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Author Archive Rev. Elizabeth Rowley

Flip The Switch

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
June 10, 2021

The 13th-century Persian poet Rumi famously said, “The wound is the place where the light gets in.”

I believe this is true because when we are in pain, whether emotional, physical, or spiritual, as we nurture ourselves, tending the wound, our hearts open. The knee-jerk reaction for some, when in pain, is to pick up a drink, a cigarette, go shopping or use some other crutch to assist with moving through it. It doesn’t do the trick, though, as that only numbs the pain temporarily and returns even more intense than before.

The light pours in once the pain has pushed you to the edge of everything you know, and you recognize there must be another way; there must be a more empowering way for me to move through this. You’ve got to move from the place of woe is me, or I can’t believe that happened, to the gentle, loving arms of the Beloved present here, now, within and all around you.

Ernest Holmes observed: “I believe everything is as real as it is supposed to be. If a person hurts, he hurts; there is no use denying it.” Such a powerful statement to recognize that it doesn’t serve us to deny our pain. We can feel our pain and remember that the only way out of it is through it. It’s important to declare this pain is not a punishment.  You didn’t do anything wrong.  See it as the place where love is attempting to break in. It’s the Divine tapping you from the inside, saying I am here, notice me, feel me, I am here.

When something happens in life, there are facts about what happened, and there is your story about what happened. When you collapse your story with the facts, suffering begins. That suffering is fueled and grows with the retelling of the story in your mind when you share it with your friends, write about it, and share it some more. The constant retelling of the story compounds the suffering.  Sometimes our healing is found in the telling of our story.  When you are ready to heal and empower yourself, permit yourself to release the story.  As the story about what happened is released, the light comes rushing in to replace it with pure love, bliss, peace, harmony, and joy.  What happened still happened, but your story about it is no longer present, and it has no power over you.

Remember,  the pain you feel is not a punishment for something you did. There isn’t something wrong with you or anything you did to deserve the pain. It just is. Feel the pain, release your story about it, and let in the light.  If you were staying over at a friend or relative’s home you are not familiar with and got up in the middle of the night when it was dark, you would instinctively find the light switch and flip it on. Flip the switch and know you are loved.

And so it is. 

What’s In A Name?

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
May 27, 2021

A person’s name is the greatest connection to their own identity and individuality.  Names carry deep personal, cultural, familial, and historical ties. They give us a sense of who we are, the communities in which we belong, and our place in the world.

We are souls with bodies – we have landed in these bodysuits on this planet at this time.  Over the years, we have grown, discovered, learned, and become something.  Our experiences have helped shape who we are as individuals and contribute to our identity.

An unhealed ego keeps us separate.  A healed ego unifies with the whole.  Your wholly holy uprising is your recognition, realization, and embodiment of the oneness and interconnectedness you have with all of life.  When your name is spoken, the Divine spark within you awakens, and you radiate your magnificent good outward.  What’s in a name?

Consider how much the following names symbolize and what they mean to you when you hear them:  Rosa Parks. Jesus. Florence Nightingale. Martin Luther King. Mother Teresa. Malcolm X.  Nelson Mandela.  Mahatma Gandhi. John Lewis.  Harriet Tubman. Dalai Lama. Paramahansa Yogananda. Baba Ram Dass.  Maharajji. Amma. Oprah Winfrey.

The 911 memorial is a tribute of remembrance honoring the 2,977 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993.  Their names are inscribed on bronze parapets surrounding the twin memorial pools.  What’s in a name?

A wise woman once said, “Keep my name safe in your mouth.”  What a beautiful reminder to remember when speaking of others, speak highly of them, lift their name if we speak of them, and avoid gossip and negativity.

Another wise woman once said, “Keep my name safe in my mouth.”  An equally magnificent reminder to speak highly of yourself, striving to lift yourself, rather than take yourself out with harsh words of negativity.  You’ll have to place your inner critic in a time-out for that one.

That same woman also said, “I will keep your name safe in my mouth.”  My promise to you, to strive always to lift you and speak highly of you, no matter what.

Say their names is an important movement wherein we are asked to speak the names of black victims killed unjustly.  George Floyd. Ahmad Aubrey. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin. Sandra Bland. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Tanisha Anderson. Willie Tillman. Alton Sterling. Atatiana Jefferson. Rayshard Brooks.  And so many more. 

We say their names because we know the powerful healing that comes from giving space to grieve and mourn as a community. We open ourselves to be more inclusive and welcoming.

