Stepping Into New Life

This week I spent time going through my books. The idea was to gather some books for the ministry library. I found myself thinking about all the inspiration that is there. The many authors who having awakened to the Divine within them, listened to the call to share the Truth they know. This Truth then goes out into the world and inspires, encourages, and even challenges us to begin to see ourselves, each other and the world differently. What struck me the most, is the teachers who have had the greatest impact on my life are clear that they are demonstrators of what it looks like to live as aspect of Truth. They themselves are not the way. They are pointing a way to living life fully from our True nature.

I am grateful for each one of these individuals. It takes great courage to put yourself out there. One of my favorite sayings was introduced to me by Brene’ Brown. It is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

This one quote has encouraged and challenged me to step up even when fear wants to take hold and tell me that I am not enough. Do you ever have that voice that lies to you? That voice that tells you; you are not enough, there is not enough, you are not worthy, you lack the skills, money, intelligence, whatever in order to do or be whatever it is that you feel called to be.

Charles Fillmore, co-founder of the Unity Movement, said in his book Talks on Truth, “It is your mission to express all that you can imagine God to be. Let this be your standard of achievement; never lower it, nor allow yourself to be belittled by the cry of sacrilege. You can attain to everything that you can image. If you imagine that it is possible to God, it is also possible to you. Whatever possibility your mind conceives, that is for you to attain.

That is a big, Big, BIG challenge. I call it a challenge, not in the meaning of competition, but in a calling of us into a higher idea of who we are. We spend so much time thinking about what we cannot control or do anything about. The time has come for us to step out of our spiritual box, our limited thinking, and take a risk. I am challenging myself to live as the man the ring. I will and am taking risks, to step out, to speak my highest Truth, to be a demonstration of the flow of life that encourages others. In what way are you willing to step into the ring? Is there something that has popped into your mind that you have given yourself excuses as to why you cannot be, do, or have?

One way to get clear about what we want is to get clear on our personal vision or purpose. Humans are purpose driven interrelational beings. It is through clarity of purpose that we feel encourage and even empowered to take the risk of stepping out. And an important aspect of stepping out, is recognizing we do not have to do it alone. There are those who are in our lives to support us along this path. Sometimes we do not recognize them as the gifts that they are, we think they are our persecutors. Which brings me to another book, written by David Emerald; The Power of T E D. In his wisdom, David has challenged the idea of triangulation as being a negative in our lives, and shows us how to reframe it to empower our growth and connection with others. He asks the question, what is the opposite of victim? The answer comes back, creator. We are the creators of our lives and those with whom we are in relationship are co-creators with us. What often blocks us from knowing this Truth is how we perceive the interactions we have with others. If a person, circumstance, or idea seems to get in our way, we feel persecuted. We interpret it as something against me. When in reality, as Rev. Dr. Gary Simmons would say, “There is no one and nothing against you.” It is our interpretation, our own limited view of ourselves that tells us we are victims being persecuted. The opposite of persecutor is challenger.

The third element of the triangle is rescuer. We often think of rescuers as people who jump in and make everything all better or cover up someone’s mistake. A rescuer is anyone or anything that keeps us from feeling our feelings and working through the challenge to come to a higher and more empowered Truth of who we are. This is why the opposite of rescuer is coach. A coach is a person or circumstance that invites questions, reflection, and courage.

The question becomes three-fold. What is the arena you are being called to step into? What are the limiting thoughts (victim) that are holding you back? Who are your co-creators and how might they be your challengers and coach? As you sit with these questions, I would love to hear your intention to step out of the box of limited thinking and into a life of empowered blessings.

Grace-filled Blessings,

Charli

Being Set Free Through the Power of Understanding

In my recent studies, I have come to understand the 12 Powers within humankind in a deeper way.  A way that empowers us to fully awaken and live as the Divine design we are.  Each of these powers is an energy source within us.  We all have them, and no one has more than you.  We are so used to comparing ourselves with others.  Comparison, a source of suffering, leads to the belief in a capricious god who gives to one and withholds from another.  When we compare ourselves with someone else, we either come out on top or on the bottom.  Neither of these is true! We are all created in the image and likeness without exception. 

