Walking On Water

scan024A learned scholar visited some ignorant monks for several days, teaching them about the Bible. As the scholar sailed away from their island home, the monks ran across the ocean waters, shouting, “Come back! Come back! We forgot all you taught us!”

The point of this story is theory is not as important as actually using your learning.

School starts in Centers for Spiritual Living this month and I hope every reader will take a class so that he or she can actually get more of what he wants from life.

You don’t need a miracle. You don’t need to walk on water to benefit from classes. Any class that teaches you the basic ideas so that you can use them will make a great difference in your life. When you change your thinking, you will change your life for the better.

Spirit or God is Divine Givingness and you can use it. Classes really work when they teach you how to pray effectively. God doesn’t give you stuff for being “good” even if that is what you were taught in Sunday School. God is not an Old Man in the Sky. God is the Creative Intelligence of the Universe and it lives in you as well as all around you.

Once you understand that Spiritual Law will kick in and automatically send you any life-affirming goal you envision clearly, actually believe in, and are ready to accept, you know enough to begin. Anyone can learn to pray powerfully.

Classes in Centers for Spiritual Living are set up to teach you how to get what you want out of life. They teach you that prayer has nothing to do with begging or bargaining with a giant Humanoid who does or doesn’t give to you. Prayer is based on knowing about and using Spiritual Law.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to send a message to Universal Mind, and know it will be answered? Wouldn’t you like to connect with God and claim better relationships or more money and have prosperity and love arrive quickly on your doorstep?

One of the reasons I love Science of Mind lessons is that they are based on logic. You can follow the theory and see that it must be true that Spirit comes before any experience takes form.

I love the way our classes are aimed at helping students change their lives by changing their thoughts. Theory is great but practice is absolutely necessary. I believe life changing techniques should be taught from the beginning meeting of classes.

Yes, we learn from living life and figuring stuff out for ourselves. We have all learned and changed because of our life experiences. But experience is never a substitute for knowledge and classes are the primary path of knowledge. Therefore, classes should be filled with information and theory as well as practice and exercises in changing our thinking.

Everyone wants class lessons to help in his immediate life. How is the teacher to balance the need for practice and provide scholarly information?

Teachers usually bend and stretch the curriculum to fit the individuals who have come into their classroom orbit. It is important for the teacher to be flexible and adjust the lessons to the needs of the student.

I think Religious Science instruction is basically as good as the teacher and the students make it. The curriculum is only a starting point for adventures in learning. After seventeen years in public education, and 25 years teaching Science of Mind, I have learned to think of September as the beginning of my year. It is always exciting and it is always fun.

This year I plan to reawaken my Wise Woman materials and develop a class that any woman can teach in the future. My class starts on Sept. 13th. It is a ten week class on Saturday mornings.

This Wise Woman class is all about activity. It is about moving your mind in the direction of your dreams and taking the action you deem necessary to get there. One way to describe the curriculum might be to call it “empowerment” training.

In my younger days, (during the ‘60’s) when the Women’s Movement was in top form, we called our fledgling groups Consciousness Raising Groups. A lot of the discussions centered around getting our husbands to help with the housework.

Times change and today, most women have moved beyond blaming men for their problems. While we still have a long way to go, we have come a very long way and we are proud of it. What’s more, many husbands do help with the housework.

My Wise Woman groups were originally set up so the participants were only allowed to talk about themselves – not their men. The rules included not complaining about others. We learned we didn’t have to create strategies to get people to do what we wanted. We simply made choices for ourselves and let the rest of the world make their own choices. It was an amazing concept!

I look forward to teaching this material again. For many years, I travelled all over the US and Canada giving workshops based on my book, Wise Women don’t worry, Wise Women don’t sing the blues. It was great fun then and this is a different chapter in my life.

I’m not travelling these days, but I am planning to create a workbook that gives leaders what they need to lead groups. I look forward to creating that material during this class. I also have three great assistants to help me and that’s fun to think about.

I also led Wise Woman conferences in Desert Hot Springs for 15 years. I had wonderful co-leaders; Dr. Marilyn Hall, Dr. Heather Clark and Rev. Lisa Stewart. What fun that was! I might consider doing another workshop on the desert this Spring. Who knows?

I am definitely looking forward to my next step – teaching the Wise Woman class here in Carlsbad. It is always a great experience to help women take charge of their lives.

One of the most important concept in the Wise Woman material is the refusal to look at ourselves as victims. Just giving up that one aspect of self-identification can change anyone’s life totally.

Learning to walk on water may seem too difficult but learning to take responsibility for our lives is just as thrilling. I will be taking another look at my life as I lead the September class. I will also invite other women to take a look at their lives.

I wrote the Wise Woman book twenty years ago and times have changed. My life has certainly changed. If you are ready to become a Wise Woman, won’t you consider joining me?

Ask Yourself

Has your life changed?

Do you plan to make more changes?

Do you know what to do and how to do it?

Are you willing to drop the victim role and move ahead?