Say their names for remembrance, mourning, and healing.  Say your name to call yourself up and out.  Contemplate your legacy and what you’d like your name to mean to future generations.

And so it is.

A Change of Paradigm

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
May 10, 2021

Meriam-Webster defines revolution as a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something, a change of paradigm.

When we experience a revolution in consciousness, we call it an a-ha moment, a spiritual awakening, or even enlightenment. It’s what’s called for when things appear to be not working in life, and one realizes there is an old belief system operating on an unconscious level.  There is an awareness that something needs to shift, but one can’t always pinpoint it because it is unconscious.  Sound familiar?

Time for a revolution in the way life is perceived.  Why does this always happen to me? What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with them? I’m unlovable. Who do I think I am?  It never works out for me; it always works out for others. 

In such moments, I encourage students to spend more time in meditation.  Meditation allows individuals to be inwardly focused and trains them to look within for the answers rather than seek outside of themselves.  The false belief reveals itself as a sentence or a feeling in response to some stimuli.  Take that one sentence and affirm the opposite for yourself every time it comes up.  You form your new belief through this practice of training your mind to believe something new.

You have the power to create a life you love that is in your ability to choose the thoughts upon which you dwell.  Life isn’t happening to you; it’s happening for you.  There is nothing wrong here, never was, never will be. You are loved, loving, and lovable.  You are a bright, luminous soul here to shine your glorious, radiant light inward and outward to all.  You are stronger than you think, more powerful than you can imagine, and stunningly gorgeous.  You celebrate the wins of others because when others win, so do you.  Say aloud, “It’s my time to shine.  I came here to thrive. I am living my divine purpose. I am whole, perfect, complete, and all is well.”

There might be a tiny, meek voice that says, “No, you’re not.” Take a backward step and become the observer.  As you witness a thought like this, you know to be false, in your mind’s eye, imagine a bubble.  Now place that thought inside the bubble.  Let the bubble float into the palm of your hand, then blow that bubble away.  When the next false thought arises, do the same.  Keep blowing those bubbles away until your mind is still with no thought.  Feel the peace of the absence of thought wash over and through you.  Consider every cell in your body illuminated by divine healing light.

Your revolution is progressing.  The more you can blow those thought bubbles of false beliefs away, the freer you become.  Seeing your own life transformed, you learn that you can also affect change in the collective consciousness. How will you contribute to the revolution in our collective consciousness?

And so it is.

Stepping Out, Stepping Up

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 26, 2021

Imagine what it would be like to step out of your comfort zone and step up into the glorious, radiant light you came here to be.  Sometimes individuals stay in a comfort zone because they don’t know that a greater-yet-to-be version of life is possible for them. They haven’t yet heard the Divine whisper.  American writer Richard Bach observed:  What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.

Last year we were all thrust into rapid change as we received the order to shelter at home to flatten the curve of covid-19.  We all found our inner flexibility, even those who before might have been rigid and set in their ways, refusing to accept or adapt to change.

Just about everyone learned to use the technology that allowed us to connect virtually, which was the closest in proximity we could get at the time.  A new world was born with new ways of being established.  The tech-challenged asked for help and learned how to do what previously seemed impossible to them.  We adjusted, adapted, and entered a world of discovery with curiosity and wonder.  We knew that we could do anything for 14 days.  We didn’t realize that this new way of being would be the way of life for over a year.

We can’t hear you, you’re muted, face mask required, wash your hands, and social distancing is a small sampling of what became common phrases used daily by everyone.

Reflecting on the way we adjusted inspires me.  If we can make changes like that so quickly, maybe it’s possible to swiftly transform our belief systems, too, propelling racial justice and equality forward in an instant.

I believe that we are souls with bodies.  Each of us has landed in the body temple we are in for a finite amount of time. Let’s spend more time exploring our inner realm, connecting with the Divine.  When we move from identifying with creation to the source of all creation, we merge with the immutable power and presence of Divine Love. 

It’s a change in mindset that allows us to move from victim consciousness to victor consciousness.  A place to truly get and believe that yes, I am as God created me, in the light, in the love, in the glory.  No longer thinking the world is happening to you, now you understand that you are co-creating with the Divine, building the life of your dreams.

Navigating the mystical realm of heaven within, it becomes clear you are one with this glorious Divine Love and have been all the time.

You understand you have a purpose on this planet, and you begin to live out that purpose with great jubilation.

Step out of your comfort zone and let yourself grow.  The world needs your awakened presence now more than ever. Step up and into your magnificent, radiant self and be who you came here to be!

