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Weekly Column – Paso Robles Press

Let God Do the Work

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
October 15, 2020

When I was a little girl, my parents owned a speed boat that my dad named Yellow Fever. It was sparkly yellow with pearl white and silver paint. My mom, dad, and brother took turns water skiing behind Yellow Fever, and they were great, even single skiing at times.

They tried to teach me how to water ski when I was seven years old, but I didn’t get it. They explained the process to me and would take off with me holding the rope, but I couldn’t stand up. I would go straight underwater while holding the rope! Their concern grew with each attempt, and after a few times, they decided not to pursue it.

Fast forward thirty years later, and I’m out on a boat with some good friends who were great water skiers. They asked me if I wanted to try it, and I told them I never learned how to ski and what happened to me the last time I tried. 

They seemed convinced they could teach me how to ski now, so I gave it a go. I got into the water and in position, holding the rope out in front of me, skis pointed up, knees slightly bent. I was ready and said, “ok, hit it!”

As the boat sped up, my excitement grew. I felt myself about to pop up and gave it some effort, then fell. The good news: I did let go of the rope. After a couple more eager attempts and failures, it was time to rest.

My turn came around again, and my friends paused to offer some guidance on the back of the boat. They explained that as I’m in the seated position, the boat will speed up, and I will feel it. At that time, I should remain in place and wait. They said my job was to stay in position, be ready, and the boat would pull me up. I was to let the boat do the work.

I jumped in the water with this new knowledge, ready to give it a try. I got into position, stayed in place, remembering to let the boat do the work, and I popped right up. I was so happy that it worked. I even teared up a little bit. The lesson was to get into position and let the boat do the work. 

Spiritually speaking, we are co-creating with the Divine, and our job is to get into position, stay in place, and let GOD do the work. You don’t have to make it happen; you do need to make it welcome. You make it welcome by getting into position. You get into position with your thought patterns by choosing the thoughts you will dwell upon to create the life you desire for yourself. Get your thinking right, and your actions will follow. Right thought naturally leads to right action.

Then, let God do the work.

And so it is.

Just Do It!

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
October 1, 2020

Remember attending sporting events before the pandemic? I loved going to games with my parents when I was younger, as I knew there would be sodas, garlic fries, peanuts, and pink popcorn to consume. Whether it was football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or a soccer game did not matter to me. I could grin and be happy knowing I would have some, if not all, of these snacks.

As I matured, it became less about the snacks and more about quality family time, not to mention the day’s sport. I always got a kick out of my fellow spectators shouting to the players as if they knew them personally. They offered opinions and advice about playing a better game or commented on why their game was off or how they should alter their behavior to be better.

I giggle today as I recall this and contemplate how easy it is to offer opinions and judgments about playing the game when one is not actually in the game itself. On my left, Jim shouts at the referee about the unfair penalty. Sally, on my right, hollers at the batter for swinging when it was a terrible pitch. Jim and Sally are in the bleachers, not in the game.

Many people sit in the bleachers of their lives, complaining, upset, talking about how it should or should not be, but not actually in the game of their life. Isn’t it time to get out of the bleachers and into the game of your life? Sometimes you’ve got to get out there and go for it. Flex your faith muscle and get out on the court into the game. 

Your days of being a spectator in the bleachers shouting out opinions are numbered. When you are in the bleachers of your life, you are experiencing your thoughts, opinions, and judgments about it, rather than life itself. 

Dr. Ernest Holmes, New Thought writer, teacher, and founder of the Science of Mind philosophy, observed that “faith is a mental attitude which is so convinced of its own idea – which so completely accepts it – that any contradiction is unthinkable and impossible.” If that is true, then the time is now to accept your magnificence, believe that you cannot fail, and feel the faith flowing through you. Let this faith inspire you into action. Take action.

When you flex your faith muscle, you are unstoppable. It is the faith of God that gives you an advantage in life that not everyone has. I call it your God-vantage. Use it. Practice it. Try this at home.

Now is the time to go out and live your life fully. Begin today – right where you are – just do it! Go for the gusto. Make that phone call, ask that person out, start something or stop something, go to the gym, do not eat that cupcake, or whatever it is for you, just do it! Your life is waiting!

And so it is.

