A Freedom Tale

free I was seeking freedom when I got sober and I was seeking even more freedom when I returned to attending Religious Science church. At first, I was discouraged, but  I held onto the belief that prayer and spiritual principles might set me free. I was right.

Theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr is credited with the well-known prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I got sober sitting in Mexican living rooms with dirt floors, drinking coffee and saying that prayer at every meeting.

The Serenity Prayer was what I had to hang onto at first and I hung on tight. It wasn’t a bad beginning.  I had to look for support somewhere and  I desperately needed more courage, wisdom, and serenity. In the beginning, saying the Serenity Prayer, making gratitude lists, and living one day at a time kept me sober.

A couple of years after l was back in the United States, I started attending  Religious Science Centers in Albany and New York City.  I put the Serenity Prayer to the side a bit because I was learning about affirmations and new prayer treatments that seemed to promise more.

I was attracted to the teaching of Dr. Ernest Holmes because I had several unresolved situations in my life. When I began to study Science of Mind, I had money problems, was withdrawn and shy, and felt like a failure. I’d been in a close but difficult relationship for several years.

The relationship seemed to me to be my greatest problem. I had always wanted to get married and live happily-ever-after just like the story books promised .  My two marriages weren’t completely happy and they ended with the deaths of my husbands. That was part of my drinking story.  I’d latched onto a third prospect who seemed like he would be a fine husband if only…

I was miserable about the direction this love affair was going. I believed that I was trapped by my past decisions.  I was getting older and I believed my options were closing down. I had sad stories to tell to anyone who would listen.

Truth is, I’d quickly created a good life for myself in many other ways. Once I was sober, my writing career soared and I was doing very, very well. My health was good and I had a bit of money in the bank. Things were really looking up except I was still obsessing over this long-term relationship that wasn’t going anywhere and that I couldn’t imagine leaving.

We were bound to each other emotionally but there was too much pain so  I told us both I was taking a temporary place in  New York City to help my writing career. For the next year, I “visited” him on the weekends.

I revisited the Serenity Prayer as I learned  all about prayer based on New Thought principles. I learned that each of us is an individualized expression of God. No one can live another person’s life for him, no matter how much we may wish to. We all have freedom of choice.

I learned I couldn’t pray to make my lover change or do what I wanted. Up until then, I’d dreamed of writing the script and forcing him to speak his lines.   Even though it clearly wasn’t working, I was disappointed when I learned I could only control myself.

I found Dr. Raymond Charles Barker’s book, the  Power of Decision early in my studies. My favorite paragraph starts out, “You cannot cheer up chronically unhappy people…”

I felt as if Dr. Barker had written it personally for me. My lover was chronically depressed and we’d fallen into a pattern of me trying so very, very hard to cheer him up. This was before I knew the word, enabling, but that’s what I was doing.

Up until then, I wanted to use Science of Mind prayer and principles so he would change. Gently, my teacher introduced the idea that I was the only one I could change.

As she shared he wisdom, she promised me a new world if I used these spiritual principles correctly. I would become a person who created her life rather than a person that life happened to. I couldn’t quite believe that, but I was willing to try because I could see many things were better in my life.

It was very difficult for me to give up the idea of changing him. I couldn’t quite believe  I couldn’t convince him to live happily ever after. He wouldn’t even talk about positive living.  I kept hanging onto the idea that if I tried harder I could convince him to agree to my way.  It didn’t work.

Eventually, I understood my lover didn’t want to mold himself to my specifications. He had never promised me that. I had never promised to be what he wanted either. So we parted.

In retrospect, I see I was trapped in a fantasy of my own making. I wanted that happy ending and I wanted it to be my way. I also see my story did have a happy ending that depended on all three aspects of the Serenity Prayer – courage, serenity & wisdom.

I’d had the courage to change many things about myself. I stopped drinking and I built a successful life. I lacked serenity for a long time because I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. I needed to gain wisdom to let go of an unrealistic dream. I needed to accept the truth that set me free.

That was all a long time ago. I’ve  lived happily ever after. Last time I heard,  he had a new lady and they were dancing to his old tune. I laughed when I heard that.

