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Weekly Column – Paso Robles Press

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?”

Set your mind free

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
May 27, 2020

Today is May 27, 2020, and we’ve been sheltering at home for more than three months. Last Friday, San Luis Obispo County moved into a new stage, allowing restaurants and retail stores to open for business with safety parameters.

I visited a favorite local boutique and had a blast looking at clothes, observing people, and feeling free at last. I noticed that most people wore masks except for two or three who did not. I wondered what they might have been thinking to themselves and realized perhaps they forgot to bring their mask along. Rather than go into judgment, I also realized it was not my job to be concerned with others. It’s up to me to do my part and to be safe in the manner that I feel works best for me to protect myself and others. If I’m in a place that doesn’t feel safe, I shall promptly leave.

As we all begin to be slowly set free, let’s be sure to be diligent in keeping our minds free. Free from the need to be judgmental, that is.

In its most innocent form, judgment is more like discernment, such as when there is a need to decide or determine something. For example, when out hiking and you come to a fork in the trail. You need to make a judgment call on which path to take. That type of judgment is more of a discernment that is innocent and necessary.

The kind of judgment I’m speaking about liberating yourself from is more than drawing a conclusion or making a reckoning. It has negative, snappy energy attached to it, which is not in alignment with your highest and best self.

Friends, as we re-enter the world and see people not wearing masks, rather than condemning them, let’s bless them. Let’s raise and praise them in the name of love. This is one way to keep your mind free. It doesn’t serve you to get upset and express your disapproval.

When you are judging and condemning others, you are not loving. This harsh judging and condemnation is not something that affects the other person; it affects you and your consciousness. The following quote has been attributed to Buddha: “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Yes, you deserve your love and affection. You can distance yourself from others for as long as you need to while raising and praising them from afar.

One may think they do not ever condemn themselves. To be clear, when you judge or condemn another, you’re not doing anything to the other person. You’re doing something to yourself, within your consciousness, which means you are essentially condemning yourself.

The world needs your love right now. Unkink that hose of condemnation that is constricting your ability to be the free and full expression of love and light you came here to be.

Set your mind free.

And so it is.

Listen to your heart

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
May 13, 2020

To listen to your heart is to listen to the highest and best place within you.  It’s the seat of your soul, which is your direct line to Spirit.  It is the place within you that is pure, loving essence. I am not talking about listening to your feelings.  Your thoughts generate feelings which may be coming from your unhealed past, or other people.  Listen to your heart, which in this case, is a synonym for Spirit.

I believe that 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 Spirit. It’s an irresistible cosmic force that comes from the deepest place in you. Let this love cast out fear. Allow yourself to live, move, and have your being in and from this love.

Our love is needed in the world now more than ever before. I invite you to take time each day to go within, turn up the love dial and send your love 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!

There’s an excellent gif out there with a happy yellow emoji surrounded by angry red emojis. The happy one in the middle puts up its little emoji hands to send good loving vibes out to all. The red emojis slowly turn into happy yellow emojis. Who you are in the world affects those around you. Be the shift in your own life today and in the presence of others by shining your light.  Be like that emoji, shining your magnificence out to all.

When you listen to your heart, the unhealthy traps of ego fall away. When the heart wants to say, “I love you,” ego may say, “I don’t know what to say,” out of fear of rejection, for example. Beyond all doubt, beyond any idea of right or wrong, aside from petty arguments, competitiveness, and feelings of unworthiness or shame, there is love.

One day many years ago, I was doing household chores. It was just an ordinary day. As I was moving from one room to the next, I heard the following words whispered in my head: “I love you. I love you. I love you.” It was my voice.

I stopped what I was doing and sat down on the floor to allow this love to wash over and through me. That was the moment I began to court the Divine. This soft voice of a gentle, loving Spirit within me altered my perception of the world back then, and it continues to change me, even today.

When I listen to my heart, I do not judge, compare, fear, lack, doubt, or worry, I love myself and you. Listen to your heart today.

And so it is.

What Are You Noticing?

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 29, 2020

At some point on its journey, the caterpillar heeds the call to spin itself a cocoon or chrysalis where it will stay to undergo the process of metamorphosis. Within the caterpillar are imaginal cells that hold the information of the butterfly. They are latent within the cell until it is time for them to grow.