The Faith of a Mustard Seed

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley-Hogue,
Spiritual Director
September 17, 2020

A mustard seed is a teeny, tiny seed, about 2 millimeters in diameter. Those little seeds turn into waist-high mustard plants and cover a lot of land. Even if your faith is as tiny as the small mustard seed, it is more than enough. Look at the great expanse of beauty produced by these tiny little seeds. I’ll never forget the first time I saw a field of these incredibly beautiful mustard flowers. They seemed to go on forever and gave me a sense of the infinite presence of love, which permeates all of life.

Whatever you choose to have faith in is perfect and right for you, whether you call it Allah, Atman, Brahman, Buddha, Divine, Eternity, the Force, God, Jesus, Mohammed, the Presence, Source Energy, Spirit, or otherwise. I choose to call it God, which works for me; It is the Invisible Presence, the Thing Itself, common to all, in and through all things, and Its nature is love.

The dictionary defines faith as complete trust or confidence in something or someone. Ernest Holmes wrote, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I believe faith is a mental attitude embodied to such a degree that the mind can no longer deny it. We all have this mental attitude of faith about many things without even realizing it.

You have faith that the invisible law of gravity will work when you get out of bed. You don’t have to pray about it or will it to be. You just get out of bed and stand right up.

You get in the shower and turn on the water, expecting to control the temperature, adjust the flow to your liking, and keep a steady stream going until you’re complete.

When you go out to your vehicle in the morning to drive to work, school, or wherever you’re going, you have faith that your car will start right up and allow you to get to your destination on time. I’ve never walked out to my vehicle and thought, gosh, I sure hope my car starts today. It just starts, like it always does. I’m so grateful!

You have faith that the sun will rise and set daily, that your coffee maker and toaster will work as expected. The list goes on and on.

Even if you have the tiniest suspicion that something is working for your highest good, that the Universe just might possibly be conspiring for your magnificence, that is enough to have it be revealed to you.

As you move through your day, you’re given many opportunities to choose between fear or faith. I invite you to choose faith. Have faith that everything is unfolding exactly as it should. Remember, you live, move, and have your being in a Universe that is working for you.

It doesn’t matter how big your faith is; it matters that you have it.

And so it is.

Nature is a Great Healer

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley-Hogue,
Spiritual Director
September 3, 2020

I’ve just returned from marrying my best friend, and it was a glorious event!   For our honeymoon, we were planning a staycation, given the world’s state at this time.  We spontaneously decided to take a road trip to Sedona, Arizona, and we are so glad we went.

It was hot and dry and inconvenient to wear a mask, yet we made it work.  We had a magnificent experience together on our first trip as a married couple.

I had heard great things about Sedona for many years, and it did not disappoint.  The majesty of the colossal red rock formations blows your hair back and takes your breath away.

At the top of our list of things to do was visit the vortex sites. Sedona’s vortices are different from the vortex you may have read about in the Esther and Jerry Hicks books.  The books describe the vortex as a field of energy that is your highest and best state, and when in it, you are powerful and can use the law of attraction to easily co-create whatever you desire to experience in your life.

A vortex is a funnel shape created by a whirling fluid or by the motion of spiraling energy.  Familiar examples are a whirlwind, tornado, or water going down a drain.  Vortices can be made of anything that flows, such as wind, water, or electricity.

In Sedona, the vortices are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from Earth’s surface, similar to the swirling energy centers, or chakras in our bodies.  We visited three of the four sites.  On our last day in Sedona, we did a sunrise hike up to the Airport Mesa Vortex.

We took turns meditating on a peaceful perch facing the sun, feeling the powerful swirling energy of Mother Earth and the canyon’s wind blowing up.  The convergence of these three elements of nature created a dynamic sense of oneness.  As I sat at the center of this trinity of Earth, wind, and fire, captivated by the raw beauty all around me, with my hair blowing back, I felt a rush of gratitude, joy, and delight at the opportunity to experience life on this planet.

At this moment, I truly arrived in Sedona, experiencing its magnificent, mystical splendor in all of its glory.  We headed back down the trail to our hotel and left for home shortly after that.

I’ll be revisiting this exact place in my daily meditation practice. 

Nature is a great healer.  Now that the smoke has cleared and the temperature has dropped, I encourage you to take time to get outside.  Find a special place in a forest, on a hiking trail, or at a park to dwell and be one with the trees, rocks, water, wind, birds, Mother Earth, and all of life.  As you sit, give thanks for this precious time you have on the planet and let the joy wash over you.

And so it is.

