A criminal record, divine timing & a mother’s prayer

In a previous blog, I wrote about the mysterious ways we find small miracles and the ways we ourselves are used as a blessing for others as we walk the spiritual path. Once again in recent weeks I found myself caught up in something larger than myself.

I was finishing up teaching in a grant program at the local community college and the Director of Grants texted me that the grant had hired a person to work on placement (job search and attainment for graduates) over the Summer. I thought it was a great idea and was pleased that I would have the opportunity to meet the woman who asked for 15 minutes of my last class session to introduce herself to the students and let them know what she would have to offer them.

In her presentation, she shared that she had a criminal record due to some early and poor choices in her life, and she spoke of how if she was able to overcome those odds, she can help the students overcome just about anything.

I remember thinking at the time that this was good information, as I could not address that as an employment barrier from a perspective of experience or frankly, even knowledge. This was something new to me, having worked almost exclusively in health care and with health career programs that screen out applicants with records. It is a deficit I have in my ability to coach job seekers, and I was pleased to have this woman as a resource for my students.

The same week that I learned we would welcome this person onto the team, I received a call from the community education division of the college. At the very last minute, an instructor on tap to teach a 4-week, non-credit MS Office class had stepped down and they needed someone ASAP. It just so happened that my Tuesdays had just opened up (my Practitioner 1 online class had concluded the previous week) as this was slated to begin, so I was able to say YES and step right into the role. It was also helpful that I have taught MS Office for years and can do it with little preparation.criminal-record

The community education class was comprised of 1 session of MS Word, 1 session of MS Power Point and 2 sessions of MS Excel. On the first night I recognized one student with a super attitude and significant aptitude for the computer. She was young and eager to learn. I soon found myself relying on her to help the people sitting next to her when I was running around the class, which she was more than willing to do.

At the end of the 2nd night and our wrap up of Power Point, I was going to show the class how the slides come together to make the presentation with a short one I had put together. I noticed that the skilled young woman had a stellar presentation and so I asked her if she would be willing to share her presentation and she readily agreed. Often this is a much more effective tool for other students to learn from than more blah-blah-blah from the teacher, and I was thrilled that she was willing.

Toward the end of her presentation she mentioned that she had a criminal record, and while she was happy to have the opportunity to learn these skills, she was concerned that her past mistakes would be a significant barrier to getting a job.

I had to hold on to my chair to keep from falling over.

It had been just over a week since I was asked to step into a class previously assigned to another teacher and 5 days since I heard the presentation from our new placement person who spoke of having a record and being able to help students with this challenge.

As the class ended and the students filed out, I asked the young woman to remain for a moment. I shared my amazement at the unfolding events, and asked if she would be interested in speaking with the woman on the grant (which is unrelated to the community education class). She said yes, and I made the email introduction that evening.

Today, the young woman is enrolled in a program that will help her reintegrate into society in a way that will allow her to use her obvious aptitude for computers and she has the support of someone who is a fierce champion for those in need of a second chance.

On the 4th and final night of the 4-week class, the young woman thanked me again for introducing her to the other woman. I shook my head and with a grin, I said,

“Girl  – you must have a prayin’ grandma!”

She looked at me and smiled, then said softly: “I got a prayin’ Momma

I sobbed most of the way home.

I take great pride in my teaching abilities; my encouragement of returning adults and single parent students, and my coaching skills with those who are reentering the workforce after a break.

And yet, nothing I have done to date in the classroom has moved me the way this divine timing episode touched me. It brought to mind Michael Gott’s song, I Will Be

Here I am – a vessel to be used.

Whatever Spirit needs of me, I will be, I will be, I will be.

Here I stand – my heart is here to serve.

Wherever love is leading me, I will go, I will go, I will go.

Indeed, I was simply the vessel; in the right place, at the right time to be used in this divine intervention for someone who needed a miracle, and had a mother who knew that God can make a way when it seems that there is no way.