And so it is.

The Winds of Change

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 15, 2021

On the spiritual path of becoming more of who we are, which is becoming more ourselves, we experience many transformations. Even if you’re not on a spiritual path, you have transformed many times and will do so many more to come.

Some kick and scream along their path to transformation, deny the need for things to change, resist transformation when faced with it, and continue along the path of denial even as the shift occurs! Something new has already emerged, yet they cling to the old way and refuse to let go. In the letting go, infinite possibility and unlimited potentiality are revealed.

Human life is currently transient, meaning that our bodies are all passing by like clouds in the sky. I believe our souls go on for all eternity. The body, however, can only go on for a finite amount of time. When the body can no longer house the soul, the soul leaves it, returning to the light. When it’s time, the soul comes into form again, to wherever it’s uniquely called.

Since we humans are continually becoming more of ourselves, change is inevitable. Rather than resist change, let’s embrace it, welcome it with enthusiasm and curiosity.

Individuals often fear change because one must let go of what’s known and familiar or comfortable to leap into the unknown with faith. It’s not the change that is disturbing; it’s the fear of the unknown and the identification with that fear that keeps them stuck. We forget that the unknown is the Great Mystery, The Thing Itself, Spirit, Divine. Let’s lean into Spirit with calm assurance and allow It to lead the way. As you lean into it, you let go of your identification with fear and embrace unlimited possibility and infinite potentiality.

What comes with the fear of the unknown are mindsets like what if it doesn’t work out, what if it all goes wrong, I can’t see how it will work, and I can’t do it. Ultimately this is a lack of trust in the God of your understanding. I say get a bigger God, please. Then watch the good pour forth into your life with great magnitude, and blessings abound.

On Geneva lake in Switzerland, there are more than seventy different types of wind. When there is very little wind, the sailors scan the still water, searching for ripples. When located, the skipper changes direction and heads to the disturbance in the water. The sails fill up, and the boat receives the power needed to sail ahead. Those who are successful in locating the water movement reach their destination and complete the race. They have embraced the changing winds. Imagine if you were to approach changes in your life with this same desire and determination.

Let’s be like those sailors and embrace the changing winds upon us. Lean into the God of your understanding for the comfort, strength, and courage to proceed.  What if it’s easy?

And so it is.

What is Being Born in You?

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 1, 2021

By the time this article is published, it will be Maundy Thursday, a Christian holy day that falls on the Thursday evening before Easter Sunday.  It was the day Jesus celebrated the Passover with a meal known familiarly as the last supper.  Following that, Jesus washed the feet of his apostles and gave his first commandment, known as the great commandment, which was to “Love one another; as I have loved you.” Washing the feet of his apostles was an outrageous act of humility.

As we approach Easter Sunday, a time of resurrection, renewal, and bright beginnings, I invite you to consider what is being born in you?

For March, the Central Coast Center for Spiritual Living focused on how to remain open to Spirit’s highest idea of itself as our lives through the process of Visioning. When we receive the direct revelation of Spirit as an impress of It in our mind and heart, a way is made before us.  A path is laid, guiding our steps to the greater-yet-to-be version of ourselves.

Once the vision is activated in our lives, we can tune in and allow the following steps to unfold with ease and grace.

It becomes clear to us there are ways of being, false ideas, or belief systems that no longer serve us, which must dissolve to flourish and become more of ourselves. A seed planted beneath the soil transforms into a shoot with leaves and sprouts up above ground.  As the plant’s roots, stems, and leaves develop, the seed’s tissue is no longer needed.  It releases the seed tissue.  Similarly, in our becoming, we release that which no longer supports us where we are going.

We look to Spirit now for guidance on what it is we need to embrace or welcome with great enthusiasm into our lives. And what do we need to embody?  Asking this question prompts the Universe to answer, providing the means through which you will integrate those Divine qualities necessary for your unfoldment and development.

We also ask the question, “What must I become for Spirit’s highest idea of Itself as my life to manifest? How must I evolve such that it will be second nature for me?  An example for me is exercise.  I have an exercise routine that I’ve built in for over twenty years to such a degree that it’s as necessary as eating, hydration, and sleep.  It is a personal commitment.  Commitment is the final step.

Live in the question: “What is Spirit’s highest idea of Itself as my life?” Release that which no longer serves you and the unfoldment of this vision. Embrace, embody and become the qualities, mindsets, and ways of being that serve Spirit’s highest idea of itself as your life.  Commit to the vision.

