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Monthly Archive August 2019

What does your heart want to say?

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 30, 2019

When I was a little girl, I went on a day trip with my grandma Ginny. She loved to have fun and was very adventurous. This time we were going on a train ride with open top railway cars through the Santa Cruz mountains. There was an older woman on the train seated next to me who shared the story of her declining health with me. I remember feeling very sad as I listened to her. I told her that I didn’t know what to say. She asked me this: “What does your heart want to say?” My heart wanted to say, “I love you,” which I said, and she teared up and thanked me. What a unique and defining moment that was for me. One which I have never forgotten and this happened when I was seven years old.

Speaking from the heart can be vulnerable and takes courage. I grew up sharing from my heart openly and unabashedly. As I matured, I was told by others that I wore my heart on my sleeve, and I ought not to do that, which caused me to believe that it was a bad thing to speak from the heart. I stopped doing so for a few years, which caused me to feel closed off, isolated, inauthentic, and stifled. That didn’t last long because the love that lives within me wanted to be shared and spoken.

When you speak from the heart, from love, it is a gift you give to others and yourself. It is a very liberating feeling to share the love that lives within you.

The love that lives within you is Divine Love. When you feel the love of, or feel love for your partner, parents, children, friends, etc., you are experiencing this love that lives within you. You are experiencing the Divine. It’s an irresistible cosmic force that comes from the deepest place within you. Let this love cast out fear. Allow yourself to live, move, and have your being in and from this love. Turn up the love dial and send it out to all you know, into your neighborhood, city, state, nation, overseas, the planet, the universe, multiverse, cosmos, and beyond the great beyond. There’s plenty to go around!

Jalal al-Din Rumi, 12th-century Persian poet, and Sufi master observed that “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Perhaps there are barriers ingrained in you from society, social or family structures while you were growing up. See if you can locate any barriers within built against love. Bless and thank them for getting you to where you are today and shine the light of love upon them, allowing them to dissolve.   The world needs your love.

In closing, I ask you this: “What does your heart want to say?”

Now say it!!

And so it is.

Wouldn’t it be nice if _____ ?

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley, Spiritual Director  August 23, 2019

Wouldn’t it be nice if _____ (fill in the blank)? Beginning with these five simple words is a great way to start imagining a world wherein you embody perfect love, peace, wholeness, and Divine perfection that is inherently yours; simply by right of your being born into this earth suit on this planet, for such a time as this.

I had a delightfully memorable experience of wouldn’t it be nice if, at one of many five-night silent retreats I attended with Adyashanti. After four nights immersed in silence, I thought it would be nice to wake up early to get a seat up in front of the meditation hall for the morning session. I was in line with my pillows, blankets, and other necessities for the day by 7 AM to wait for this opportunity.

One of the lead volunteers began the morning ritual of walking around the meditation hall, ringing the Tibetan bell with Dorje in hand. A wellspring of joy bubbled up from my toes when I saw her emerge from the other side of the building, completing her ritual.

Just then, the following thought came to mind: Wouldn’t it be nice if I sat next to my roommate today? We’d been immersed in the silence together for four nights and not spoken at all. It would be delightful to sit next to her, at least for one session today.

The doors flung open, and the retreat attendees poured into the meditation hall in a river of silence. I didn’t know where to sit, but something in me did. I made my way up to the front rows, zig-zagging through rows and aisles until I found a spot just up ahead in the second row, toward the middle. I walked over to the end of the row on the right and made my way into the center. It felt purposeful, with intention, this mission to sit in the front section, next to my roommate.

I looked around the room; my roommate nowhere to be found. I proceeded with laying down my blankets and pillows, getting adjusted and cozy for a day of deep meditation with Spirit. I bowed to my chair, turned around and bowed to the stage (a ritual we were asked to engage in before being seated), then sat down with joy.

Feeling joyful for having accomplished my mission in finding a seat in the front section for the day, I turned my head to the left and looked at the person sitting next to me. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, my roommate, of course, smiling with cheer.

Once again, joyful giddiness and bliss bubbled up from my toes up through the top of my head. It was a gift from the Universe.

I invite you to think and speak, “Wouldn’t it be nice if ____________ (fill in the blank)?” for something you’d love to experience in your life.

And so it is.