School Starts Soon

Open2School is starting soon and more young people I know are signing up for on-line classes than actually going on campus. Their college experiences will be nothing like those in the old June Allyson, Peter Lawford musicals. Times change in amazing ways.

         Sometime after Labor Day used to be the beginning of my New Year. I spent years as a student, then classroom teacher, and later, a Science of Mind instructor. That history conditioned me to celebrate new beginnings in the middle of September.

Now school starts much earlier in my neighborhood and it seems a shame to have to start so early but everything changes with time. Right now, parents are buying backpacks and new sneakers. While they’re forking over the dough, they’re hoping their kids will get dedicated teachers and that they will learn something this year.

Times change and school years also change but most of us still believe that education is critically important. We believe that free public schools strengthen the nation and we believe that the better educated we are, the more prosperous we will be. That was true when the immigrants sent their kids to school to learn English in the 1800’s and it is true now.

My personal education was all from California public schools and I have always been pleased with the quality of my teachers and classes. My high school years were rich in opportunity even though I went to school in a poor, disadvantaged neighborhood.

Banning High School in Wilmington CA had a collection of amazing (mostly female) teachers whose career opportunities were narrow. They chose teaching over nursing or secretarial work. They were brilliant women – the kind who are now making big bucks in corporations or teaching in graduate schools.

As most of my readers know, I’m all for women’s equal opportunity, but I don’t doubt the wider choices very bright women enjoy now diminished the quality of public education. I’d like to think that choice is good and the ones who choose teaching today are just as brilliant as mine were, but I don’t believe it. School staffs are not as good as they were sixty years ago.

I know there are still dedicated teachers out there but the job is different. Teachers aren’t respected. The money isn’t there. In many places, teachers are badly treated. The job has lost a lot of it’s appeal.

I am very sorry I believe schools are worse because education is more important than ever. In many places, such as Los Angeles City, students are now primarily non-Caucasian and many are poor. We still believe in the power of education to lift people up and help change their circumstances.

Good teachers make a big difference. My mother, her five sisters, and one brother were all teachers for part of their lives. I chose to teach because I needed a job and I was lucky I was as good as I was. Now I have a wonderful nephew who could have chosen many other occupations; he is a gifted, dedicated teacher.

I know my nephew does a wonderful job and I know the kids who have contact with him are fortunate. A good teacher has tremendous impact on kids who want to move up in the world. Only parents are more powerful in a kid’s life than his or her favorite teacher.

If you don’t believe me, go back and look at your own life. Make a list of your favorite teachers and what they taught you. You will see how very important teachers were to you and you can reason they are as important to today’s kids.

Every student deserves an articulate, concerned teacher who is willing to answer questions and be interesting. It may very well be that technology allows many more students to make contact with gifted specialists. I am not automatically against change. In fact, I am thrilled at how wonderfully easy it is to access information.

The fact remains that good teachers are necessary in the classroom and they are also on-line. It isn’t as much the method of delivery that makes a difference as it is the teacher’s ability to make the subject material come alive.

Information is a wonderful thing to have. Our body of information has grown so large that it has also become very important to know how to access information and research sources. I find young people have many of these marvelous skills. There is a lot to be said for having access to the world’s knowledge on your cell phone.

As the world has grown more complicated, the idea of being a well-rounded, well-informed person seems to have taken a back seat to the idea of learning a trade. This is natural in the current climate of job scarcity but the true purpose of education should be wider than earning a living. It should include a wide interest in the humanities and political science as well as the arts. Essentially, classes are designed for learning to think.

We need people with ability to learn independently and think critically if our North American nations are going to continue to prosper. It seems to me that the total population needs to be concerned that our young people are being well educated.

I am also concerned about the cost of a higher education. We seem to accept that it is an individual responsibility. I find it appalling that student’s graduate with huge student loan debt. An educated populace makes everyone in the nation greater.

I know I sound like a cranky old crank when I say that my tuition costs were never more than $40 a semester. In those days, California was so proud of their wonderful state college and junior college system. The education system was basically funded by taxing the total population. When Ronald Reagan became Governor our wonderful education system was dismantled.

I believe that education should be open to everyone who is willing to do the work. I believe that we should do everything we possibly can to make sure that students get really great teachers and really great schools. There are ways to tax the wealthy and educate everyone less expensively.

If California wants to once again be a leader, it needs to reassemble its liberal education policies. If the United States wants to maintain its position and continue to lead the world toward peace and prosperity, it must find a way to educate people without crippling them with debt.

I believe free and inexpensive public education made this nation great. It is a major key to keeping us prosperous and effective as we lead the planet toward expanding the good things of life and discovering their spiritual magnificence.

Start by saying a prayer for healthy schools. Let’s all pay attention to how we are funding our schools and make sure we are keeping them healthy and repaired. As far as I can see, education is the ultimate infrastructure.

Ask Yourself

Is there a teacher you want to thank today?

Is there a student you want to encourage today?

Is there a class you want to take?

