting, And Continues To Wait For Your Gifts.
There Are People Waiting For Your Gifts, And They Are INTENDED To Receive What
You Are, And What You Have To Give!
Wake Up And Give!

Tarjia Johnson

My friend was encouraging me to accept and own my gifts and talents, but not for any selfish gain or egocentric motivation. She was urging me to know that I have something to give, as well as recognize that there are people who are waiting to receive what I have to share.

I want you to know that you, too, have something special that you alone are here to share with the world. Further, those who are intended to receive it are waiting for you to share it.

I know that many of us were programmed to believe that owning our gifts and talents and sharing them boldly was not acceptable. We were taught that pride was a sin, and we should learn and practice humility. We were told that we should not be toofull of ourselves.” We learned that it was unacceptable to be true to who we are and let our light shine.

Jesus said, You are the Light of the World. Let your light shine before [all] that God may be glorified” (Matthew 5:16). We are here to be a light in the darkness that so often pervades the world. When we hide our light under a bushel” we deprive the world of the light of God that each of us is.

I am committed to consciously connecting with my soul, the unique expression of God that I Am, and living in harmony with it. My new affirmation is I live my I Am audaciously.” I invite you to boldly join me as we own our unique expression of the One Light and Let It Shine!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

What's Going On?

I do my best in this blog to share uplifting inspirational messages and insights that will serve to support others on their spiritual journeys. Today as I began writing, I wasnt sure I would be in a space to offer anything uplifting or insightful.

To be perfectly honest, I was feeling weary, lonely, confused, and apathetic. I could not seem to muster the motivation for much of anything, including writing this post. I wondered if it was a mild episodic depression. I knew I was not clinically depressed. I just knew nothing interested me. I started to read and soon found my mind wandering. Nothing I read did the trick of lifting my spirits or inspiring me. In fact, earlier as I was reading I felt the sudden urge to throw the book across the room. I resisted, however. Maybe I should have given in. It might have been cathartic.

I chose to stop right where I was, go within and ask, Whats Going On?”

Then, I was reminded of a book I ordered and received a while back but hadnt read. It is a publication of The Center for Action and Contemplation, the organization founded by Fr. Richard Rohr. The book is one of a series entitled Oneing – An Alternative Orthodoxy. This one is a collection of articles focused on the topic, Liminal Space.

As I began to read, the Universe through Fr. Rohr and the first three pages of the introduction in this little book, reminded me what I have been experiencing and continue to move through. It is liminality.” Fr. Rohr says,

Liminality is a form of holding the tension between one space and another. It is in these transitional moments of our lives that authentic transformation can happen. Otherwise, it is just business as usual and an eternally boring, status quo existence.”

He further says,

[We stand] on the threshold between who we are and who we can become, if we are willing to let go of what holds us back…If we are able to stand it and stand there, liminality is likely to induce an inner crisis.”

I know that I am not alone. I know that many, if not most of us, are experiencing liminality in one form or another. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our usual way of being. It has created for us an opportunity to be in the space between what was and what will be. The uncertainly can be disconcerting and disheartening.

The enforced distancing between us and those we love and care about in itself creates tension. We are wired for connection. When that need is not met, we feel the pain of it. It can stimulate episodic depression, loneliness, and confusion.


In addition, the racial unrest and political climate we are currently experiencing has added to tension we feel whether or not we are consciously aware of it. Each of us participates in the collective consciousness and each of us is affected by it in one way or another. We are in a transitional space in our country, indeed in the world.
 

While liminality can be a powerful space in which to be because of the opportunity for transformation, it can also be an uncomfortable space. It invites us to question everything we think we know and everything we have thought ourselves to be. It invites us to release all that we have allowed to hold us back from being the full expression of the Christ that is our potential.

It is tempting to do whatever we can to avoid the feeling associated with liminality. We may use food, shopping, sugar, alcohol, sex, drugs or many other escape mechanisms. The greatest opportunity for transformation, however, as challenging as it may be, is to be present with the feelings. It is important that we do our best not to avoid them, push them down or judge ourselves for having them. They can be our teachers and our guides.

If you are experiencing liminality, I encourage you not to engage in patterns of unhealthy behavior. I can personally speak to this because there are many that are all too familiar to me. Likewise, while it is important and necessary to spend time alone, please do not isolate. I encourage you to reach out to someone who can support you, someone who will listen without judgment and without trying to fix” it for you. We are in this together. We need each other!

Whats Going On?

We are in liminal space, individually and collectively. This is a pivotal time in the evolution of human consciousness. We have an opportunity to participate and engage consciously in the process.