As we explore these powers, we will be invited into asking ourselves deep awakening questions about how these powers are or are not showing up in our lives.  You see, just because we have the power, does not mean that we allow ourselves to make mindful choices and to use them for the good of all. 

What are these powers?  Faith, Strength, Wisdom, Love, Power, Imagination, Understanding, Will, Order, Zeal, Renunciation, Life. 

Some of these powers we have already explored. This month, we are exploring the Power of Understanding. 

Simply stated the Power of Understanding is the capacity to know Truth, not from an intellectual knowledge, or from appearances.  Understanding is our capacity to see beyond the biases and old beliefs that would hold us back, into a new way of comprehending ourselves, God, and each other.  It is the capacity of Understanding that sets us free to change our perspective.  In Unity we speak of Truth that is absolute and unchangeable.  God is Good is Truth.  We are expressions of God is Truth.  We affirm from the awakened awareness and understanding of Truth.   

It is also the power of understanding that sets us free.  When we are free from the thoughts that hold us back and are willing to take those next steps of living, when we make conscious mindful choices, we change the not only our own experience, but the experience of the world. 

The Christ of God is active in me; the breath of the Almighty gives me understanding, I am transformed by the renewing of my mind. (The 12 Powers of Man Pg. 36)

I am including this discernment process which is a mix of a few processes I have encountered.  We so often think we need to just have the answer.  We make a choice and then regret the decision or find that we cannot fulfill the decision for some reason.  Something comes up or something else happens that stands in our way.  Taking the time to discern, to listen within yourself and to the still small voice that speaks within your heart.  Listen openly to those around you and how your choice will affect them or allowing in a new perspective.  Always taking it into prayer and acknowledging the gift of the power of understanding awakened within you now.

Mindful Discernment Process:

  • Pray affirming the power of understanding.  Opening yourself to the power and presence of the Divine within and all around you. 
  • Ask meaningful questions.  What is important to me about this?  What is it that comes alive within me around this situation? 
  • How will the decision I make affect others? 
  • Pray opening yourself to a deeper way of seeing the situation or circumstance, for a higher understanding.  
  • Reflect on how this new understanding aligns with your highest spiritual beliefs. 
  •  What action step am I being called into taking?  Where might I share my new understanding through my actions with myself, my family, my spiritual community, the world? 

Watch for new class information: Integral Living From Our Spiritual Gifts begins July 21 on Zoom and in person at Unity of Verde Valley.

The Power of Imagination

The Power of Imagination sets us free to create our life anew again and again.   Imagination is more than day-dreaming or magical thinking.  It is an invitation to create our life of purpose, joy, and freedom. 

There are three components to the Power of Imagination:  thinking, feeling and actions.  You cannot create an experience without all three components. This is the power to create… really to co create… when I say co create I am speaking of creating with an awareness of working with Spirit.   We will explore that in depth in a moment.

First, I would like to share what Sacred texts teach us about our creative powers.   

“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. ….And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory full of grace and truth.”    John 1 1-5, 14

Who is this HE that the gospel of John is speaking of?  It is often interpreted that the writer is referring to Jesus.  I would say, the writer is referring to the Christ within Jesus.  The Christ consciousness out of which Jesus taught and healed and brought in a new paradigm for all humankind.

This Christ is the same spirit that is within each of us.  It is this spirit that is the still small voice that whispers in our hearts and awakens new ideas, new energies, new ways of living that lead to lives of freedom, beauty, and love. 

The scripture in John is directly related to the first book of Genesis:

Genesis 1: 1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good and divided the light from the darkness.”

In unity when we engage sacred texts such as the Bible, we interpret this text from a metaphysical view.  So, as we engage these texts, I am inviting you to take in a breath and allow yourself to open your mind and connect with your heart as we take a journey into the Spiritual Power of Imagination. 