The entire world is in a cocoon right now.  We are in the middle of our metamorphosis. It’s the stage of what I call the cosmic soup.  We are not what we were and we are not yet what we will be. We aren’t sure what we are becoming or what it will be like on the other side of this, but something in us knows.  We can count on our imaginal cells to grow us.

We’ve all paused and slowed down from the fast-paced living we’ve grown so accustomed to.  The constant movement has stilled, and our consumerism has decreased tremendously, as we are quarantined at home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.

What stirs me on a deep level is that we are living on the planet together at this time.  We each have a part to play in the evolution of humanity.  It’s up to us to search within to find our purpose.  What is the individual gift that you bring during this time?  How can you be of service?

If you’re feeling down or blue, I invite you to find a way to get into service.  Being in service puts your focus on how you can help and allows you to get out of your way.

I continue to invite the spiritual community I lead to ask the question, what am I noticing?  What am I noticing about myself? My loved ones? The world around me? And the planet in which we all live?

There’s a palpable sense of oneness as the human family walks through this together.  This Divine disruption can be rich and meaningful if you allow it to be.

If you’re feeling tired of the situation, I invite you to shift gears and move away from the sense of fatigue, into recognizing the fatigue as a call for you to stay awake.

There is a song with very relevant lyrics from the Walt Disney film Mary Poppins.  The words of which composed by Richard M. Sherman And Robert B. Sherman and are as follows:  “Though the world is fast asleep. Though your pillow’s soft and deep. You’re not sleepy as you seem. Stay awake, don’t nod and dream.”

What a powerful reminder for us all to stay awake.  Stay awake to the hope for continued goodness, compassion, and loving-kindness we’re now witnessing in our world.  Stay awake to the generosity of the unprecedented sharing of resources, and the palpable, persistent presence of the Divine.  It is here now.  Can you sense the presence of it?  Do you feel it?  Stay awake.

What are you noticing?

And so it is.

On Embracing Change

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

The only thing constant in life is change. We are taught this when we are very young by our elders to prepare us for the transient nature of life. Sometimes we choose to make changes, and sometimes we are the recipient of changes. I personally like being the chooser of the change the best, as it’s nice to have and know the plan. But what happens when the changes taking place occur without being of our choosing? This is what we are experiencing now as our human family navigates the pandemic of COVID-19.

Now is our opportunity to lean into God, to close the gap of separation by choosing what is, precisely as it is. You may not have chosen this to begin with, but by choosing it now, you are fully accepting what is, and liberation, unity, and wholeness are the result.  You may not like the situation you are in, but it is imperative that you like yourself in it.

What we are not taught at a very young age is that within us is the changeless – the eternal, formless nature of our being. The very essence of life itself is in me, you, and all, and it never, ever changes. It’s also always simultaneously existing everywhere. When I remember this Truth, it brings me joy, for I know that God is also the wave of change that I can lean into it and surf, knowing I’ll be alright.

God’s Presence is palpable during times of change, which makes them holy and reverent moments. Standing on the precipice of our magnificence, choosing what is in front of us in total acceptance, and without looking back, we become free to fly into our future.

I don’t believe we are isolating at home; I do believe we are in the cocoon of transformation.   We are in the cosmic soup of our metamorphosis, which is the place where the caterpillar breaks down entirely so that it might emerge as a glorious butterfly.

I don’t know what life will be like when we emerge from our cocoons.  I do know that the butterfly is not a caterpillar with wings, but an entirely new arrangement of cells in a brilliant form which the caterpillar could not have imagined.

Now is the time to lean toward the God of your understanding, just as tulips lean toward the light.

There is a tremendous rising up of community with sharing of resources and collaboration going on, which is unprecedented, and quite beautiful to witness.  Will you join me in making a note to remember this new way of being, and to carry it forward to the other side of the cocoon?

I believe committing to remember to carry this forward is a better strategy than hoping for it.  We are learning the tremendous good we as a human family are capable of, and it is powerful.  Stay strong in the Spirit, dear ones.

And so it is.

Ask yourself these six questions daily

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 1, 2020

I recently read an article in the Greater Good Science Center’s online journal written by Brooke Anderson, a Bay Area-based organizer, and photojournalist.  In the article, she encourages us to check in with ourselves regularly as we navigate this pandemic by asking six questions.  While some of us are sheltering at home, others are on the front line working essential jobs. I am so grateful for all the essential workers out there and say prayers for them daily.  If you are one of them, thank you.

I invite you to join me in asking yourself these six questions daily, with the purpose of taking action.

What am I grateful for today?
If you find yourself in fear, going down the rabbit hole of worst possible outcomes, it’s a perfect time to stop, drop, and give thanks.  You can begin with the simple things you are grateful for, like having a roof over your head and enough food to eat.  I like to list ten things I am thankful for before getting out of bed in the morning and before falling asleep at night.  I keep a gratitude journal in my nightstand with a pen to be sure I begin and end my day in gratitude.

Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
Everyone knows people. Whether you think they are ok or not, or you’re a solitary person who enjoys being alone, it’s essential that you reach out to others.  We are keeping our physical distance to flatten the curve of this disease, not placing ourselves in social isolation.  Pick up the phone, get on a Zoom video conference call, send a text message, an email, or a good old-fashioned card via snail mail. Whoever the person is that you just thought of as you read this, please reach out to them.

What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
We are building a new normal, called to let go of what was, accept what is, and figure out how to proceed from here.

How am I getting outside today?
Can you walk to your mailbox or do a neighborhood stroll while keeping a safe distance of six feet from others?  Maybe it’s as simple as putting a chair out on the front or back patio and enjoying some fresh air.  The point is that you get outside for at least ten minutes.

How am I moving my body today?
Moving your body releases endorphins, which are the quintessential feel-good chemicals in your brain.  Whether you take a neighborhood stroll or take an online exercise class, be sure to move that body.

What beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?
Take a virtual museum tour, be open to viewing art in some other form.  Perhaps you might start painting, coloring, sewing, or writing.  Get creative!

Lastly, please be gentle with yourself and know that you are loved.

And so it is.

Peace in a pandemic

Peace in a pandemic
By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
March 18, 2020

It’s difficult to find peace of mind during a pandemic.

On Sunday, we asked our congregation not to come to the physical location of the Center, rather to tune in to Facebook Live instead. We received a lot of great feedback about the service, and we are looking forward to doing the same for at least the next few weeks.
It is our civic duty to protect the vulnerable and work toward minimizing the spread of this virus wherever possible and adhere to the social distancing guidelines set forth by our governor Gavin Newsom.

As such, we must find new ways to relate, connect, and feel a sense of belonging. Whether you attend our Center or another church, ask about options to Livestream the service from home. Many churches are also offering midweek connection through Zoom video conferencing, which is very easy to use.  Please do what you can to stay connected rather than allow yourself to isolate.

I found the following quote by Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky comforting: “Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.  Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.”

We are hosting a midweek spiritual practice online on Wednesday at 6:30 PM for all, and the details can be found on our Facebook page at @cccenterforspiritualliving, or on the main page of our website at www.cccsl.org. It will be an online gathering for centering, prayer, and meditation to cultivate peace; all are welcome.

I embrace that everyone is feeling a little bit of fear, and the fear is ok. The best thing we can do is breathe into that fear, feel it, and remember that we are all in this together. We will get through this together with compassion and loving-kindness.

Let us all do our best to let go of any judgments that arise, whether it be around who bought all the toilet paper, tissue, and rice, to who is wearing a mask and goggles, or who should be doing what.

Compassion for one another, including ourselves, is vital.   Peace and unity are also fundamental, and I encourage all of us to take time to count our blessings and practice deep breathing.
I am focusing on the word wholeness. I’m taking that word into my prayer and meditation daily, as well as journaling about it. I am also taking time to focus my attention on what is good and well in my life. I count my blessings daily and contemplate how I might contribute to the well-being of the world I live in.  I practice being an epicenter of peace and calm.

Remember to breathe, be kind, think loving thoughts of compassion, breathe, release tension in your body, breathe.

And so it is.

Mystical Moments

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

The Science of Mind teaches that “a mystic is one who intuitively perceives Truth and who without conscious mental process arrives at Spiritual Realization.” (Holmes, Ernest. Science of Mind. Page 419)

A few years ago, I spent a week on a silent retreat with Adyashanti at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California. On one of my breaks, I sat on the deck outside of the main lodge/lobby, which overlooks the ocean, surrounded by huge oak trees. There were caterpillars everywhere. They were hanging from the trees, falling from the trees, crawling along the deck railing and the ground. I was journaling when my timer went off, alerting me that it was time to get up to return to the meditation hall. As I stood up, I heard the words softly in my mind, “Be careful, you’ll step on your own head.”

That is the embodiment of oneness, an understanding of the eternal verity that I am that. It was a profound revelation, a knowingness beneath all the layers of conditioning, uncovered in the depth of silence. I am that.

I stood up cautiously, moving slowly so as not to step on my head and made my way back to the meditation hall. Later that day, I realized that something remarkable happened. I had experienced a very sacred and mystical moment, as I intuitively perceived the Truth without mental process.

Now, as I move through each day, I bring loving-kindness into the world, remembering that I am a part of the whole, we are interconnected, and my actions affect those around me. I choose to be love.

When we think of mystics, usually the great prophets, inspired writers, and illumined souls come to mind such as Jesus, Plotinus, David, Solomon, Robert Browning, or Homer. I believe that mystical experiences occur in each of our lives in the spontaneous moments of the intuitive realization of Truth.

Consider the musician who writes a song, creating something out of nothing that sounds beautiful and pleasing. Many musicians will tell you the song just came to them. From where did that song generate? That is certainly a mystical experience as the individual realizes they received a song from the invisible presence of their Creator, the Divine. In that moment of recognizing the song did not arrive by mental process is the realization of Truth.

In the same sense, a teacher might have a mystical moment in their intuitive perception of Truth as they connect with their students. Then in a brief exchange from teacher to student, the student gets the lesson.

Similarly, the artist who waits for Divine creative inspiration sits down to paint and reveals a masterpiece. The moment the artist realizes from where the inspiration came is mystical.Whether you have an experience of perceiving the Truth while cooking dinner or planning to build something at Home Depot, when you arrive at Spiritual Realization without mental process, you are having a mystical experience.

And so it is.

The Power of Thought

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
January 22, 2020

Welcome to KGOD, the world’s favorite station, broadcasting today’s highest consciousness to you live from Eternity, commercial-free – with everyone’s favorite DJ – GOD! YAY GOD: the Thing Itself that knows what you love and leads you to it. A special shout out to our sponsors: love, peace, joy, harmony, abundance, wisdom, compassion, and bliss.

When traveling, please be sure to check out our sister stations KTRU, KLUV, KIAM, and KONE.

Today’s broadcast is brought to you by the Angels and the Cosmic Merry Maids of the Universe. Now don’t turn that dial, your celestial song is coming up next.

Warning – listening to this station for prolonged periods may lead to ecstatic joy, profound prosperity, sparkling light, overwhelming clarity, and the peace that passes human understanding. Listen at your own bliss!

What you’re thinking about right now is creating your future. We are each called to enter the nowness of the moment to harness the power of thought and use it for our personal and global transformation. What is the nowness of this moment? It’s beyond time, just back of past, present, and future.

You can practice entering the nowness of the moment today by making small changes. Take a different route to work, put your left shoe on first instead of your right, read something inspiring, say hi to five people you don’t know, tell a joke, meditate, pray, eat something new. These all trigger the brain to fire in an alternative way. Then observe. Observe how life is happening spontaneously, based on your awareness in the nowness of the moment.

You can practice using your thoughts to co-create in your life with a simple exercise, which I call Gucci parking. I call it Gucci parking because Gucci is a very high-end Italian luxury brand of fashion and leather goods. It’s the best of the best, the crème de la crème. Next time you head somewhere to find a parking space in which you previously had a difficult time finding one, repeat this mantra in your head or say it aloud: Gucci parking, Gucci parking, Gucci parking. Feel the joy bubble up at the sound of those words rolling off your tongue or reverberating through your mind. Release thoughts of doubt and disbelief immediately as they arise. As you pull into your Gucci parking space, thank the Universe for listening and responding. Revel in the victory of your use of the power of thought.  Practice to make your belief permanent and enjoy.

Thank you for tuning into KGOD – all Spirit, all the time – commercial free!

Keep tuning in to KGOD, and you will learn to accentuate the positive and let go of the negative, which leads to a successful, optimistic, happy, and fulfilled life.

Today’s broadcast was brought to you by the Angels and the Cosmic Merry Maids of the Universe. We hope you enjoyed hearing your celestial song of love, peace, joy, harmony, abundance, wisdom, compassion, and bliss.

And so it is.