All Is Welcome Here

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In just a couple of days it will be July 4th. For many, this day will pass just like any other in this time of COVID-19. The usual picnics and family barbeques will not be happening and the traditional fireworks in most areas have been canceled. We celebrate July 4th as we have for the last 244 years as it was a very important event in our history. It was when we won our independence from England. When we became the United States of America, an independent nation.

I believe we are living right now in a most important time once again in our history. We are witnessing another call for freedom from our black, brown, and indigenous people of color. I want to thank our community for the support we receive for standing with our brothers and sisters of all races, religions, and sexual orientations. We have been open to all who have come through our doors and will continue to as well as to make our presence known in the greater community.

For over six years we have been actively participating in hosting speakers that are bringing the message of nonviolence, educating us on other religions and spiritual practices. We have been holding classes on peace literacy, the Golden Rule of all major religions, and organizing an ongoing presence at the rotary of 202 and 302 on Sundays in Windham for peace, justice, and equality.

I am telling you all of this because a friend sent me a text today. She asked if I had one sermon to give, what would it be. My response was to see everyone as a human being made in the image of God. We are here to live in harmony and peace, accepting we all have various opinions on issues but not on the issue of our humanity.

Now having said all this, it moves me to our message from Sunday: “All is Welcome Here” from the book What’s in the Way IS the Way by Mary O’Malley. Over the last few weeks, we have been talking about the storyteller in our head, which keeps us out of the meadow of peace. The Storyteller in our head gives us false information, often scary information. It is at our heart level that we must learn to listen compassionately within. Our Heart is the LOVER of WHAT IS! Our heart accepts and loves ourselves. Our Heart takes us into the Oneness from which we care, and cherishes all parts of us. Our heart is open to life and its flow.

Mary says: “The amazing thing is that our Storyteller, with its fears, judgments, resistance, doubts, confusions, shame, and addiction to control – is here to teach you about living from your heart again. Everything that tightens you in your life is a request for the healing energy of your heart. The full transformation of the spells that make up your clouds of struggle happens when the spells are met with your compassionate attention. It is your mind that tries to solve things. It is your heart that dissolves them.”

All things divinely intended for my life must be made welcome – heartbreaking, unfair and ugly are surely well deserved, but more than that, they make way for the truest truths and a love so impossibly beautiful it will outlast this soul for sure. ~ Grace Gibson

Next Sunday will be “All is Well – Come Here.”

On another topic: Dinner that Dee prepared last Friday was scrumptious. If you want to pick up or dine out at the church this Friday, email Dee to place your order by this evening.

You are a blessing in my life,

Rev. Patricia Bessey

Directly Exploring Life

Again, this week I am excited to say I have some great news to share with you. Of the many ways in which COVID-19 has affected us, a couple stand out for me. One is missing personal connection with folks I love and care about. I know the importance of physical distancing and have been very diligent in safely sheltering at home except when necessary to go out. The other place where I have been affected is in cooking everyday… that does not sound like a big deal and for some it isn’t, but for me it is. I find I fall into a pattern of having the same meals every week and quite honestly it is boring. So therefore I am so excited to share with you that one meal a week can be prepared by one of our chef Extraordinaires, Dee Capoldo.

Here is the deal… Dee is directly connected to an organization in Biddeford that receives food for distribution to low-income individuals and nonprofits. They have been getting more food than they can distribute. They have asked if churches could make use of some of the food. Dee contacted me and it was agreed this would be a blessing for our community. Every Friday, until further notice, Dee will prepare a tasty vegetarian, gluten-free meal that will include a starch, protein, and vegetables. This will be ready for you at 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday. You will be responsible to email or text Dee no later than Wednesday evening (so do it right now) if you want a meal. 

Here are the requirements to maintain safe distancing. You will stay in your vehicle and the meal will be brought to you. Should you want to eat on the grounds, bring a lawn chair, utensils to eat with, and napkins. You can sit outside your vehicle or somewhere on the grounds, again maintaining safe distancing and wearing a mask before and after you eat. This meal is being offered on a love-offering basis. If you wish to donate, place your donation in an envelope and hand it to Dee (he will wear gloves.)

As we continue with the talk series based on the book What is in the Way IS the Way by Mary O’Malley, again the material is so timely. This week the title of the chapter is Directly Experiencing Life. The author says:
Life is set up
To bring up
What has been bound up,
So it can open up
To be freed up,
So you can show up
For Life.

In other words, Life is for us. All it brings to us is for us. She invites us to become “tightness detectives”. Here is what she says: “Whenever you identify with the spells that make up your clouds of struggle, your body, heart and mind tighten. This dims the free-flowing aliveness that you are. Tightness signals you to become curious about what you are experiencing. Whenever you are tightening, it is guaranteed that you are resisting something…”

It is a gigantic leap in your awakening when you realize that your suffering does not come from what is happening in your life… suffering comes from believing your stories about what is happening. To be empowered in any situation is to notice when you are getting tight and don’t get hooked into the stories of victimhood. Instead, show up for what life is giving you!

Mary says: “When you are noticing you are tightening, it can be very helpful to smile. There is increasing scientific evidence that shows how smiling can literally change the neural pathways in your brain, especially when you allow the smile to fill your body. Many of your reactions will let go in the presence of a smile.”

Your homework this week is: When you feel yourself tightening up, ask yourself, “What story am I listening to right now?”

By not tightening around discomfort, you allow the clouds of struggle to pass through you.

And lastly ask yourself this from Pema Chodron: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to Life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”

I am enjoying this series so much and I hope you are as well… this coming week is “All Is Welcome Here.”

Just a reminder: There is still time to register for the class on Spiritual Exploration of Privilege, Racism and Allyship. 

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

The Healing Power of Curiosity

I am happy to share some wonderful news… we have seven new members who have completed the requirements for membership. They are Christene Berg, Sherry Biegel, Julie Cervone, Carol Holt, Betti Lu Lewis, Ryan Polly, Sandy Watson. We will have a celebration of them once we reconvene to meeting in person.

The Leadership Team continues to monitor the reopening situation and will keep you apprised of any decisions we make. Currently we are watching what the schools are going to do and staying abreast of Maine CDC recommendations.

It has been another tough week in our country, and I feel we are being called higher in our own understanding of privilege, racism and allyship and as a result we are offering a course to look at these issues and educate ourselves. The information on the course taught by Rev. Dr. Ryan Polly is on our web calendar.

As we continue through the talk series from the book What is in the Way IS the Way by Mary O’Malley we examined the Healing Power of Curiosity. I am going to share a bit from the book that I didn’t share in the talk. It is in the section title “Nothing To Be Ashamed Of.” O’Malley writes, “Remember, at one time there were no thoughts in your head. When you showed up out of mystery as an infant, you had no ideas about Life – none at all. You experienced Life by feeling it, and the unconscious giants that were your parents were full of every feeling a person can have: anger, sadness, fear, love, confusion, judgment, kindness, jealousy, shame. Just as you learned language by listening to it, you learned the language of unconsciousness by feeling it.” Pg 98

Let this sink in for a minute.

“When you were young, you were wide open to Life, and you could feel what was happening inside of the people around you. For example, if your parents were arguing down in the basement and you were up in the attic, you could still feel what they were experiencing, even though you couldn’t hear them. You couldn’t usually make sense of it, but you experienced it. What you were absorbing from the adults around you became the building blocks of your view of yourself and of Life, and this view was fully formed by the time you were six.” Pg 98

A few paragraphs on she says, “To get a sense of what I am talking about here, imagine that when you were born, you showed up in a huge warehouse that was filled with piles of Lego pieces sorted by shape, size, and color. Each pile represented an aspect of the human mind, like self-judgment, sadness, happiness, loneliness, rage, kindness, anxiety, exuberance, doubt, hope, or skepticism. Your job was to build a Lego spaceship (the storyteller in your head), and the only requirement was that you had to take at least one Lego from each pile. The result was that inside you (like inside everyone else) are all the variations of anger, fear, grief, and shame that make up our storytellers. Each person puts their Lego ship together differently, so you may have more sadness than anger, more grief than fear, or more kindness than meanness. But everything a human being is capable of is inside of you.” Pg 100

