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Thursday, December 28, 2017

What's It For?

It’s that time again. Yes, it’s time to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018. It’s the time of year when many of us look back on the year that has just past and make resolutions for the year ahead.

Merriam-Webster defines ‘resolution’ as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” In music terminology, a resolution is a progression of a dissonant chord to a consonant chord; dissonance is considered to be unstable as compared to the stability of a consonant chord.

As you review 2017 and look toward a new year, is there a situation in your life that you will make a firm decision to change in 2018? Do you plan to make what seems dissonant and unstable in your life more harmonious and stable?

When I think of resolutions I have made in the past, I recall things like losing weight, quitting smoking (I did quit in 1999), finding a new job, making more money, saving more money, etc. I may have resolved at the turn of the calendar to do those things, but rarely did I remember them by the time spring came around.

I now recognize that all of those resolutions were simply means to an end, most often an end that I was not consciously aware of. The things that I resolved to do, or to change were merely strategies to achieve something much deeper and more meaningful.

I have come to realize that it is essential, when making resolutions or setting intentions, to consciously connect with the deeper desire we hope to fulfill by making those changes in our lives. It is important to ask ourselves, “Why?” Why do I want a to lose weight? Why do I want to make changes in my diet or lifestyle? Why do I want a new job?

A Course In Miracles says, “The first thing to consider, very simply is “What do I want to come of this? What is it for?” 

It’s important to consider the bigger picture. My resolutions to lose weight or quit smoking may have been my response to a deep desire for physical well-being. My desire for freedom may have been reflected in the resolutions to have more money, either by making more or committing more to savings.

When we recognize the bigger picture, we have a greater perspective from which to measure our success, and we begin to recognize a wider spectrum of possible strategies. There are many other means to achieving freedom than accumulating more money (which often doesn’t bring about that result at all). Quitting smoking and losing weight are not the only paths to physical well-being; however, most would agree, observing the science we now know, that these choices will most likely be beneficial.

Knowing the greater intention gives us a barometer by which to gauge every commitment to action we make. Once the deeper desire is clear, another question we can ask ourselves is, “How does this assist me in fulfilling my desire?”

There is nothing magical about turning the page on a calendar, or more likely swiping the screen on our mobile device, but there is something powerful about honoring our desires and making resolutions to fulfill those desires. It is not necessary to choose each strategy at the outset. It is more beneficial to observe and assess whether each strategy we choose along the way is helping or hindering the realization of our deeper desires.

I invite you to join us on Sunday, December 31, at our 10:00 AM service as we take the opportunity to release what no longer serves us, and embrace that which helps us bring more harmony, love, peace and well-being into our lives. We will have our “Burning Bowl” ceremony during the service.

Happy, Health, Joyous, Prosperous New Year!


I have a Special Holiday Offer for you.

Subscribe to my email list by January 1, 2018 and receive a FREE download of my book, In This Moment - Prayers From the Well of Awareness. 

From the cover -

In This Moment: Prayers from the Well of Awareness is a key to a vibrant world of prayer, one sought and experienced by mystics throughout the ages and still revolutionary and transforming today. As these prayers lead you into the sacred space within, each cell in your body will resonate, "Yes, I'm home!"

You will find no beseeching here, no longing for a faraway God, or even a God buried somewhere deep inside you. "These are not words spoken to", author David Howard explains, "but words spoken of Presence."

Are you ready to discover the Divine as Presence - your Presence? Open this volume of prayers and discover that you are what you are seeking.

I am excited about the inspirations I have received for what is in store for 2018. I would love to share them with you as they unfold.

I will be making available to you special content on my website including weekly posts, podcasts, music and more.

Please go to my website, to subscribe so that you won't miss a thing.

Love and blessings,

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


I have a Special Holiday Offer for you. 

Subscribe to my email list by January 1, 2018 and receive a FREE download of my book,
In This Moment - Prayers From the Well of Awareness.

From the cover -

In This Moment: Prayers from the Well of Awareness is a key to a vibrant world of prayer, one sought and experienced by mystics throughout the ages and still revolutionary and transforming today. As these prayers lead you into the sacred space within, each cell in your body will resonate, "Yes, I'm home!"

You will find no beseeching here, no longing for a faraway God, or even a God buried somewhere deep inside you. "These are not words spoken to", author David Howard explains, "but words spoken of Presence."

Are you ready to discover the Divine as Presence - your Presence? Open this volume of prayers and discover that you are what you are seeking.

I am excited about the inspirations I have received for what is in store for 2018. I would love to share them with you as they unfold.

I will be making available to you special content on my website including weekly posts, podcasts, music and more. 

Please go to my website, to subscribe so that you won't miss a thing. 

Love and blessings,

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Season of Light

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.’ 

Let us 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.

Join us on Sunday, Christmas Eve, as we celebrate the season of light. At our 10:00 service, we will explore some of the symbols of Christmas that help to remind us of our Christ Light. Our Christmas Eve Candle Lighting service at 7:00 p.m. will celebrate the Twelve Powers of humankind as twelve living lights - always expressing, always unfolding - within us, as us.

Merry Christmas!

SPECIAL HOLIDAY OFFER - Subscribe to my email list by January 1, 2018 and receive a FREE download of my book, In This Moment - Prayers from the Well of Awareness. 

I am excited about what is coming for 2018, and I want to be able to share it with you as it unfolds. Joyous blessings!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

How Do I Love Thee?

Recently, a friend who I had not connected with for more than a year reached out to me by text message. I was glad to hear from her. She has been a trusted and supporting friend for years. In her text she said that she had been going through a challenging time and asked if we could speak by phone. Through a series of texts, we arranged a time for us to talk.

During our call, we enjoyed a heart-full reconnection. I was happy to hear that she is well, but learned that she had just come through a difficult time after ending a long-term relationship. Near the end of our call, she said something that caused me to pause. She said, “I reached out to you because I know you love God as much as I do.”

It may seem strange for me as a minister to be taken aback by her comment, yet I was. Honestly, I was surprised that she used those words to describe me.

To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength¹ is the greatest commandment according to our master teacher and way-shower, Jesus, so it is certainly something one should aspire to, but I had not thought of myself in that light. Also, because of my perception of God, I don’t often think in terms of “loving God.”

In my way of thinking, God is not a being, but is the ground of all Being. God is no thing, yet is the Life that imbues All. God is Light. God is Wisdom. God is not someone or something to love, but is Love itself. Therefore, I questioned, “How do I love God? How do I love Love?” I decided to contemplate it.

What follows are some ideas that came to me in response to my contemplation.

“To love” implies devotion of time, energy and attention. We devote time, energy and attention to God through prayer, meditation, contemplation, presence, and giving time, talent and energy in service to others and the world.

Prayer opens the mind and connects us with God Mind. Prayer is a practice of intentionally redirecting attention from the effects in the outer manifest world to the cause in the inner spiritual world. It is a conscious activity that moves us from the usual focus on the third dimensional realm to the fourth dimensional realm which Jesus called “The Kingdom of Heaven“ or as Unity cofounder, Charles Fillmore preferred, “the Kingdom of the heavens.”

Charles Fillmore, in The Revealing Word says,

Fourth dimension - A transcendent realm that Jesus called the "kingdom of the heavens." Here one can discern the trend of spiritual forces and see with the spiritual vision of the Christ Mind.

The fourth dimension (which embraces and encompasses the other three dimensions) is also realization, the doing away with time and space and all conditions. The human mind, with its limited reasoning faculties, is bound by time, space, and conditions and can get no farther into the spiritual than reason will take it, but when we go beyond reason into the realm of realization, then we have attained the consciousness of pure being, the fourth-dimension mind.

Charles Fillmore also stated in Keep a True Lent,

Mind is the great meeting ground between God and humankind, and it is only through the most highly accelerated mind action, as in prayer, that we consciously make union.

We love God as we devote time to our prayer practice.

We love God as we meditate and open to the inflow of inspiration. Meditation, going into the Silence, slows the mental activity and provides a space into which Divine Ideas flow.

In his book, Christian Healing, Charles Fillmore said,

A daily haft hour of meditation will open up the mind to a consciousness of the inner One and will reveal many things that are hidden from the natural man.