In the beginning…. Was the Word and the word was with God and the word was God.  God spoke in the beginning Let there be light.  This is the first step in engaging the power of imagination.  We must engage the power of light, turning on the light in areas of our life are ready to come into consciousness.  Those areas that live in the darkness of our unconscious and reveal them in the light… meaning reveal them in a way that speaks of their higher truth rather than the way our ego may have made a story about them over the years.  For instance, we may have witnessed or experienced something in your childhood that led to a belief in your limited abilities.  For myself, one of these traumas was growing up in poverty, and hearing that the life you are born into is the life you are doomed to.  It’s fate.  For many years, my experiences unconsciously kept me in a place of not enough, lack and limitation thinking, looking for a magic remedy from God…. A miracle.  Well, I receive a miracle, but not in the sense that I would have thought.  The miracle was praying Let there be light…. And there was light, and the spirit separated the light from the darkness.  Let there be light.  It does not mean we are asking for light to appear in the future.  It is the power of declaring it to be so RIGHT NOW!  Let it be in this moment and this moment.  Let it be means that it comes into our awareness and once we are aware, we cannot become unaware.  Once we admit to ourselves that something is true, we cannot unadmit it. 

I would alike to share a teaching that has had a huge impact on my life.  That is the teaching of the various stages of spiritual development and Rev Michael Beckwith’s vision process. 

I think the states and our awareness of the stages is important because depending on our spiritual understanding, we will interpret the teachings in a slightly different way.  None of them is higher or lower than another, better or worse.  It is strictly about awareness in the moment.  The truth is we move from state to state many times during a single day.

The first state is victim:  that is the to me stage or the stage of development where we are most unaware of our innate abilities to create our experience.  This may be due to our life circumstances, or just where we are in the process of growing up.   Let there be light from a victim stage may be:  HELP ME GOD!  If you get me out of this….  Please God show me what to do.  In this stage we are often looking to a deity outside of ourselves to create a miracle that will fix what we perceive to be broken. 

The second state is Metaphysician: This is where we are beginning to become aware that there is a Presence and Power within us and that we have the power to change our lives.  This is the by me stage.  In this stage Let there be light would be, me thinking of the ways that I can turn on the light.  I engage my faculties to create a new experience. 

The third state is Mystic: This is the through me stage.  We recognize that it is not about us doing it.  It is about allowing spirit to move through us, and to work in conjunction with spirit to bring in higher awareness of who we are.  The Let there be light is about shining a light in our consciousness that empowers us to see with the eyes of spirit, feel with the heart of spirit, and act as the body of spirit. 

The fourth state is Master: This is the stage of consciousness that is spirit as me.  Let there be light is about always being the light. The light and the dark have been separated.  In this stage it is not about denying the dark exists, it is about revealing it for what it is.  It is the consciousness from which Jesus spoke and said, The Father and I are one.  If you see me, you see the Father. 

As I said earlier, the power of imagination has three components: Idea, Feeling, Actions.  The idea is the idea of God.  We speak of God as divine intelligence.  God is the thinker, who thinks the thoughts, we are receivers of those thoughts.  When we get an idea…. You know the great idea to solve a problem that we have been working with, it is not our idea alone. This is the thought of God, or Divine Mind; Divine Intelligence. 

Story: When Denis and I were first together he was planning to go into the service, but we were living in a place that would not be safe for me to live alone.  We did not know what to do.  One day, I was at the laundromat and I got the idea….. he came home that afternoon from work and we both said at the same time…. “I got it!  I have the answer.”  We were both sure our idea was unique and that it would out-weigh the other idea.  You probably guessed, yes, we had the exact same idea.  I was curious so I asked him when he got the idea.  Yep, you guessed it again.  We got the idea around the same time.  One Mind, Divine Intelligence. 