Once again let this sink in…

“Curiosity is your sacred talisman, for when you are curious about what you are experiencing, you are relating to it rather than from it. The more you do this, the less you will fall under the spells.” Pg 102

As you can tell this chapter really spoke to me and because of what we are experiencing as a country it helps to understand some of what is going on within ourselves and others…

I conclude this with a poem from John O’Donohue out his book, Anam Cara:

A Blessing of Solitude
May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul.
May you realize that you are never alone,
that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you
intimately with the rhythm of the universe.
May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.
May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique,
that you have a special destiny here,
that behind the façade of your life there is something
beautiful, good, and eternal happening.
May you learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride, and
expectation with which God sees you in every moment.

Join me next week as we explore “Directly Exploring Life.” 

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

If you are having a birthday in June, I have a gift for you. It is meeting with me and completing an Annual Spiritual Checkup. We can do this by using Zoom, Skype or telephone. Let me know when your birthday is and that you would like to schedule a time to receive your gift. You can contact me here.

For your safety, continue to social distance and wear face masks. The church building remains closed for gatherings of all services and group meetings. All business with the church office needs to be via telephone or email.

LET’S STAY CONNECTED!

June 7 Sunday Service

Phew what a week it has been! We have seen protests happening all across our country and right here in Maine as well. We have had folks from our community participating in the protests and those others of us who have been holding the high watch.

My colleague Rev Leddy Hammock, wrote this in a Facebook post and I want to pass it along as I agree totally…she wrote: “Should we march? Is it safe? Is it right? What signs should we carry?

Our Unity faith tradition is for each person to pray first and then follow inner guidance. Therefore, we will not tell you whether or not to demonstrate for social justice.”

This is in direct alignment with our mission statement, which is “we reach in to reach out” and then take the guidance.

She goes on to say: “Life is consciousness.” Whether we march with our feet or not, we are, most certainly, marching together in consciousness toward change and the journey will reflect the way we think. Emmet Fox taught that it is impossible to have one kind of mind and another kind of life. If we want justice, we must be just. If we want peace, we must be peaceful. Whether we march with our feet or not, we are collectively in shift mode toward a new normal that is necessary, yet not easy. Victor Hugo shared these invigorating words: “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” Whether you march or not, do it for love, not fear. Keep an open mind and heart. Whether you speak Truth to power out loud or in the Silence, one thing is for sure: “It’s been a long time comin’, but change is gonna come” (Sam Cooke).

On Sunday evening we had a Zoom call with more than 20 folks from our community discussing how they personally are being impacted by the events of the week and the question posed to them by Ryan Polly, who is new to our community but not new to this work. The question he posed to the group was, “What ways are you holding on to privilege; what ways will you start letting it go?”

As a result of the interest from the group, Ryan has agreed to do a four-week class, Thursday evenings beginning June 25.

We were blessed on Sunday morning with the live appearance (via live stream) of Daniel Nahmod. Daniel has been writing and singing New Thought music for over 20 years. We sing his songs often and it was wonderful having him.

The topic from the series What’s in the way IS the Way was about restoring life to ourselves and others by remembering the truth of our being and our ONENESS.

In this chapter, author Mary O’Malley had a section on the Power of Questions. The question we need to ask ourselves is how we allow a system to continue that doesn’t work for people who are marginalized because of the color of their skin. And it is not working for the Indigenous people in our state as well.

We as a community need to go deeper into asking ourselves how we allow a system to continue that works only for those of us who have privilege. And maybe that is where we need to begin. To ask ourselves if we even realize that we live a privileged life because of the color of our skin.

This leads right back to the question that was asked to the group on Sunday evening… “What ways are you holding on to privilege; what ways will you start letting it go?”

Next Sunday the topic will be “The Healing Power of Curiosity.”

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

If you are having a birthday in June, I have a gift for you. It is meeting with me and completing an Annual Spiritual Checkup. We can do this by using Zoom, Skype or telephone. Let me know when your birthday is and that you would like to schedule a time to receive your gift. You can contact me here.

For your safety, continue to social distance and wear face masks. The church building remains closed for gatherings of all services and group meetings. All business with the church office needs to be via telephone or email.

LET’S STAY CONNECTED!