Eureka!

Kingsolver2It was a rainy Sunday and I was in a stinky mood. I missed church yesterday because of my physical limitations and my normal spiritual practice wasn’t cutting through the self-pity.

I had plenty of excuses for feeling sorry for myself, but I didn’t want excuses or sympathy. I wanted to feel better. I knew that required a lift off the self-pity pot.

When I began my ministry, Dr. Tom Costa of Palm Desert, CA was a giant in Religious Science ministry, partly because he so clearly believed in our divine right to happiness. I loved his talks; he used humor to move people along their path to freedom. He also had a gift for keeping it simple.

Dr. Tom used to say, “If you are going through Hell, don’t pitch a tent, keep on moving!”

I certainly didn’t want to pitch my tent on Depression Ave that morning so I kept doing my spiritual work and turning it over to God, When that didn’t work, I prayed and turned it over again. And again.

Nothing worked. Then, Divine Inspiration kicked in and reminded me that I had been planning to look at talks on UTube.  Here was something new to try.

Only the week before, I’d listened to a talk by Rev. Chris Michaels of Kansas City. Besides the great talk, I felt as if I were visiting an old friend. That talk was so marvelous I’d decided to add internet talks to the  Spiritual Practice book I’m writing.

Even though I wanted nothing more than to give up and watch old movies or go back to bed and pull the covers over my head, I opened up this computer and began to browse on the UTube.

Eureka! One of the best things about organizational conferences was hearing a variety of speakers. Now I had a wide variety of speakers at my fingertips. It was like having instant Asilomar Conferences packed into my apple box. It was like striking oil in my front yard!

Although it’s a bit difficult to navigate, it seems there are many, many well-known and wonderful Science of Mind speakers available on the internet. The quality of production is good and the talks are generally excellent.

My mind and heart were renewed after I watched four talks in a little over an hour. Suddenly, it was simple to set aside the morning’s gloom. All I needed was someone else to remind me of what I already knew. That’s the way it works sometimes.

I listened as my colleagues told stories and jokes to make their spiritual points. I desperately needed to hear everything they said because I felt stuck.  Or alone.

There is something cozy about hanging out with people who share your opinions and beliefs. I loved hearing Rev. Gayle Dillon and Rev. Dr. Kathy Hearn speak on ideas that are dear to my heart. Rev. Gayle was brand new to me and Dr. Kathy seemed like an old friend. They were both delightful.

It was a wonderful treat to find my dear friend, Dr. David Walker’s talk online. There he was, telling me once again, You Are Enough. Even more amazing was seeing and hearing Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, speak on the power of belief. Dr. David has only been gone a few years but Dr. Holmes made his transition in 1960 so the talk must have been transferred from an old film.

I’d be the first to admit I’m behind the times when it comes to researching the internet and I’m never going to be a  “techie” but I discovered an amazing world of wisdom out there over the rainbow.

Maybe some of you readers already know what a wealth of material is available on U Tube and on individual church websites. If so, please write comments and share your tips. For instance, how do you search? I found searching by speaker’s names to be better than looking under more general topics such as Religious Science. However, that precludes contacting new speakers.

I hope every reader will check out minister’s talks on the computer but that’s not the only reason for this blog. What I hope you will take away from my experience isn’t just about the internet. The real lesson is that perseverance pays off.

I observe that many people let their emotions rule them, even after they hear about taking charge of their lives by changing their thinking, they struggle when events disrupt their plans. Many of us  try to control our emotional reactions but we give up too soon.

If one spiritual practice method doesn’t work, we can try another. There are many ways to help ourselves when a bad mood strikes. We can take control of moods if we hang in there.  One should never give up.

I used to have depressions that seemed to drop in to visit for no reason. In those early days emotions seemed to be something that happened to me. Science of Mind taught me I can choose my reactions to events . It may take extra effort but it works. Now listening to talks on the internet gives me another tool.

Here’s something else the experience taught me. I thought I was missing church – the people I love and talks by my own brilliant ministers, Rev. Mattie Dobbs and Rev. Debby ODonnell. It’s true I missed my church but the deepest thing I was missing was the message of Religious Science itself.