My only question might be what took me so long.  I think the answer was right there in the Serenity Prayer all along.

I had the courage to change but I couldn’t change another person, I gained the serenity to let go eventually and that helped but I wanted more than to endure in an unsatisfactory love affair. If I could rewrite this tale, I’d gain the wisdom I needed sooner.

Ah well, it took what it took. Change comes a little bit at a time for most of us. Every prayer works because it brings us closer to realization but most of us have to chip away at resistance when we tackle old, treasured ideas.

I tell this story to illustrate that prayer and spiritual principles bring freedom. I’m now living an entirely new story. How about you? What story are you living? Is it a happy one? Do you want to make some changes?

Ask Yourself

Have you ever used the Serenity Prayer?

Have you ever held on to a condition too long?

What do you want to pray for now?

What do you want to let go of now?

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Change Happens

scan024As a part of my morning spiritual practice, I like to re-read a few pages of the classics. I am reading Treat Yourself to Life by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker today. On page 103 he says, “The most important thing for you to know about your mind is that it can change.”

I must have read the book at least a dozen times in the past twenty-five years and on this morning the simple statement that minds can change jumps out giving me some down-home wisdom.

Think about it – it is actually the nature of the mind to change. Human thought and beliefs change all the time. When we get new information, we switch our beliefs. We think the world is flat until we learn it is round. We think children are stupid until we understand they think differently. We think women belong in the kitchen until we see what they earn in the work place.

People get interested in New Thought principles because they want something new or different so they are not essentially resistant to change. But even the most open of us sometimes hit resistance? If that happens, what do we do? Here are some tips…

Don’t complain. Refrain from telling yourself or others how difficult it is to change your mind.

Go back to basics and remind yourself that minds can change – it is what they do. This is the time to double up on your spiritual practice and thank God for any progress. All your mind needs more information.

Remind yourself of your goals. Won’t it be wonderful when you switch from fear to love? From financial struggle to prosperity? From ailing to healthy? Never give up!

If you are near a Center For Positive Living or other New Thought church you can get the support you need. They offer wonderful wisdom talks and sociable gatherings on Sundays. You can connect with others and learn about their successes. That’s the kind of information that will help you change your mind.

Consistent attention to this wisdom teaching is important. If you don’t see dramatic changes, be patient. Enlightenment comes in mini-drops for most people, including me.  One day at a time, one insight at a time, and we can go far. The changes keep coming and our ability to use Infinite Power keeps increasing.

If you need help understanding and using the teaching, my book, Science of Mind Skills, gives you the basic concepts. It is laid out simply and the ideas the build on each other. There are short exercises and affirmative prayers. It is set up for independent study and you can buy it in your church bookstore or on this website.

As I  look back I see that my understanding deepened in small increments and in many ways. Certain moments in my own journey stand out for me. Early on, Dr. Carol Carnes told me we don’t treat for things, we treat for the consciousness to attract and hold on to what we desire. I’ve always been grateful to her because until then, it seemed to me that people only used prayer to get a new car or better boyfriend. Dr. Carol pointed the way to a spiritual expansion that I truly desired.

Another time, Dr. Robert Bitzer, former President of RSI and a colleague of Dr. Ernest Holmes explained to a group that the Science of Mind Textbook wasn’t really difficult to read. He said sometimes Dr. Holmes wrote on the absolute level and other times on the relative level (our human experience). Maybe that’s a simple idea but it helped me understand what I was reading.

It is amazing  how a simple statement can be easy to ignore until light strikes and the door to wisdom opens. This morning, Dr. Barker’s words lit me up!  We may believe change is difficult but it is really easy. Minds change – that’s what they do.

We  choose to give our mind new direction through our spiritual practice. We pay attention and set aside  time to create new pathways toward a deeper understanding of how Spirit impacts our lives. We don’t need to push the river after all.

There was a time when I thought I should use will power to pray to fix my life. Up until then, my achievements mostly came through will power and hard work. I thought I had make it happen. It was really a new idea to imagine, believe and accept that God did the work.