We love God as we focus time and attention in contemplation, such as the one discussed here. Contemplation helps us move beyond our normal way of thinking, let go of our preconceived ideas about what things mean and how things should be, and open to higher knowing and understanding. Contemplating on Divine Ideas and spiritual teaching helps to activate the powers of Wisdom and Understanding and allows us to see ourselves and the world from a different perspective.

We love God as we open and invite the physical awareness of God, by whatever name we call it - Life Energy, Chi, Holy Spirit, or Shekinah – to name a few. Heart-focused breathing, a practice promoted by HeartMath Institute helps to bring awareness into the body. The practice involves focusing attention in the heart while breathing more deeply than normal. It helps to connect, through the breath, with the Life of God that is breathing us. Practices, such as yoga, Tai Chi, Tai Chi Gung, and others, also help to connect us with the breath and bring focused attention to the Life Energy that is God moving in and through all creation. These practices, when engaged in consciously and intentionally, are ways to love God through our devoted attention.

We also love God by being present and aware of the activity of God in and through all creation. When we take time to stop and witness the beauty of nature, listen to the song of the birds, sit beside a rushing stream, walk on the beach, gaze in awe at the night sky or simply delight in the taste of strawberry, we are loving God.

Most importantly, we love God through witnessing, appreciating and serving God in others. This is one aspect of Jesus’ second greatest commandment. We love the God in others when we devote time and space to listen deeply with them and share empathic connections. We love the God in others when we show compassion and kindness. We love the God in others when we give from our hearts to help them meet their needs, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. We love the God in others through the gift of our presence.

In addition, and certainly not to be forgotten, we love God by loving ourselves. We love God by speaking words of kindness and support to ourselves every day. We love God as us by taking care of our bodies, getting rest, eating nourishing foods, drinking water. We love God as us by acknowledging our gifts and talents and giving them authentic expression. We love God as us by receiving from others, whether it be words of praise and gratitude, gifts of their time and presence, or even gifts of a material nature. We love God as us as we recognize and realize the expression of the Christ that we are. We love God as us as we let the Christ Light shine in all we say and do.

Borrowing from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I ask, “Oh God, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Yes, I do love God. I love God in many different ways, in the formed and the unformed. I love God as the Life living in all, as all. Could I love God more completely and fully? Yes!

So, my contemplation continues and I invite you to join me. Count the ways that you love God, and then ask yourself, “How can I love God more?” I am eager to hear your insights.

Join us this Sunday, December 17, as we observe the third Sunday of Advent. We will explore how Mary and Joseph can teach how the power of Love can give birth to the Christ in the world.

¹ Matthew 12: 30 - 31

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Return to Peace

At a recent gathering of Front Range Unity ministers I jokingly greeted a fellow minister with, “Hey, how are you? Are you staying busy?” I know that he is typically quite active in many arenas so I thought of it has a lighthearted greeting. With loving kindness, he replied, “Staying busy is not my goal.” His reply has stuck with me. When I occasionally feel overwhelmed by activities, I remind myself, “Staying busy is not my goal.”

On Tuesday, during check-in time at our weekly staff meeting, I noticed that nearly everyone on our staff used the word ‘busy’ when sharing about what is going on in their lives. There were comments like, “It’s a busy time of year,” “I am very busy, but…,” and “We all get busy, and…” Boy, could I relate to all of that. I was right there with them. It does seem that we are “busy” with all the holiday activities happening around our spiritual center. Upon reflection, it was a good reminder for me to affirm, “Staying busy is not my goal.”

It is easy, especially at this time of year, for us to get caught up in all the activities of the season and get lost in the busyness. When we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the busyness of the holidays, we can miss the experience of Peace, Love and Joy that the Advent and Christmas seasons offer us.

When we notice that we are feeling stressed by all the expectations and activities of the season, we can lovingly remind ourselves,

“Staying busy is not my goal. It is my goal to be present in the moment, surrender to the Peace at the center of my being, share the Love that flows naturally as me, and feel the Joy that arises from my soul.”