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path
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MILLENNIALS IN NEW THOUGHT – AN UPDATE – PART 1

Yes, yes and Y.E.S!!!

MILLENNIALS IN NEW THOUGHT – AN UPDATE – PART 1

https://newthoughtevolutionary.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/millennials-in-new-thought-an-update-part-1/
— Read on newthoughtevolutionary.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/millennials-in-new-thought-an-update-part-1/

Be like a tree

Did you know that trees absorb most of the water they need to survive through osmosis via their root systems? Also interesting is that most of the water that comes into the tree through its roots is lost to the atmosphere, leaving around 10% for the tree to use for its own maintenance and growth.

There’s a powerful spiritual lesson found in this nature story.  In Religious Science, and other metaphysical traditions, we teach that we are all connected to all of Life.

Tree

(C) 2018 Rebecca Harmon

If we subscribe to that as Truth, we must then take heed of the lessons present in all of Life – such as the lesson of the Trees.

Scientifically, we know that trees and other photosynthesizing plants convert carbon dioxide into critically-important oxygen: the gas that we need most in the air we breathe. But trees do so much more for the world, including stabilizing the soil, giving life/shelter to wildlife, providing us with the materials for tools and shelter, cooling our cities by as much as 10°F, and shading our homes and streets – to name just a few.

The deep spiritual lesson in the story of trees is that as long as they remain connected to the soil, and able to receive water; they process 90% of what they take in back into their environment: they give away most of what they take in.

Especially in American culture, we’ve become a society of takers and this is reflected, not always wonderfully, in our current national discourse. What might change if spiritual people across the nation dedicated ourselves to becoming more like trees?

Treeline

(C) 2014 Rebecca Harmon

Before we answer what can change, let’s look at HOW to become more like the trees.

I mentioned that trees absorb most of the water they need through their roots. What roots do we have from which to extract what we can share with the world?

Our roots are the connections we have to each other: family, friends, spiritual groups and more. To ensure healthy absorption of what we need so we can give back to the world we must take care to cultivate positive and healthy relationships in these “root systems“.

Work to heal misunderstandings and create strong family units:

  • Practice forgiveness, acceptance, letting go of past hurts and radical love.
  • Walk the talk and be the living, breathing example of what you would tell others to be if they came to you for spiritual guidance.

Support and sustain your spiritual community:

  • As a member, this means give of your time, talents and tithes to make sure that the community is sustainable and capable of being there for others.
  • As a leader this means making sure you are not building your own selfish vision of the future based on what you take comfort in from the past, and by doing so, put at risk the viability and future of the community.
    • In other words, make sure you don’t spend all the resources of the organization chasing your dream, because it’s not all about you and what you want. It’s about a much larger mission.

If we, as a body of spiritual people, want to impact our society for the better, we’d do well to understand trees.

Tree in bloom

(C) 2018 Rebecca Harmon

Human life, indeed ALL of life on this planet is dependent on the presence and health of trees.

  • What if the trees “decided” that it was all about them, and kept more water than the 10% they need for maintenance and growth?
  • What if they decided that it was what THEY wanted and had nothing to do with their larger role in the world, in the great circle of life?

We’d all be up the proverbial creek without a canoe (never mind the paddle).

Another skill we can learn from trees is the skill of adaptation. How many times have we seen trees growing up around obstacles, continuing to bloom in spite of a twisted shape or unusual growth trajectory? They persist, regardless of the changing environment, but they persist by adapting to the current conditions – not by insisting that they’re a tree, and trees grow straight up and they’e ALWAYS grown straight up…

The trees of the earth quietly and majestically provide a vital Truth lesson for us each day: we must understand the importance of our connection to our roots, and we must know that this connection is not about us getting more to keep – but gathering more to share with the world.

Toward the end of his life especially, Wayne Dyer taught that to manifest the world we desire, we should first ask “How may I serve?

