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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Maturing in Christ

Presumably, we have sung the carols, lit the candles, opened the presents, attended the parties, and eaten the Christmas dinner. Now what? Do we forget about Christmas until next year when we, once again, begin to think about decorating, shopping and planning our activities? Has Christmas become routine for us; or, have we come to allow its true meaning to come alive in our hearts and minds? Is Christmas solely a celebration of the birth of our way-shower, Jesus; or, have we come to understand that it is our story as well? Have we accepted the truth that the Christ is the only begotten idea in the Mind of God for all humanity, and that includes each of us; or, are we still holding to the idea that that cannot possibly be our truth? Have we opened to allow the birth of the Christ within our own consciousness? If we have allowed the Christ consciousness to be born within us, will we continue to engage in the endless cycles of awakening and drifting back to sleep; or, will we choose to nurture the Christ that has been born in our conscious awareness and give it the time and attention it needs to grow and mature? Will we, this year, choose to keep the Christ alive in our consciousness and begin to embody and live from it?

Each of us must answer for ourselves. I encourage us, if we have not already done so, to allow this Christmas to be a momentous one for us. Let us make the conscious decision to awaken to the Truth that we are God expressing in the world as the Christ. Let us make this Christmas a celebration, not just of the birth of Jesus, our teacher and guide, but also a celebration of the birth of Christ as us. And, invite our own personal revelation of what that means for us.

Metaphorically, Jesus’ life represents our own. Just as Jesus grew and matured in his awareness and embodiment of his Christ nature, so must we. Just as we are born into these physical forms and grow and mature into adults, so must we grow and mature in our spiritual incarnations as the Christ. It is time for us to not only awaken to the truth of our Christ nature, but to actively engage in our own conscious evolution from babies to mature adults in Christ, and there is no time like the present to begin.

Let us, this year, choose to not just observe Christmas as an annual celebration, but to open ourselves to the realization of what it means for us to be the Christ in the world. I encourage us to keep Christmas alive in our hearts and minds as we move through a new calendar year. When December 25 comes around again in 2015, may we honor, not only the birth of the Christ, but also our new level of maturity as one who is growing in Christ awareness.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Light of Christ

This is the season of light. The celebration of light is an ancient one. For centuries, cultures have heralded the coming of Winter Solstice as the return of light, when the sun’s rays once again bless the earth and days grow longer.  In the Jewish tradition, Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, celebrates the miracle of light that burned in the temple for eight days despite the appearance that there was only enough oil to burn for one day. Christmas, too, is a celebration of light. In fact, early Christians chose to observe the birth of Jesus at this time of year because of the ancient observance of Solstice. Jesus is often called “the Light of the world,” and his birth is celebrated by the traditional Christian church as the return of spiritual light to a world that was “lost in darkness.”  In Unity we observe Christmas, not only as the birthday of Jesus, the master teacher and way-shower, but also as a celebration of light as represented by the awakening of the Christ as each of us. The Christ is, as the writer of the gospel of John says, “The light that enlightens every [one].”  John 1:9

We often use the word ‘Christ’ assuming that we share a common understanding of its meaning.  However, it seems that while we may have a notion of ‘Christ’, the term is still somewhat nebulous.  In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (MBD), Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore offers an expansive explanation of “Christ.”  The following is a short excerpt.
“Christ is the only begotten Son of God or the one complete idea of perfect man in Divine Mind. [Christ] is the embodiment of all divine ideas, such as intelligence, life, love, substance, and strength. In the architect's mind there may be one masterpiece, but that masterpiece is the sum of all the beautiful ideas that have come to his 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.”
Mr. Fillmore uses the term “Divine Mind” as a synonym for “God.”  He taught that Divine Mind is replete with Divine Ideas only and that the ultimate purpose of humanity is to bring those Divine Ideas into manifestation through the power of thoughts and words which are born from the revelation and realization of the Christ.  Divine Ideas in Divine Mind are the equivalent of what we might refer to as the thoughts in God’s mind.  Understanding this, it follows that since Christ is the Divine Idea for humanity in Divine Mind, then it is the equivalent of God’s thought that expresses the perfection of humankind.  Each of us is, in truth, the Christ and we are endowed with the full potential to embody the realization and demonstration of this thought.  As beings created in the image and likeness of Divine Mind, we are one with it and have access to all Divine Ideas; therefore, we need only to open our hearts and minds through prayer, contemplation and meditation, and invite the awareness of the Christ-thought to enlighten us.
A Course in Miracles reads, “[Christ] is the Thought which still abides within the Mind that is [Its] Source. [Christ] has not left [Its] holy home, nor lost the innocence in which [It] was created. [Christ] abides unchanged forever in the Mind of God. Your mind is part of [Christ’s] and [Christ’s] a part of yours. [Christ] is the part in which God’s answer lies.”
The Christ is not a vague concept or unknowable ideal to which we are to aspire; it is an idea to which we have complete access every moment of every day.  Christ is the place in our consciousness where the Mind of God is revealed as our mind.  When we open to the infusion of this Christ-idea, the full meaning will be revealed and we will begin to realize the impact of this “enlightenment.”  As we consciously invite the awareness of the Christ-idea, we will begin to embody and live from the Christ-idea.  As Mr. Fillmore said, we will manifest the Christ by “continually unifying ourselves” with it. 