No-one Gets Left Behind

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 20, 2020

This week I received a download from Spirit for an acronym that’s quite fitting as we celebrate the diverse nature of all of God’s children.  The word is ohana. 

Ohana is a Hawaiian term meaning family.  To quote the Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch of 2002: “Ohana means family.  Family means no one gets left behind.”  In Hawaiian culture, ohana represents the idea that families — blood-related, adopted, or intentional — are bound together, and that family members are responsible for one another.  The human race is one big family, and we are responsible for one another.  No one gets left behind.

The acronym O.H.A.N.A. is defined as observe, honor, admire, notice, appreciate.  I’ve invited our community to use this acronym as we move through the world to help us see all of humanity as our ohana, our family, and leave no one behind.

Observe – to perceive and see the diverse nature of yourself and others.

Honor – to hold in high regard or esteem the qualities of yourself and others that are unique.

Admire – to recognize the worthiness of yourself and the worthiness of others as you regard and respect all of the unique qualities you are seeing. For this word, an image pops into my mind of a tiny little church in Kauai with towering, beautiful stained glass windows.  I remember I was on a family trip one year, and everyone was trying to get me to leave for the next fun adventure. So moved by the beauty of the stained glass that I asked for more time and if they might come back for me later.  I remember looking at the stained glass for quite some time, reveling in the intricate details, different colors, and the glorious magnificence of it.  Shifting my gaze to the room and floor around me, I noticed how the light came through the glass, creating patterns of light in other places.  It was stunning.  I felt deep admiration and respect.  This is the way to admire the diversity you see all around you.

Notice – to pay attention and become aware of what arises in you as you observe, honor, and admire the diversity surrounding you.

Appreciate – to recognize the full worth of yourself and others, the big picture, and the Source of all of life – our Creator – The Thing Itself, which birthed us into existence.

That’s o.h.a.n.a.  As you move through the world, I invite you to observe, honor, admire, notice, and appreciate the diversity of all things.

People, trees, flowers, clothes, music, dishes, cars, etc.  Take it all in and join me in giving thanks for the magnificent heterogeneity of all of life.

I’m so grateful for every individualized expression of the Divine. I appreciate all of the unique qualities and characteristics of myself and others.  We are one human family, equal, imperfect, and magnificent.  You are worthy of respect and love.

Ohana means family.  Family means no one gets left behind.

And so it is.

Oneness Does Not Equal Sameness

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
August 5, 2020

Consider the simple Hindu greeting and salutation upon meeting or the valediction upon parting ways of “Namaste.”

Namaste translates as “I bow to you.”  It also has the deeper spiritual meaning that the life force, the Divinity, the Self, or the God in me is the same in all. Namaste – the God in me honors the God in you.

This salutation also points out that while we are made from the same spiritual substance, we are not identical expressions of that substance.  Wouldn’t it be boring if we were?  A bunch of me’s, or a bunch of you’s, walking the planet and nobody else?

I had an experience of embodying oneness at a 5-night silent retreat with one of my favorite enlightened guys, Adyashanti. There were over four hundred attendees on this retreat, and we were four days deep into the container of silence.

In the second silent sitting that day I opened my eyes suddenly, looked around the room and noticed that everyone was together in the same silent container, observing the same things: passing thoughts, breathing, coughing, inner peace, still body, still mind – through different eyes, in different bodies.  Suddenly I felt as if I had merged into the Whole and became one with The One.  I went from hovering above the crowd, looking through the person’s eyes next to me, then before me, then the person across the room to the right, and then across the room to the left.

What a profound mystical experience this was for me, which has gradually integrated within me over time.  Oneness points to the truth that we are all born of the same stuff, yet we are not identical.  Consider a stained-glass window.  All are pieces of the window, but each glass is a different color, a different shape, as a unique individualized expression within the whole.

I’m a 5’3″, 40 (something) year old, female, white, brown hair, hazel eyes, and athletic.  You may be a 5’8″, 22-year old male, a person of color, with brown hair, brown eyes, and not athletic.  Each of us with our own unique life experiences, conditioning, ancestry, and heritage.  Either privileged or burdened by the circumstances we were born into, which were beyond our control.  The two of us are part of the whole.

God is all there is, and you are God in form, in your own uniquely fabulous way.  Divine and human.  Just like the quarter has a heads side and a tails side.  Both are the quarter, yet each side is uniquely different.  Yes, we are one, but we are not the same.