Once we really get it that God is Love working through Spiritual Law and that Spiritual Law is responding to our prevailing belief system, we have the basic knowledge for creating a happier, healthier, wealthier and more creative and loving life.  It is important to consistently deepen our understanding of that basic belief.

I am happier, more self-loving, more in awe of life, and less frightened now. Trusting God is a continuing process in my life. I write this blog because I want as many people on this planet as possible to have the wisdom that Science of Mind teaches. Learning to look at the world from a spiritual perspective is so empowering.

Our teaching is all about accepting the best and in order to do that, we must accept new information about life. We seek spiritual information from prayer, other people’s talks, workshops, classes, and eventually everywhere we look we can see the goodness of life.

I’ve been around a long time and I’m still getting new insights. I believe in continuing education and  I wish everyone would continue reading and meditating and praying even if they think they know it all. Wisdom deepens.  Life just gets better and better with spiritual practice and that’s why I’m writing my new book on the subject.

Spiritual practice refreshes our minds and brings us new information. Sometimes we need to release old idea before we can accept new goodness. New information is a part of the process. We cling to the old ideas out of habit or ignorance until we  learn better ways. Releasing old ideas, even those we’ve held since childhood, doesn’t have to be difficult. All we need is to open up to new information.

Changing our minds is not a struggle or a puzzle. Our minds are built to change! Learning more is the most human and natural thing in the world. One of the great gifts of living in this 21st century is the knowledge that we are never stuck. Our minds will change and we stretch and grow because it is our nature. Life is a journey and the quest is for greater wisdom.

Ask Yourself

Where do I think I am I stuck?

What belief stands in the way?

Am I willing to switch it?

What’s a better belief?


Sunday, Beautiful Sunday

dreamI am speaking at the Center on Sunday. Since I created 50 new talks a year for many years, I’m not nervous. I know that one way or another, I will say, “Your consciousness creates your life and you can change your consciousness.”

For example, when I retired I expected a life of leisure but I kept thinking of new ideas and saying yes. Now, I ask, “Where did my free time go?”

As we move up the ladder of life, things don’t always change quickly. For example, my life continues to attract work because I hold onto my love of work. We all have repeats of success and failure in areas of our lives and the question is whether the repeated experience is OK. We make the choice.

Our Positive Living Centers are devoted to helping people change the parts of their lives they want to change. The way we change our lives is to change our consciousness and spiritual practice is the simplest way to do that.

On Sunday, I will be as clear about that process as I can be because I know Sunday church is the start of spiritual practice for most people. There are many other opportunities but church attendance is usually the opening tool to lift up our consciousness.

What the speaker says on Sunday is important and I will do my best but my talk is only a small part. The decision to suit up and show up for church is the real starting point for consciousness expansion.Everyone who is there made a personal decision and their choice demonstrates an intention to have a better life.  I discovered attending church made my week go better many years ago.

Even after I made a conscious decision to use Science of Mind in my life, I still had difficulty hearing the message. In the beginning I heard, “If you have trouble, it’s your fault.” I was so full of regret and guilt that all I could hear was blame. I must have heard something else however, because I kept  coming back.

I was aware of my first real shift in consciousness when I found Dr. Raymond Charles Barker’s Power of Decision.  The book was so clear that I believed I’d found the key to the kingdom. The idea that my ability to change my life began with my personal decision to do so made perfect sense to me.The message that it wasn’t God’s will but God’s response to our messages fit into what I knew about psychology and what I was learning in 12 Step programs.

Reading is a great spiritual practice. So are classes. I began to take classes and that really helped me let go of the past and look to a better future. Classes give you a chance to ask questions and get direct responses so they are very powerful change agents.

Classes challenged me to pay attention to my thoughts and helped me monitor progress. I could actually prove this stuff in my life. In the midst of a group of like-minded people, I found I could really see change in their lives. I reasoned if it worked for them it was surely working for me. The teaching began to seem less fanciful and more practical. I began to dream bigger dreams.

One major attraction for me to the New Thought teaching was that good old American value, Self-Reliance. I loved the Emersonian attitude of being free from conformity and trusting yourself. I also loved the idea of rescuing God from a human-like description and recognizing God as the Creative Intelligence in every aspect of Life.

