Archive | May, 2011

Bravery

30 May

Yesterday wasn’t an ordinary Sunday at Unity of Independence (if such a thing exists). We like to have the kids involved in some way on the 5th Sundays, and so a few months ago I hatched a plan to have the Uniteens lead the service.

Now my Uniteens are great kids, sweet, insightful and with plenty of energy, but not jumping up and down about talking in front of a group of people with a microphone. So we made a deal, we would work on the service and they could do whatever parts they were comfortable with and I would fill in the rest.

My oldest decided she wanted to lead the meditation. As a group we created some skits to show how the 12 powers (what we’ve been studying) show up in their lives. We rehearsed and everyone was good with their level of speaking or not. Then Oh oh! One family isn’t going to make it. I reminded everyone that meant they were gonna have to talk and I was impressed with the calm way that was taken.

Sunday we sat down with the order of service and divided up the duties, welcoming, candle lighting, etc. then we re-cast our skits and rehearsed them. What was awesome for me was to see how every time I said, “who is going to do this?” Someone stepped up.

We had three great skits and a meditation and covered at least 6 powers. I had the role of tour guide and wove everything together. And I can easily say that my awesome uniteens not only made dramatic examples of the powers, they also showed these powers in them.

Faith, Strength and Imagination- they saw what they wanted and didn’t let their fears hold them back.

Wisdom and Understanding- not only did they demonstrate in a fun way what listening to the voice of spirit looks like they Understood that it was time to take the next step in leadership even though it might have been scary. They used wisdom to discern fun and meaningful ways to present their material.

Power- they used the power of their words and intentions to state their truth.

There are not words to describe how bursting with pride I am for how magnificently they showed up Sunday. I can’t wait till next time, as I told Korie who was very nervous about her meditation, that was the scariest it will ever be, next time it will be easier.

As I was thinking about this post, what came to mind was this fabulous song by Jana Stanfield.

Let us take a moment and consider what we would do today if we were as brave as my dear Uniteens.

I have great gratitude for the Unity of Independence community who said yes to letting us be brave and have this opportunity, truly, these young teens are making a difference in our world!

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Real Caves and Truthful Fiction

23 May
The first week in April my dear dear friend Terry and I visited Hannibal MO

on the way home from our friend Ron’s ordination ceremony. Hannibal was the childhood home of Mark Twain and Terry wanted to check it out. So we cheerfully set out on our adventure.It has been a LONG time since I read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.  The museum was pretty interesting, and they had some of the buildings that Mark Twain or his friends would have hung out in or reproductions of them. Then we were told we HAD to see this cave. The Mark Twain cave. So down the road we went, paid our admission and grabbed our hoodies (it’s always 52 degrees in the cave).Our knowledgeable and fun guide told us all sorts of interesting facts as we followed him through twists and turns. He wove together the story of the person who discovered the cave, the strange things that have happened in it and the story of Tom, Becky and Injun Joe. As we passed the ‘post office’ where Tom and Becky left letters for each other, an ‘AWWWW’ arose from the women in the group as our 19ish year old guide rolled his eyes. By the end of the 55 minute tour we were wrapped up in his magical story and then he reminded us that all the references to the Mark Twain stories were just that, a story.

WOAH partner!

Along with taking these cool pics, I was following along with the story and even though I kept reminding myself that it was a story, I found myself ‘Aww’ing along with everyone else.

I told Terry later that it would make a great talk, this whole experience. We went to Huck Finn’s house, but no, we really couldn’t now could we? We saw some beautiful caves, but Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer did not get lost or leave letters for each other in them. (Though it is confirmed that Jesse James did hide out there.)

What is real? Because a book is in a certain section of the library does that make it more authoritative than another? Does it make it more true? Does true mean historically/factually accurate or that Truth is expressed? Or are real people and places just a good foundation for a great story?

Here I make the not very big leap to apply all this to the Bible. (gasp!)

Many people take everything in the Bible as true and many people think it’s all made up. What if it’s both? What if the real places and people of Jerusalem were a good foundation for a great story that has a lot of Truth even if there isn’t historical accuracy?In my bible interpretation class every group that has presented so far has related the sections theywere working with to some Truth they have learned. Maybe Truth is wherever you look for it.For real
Rachel

DANCE!

22 May

This weekend I was blessed to participate in a central sub-regional Uniteen overnight. (Pre-teen lock-in layman’s terms).

It was great to spend some time with my group and Uniteens and sponsors from other local churches. We had some Dove chocolates for the adults and I took pictures of some of my wrappers.  They are great reminders.

Your smile is your best accessory. Gosh, you would think

that would be obvious to anyone right? But think about it, when you smile not only are you more likely to feel uplifted, you spread that to everyone around you. Spreading joy seems like a pretty worthy cause to me. This weekend we looked at some of the “all I need to know I learned in Kindergarten” ideas. Be nice and smile seems to fit in with that theme quite well.