As we honor the Divinity within one another, let us simultaneously honor each other’s uniqueness, as the individualized expressions of the Divine that we all are.

I honor the Divinity within you that is you, and simultaneously acknowledge and respect the unique individual, expression of the Divine as you!

And so it is.

Initiate the transport sequence

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
July 23, 2020

It’s almost the end of July, and we’ve been sheltered at home for more than four months now.  Have you secretly wondered at least once: Will this pandemic ever end?  Will I be ok? Will the economy bounce back?  What will happen to local businesses?  Where do we go from here?  Will my family be ok?

If so, you are not alone. These are the questions everyone is asking.  And in our innocent desire to go out and live the life we’ve grown so accustomed to living, if we think someone is preventing us from moving forward, we get angry. I’ve heard the most interesting things lately that I never imagined I might hear.  For example, those eight people are sitting too close together and not wearing masks, or I went for a walk and saw people outside without masks on. It’s all their fault the number of new cases is rising.  Or, the unmasked are from out of town, they must be.

Then we share our anger and upset with our friends, family, loved ones, and anyone who will listen.  Like attracts like and more outrage ensues.

Meanwhile, everyone is waiting patiently for something to change.  Everyone is tender with a magnitude of thoughts, and unanswerable questions intensified into deep feelings as we process the current state of affairs in our world.  Then one tiny thing happens, and the wheels of the bus fall off.  Now what?

When the characters in a Star Trek, Next Generation episode are away from their ship and want to get back on board, they say the word, energize, and they’re transported back to the USS Enterprise starship.

This is where we are, friends. You’ve been entertaining and indulging yourself in anger, upset, fear, worry, and unanswerable questions for far too long. It’s time to come back to the ship of Truth.  Are you ready to return to your perfect, whole, and complete self?

The Absolute, undivided, indivisible, sparkly, magnificent, beautiful, wise, prosperous, blissful, loving, compassionate, forgiving, being of light that you are?

Let us stop waiting, wondering, wishing, and hoping that things will be different and step into our greatness now.  Radiate your spiritual magnificence, right where you are.  Shine your light and allow the world to be lit up by your loving essence.

You’ve got the Divine Sparkle of light within you, waiting for your recognition.

Energize is a felicitous word for such a time as this as when used as an intransitive verb, it means to put forth energy or to act.  Snap yourself out of your need to be angry or upset, afraid or worried, and jump into the vibration of Absolute Truth.

Remember who you are.  Stand in the authority of your Divine nature, while simultaneously taking action to dismantle systemic racism in the United States.  Keep your foot on the gas, joyfully wear your mask, and do your part to stop the spread of COIVD-19.

Energize!

And so it is.

Free at last

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
July 11, 2020

When I hear the words free at last, I immediately think of the powerful, historic, “I have a dream” speech, delivered by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963.  Dr. King concluded his transformative speech with the words, “Free at last, free at last.  Thank God almighty we are free at last.”

Freedom is sure to be attained by all once we truly get that the freedom that we enjoy must be given to everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  It includes the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.  We have work to do, don’t we?

Also, in Dr. King’s speech, the phrase “let freedom ring” comes directly from the patriotic song “America.” You know the verse: My country, ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From ev’ry mountainside Let freedom ring.

Freedom already has inherent within it the impetus to ring.  Our task is to yield to the Divine and allow it to be. To let something be, it is helpful to clarify what it looks like and what it means.  What an excellent opportunity it is to contemplate freedom.  What does it mean to you to be free?

In Science of Mind, WE BELIEVE the ultimate goal of life to be complete freedom from all discord of every nature, and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.

The best place to begin is right within your mind.  You have the power to free yourself from the lack and limitation ingrained in you since you were born into the world.

True freedom — true liberty — has something cosmic behind it.  It is boundless, infinite potentiality.  When we come to the place within us where we understand that we indeed are one, then we will experience this cosmic freedom.  As we realize we are all connected to one indivisible unity, our whole attitude toward life will be transformed.

To embody oneness is to move through the world as a unified whole, understanding that there is only one thing happening: the Divine.  If you are hurting, I am hurting.  Consider your body, for example.  Say you have a cut on one of your fingers.  You can’t separate yourself from the finger if you tried.  If other humans are hurting, so are we.

When the declaration of independence was ratified on July 4, 1775, it held self-evident truths that all men were created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  At the time, women were not allowed to vote, and slavery was common.

