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Denise’s Daring Daydreams for 06/16/2016


What an amazing week I have had at the Unity Conference in Kansas City.  It is always exciting to be with hundreds of other Unity Ministers, Licensed Unity Teachers, Board Members, Youth Ministers, Music Ministers….  the list goes on and on.  One of the things that have been a topic of conversation several times is the shooting in Orlando; and specifically, when is the world going to become more compassionate, loving, and empathetic? 

There was an incident on Tuesday  evening where two Lesbian women who were attending the conference, went into a restaurant in Kansas City and were told quickly that they would have to leave because the establishment would not serve them.  As I was standing by the table where Dr. Judy and I were sharing our Nashville Chooses Peace event video, I was talking with Rev. John Strickland of Unity of Atlanta.  We were both amazed about what we had heard. 

John and I have been friends and acquaintances through the Unity movement for many years.  I was asking about Atlanta and he was asking about Nashville and how we viewed the openness, diversity, and oneness of our cities.  At some point I said to him, “You know, I truly thought that we would be past some of this separation and hate by now.  It’s 2016!”  John then stated, “There are so many good things that people are coming together to do that are spreading love and peace, and, there is still quite a bit of darkness out there that needs us to keep shining our light.” 

I shared with him an article I read this week as I was doing research for Sunday’s  lesson on Empathy.  This article is on the World Change Cafe website and is about overcoming “Empathy Deficient Disorder”.  The article was very interesting.  It spoke to the fact that so many in our world today are unable to step outside of the self and tune into the other – especially if the other has different beliefs or looks differently or acts differently than what they think is acceptable.  As I have read and reread this article I have begun to take a deeper look at me and said, Where am I not willing to share compassionate and empathy because I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the belief system of this person…….need I say more?

As we prepare for Sunday  and Father’s Day, may we remember the Father energy as it provides the action of creation and manifestation in our world.  A father might not “do it exactly the same way the mother would,” and a father knows that what you love you give your time and energy to.  In that way a father begins to form empathy with his child so as to see through their hearts and minds the world from a new and different viewpoint. 

Father God – the universal “masculine” energy fills each of us up with the ability to express – to push ourselves out into this world and be all we came here to be.  That same energy does not discriminate or choose certain groups of people to work with.  That father energy expresses through each of us, no matter our differences.  And when we fall down and skin our knees, that same father energy gives us the courage to stand up and try it again and again until we get it right.  Empathy from the Father is the ability to view the world through another’s eyes or reference point and still reach out.  Empathy from the Father is the ability to step outside myself and enter the internal world of “the other” without losing my reference point.    

Join us on Sunday morning when we will talk about the Father Energy and the Development of Empathy which leads to Compassion.  We have three Special Music Guests.  First is Allen Stanley, who is driving in from Tupelo, Mississippi to share Father’s Day with us.  And then many of you may remember Michael and Diane Killen who used to live in our fair city and shared music with us many times in Donelson Plaza. They will be in Nashville this weekend.   We are so blessed to have these friends joining us this Sunday  as we experience through thoughts, words, ideas, and music what it means to let Empathy lead us towards a life of Compassion.    

Namaste’,    Rev. D

Denise’s Daring Daydreams for 06/09/2016


Did you know that Compassion for others begins with Compassion for Yourself?  Let’s first remember our working definition of Compassion; the care and concern that a mother has for her unborn baby in the womb.  So we begin with the thought, how much care and concern do I show myself? 

This thought takes me right back to the statement by Jesus the Master Teacher.  Jesus stated that if we would release all other laws and rules and just live by one:  Love God and Love your Neighbor as Yourself, we would create a more compassionate life.  The only trouble with that way of thinking is that many of us do not love ourselves.  If you cannot love yourself, you cannot love other people.  Most of us spend a lot of time criticizing ourselves for our shortcomings.  We have been taught that our personal failures are bad things and not feedback that can lead us toward our personal power where we begin to know ourselves, our personal strengths, and talents.    

The Golden Rule requires a high level of self-knowledge; it asks that we use our own feelings as a guide for our behavior and treatment of others.  But if we have less than loving feelings about ourselves and if we treat ourselves in degrading ways, then we will do the same to others.  Or worse, we will not even be aware of the way we are showing up with others, and as universal laws kick in, we will continue to view ourselves as victims and the other as bad people.    