When we get the idea, feelings will arise.  Are those feelings of fear or not enough? We can thank the fear and choose to focus on the Divine Idea for a moment.  We step into the awareness that the idea is a God idea… side note, in German God means Good. This Good idea is already in the unmanifest realm waiting for us to bring it into manifestation.  We put our concentration on how excited we are as this idea unfolds.  The freedom, beauty, love, joy, prosperity we are experiencing because of this good that is in our life.  We engage the imagination to out-picture what this might look like in its grandest form.  What would you like to experience?  You would not have the idea if it were not a poss8ibility in spirit!  Anything that you can dream you can achieve. 

Out of our feelings arise actions.  We take even the smallest of steps toward our desired dream.  These steps may include releasing old limiting beliefs that we cannot for whatever reason, and step into beliefs of God can, and since I am an expression from which God expresses, I can.  These steps can also include asking ourselves what we must become in order to achieve our dream.  Must we become confident, compassionate, generous.  What are the innate qualities within us that we need to hone and own?  Then there is also the actions of what are the gifts and qualities that I already have that will be enhanced and broadened by this dream.  The greatest action we can take is the power of saying YES.  Yes, I am willing to step into the light.  I am willing to do my part and allow Spirit to do Spirit’s part.  And then, we give thanks in advance of manifestation.  We give thanks for the vision we are holding in our minds eye and the awareness of the action steps we are committing to taking in order to bring this into manifestation. 

The Power of imagination is only the beginning step… imagination couples with power of power and the power of faith to come into fulfilment. 

Your job should you choose it this week is to dream big.  Ask to have your spiritual senses opened for your highest vision to come into view… for you to hear the voice of spirit whisper within your heart the answer to your deepest question.  Feel the beauty and joy that arises from the awareness that the dream is not in some distant far-away place.  It is right here, and as you align your thoughts, feelings and actions your dream will come true.  It is spiritual law; it cannot not come true. 

In A World of Uncertainty

There is a saying, “The only constant in this life is change.”   We all know this to be true.  Everything is always shifting in energy and form.  Seeds become plants, sunny weather turns to rain, families increase in number and decline in number.  There are ways that we experience change that we celebrate, and ways that we experience change that cause distress and sometimes pain.

Some people say, “I love change; I seek it out.”  Other people will say, “I dislike change, I like things to stay the same so I know what to expect.”  From my perspective neither one is right or wrong.  It is more a matter of personality preference.  Change is inevitable so how do we come to the changes that are active in our life?  The truth that may be more difficult to really take in is, change is always working in our favor… for our good.  

I have experienced both sides of this coin: love change/ do not like change.   I used to say I thrive in change until I went through a very difficult change that affected every aspect of my life…especially my thoughts about who I am.  One of the ways this time in my life changed me was around my thinking that if I am enjoying the change, I must be doing it “right”.  By embracing the belief that I create my experience, I remember there is a higher Truth that is happening that I may not be aware of in the moment. Those moments of pain or discomfort may be times of healing deep-seated beliefs of limitation and separation.   

What shifted and made the difference for me was awakening the spiritual practice of acceptance.  It does not matter if you love change or not, the way to walk through it is the same.   What does life look like when we accept everything exactly as it is and are fully present in the moment?  Acceptance is the first step in awareness.  I accept, not deny, not try to fix it. I accept what is happening is happening.  In the moment, I am fully aware and can sit with the emotions that arise. In this place of acceptance there is no blame of others; thus, I am 100% responsible for what I create. One hundred percent responsible!

The way I understand 100% responsible takes into consideration that I am responsible for the thoughts that I am holding in my mind.  Can I be love in this situation?  Can I fully love myself and who or what I perceive as other?  