How may I serve?” is nothow can I get what I want out of this?” or “how can I get others to buy in to and support my comfort zone?” It requires a stepping back and an allowing of the full expression of what is to be to come forth – regardless of what we personally and selfishly want.

But don’t take my word for it. Look around at successful spiritual communities and compare them to the unsuccessful ones. The unsuccessful ones will have a tale as long as your leg as to why they aren’t successful, and it usually goes something like this:

  • We need people to give us their debit card numbers – make a commitment to regular giving – then we’d be able to grow.
  • There are too many traditional churches in this area – we can’t compete.
  • There aren’t enough people volunteering to fold bulletins or clean the bathrooms.
  • and so on…

In successful spiritual organizations you don’t hear any of that talk. The community is served first. Programming is built on what the community needs and wants – not what makes the minister or leader comfortable. This means that each community is unique. What works for one may not work for another. There is no “plug & play” here.

As long as we cling to a world that works for us – serving our own personal agendas and comfort – we will struggle. But when we download the lesson of the Trees, we will move from the small and selfish to the world of the Trees and will indeed be contributing to a world that works for us, and for all – in our community and beyond.

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

 

Residual energy

Albert_Einstein_1024x1024.jpgIn almost all modern day metaphysical teachings, the phrase “everything is energy” is tossed around. The reality is that the implications for practice are not always understood or even acknowledged.

The result of ignoring this reality is that many projects and undertakings in spiritual organizations end up as footnotes in history.

In pondering this topic, I recalled that many decades earlier, I learned a song about a wise man and a foolish man in Sunday School. It went something like this:

The wise man built his house upon the rock; the wise man built his house upon the rock;  the wise man built his house upon the rock – and the rain came tumbling down.

The rain came down and the floods came up; the rain came down and the floods came up.  The rain came down and the floods came up and the house on the rock stood firm.

The foolish man built his house upon the sand; the foolish man built his house upon the sand;  the foolish man built his house upon the sand – and the rain came tumbling down.

The rain came down and the floods came up; the rain came down and the floods came up.  The rain came down and the floods came up and the house on the sand went SPLAT.

Little children always loved the SPLAT at the end of the song, so it made – in pre-digital days – for a popular interactive teaching tool on the verse in Matthew chapter 7.

In metaphysical parlance, the rock and the sand are metaphors for the energetic foundations of life. And in metaphysical organizations, we should be especially tuned in to this reality.

Another writer I follow wrote a great vignette describing the concept of energy and its residual impact using the example of re-wearing clothing that had absorbed exhaustion energy. You can read her article here.

I’m not writing today about clothing, but about organizations. Like the capri shorts described in the article linked above, organizations also hold onto energetic residue. And when we attempt to “re-wear” the organization without cleansing the old energy, we are linking ourselves to the past of that organization. Therefore, it is critical to know precisely what kind of energetic foundation we are building on before we agree to invest our time, efforts and money.

Here are some guidelines to consider when coming into a new organization with the thought of becoming a supporting member:

  1. What is the history of this organization? This should include an accounting of the past successes, challenges, and practices that helped or hindered the forward movement of the organization.
  2. Which projects worked (e.g. has residual positive energy) and which projects did not work (e.g. were fraught with negativity and therefore hold residual negative energy)? Putting “lipstick on a pig” by recycling old projects from a failed enterprise are doomed from the get-go. Recycling has its place – just not in this context.
  3. What role(s) did the previous leaders play in where the organization is today? What is their legacy? Did they contribute positively or did they contribute in ways that have left a negative energy residue? What was the balance of their positive influence in comparison to the negative?
  4. If there was some negative energy around the old leadership, are they really gone, or are they still hanging around on the fringes of the organization with commentary, opinions and ideas that are being entertained by (some) current members?
  5. Are there current members of the organization with close connections to the old guard? They may have only the best intentions for positive forward movement, but their tether to the old leadership is holding the “new” organization in the vortex of the old energy, making sustainable, forward progress unlikely, if not impossible. This is especially true if the tethered individuals are serving in influential, or leadership roles.

Building successful organizations requires wisdom and insight into current leadership policies and practice, including how to appropriately keep financial, legal records; and how to manage the 21st century Board. It also requires knowledge and an understanding of the influence that residual energy has on the current organization and its activities.

This isn’t too far removed from a quote that is often attributed to Albert Einstein:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.”

And we can’t build successful, financially-stable, thriving organizations on the leftovers of failed or tainted ones.

If you’re participating in an organization that is struggling while others of a similar mission and structure are thriving; it’s time to look at the energetic residue from the past. Sometimes a ritualistic cleansing will do the trick, if all connections to the tainted past are gone, but more often than not; a hard stop, tear down and total rebuild needs to take place. Holding on to the past for dear life is a losing proposition.

We cannot hide from, nor circumvent realities like energetic residue. We can use our knowledge of how this Universe works to build new, sustainable organizations that meet the needs of 21st century communities and in doing so, serve more people and contribute to a better tomorrow for everyone. And that sounds a lot like helping to create a world that works for everyone.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

Photos & phrases

Sharing a slideshow of some of my photos and the quotes they’ve inspired me to include with the pictures. Some are my own original quotes, but many are quotes of others – especially Florence Scovel Shinn – a favorite of mine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All photos taken with my iPhone.

 

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

One of the best

When I tell people that I am studying to become a Licensed Spiritual Practitioner through Centers for Spiritual Living, they often give me a quizzical look.

This video by Brian Akers is one of the best explanations of spiritual living as practiced in Centers for Spiritual Living.

What he said 🙂

A Call for Humanity

 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” ~ Matthew 25:40, 45

(Statement from Centers for Spiritual Living, Golden, CO)

The spectacle of children of refugees, most fleeing violence in their homelands, being separated, often with force, from the arms of their parents at the United States border, is an offense against humanity devoid of any sense of compassion. This policy of the Administration of President Donald J. Trump, ordered by United States Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, is being done without being enacted into law by the Congress and without current review by the courts. At this writing, over 2,000 children have been separated from parents and are being held in detention centers in the United States. Mr. Sessions also did away with a policy that made it possible to give asylum to women who are victims of domestic abuse or who are raped or threatened by gang members in their home countries.

We are for human rights in every instance,” said Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon, Spiritual Leader of Centers for Spiritual Living. “We call on the White House to reverse this inhumane policy immediately and to reunite the many families who have been forcibly separated.”

Centers for Spiritual Living joins the many voices of religious denominations and civic organizations in calling for an end to these practices and a return to a more humane set of policies for families as their cases are processed. Basic human decency requires nothing less. We must also recognize the emotional damage being done to parents and children alike, and work to heal the damage done.

The fact that the administration cited Biblical references to justify their actions is an affront to anyone who holds sacred scripture dear. We should remember that separation of children from their parents by force, according to the Bible they cite, was done by the Pharaohs of Egypt and Pontius Pilate. The core message of The Holy Bible is love, not obedience to secular authority. Tearing children from the arms of their families for the purpose of deterring migration is both cruel and unlawful. Family unity is a fundamental human right, recognized by the U. S. Supreme Court and the United Nations. Since many of those families being separated are seeking asylum, the current policy is even more egregious.

We call on our local spiritual communities to speak out on this issue. We call on the U.S. Congress to act to overrule this cruel administrative policy if the administration will not act. We join other communities of faith in demanding a more humane governmental approach to issues of migration and asylum-seeking. We know that when we recognize our mutual humanity, our fear dissipates and compassion pours forth. Let our actions reflect that wisdom.


“I salute the God-presence in everyone I meet, and I know that as surely as I do this, the Love dwelling in them responds to the same Presence that is within me. We act in a unison of peace and understanding.”  ~ Ernest Holmes


Statements from other faith organizations: