The Gifts of Winter

History has been made today with the inauguration of our first female ever to be elected in the second-highest office in our country. I for one am grateful to be living to witness this historic moment. This to me is not about politics but about gender equality. Think about a collage of presidents and vice presidents over our country’s history, including our newest, and you will see only ONE woman amongst them.

Why is this significant for me, because I am fortunate enough to be in a profession that has historically been predominately men. Unity was progressive from its inception and women have always been among those who have been ordained as Unity ministers. In fact, there are probably more women ministers in Unity than men. So, with Kamala Harris as our vice president, women have taken a huge step forward.

The message on Sunday began a series that hopefully will bring a lighter tone in what can be seen as a dark time in our county. It is called “Our journey through the Gifts of Winter”. A packet with some fun and educational material was sent out to all who contributed financially during the months of October through December and I have heard that the mail has been extremely slow, and many have not received their packet. Hopefully, by the time you get this, it will have arrived. A couple of corrections on the calendar. The time for the Sunday service is incorrect; you are aware hopefully that we begin at 10 a.m. Also, I will be opening a Zoom call on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 during the weeks of this series for anyone who would like to chat about what impacted them in the message on Sunday. 

Some of the highlights of the message was the need for rest during the winter months. Just as nature needs a rest, so do we. This period of rest is a letting go just as the leaves let go of the trees, we let go of what no longer serves us both in the physical and in our minds.

In Chinese, medicine winter is associated with water. A balanced Water element allows fluidity and flow, an ability to rest and nourish oneself and others, to guide perception and reflection, and have a ready expression of feelings such as love.

In the Hindu tradition, they teach of four cycles of life just as nature has four seasons. The four cycles of life are student, householder, retirement, and lastly, after letting go of all that no longer serves, we attain the bliss of emptiness. 

I am excited that the talk on Sunday has stirred a few of you and, with your permission, I am sharing.

An email from Betty Gates said this: “I love Maine winters! I did some research before I moved to Maine 33 years ago and found that there are more days of sunshine in the Portland area than there are in Houston, Texas. It’s true!”

And from Carol Holt, a poem she had written several years ago:

S O L I T U D E

Summer seashore cluttered
with umbrellas
and gaudy beach towels
gives me no peace
no sense of Solitude.

I long for winter
The hush of snow falling
Listening for the silence
Between the heartbeat
of the waves.

From Elizabeth Peterson’s poem, who says she is wanting to see winter differently this year:

Ode to Winter

The barren trees
The icy ground…frozen to the core
Where is the warmth…
the beauty that sustains me/that fills my soul
“shhhhhhh….listen. I am resting.
Come with me for just a bit.
Rest in the quiet with me.
Be filled in this moment of bleakness.
Find the beauty in the Stillness
of this stripped-down version of the quiet.
Of me….your friend Winter.
I am beauty. I am love. I am peace.
I am the sleeping yet emerging light.
Look deep. There I Am.
Acknowledge the Sacredness of THIS time too.
Enjoy the Quiet. Find the Beauty
where before you thought none existed.
Find me…your quiet friend winter. shhhhhhhhhhh

Join me next Sunday as we explore The Joy of Rest.

Before I sign off, in just 10 days, the Season for Nonviolence begins. You will be receiving information on the specifics next week; however, this past Sunday I left you with a practice that you can begin right now.

Nonviolence begins by learning how to be less violent and more compassionate toward our own being and allowing that evolving self to act in the world with mature understanding. In learning to speak and act with self-respect, honor, and reverence, we find the courage to lift those who are underserved or unrepresented — in the name of justice for all.

Practice: Believing

Author Wayne Dyer writes about the impact that our beliefs have on our daily lives. Each day this week, believe you have all the resources to move your life in the direction of peace. Be aware of simple demonstrations of peaceful responses you receive.

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

P.S. On Thursday evening at 7 p.m., join me for the Spiritual Exploration group. We will be discussing an article that appeared in the Portland Press Herald written by our friend of Unity, Vaishali Mamgain. 

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

 

The White Stone Ceremony

Lordy, Lordy the Universe is surely shaking things up a bit wouldn’t you say? I began Sunday’s service with a prayer written by my friend and colleague Rev. Angela Denton titled “Let Us, We the People, Ascend.” It begins: “Let the pain and suffering of darkness that plagues our nation be the catalyst that awakens us.” This then takes me to remember Valarie Kaur saying, “What if this isn’t the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb.” And then to scripture John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” And lastly the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” LOVE is the answer. GOD is the answer…GOD IS LOVE!

This past Sunday was our White Stone celebration. If you missed the service you can watch it here…and participate in the meditation to find your word, symbol, or sign for this year.

The message this week was “Never Let Your Dreams Die.” Here are quotes from many names you recognize that remind us how important our dreams are.

“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” — George Lucas

T.S. Eliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

Mary Kay Ash said, “A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.”

Walt Disney once said, “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Steven Spielberg says, “I don’t dream at night, I dream all day; I dream for a living.”

Jerry Seinfeld gave a great suggestion on how he was able to keep writing during the “in-between time” (the in-between time is defined in the message). He got a wall calendar with the whole year and put it up and got a red marker.

He said: For each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.

During the Coffee Hour, it was suggested to take a calendar and copy the month and do as Jerry suggests if you don’t have room for a large yearly calendar.

No dreamer is ever too small; no dream is ever too big. Remember with God all things are possible. If you need support in holding the vision for your dream, we have both a Men’s Group and Women’s Group that would be a safe and supportive group to share your dream with.

Next Sunday I am beginning another series called “The Gifts of Winter.” Stay tuned; it is going to be a fun adventure as we journey through the next five weeks.

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

 

Our Personal Prayer/Top Ten List for 2021

Happy New Year! You made it out of 2020…give yourself a pat on the back…well done!

As we step into 2021, I believe it is fair to say we are all holding in prayer the success of the vaccines for COVID-19 to be administered to all who are willing to take it in an expedient time frame. I also believe it is fair to say we all want to be back together again in our sanctuary as soon as it is safe to do so.

I am always grateful on Sunday morning when so many of you join us for the service. I appreciate the notes in the chatbox and read every one of them. This past Sunday we had folks on from Florida, North Carolina, VA, New York, New Hampshire and London, England. Please keep coming back; we love you!

Just in case you may not know the services are available on both Facebook at Unity of Greater Portland and on YouTube at Unity for Spiritual Growth, not only Sunday morning but archived as well. If you missed the New Year’s Eve service, it is there also.

On Sunday I concluded the series on prayer. Here you will find the top ten list for creating a rich and robust personal prayer life. I am not going to expound on them here; you can watch the service.

10. Take an intentional, few moments every day to simply think about God.
9. Pray using simple, natural words.
8. Use affirmative, positive words – only.
7. Pray with belief and faith.
6. Offer prayers of gratitude and only gratitude and on a regular basis.
5. Pray as you go about the business of the day.
4. Practice the attitude of putting everything in God’s hands – aka surrender.
3. Pray for the people you do not like.
2. Prayer for a closer relationship with God.
1. Open yourself to be used by God.

This list is a great start for getting into a regular prayer practice for the year.

Next Sunday is the White Stone Service, so have your stone handy… and this Thursday evening is the women’s group… Women Empowering Women at 6:30 p.m. 

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