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Denise’s Daring Daydreams for 03/08/18

I grew up in a Fundamentally Southern Christian home.  I usually state it that way because over the years I have realized that persons who grew up in a different geographical area probably did not have an experience exactly like mine.  I also grew up in Nashville, TN – Athens of the South in Woodbine, a tightly knit neighborhood and at the 7th grade was sent to a Christian School so that I would be filled with those teachings.  I remained there through my undergraduate degree in college.  I share all of that to say, I had never even heard of Lent, much less experienced any of it until I found Unity Teachings in 1986. 
I am sure some of my Catholic friends could better explain what Lent meant or means to them, and in Unity Lent is best kept by “surrendering or releasing negative feelings, thoughts or beliefs and actions that keep us stuck in old patterns of living.  Then through the process of fasting, prayer and meditation we contemplate what the resurrection experience means to us.  What I learned in conversations with others walking the Unity path was some very basic understandings of how this period of 40 days could help me prepare to live a more spirit filled life.  If you grew up similar to me, the following might be some helpful facts as you move forward during this Lenten period of time.  If you grew up experiencing Lent, the following might give you a new way of looking at it or experiencing it.
The Hebrew scriptures used numbers, numerology, names and key words to symbolize spiritual ideas. 

  • Lent is traditionally 40 days plus 6 Sundays:  40 is a “foursquare” number – foundational – completeness – “It takes as long as it takes to complete.”
  • Lent is a specific period of time in certain religions and you can begin a Lenten process at any time you need to go within and focus on Mind/Body/Spirit Connection.  We call it “retreat.”
  • Lent is a period of retreat from the things of the world that pull you away from experiencing fully your spiritual nature.
  • Lent is a mindfulness practice that assists you to be present to the moment in ways you may not have been before.  
    • I focus on being fully in my body as I go through my days activities.
    • I am aware of the thoughts that seem to keep running through my mind. I journal about them.  Are those thoughts that I want to hold onto?
    • I am aware that some of those thoughts come from a deep place of belief.  I may have created that belief or been taught that belief.
    • I am aware of my feelings and how my thoughts and beliefs create my emotional experiences as I live in the stories of my life. 
    • I am aware of behaviors that keep me stuck in old patterns. 

In meditation and prayer I focus my attention on the ageless, timeless, perfect Spiritual being that I am.
Happy Releasing,
Rev. Denise

Denise’s Daring Daydreams for 03/01/18

You may have heard the phrase “What you resist persists.”  But saying ‘yes’ to whatever life presents does not feel like the best way to live. Wednesday evening, during Winter Feast for the Soul, we had a very philosophical discussion about whether humans have to suffer or not.  The Buddhist perspective is that suffering comes from non acceptance of what is. So . . . . . that means I am supposed to accept whatever is happening?  Hang in here with me. 

It may be a thought, an emotion or a situation, but the bottom line is when I want things to be different than they are, I am resisting or pushing against what is, which causes suffering.  Most of the time it is not the experience itself that causes the pain and suffering, but the pushing against or resisting that causes the most suffering.  So, how does that happen?  I am conditioned from a  very young age to categorize my experiences as good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable.  When I label things as bad or undesirable, I have a harder time not pushing against them and allowing feelings to flow through me. 

 There is really nothing wrong with feeling sad or mad or scared unless my mind tells me it is wrong.  A typical conversation in our mind might be, “What’s wrong with me?  When is this going to go away?”  Then through habit, we will find something outside of ourselves to blame the feeling on – the girl friend, the job, our parents, the weather. 

A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.” The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?” The grandfather answered: “The one I feed.”

Join us on Sunday morning as we begin diving into the messages Jesus wanted to share with his disciples and others who heard him speak.  His message contained the process to feeding the loving compassionate part of our heart.  We will also have, Artist of the Spirit, James Nihan joining us with special music.

Seeing the light in everything,

Rev. Denise