Vital Signs: Discovering and Sustaining Your Passion for Life

Gregg Levoy

Gregg Levoy

Sunday Message by Guest Speaker Gregg Levoy

Message from Rev. Pat: It was another great Sunday at Unity of Greater Portland. We hosted Gregg Levoy, author of Callings and more recently Vital Signs. Gregg has such a wonderful presence. He is both knowledgeable and witty. His topic, no surprise, is passion. The first point he made is that passion can be cultivated. It is not something you either have or don’t; it can be turned on as well as off.

The second point was that passion is in the risk. You move from the sidelines onto the field. Actually, the risk often happens before you feel the passion. Gregg defines “risk” as whatever scares you. Risk is entirely relative – not to be compared with others. He identified a lot of small risks you can make. One that Rev. LeRoy and I took today was changing where we sat at the dinner table. It was fun to change up what we always do.

The third point was passion is not just about exuberance; it is also about endurance. He gave the quote from Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point: “Mastery in any field of endeavor requires a minimum of 10,000 hours of dedicated practice.” Passion requires shoulder-to-the-wheel endurance.

Lastly, the fourth point is that passion breeds and inspires passion. Conversely, disinterest breeds disinterest. Lacking passion in your own life will impact your relationships; your passion is critical to others’ engagement with you.

Our regular school year for our children’s program is quickly coming to a close, as summer is almost here. We have a more relaxed program for the summer for the children and the teachers. Here is an opportunity for you to engage with our children by bringing an activity to them on a Sunday morning. The teachers will be present and your role is to have fun with the children as you help them complete the project you have brought for them to do.

We will have a signup sheet on the bulletin board for you to select the Sunday that would work into your summer schedule. I invite all who are reading this to come into agreement with me and the teachers that we will have a full schedule of folks like yourself that are just now thinking of what they would like to do with the children.

While I am mentioning signing up, have you signed up for the daylong event on June 3 with Coleen O’Connell? This is a not-to-miss experience. Do not let the cost of the event be a factor. There is scholarship money available for partial scholarships.

This coming Sunday, join me for the message, “I Am the American Flag.”

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

The Transcendence of Motherhood

Ingrid Avery

Sunday Message by Guest Speaker Ingrid Avery

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey: As your minister, it is my responsibility to provide a sound spiritual message on Sunday mornings. When I am not giving the message, it is my responsibility to find those who I believe will deliver a message that has substance and truth, so you all walk away with a teaching that will support you in living your life. It is truly an act of surrender when I turn the platform over to someone else, as I do not have the details of what they will be sharing, only the topic. I want to say from the feedback I have received — and in listening to the message of the 10 am service online from Sunday — mission accomplished. A shout-out goes to Karen Bailey for doing a superb job at the 8 a.m. service and to Ingrid Avery for also doing a wonderful talk at the 10 a.m. service. Thank you both for sharing and blessing our community.

My time away was wonderful and spiritually nourishing. Rev. LeRoy was the Retreat Director for a men’s AA retreat in St. John, New Brunswick. I went along for my own spiritual renewal. We stayed at the Villa Madonna Retreat Center, which was absolutely lovely. It had walking paths through the woods, which I happily took advantage of. Thanks to all the Sunday staff at UGP that make it possible for me to be away and know that all is well back at 54 River Road.

While I was away, the annual Spring clean-up day took place. My deepest thanks to all who came and took away the remnants of winter and prepared our beautiful grounds for new life. Each time I drive into the parking lot my heart swells as I look around at the beauty. It takes many hands to do the upkeep and I would be remiss in not giving special thanks to John Michael Roods and Bill Taylor. They are out working around the grounds during the week: mowing, clipping, trimming dead branches and anything else that is calling to them. We are so blessed by their dedication and service.

For the last few weeks I have been mentioning the gardens that our Season for the Earth team are preparing. This endeavor is being championed by Anna Richie and Ginger Dowling. They have a big vision for the gardens and invite you to support the vision by giving a couple of hours a week through the summer to this project. On the bulletin board is a sign-up sheet for different tasks that need to be done, such as planting, watering and weeding. There is a wonderful saying that “many hands make light work.” This would apply here for sure.

This Sunday we are honored to have with us Gregg Levoy. Gregg is the author of Callings and Vital Signs and has been a keynote speaker for Unity Worldwide Ministries conferences in the past. I know that you will enjoy hearing Gregg at the 10 a.m. service and then, following lunch, he will be presenting his workshop, Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion.

I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday…

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

Opening to the Power of the Black Madonna

Meghan Don

Meghan Don

Guest speaker Meghan Don

Message from Rev. Patricia Bessey:

Over the last week we have had two powerful experiences that I want to highlight… last Wednesday we had two delightful young men come and share their experience of living in the Maher community in India.

Then this past weekend Meghan Don gifted us with her wisdom at the service Sunday morning, and afternoon workshop and Tuesday evening at the women’s group.  Meghan shared for us her thoughts on the Dark Face of the Feminine and Her Healing Power.

We are in a time of great birthing in our world, and yet, the birthing of new energy and new life begins with the dissolution of the old. It is how this dissolution is lived out and re-birthed that becomes the vital key to elevating our world and its soul.

The Dark Face of the Feminine – also known as the Black Madonna, the Dark Mother, Kali, the Black Tara, or Lilith, to give a few of her names – is a deeply transformative energy. This Black Mother is not simply a mythic figure out there in a statue or painting, but she is a very real energy that lives within each one of us, and we are called to experience her, and our, transforming power, and to access it for the healing of our world. Our spiritual and inner journey is no longer simply about us and our own personal transformation, but we are being called to access this energy for that of other beings, our earth, and the world evolution itself.

On a personal level I have experienced this Black Mother ever ready to take in my pain, my confusion, my inner and outer chaos, and transform it in her cosmic being, returning to me the great gift of peace. In the Jewish mystical tradition there is the teaching of tikkune ha-olam, which means restoring or healing the world, and we are the ones who are asked to do this. Specifically, at this time we are being asked to help restore the feminine soul of the world, and we can do this by coming into our own feminine soul, feeling deeply our soul needs and wounding, allowing them to be transformed and emerge as a wisdom to be embodied and shared with others on this earth.

When we experience a moment of liberation, we can also pray for all beings who are experiencing the same difficulty we have just been released from. In this way, we can enter into and live the statement, “Your liberation is my liberation, and my liberation is your liberation; your pain is my pain, and my pain is your pain.” Each of us will find our way for this prayer to come alive, whether it be through physically helping another, financial donations, a kindly gesture to a neighbor, working at an animal shelter, or simply moving through our day spending less time thinking about ourselves and more time opening to the life that the divine mother wishes for us to live. We are all called to participate wherever our soul feels stirred, wherever our voice is both weak and strong, for this is where the transformative power of the Dark Mother is at her best. She will deliver if we come and ask, if we are willing to find the strength within our fear. “I am strength and fear… I am she who exists in all fears and boldness in trembling.”  – Thunder, Perfect Mind.

This Divine Dark Mother has also shown that in reaching fully into the darkness of our nature we will encounter a wisdom and creative force of vast and wide proportions. Here this Mother shape shifts into the Grandmother or Crone, bringing forward a great cosmic birthing and dying, with the energy of dissolution being her favored garment. We are in a time of great dissolution of our world paradigms, whether they be of the worldly or religious/spiritual nature. She also leads us into our personal mystical death, over and over again, keeping our liberation and the ultimate divine plan as the most important and utmost focus.

The Divine Mother in her infinite array is multidimensional, and so are we. This is what we are all called to know. In journeying through all the light and dark faces of our feminine being we are given the opportunity to bring them into a unified whole, and with time and practice we then have the potential to enter into our pure radiant awareness, the truth of our enlightened nature. This is what we are called to embody and to bring alive. Unworthiness no longer has a bed to lie on, lack of belief in one self is revealed for the lie that it is, our voice becomes strong, and we stride into the world with an assuredness of our true nature.

The New Divine Feminine: Spiritual Evolution for a Woman’s Soul takes you on an initiatory journey into the Light and Dark Faces of the Feminine, bringing them into a unified whole and the pure radiant awareness and true nature of being.

For those who were at the Tuesday evening event, here are the chants from Meghan:

  • Kali Imma (Car-lee Ee-ma) Black Mother (used at Sunday workshop)
  • Amma Elohim – The Mother and Feminine Spirit of Creation (used at Women’s Group)

A huge thank you to Meghan, and we look forward to her return in the future.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

Parable for the 21st Century – The Pearl of Great Price

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

We are on the verge of beginning our second “Season for Interfaith-Intercultural Celebration.” The team, under the guidance of Pat Bartke, has put together meaningful speakers and activities of interfaith and intercultural experiences that are foundational to celebrating a spiritually transformed world.

interfaithOur focus at Unity of Greater Portland is to deepen our commitment to living a compassionate and non-violent life. We know that we often fear or separate from others when we do not know or understand them, and so for us to contribute to a world that works for all we must overcome our biases and see everyone as our brothers, sisters, and neighbors. With that being said, please make it a priority to attend as many events scheduled between October 3 and November 20 as you can. I will guarantee that you will learn a lot and expand your viewpoint of compassion and non-violence. Here are the activities already scheduled. There is also a bonus that will appear weekly and that is written testimonies from members of the community that have had a specific interfaith experience that changed their perception of another faith.

The talk this past Sunday was the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. Jesus was a master storyteller and he used examples that were simple to understand from the culture of the day to teach a spiritual truth. The pearl was a revered jewel to his people. They didn’t see it for its monetary value but for its beauty and aesthetic value.

Jesus uses the pearl to explain the kingdom of heaven. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a shop owner is looking for fine pearls. After finding a very valuable one, the owner goes and sells everything in order to buy that pearl.”

To be in the kingdom means to awaken to our spiritual possibilities; to be reborn into new levels of consciousness.

And how do we find this kingdom?

senior woman in prayerErvin Seale in his book Learning to Live: The Meaning of the Parables, writes, “The kingdom of heaven is within, so a man must learn to be a good merchant inside, with his thoughts and his feelings. He must learn to be a shrewd observer of himself and his works and to know a treasure when he sees it.”

The riches of the kingdom are all around us if we could but really “see” them and “recognize” them. The kingdom is in each one of us and around us, if only we had the eyes to see it and the ears to hear it. Our potential is enormous; our possibilities are infinite. We are equipped to do anything and everything we could ever dream of or desire, but as the parable says, we have to go in search of it, we have to be willing to do some work. And this takes effort. We have to be willing to do what’s necessary to get what we desire.

To learn more about what you can do to experience the riches of the kingdom, listen to the complete talk.

Next Sunday the talk will be “Living by the Golden Rule.”

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

Parable for the 21st Century – The Prodigal Son

Sunday Message by Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

full moon over waterMany of you probably are aware that we had a full moon last weekend. Do you know how exhilarating it is to have a women’s retreat and a full moon and a fire circle? We had it all, and there were 39 of us gathered together at Oceanwood Camp and Convention Center in Old Orchard Beach. The results are in and it was an overwhelming success. Old friendships got rekindled and new friendships were born. I can guarantee those of you who are at the service next Sunday will feel a heightened energy as these women come together.

In just a couple of weeks the men will be off on their retreat. If you are a man and have not already signed up, don’t wait another minute. See Rev. LeRoy or register now. You will experience a deeper connection to men in the community and meet new friends.

While I was away at the women’s retreat, Rev. LeRoy shared the parable of the prodigal son. Many of you have no doubt heard of this parable since you were a child. You know that the younger son asks for his inheritance early and his father grants him his request, but the son squanders it and finds himself penniless, and without a place to live. After some time of working in horrendous conditions and eating pig-slop to survive, he puts his ego aside and returns home. Rev. LeRoy focuses on a very different perspective with this parable. He concentrates on what the older son represents in us. I invite you to listen to the talk and hear a very different perspective of this familiar parable.

Next Sunday we are focusing on the parable The Pearl of Great Price. Join me at the 8 a.m. service for the condensed version or at 10 a.m. for the complete version.

And finally, many thanks to Matt Purinton for platforming on Sunday, to Steph Plourde for cooking a delicious stew, and to all who helped in the kitchen. All our sacred service volunteers make Sunday happen, and without you we couldn’t provide the quality service that we do.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey