White Stone Ceremony

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

I know that we Mainers are tough and many of you proved it on Sunday by showing up when the temperature was well below zero. As I drove down River Road on my way to the 8 a.m. service my car thermometer was registering -24… yikes… but you all showed up!

What may have motivated you was the service which is always the first Sunday of the new year, the White Stone Ceremony. I love this service because it is a reminder that we have a clean slate in which to create our life… it represents freedom.

This is a quote from John Selby’s book, Seven Masters, One Path: “We can’t hold one thing tightly in our grasp, and at the same time reach out and take something new. We must let go of and put aside what we are grasping, in order to be able to receive something that we want or need much more. All spiritual and psychological growth requires a letting go of a limited belief in order to open up and receive a more expansive belief — or even better, a direct experience of reality that makes all beliefs unnecessary.”

The Burning Bowl ceremony we do on New Year’s Eve and this ceremony set us up to release and then receive or take in the wonders of life.

This ceremony evolved from the book of Revelation 2:17. It reads, “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

The source of the white stone is from the time of Jesus. When a prisoner was released he was given a white stone to symbolize his freedom and to prove that he had been let go from prison. As long as he had his white stone, he was assured his freedom. It is a symbol of overcoming adversity or an external challenge. And when we overcome there is a shift in consciousness — we grow, we change, and our lives become richer. We become blessed and nourished by new things. A new name is written on it — our experiences of life will be changed because of our new intentions and our new thoughts and beliefs — our shift in consciousness.

If you were not present on Sunday, you can pick up a white stone this Sunday and find your new name.

Listen; listen to what your Spirit is telling you to write on your white stone. What are you hearing or feeling or knowing? What are your intentions? What if Spirit was writing on your white stone? What is it that Spirit will write? Ask, right now. Ask what would be the most helpful name, or what would be the most helpful word to take into this New Year?

Once you receive your word keep this stone as a reminder of this moment and your choice to be free. God bless you and have a new year of renewal and freedom.

Before I end I want to bring to your attention to the Heart-Based Meditation workshop on Thursday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., facilitated by Dr. Paul and Sandra Dugliss. They are returning by popular demand. I look forward to seeing you there.

The following Tuesday evening, the Women Empowering Women group will go in a new direction using the material in the book Traveling with the Turtle. This is an opportunity to deepen your spiritual life and to live a nonviolent life. It will meet the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. for 13 months. Please join me and others who are on the journey traveling with the turtle.

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

Creating Your Brightest Future

Matt Jones

Matt Jones

Sunday message by Matt Jones, whose mission is to inspire individuals to “Create their Brightest Future” through his miraculous story of conquering cancer three times when doctors did not think he would live, going through a bone marrow transplant, having to relearn how to walk, and running marathons around the world.

In his talk, Matt shares the “Three Causes” that lead to the creation of one’s brightest future. Audience members will be uplifted and energized to have, be, and do more in Life.


Hello Friends! This week’s letter is again coming to you from Steph Plourde, as Revs. Pat and LeRoy enjoy their final week of time off before returning to Unity of Greater Portland. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that they have been sorely missed, but constantly surrounded in our love.

I want to thank our very talented and poised music director, Deana Gurney, who I hear did a pretty spectacular job pinch hitting after a little snafu at our 8 a.m. service this past week. It sounds like Deana literally did not miss a beat, providing beautiful music and meditation for our 8 o’clockers. We love you, Deana.

For our 10 a.m. service this past Sunday, we had guest speaker Matt Jones sharing a little of his life’s journey and message. Matt is a three-time cancer victor and has gone from having to relearn how to walk to running marathons on all seven continents. He had a powerful message about re-framing life circumstances, emphasizing that though we may not have control over what happens around us, we always have a choice about how we respond. Matt flatly states that he doesn’t have a lot of answers about why things happen, but was very clear that there is a “message in the mess,” “gain in the pain,” and that he is “too blessed to be stressed.” He used a beautiful example of a cross stitch flower his mother stitched for him. The back side is a tangled mess of threads, in which you can see no clear picture. The other side is the beautiful flower: clear and perfect. Matt explained that life can be like that — sometimes all we can see is the messy back of the stitchery, but we can trust that on the flip side is the precious flower. One thing, two views.

In the afternoon, Matt did a workshop and shared some of his favorite strategies for turning thinking around. He mentioned many of the writers that have had a profound influence on him, including Ken Keyes, James Allen, Charles Haanel, and Pam Grout. He also mentioned and quoted from Christian Larson, the American New Thought leader and teacher. In 1912, Larson published a poem that later became the Optimist Creed, which Matt shared with us:

Promise Yourself
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

I hope you find this as beautiful and empowering as I did.

This coming week marks the beginning of Advent. Rev. Pat will be back on Sunday with a talk titled “Awakening to Hope and Faith: The Christ Consciousness.” Remember that we have some wonderful holiday events coming up. All information is available on our website and on flyers in the foyer!

Have a wonderful week. Promise yourself to smile at every living creature you meet…

Blessings,
Steph

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

What Now, Holy Now!

Sunday Message by Rev. Jesse James, former minister of Unity of Greater Portland

From Rev Jesse:

Beloved Unity Community,

Happy week after Easter! My hope is that each of you has leaned into the Easter story with your life and feel that experience of resurrection in some place in your life that needed to be awakened with new God call – a new way of seeing God in and through it all. That awakening or resurrection is always in inner job with a change in consciousness occurring first before the outer manifestation can happen.

If resurrection hasn’t quite happened for you this Easter season, not to worry. Resurrection can be a moment-to-moment, day by day experience of living every day. Easter being the special day honoring the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and what he modeled for our lives as well. Also, the celebration of how we have resurrected in some area in our lives. But truly, it can be an everyday experience. The choice that needs to be made for this kind of life is to be willing to see God in each moment and in each day. I am naming this resurrection walk Holy Temple Footprints.

A quote that speaks to this kind of Easter walk and resurrection living is by Yogananda:

O Spirit, make my soul
Thy temple, but make my heart
Thy beloved home where
Thou wouldst dwell with me
In ease and everlasting understanding.

Hopefully, many of those temple footprints will be footprints of delight, awe and wonder for the beautiful ways God is showing up in your life. If a circumstance comes that challenges you to remember God in the midst (a crucifixion), I hold footprints of willingness, love and compassion will be your response of remembering God is here too. This kind of consciousness can truly make the way we walk a living Temple of God. All of us leave footprints in our lives. What signature will your footprints have?

When I was in Hawaii, a giant turtle came to visit me on the beach. It brought one of those
footprints from another of the feeling of delight and wonder at the Magnificence of God – simply with its Being. Maybe I should say a flipper print. What I first saw was a flipper in the waves and air that called me to look closer.

A poem came to me about this kind of walk (that I have been sharing). Some of you may have seen this on my Facebook. If so, may you enjoy the poem for a second time. For those of you that didn’t see it there, may you enjoy it for a first time in this Heart Thought.

Turtle Wisdom

We had a special visitor on the beach today
Her very presence blessed us and metaphysically had much to say
 
Heaven on earth is in the-here-and-now
To this Truth, I finally begin the surrender of a very reverent bow
 
Lulled by the waves rolling in on the beach
Integrating and embodying all that I know and teach
 
Letting peace reign in my soul after the storm
Could this really become not a visitor but truly life’s norm
 
Where better to explore this dynamic of wonder and peace
Hawaii and all her natural beauty bringing it once again within my reach
 
Easy to remember in this beauty of all I see
The trick will be to not forget when another kind of experience might come to visit me
 
May this time of the waves rolling in on the white sand beach
Bring a deeper integration of who I am and all I teach
 
In this moment Aloha is in my heart
Healing for the body, mind and soul for a beautiful brand new start

I hold for each of us a year of resurrection living leaving beautiful temple footprints upon our planet. I hold that this way of living begins with a deeper commitment and choice to remember all there is, is God.

Easter – a brand new start for a different way of living.

Abundance of Love with the spirit of Aloha,
Rev. Jesse

Advent Week 1: Awaking to Hope

Sunday Service with the Rev. Patricia Bessey

This past Sunday was the first day of Advent. We start a four-week journey into Christmas. Each Sunday we will light one candle as we prepare ourselves for the birth of the Christ child, which dwells within us.

Our Advent wreath is round, without beginning or end, to represent the completeness that we have in Christ, God in us.

Our first candle represents HOPE. We recall the hope we have in Christ.

christmas-journey2The prophets of Israel all spoke of the coming of Christ, of how a savior would be born, a king in the line of David. They spoke of how he would rule the world wisely and bless all nations.

On Christmas day the Christ of our hope was born. On Good Friday the Christ of our hope died. On Easter day, the Christ of our hope rose from the dead. He then ascended into heaven. On that day, the Christ of our hope demonstrated eternal life.

As the follower of the Christ, we carry His message. We light this candle to remember that he came to us humbly in the manger at Bethlehem and gave light to the world.

The candle of HOPE is to remind us to be alert and never forget that “Christ in You is Your Hope of Glory.”

You might choose to light a candle each week. Once the candle is lit now the waiting has begun. We have started on our way, time to think of Christmas Day.

candleCandle, candle, burning bright, shining in the cold winter night.
Candle, candle burning bright, fill our hearts with Christmas light.

I will share a story I told on Sunday, as I believe it is a perfect example of Unity’s teachings of seeing the good in the face of adversity. Hope is the precursor to Faith.

Two oncologists were overheard conversing one morning. One complained bitterly, “You know, Bob, I just don’t understand. We used the same drugs, the same dosage, the same schedule and the same entry criteria. Yet I get a 22% response rate …and you get a 74%. That’s UNHEARD of for meta-static cancer…. How do you do it?”

His colleague replied, “We’re both using: E-top-o-side, Platinum, On-co-vin and Hydroxy-urea….and you call it E.P.O.H., right? Well, instead of telling my patients they’re getting a drug called EPOH – I tell them I’m giving them a drug called HOPE! H.O.P.E (Same letters – different sequence). As dismal as the statistics are, I emphasize that we have a chance”
(By William M. Buchholz, M.D. Chicken Soup – Surviving Soul)

Having HOPE can make such a difference in our lives. One spark of Hope can catapult us over a chasm of doubt and fear!

“HOPE is the expectation of good in the future. Hope is a quality of sense mind because it is subject to time (i.e. the Future)”. Charles Fillmore, Co-founder of Unity
HOPE was awakened on a silent night over two thousand years ago in the form of a baby… and the Christ is still awakening in unexpected places, at unexpected times in our life and our world today.

This Christmas… awaken to the Christ… YOU… and remember:  Christ is your hope of glory!

Join us next week as we “Awaken to Peace.”
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Pat