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Denise’s Daring Daydreams for 03/15/18

Have you ever been overly zealous when deciding what you were going to “let go of for lent?”  Secondly, after you fully get into the process, have you begun to realize the true depth of the experience you signed up for? 

Over the last two years I have been working diligently with Martha Creek (who will be with us at Unity of Music City in April).   I have worked with her in a group of ministers and also individually doing Byron Katie’s “The Work.”  The details of that process has been a monthly phone call for one hour with other ministers on the pairing up with a “prayer partner” and “coach of sorts” selected for you by Martha. There is also a coaching call with Martha herself every other month.  We are also asked to read four books by Byron Katie:  Loving What Is (my fourth time reading);  I Need Your Love – Is That True?(my second time reading);  A Thousand Names for Joy (my second time reading) and finally her latest book, A Mind At Home With Itself(my first time to read).  I share all of this with you to say that I have been walking this walk and doing this deep work for over seven years and very intensely for the last two. 

As I have walked this path for several years, it’s not a far stretch where I would say that I can give up ‘Judgment’ for Lent because I have been doing deep work for quite some time.  I know how to be mindful and stay in the moment and I know the process to work when something arises.  Then comes my trip to Unity Village and being asked to step into a redefining and recreating process around the Field Licensing Program and also to take a deeper look at what Ordination will look like in the future.  In this process I have had the lovely opportunity to work with other ministers, Unity Village Staff, Unity Worldwide Ministry Staff and prospective candidates for the Field Licensing Program to which I have been in interviews with for the last two days.  AND, have been asked to fill out Rubrics, which is a judgment of their performance in giving a talk, a meditation or answering candid questions that a group of four ministers might ask of them about various “holy topics.”    

I must share that I have had my buttons pushed so many times over the last week that I have lost count as I have been asked to judge every little thing a person does during an hour and a half period of time.  I have begun to laugh at myself and repeat The Work Mantra:  Is it true?  Can you absolutely know it is true?  How do you react to what happens when you believe that thought?  Who would you be without the thought?  And then the infamous “turn that thought around.”  I will not bore you with what all that means as Martha will share as each of you will have an opportunity to attend a workshop with her on April 8th after our Sunday Service.  Our Leadership will get to spend a lot of the weekend with her – lucky you! 

It will not surprise you that this Sunday we will be discussing, “What Measuring Stick are you Using?”  We should have a great time with that discussion.  And, of course, we will have over the top music with Michael Elley who will bless us with Danny Boy the day after St. Patrick’s Day. I look forward to being back with my spiritual tribe.   So I leave you with Sunday’s affirmation:  
                            The more curious I become the less judgment I express.   

Have a blessed rest of your week.  See you on Sunday.
Overwhelming Love,Rev. Denise

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