As you commit to your vision, you guarantee a personal transformation. 

I leave you with the question: What is being born in you? 

And so it is.

The Infinite Realm of Possibility

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
March 18, 2021

Imagine a pie, any pie at all.  It could be a pizza, a cherry pie, a sweet potato pie, or whatever.

Take a thin slice of that pie and consider it to be what you know, and you know that you know.  For example, I know how to tie my shoes, swim, how to pray, and read. I know that I know these things.

Take another thin slice of that pie and consider that to represent all that you don’t know – it’s everything you know that you do not know.  For example, I don’t know much about rocket science, how to perform brain surgery, or speak Mandarin.  I know that I do not know these things.

The rest of the pie is everything you don’t know that you don’t know.  You can’t know what you don’t know, you know?  Consider this vast realm of possibility of what we don’t know that we don’t know as the realm of Divine Intelligence, where our potential resides. It’s the kingdom of limitless possibility and infinite potentiality.

Remember this when you feel the most stuck in your life.  Remember that something radically new and magnificent is available to you that you don’t know about yet.  It exists in the infinite and limitless realm of the Divine.  This is the place we’re invited to open to as we do the visioning process.

There’s a difference between the practice of visualization and visioning, both powerful tools.

Visualization is selecting from that which is already in and of the world.  You can visualize only that which you already know.  Visualization is what we do with vision boards, intentions, goals, and brainstorming. 

Visioning is opening to divine inspiration.  It allows us to catch something new from the realm of infinite potentiality, other than what we can currently see in and of the world and what’s unfolding in our lives. Visioning is a receptive state used to catch a vision for your life outside of your current awareness and understanding of yourself.  “Things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”  [Hebrews 11:3] 

Live in the question, “What is Spirit’s highest idea of itself as my life?”  Listen with your inner ear, which is the Divine within, forever seeking to express itself in, through, and as you.  Believe that you are being guided by Spirit now and that the Universe is working for you.  As you receive divine inspiration, thank the Universe for the revelation of its radiant magnificence as you.  Brand new and beyond what you could have possibly imagined with your current thinking.

Theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, observed: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”  Similarly, suppose we are to be made new and experience lasting spiritual transformation in our lives. In that case, let us remain open to Spirit’s highest idea of itself as us – something new, beyond what we currently know.

And so it is.

Commune with the Divine

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
March 4, 2021

In the past, when faced with a choice, after making my selection, I spent time worrying about whether I made the right decision—second-guessing myself like this created great fear and angst in me. As I cultivated my relationship with the Divine, I began trusting It as a power for good in the universe greater than me. I learned that while my small self may not know the answer, there is that within me which does know, and that is my Higher Self, the Self within all selves.

As this relationship grew, so did my faith. The second-guessing and doubt fell away naturally as I spent more time making conscious contact with Spirit in prayer and meditation. Fueled by faith, I know that I am guided, directed, and sustained by my Source, and I allow it to lead this divine dance of life.

As Ernest Holmes put it, “When prayer removes distrust and doubt and enters the field of mental certainty, it becomes faith; and the universe is built on faith.”  We are in constant prayer with our thoughts.  What we think about we bring about.

When I allow myself to get quiet, centered, and grounded, I realize I am in the presence of something mighty and magnificent.   I am unified with the changeless, formless substance that has been and always will be – the Divine.  It is as eternal and vast as the space that spans beyond the myriad universes, and it lives within us all.  While there is a universal experience of it, there is also a very personal experience of its indwelling presence daily as I move through the world.

In this centered space, I am at home in the heart of God, in the place of love, where I remember that I am guided, directed, sustained, and inspired by my Source.

Spirit is communicating to each one of us on many levels all the time.  Our invitation is to pay close attention to the dynamic world occurring all around us.  It wants you to notice it, nudges you from the inside, encourages you to take that step, speak those words, create that art, write from the heart, or pick up the phone and call that person.

To commune with the Divine is to be in conscious contact with the presence of Love that is the place within you beyond thought, beyond egoic structures, beyond fear, doubt, worry, judgment, control, complaints, and second-guessing.

When we reach the edge of everything we know and are beckoned to the place of the unknown, our faith allows us to take that next step. In full faith, we jump into the unknown land of the heart, which is the land of love, the land of the mystic and mystical experiences; it is the land of the Divine.

In this space, we remember that everything is ok – more than ok, in Truth.  Dwelling here in Divine love, we thrive.

And so it is.

