Category Archives: Reflections

moment by moment, choice by choice

I’ve been moving across towns, from Chapel Hill to Durham this past month. Moving offers on-going opportunities to make deliberate, conscious choice, if we chose to make it so. With every day of the move, with every challenge, (securing utilities, buying and selling on craigslist and obtaining mailbox keys,) I’ve had opportunities to be a deliberate creator of my experience, to be in the awareness of the divinity that I Am, to chose to show up as my Authentic Self. “Moment by moment, choice by choice.” That’s how we live this life of empowerment and effectiveness.

“Moment by moment, choice by choice.”  That’s the subtitle of How to Pray Without Talking to God, Unity Rev. Linda Martella-Whitset51ZE-tC04lL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_t’s recent book on Affirmative Prayer as taught by Unity and Science of Mind.
Unlike what I used to think, prayer has nothing to do with being religious or superstitious. Prayer is about tuning your mind to the Oneness, and claiming your essential thriving essence. That’s what I chose to do, claim Oneness: whenever I can get centered enough to remember to chose it!  Linda Martella-Whitsett teaches how to pray from a unity consciousness, step by step, shift by shift.  God is not a superhuman, God is Principle. Work with It, and shift your life into satisfaction and empowerment.

In our upcoming course “Unity Prayer,” SEE PR250, we’ll explore “what is prayer?” if we understand “GOD” to be Principle and Presence rather than a person. We’ll be creative ith names of “GOD” so we can release our childhood images of the Santa-God, and explore what it means to be spiritual beings having a human experience. We’ll consider very deliberately what words to use that reflect a sense of unity with/as The I Am. We’ll practice saying our own prayers together, aloud, in small groups, with partners. We’ll explore what it means to pray for and with others.

This course is a perfect introduction if you want to become a prayer partner or chaplain in your center. I offer weekend chaplain training as a followup to this course. The entire package is a perfect and thorough training experience for your center’s prayer team. To inquire about my weekend training, send a reply to this blog, and I’ll contact you personally to discuss the details. (a page is about to appear on this website that will provide the information)

Beginning March 31, Join us for this 5 week series of classes from your own comfortable desk or living room. 7-9pm Eastern Daylight time. Thursdays March 31-April 21.

Following Your Gut: Sunday Spiritual Circle Postponed…. plus a reflection on my mission statement

I have decided to postpone the launch of “Sunday Spiritual Circle.”  The idea is great: the timing isn’t.  This process of discernment is like seeking the sound of a professional orchestra that vibrates beautifully when it is properly tuned. When the timing isn’t right, the orchestra sounds squeaky, feels gritty and is essentially dis-harmonious.  Discernment is a divine power that when used in the highest spiritual way, brings harmony and the feeling that “just feels right.”

So we shall wait, knowing the timing will be right sometime later. All is well, and all is perfect. And so we let it be.

In seminary, I was assigned to write my personal mission statement. After much meditative discernment, (walking the Unity Village golf course as the sun set) I created a statement in which every word was discerned and evaluated. It felt so right, I knew it was “mine.” I stood by it even when Rev. Dr. Tom challenged me on the choice of one of the words. I stood by it, because it felt right in my gut, in the solar plexus, where the Power of Wisdom/Discernment resides. When I revisit my mission statement, I still feel that sense of “it’s mine.” And I’m still exploring its implications for my spiritual journey. Here it is:

My mission is to be, express and nurture 

authenticity, beauty and the Presence 

in myself and others.

As I walk through life “post-seminary,” and discover my role as a “minister,” I learn more and more clearly what is means to “be authenticity,” to “be beauty” and to “be the Presence.”  These concepts are alive in me, in everything I do. These are my high callings: they create in me a surge of excitement!

I nurture these qualities in myself, and through expression, hope that I am nurturing them in my students. I follow deep inner guidance to establish and maintain authentic interactions with my students and my Self. I seek beauty, (which includes balance, harmony, radiance…) adjusting and evolving as I go. I practice the Presence and model the practice with others.

As I explore this cutting-edge online teaching ministry, I realize that, just as I boldly stepped into the work, I can boldly revise and redirect my course offerings. I see this ministry evolving with ease, flowing down the stream effortlessly, riding the current of expansive evolution. And so it is.

 

Called to Be in 2016

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 white-stone-with-no-nameinner 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 IMG_4758intending 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.
Continue reading Called to Be in 2016

Thank you, Barbara!