Over the years as a school counselor, I have had many conversations with students who have bullied or done something to hurt another student.   The student who had been caught offending the school rules would be sent to me by a teacher or the school principal.  Our conversations would usually go like this:

Me:  So, tell me what happened from your perspective.

Bobby:  Well, Jamal doesn’t like me.  He’s been playing with other kids during recess and sitting with others the bus.  He quit saving me a seat at lunch.   I’ve just had enough so I kicked him when he was washing his hands in the bathroom. 

Me:  Wow!  You’ve been dealing with a lot.  I’m sure it has made you feel bad that Jamal seems to not like you.

Bobby:  He hates me!  It’s obvious! He even moved his seat in the classroom.

Me:  Moved his seat in the classroom?  Tell me about that.

Bobby:  Well, I’m not really good at reading.  And you know he is an encore student.  (Encore is a program for the students who have been labeled “gifted”)

Me:  It must feel bad to not be able to read as well as Jamal does.    

Bobby:  Yeah!  You know we used to be BFF’s in Kindergarten and first grade.

Me:  What happened?

Bobby:  I’m just not smart enough for him. 

Me:  You need to be smart enough for him?

Bobby:  It feels bad to not know how to read.  Did you know he reads 6 grade books?  I’m still reading beginning first grade books.

Me:  Wow!  So this is really about how you feel about yourself?  

Bobby:  What do you mean?

Me:  Sounds like the thing that began to come between you and Jamal is that you don’t think you are smart enough to be his friend.

Bobby:  I’m not.  He gets to go with the smarter groups and we are usually not together any more.

Me:  So you feel bad about that?

Child:  Yes I do and last week I stopped sitting with him on the bus.  I told him twice I didn’t want to be his friend anymore. 

Me:  And you did that because?

Child:  He likes to hang around smart kids, not me.

I could go on and on with this conversation, but I think you get where I am going.  Many times the reason children begin to hurt others or treat them badly is more about how they feel about themselves, than what has been done to them.  Many times when we feel badly about ourselves we begin to either retreat from others, or act in ways that are very different than we have before.  And then we get upset when other persons “begin to treat us differently.”   What I can tell you about this particular situation is that that Bobby had been moving away from his friends for quite some time.  He had been acting up in the classroom and many of the students had begun to step away from their relationships with him, fearing he would be a bad influence and get them in trouble.   

He felt bad about himself, not feeling smart enough.  He sent those vibrations out into his classroom and the children, who are closer to source energy than many adults, felt his shift in energy.  His “used to be friends” began to react in ways that were also unloving which led him to finally lose it and lash out.  This story is not so far from any adult story I could tell here.  And in the end, the person who lashes out, is the person who has to suffer the consequences, even when the others may have not been kind or compassionate either.   

I know you may want to know more about Bobby.  I will complete the story on Sunday  morning.  But I ask us all to look for the Bobby within ourselves.  When have I felt less than and pulled away from my friends or families until the relationship began to shift.  And then when do I blame my friends or family members from treating me in less than loving ways, when it all began with unloving feelings about me. 

We are powerful creators and one of the most interesting studies about our ability to birth a new experience for ourselves is the study of the Law of Attraction and how it applies to all energies.  The Law of Attraction does not say, “Well this is a good feeling so I will use it, but this is a bad feeling, so I will ignore it.  The Law of Attraction does not care; it just mirrors back to you what you put out into the universe.  When I do not feel compassion within myself, there is no way for me to share it with others; and the flip side is that persons who want to be around compassionate people will not choose me for their friend. 

I hope you will join us on Sunday, yes to hear the end of the story about Bobby, but to also awaken or become mindful of your own potential for compassion.  The Dalai Lama stated, “If you do not love yourself, you cannot love others.  You will not be able to love others if you have no compassion for yourself. If you have no compassion for yourselves, you will not be able to develop compassion for others.”   “What is hateful to you, do not do to you neighbor.  This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary.”  (The Golden Rule – Judaism)

Namaste’ (The Divine within me bows to the Divine within you.)    Rev. D