I feel like writing a more personal blog today, since I’m in a reflective place this month. My housemate has been diagnosed with cancer. She has decided not to go through chemo and surgery, she’s doing alternative treatments and bravely, consciously entering the final chapter of her life. As her housemate and friend, I walk the spiritual and emotional journey with her, holding her hand, listening and praying with her. An interesting life experience, filled with opportunity to Be the Love I want to see in the world. It’s certainly why I’m wanting to share from a more personal level than before. It’s also the end of a very memorable year. … And at the end of the year, in the darkest days, I like to turn within and reflect.
At the end of the year, at Unity centers worldwide, we reflect upon meaning and journey, about inner doors and inner messages. The Unity movement has adopted a beautiful New Year’s ritual called the White Stone Ceremony. It has come to mean so much to me personally.
The white stone ceremony is an opportunity to open to inner Guidance regarding what we are called to be in the coming year. It’s not like a new year’s resolution or intention: not about resolving to do something or intending to manifest something. During the white stone ceremony, you ask your True Self this question: “What am I called to be in this coming year? As I let go of old habits or baggage, those I released during the burning bowl ceremony, what I am called to be ?” It’s like knocking on an inner door to see what is coming forth.
When I lead the white stone ceremony, I invite people to close their eyes and await a word to show up. Imagine there’s a little billboard on the inside of the forehead or eyelids. Watch that blank screen for a word to show up. When it does, do not question it. Do not try to understand or interpret it, either. Let it stay there and become your “new name” or “the word” for the coming year. … When I get “the word,” I simply open my eyes and write it on my white stone. Then I take it home and put it on my shelf where all my other words, stones, feathers and shells are. Then I watch what unfolds. Inevitably, the word becomes “my word” for the year. In January 2009, I saw the word “Grace” on my inner billboard. As the year progressed, I saw that this word became mine in two ways: as a large woman I had always thought of myself as too big to gracefully maneuver through a crowded room or gift shop. It dawned on me that year that I could think of myself as graceful, and walk with that in mind, deliberately putting one foot in front of the other, walking with the intention of my Tai Chi practice. It was so successful physically, that I noticed myself carrying the concept into my social conversations. I noticed that I was communicating gracefully.
In January of 2012, I saw the word “Truth-fullness” on my inner billboard. I wrote it down just as I saw it, even if it wasn’t grammatically correct. Throughout the year, I became very conscious of myself as a person of integrity. I became a minister and stepped into living the pledge of professional integrity that I had been preparing to practice for so many years. The ability to be “truth-full” (full of Truth) was absolutely essential in my first ministry, truthful to myself as well as to my congregants, board and senior minister. I had learned to be in integrity with my spiritual practice.
In January 2014, as I conducted the White Stone ceremony at Unity of Mills River (now Unity of the Blue Ridge), standing in front of the entire congregation, I thought to myself “You’re too distracted by the music, the timing, the orchestration of this thing: You’re not going to get a word.” Then I decided to sit down on the stage and just do what I had told everyone else to do. I sat, and I waited. The word that came to me was so surprising, so beyond my imagination that I thought, “Oh, no! That’s not your word! Keep watching for your word.” But that was the only word that came into my inner billboard.
The word was “Torchbearer.” I was astonished: “This is the word people use to describe Myrtle Fillmore! Not me!” But I decided to follow my own good advice: don’t question it. Just write it down and see what unfolds. I did not share this word with anyone. I brought the tile home and put it on my shelf with the other stones, feathers and gems. I kept the word to myself, and just wondered. The year progressed: I resigned from my position as minister and I took a summer for R&R. I interviewed all over the country, and traveled to three lovely ministries. Then I heard a voice that told me “You’re going home to Durham.” I moved home and learned that I was about to become a grandmother! That was wonderful! But I continued to wait for direction in terms of ministry. Nothing was clear.
Winter came and another white stone ceremony. I conducted a little ceremony with a few gathered in Durham, and centered in silence, awaiting “my word” for 2015. Nothing. An empty billboard… even when I sat in silence again at home by myself. Zilch. Nada. … I decided to view “Torch-bearer” as my word for another year, knowing it had not made itself clear to me in 2014.
This past year, through a series of divinely synchronous events, I launched a teaching ministry that has now grown into a ground-breaking, precedent-setting, cutting-edge platform for teaching Unity classes, which is being recognized publicly by Unity Worldwide Ministries in Unity Leaders Journal. As the title of this article suggests, I see my ministry as a way of “connecting mind and heart across the miles.”
In six months, New Vista Learning Center has successfully delivered over 10 Unity SEE courses and enrolled almost 100 students from all over the country and Australia. Seven more courses are planned thus far in 2016. Thanks to everyone who enjoys my passion and my teaching style. You are what makes this ministry so exciting!
“Torch-bearer” has become a name that is perfectly obvious. I am humbled and grateful… and excited to imagine what will be my new “word” this coming Sunday at the White Stone ceremony. It is all unfolding in perfect rhythm and timing in 2016 for myself, for my dear housemate and all my dear friends, world wide. I hold you all in Divine Love and Light. Namaste.
Read about the scriptural reference of the white stone ceremony in my blog from last year: https://newvistaspiritualcenter.wordpress.com/author/revpat12/