I know I can change my thinking and that will change my life. Church always helps me do that because the teaching is so clear on Sundays in a roomful of believers. On yesterday morning I needed a sharp reminder – the kind I get in church.

I go to church consistently because my life goes better. I also use reminders during the week. Recently, I’ve depended mostly on books, tapes and CD’s to supplement and replace church when I can’t get there. Now I’ve added a powerful new tool that offers  a more immediate experience

I have always wished we could find a way to package the feeling of love and joy we find   on Sundays. Church offers music, fellowship, committees, cookies and that’s all great but the real reason we attend church is to acquire the key for taking charge of our lives. We change our thinking and develop a new consciousness of successful living.

We can do it because God created us to express the qualities of God. We are intended to be happy, healthy, loving, and wealthy. Clearing out old ideas and accepting positive beliefs is a lifelong endeavor. It takes support and perseverance.

Every mindful thing we do moves us along in the direction of our dreams. We must take what we learn on Sunday and use it 24/7. We must internalize the message.

I’m excited about the discovery of internet talks because it creates an immediate experience.  Of course, I will, continue with my other powerful tools. I will attend church, do my prayers, meditation, reading, art work and other familiar tools.

Now I have added another techie tool to my journey down the yellow brick road toward enlightenment. I’m going to listen to a few talks every week. How about you?

Ask Yourself

Is there anyone I’d like to check out?

How do I begin?

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A Servant’s Heart

Love

I was happy the actress Julianne Moore won a prize for the TV movie, GAME CHANGE last week. I thought she deserved it for making Sarah complicated rather than a cardboard celebrity. I still don’t know much about Sarah Palin and the only scene I remember is when she agreed to run as Vice President. She said, “I have a servant’s heart.”

That phrase, servant’s heart stuck in my mind as if it were a line in a song that repeats itself over and over, without permission. Do you remember, “you get no bread with one meatball”? That line has been popping up in my peculiarly unique brain for about 70 years.

The phrase, servant’s heart, must mean something to me since I still remember it. I suppose Sarah intended to convey the idea is that politicians work for the people and I agree with her on some days. Other days I just marvel at their actions.

Never mind Sarah. What I need to ask myself is what having a servant’s heart means to me personally. After all, I have spent most of my life as an educator, self-help writer, and minister. Whom or what have I been serving all these years?  Myself? Others? God?

The answer has to be all of the above.

I serve myself because I am living up to my own personal potential in wonderful ways. I have the gifts and abilities and I love to use them. Work is one of the great joys of my life. I love to work and that’s the truth.

I serve others because I believe we all are connected and we can help each other on the journey to enlightenment. We are connected to each other through our spiritual natures. We are all travelers and we are all one.

People like me who have taken on the role of spiritual leader or Science of Mind teacher know that we can use spiritual law to change what we call our reality. Our work is to show the way to others, as we travel our own path to higher realization of our God nature.

I serve God because it is all God. Everything comes from Spirit and we are all connected in Spirit. Once we accept that God lives full power (even if not fully activated) in every one of us, then we know that anything we do to help ourselves must also help others.

We all serve God when we express love for ourselves and for each other. We are serving because that Creative Energy which we call God is constantly expanding and moving toward greater good. God expands through us because we are eternally connected to God and to each other. We are One.

That’s the Truth. The mystics knew it and people in New Thought know it. We are connected here and now on Planet Earth.

There are times when we may feel separate but that is not the spiritual truth. In Truth, there is no separation. What that means is exactly what philosophers and poets have been telling us for centuries. No man is an island…. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

I may not always enjoy the idea but at the level of Spirit, Sarah Palin and I are One. We are sisters in spirit and this is true for everyone else on the planet. Despite the prevailing beliefs in our society, we really are all connected. There is no “other”.

President Obama gets kidded because he’s so fond of saying, there are no red states and blue states, and that we are one America. People may think it is just rhetoric or that he’s naïve but he is correct on a spiritual level.

Utah may vote one way and California another, but we are all connected. We say we are children of God. We must also be each other’s brothers and sisters. We are also the keepers of all our siblings at some level. And.. we also are separate individuals. We must lend a helping hand, trust God, and let each one discover his own path and her own power.

