White Stone Service

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

I am very excited as we begin a new year. We have a clean slate in front of us and we get to choose as a community where we put our time, talents and treasures.

Our Annual Meeting is coming up on February 24, at which time we will be electing new members to the board. If you are a member and have been for at least a year and would like to be considered for a board position, please let me, or a board member, of your desire. Also, please attend as it will be a time to share how we can work together to forward our vision and mission. We have a mighty work to do here on planet earth and we are up to the task!

This leads me right into the message on Sunday and the White Stone Ceremony. What was the word or words that Spirit gave to you? Of course, I am not asking you to share this with me or others; however, what I am asking is how does your word fit into our vision and mission? Is there a significant way in which you see a larger role for you to play in the coming year at Unity of Greater Portland? Please send me your thoughts and let’s talk!

James Doty

James Doty

In the talk on Sunday I shared about James Doty, author of Into the Magic Shop. His home life growing up was rough. His father was an alcoholic and very abusive to his mother and his children. His mother suffered from depression and chronic pain. So James didn’t get the best of care and guidance. As life would have it at the age of 12, he met a woman named Ruth who in six short weeks would change James’ life forever.

James entered the magic shop in his town and Ruth was tending the store for her son. She had come to spend a few weeks with him from California. Ruth taught James four tricks that he applied faithfully.

Trick #1 – Relaxing the Body. Do this when you know you will not be interrupted. Define your intention, what you wish to accomplish with this exercise. Move through your body relaxing every muscle. Imagine your body now completely relaxed and simply breathe in and out being with your breath.
Breath and relaxation are the first steps toward taming the mind.

Trick #2 – Taming the Mind. Begin by focusing your breath. Find either a word or object to focus your attention on and when the mind wonders bring it back to your word or your object. Learning to tame the mind takes time and effort. Do not be discouraged. This practice will increase your relaxation.
The reward for taming the mind is clarity of thought.

Trick #3 – Opening the Heart. Using relaxing the body and taming the mind now bring to mind someone who has loved you unconditionally, sit with the feeling of warmth and commitment that unconditional love brings. Feel how accepted and cared for you felt even with all your flaws and imperfections.

Are you giving the same unconditional love to one you care for? Can you give that same unconditional love to someone you have a difficult relationship with? Can we see everyone we meet as a flawed and imperfect being just like me and you? Making mistakes, taking wrong turns and hurting us and others; can we bathe them with love, warmth and acceptance? It doesn’t matter how they respond.
What matters is that you have an open heart.
An open heart connects with others,
and that changes everything.

Trick #4 – Clarifying your Intent. Think of a goal, or something you wish to accomplish. Apply trick 1 and 2 and once completely relaxed and with your mind empty think of a goal and seeing yourself as having accomplished it. Sit with the feelings and the positive emotions.
It is with clarity of intent that vision becomes a reality.

These exercises can be found at www.intothemagicshop.com/exercises

Doty practiced these tricks and went on to do great things in the world as a result of a chance meeting with Ruth at the age of 12. Ruth gave James a charge when she was leaving to go back to California and it was “to keep your heart open and to teach these techniques to others.”

James has done just that… he went on to become a doctor and is a Clinical Professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

After hearing Doty’s story, don’t be quick to disregard the message your White Stone has for you. It is never too late to set the intention to make your vision become a reality.

Next Sunday, join me for a forgiveness talk… Forgiveness: A Doorway to Freedom. At noon Rev. LeRoy and I will be doing a workshop with the same title and topic. As my mentor Rev. Edwene Gaines says, “As long as we are in bodies, we have forgiveness work to do”.

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

Three Lessons of Revolutionary Love in a Time of Rage

Message from Rev. Patricia Bessey

We have turned the calendar to a new year 2019. I recently did one of those games on Facebook that gives you a word for the coming year and mine was “change.” It says my life is going to change in incredible ways… so right out of the gate it is changing.

Steph Plourde who has been my administrator and “go to” person has returned to her previous job at Martin’s Point Health Care and I am happy for her and wish her only the best; however, it does leave a void at Unity of Greater Portland for sure. She is going to continue to be my point person on Sundays; she will continue leading the Sacred Servers monthly Team Leaders meeting and other areas in the ministry as her time allows. So how does that impact the overall in the ministry? At this time the Board and I have decided to not replace her. We will have Christine Wolf in the office on Wednesdays with assistance from Wendy Thomas. The ministry will only be open on Wednesdays officially; however, I will be there on many Tuesdays.