Love Heals

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
February 18, 2021

The month of February has long been associated with romance. In addition to being the month of love, there are also the Western Christian Carnival celebration events. There’s Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, a day of celebration and indulgence preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a time of sacrifice and fasting.

This month I celebrate the relationship we each have with the God of our understanding.  For it is from that relationship which all other relationships blossom and bloom.  When I love another person, I’m expressing God’s love that I feel within me.  When I feel loved by another person, I’m feeling God’s love activated within me. I can love others to the degree I love my God, as the Self within all selves.

You can connect with this part of yourself now by stating the following affirmative words aloud:  Today I stand in the luminous light of Love.  I shine brightly to all I encounter, and there’s plenty to go around.  I am loved, loving, and lovable.  I am adored. 

From this place of love is a beautiful opportunity to find something lovable in every person, place, thing, and situation in your experience today.  Pay attention to what occurs internally as you actively seek out the lovable.

As you contemplate the lovable qualities and characteristics of others, you vibrate at a higher frequency.  Your mind is set free from the shackles of judgment and condemnation. You begin to see more of what you love everywhere, including within you. It’s all around you.  Feel, sense, and know this love now.  It also feels good and positively affects our bodies and minds to come from love and seek the lovable actively.

Try speaking these compliments aloud to others beginning today:
You have a great smile, nice shirt; I love your shoes. That was awesome.  Your hair looks fantastic.  I love your glasses.  You are beautiful.  I love how you did your makeup. Excellent presentation. I love your style.  It is so fun to work with you. You’re such a bright light.  You have a strong presence.  You light up the room when you walk in.  Your nails are so beautiful. Where did you get that necklace – it’s gorgeous? Where do you shop because I love your style? You’ve got a great sense of humor! 

Now say to yourself:
I am strong, talented, gorgeous, intelligent, wise, charismatic, joyful, and fun.  I am happy, brilliant, loving, lovable, and loved. I’ve got style, grace, finesse, and panache.  I am grateful, forgiving, generous, whole, guided, gifted, adored, and cherished.  And it looks like I’ve lost a little weight!

Your call to action is to spend more time indulging in your belief in God’s love for you.  Let it rearrange your perspective on this thing called life.  Science of Mind founder Dr. Ernest Holmes wrote, “Love heals, forgives, and makes thee whole.”

Let that healing power of love begin now.

And so it is.

Looking Up

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
February 4, 2021

Studies by neuroscientists have shown that raising your gaze changes your patterns of thought. When we look up, we activate the brain area that is also activated during meditation, creativity, and dreaming. That part of the brain is called the pineal gland, a tiny pea-sized pine cone-shaped gland. Also known as the third eye or Ajnâ chakra in spiritual circles, it’s located in the middle of the forehead between your eyes.

As a society, we have grown accustomed to looking down at our devices or looking directly ahead at our computer screens. As such, the invitation is to make it a spiritual practice for yourself to look up throughout the day.

I love to be out in nature as I feel connected to all of life when I am outdoors. The sense of oneness is palpable for me. I believe that is attributed primarily to the amount of time I spend looking up when outside.

When we enter extraordinary buildings, our eyes naturally look upwards. Think of a visit to a massive cathedral, a large courthouse, or even a corporate headquarters. These large spaces cause us to crane our heads in awe and engage with the Infinite. Next time you’re out and about in the world, look up. 

I remember visiting the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican for the first time. Looking up, it took my breath away. I had to bend my neck to look directly above, and it filled me with awe and wonder. I could have spent hours studying the intricate details of each vignette.

I also recall visiting Michelangelo’s David. I walked into the museum, and it was dark and cold. When I turned the corner, a massive white marble statue seemingly nine feet tall, with light shining down upon it, stopped me in my tracks. I looked up at David’s face, amazed as if I were looking at an angel.

Let’s not forget St. Peter’s basilica and the immense splendor of it, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, walking the John Muir trail for hours looking up at the mighty Mt. Whitney, or the breathtaking view of Yosemite’s Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.   

Awe.

When things get hard or seem to stagnate in dullness, it’s time to look up. When I do, I recognize I am looking up to connect with my God. I rise above fear and enter into the ethers with my beloved God who adores me. It works every time. I disconnect from doubt and concern and remember that God has my back. It must. If I were to believe otherwise, then I would be deserting the Truth in my hour of need. But oh, my dearly beloved, heavenly God, you are with me now and always. My faith makes me whole. My belief keeps me company. God is on my side and whoever has God lacks nothing.

This week, let us all spend time looking up, connecting with nature and the Divine.

And so it is.