Mr. Fillmore continues his explanation of ‘Christ’ in the MBD by offering us a tool for revealing the Christ to ourselves, “Spiritual perception reveals to us that we are not persons, but factors in the cosmic mind. Reveal yourself to yourself by affirming, "I am the Christ, son of the living God."  Another way of stating this is that each of us is a thought in Divine Mind and that we are each a unique manifestation of the one thought or idea which we refer to as ‘Christ.’ 

May we allow Christmas, this season of light, to be a time in which we celebrate the Christ that is each of us.  As we awaken to ourselves as Christ, we are enlightened, and we demonstrate the Christ en masse.  Celebrate the Christ you are.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jehovah Shalom

This week we celebrate peace. Peace is a prominent theme of the Christmas stories in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. “Peace on Earth, good will toward men” is one of the most well-known and often repeated phrases from these stories. Traditional Christianity believes that Jesus Christ, who is often referred to as “The Prince of Peace,” will return to establish God’s kingdom on Earth which will include a reign of peace. In addition to being essential to Christian eschatology, “Peace on Earth” is a common theme in many of the world’s religions. In the Jewish tradition, global peace and harmony are a part of the vision for the Messianic Age.  Other religions and faith traditions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, also include world peace in their vision of the final events in history or the ultimate destiny of humanity.

Some traditions assert that the end of the world as we know it, and the establishment of peace on Earth, will come quickly whether via the incarnation or reincarnation of a deity or by some cataclysmic event. We, in Unity, hold the vision for peace on Earth in our lifetime, here and now. Peace on Earth is not dependent upon a single event or coming of a Messianic figure. It is not Jesus, but the Christ, the only begotten idea in Divine Mind for humanity, that initiates the reign of peace on Earth. The Christ which is born through each of us, nurtured by each of us, and lives as each of us will bring forth the kingdom of God into manifestation. In order to establish peace on Earth, we must be willing to know ourselves as the Christ; allow the mind of Christ to be our mind, and allow ourselves “to be transformed by the renewing of our minds,” as St. Paul said in his letters to the churches at Corinth and Philippi. Our minds are transformed when we consciously surrender to the Christ, not an external being, but the idea in Divine Mind that is ever a part of our own minds. Peace on Earth will be established when we consciously choose for it to be.

We also hold the vision for a world transformed by peace, but the transformation we envision is not one in which the physical world ceases to exist. The world is a projection of human consciousness, the mind of humanity. A mind that is not at peace projects a world that is not peaceful. We have created and continue to create the world as we know it moment by moment. Likewise, we can end the world as we know it and transform it whenever we choose. We can alter human consciousness and establish peace on Earth by taking every opportunity to allow our own minds to be renewed and transformed by Christ.  The transformation occurs one mind at a time. The world as we know it is the world we have created and we can recreate it whenever we choose. 
In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Unity co-founder, Charles Fillmore, says “Jehovah of the Old Testament is the I AM, or Christ of God invisible; the Messiah is the promise of the visible manifestation of that I AM or Christ, and Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in man of that original spiritual I AM, or Jehovah.” 
In other writings, Mr. Fillmore said, “God was known to the Israelites as Jehovah-shalom: "I am peace." “You can demonstrate peace of mind by holding the words ’I am peace’.  If you take Jehovah-shalom into your mind and hold it with the thought of a mighty peace, you will feel a consciousness, a harmonizing stillness that no man can understand…Then you will know that you have touched something; but you cannot explain to another just what it is, because you have gone beyond the realm of words and made union with the divine cause.”

By taking the mantra “Jehovah-shalom” into our minds and focusing on it, we invite the Christ to fill our minds. As the Christ fills our minds, our minds are renewed. The consciousness of humanity is changed one mind at a time, and we begin to project the world from a mind that knows peace. The Christ is born in and through each of us, and together we bring forth peace on Earth.  When we are transformed, we transform the world. Peace on Earth, goodwill to all becomes our transformed reality.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tis The Season

Tis the season.  Yes, this is the holiday season. We have just celebrated Thanksgiving and now we are preparing for the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. It is the season of gratitude, joy, love, hope and peace. It is a time designated each year when many share meals, exchange gifts, decorate homes and businesses, and get ready for Santa’s visit. It is also the time of year when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the one in whose name Christianity was born, grew and continues to thrive today. Tis the season, indeed.

While I honor and enjoy the traditions of the holiday season as much as anyone, I am more keenly aware this year that the season is for something more essential. Tis the season for awakening. Tis the season for the birth of the Christ consciousness in the hearts and minds of humanity.  Tis the season for us to release the false notion that only Jesus was the Christ. Tis the season for us, you and me, to realize that each of us is Christ in expression. Tis the season for us to know that we are here, at this time and in this place, to be the fulfillment of the promise of Isaiah’s prophecy, to bring the reign of peace and goodwill upon the earth. Tis the season for us to accept that we are the ones anointed to be the Christ in the world, here and now.

Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity, said –
“The world needs the Christ consciousness. The need implies that the attainment is near at hand. There are men and women who gaze up into the heavens for Christ, as did the early disciples, instead of looking within their own heart and mind. Only believe in the omnipresent Christ and you will behold Him sitting on the right hand of Power within your own being!” - Atom Smashing Power of Mind 
“The salvation of the world rests with those who join Him and thereby bring peace and goodwill to all men. When the light of Christ comes to any man, it does not confine its rays to his consciousness alone but those who sit in darkness and negation see and feel its power.” - Keep a True Lent
The world needs us to awaken to the Christ that is our truth. When we awaken and live in the light of the Christ, others around us are touched by that light, and are encouraged and supported in awakening to their own light. The light of Christ shining in us, as us, is, “The Light of the World” (Matthew 5:14); “The true light that enlightens everyone” (John 1:9); and the fulfillment of the prophecy, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 2:9). As Mr. Fillmore said, our salvation, which we understand as freedom from the belief in separation and the pain and suffering that results from that belief, depends upon our own awakening. Tis the season for the dawning of the light of Christ upon our consciousness awareness.

Tis the season not just for some of us, but for all of us. And, we can actively participate in our awakening. The traditional Christmas story as given us in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, when explored as a metaphor for our own journey and understood metaphysically,[i]  can help us discover how each person, place and object therein can teach us something about our journey toward giving birth to the Christ consciousness within ourselves.

In my talk last Sunday I explored some of the insights Joseph provides. His willingness to listen to and follow the guidance from the angel, which represents the highest thoughts of God, and to go against the law of his religion in taking Mary as his wife, represent the faith that is often required of us as we journey toward our realization of the Christ consciousness. Faith is one of the twelve powers of man.[ii], It is a faculty within each of us that must be developed. It is but one aspect of our conscious awakening.

This week I will be discussing Mary and the aspects of each of us that she represents. In essence, Mary is the embodiment of Divine Love. As with Faith, Love [ii] is also one of the twelve powers which must be developed. Mary represents the openness, willingness and receptivity that is the potential within each of us. In our journey to awakening, we must develop and practice these capacities in order to experience for ourselves the wonder of giving birth to the light of Christ that lies within so that we can share it with the world. I hope you can join us on Sunday at 10:00 to learn more ways you can acknowledge and live Divine Love.

Tis the season! This is the time. It is Now! “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)

[i] Explore the MetaphysicalBible Dictionary, one of Charles Fillmore’s great legacies.
[ii] The Twelve Power of Man by Charles Fillmore.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Take Back Christmas

I have decided to start my own “Take Back Christmas” campaign not because I am opposed to the commercialism of the holiday or that I believe, as some would assert, that “Jesus is the only reason for the season,” or because I subscribe to the notion that there is a “war on Christmas” in our country. I want to “Take Back Christmas” because I believe there is great value for us in discovering the deep truths in the traditional Christmas story. Understood as a metaphor for our own spiritual journey, the familiar traditional Christmas story can provide great insight into our own journeys toward giving birth to the Christ in our conscious awareness.

Charles Fillmore, the cofounder of Unity, taught that all people, places, animals and inanimate objects in every Bible story, when approached from a metaphysical perspective, represent aspects of each of us. The Christmas story, also known as the nativity of Jesus, is no exception.  Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherd, wise men, angels, sheep, and the star all signify aspects of what occurs in our consciousness as we progress along our path to conscious acceptance of the Christ within and living from the consciousness of unity.

I encourage us to “Take Back Christmas” even if, and especially if you have previously given up on the story because you question the extant story’s historical accuracy; or because you no longer believe in the hardcore tradition that Jesus is the one and only son of God sent to save us from our sins; or even if you no longer consider conventional Christianity your spiritual path. I invite us to “Take Back Christmas” this year and reclaim the story as a glorious depiction of our story, yours and mine.
Beginning this Sunday and continuing through each Sunday in Advent, I will be introducing aspects of the Christmas story in my lessons during our 10:00 a.m. service. Our Youth and Family Ministry will also be acquainting our children and teens to the metaphysical understanding of the Christmas story. This Sunday, we will meet Joseph, and explore the aspects of ourselves he embodies. We will also consider how understanding Joseph from a metaphysical perspective, along with the qualities he embodies and the qualities he displays, can assist us as we make the commitment to the Christ within.

I invite you to join us and bring your children. Together, we can come together to “Take Back Christmas” and understand its original intent and meaning for ourselves and for our children.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


This morning during my meditation time, I asked the Christ within to speak to me of gratitude. I suddenly began singing Peter Mayer’s song “Holy Now.” (links below) I have loved the brilliant message of this song since the first time I heard it. It speaks to the awareness that everything is, in Peter’s words “a miracle” and holy. The message for me this morning is that everything in our lives is a gift from God. In other words, if we choose to allow it, everything without exception can help facilitate our awakening to the realization of ourselves as holy expressions of God. Further, if we are willing to look and truly see, we can – and will – see God in and as all.

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk and founder of, posits that gratitude has two aspects: gratefulness and thanksgiving. He speaks of gratefulness as the realization of God expressing. Rather than using ‘gratefulness’ in its traditional spelling and associated connotation, he instead uses ‘great-full-ness’ to designate the feeling one experiences at the moment of conscious awareness of God. In an article entitled, “Are You Thankful or Are You Grateful” he says, “In a moment of gratefulness…You fully accept the whole of this given universe, as you are fully one with the whole.”  To use Peter Mayer’s words, it is the recognition and experience in the moment that everything is holy and you are fully whole.

The second aspect of gratitude according to Bro. David is ‘thanksgiving’ which is the outer expression of the feeling of ‘grate-full-ness’. When I consider giving thanks as an expression of ‘grate-full-ness’ it takes on an expanded dimension. It becomes a statement of recognition of the God in and as all. Moreover, it is a conscious expression of appreciation for the contribution the other has made to my awakening to that realization. Theologian, philosopher and mystic, Meister Eckhart once said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank You’ it will be enough.” ‘Thank You’ as an expression of ‘grate-full-ness’ is more than a thoughtful response; it is a simple yet profound statement of God in me reflecting appreciation to God in another.

As we begin our celebration of the Thanksgiving season, I encourage us to embrace this new understanding of gratitude. Let us set aside time and allow space for silent reflection. It is good to be thankful for the people and the material demonstrations in our lives, and I invite us to go further in our gratitude and connect with the gifts of God that each of them is. Welcome the awareness of how everything and everyone contribute, in some way, to your awakening. Experience ‘grate-full-ness’ and express it through thoughts, words and actions this year. Choose to see that all of life is a “miracle’ and everything is holy.

“Holy Now” by Peter Mayer

Listen  |  Lyrics

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Radical Hospitality

In my post last week I referenced “Mind the Gap”, a phrase that originated in the London Underground to remind passengers to be aware of the space between the train door and the landing platform. Bestselling author, Brené Brown, Ph.D., in her book, Daring Greatly, suggests that we adopt this phrase as a way to remind ourselves to be mindful of the gaps that sometimes develop between our aspired values, the values we hold dear and strive to live from, and our practiced values, the ways we are actually showing up in the world. These gaps present themselves for us individually, as well as in our businesses and our spiritual communities.

My assumption is that if asked the question, “Are we a loving and welcoming church?” that most church members would answer an unequivocal ‘Yes!’  The churches I have been a part of, whether as a member or minister, have expressed an intention to be open, inviting and inclusive. Without exception, each of those ministries believed that they were exceptional at fulfilling those intentions. Because those who are reflecting upon the question are members who are involved in the church, the answer seems apparent. They, after all, are the ones who are the recipients of the love and inclusion. However, for some churches, the answer of whether they are welcoming and inclusive may not be quite so obvious to one who is visiting for the first time.

Pastor of Saddleback Church and author Rick Warren, in his book, A Purpose Driven Church, points out that a loving church is not always a welcoming and inclusive church. He says that if all the love is directed toward those who are already a part of the community, the ministry is at risk of becoming a closed circle that newcomers are unable to break into. We could benefit from “Minding the Gap” as we welcome and include our guests.

It is important for us to reflect honestly and to seek feedback from others as we assess the potential gap. This is certainly not intended to be a tool for self-criticism, rather it is an invitation to see ourselves through the perspective of one who is unfamiliar with our facilities, programs, staff and operations. We have all had the experience of being new to a group, whether in school, a new job, or a new church, so we know that it can be a bit scary. One who is venturing into a church for the first time is often doing so with some trepidation. They are allowing themselves to be vulnerable because they are seeking to meet a need, such as connection, inspiration, or community to name a few. As members of the church, we are afforded the privilege to do our best to meet those needs and help them feel safe, welcome, loved and included.

While we want to take care not to overwhelm a guest with solicitous attention, we want to foster a consciousness of “radical hospitality.” Just as we would take care to welcome guest into our homes, we take equal, if not greater care, to ensure that they are welcome in our spiritual home. We greet everyone with courteous enthusiasm. We introduce them to other members of our family. We invite them to share a meal with us. We treat them as honored members of our community. As William Butler Yeats once said, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet.”

Join us on Sunday at 10:00 AM at Unity Church of Denver as we explore further what it means to come together with the intention to co-create a culture of “radical hospitality” and experience for yourself the transforming power of feeling loved, being included and knowing that you are truly welcome here.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Minding the Gap

In her bestselling book, Daring Greatly, author, professor, and lecturer Brené Brown, Ph.D. discusses the idea of "Minding the Gap." She explains that the phrase, "Mind the Gap," first appeared on signs in the London Underground to remind passengers to be aware of the gap between the train door and the station platform. She uses this phrase as a reminder for us to be aware of the gap between our aspired values and our practiced values. In other words, to be mindful of whether or not we are "walking the talk."

I greatly appreciate the importance of "Minding the Gap" and I believe it is the first step toward "Mending the Gap."

For most of us, there is often a gap between who we aspire to be and how we actually show up in the world. In order to "Mind the Gap" we must make a conscious effort to remain aware of whether the actions we take and the words we speak are in integrity with the values we hold. When we find that they are not, when we discover there is a gap, we can make choices that more fully express our values. For example, we may say that we value personal connection, but find that we are often unavailable for our family and friends because we are too busy with work or other obligations. If we are mindful of the gap, we can choose to set aside time in our schedules to have connecting conversations and meaningful exchanges with the people in our lives. In that way, we give attention to "Mending the Gap."

The gaps also appear in our spiritual communities, often in ways that we are not consciously aware of. For example, we may value inclusion and hospitality, but we don't have adequate programs in place to welcome guests and provide opportunities for them to be included in the activities of the church. We may embrace the importance of service to others, yet find that we are not fulfilling our intention to serve those outside our community. Once we become mindful of the gaps, we can make choices about how we want to mend them. We may decide to adopt a more intentional process for welcoming and including our guests. We may also explore and engage in other opportunities for service to the greater community.

"Minding the Gap" requires us to be clear about our values and, in community, the culture we intend to create together. It also demands our honest assessment of the gaps that exist and our vulnerability to admit where we fall short. "Mending the Gap" may necessitate measuring the extent of the divergence, assessing the means for bridging the gap, gaining the needed tools, and implementing strategies to achieve integrity.

As we "Mind the Gap" we maintain conscious awareness of our values and intentions, and we are able to determine if we are "walking the talk." When we find that we are not, we can take the necessary steps to "Mend the Gap" so that our aspired values become our practiced values.

Dr. Brown shares in her book that her family has a framed "Mind the Gap" postcard in their home to prompt them to be mindful of the space between where they now stand and where they intend to be as respects their values. I am going to create at least two for myself, one for home and one for my office, as a constant reminder of my intention to live from my highest values, to be aware of when I am not, and to take steps to "Mend the Gap." I would also enjoy it if we at Unity Church of Denver adopted this as a mantra, a way to help us remain consistently aware of our stated mission and core values and the possible gaps that can develop between them and our actions.

I invite you to join me in the commitment to "Minding the Gap" and in taking the necessary action, when needed, toward "Mending the Gap."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This is a Hallowed Day

Halloween is considered by many to have its origins in the Celtic festival of Samhain which was sometimes regarded as the Celtic New Year, a celebration of the end of the “lighter half” of the year and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year. The ancient Celts believed that the veil between the physical and the non-physical realms was thinnest at this time allowing spirits, both good and evil, to pass through. They wore costumes and masks as a means of protection. Disguised as evil spirits they could “blend in” and avoid being recognized as human.

The tradition of observing Halloween or Hallowe’en, a contraction of the original “All Hallows’ Evening,” was also influenced in the west by the Christian church. It is observed as the evening before All Saints Day, a time for honoring all the saints and praying for those recently departed souls who are in purgatory and have not yet reached Heaven. The custom of wearing costumes has been linked to All Saints Day by Prince Sorie Conteh, who wrote: "It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints' Day, and All Hallows' Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognized by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities".

In both traditions there is a common theme – there are souls wandering around somewhere between the realms of Heaven and Hell, a.k.a. “light and dark” or “good and evil.”  In the Christian tradition this realm is knows as purgatory. Purgatory is understood to be a condition of purification or temporary punishment that prepares souls for Heaven.

In Unity, we believe that both ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’ are states of consciousness. Heaven is a state of consciousness often referred to as Christ consciousness, which each of us may attain. It is the consciousness of knowing Oneness with the Divine. Hell, on the other hand, is the consciousness of duality in which one experiences the suffering created by a mind that believes in separation. We are constantly at a point of choice: we can choose heaven or hell in any moment. However, many, if not most of us, walk around in state of “purgatory,” not quite in hell, but not yet enjoying heaven. We seem to believe, perhaps not consciously, that we do not yet deserve heaven, that we must be punished, tested or tried in order to demonstrate our worthiness. We condemn ourselves to living in a perpetual state of purgatory, testing and “purifying” ourselves. We are those souls who are seeking the light, attempting to reach heaven.

As with the tradition of Halloween in which we wear masks and costumes to protect us from evil spirits, we, as a daily ritual, don masks and costumes disguising ourselves as the roles we play as human beings, often times believing that we are the masks we wear, not trying to fool the disembodied spirits of the dead, but in an attempt to hide our Truth from ourselves and others. While this allows us to “blend in” and to avoid standing out from the crowd, it prevents us from coming into the full recognition of our true selves and embracing the Christ consciousness, our ultimate potential.

In order to come into the recognition of our Truth, we must be willing to acknowledge the masks we wear and investigate them to determine for ourselves if we are allowing them to hide our Light. Until we are willing to remove the masks and see ourselves as we truly are, we will continue to believe that we are unworthy. When we recognize our Truth, we will know that no suffering is needed, and we will release ourselves from purgatory and enter fully into the consciousness of “heaven.”

I encourage us all to observe this Halloween as an opportunity to free ourselves from the limitations of our masks and costumes, and as we awaken tomorrow to All Saints Day to know what we are not souls living in purgatory, but saints who have arisen in Christ consciousness to celebrate Heaven.
And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. -  
2 Corinthians 3:18
Happy Halloween! 
Glorious All Saints Day!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Loving Yourself

This past week I returned to Texas. I attended the Unity South Central Region annual conference in Houston and a Mediate Your Life® training in Arlington. Both events presented me with many opportunities for self-reflection and growth. I had occasions to come face-to-face (sometimes literally) with the ways others perceive me and how my action or inaction has impacted them. It gave me pause to consider how I choose, consciously or subconsciously, to express love to others and how I express love for myself. I was reminded of the words of the master teacher, Jesus.

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 22 (NRSV), one of the Sadducees asks Jesus, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” So, what does that mean for us today? How does it look when we live those commandments? Let’s explore it.