Be a candle in the darkness

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 9, 2019

See if you can carve out at least five minutes of silence for yourself each day this week. Pure silence, which is to relax into the quiet stillness of the moment. Observe thoughts passing through your mind like clouds in the sky. Don’t be taken away by them; notice them and let them pass by. The thoughts will become fewer and farther between until a moment comes when there is no thought. It feels eternal.

Relax into the vast expanse of the silence as if it were a giant fluffy cloud holding you securely in place. Feel the loving presence of the Divine wrap Its arms around you and hold you in Its gentle embrace. More thoughts may arise, allow them to pass by; they will return. Right now, it’s your time to relax and feel the calmness that lives within you. You are light and weightless, and nothing can harm you.

As you notice your thoughts are beginning to settle like snowflakes in a snow globe, you feel all tension leave your body. Look around and see the beauty surrounding you. Notice the majestic trees and bushes, animals and insects, the sky and clouds. Realize your connection to everything.

You understand there is an entire world within you which wants your attention; just as there is a whole world outside of you, with many things competing for your attention at any given moment.

Give your inner world your attention. The kingdom within you is calling.

We are all feeling the effects of the recent horrific events in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. Some of our members have asked me where to find God in the situation. I’ve spent some time in quiet contemplation searching for It, and I found It right here where I am, within me. It’s here at the very core of my being. It is there where you are too. I believe we are called to quit searching for someone or something out there to bring peace to us and instead to be the peace we seek.

We don’t have control of others, and we can’t afford to be seduced by the fear and anger being fed to us, allowing it to consume us. We do have control of ourselves, and how we choose to respond to the circumstances and conditions in our lives.

Feel your feelings and spend time in the silence.

Search your heart for what you’re called to do and who you’re called to be in the world, then do and be that. Be a beacon of light and love, shining brightly within your consciousness first, and then out to all. Be a place of peace and calm amid turmoil and chaos. Be a candle in the darkness. Rather than merging with and succumbing to the darkness of the recent horrific events, shine brighter than ever before. What the world needs right now is your light and love.

And so it is.

Grateful, thankful, and blessed

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 2, 2019

Did you know that gratitude is excellent for your health?  Studies have shown that the practice of gratitude leads to greater happiness, increased energy, improved kidney function, reduced blood pressure, and a stronger heart!  Every night before bed, I list at least five things I’m grateful for that day before drifting off to sleep.  When I wake up in the morning, I list at least five things I’m thankful for in my day ahead, appreciating the blessings in advance, setting my intention for the great unfoldment of the day.  Then I go out and experience my best day ever.

When paying bills, I like to say a little prayer of gratitude as I send off the money.  Thank you PG&E for the gift of light and heat; Spectrum, for the gift of internet access; garbage man, for picking up the waste; water company, for the steady flow all month; AT&T for phone calls, text messages, and more!  Most importantly, thank you, sweet Spirit, for expressing as all of these companies and services provided.

Hot showers and baths, washing dishes, doing laundry, staying warm, cooking, storing delicious healthy food; streaming Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and music; surfing the internet, working from home, checking email and posting to Facebook are all made possible to us because of you!  What a gift!

I am overflowing with appreciation as I bless this exchange of money for the excellent utilities and services provided and joyfully send it forth to heal, bless, and prosper! It’s God in action, and I’m grateful.

You can activate the law of attraction when you sit down and write that for which you are grateful.  The gratitude may come slowly first: one here, one there, then, suddenly the spigot is turned wide open, and everything you’re thankful for comes flooding out, faster than you can write them down.  The grateful hose is unkinked, and you begin to understand how blessed you are.

One beautiful day my beloved and I were hiking a hill behind our condo.  We were talking, laughing, and starting to feel the ache from the hike in our bodies.  We began to share back and forth things for which we were grateful.  We stopped for a moment to drink some coffee.  I looked down on the ground and saw rocks in the formation of a heart.

Before sharing our gratitude, we were just walking on a rocky, dirt hill and feeling the ache from it.  After the gratitude sharing, it was as if we had received a kiss from the universe.  At that moment, we felt connected to all of life. There was a lightness about us, and we practically skipped to the top of that hill.

Try this affirmation on for size:  I’m grateful, thankful, and blessed.  My heart overflows in appreciation for all that is. I am gifted, shifted, and lifted. I’m on the high side of awesome at the top of my game.  Thank you.

And so it is.