Growing Dream

DreamUmbrellaMy daughter, Kathryn DuVivier, was approved as a CSL minister on Wed. 8/6/14. Congratulations, Kate! I know you are a marvelous minister.

I’m especially happy to have Katie join the CSL staff as a minister because she was in the first ministerial class I taught, about 20 years ago. At that time, she completed all the work but dropped out before the last steps because of other commitments.The dream grew slowly.

Kate was with me when I began the church and she has been a great supporter since the beginning. She served as Treasurer on our first Board of Trustees for several years. I cannot even remember how many volunteer tasks she’s completed in the past 25 years.

I was surprised and delighted when she decided it was time to pick up her dream again and enrolled in my ministerial class. This time, she had the time and she was able to retake all her class..

Today, she joined her classmate, Lori Mac, who was approved as a minister earlier. Now CSL Carlsbad has two new wonderful ministers to celebrate.

They are coming on the staff at a time when our Center is stretching, strengthening, and growing under the leadership of Rev. Debby ODonnell and Rev. Mattie Dobbs.

Rev. Lori and Rev. Katie, join Rev. Catherine Bonin and Rev. Ron Card as staff ministers. We also have five new Practitioners. Our enhanced staff is proof that our Center is thriving. It is very clear that the Carlsbad Center will continue to move into new possibilities.

When I started this Center 25 years ago, I was certain that my job was to teach Science of Mind. The Center has held fast to that vision under the leadership of my two former students, Rev. Debby and Rev. Mattie. They continue the tradition of excellent educational opportunities.

I am very proud of the wonderful work Rev. Debby and Rev. Mattie are doing as co-pastors. Since they took over, things have moved very smoothly. The Center continues to make teaching classes of paramount importance. It also continues to celebrate peace, serenity and love as our organizational culture.

Every Sunday, I sit in the back of the room and enjoy the service while I feel very proud and I approve of their leadership whole heartedly.

I am also proud of our new Practitioner staff; Sharon Bagley, Sal De Casas, Dee Emery, Lynn Guilfoyle, and Debra Reeves. Rev. Debby was their teacher with assistance from Kate DuVivier. I offered a bit of editing and teaching to their class. The Revs. Mattie and Catherine also offered help. We believe in sharing and helping because “We are One”.

Although we are connected, we are also very different from each other. Each of us has special skills and talents and we cooperate easily. We have plans for the future that include stretching and growing in wonderful ways. The recent graduation of the seven new practitioners and two new ministers make this a plan, not just a possibility. The Center is about to hit a major growth spurt.

Rev. Lori plans to write a book and develop a speaking and teaching ministry. Rev. Kate plans to teach classes and create an outreach program for an immigrant population. Part of the good news is that both of them plan to be staff ministers indefinitely. That means a great deal to all of us at CSL, Carlsbad.

On a personal note, I’m thrilled that Kate was able to take her ministerial training from me. This is probably the last ministerial class I will teach and Kate’s presence made it especially precious.

I love my daughter, of course. I also love every one of my students, and sometimes think of them as my sons and daughters. I am especially proud of the ones who went on to become ministers. We are part of a great enlightenment campaign that is taking place on this planet right now.

I have trained over 40 people to become RSI (and now CSL) ministers. They went in many different directions and many started churches. Milwaukee, WI, Bainbridge Island, WA, Tuscon AZ, and others  are CSL spots on the map. Wherever they are, they are all giving service to the world in some fashion.

Some of my students are retired now and many work or worked in CSL centers. Some went to work for Hospice or in other chaplain or counseling positions. Sometimes, like the doctor and counselor, they decided to use the skills they’d learned in their own private practices that are devoted to  building healthy families.

I’m also proud that many of my students helped change things within the parent organization. Liz and Jerry Hooley were two of the first co-pastors. Rev. Amy Aspell initiated one of the first focus ministries within the RSI organization. There are many other innovations that happened because of this Center. Rev. Jeanette Keil was serving as assistant minister in our Center when she became the first Chaplain to be ordained.

This Carlsbad Center has always been a teaching center and we will continue to offer many classes. Several of the new practitioners and the ministers want to teach classes. We recognize that we are here to help people change their lives and classes are the fastest route to freedom.

Twenty-five years ago, I made it my mission to teach Science of Mind. I usually taught four classes a term and many, many people prospered because of the changes they were able to make. It gives me great pleasure to hear from former students and not a week goes by that I don’t hear from one or more of them.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to look back and see that one has been useful. I know that our new staff will have exactly that experience if they continue to serve the teaching. Whether they spread their wings and fly into fascinating places, or stick close to home, a life of service is a wonderful gift to the world and to themselves.

I am so happy to celebrate the new ministers and practitioners in this post. I am also happy to celebrate the current management and the great job they are doing. This is another day to be glad in. I am very glad I chose to be a minister. I am even more glad my daughter and the other students have followed in my footsteps. We make a difference!


Ask Yourself

Does helping others make me happy?

Would I like to take a Science of Mind class?

Would I like to find a way to help others?