Our maiden voyage of Unity New Vista Learning Center has concluded and was a smash hit!. Tonight I said “goodbye for now” to five wonderful New Thought students who attended my very first Unity New Vista Learning Center virtual classroom. Throughout the five weeks, we continually expressed avid appreciation for technology’s ability to connect us over thousands of miles. For five summer nights (winter nights for one of our students), a small group of excited, alert, dedicated, welcoming people in PA, GA, NC, KY and Australia sat comfortably in our respective homes, wearing our bunny slippers, drinking our teas, developing a spiritual connection, and enjoying  intellectual and compassionate conversation.  The technology served us well, with great video and audio!

I am reminded of  Barbara Marx Hubbard‘s lifelong question, which she asked Pres, Eisenhower many years ago, in response to nuclear weapons testing: “What is the meaning of our power that is good?”  As I listened to her repeat this question to an audience which I attended a few years ago, I internalized the question, “How can we use technology for humankind’s good?”  Barbara asks each of us to be ambassadors for conscious co-creative evolution in the world, to contribute in whatever realm we are called to serve. I felt called by this amazingly vital,  radiant, wise octogenarian woman to reply in my authentic style, with my individual talents.  I’ve always felt called to be a teacher, and I continue to be one now, as a minister. So, Barbara, I’m doing my part: using teaching and technology to serve the greater good. I appreciate your challenge and your loving reminder that it’s up to us to do our part, whatever it is, to bring about a new earth.

All of my students are returning for at least one of my upcoming classes. Unity SEE Classes I am currently planning September – December’s schedule. Metaphysics 1, 2 and 4 are on the list, as is Twelve Powers, Overview of Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures… The list goes on. ..  Follow this blog to get updates and stay in touch through Facebook.

My nerdy questions

Maybe I’m a theology/anthropology nerd, because I’ve been asking myself some unusual questions since I found New Thought. Questions that others might never dream of asking. And as I prepare to teach “Background of New Thought,” I’ve explored them further: How could the Puritans and Calvinists, (think “The Scarlet Letter,” and Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”) ever make way for New Thought and Transcendentalists? (think Emma Curtis Hopkins, Emerson and Thoreau)*   How did the strict religious environment of New England eventually birth New Thought?  How could Trinitarians birth Unitarians? How could Theists birth Panentheists?

This might not be a common set of questions in the minds of most Americans! But it has tickled my interest for years, ever since I found the New Thought philosophy through the Unity movement. Because my childhood identity was Calvinist and rather Puritanical, as I saw it from the perspective of society in the 1960-70’s!   (A full color, framed copy of this painting hung above the mantel in my childhood home.)  I went to Calvinist church, catechism, K-12 school and college. For a while, I considered attending Calvin Seminary after I finished my undergraduate degree at Calvin College!

But then I ventured into many other types of faith communities: for a while I worshiped with Charismatic Catholics, and considered myself a Jesus Freak. I taught Sunday School at an Appalachian Methodist church, attended various Bible churches and a break-the-rules Presbyterian church, joined Quaker activists, pledged to the UCC, and occasionally visited a Unitarian Universalist fellowship.  Oh, and there was a short stent with a Metaphysical Spiritualist church! I’m glad I wandered because I got to see that everyone at each stage of faith was sincerely seeking their God, by whatever design and temperament this God showed up.  I’m also glad because I got to raise my kids in the Quaker and UCC communities, so they did not adopt that awful sense of unworthiness that I learned as a Calvinist kid.

And through these stages of exposure to American interpretation of Jesus’ teachings, I stretched  further and further toward a progressive, inclusive, evolutionary, universal perspective of God and humanity. The Quakers taught me there is “that of God” within me. And by the time I stepped into Unity, I was (somewhat) ready for the concept that “I am one with/as the Divine.” Perhaps I needed such a gradual evolution over decades, after such a complete indoctrination into Calvinism. My personal evolution of thought is not unlike that of European and American evolution of thought since the reformation. From Trinitarian to Unitarian, from Theist to Panentheist is the path I walked, not unlike the path of the deliberate thinkers of the early American settlers……  (From this point on in the writing of this blog, I have done more ranting, editing and deleting than any other blog I’ve written!   Frankly, it’s been good therapy for me, as I continue to reconcile with my past, my embedded theology. That’s good stuff. but not necessary to put in a public blog! …)

As I prepare for my upcoming course “Background of New Thought,” I’ve studied early New Thought dynamics and have come up with fascinating insights, clarity, acceptance and of course, more questions to lead me deeper into the subject.

If you are interested in exploring with me, if you’re ready to process your own embedded theology, if this interests you for any reason, do join the conversation for the next 5 Monday evenings in our virtual classroom.  “Background of New Thought” is a class for anyone: brand new Unity students, and people who have been with Unity for decades, and people who are just curious about some of the terms I’ve used in this blog!

* And if you’d like to know who these people are, please join us!

Register today at Unity SEE classes