Acceptance is accepting all of the experience just as it is.   It is so easy to make up a story around what is happening and how what is happening will affect our life.  Feelings are messengers, and it is my responsibility to listen to the message without getting hooked on a story.  There was an

old detective show when I was growing up called Dragnet.  The detective would say, “Just the facts ma’am.”  Sticking to the facts of a situation without wrapping it in meaning can allow me to see it from a broader perspective.  By being aware of my feelings, I can become aware of the message about my experience that my soul is trying to give me.  These emotions can appear as thoughts, heat, cold, aches and pains, goosebumps, or elation.  When I think of change from a negative standpoint, I may think that walking through the emotions means walking through pain.  This is not necessarily true.  Awakening to Presence through my feelings can be awakening through joy, peace, and a sense of appreciation. 

Acceptance is awakening the wisdom within and the power to take meaningful action.  When the message is from the ego, trying to tell me to beware we are entering unknown territory, I can 

breathe into it and assure myself I am safe. It is only by allowing the feelings to be what they are, can I move through them to understanding and the power that lies within.  When the message is one of joy, I can take measures to share that joy with the world.  

Acceptance is awakening our power to step out and take inspired actions or to sit down and allow it to be what it is.  We live in a world of uncertainty.  God is not a part of that uncertainty. The uncertainty is whatever we are making up in the moment. There is a spiritual process at work within us that is guided and supported on all levels of our being.  By practicing these steps we have the capacity to live life fully no matter what it brings.  

In the gospels, Jesus was actively engaged with this world and centered in knowing the Divine Presence within him.  Was his life uncertain?  I do not believe Jesus knew everything that was going to happen.  What he knew was that no matter what happened, he could choose what to create out of the situation.  We too have this power within us.  No matter what someone else says or does, we have the power within us to choose our thoughts around the situation.  

In a world of uncertainty, I choose love.  

LIVING BAREFOOT ON HOLY GROUND

In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses to remove the sandals from his feel for he stands on holy ground (Ex 3: 5).   What would life look like if we recognized every moment and every place we stood as being holy? ALL MOMENTS AND ALL PLACES.  If I am experiencing conflict: holy ground.   If I am experiencing a health challenge: holy ground.  If I am experiencing a belief in lack: holy ground.  If life is flowing just the way I want it to: holy ground.  When we recognize that we are always on holy ground, we are living in the flow of life.

So often I hear people say they are in the flow.  The interpretation is, life is going my way.  My health is good, my bank account has money in it, there is no conflict in my life.  God is on my side.  I must be doing it right.  The truth is we have moments where all is well in our world, and we face difficult challenges in this life too.  What is important is to remember that God is every where every when present.  God is equally in the spaces and times that we interpret as good, and the spaces and times we interpret as challenging.    All circumstances that we experience in this life have the potential within them to lead us toward our good.

I have a coffee cup that says, “We do AMEN in our home”.  Amen is one of the most powerful words we can speak.  It is declaring something to be so, in this moment: holy ground.  The literal translation of AMEN is truth, verily, and so be it.  When we are in a place of forgetting the truth of who we are, like Moses did, Divine Intelligence is there speaking within our heart and mind: Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground, the ground of infinite potential.

No matter how experiences are showing up in our life right now, there is always the potential for greater good.  Affirm the truth of who you are, and remember to take off your sandals for the you are standing on holy ground.

 

 

 

The fourth week of Advent: Joy

On this fourth week in Advent, I want to take just a moment to acknowledge the joy possible within this season.  Joy is more than an emotion of extreme or lasting happiness.  Joy is an expression of Love that acknowledges the power of God active in, through, and as every aspect of our lives.  Joy is part of what might be called a mystery of faith.  The mystery of experiencing joy even in the midst of the challenges of daily life.  We can experience joy even in the midst of pain or perceived tribulation.  As an expression of Spirit, Joy is strengthens, inspires, and uplifts us.  Joy, like our other expressions of Spirit, needs to be nurtured and matured in order for us to benefit from its fullness.