I may be a preacher or teacher but I don’t get to make you do it my way. My job as a teacher with a servant’s heart is to demonstrate my belief system by living my teaching as I attempt to show the path to others by walking my talk.

What that means in daily action varies from one New Thought person to another, just as it does for Muslims or Jews. I follow politics because I am connected and I believe I should monitor what’s going on. Some colleagues don’t open the newspaper. We are following our own inner guidance. We both have servant’s hearts.

Living life out of a servant’s heart can be a complicated undertaking. One of the biggest dangers is shared by politicians.  A respected teacher can become so used to authority that she forgets she is actually just one more pilgrim on the spiritual journey.

Whether we are parents, teachers, ministers, politicians, or anyone in a position of authority, we have a responsibility to serve in integrity. We must retain our servant’s heart. We need to remember that we do not always know what is right for the other person. Each must find his own path and what works for me may not work for everyone.

People in authority are wayshowers. We need to constantly renew our personal spiritual practice and avoid judging others. We must lead with a clean heart. We must also be willing to change and grow because that is what we teach.

Anyone who has tried to live a life according to spiritual principles knows there is a delicate balance between following your individual guidance and conforming to your group. We need to stay grounded and not begin to imagine we have all the answers.

My prayer partners and metaphysical friends are precious to me. I trust them to tell me the truth when I ask. My family helps me remember who I am and where I come from. I need these relationships that help me keep my balance.

During these last few years when my health has not been as good, many people have helped me in many ways. One of the gifts of this physical experience has been learning to ask for help and admitting that I cannot do it alone. I want to serve others and I now realize the circle is not complete until I also allow others to serve me.

Having a servant’s heart and knowing we are connected to each other in Love is a wonderful way to live. I am grateful to this wonderful New Thought teaching and to Dr. Ernest Holmes. I am also grateful to some very “downhome” leaders who taught me not to take myself too seriously. They include Dr.Raymond Charles Barker, Dr. Kennedy Shultz, Dr. David Walker, Dr. Nancy Anderson, Dr. Carol Carnes and many others.

Ask Yourself

Do you have a servant’s heart?

Do you feel connected to others?

To God?

How do you keep grounded in Truth?


Those Pesky Resolutions

20'sdancer

“My biggest goal for this year is to celebrate my eightieth birthday,” I said. Then I laughed and added, “ I’m not sure what I’ll do after that because I can’t imagine being old.”

 One of the best things about getting to the wisdom age is that you know that life is what it is. That means it never jogs backward but always trots forward.

This year, I’m not making resolutions or setting goals. I’ve decided to enjoy life. I live in Sunny San Diego and I’m going to stretch my arms upward and smile back at the sun the next time it shines on me.

That’s not a resolution. I love the sun and I claim my right to enjoy every moment. I am not going to work at being anything. I spent the majority of my life trying very hard to improve and then discovered I was already perfect, whole and complete from the get-go. From now on – I’m on vacation.

I’ve decided to follow the advice I received about 39 years ago. I am going to live one day at a time. That means, I am going to do more or less what I want. If I want to watch old movies all day, I will. If I want to go to the gym, I will.

I know the key to delightful aging is supposed to be learning new things. In previous years, I would have made a goal list and written, “Learn better Spanish”, or “Study social media”, but not this year. This is the year I declare that I love myself the way I am.

It’s true that I benefited from hard work in the past and I don’t really begrudge it, but I choose to move into true acceptance in 2013. I am going to take a leaf from my friend Dr. David Walker’s book, and say, “I Am Enough”.

Truth is, I already know an awful lot of stuff no one else knows. When I leave the planet, I’m convinced there will be no one left who knows the difference between lie and lay or affect and effect. Everyone will say, “He invited John and I to the party”  and no one will cringe.

In my lifetime, I’ve learned a great deal about a great many things. For example, I learned how to put on makeup, brush my hair until it shone, dress to look slimmer, and use good table manners. It got me what I wanted at that time and it was fun while it lasted but that was then and this is now. I’ve dropped romance and now prefer sunshine keep my bones warm.

At one time or another, I used to know how to sew, cook, garden, and knit. I could make pottery, draw, paint, dance, write long sentences, and teach school. I learned about New Thought history, English literature, and the history of the opera, art, and film.  It was all very interesting at the time.

Once, I knew a whole lot of poetry and literature by heart. I knew Emerson’s essays, Freud’s theories and the Zen stories. I knew the tales of the Bal Shem Tov and the Brothers Grimm. I could read Tarot cards, practice yoga, swim, play poker, play canasta, sell real estate, and dress for success. I even once knew the difference between shall and will.

I am – in short – an accomplished woman. So I won’t be writing any new resolutions this year. I like my life pretty much the way it is. After all, it took me a long time to settle into my particular rut.

So what if I prefer my old movies to the new ones? I am perfectly happy looking at Myrna Loy and  William Powell drink their way thorough the Thin Man series. So what if I think Otis Redding is a better singer than those new guys whose names sound so peculiar. I understand the lyrics when Otis sings.

It’s true there are many, many things I never learned. I can’t sing. I never could touch my toes. For that matter, I never really learned to keep house. But I tried for as long as I cared to struggle. From now on, I’m going with the flow.

It is also true there are some things I might be able to learn if I set my head to it. I probably should have learned some of them a long time ago but I don’t intend to start now. I’ve travelled this far without multiplication tables, so I figure I can coast the rest of the way. BofA computers keep my bank balance now and I’ve had an account with Bank of America since I was fourteen. Why switch horses?

As for technology. I’ve already learned more than I wanted although I admit that my technological relationships are somewhat disfunctional.  I had a fax machine and it went out of style. My scanner is too dim and my copier is crooked.  I have a cell phone but it doesn’t work at my valley home. I have two Apple computers and only one of them gets the internet. I can’t download Netflix and the complaints go on…and on.

I was a liberal arts major. What can you expect of someone who didn’t even see a TV until she was 14 and didn’t turn on another one until she was 35?

Like Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire, I depend on the kindness of strangers (actually, mostly my relatives) when it comes to modern devices. I was in the hospital for two days last year and they let me go home early, probably because every time young Dr. Kildare came in, I asked him to help me with my cell phone.

I did not get a Kindle for Christmas because I did not want one. I love my books even if some are dusty. I don’t like machines and I do love books so why would I mix pleasure with pain? . You can’t underline the good books on a Kindle. You can’t trade the trashy ones in for more trashy ones.

Now that I’ve declared my independence. I give myself permission to change my mind. I will make some resolutions – at least for this day.

I Say No-No

I am not going to try to keep up.

I am not going to do things because they are good for me.

I am not going to criticize myself or others.

I Say Yes-Yes

I am going to march to my own drummer.

I am going to enjoy every moment I can.

I am going to see God in everyone.

I am going to have a Happy New Year.

May 2013 be filled with Love, Light, Joy, Wisdom, Health, Wealth and Lot’s Of Fun. You deserve the best! 

 


I’m Back

I spent a couple of days in the hospital last week and I‘ve slept a lot since then. Thank God the bacterial infection did not go into my lungs. Now that I’m back, is it too late to tell you how happy I am about the election?

My team won and I am happy because I felt strongly about the personal freedom issues. But it turns out, I am not good at games. If my team wins, the other team loses and I love so many people who are on the other team.

Generally, my friends and I agreed on personal liberty stuff but differed on economic ideas. So, one week after the election, I am recovering and asking, “Can’t we all just get along?”  

         I believe this nation is rich because of its diversity and ability to have civil discourse. Like most Americans, I am ready to stop fighting and rebuild a cooperative government.

The good news is that the election is over. I am ready to move on and I believe resisting change is silly. Whether we want it or not, life will most certainly change. Our job is to make sure life flows in the direction of love and justice for all. We may do that in a peculiar zigzag path but we are moving ahead.

Dr. Raymond Charles Barker said that a consciousness once stretched never returns to its original shape and I think that is equally true on a personal and national level. When the edges are pushed out, they never can return to the “good old days”. Nostalgia tends to breed discomfort and disease, not solutions.

Living longer creates a sense of trust in the evolutionary process. This has been true for me personally and I believe it is also politically true. Wasn’t it fun to see the diversity in our newly elected officials?

I remember when white males absolutely ruled our political and corporate organizations. You youngsters may have enjoyed watching Mad Men, I just found it distressing de ja vu all over again.

Yes, there was a time when voter suppression was a given, not a failed scheme. There was a time when there were no women on the Supreme Court and the women who ran for president were considered eccentrics at best and probably nut cases.

In those ancient times, when I told my shrink I was working on Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s presidential campaign, I think he wanted to lock me up.

There was even a time when the South was totally Democratic and all African Americans (then called Negroes) who were allowed to vote, voted for the party of Lincoln. Our first Afro-American Senator, Edward Brooks, was a Republican from Massachusetts.

There was also a time when a politician’s personal life was off limits. Clinton’s life was a public soap opera but Kennedy was a real dog with the ladies and no one even mentioned it.

Those were not the good old days and I do not want to return to them. I was pleased that so many women were elected this year because I think women change things in basic ways. They learn at their mother’s knee that protecting the young is their most important duty.

It may not make me a good feminist to say this but I think women are less theoretical than men. They know that passing a law based on an abstract idea will have a direct and concrete effect on the lives of families. Men also know this, but women know it at a more cellular level. This election defined women as a spectacular voting block.

As a New Thought person, I believe that all change begins in the consciousness of the individual. When I look back at the political leaders I admire most in my life, I see many giants. Eleanor Roosevelt, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King, Gloria Steinham, Shirley Chisholm, and John F. Kennedy are a few of the political leaders I admire.

I also admire some fascinating and inspirational spiritual leaders. They include; Ernest Holmes, RC Barker, Frank Richelieu, Valerie Seyffert, Kennedy Shultz, David Walker, Louise Hay, Sue Rubin, Nancy Anderson, Barbara Lunde, Earlene Castellaw, Arlene Bump, Carolyn McKeown , Sandy Jacobs, Maxine Kaye, Carol Carnes, and Marilyn Hall Day. These are people who were here before me and I know that I stand on their shoulders.

Perhaps the greatest leaders of all have been my students and friends who followed me into the ministry. They taught me to question and to stretch my understanding of how God works in our life.

I cannot name them all here but my dear friend and prayer partner, Jeanette Keil, has been a daily inspiration for many years. I also love my young friends, Jeff Proctor and Judy Beiter, who left the planet a lot sooner than I expected. I miss them both.

There are too many other friends to mention by name but they are all a part of my beloved spiritual family. Some of them, like Eleanor Roosevelt, opened my mind to God’s Infinite Possibilty. Though she was a remote person, she was a powerful influence for me.

Every one of my wonderful collection of influences opened me up to the power of God in my life. They were all unique and individualized expressions of God. I felt connected to them. Whether I could articulate it or not, when I watched, listened and learned from them, I felt God in action.

I am not an abstract person. I see God in the love of mother and child, in the bloom of the rose and the rise of the sun. When I am feeling the connection of oneness  and love with people, I feel the presence of God.

People are connections. They surround and love us. We cooperate in ways we don’t often notice but we have come a long way since the days of the cave people. We cooperate in amazing ways with spectacular results all the time. Our government, when it is working correctly, is God in action.

Elections matter. Whether it is a vote for the rights of same-sex marriage or a bond issue to support the schools, our decisions matter. Today, I recognize the loving connection to each other in the government and in God. God is One and we are connected to each other.

God is Infinite Opportunity, Infinite Power and Infinite/Unlimited Love. God is the Creative Energy of the Universe working in our lives. Full time. 24/7.

I am grateful to be a citizen of the United States. I am grateful for the good government we have. I am grateful for all the historic mentors who lead us into the light. I am grateful to be connected to life and to each of my individual readers. I am grateful to be to be home and recovering. All in all, it is fair to say, I am celebrating life. How about you?

Ask Yourself

Who were my early mentors?

What historical figures do I most admire?

What did I learn from these early mentors?

Who am I connected to now?

When do I feel connected to God?


No Failure

I am watching a TV talk show and a couple of actors are talking about the book, The Secret. One says. “I tried it. It didn’t work.” The other says, “The Secret – Isn’t that Oprah’s thing?” Then they go on to discuss something else.

Many people think changing your thinking in order to change your life should be easier than it is. If it doesn’t happen overnight, it didn’t work. It works, but not always overnight.

Sometimes the people presenting New Thought ideas do a disservice by making it sound as if affirmations and spiritual mind treatment are magical spells. Not true. You can’t just turn around three times and spit over your left shoulder to change your life.

I have learned a great deal about how to change the conditions in an individual’s life during the past 23 years in my ministry. That old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” is certainly true.

While it is usually not enough to say a prayer and have a new experience, a consistent and persistent approach does pay off. Believe me, I know something about consistent and persistent.

In retrospect, slow achievement has been my specialty. I dropped out of college and then eventually finished. I wrote for many years before I finally became a successful writer. I lost more than a hundred pounds but it took almost ten years.. I started a church with little money or support and grew it slowly.  I’m now controlling serious health issues through persistent attention to spiritual practice and taking care of myself.

What I have learned is that we must never give up. If we take time to feel sorry for the failed results, we cheat ourselves of the victory. On the other hand, even if we fall down, we can always pick ourselves up, dust off the dream and begin again.

My experience has absolutely convinced me that most people give up too soon. They come to the church to learn about making positive choices and resolve to change their thoughts and their behavior but they slip and slide. They don’t actually fail, they just abdicate.

I’ve seen it happen over and over. They wanted to find a perfect right mate and decided to use affirmations, and get around more, then tried it for a month before they gave up. The plan didn’t fail, they quit.

Or they wanted to find a better job so they  occasionally prayed and sent out resumes for two months and then gave up. The only real failure was in not to following through on the chosen action plan.

Certainly, the most common example of giving up too soon is when people vow to get fit. They pray a few mornings and join a gym. However, we seem to have an obsession with fast food and TV watching. We are all Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Of course, you realize that every criticism I make is because I have observed it in myself as well as others. I have been a slow learner about many things, including changing my thinking and changing my life. I have not always followed through on what I learned in classes but I’ve followed through enough to have some terrific successes.

In New Thought, we teach that you can have just about anything you can desire, envision, believe and accept. We all have desires. But we must change our thinking so that we can envision and accept our desires. That is where prayer and affirmations come in.

Our consistent spiritual practice is important if we are going to develop new ways of thinking and living. One of the things I have learned to do is set my day by starting with prayers and expressions of gratitude. There are many other spiritual practices that help keep me and anyone else on track. They include meditation, visioning, and reading enlightened books.

Prayers, gratitude lists, visioning meditations and affirmations all open up our mind to accept and believe at a deeper level of consciousness. Won’t you tell me and the other readers what dreams you have realized through spiritual practices? Please comment.

With consistency, we develop a new consciousness of who we are and what we can do. We also begin to appreciate and enjoy what we already have. It is important to remember that trained and directed thought (affirmative prayer) is truly powerful.

Every time we engage in a serious moment of spiritual practice, we open our consciousness and our acceptance level a bit wider. That’s how it works. Sometimes it seems slow. Sometimes it is so quick it seems like a miracle – but it always works according to spiritual laws.

When we pray, we are not really praying for “things” but for the consciousness to attract and hold a new idea of ourselves.  We think we are sick but our new consciousness reveals that we are well. We think we are lonely and the new consciousness is so filled with joy that it attracts many friends. And so it goes.

Sometimes the new consciousness comes in a brilliant flash of light and we are revealed as a new idea created in God’s image. We truly see ourselves in a new way and since our lives will go in the direction of our prevailing belief system, life becomes a series of successes instead of failures.

My gift to each of you would be to understand that even the apparent failures are steps in the right direction. If we have to do it over again, we can learn to see that we are one step closer to our goal rather than at the end of the dream.

You have a wonderful life and you can fill it with wonderful choices. In this season of renewal and growth I want to remind you that you cannot fail as long as you stick to the program of believing in the dream and working toward it.

Remember to pray and remember that my friend and mentor, Dr. David Walker was right when he wrote his book, You Are Enough.

When should you give up? How about never?

Ask Yourself

What have I accomplished through prayer?

Do I have a plan for my dreams?

Are there any dreams I need to dust off and try again?