As a literature major, the intellectual authority of the Transcendentalists was important to me. Since I already knew about Emerson, Fuller, Thoreau, and Whitman, I felt more comfortable with our teaching. And the Transcendentalist political action suited my beliefs.

We come to understand and use the teaching in a variety of ways. It has been my privilege as a teacher to see many students accept New Thought without doubt, almost from the day they arrived. More than one colleague tells me when he or she knew was introduced to Holmes’s writings it was immediately clear it was the Truth.

We are all different. My doubting Thomas attitude served me well in some ways. It has made me a thorough student and given me the ability to explain things well. It took me longer but I eventually came to a place of trust.

The Hindus tell us there are several paths to enlightenment. We know about Hatha Yoga, the physical path, but there are also paths of service, of love and of the intellect. In New Thought, we must find our own path based on our own consciousness.

Our individual consciousness is a collection of ideas, beliefs and emotions taken from personal experience and cultural influences. Many believe it also contains remnants of past lives. We are all unique  individualized expressions of Life and so we all have unique consciousness.

My path to full acceptance of the teaching was based on the intellect. It was work but I had nothing more important to do. What is your path? And how do you discover it?

I believe that the best way to find techniques that help you expand your consciousness begins in your home church or center. Your will find like-minded people who share your interests. You will also find a bookstore devoted to the practice of consciousness stretching.

All centers offer classes with excellent teachers. Most offer workshops and activities that offer you chances to grow. Certainly, volunteering can help you open up in wonderful ways. Making the choice to help make the coffee can be a turning point in your life. Selfless service is priceless for expanding your life.

Wherever you are when you read this, I invite you to attend your nearest church next Sunday. Whether the speaker says anything you can believe or agree with or not, you will find opportunites there. You will find paths to changing your life by changing your thinking.

Once you begin to send lighter and brighter messages to the Universal Mind we call God, everything will become lighter and brighter. If you want to change, you can do it. If you want to celebrate what you have without listening to others, you can do that. You get to design your life with the help of the Power For Good in your life that you are always using.

 Ask Yourself

What was your first step into belief in Science of Mind?

What would you like to change in your life?

What do you want to keep?

How might you begin or deepen your spiritual practice?


Big City Memories

open005Thirty-five years ago, I attended Religious Science noon meetings in New York City quite regularly. They were open-agenda, drop-in events.  Julia Coleman, who is a student practitioner, and I are now starting a similar noon meeting on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2 PM. We begin on Tuesday, March 19th.

I loved those noon meetings because they helped me figure out how to use Science of Mind in my personal life. At the time I was having relationship trouble and I thought it was because he wouldn’t  “behave”. I was also scared about money and very anxious to make it to the top of the Big Apple by writing for teens. I was doing well and Science of Mind was helping although I didn’t know as much as I wanted to.

In my beginning studies, I found Science of Mind very abstract. It seemed impossible to incorporate the beliefs into my ordinary life. The idea that I could be perfect, whole or complete seemed ridiculous, yet I yearned to believe it. Those SOM noon meetings I attended were a Godsend because they helped me bring the ideas into my day-to-day existence.

I started by attending noon meetings at the RSI building in mid-town Manhattan. They were led by a practitioner who read questions from the floor and made comments before she treated. They were rather formal but they helped me.

I soon switched to the meetings Rev. Valerie Seyffert led. I liked those better because we conversed about regular situations in regular lives. Rev. Valerie led her meetings at Quest Bookstore in the Fifties block. Quest was a fabulous metaphysical bookstore. I think there were only two spiritual bookstores in the City. I loved the Quest meetings because anyone could ask a question. They  felt real.

Since it was midtown Manhattan, most of the issues revolved around ambition. I heard some fabulous stories about winning acting roles, selling books, landing singing gigs and achieving amazing corporate promotions. Since I was frantically,writing and selling  it was the perfect  place for me.

Rev. Valerie was also the perfect teacher for me. She had been Staff Minister for Dr. Raymond Charles Barker and when he retired, she started her own work in the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park. Independent churches were rare in those days but she had nerve and a deep belief in the Infinite Possibility of Infinite Mind. Dr. Erwin Seale ordained her.

When I lived in New York City, I was just recovering from alcoholism and on the fast track to writing success. I’ve always been grateful for Rev. Valerie’s ability to help me incorporate theory. She also helped me with my questions about how my 12 Step work could fit in.

She made it all sound ordinary. On the other hand, her life wasn’t exactly ordinary. She’d inherited the permission to rent her studio apartment in the National Arts Club Building from her deceased artist husband. We met there on Sundays and she taught also held classes in that studio. We were usually around thirty or forty. Fabulous space.

The apartment was like something out of the movies. It was one very big studio room, a tiny kitchen and small bedroom with this amazing second floor library terrace that ran around three walls.  Nothing up there but the aisle for walking and rows and rows of books. The fourth side was tall glass open to full Northern light. People said, “I would kill for this space.” It made me wonder…

I was impressed by her apartment as well as her wisdom. I was a bit of a snob so I was also impressed that she a Baroness and a Countess on her Board of Trustees. Another prominent church member was a descendent of the Noble Prize family who spent her days giving away money to deserving causes. All that was heady stuff for this middle-aged girl who grew up in a housing project.

Rev. Valerie was articulate and logical and, after all those years with my hero, RC Barker, she knew her stuff. I also found the space quite inspirational. All that light triggered visions for my future. One day, I had a moment when the light actually seemed to be within me as well as outside in the space around me. That day the world stood still long enough for me to “get it.”

What I “got” was that I was a wisdom teacher in my own right. I “got it” that I might not be original but I valuable.  I was a skilled teacher and writer and that made useful to the world of Science of Mind. I understood I had a brilliant future. The moment passed and I was  back to sharpening pencils and pounding typewriter keys but I was changed. I have tried to live up to that vision. That is why I  continue teaching, writing books, and sending out this blog.

I know now that everyone is uniquely gifted and has something special to give the world. I am so grateful for my teachers. I do my work because people like Rev. Valerie Seyffert were there for me, as Dr. Barker was there for her. Religious Science has grown so much during my term of service because we all reach out and touch so many others.

One of the things life has taught me is that simple ideas are powerful. Our noon meetings will be based on simple but powerful ideas. Everyone is welcome, whether a beginner or experienced in the teaching.

The seed idea for our group came from Carlsbad’s Julia Coleman, who brought up the idea of having conversations about Science of Mind. I agreed if she would be the co-leader. That means, among other things, that at least one of us will be there every Tuesday. Julia, is a brilliant student and she asks great questions, so I know we can keep the conversation rolling.

I have made a definite, penciled-in commitment, beginning 3/19. That’s a big week for me. I am speaking on Sunday, March 17, starting the Conversations on Tuesday, March 19, and giving a workshop with Lynn Guilfoyle on Science of Mind and Twelve Step recovery on Saturday, March 23 from 9 to 12:30. You are all invited to everything.

For the Tuesday noon meeting, bring your topics or questions and a brown bag lunch. You can participate as you like. You can talk or listen. You can skip lunch and  watch others eat. We will  serve tea only. The meeting  is offered on a free will offering. I hope to see you there.

Ask Yourself

Who were my first teachers?

What did I like about my first experiences?

Would I like to check this group out?

If I am unable to attend, because I am out of the area, would I like to start a similar group? (I can help you).


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?


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?


Following Instructions

The idea that, Dreams Can Come True, a book I wrote in 1981, inspired a woman who is the new host of the Today Show is fun but not really surprising. Spiritual Laws are always working and everything we do has consequences.  We are connected to Life and to each other.

My fifteen seconds of fame on the Today show brought an invitation from Rev. Beverly Molander to be on her internet radio show. You can listen to it by going to http://www.unity.fm/program/AffirmativePrayer .

In preparation, I looked up my books on Google and discovered that many of my teenage romances are still out there. In some cases, you can buy used ones for as little as one cent. I found a new one that was called “collectible” and listed at $118 but I’m not convinced that anyone will buy it.