One way to nurture joy is by paying attention to the thoughts that we think.  Thoughts are things.  Thoughts are not just passing energy that has no affect.  Thoughts already have form, and when we speak that form out loud we give it whatever energy is there. Are we thinking thoughts that create discord, or are we thinking thoughts that create harmony and goodwill?  A part of the Christmas story is when the angels come and bring tidings of great joy.  They sing Glory to God in the HIghest, and  Peace on Earth Goodwill toward humankind.  The blessing they bring is for all humankind not just the shepherds. As we move forward through this week of Christmas may we all look for those thoughts that bring us joy.  This year may we  consciously express Joy bringing Goodwill toward all.

May your Christmas be filled with Hope, Peace, Love and Joy.  May we all know the blessings of this season and the mystery of newness in the coming year.

The Power of Divine Love

In this third week of Advent, we look at the power of Divine Love.  The best description of Divine love I found is in the classic New Thought book, It’s All God, by Walter Starke, he says:  Without a doubt, at the birth of Christ Consciousness a new kind of love was introduced to humankind, an all-inclusive, spontaneous, altruistic, universal love __ Agapé love.

This Agapé love is the love that was brought into the world when Jesus was born.  Jesus came to bring in a new paradigm and it has taken us 2000 years to progress enough in consciousness to begin to understand what that means.

Love, as it has often been thought of, was exclusive.  It was reserved for family, clan, those who spoke and understood the world in the same way we do.  Jesus brought in a new and higher understanding of love.

In the past, we may have been told about the characteristics or traits that we need to get rid of or control.  They are the traits that we may put into a negative category: anger, depression, sadness, being over-excited to name a few.   These are not negative in and of themselves.  It is what we do with them that matters.  These traits are merely messengers.  Messengers that come to reveal to us areas within our consciousness that we are attempting to exclude and are making themselves known so that we may bring them into a state of love where all healing takes place.   Love releases all judgment, and sees these moments of awareness as gifts to allow all aspects of ourselves.  Inclusivity!

For instance: I recently resigned from my position as a hospice chaplain in Prescott.  I was having dinner with a one of the social workers and my supervisor when the social worker looked at my supervisor and said, “Well, you know, she holds down two full-time jobs and is a care giver for her husband.”… I heard it, and a still small voice within me said, “What is that truly about?”… The answer that came back surprised me.  I felt like I needed to do and be more, because I wasn’t enough.  OOOOHHH!  I thought that I had dealt with that issue.  Instead of pushing it away and denying it, I held it.  I asked for the feeling of not enough to tell me more.  It’s an old habit.  The belief was, if there is an empty space, fill it. Busy = productive=good.

It is only in holding this belief even though it is uncomfortable, and allowing it to reveal within my heart and mind that which is asking for healing: asking to be brought into wholeness, that I can release judgements and step into a new way of being.  A way that is freeer and more joyful.   It is through this awareness and acceptance that I can make conscious choices around what I take on.

Loving ourselves wholely is the greatest gift we can give to the world.  May this season bless you with inclusive love.   It is as we love ourselves that we are truly able to love others.  

Gracefilled Blessings,

Charli

First week of Advent: Hope

Mother MaryI love Advent! I especially love this first week.  I’m still in the newness of the holidays.  Decorating has begun, buying gifts for loved ones, spending time contemplating this holy season and what it means to me this year.

Each year I open myself to see and hear the sights and sounds of Christmas in a new way.  What is the deeper understanding of this season, and the events told of long ago?  Of course the Marys are close by, both Mother and Magdalene.

When I envision Mother Mary being approached by the angel Gabriel, I don’t see a little peasant girl poor and shy.   I see a strong young lady who knows, on some level, that she is called to birth a deeper reality of Spirit into the world.  She might not have known it would be in the form of a child.  There are always mysteries to the ways that we are called to express Spirit in this world.  There is a spirit within us that is ever calling us into these mysteries.  I call that spirit HOPE.

Hope might commonly be thought of as a deep wishing for something to happen that isn’t happening.  Hope, elpis in Greek, is a great anticipation of good, and expectation of 100% completion.   Hope is that within us that knows who we have come here to be at this time on this planet, and the ways that we will birth that truth.  That hope is going to look different for each of us.  The power comes when we, as Mary did, say yes even when we don’t have the complete picture.  Every time we say yes to this desire within, we demonstrate within this world a greater reality.  It is by standing in our hope that we make a difference in the world.