If you are feeling the stress of busyness at any time, but especially during the holiday season, I encourage you to stop for moment, take a deep breath, take another deep breath, and another – repeating as necessary – until your awareness can move from your head, the busyness of your mind, and land deep in the heart space at your center.

Peace is at the center of your being. It is the very nature of your being. Peace is internal, and it is eternal. My friend and Unity minister, Diadra Price, in her book Grace Awakening Essence says,

Jesus understood his inheritance of Peace to be the consciousness flowing from him…”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27)…In the 20th chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus lets us know this same Peace is within us. Three times he says, “Peace be with you” (John 20: 19, 21 & 26).

Think of Peace as a space of stillness within you and which you are within. You may even envision it as a pool of abiding stillness. Imagine that as you drop your awareness into this pool, the stressful thoughts of busyness are gently washed away. The energy of those thoughts is dissipated in the pool. You are left to rest, to be bathed in the stillness of Peace.

From the stillness of Peace, the energy of Love is revealed as the only true expression of the Light that you are. Open your heart and mind to allow the light of Love to shine forth in you, from you, as you. The idea of busyness no longer has any meaning. You are Love expressing from Peace with every thought, word and action. Everything you do is imbued with the energy of Love.

As Love flowing from Peace, you are Joy expressed and experienced. Joy bubbles up from your soul like an effervescent fountain. Your Joy is full. Joy flows from you and out into your every life experience. Your Joy touches the lives of all around you. Your Joy is contagious.

I invite us to allow this season of Advent to be a time when we free ourselves from the busyness of life and Return to Peace where Love abide and Joy expresses.

Join us at 10:00 for our Sunday service as we observe the second Sunday in Advent and explore Peace as an aspect of Christ consciousness.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Stay Awake!

The time for any of us to be returned to ourselves is now. The ground beneath our feet is the Kingdom of God, the Pure Land…It’s here, it’s now, and it’s at hand and within our reach. And this moment is the only one available to us.

In Advent time, we are reminded over and over again; “Stay awake.” This is a not a warning that death is coming but a reminder that life is happening now. Now…is the day of salvation. We see as God sees: with amplitude, wideness, and mercy. The only moment left to us to participate in this larger love, this limitless, all-accepting love, is the present moment.

Can you hear it? The voice of the Beloved. – Fr. Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship

When I read these words of Jesuit Priest, Father Gregory Boyle, I was awakened to a renewed awareness and appreciation for Advent, which officially begins this Sunday, December 3. Before reading Fr. Boyles words, I had never before considered that Advent is a time when we are reminded to “Stay awake.”

Advent is traditionally observed as a time of preparation for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I now see that the season also offers us the opportunity to stay alert for the Second Coming of Christ. In Unity, we believe that the Second Coming happens in each of us as we awaken to the Christ - our Divine Nature - that indwells us all.

As Fr. Boyle says, “The time for any of us to be returned to ourselves is now.” Advent can be for us a time to “Stay awake” to the Spirit moving in, through and as each of us. This moment, every moment, is an opportunity to come into the conscious awareness of the Christ seeking to be reborn in us.

In the biblical Christmas narrative, Mary represents the state of consciousness that is awake and ready to receive the message of the indwelling Christ. Her messenger, the angel Gabriel, told her that she would give birth to the Christ. Metaphysically, angels represent thoughts that come from our higher knowing and can appear to us as divine intelligence, understanding or intuition.¹ Mary was awake to the moment and was willing and able to, as Fr. Boyle says, “participate in this larger love, this limitless, all-accepting love” as she said, “Let it be done unto me.”

Looking at the Christmas story through this lens, I can now see that many of the elements of the narrative are such reminders. For example, the three kings, or magi, who came from a distant land to acknowledge Jesus’ birth, followed the star. The star, metaphysically, represents our inner conviction of our Christ nature.² These men were awake to the star’s message and followed where it lead, ultimately to their own realization of the birth of the Christ.

The ground beneath our feet is the Kingdom of God” as Fr. Boyle says, and every moment is our opportunity to awaken to it. The master teacher and way-shower, Jesus, said, “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). It is right here, right now. We only need to “Stay awake,” listen for the call and stay alert to the signs of the indwelling Christ waiting to be reborn in our conscious awareness. “Now…is the day of salvation,” and the Christ within is the source.