Dreams Can Come True was one of the first in the Scholastic Wildfire Series and it was my biggest seller. The heroine uses journaling and visualization plus hard work to get what she wants in life. Over the years, I have heard that it inspired many young women. It was lightweight but it was a good read.

The historical ones in the Scholastic Sunfire Series are still the most popular and they deserve to be because they were instructive and well researched. I wrote books set in the Johnstown Flood, Pearl Harbor, Lowell Mills, and a one room school house.

The consistent favorite seems to be Roxanne, which was set in 1930’s Hollywood. My personal favorite is Corey, because the heroine was an escaped slave. It was a breakthrough book because it was the first of the series with a heroine of color. Although it’s simplistic, black history wasn’t as well known in those days.

My search was instructive.  Apparently, some women collect them as though they were Storybook Dolls. It seems over-the-top but at least they are admired. Others criticized them because they were exactly what they were – teenage romances.

I moved on to other things many years ago so while I am happy enough to claim them, I don’t pitch my tent there. For me, that phase of life is over. I am writing other things now, but I am glad that those books were positive and they probably did help some girls because  of their “can do” attitude.

When I wrote them, I was delighted that kids were reading for fun. They actually bought the books with their own money and, as a former reading teacher, I thought that was pretty special.

During that time period, I worked on an adult non-fiction book about successful second marriages. I interviewed about 200 women who had been divorced or widowed and then went on to establish healthy relationships. Although the book was never published, I personally learned two important things I want to share today.

The first was that women who made successful second marriages had the goal of a good marriage in mind when they began the search. This struck me as quite different from my friends and my quest for a “perfect man”.

Most of my friends were women with successful careers who said they wanted to be married but they never seemed to manage their relationships well enough to get there. Our quest  for that one ideal man simply wasn’t working.

The women I interviewed for the book didn’t talk about ideal men but about partnerships. They believed marriage could be a comfortable, normal state. Mostly, they embarked on a sensible search for happiness as a part of a couple.

It may seem like a subtle difference, but I could discern it clearly after those 200 interviews. They were taking more responsibility for their lives than my friends and I were. We might be better educated, but we weren’t as smart about getting what we wanted out of life.

The other discovery turned out to be even more important for me. I learned that books actually do change lives. Time and time again, I heard women tell their sad story and then say, “And then I read such and such book and I did what it said to do.”

The key to changing their lives was that they followed the book’s instructions. It’s fine to read about making friends but if we don’t get out of the house and smile, we will never achieve our goal.

Inspirational books nearly always offer good information but the reader must act on it. There is always that crucial decision to follow instructions. The author cannot jump out of the pages and do it for you.

When the publishing company which gave me the advance for that second marriage book decided not to publish it, I was disappointed. However, I learned two valuable and humbling lessons that changed my life.

Almost immediately, I gave up hunting for that ideal man and chose to seek my personal happiness. So often we think we need a raise, a partner, a weight loss, a new job or whatever to be happy. What we really need is to change our consciousness and decide to be happy right here and now

I read and reread the brilliant book, The Power Of Decision  by Dr. Raymond Charles Barker. I love that book and I have tried (with demonstrable success) to follow his instructions.

I truly appreciated, Dr. Barker’s way of writing. He wrote his paragraphs with topic sentences. The first sentence delivered his thought and the following paragraph backed it up. I began to understand that it all started with decisions. Actions were more important than luck.

Dr. Barker is my mentor because he thoroughly understood and communicated this teaching. In my blog and in my books, I try to do the same. Barker and others have convinced me that consciousness always comes first. I try to “embody” or “become” whatever it is that I desire to attract.

Now I am a New Thought writer and I seek to be as clear as I can. My experience as a writer has helped me communicate simply. Science of Mind Skills is a classic in its own right.  You can find it listed on this website.

I learned from others and I followed their advice. Now I only give advice that I can follow myself. I know it is important to be integrity. I know everything I write will return to me in some way. We are always connected in God.

You and I are connected as you read this. I wish you only goodness and light. I hope you find some of what I write useful. I hope you will read a good, inspirational book and follow instructions this week. Have fun!

Ask Yourself  

What do I want?

What do the books that I read say to do?

What am I doing today to achieve my dreams?