In The Revealing Word, a metaphysical dictionary by Unity’s co-founder Charles Fillmore, ‘Lord’ is defined as “The activity of the spiritual I AM as the ruling consciousness.  The Lord God of the Scriptures is Christ, the Spiritual Man; our divine consciousness; the creative power within us.”  To love “the Lord” is to devote time, talent, and resources to embracing and embodying Christ consciousness, and doing whatever it takes to live from the awareness that the I AM, the Spiritual Man (human), is the only Truth.  It is being committed to the practice of worshiping, as The Revealing Word defines it, “bestowing one’s love on, or identifying with,” God in every thought, word and action; God being the One Life of All expressing through Love as One Presence in and as All creation. 

To love one’s neighbor as one’s self can be interpreted in at least two ways. It can mean to love one’s neighbor as though the neighbor is the self, which is the essence of oneness consciousness. When we know that we are one, we also know that what we do to another we do to ourselves. Thus, from that understanding loving one’s neighbor is tantamount to loving one’s self. In Matthew 25 Jesus also said, “Just as you have done unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

Jesus could also have been instructing us to express love to each other in the same way that we expresses love for ourselves. If indeed this is the meaning of the commandment, then I would argue that most keep this commandment in that we often love our neighbors in the ways we love ourselves. Unfortunately, most often, we do not truly express love for ourselves.

We are encouraged by spiritual teachers and many self-help writers to love ourselves, but they often do not give us adequate instruction in how to achieve that goal. It is as if we are to adopt the Nike® motto and “Just do it”™.  In similar fashion, we are often encouraged to “forgive” or “let it go” and when we find that it is challenging to do so, that we can’t “just do it”, we sometimes judge and criticize ourselves. In effect, we frequently love ourselves even less than our neighbors
We are complex beings with multifaceted perspectives, deeply held beliefs and values, and intense multi-layered experiences and emotions. At times, we judge certain aspects of ourselves and do our best to resist or reject them. I offer that to love ourselves we must be willing to meet ourselves, all aspects of ourselves, with understanding, compassion, acceptance and appreciation. Only then will we be able to truly love ourselves and our neighbors completely.

We must be willing to feel our feelings without judgment, have compassion for our unrealized values and unmet needs, accept that we are doing our best, always, and appreciate all that we have achieved, the joy that we have lived, and the good that we do.

I hope you can join us on Sunday for our 10:00 a.m. service as I explore these ideas in greater depth. If you are unable to join us, please listen to the recorded message available at

Thursday, October 9, 2014

You Matter

As I have shared in my two most recent posts, I am rereading and, in fact, studying in earnest the book The Gifts of Imperfection by author, speaker and research professor Brené Brown Ph.D. I read it for the first time last year, and I am now, upon revisiting it, recommitting to consciously integrating the information and wholeheartedly engaging in some of the practices Dr. Brown offers in her book.

I am willing and ready to join what Dr. Brown refers to as a “Wholehearted Revolution - a small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘My story matters because I matter’.” And, I invite you to join me.

In order to live a wholehearted life, we must be willing to do the work and go through the process of discovering and working through step-by-step the things that we continue to allow to get in the way of living and loving wholeheartedly.

There is no one-size-fits-all method to living a wholehearted life. Life is continually unfolding and in order for us to live wholeheartedly we must be willing to be in relationship with it in the moment, and we must be willing to practice courage, connection and compassion in order to break free from the limited concept of self that we have taken on from the world around us. We must be willing to dare to live from a deep and abiding connection with our spirit, soul, divine self, or by whatever name or nature we understand it to be and express it fully in the world.

I have experienced it numerous times, yet I continue to be surprised when I begin to notice, after setting a conscious intention to make a change in my life, how everything that is unlike my stated intention begins to show up in some way. As I firmly declared that I choose to live a wholehearted life, I knew that I was inviting the awareness of all I have allowed to get in the way of such a life. I have discovered that the process of moving through is usually not pain-free, but experience has proven to me, and so now I trust, that greater freedom and joy await on the other side.

Today, I am keenly aware of the many of the ways I learned to suppress my joy and creativity in order to fit in and experience love, at least what I was told and believed as a child was love. It was a pseudo-love, at best. It was most certainly a conditional love. I felt loved as long as I did what was acceptable in the eyes of others. I learned that it was not safe to be vulnerable and certainly not suitable to be authentic. Gratefully, I am continuing to unlearn those things day by day.

I know that I am not alone. We are all taught by our families, peers, churches, and culture who we are to be and how we are to behave in order to be loved and to belong. Unfortunately, most of us are not encouraged to be who we innately are because others are often uncomfortable with that. Instead, we are molded to satisfy what best suits the authority figures in our lives.

We do not need to tackle a lifetime of learning all at once. We can give ourselves permission to take it one step at a time, even if those steps are baby steps. We can begin today by connecting with our creative spirits through music, art, cooking, writing, singing, or in whatever form creativity presents. We can lean into our natural state of joy by connecting with the beauty of nature all around us, expressing gratitude for all that we enjoy in our lives, or by dancing around the room to Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy”. To explore creativity that brings us joy, and to do it wholeheartedly means we get to do it regardless of what someone else might think, do or say.

A commitment to wholehearted living requires us to be willing to connect with and have the courage to express our true nature with vulnerability and authenticity. As author and spiritual leader, Marianne Williamson said, “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” By practicing wholehearted living we let our unique light shine, and by doing so others are encouraged to do the same. 

I support you in knowing that your story matters because you matter. You matter simply because you are. Let’s join the “Wholehearted Revolution” and commit to living and loving with our whole being.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You Are Worthy!

Today, October 1, is my birthday. As of today, I have completed 54 trips around the sun on this beautiful planet called Earth. Each year as my birthday approaches, especially the past few, I find myself engaging in deep introspection and reflection about what has past and about what is to come.

I know that every day, in fact, every moment of every day is an opportunity to let go of that which no longer serves and to make new choices; still, for me there is something different about a birthday. As January 1 is often a time for us to make New Year’s resolutions and commit to making more life-enriching choices for the year ahead, so a birthday marks the end of one year in our lives and can be the beginning of a brand new chapter, if we allow it to be.

For much of my life, I lived from what I now know is a false belief that I am not worthy of love and belonging. I received that message very early in life from the belief system (B.S.) of the traditional Christian denomination of my youth. From their perspective, I was, as are all people, born in sin, therefore unworthy of Jesus’ “sacrifice”. Additionally, because from their perspective I chose to live a “gay lifestyle” I was told that I most certainly did not belong to the family of God, at least not to the family of God that happened to gather in that particular church. I am not suggesting that the church is solely responsible for my shame and belief in unworthiness, but the doctrine of the church and its long-standing and far-reaching influence on our culture has substantially contributed to it.

This is not intended to be an indictment of traditional Christianity, nor is it a “poor me” tirade, but a sharing of my recognition of how I allowed the deeply ingrained beliefs of my childhood to so powerfully affect the way I lived much of my life. Rather than allowing myself to be vulnerable and live wholeheartedly, I spent way too much time and energy hiding, avoiding and numbing. I believed it was not safe to be authentically me, so I tried to be whoever I thought I needed to be in order to be considered by others worthy of love and belonging. I mastered the art of fitting in, but sacrificed myself in the process.

I am thankful to now be in Unity, a spiritual movement that teaches us that we are worthy of love and belonging. We are worthy of love because we are the very nature of Love expressing in the world. We are worthy of belonging because, as Unity minister and author Eric Butterworth says, we exist as an “eachness” within the “Allness” that is God. I am inspired by our Youth and Family Ministry staff and volunteers at Unity Church of Denver who reinforce that message in every interaction with our youth. Our young people are encouraged to know their worth and to be authentically who they are in the world.

There have been many touchstones along my journey that have contributed to my spiritual understanding and evolution. I consider discovering Unity one of the most influential and momentous. Since walking into Unity Church of Dallas for the first time almost 20 years ago to the day, and hearing the words, “You are as God created you” from the minister, I have, one day at time, come to embrace and love myself more. I have learned spiritual practices that have contributed to me living life more wholeheartedly. And, I am still learning and evolving. As Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore said when he was in his 90s, “We grow old because we think old thoughts…I’m getting rid of those thoughts, gradually.” I, too, am releasing those limiting thoughts and beliefs, gradually. In addition to the Fillmores, there have been and continue to be many guides along the way. One of those guides is author and research professor at Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Brené Brown Ph.D.

I do not believe in coincidences, so I hold that it is no accident that Dr. Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, reappeared in my awareness just as I was about to celebrate another birthday. Her book reminds me that I am here, as we all are, in this life to live wholeheartedly, and that living wholeheartedly requires me to practice vulnerability and authenticity.

As Dr. Brown states, “I think we should be born with a warning label similar to the ones that come on cigarette packages: Caution: If you trade in your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief.” Wouldn’t it be great if we all learned that truth early in life, rather than some of the things that we do learn? It would certainly have saved me a great deal of suffering.

The Gifts of Imperfection has given me renewed hope that it is never too late to unlearn limiting myths, messages and beliefs, embrace our worthiness, and own our birthrights of love and belonging. Calling upon her years of research and hundreds of interviews, Dr. Brown assures us that we can live wholehearted lives. Further, she offers practices that will assist us in realizing this potential. No, it does not happen “automagically;” we have to be willing to do things differently in order to realize change.

Today is my birthday, and I am choosing for it to be a new beginning. I am choosing to allow today to be the day of a renewed awakening, an enthusiastic awakening to the possibility and potential for living life wholeheartedly. I am choosing to consciously cultivate my sense of worthiness through practicing courage, compassion and connection, embracing and loving myself just as I am, and sharing myself authentically with the world. I invite you to join me. There is no need to wait for the day on your birth certificate or for January 1. Let today be the day you decide to make the commitment to living and loving wholeheartedly. You are worthy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Spiritual Practice of Wholehearted Living

I am often amazed, upon revisiting a beloved book, when I recognize how much the author has evolved in his or her understanding of the subject matter during the time the book was on my shelf. It often seems as though he or she has edited the book since my last reading. Of course, I realize that neither is true. I know that I am the one who has changed. I am reading and understanding from a different perspective. I am often delighted when I reread a book and discover new meaning and insight that I might have missed the first time.

Several days ago, during a time of meditation and contemplation, I became consciously aware of an issue I was working through. This awareness brought to mind a book I read in the spring of 2013 that greatly impacted my life. It is the book by the now popular Dr. Brené Brown, a writer and research professor at University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, entitled The Gifts of Imperfection, and the tag line is, “Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to be and Embrace Who You Are.”

Dr. Brown has done extensive research on shame and its negative impact on the ways we relate in the world. She defines ‘shame’ as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” Because we live life with the belief that we are unworthy, we do our best to protect ourselves in order to prevent others from discovering just how flawed and unlovable we are. We do this by hiding and/or attempting to prove our worthiness. Unfortunately, hiding who we are, and striving to be who we are not, keeps us from being vulnerable.  Dr. Brown says that vulnerability is the only way for us to get what we truly desire in life – love and belonging.

As I re-read this, I could hardly resist the urge to toss the book across the room. It was not new information; after all I had read the book before, but it was not what I wanted to hear in that moment. I said silently, “Being vulnerable is hard work. Do I really have to be vulnerable in order to live life authentically and wholeheartedly?” Of course, I knew the answer. Yes!

While interviewing thousands for her research on shame, Dr. Brown encountered some people who were what she has termed “shame resilient” meaning that although they have shame, as all of us do, they are nonetheless able to live wholeheartedly and authentically. As she was compiling her research she discovered that the shame resilient people are not innately different from the rest of us. They do, however, make conscious choices to practice behaviors that encourage them to know that they are not flawed and unlovable. They allow themselves to be vulnerable and they have tools in place to help them when they experience the joy of victory or the pain of failure.

Dang it!  Learning to live authentically and wholeheartedly is not just a matter of being spiritual enough, or reading the right books, or meditating every day, or praying without ceasing. It is not even about going to the right workshop or becoming a Unity minster: It is a SPIRITUAL PRACTICE.

I have to admit I was hoping for the easy answer. I was hoping that at some point I would fully realize my spiritual mastery and simply begin to live my truth, assuming that I would “automagically” know what to do and how to live fully in the world, without being of the world. I guess I should have known it would require me to, as the fifth Unity principle says, “Live the truth I know.” And, living the truth I know requires me to make conscious choices about how I relate to others and to myself, and to act on those choices from true knowing.

While it may not be the easy answer I was hoping for, Dr. Brown’s book has, once again, opened my eyes in a way that has the potential to be life-changing. And, while I may not have remembered what I had been asking for at the time, I have certainly been provided an answer to some deeply felt questions. I am reminded of the adage, “Be careful what you ask for; you might just get it.” I prefer, “Be conscious what you ask for; you most certainly will get it.”

I encourage anyone who has ever thought that they would like to live a more authentic and wholehearted life to read this book and adopt the spiritual practices outlined. I will be including these concepts as the basis for my talks over the next few weeks. I hope you will join us as we discover our innate worthiness, claim it, and live the truth we know.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Way, The Truth, The Life

 “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” – John 14: 1-7

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; No one comes unto the Father except by me” is a well-known and often repeated quote from the master teacher, Jesus. It is often used as a proof text in traditional Christianity to substantiate the teaching that salvation can only come through belief in Jesus. In Unity, we believe that Jesus was not speaking of himself as the way, the truth and the life; rather he was speaking of the “I Am” or the Christ which is the essence of each of us.

Jesus is saying that we cannot experience the revelation that the Father - the One Source of All - is in us and we in It, except by realization of the truth that we are the way, the truth and the life.

The Way is the method or the “how.”  It is a path that leads only to here and now. It is the journey without distance. It can be said that “The Way” is its own destination; It is the “How” within itself. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. It is knowing that nowhere is “Now-Here.”  It is the way of itself, the way within itself.

We experience being “the way” by knowing that we are already now-here. We are already it; here and now. We can relax in the knowing that there is nowhere to go and nothing to do in order to know the “Father”.

The Truth is the self-knowingness of the Spirit. It is the only reality. It is the essence of all that is. It is that which can be known but cannot be told. It is not intelligence for intelligence is of the mind. Truth is beyond the mind. We do our best to express Truth, but words cannot contain it. It cannot be expressed: it can only be experienced. The Truth is within us and we are within the Truth.

We experience it by becoming a conscious observer of it. We can only experience it when we cease attempting to know the truth, and choose to realize that we already are the knowing that we seek. We simply must allow it to be as it is.

The Life is the self-livingness of the ALL. It is not born; It does not die. It is the ever-expanding, ever-giving, ever-expressing Self. The Life is the evolutionary impulse of Creation.  It is creative intelligence and it is the organizing principle of All that is.

We experience The Way, The Truth, The Life by becoming aware of the awakened presence that we already are. No one can teach it. No one can explain it. No one can guide us on the path to becoming what we already are. Life is; I Am.

We will know the Father when we know the way, the truth and the life and realize that we are that I AM.

Then, we will know what Jesus meant when he said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. I go to prepare a place for you that where I Am there you may be also.”

As long as Jesus appeared to the disciples in form, they continued to look to him to show them the way, teach them the truth and be their connection to life. He knew he had to leave in order that they might claim their own truth. He knew that they had to know for themselves that they were in the Father and the Father in them. The same is true for us. Jesus is not the way, the truth and the life; each of us is. When we claim that as our truth, we will be where Jesus is. We will know the Christ, and we will know ourselves as the Christ.

I invite you this week to begin the day with the affirmation, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  Set yourself free.