The word ‘advent’ comes from the Latin advenire which most closely translates into English as “to come.” I encourage us to welcome this Advent season as a time of inviting the consciousness awareness of the Christ to come, to be reborn in our hearts and minds.

Each morning, set a conscious intention to welcome the awakening of the Christ within. Say silently or aloud,

My heart is pure and willing to be the birthplace of Christ.
My mind is still and ready to receive the message of Christ.
My eyes are open to see the image of Christ.
My ears are attuned to the song of Christ.
I am now awake and alert to Christ.

Make time and take time each day to sit in the silence to sense, hear, and see all the ways the Christ makes itself known to you. You may, indeed, hear the voice of angels, or see light. You may not. Don’t be attached to mystical experiences. Know and trust that in speaking the word, you have attuned yourself to the Christ frequency. In doing that, you have asked, and you will receive. Stay open and receptive. Stay awake!

Join us on Sunday for our 10:00 service. We will explore how the spiritual attribute of Faith helps us to “Stay Awake” during this Advent season.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is a day we designate to give thanks for all the good we enjoy. We appreciate and spend time with our friends and families. We share food, and give thanks for the bounty that we have. We celebrate the freedom, safety and security we are so blessed to experience in this country. Traditionally, it is a day of gratitude and appreciation for the myriad ways that God (Good) manifests in our lives.

I encourage you to feel and express appreciation for all the Good that you enjoy. I suggest, too, that you allow yourself to appreciate all the Good that you are. Let this Thanksgiving be a celebration, not just for what you have, but also for what you are – a unique and wondrous expression of the Divine.

Feel appreciation for God (Good) expressing as your life, not just in your life, and then from that feeling place give from of all the Good that you are.

Unity principles teach that (1) God is Good; (2) You are that Good; (3) You manifest Good by focusing on that Good; (4) You become conscious of that Good through prayer (also appreciation);  and (5) You live that Good by sharing it with the world.

As singer-songwriter, Jana Stanfield, says, “I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that I can do.” The world needs all the Good (God) that you are. And, you can only share it when you claim it, appreciate it, and allow it to flow freely as you in all that you do.

Appreciate you. Experience a feeling of “Thanks” in your heart. Give to yourself and from your Self to bless the world.

Have a Joy-full Thanks-Giving! 



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wake Up!

This past Sunday at Unity Spiritual Center Denver, I shared a lesson entitled “Grace and Gratitude.” You may listen to it here. Since this lesson came to me as what I call a “download” from Spirit, I chose to share it here in this forum as well.

Meet my friend. My friend’s name is Grace. Grace doesn’t really have a gender, but I think of Grace as a feminine energy, so I call Grace ‘her.’ Grace is my constant friend and companion. She is with me wherever I go. 

People might get the wrong idea. Of course, this is a physical representation of Grace. I don’t carry her around like this everywhere I go. But, Grace is a part of my beingness. I carry her around in my heart and my mind. She is also a part of your beingness. You may not be consistently aware of it, but you too carry her around with you, always.

Grace has only one message, and it is a short one. Her message is “WAKE UP.”

Sometimes she says it in a quiet voice. Other times, she yells it quite loudly.

Sometimes I pay attention.

Sometimes I don’t.

But, she never ceases to keep calling to me to “wake up” from the dream.

What is the dream?

The dream is that we are separate and alone. The dream is the dream of duality. It is a dream in which we are somehow separate from God and from each other.

The beginning of the dream is beautifully represented metaphorically in the creation story in Genesis.

We are created in the image-likeness of God. We are pre-wired and programmed for peace, love, joy, happiness and wholeness. That is who we are. We are created to be in constant communion, conscious awareness of our Unity – our Oneness with God.

This is depicted in the story of Adam and Eve walking with God in the Garden of Eden, where everything was provided. That is, until they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Metaphorically this represents humanity appropriating an idea of separation. In our minds, we created an image of ourselves unlike who we truly are. We began to think of ourselves as separate, and feel shame and fear. We even began to fear God. As a result of the shame and fear, we separated ourselves from the Garden, the consciousness of Unity, wholeness and perfection.

We continue to dream a dream of a self that is separate from God, a dream of a self who is alone in the world and often scared. But, because we are created in the image-likeness of God in Essence, there is an abiding presence within us that is constantly calling us home, calling us to “Wake Up” from the dream and return to the Garden.

That presence is Grace.

Grace is the voice of Truth calling from the core of our being, not just at the core of some of us, but of all of us.

And, each of is always free to listen and follow, or not. You and I are always at the point of choice to stay in the dream of separation and experience the fear which can manifest in many ways that are commonly called fight, flight or freeze. Or, we can call upon Grace to remind us to wake up from the dream and remember that she ever abides within us just as we ever abide in the Garden.

It is our opportunity in every moment to bring our awareness to the activity of Grace calling us into the remembrance of who and what we are. If we are listening to Grace and connected to Grace, no matter what happens in the world of form, we can return to the Garden and know our Truth.

Again, sometimes Grace speaks in a soft whisper.

When I am out in nature, walking on the beach, hugging a tree or a boulder, she softly whispers “Wake Up,” and I experience my unity with God expressing through the trees, rock, birds, and ocean. In those moments, I am filled with the awareness of the presence of God in all, and I experience Great-Fullness. In those moments, gratitude and thanksgiving come naturally.

I can easily feel gratitude and appreciation for God as nature.

At other times, however, it’s not so easy. When I witness or hear about painful or violent things happening in the world, it’s tempting to feel fear. In fact, I often do feel fear, initially.

At those times, Grace speaks a little more firmly, “Wake Up.” She reminds me not to react from fear, but to come home to the Garden, to commune with God in my mind and heart, to remember my Truth, and to respond from my center.

Then there are those times when it is often even more difficult for me to hear Grace because something painful happens in my direct experience or in the life of someone close to me. I can feel fear, anger, and sadness, leading me to think that I am alone. I want to run, hide, fight back or just go to bed, pull up the covers, and stay there.

That’s when Grace gets even louder – “WAKE UP”!

Even then, it often takes a while before I am willing or able to hear. Fear can block our ability to hear clearly. That’s why it is so important to continually condition my mind with prayer, meditation and affirmations of the Amazing Grace that is constantly active in me, as me.

Once I am able and willing to listen, I can stop, breathe, and know that no matter what happens in my world or in the world around me, that I - the Essence of who and what I Am - abides eternally in the Garden. I can choose to look for and find the blessing, the action of Good in it. I can eventually come to a place of Great-Fullness, and experience gratitude and appreciation.

I may not understand it all in the moment, or ever, but I can always choose to wake up from my dream of separation and connection with my Essential Nature which is of God.

I am sure that most, if not all of us, have had life experiences that at the time they happened were devastating. We felt the pain, fear, or sadness. And, once we moved through the feelings and came to a clearing, we were able to look back and see that Grace was present through it all. We were able to look for and find the blessing, even in some of life’s most challenging experiences.

In one of his letters to the church as Thessalonica, the apostle Paul said, “In everything give thanks.” He did not say, for everything give thanks, but in everything.

It may take some time to walk through the process, but knowing that Grace is always active and abiding, constantly leading us back home to the Garden and to a place of communion with God, and then choosing to hear Grace, helps me find gratitude in all things.

Everything can be an opportunity for me to “WAKE UP.”

In his letter to the church as Ephesus, Paul said,

“For by grace you have been saved – through Faith – this not of yourselves, but it is a gift from God.”

Grace calling us home to the Garden, when we listen, saves us, sets us free, wakes us up from the dream of separation, and thus frees us from our fear and isolation.

Faith is our power to believe and have conviction in the unseen power of Grace.

Grace is the gift of God, the voice within that beckons us home and calls us to “WAKE UP.”

In our awakened state of Oneness, we are filled with the awareness of God. We experience Great-Fullness. From that Great-Fullness, we live gratitude and thanksgiving.