May this Christmas season be one of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy.

Grace-filled Blessings,

Rev. Charli

 

THE THREE GIFTS

Once upon a time in a land far away there was a young girl named Isabel. Isabel was born into a very poor family.  Her parents did the best they could, but circumstances of life kept them stuck.  From an early age, Isabel’s greatest desire was to serve God in this world.  If she could please God, everything would be okay.  She went to church – the right one – and obeyed all the rules. As Isabel got older, she read scripture, and tried and tried with all her might to be good.  She read things that told her if she did the right things, nothing bad would ever happen.  God would protect her.  But bad things did happen. They happened in her life, in the life of those she loved, and in the lives of people she didn’t even know who lived on the other side of the world.  Isabel’s heart was broken and the burden made her very tired. The more she tried, the more alone she felt.  The more alone she felt the more she felt like a failure.  Then the depression set in.   What is the use of all this work if there is only pain?  Where is God in all of this?  What did I do wrong?

One night, while in a deep sleep, a beautiful woman came to Isabel in a dream.  The woman was dressed in the most exquisite blue robe, her eyes were the color of the earth and radiated a compassion Isabel had never experienced.  In her left hand she held three stars, and in her right was a ruby red apple.  The woman smiled at Isabel, and offered her the apple.  Isabel was surprised by this gesture.  Old fairy tales of older women offering young women poisonous apples ran through her mind.  The old woman laughed because she could see what Isabel was thinking.  Her laugh was like water running down a stream; bubbly and light, filled with gaiety.  There was no judgement.

Isabel, she said, the apple has always been thought of as the forbidden fruit that caused all of humanities troubles.  It is the fruit that opened Adam and Eves eyes to the polarities of this life.  As we accept life as life is, our eyes are opened and we have the potential to see a new.  What was once thought of as a curse is actually a blessing.  This is true with much of life.  My daughter, I see that you are hungry and yet not satisfied.  Tonight I come to open your eyes to the three gifts of life and light:

Isabel takes the apple from the woman and bites into it, her seeing begins to shift; her heart opens, her mind becomes clear and Isabel begins to see her life with a new clarity.   The woman invites Isabel to have a seat next to her, and this is what she says.

The three gifts I bring this night are the gifts of Presence, Love, and Wisdom.

The first gift is Presence. We are always in the Presence and the Presence is always in us.  This Presence is the good you desire in your life.  As you take in this truth, your eyes are opened and you see the Presence of God at work in every situation, relationship, and circumstance.  This does not mean that every situation and circumstance of this life will be easy; rather that, your inner eyes will be opened to know that God is in this present moment.  God is absolute good; therefore, everything and everyone has within it at its core the seed of good.  When our eyes interpret something as less than what we would desire it to be, or find difficulty seeing the Presence, it is an opportunity for us to stop and refocus.  As we do this, we may be called into action.  Not action from the standpoint of fighting against what we don’t like, but of drawing forth the seed of good that is already there.

The second gift is Unconditional Love: From a human perspective, what you call love is an emotion that flows through your consciousness and therefore is based on your perceptions of what you like or don’t like, what you find acceptable and what you don’t find acceptable.  Unconditional love is the Presence active in and through you.  As your inner eyes are opened to the everywhere Presence of Good, you open yourself to the everywhere Presence of Love.  One of your biggest blocks that makes you feel as if love is being withheld from you is your belief that you must earn God’s love.  That would be like saying you need to earn air in order to breathe.  All you need to do is accept the love of God that is everywhere present.  One way to do this is by acknowledging no matter the circumstance: God is present here as unconditional love, and that love is being revealed through you in ways that are unmistakable.