The bottom line is that all humans were created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights by their Creator.  Let’s embody that and be free at last.

And so it is.

Mindful Speech

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
June 25, 2020

What you say matters. In the Bible, it is written, “In the beginning, was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” (John 1:1) “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

I’m not saying you alone are God.  I am saying that your word has as much power as you believe it does. I invite you to be so clear with your word that when you name and claim something to be made manifest and revealed in your life, it is revealed instantly.

You have to believe in the power of your word. I know you’ve heard it said that talk is cheap. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that. It seems to me that people cheapen talk. They do so by not keeping their word, breaking agreements, and building up mountains of unfinished business.

There’s nothing bad or wrong with that; it’s human nature. The scattered psychic energy, however, leaves you drained and exhausted. You might be left wondering why your affirmative prayers are left unanswered.

It’s because of the diminished power of your word. Now is the time to clean it up and make new promises. A ship with a small hole is still a sinking ship. Back in the day, contracts were made with the word and a handshake.

You can restore your belief in the power of your word by scanning your life right now. Look for any area where you said you would do something and didn’t do it. Here are a few examples: phone calls, bills, tax returns, back taxes, credit cards, junk drawers, meetings, punctuality, gym commitments, healthy eating, etc.

Some individuals committed to working out at the gym three times a week are now merely sponsoring that gym. Keep the promises you make to yourself. Your word has as much power as your belief in it. By cleaning up these areas where you allowed your word to be disempowered, you restore power by believing in it.

When the loose ends are tied up, you begin to have clarity on your next steps and are free to forge ahead with conviction and authority.

As metaphysicians, we are called to be mindful of the words we speak, not out of superstition, but from a conscious consideration of what we desire to generate in the world. What you’re thinking about right now is creating your reality. Our words literally create worlds.  What kind of world are you creating?

During this powerful revolution for racial equity and racial justice, let us discover the courage, fortitude, and meddle within that propels us forward in doing our work. Don’t be a bystander in this movement for transformation. Join me in using the power of your word to describe the world one year from now. Let’s now describe with conviction and authority, using the power of our word, a world of equality that truly works for everyone.

And so it is.

Champions for Justice

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
June 11, 2020

For the past two weeks, I’ve heard the word protestor repeatedly, and it occurred to me that we have adopted it as an acceptable description of the individuals who are marching for justice and anti-racism. I’ve decided I will no longer use that word because, in my mind, these are not protesters.  I see those marching as champions, promoters, supporters, allies, and advocates for justice.  They are ushering in our new paradigm. I’m not talking about the rioters and those committing crimes, that’s a different topic. I’m referring to the peaceful demonstrators advocating for justice and peace.

I jogged faster than ever before last Wednesday.  I surprised myself at how fast I was jogging.  After watching the news the day before, the chants of the crowds of champions for justice reverberated in my mind as I jogged: no justice, no peace, black lives matter, hands up, don’t shoot. It was powerful. I remembered that not all people have the privilege of running in their neighborhoods without fear, which seems unjust to me.

Later that same afternoon, I learned that a group of champions for justice were marching down my street. I took a video of them on my iPhone and posted that to my Facebook profile.  It was so powerful.  Pulled to these champions like a magnet to metal, I wanted to jump in behind them and march.  I had to pull myself away to get back to work.

I wasn’t pulled to them like a magnet because of mob mentality.  It was on a soul level – this soul agrees wholeheartedly with this movement, one hundred percent.

I was deeply moved by a black woman in her early 70’s.  She came running out of her home in a robe with a towel wrapped on her head.  She had just washed her hair and heard the champions approaching and wanted to see them.  We stood together on the street corner, watching, and listening. She said, “Thank you, God, for these beautiful souls.” My heart compelled me to tell her she mattered. I put my phone away, looked her in the eyes, and said sincerely, “You matter.” She thanked me and began to cry. I cried too.  Then I went back to work.

I’ve asked myself what is mine to do and heard the call to facilitate a book study of White Fragility which begins this Thursday.

I had to reprioritize my schedule, which wasn’t easy, but this is important. Our Center will not hold our Wednesday Eve service until further notice to focus on doing our part to end racism. Do you need to shuffle and reprioritize too?  This matters. It is important.  I hear the champions for justice, asking me for help.  Do you hear them too?  They marched by my home to get my attention.  How can I not heed the call to action?

As you march on in your daily life, I invite you to ask yourself, “What is Mine to Do?”