Wake Up! Wake Up! Wake Up!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Grace and Gratitude

I recently heard it said, when referring to someone experiencing homelessness, “There but by the grace of God go I.” I hadn’t heard it in a while, but I recall that when I was younger I would often hear my parents and others say those words. I trust that I have said it myself. I don’t believe that it was ever spoken in judgment so much as from compassion or sympathy. Nor do I think it was judgment coming from the person who I heard it from recently. Still, I felt a twinge of pain.

The phrase, “There but by the grace of God go I” seems to imply that grace is something that is extended to some, but not to others, or at least is something that is given in measured amounts according to the determination of a capricious God.

It seems to be an implication by the one speaking the phrase that the one being observed is having an unenviable experience, and that because the one speaking is not sharing that experience that he or she enjoys grace in greater measure than does the other. It speaks to the concept that grace is something we do not deserve, yet by some twist of fate, some are blessed with it while others are not. Or worse, that some enjoy the “favor” of God while others do not and specifically that the person being observed is not experiencing grace. Which, is of course, impossible.

While this popular phrase may have reflected my concept of grace at one time in the past, it no longer resonates with my understanding of God or my definition of grace. Either we all live in a constant state of grace or no one does. Either the grace of God is extended equally to all, or there is no grace.

The following are three different perspectives of grace. Each of them speaks more closely to how I perceive grace today.

Unity minster and author, Eric Butterworth, in his book The Universe is Calling says,

Living in a state of grace can mean nothing more or less than living in a disciplined awareness of the divine flow. God’s flow is constant. Our experience of it changes with our consciousness…Grace is simply a wonderful facet of the activity of God in you. It is not something you must work for or develop. It simply is.

Franciscan priest and author, Richard Rohr, in his book, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, says,

Basically, grace is God’s first name, and probably last too. Grace is what God does to keep all things he has made in love and alive – forever. Grace is God’s official job description. Grace is not something God gives; grace is who God is. If we are to believe the primary witnesses, an unexplainable goodness is at work in the universe. (Some of us call this phenomenon God, but that word is not necessary. In fact, sometimes it gets in the way of the experience, because too many have named God something other than Grace.)

American-born Zen Buddhist author and teacher, Adyashanti, in his book, Falling Into Grace, says,

In essence, grace is anything that helps us truly open – our minds, our bodies, our emotions, our hearts. Sometimes grace is soft and beautiful. It appears as insight. It comes as a sudden understanding, or maybe just a blossoming of our hearts, the breaking open of our emotional bodies so that we can feel more deeply and connect with what is and with each other in a deeper way. Grace may also be quite fierce. There are times in life that are very, very trying. At the time, grace might be hard to recognize, but as we think back to these powerful times in our lives, we can start to see the great gift that was received.

Knowing and trusting that I live in the constant state of grace awakens me in mind, body and spirit to the awareness of the eternal flow of Life in me, through me, as me. And, it elicits an experience of Great-fullness that overflows from me as gratitude and thanksgiving for everything I experience and for everyone who comes into my life.

Knowing and trusting that I live in a constant state of grace, I see everything and everyone as my teachers who show up at the perfect times and places to help me awaken to the Truth of who I am.

Knowing and trusting that I live in the constant state of grace, I feel more peaceful. I can move forward knowing that I can choose the perspective that everything happens for my ultimate good, even if I am unable to see it in the moment. It encourages me to look for the good.

Perhaps this is what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “In every thing give thanks” (I Thessalonians 5:18 KJV). He did not say to give thanks for everything, but in everything. When we know that we live in the constant state of grace, we can live with an attitude of gratitude and be open to witnessing the potential for a blessing in all things.

I invite you to join me in saying the following affirmation daily, and continually throughout the day:

I live in a constant state of grace.

Use these words to remind yourself that no matter what happens, whether you evaluate it as “good” or “bad,” that you live in a constant state of grace. You are a state of grace. Allow whatever happens in your life to open you to a greater connection with your divinity and the divine life expressing as all that you see. Let that awareness bring you to the experience of Great-fullness and let it overflow as expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Join us on Sunday for our 10:00 service as we explore further the connection between Grace and Gratitude.