The third gift is Wisdom:  This ever present Presence, God, is within us; therefore, we have the power of divine wisdom ALL OF THE TIME.  No matter what the question or circumstance if we stop and be still wisdom will speak within our heart and mind.  This wisdom is the uniting force of the Universe.  Wisdom empowers us to create good wherever we are.  Isabel, this gift of wisdom does not mean that you will not face challenges.  It means you never face challenges alone and without a course of action that will awaken you to deeper truths of who you are.  You are loved beyond measure.  I behold the Christ Consciousness in you.

Isabel was deeply touched, tears of joy and peace flowed down her face for the first time in a very long time.  She looked up at the woman and asked, How do I follow these truths?  What books can I read?  What groups can I attend?  What television shows do I watch?  What teachers do I follow?

You have spent many hours searching for the right answers.  The right way to be and the best actions to take.  Let go, your search is over.  You have found yourself.  You are the Presence, Love, and Wisdom of God in expression.

The woman smiled a big smile and said, stop and listen, your heart and mind will show you the way.  Remember your wisdom lies within.  As you open to this, you will be drawn to those who will support you on this path. And above all remember it’s not about being supported as much as it is about supporting others to know they too have these three gifts within them.  This is how you will strengthen these gifts within you.  Use them in service to your world.  All that you need to know will be revealed to you, as you need it.  Trust in the goodness of God and yourself.

With that, the woman was gone, and Isabel woke up.

Living (W)holy

frozen wave against sunlight

Over the course of the past couple of years, I have been undergoing a transformation process that has led me down roads I never would have dreamed of going.  I have heard people talk about past lives, referring to times in their life that were so different from how they were experiencing life now.  I understand that now.

When I was going to ministerial school, it was a requirement to write a credo. Mine was,  there is One presence, One power active as the universe and as my life, love.  I do hold this belief close to my heart, and… I have come to realize that my actions demonstrated another belief: avoid conflict at all cost.  Some who know me, may not think that was the belief, because my behavior was sometimes irritable and irrational.  That is what happens when we live out of alignment with who we really are.  The conflict within expresses outside of us. We begin to resist life and the way the people in our life are expressing.  It may show up as anger, depression, or defensiveness.  What I know for sure is it causes a great deal of unnecessary pain for everyone.  The question that arises from within is: where in my life am I saying one thing and acting in a different way?  What are the values that I hold dear, but out of unconscious thoughtlessness or habit act in another way.? This is not a bash on myself.  It is an awareness that I can only express from the level of  consciousness that I am believe to be possible.  It is for this reason, I believe this to be one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves.

Becoming aware is the first step to any change. One of the most powerful ways to become aware is through asking questions.  When we ask questions such as, where in in my life am I demonstrating the core values I say I believe, or what are the driving values in my life, can empower us to make choices for ourselves that bring good not only into our personal lives, but into the world.

Having recently engaged these questions, has led me to reacquaint myself with my credo, and re-vision my purpose and mission.  I know, as an expression of God, I am whole, harmonious, creative, wise, and compassionate.  I am open and receptive to the inspiration that guides me in demonstrating these qualities in my life.  I once heard a minister say, “I can hardly wait to see how God is going to show up here.”  He wasn’t implying that God was absent and would magically appear and wave his magic wand to make everything okay.  It was a deeper reminder that God is every where every when present.  Remembering this truth empowers me to live from my wholeness and to express in new and dynamic ways.  I can hardly wait to see how living fully from the awareness that there is only one presence and power active in the universe and as my life, transforms this life.

What are the questions that are arising within your soul?  What change might they bring as you engage with them and discover new truths about the power and creativity within you?  It is one thing to just ask the question, and another to actually take the time to sit down and listen for an answer.  I believe the answer to our questions is always being transmitted within our hearts.  It is the answer that actually calls the question into mind.  If we did not already have access to the answer, there could be no question.  We don’t need to look outside of ourselves to know the answer and to access the wisdom to live from these higher truths.   Each of us has within us the power and creativity to live our lives in ways that awaken us to a grace-filled life.

Grace-filled Blessings,

Rev. Charli