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Yes, God Yes! When Spirit speaks to me, my answer will be…yes, God yes. As I am listening to Deana sing this song from her Friday Music Night, it is perfect for what I want to share. A few weeks ago, I shared that Dee Capoldo was ordained. He is not letting any dust settle under his feet. He contacted Volunteers of America (VOA) and has been accepted as one of their volunteer chaplains. As a disabled vet, his heart is with other veterans and he wanted to join in solidarity with them. He is an alumnus of their transitional apartments for homeless vets and submitted a proposal to VOA. He requested that he be able to prepare a meal once a month at each of the two transitional veteran homes in Biddeford. These homes are for homeless vets who have been sober at least 30 days, or homeless and diagnosed with PTSD.
His request was granted. Dee needed to make it safe during COVID 19 and that meant it needed to be outside. He saw the need for a grill and lawn chairs for each house and went right into action. He went to Home Depot and asked for their help. They provided the two grills for free, but the 20 outside chairs and grillware (covers for winter, cleaning tools and grill utensils) were not covered financially. He contacted me and asked if the Unity community could help.
I immediately said yes, so he purchased what was needed and it came to $400. This is such a worthy endeavor and I know you will be willing to generously donate to cover the $400 expense. You can either donate online and let us know it is for VETS or mail in a check with VETS in the memo line. Any additional funds we raise will go to making these monthly meals special. We already have 6 Unity members who will take turns accompanying Dee! You can reach out to Dee if you care to get in the rotation of serving those who served our country and us.
I thank you in advance for your support. These vets rarely get a hot, home-cooked meal…Dee knows this from experience. He had two meals cooked by others during his time in transitional housing. Now, because of our Unity members and Home Depot, the veterans will get at least one a month. I am quite sure that all the vets that will be served will greatly appreciate your donations.
What’s in the Way is the Way is the title of the book I have been using and enjoying! This week was “Life Is for You.” Mary O’Malley, the author, calls this book a practical guide for waking up to life. There are just two more chapters and I am so glad that I have chosen to do this series.
When you watch the service you might think it is December 24th because I am talking about the young girl Mary who is told she will be with child and her reaction to it as well as Joseph’s reaction when he hears the woman he is betrothed to is with child and he is not the father. This story is so poignant to the lesson this week.
Mary O’Malley reminds us, “Life is not a random series of events that happen because you did your life right or wrong. It is an intelligent unfolding that is always speaking to you, always waking you up.”
As we grow spiritually, we often move through a series of shifts in consciousness.
1. Life happens to you!
2. Life happens by you!
However, in both of these we are fighting with LIFE itself. We are trying to change, fix, resist, and control Life, which puts a veil between us and Life.
3. Life happens in you!
4. Life happens for you!
We see that suffering comes from resisting or attaching and trying to control Life. We begin to respond rather than to react to life more and more.
As we grow in using our curiosity to explore life, we see that LIFE is putting us in situations we need in order to see our SPELLS.
5. Life happens through you!
6. Life is you!
These final two phases of consciousness are all about coming home to the meadow.
The more you relax into the flow of Life, the more you experience the joy of “Life happens through you.” As you reconnect with the meadow again, you recognize that “Life is you.”
Your homework this week:
Meet the places within you that you are most afraid of… become curious about them rather than afraid…
As you listen to them they lose their power of you… the bound up energy is released and you find yourself in the meadow.
You have never really left the meadow… all the joy, clarity, and aliveness that you have longed for has been with you all along.
You have been giving your attention to the storyteller however you are now able to give yourself the gift of living from the meadow of your being.
So, next week we end with “The Song of the Heart.”
Have a blessed week and hope to see you at the Friday night dinner from 5 – 6 p.m. in the parking lot at Unity Center for Spiritual Growth.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey
You have heard this from me before however, it bears repeating. I am so grateful to be living now and so curious to see what continues to unfold both in my life, the life of Unity Center for Spiritual Growth and in our world. Every day brings new awareness and an opportunity to awaken more to what it means to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom.
Yes, you read that correctly a citizen of God’s Kingdom. In God’s Kingdom is where love, compassion, peace and treating each other with kindness, respect, and dignity no matter the color of their skin, the religious affiliation, their gender, or the sexual preference is found.
Something else I want to say is that we have a strong, healthy congregation and I know that because we have some very generous givers. A recent book I picked up is called Twelve Keys to an Effective Church and there is a chapter on generous giving. It says: For many grassroots persons, leaders, and pastors, generous giving is a way of life. They experience the generosity of God’s grace in their lives. The way they live their life is the way they give. They do not “protect and preserve, conserve and hold their meager financial resources.” They know that God has not done that with them. They know of God’s generous grace with them. They are generous givers because God is the generous giver with them.
During the offering on Sunday Steph Plourde boldly stated that her life changed dramatically once she started attending Unity and that she realized that she had not been giving back in the same measure as she received and was making a statement that she was changing that in the future. I tell you this as a reminder that being a generous giver is not something we do out of a spirit of goodwill. Being generous is God’s gift to us. Here is a way to think about this and it excites me, being generous givers is not of our own doing, it is God’s gift to us. So, we are not losing anything when we give, we are opening for more of God in our life.
This past Sunday the talk was on making everything welcome…the core message of the book we are using What’s in the Way IS the Way is, “Life is set up, to bring up what has been bound up, so it can open up to be freed up, so we can show up for Life.”
The author Mary O’Malley says we are made up of three layers… the first layer is where the storyteller is narrating for us the world it sees. It is all about control…compulsion and resistance…here is where the clouds form and fill our heads.
The second layer is made up of the so-called unacceptable, unmet parts of ourselves. These are the parts we don’t want to acknowledge or don’t want others to see so the controlling, compulsive top layer buries them deep within us. These are the not good enough, not smart enough, the parts of us that are full of despair. They are influencing us from underneath our everyday awareness…
The third layer…or bottom layer is who we really are…it is the meadow of our being. We know we are there when there is a twinkle in our eye…an aliveness in our body…and we are radiating and vibrantly showing up. It is here that we are living in the meadow.
I am excited to say that Todd Glacy is back and will be sharing music with us this Sunday. The talk will be “Life Is for You.”
Also sign up for dinner on Friday evening from 5 to 6 p.m. with Dee. Email him or text him at 207-337-3953. Come and visit whether you decide to eat or not. It is an opportunity to visit with friends while social distancing outside wearing masks when not eating.
Have a fabulous week and spend as much time communing with nature as you can.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey
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.
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
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
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.
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Our usual schedule:
8 a.m. Early Bird Service
9:15 a.m. Morning Prayer Circle
9:30 a.m. Meditation
10 a.m. Sunday Service
Unity Center for Spiritual Growth
54 River Road
Windham, ME 04062-4047 Get a map
Phone: (207) 893-1233
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