I encourage you to know that we are birthing a new reality. It will not be painless. It will not be without challenges. Keep breathing. It will be worth it for ourselves and for those who will stand upon our shoulders.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

On Wings of Spirit

Last Tuesday, soon after returning home from my retreat in the mountains, I learned from a Facebook post that one of my spiritual mothers had made her transition. I don’t use that term flippantly. Diadra Price was one of only two women who I consider my spiritual mothers. The other is Rev. Dr. Kay Hunter who made her transition nearly two years ago.

The news of Diadra’s transition hit me harder emotionally than anything in recent past. It hit me much harder than I would have anticipated, actually.

I first met Diadra in 1995 when she arrived in Dallas to become the interim minister at Unity of Dallas where I was then attending. After her first service, I purchased a cassette tape (yes, cassette) of her message. I listened to that message over and over and over again. I probably could have recited it verbatim. Her words touched my heart in a way that none had before. For me, she was the embodiment of the Divine Feminine energy that I was so longing to experience.

After leaving Unity of Dallas, she and her husband John founded Wings of Spirit, a nonprofit spiritual organization dedicated to assisting all in the evolution of consciousness. I had the privilege and honor of working with Diadra for about a year to organize and present weekly evening services in a wedding chapel in Dallas. After a time, she and John purchased a beautiful home and retreat center in Boone, NC where I was blessed to attend one of Diadra’s retreats.


While we had not been in close communication for a while, I always knew that she was just a phone call away. Over the years, I often reached out to her in times of my own “spiritual crises.” She always said just what I needed to hear, even if I didn’t always like hearing it. That is what good spiritual mothers do, right? I asked her to be the officiating minister at my ordination service in 2017. While she wanted to do it, she was unfortunately unable to travel at the time.

Even though she is no longer on this physical plane, I know that her spirit remains ever-close and ever-ready to assist all of us who remain on this earthly plane in remembering who we are.

Reflecting back on my final hike on Tuesday before turning home, I wonder now if Diadra was with me. As I hiked, I heard in my head a loving, yet stern voice telling me that it is time to grow up, get real with myself, with everyone else in my life and stop playing around. Doesn’t that sound like a mother?

I know she always saw more in me than I was able to see in myself. Perhaps this was her way of reminding me to remember who I am, to stop playing small, to step out and live life with bold abandon. I am choosing to think so anyway.

Diadra Price was a mentor, a minister, a guide, and a friend. Her spirit, wisdom and grace will always be a part of me. I know this is true for many others who were touched by her presence. I am eternally grateful and blessed to have known her and to have loved her.  Blessings on your journey, dear one. Soar on Wings of Spirit!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Spiritual Awakening - Anytime Anywhere

I am writing this while still on vacation in the Colorado Mountains. Thanks to the generosity of some loving USCD members, I have had the opportunity to spend the better part of this past week surrounded by the beauty and serenity of nature.

It was my intention to take this time to be quiet and introspective without the influence of technology or media. That lasted about two days. While I did devote some quality time to meditation, silence, writing, and simply sitting on the deck observing the wonders of the natural world, I found myself getting just a little stir-crazy after a while.

I have friends and colleagues who have expounded on the glorious benefits of 9-day silent retreats. I fail to understand how they can withstand that much silence. After a while, it became for me just another thing to do, something to accomplish rather than a gift that I was giving myself. So, I decided to let go of this as another spiritual goal.

Yes, I have some judgment of myself about not being able to do it. Yes, I am doing my best to release it.


Ultimately, I arrived at the insight that spiritual awakening does not only happen for us in the silence of prayer or meditation. It does not only happen when we remove ourselves from the world of technology and media. It does not only happen when we are seeking it. In fact, it rarely if ever happens when we are seeking it. Instead, it happens in every moment of every day when we are open and receptive to it.

Every tree, every bird, every blade of grass, every rabbit, every squirrel, every elk, every deer, every person, indeed, every thing is alive with the One Life Energy and every moment is alive with the potential and possibility for us to awaken to and bear witness to it.

We awaken to our spiritual nature, not only by connecting consciously with our individual expression of the One Life Energy, but when we consciously connect with the spiritual nature of all creation.

For many, including me, being in nature helps to facilitate this awakening. However, it is not the source. The awakening happens within us as we recognize and deeply realize the One Life Energy that not only expresses as all visible creation, but also exists in the field of invisible Life Energy in the space between.

We are ever connected in and through this One Life Energy by whatever name or nature we know it to be. We only need open our hearts to sense it.

I offer this as a suggested practice –

Select an object of focus. I suggest a plant, animal, or something that you consider sentient

Close your eyes and take a deep cleansing breath

Breathe  deeply and focus your awareness in the area of your physical heart

Take another deep breath and invite your awareness to sink deeper into your emotional heart

Stop for a moment to feel what is arising there, without resistance or judgment

Take another deep breath and invite your awareness to sink even deeper into your spiritual heart

Feel your spiritual heart open wide

If you sense any resistance or heaviness, keep breathing deeply until you sense it open

Softly open your eyes so that they are not completely focused but a bit blurry

Gaze upon your chosen object of focus

Invite your awareness to observe the energy field around it

Gaze deeper and invite your awareness to witness the energy field within it

With your heart wide open, invite awareness of the energy field that is flowing between you

You may see it as color, as waves, as sparkling light. Just allow it to reveal itself to you

Bear witness to the energy connection you share with this object

Breathe deeply, focusing in your heart once again

Bring your awareness back to your emotional heart noticing what is arising there, again without resistance or judgment

Once again, with a deep breath bring your awareness back to your physical heart

Breathe normally and when you are ready open your eyes

I have recorded this visualization. Please click the link below to listen and follow.

I encourage this as a practice, especially when feeling separate and alone. It is a clear reminder that we are always connected to and a part of the One Life Energy that imbues all. Every moment can be a spiritual awakening, anywhere, anytime.






Thursday, August 6, 2020

What Were You Thinking?

My prayer partner said something during our weekly call this week that hit me like the proverbial “ton of bricks.”

We began our call commiserating about the challenges of ministry in the virtual age. She shared with me that she had officiated her first virtual memorial service the night before our call. She talked about her anxiety and concern regarding the technology learning curve. She expressed her sadness about the lack of personal connection.

I expressed my struggles with getting accustomed to speaking to a camera, rather than to people. I talked about how I miss the human connection and being in the flow of the energy which has always been such an invaluable aspect of Sunday service. I shared with her how the energy of the building seems so different now that there is so little activity going on and how I miss the vital aliveness that we had before we suspended meetings here.

Almost in unison, we said “ministry is difficult and challenging right now.” Then, she said, “I just heard what I said. I have been affirming that ministry is hard. Is it any wonder that that is what I am experiencing?”

That’s when it hit me. I have been affirming the same things. That is the energy vibration that I have been resonating. And, I have been feeling the effects of it. At times, I have felt weary. I have felt apathy. I have been uninspired. I have trudged through my days with very little enthusiasm or joy. Is it any wonder?

Yes, two Unity ministers who teach the power of our thoughts/feelings and words, were not practicing what we “preach.” In fact, we were practicing the opposite of what we “preach.”

To top it off, I have been facilitating a class on The Five Basic Unity Principles, one of which states that we experience life according to our way of thinking and feeling.

My prayer partner and I agreed that we are going to change the vibration of our thoughts/feelings and words about ministry in the virtual age. We are going to affirm that ministry is exciting and full of opportunities for us to learn and grow in our capacities to master technology, learn and practice new ways of staying connected to our community, and embrace innovative, leading-edge, transformational teaching in our respective ministries.

I share this with you as an example of how easy it is to get sucked into the vortex of negativity. It is important for each of us to check in with ourselves and become aware of the energy of our thoughts/feelings and words. It is especially true given the gravity and complexity of the energy of the collective consciousness today concerning the pandemic, racial justice, and the political tension, all of which are permeated with the energy of fear.  

I encourage us all to continue to condition our minds with Truth through prayer, meditation, contemplation, denials and affirmations. We have the power to choose where we will place our attention and choose the thoughts to which we give power. We are not only affecting our current experience, but we are also shaping our future, both individually and collectively. Let us choose wisely.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

The One Thing

Over the course of the past few years, I have had thoughts of writing a book or compiling some of my writings and publishing them as a book. I have begun the process a few times, but never felt inspired to continue. Using terminology from my traditional Christian roots, I could say that the project wasn’t “anointed.”

Lately, I have received renewed inspiration about this project or projects. I have gotten the message from Spirit that I am to publish a book. I have not received clear guidance on what form it will take.

During a recent meditation, I was seeking clarity from my inner Knower as to whether the timing is now right for me to devote the time and energy toward this. I received a clear message that said, “Focus on one thing.”

My first reaction was “What?!” “What does that mean?” My mind immediately began trying to figure out what “one thing” in the manifest realm I am supposed to focus on. Did that mean that I am not to spend time now focusing on a book or books, but am to be focused on the church, focused on classes, or focused on continuing to educate myself on social issues? What does it mean for me to “Focus on one thing?”

I have continued to ruminate on this message in the ensuing days. Like the proverbial dog with a bone, I have latched on and have been trying to figure it out. Then, this morning, as I was sitting on my trusty meditation cushion, it came to me.

The one thing that I am to focus on has nothing to do with anything in the external. It is not a book or books. It is not the church. It is not classes. It is not educating myself. I am to focus on Unity. No, not the spiritual movement. I am to focus on realizing my Unity in Divine Life Energy.