The new year also brings new energy for classes and events. I am excited that the daytime book group will begin again on Tuesday, January 8 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. For those of you who are available during that time I do encourage you to join us. What I have experienced from our past groups is a deepening of meaningful relationships with others who are traveling this journey of spirituality and we all need support from one another.

Another class I am excited about as well is the Energy of Money class. For those who may not know I have graduated from the Academy of Coaching Excellence that was founded by Maria Nemeth, who is author of The Energy of Money book used in this class. This class will grow you exponentially in ways you can’t even imagine. Maybe your word was “change” also…just a thought! It is not too late to sign up. Email me or sigh up on Sunday. It is 6 Wednesday nights beginning January 9 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Of course, a lot more is happening as well, these are just a couple that I want to highlight.

This past Sunday I stepped out of the box and did something that in all my years of ministry haven’t done and that is replaced my talk with a YouTube video. The talk title was “A World of Love” and as I began researching material I wanted it to be relevant to where we are as a society, I went to one of my favorite people, seasoned civil rights activist, lawyer, award winning filmmaker Valarie Kaur. I met Valarie in Salt Lake City at the Parliament of World Religions in 2015 and have been following her ever since. She is the founder of The Revolutionary Love Project. The YouTube video I showed is called 3 Lessons of revolutionary love in a time of rage and it told the story of love in a way that I was looking for.

If after listening to Valarie you feel the need to take some form of action then join some of us after the service this Sunday as we hold a 30-minute vigil at the rotary of 302 and 202 displaying signs of peace, nonviolence and welcoming the stranger. You can bring your own sign, or one will be provided for you.

Don’t miss being with us this Sunday it is the annual White Stone Service. This is where we celebrate who we are and our new freedom. See you there!

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

A Christmas Carol

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

It is Monday morning (December 17) as I write this article and it looks like a winter wonderland outside. As the song goes… “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” Just one week from today will be Christmas Eve and I am personally inviting you and your family to spend part of the evening with me. The Christmas Eve service will begin at 7 p.m. I will let you in on a little secret: The service will include the spiritual understanding of the Christmas story along with some of our children participating in the service and lots of music with many of our talented folks. I will guarantee you will enjoy every minute of it.

This past Sunday was a most extraordinary service… we were blessed with our Unity thespians along with some new friends as they performed A Christmas Carol. There are not enough words of praise to shower on them…they were outstanding. This took place under the direction of Meredith Eldridge, who is amazing, and, as someone said, “She brings out the best in us.” If you are on Facebook, go to our page and see all the pictures posted there. Bravo, kudos and high fives to the entire cast.

At the 8 a.m. service, I did a condensed version of the same story, A Christmas Carol. What I didn’t know was that Charles Dickens wrote this in England in 1843 at a time when Christmas was falling out of fashion. Can you possibly imagine Christmas falling out of fashion?

The story’s lessons of charity, family, and a shared humanity spoke directly to a Victorian society that, in Dickens’ view, oppressed the poor and the working class in the name of industry. The work’s impact has endured far beyond the 19th Century, and its message has reached audiences far beyond Great Britain.

So what lessons might we take away from this classic in 2018? Sounds like our society today is much like what it was when Dickens wrote this. Although we can’t make changes for others like Scrooge, we can make changes in our own life; a ghost from our past or even a frightening look into our future. We can make needed changes in our life and thus help change the world for the betterment of all. We can become a better person.

That’s the positive message of Dickens’ classic, just as it is the message of Christmas itself. The gift of the little baby born in a manger is the gift from God of not only a second chance, but a third, fourth, fifth or however many chances we need to make a meaningful change in our life. And isn’t that what God seeks in us all?

Here are a few final thoughts:

  • “If you sacrifice everything for money that’s what you end up with.”
  • “Money is worthless if you do nothing with it.”
  • “Investing in the common welfare of others does not mean you can’t be rich.”

The 8 a.m. message was recorded for this week’s podcast. This coming Sunday will be “A World of Joy” and it is the fourth Sunday in Advent Joy!

Friday evening the men are joining together to celebrate the Winter Solstice. The fun begins with a potluck at 6 p.m.

A reminder that this Saturday is Silent Saturday from 9:30 a.m.– 3 p.m. Give yourself a gift of an hour or more to just be.

You are a blessing in my life.

Rev. Patricia Bessey

P.S. The office will be closed from December 20 to January 2.