I received the Knowing from Spirit that when I focus on realizing Unity that everything in the external, the book(s), classes, church, education, and anything else that is to come into manifestation will be made known to me and the path will be revealed.

As I pondered this revelation, I realized that this is the foundational tenet of the Unity movement. It may be decorated with all sorts of teaching around healing, wholeness, prosperity and the like, but these are all external manifestations. The essential message of our teaching is conveyed by our name – UNITY.

Our spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, contemplation, visualization, forgiveness and others, when focused internally with the intention to know our Unity, will reveal to us what is ours to do to demonstrate our Unity consciousness.

It may be to write a book. If so, the book will be imbued with a higher vibration. It may be to teach a class or facilitate a workshop. If so, the underlying intention will be to assist all who participate in knowing their Unity. All else will be in support of how we live from that conscious awareness. It may be to continue to educate ourselves about social issues. If so, all will be seen through the lens of Oneness, and the learning will be from a higher perspective. It may be to take action to support change in the world, to help bring justice, equanimity and peace to the world. If so, it will be accomplished without fear, but with the energy of Love and Light.

Unity consciousness is the potential and possibility for each of us. Our way shower Jesus charted the path for us to follow. It requires our commitment and dedication to the path and to our daily spiritual practice.

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. MT via

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Identity Matters


Several years ago, I dont recall exactly when, following a Sunday service as I was greeting people at the exit doors, I man came up to me and said, identity matters.” I do not remember what my lesson was that day. I can only surmise that I had spoken about our spiritual identity and stressed that knowing who we are as individuated expressions of the Divine should be our only focus. That sounds like something I would say. While I have no recollection of what I said, what he said has stuck with me all this time.

I do remember that my first reaction to hearing those words was to defend myself. We did not engage in further dialogue, but in my head I told myself that he just did not understand what I was trying to convey. I assumed that if he had, he would have agreed with me. It was, of course, important for me to be right (smile). I have reflected on his words from time to time over the years attempting to understand what he meant. Recently, his words rang in my mind once again.

I do not know this man, so I am unable to ask him what he meant. Perhaps that is good, because I have had the opportunity to ponder and discern what identity matters” means to me.


A group of us from Unity Spiritual Center Denver have been reading and discussing the book, Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving. In her book, Irving shares her personal stories about learning what it means to be White in America, something that many of us who identify as White have never taken the time or effort to consider. Because we have not had to.

Most of us White people have had the privilege of living unaware of the advantages we have enjoyed simply because we are White. Further, we have lived in blissful ignorance of the extent of institutionalized systemic racism that pervades our culture. It is not our fault. There is no need for us to feel guilty or ashamed. We simply have not known. Awareness is key to awakening and responding.

I admit that until recent events brought home so unequivocally the extent to which racism is enshrined in our American way of life, I only gave it an occasional fleeting thought. After all, I never considered myself to be racist. I told myself, Im a good person. I treat everyone the same. I dont participate in racist actions or speech.”  Little did I know! Again, I am not piling guilt or shame on myself or anyone else. I am simply stating that I was unaware of my unintentional and unconscious racism. After reading this book, as well as various articles, and watching videos and movies, I am more aware.

In a recent conversation with a member of our community who is of non-European descent, I was compassionately and lovingly made aware that some things I stated in a recent email were in fact unintentionally and unconsciously racist. Of the several things that I learned in that conversation, the one that hit me the hardest was that in my mind I had placed all people of color into one homogeneous group by making assumptions that they would all have the same perspective on certain words, phrases, comments from others, or other interactions.

It was certainly not my intention to be, but what I said was indeed inherently racist. I was able to hear that, take it in and learn from it. I deeply appreciate the opportunity to have this authentic connection with one of our members. Having these kinds of connecting conversations with the intention to understand and learn without shaming or blaming is an example of truly living our mission and being who we claim to be as loving, inclusive, and transformational people.

Thats when it hit me – “Identity Matters.” While each of us is an individuated expression of the One, each of us is unique. We are not defined by our life experiences, yet our humanity is shaped and formed by them. No ones life experience is the same as anyone elses. We may have similar backgrounds, but we are not the same. We may share common beliefs, but we came to them by different paths. We may be of the same race, but we are diverse. We are individuals with our own perspectives, gifts, talents, stories, beliefs, opinions and responses to life.

Identity matters because we are unique and diverse individuals, and I am reminded of the importance of honoring our uniqueness and diversity as well as our unity within Oneness. I celebrate my renewed appreciation for this truth. I have made a commitment to myself to keep it at the forefront of my consciousness.

Seeing each other and taking the time and effort to know each other as individuals will go a long way toward bridging the chasm that we allow to divide us, not only along the lines of race, but also politics, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, and all the things that make us uniquely who we are.

May we all remember – Identity Matters!