Then there is this one:

for anyone who knows me knows that I have my own unique way of being, and yet, like everyone else I have struggled with being OK with being different than what seems ‘normal.’ One of the things I love about spending time at youth events like this weekend is that it’s all about authentically showing up. Especially for our young people, though it is true of all of us, having a safe place to be ourselves and discover what that actually means gives us the courage to be that all the time. And it never hurts to have a reminder.

My favortie of the bunch is, of course, this one :

I am not shy about getting up on the dance floor. Before I was born my mom said I was going to be a dancer or football player because I kicked so much. I can’t help but dance when there is music (and sometimes when it’s only in my head).

But this isn’t just about dancing. It’s about leading the pack, it’s about daring to do something a little scary because you see the potential. It’s about being yourself and doing whatever it is that is calling you.

So my friends, I ask you this: what dance floor is calling you to come shake your figurative groove thang? Be yourself, smile at those you meet, and there is a 100% chance of success.

Rock on,

Ra

The end of the world

20 May

It has been predicted and widely publicized that the rapture is happening tomorrow evening. A lucky 3% of the population will be sucked up into the sky to heaven and on October 21st it will be the end of the world as we know it.

Most of the people I am in regular contact with don’t take this prediction seriously, but it’s got me wondering a couple things. As an aside, I thought it was very considerate for the end of the world as we know it to not happen until 3 days AFTER my birthday.

I am not going to even pretend to be fluent on the details of this prediction, but what strikes me is what would it be like to really truly believe something such as the arrival of the rapture. Do you pay your bills? do you tell the people you love that you love them? (though presumably if you’re going ‘up’ so are they, so they’ll be there) Do you make appointments for the week after? I am bursting with curiosity on if the man who predicted this has things on his schedule for next week.

What would it be like to believe in something like that? The story goes that Myrtle Fillmore peacefully took care of saying farewell to her dear ones and within weeks passed on. These kinds of stories aren’t rare, I think for many of us, that would be the preferred model. But back to believing and the rapture. What is amazing to me is the bravery of this man to say this is going to happen, something that seems beyond belief to a large portion of the world, and have it so publicly shared. What, if this doesn’t happen tomorrow, will be his response?

What do I believe to a point that I would be comfortable to have it on billboards? What would I do if something I held with that much certainty was disproven?

The other thing I’m struck by in all this is the end of the world as we know it. ‘As we know it’ is the most important part in my book. I don’t think that we have to wait till October for that, many times in my life have been the end of the world as I knew it. Right at this moment the world is shifting in big and small ways, someone is dying, someone is being born, a child is reading the book that will inspire their life, a long hidden love is being revealed, a smile is bringing joy to the lonely. A million firsts and lasts happening now and at every moment.

I was chatting with some ladies the other day and we were remarking how we definitely would NOT want to be 14 again. Not that there was anything wrong with my experience of being 14, but what I know now is so much better. That world has ended for me. I have had times when I have wanted something to stay the way it was when the world has already moved on. I was definitely not in heaven at these points.

Maybe when we choose to think and be as the divine beings that we are, we can ascend the world as we know it to another level of being.

Of course that means the end of the world as we know it… are you ready?

The Inner Tower

19 May

The other day I took this picture outside the Unity Village Tower. The tower was completed in 1929 and after many Missouri summers and winters it needs a good deal of repair. It hosts a 100,000 gallon water tank that is the primary water source for the entire Village and originally had offices and the visitor’s center. Now for a couple years it has been surrounded by a fence because of the potential of masonry falling from the top. It is a Kansas City landmark and can be seen from all over. It is strong in the memories and hearts of many.

Last year there was a lot of excitement and energy put into the renovation of the central courtyard and activation of the new fountains. When I hear people talk about the fountains and how beautiful they are they often say in the next breath, I can’t wait for the tower to be fixed. I am on-board with that, the last (and as far as I can remember) only time I was in the tower was only in the main floor where my YOU (Youth of Unity) family group was assigned to meet. I have had brushes with almost getting to go up and had it not quite happen. So, to say the least, I am right there with everyone who is highly anticipating the reopening of the observation deck. I was infinitely grateful to learn that there was a fabulous couple who are donating a significant chunk of the money to make the renovation happen.

Like I have a tendency to do, I started asking questions of the folks who actually know what’s going on. What they told me was that the work had already begun, but that we wouldn’t see much of it until it was almost complete.

Which is why I took this picture in the first place. The tower is mostly behind the tree, and there is in the middle of the ground a dirt pile. It is the only obvious sign that anything is going on.

Then I got to thinking, that’s kinda like life. There is a deterioration of an old belief, the weather of experiences is saying ‘hey! this is not viable anymore’ so you put a fence around it. Then you think, ok, I need to come up with a plan… tear it down? make condos? renovate? shore up the structure with newer technology (aka ideas)?

Then the committee gets involved. Maybe it’s naysayers in the form of friends or family who want you to be a certain way, maybe it’s the naysayers in your mind who haven’t figured out to believe yet. You can stay there for a while, but the problem is:

The Tower is still crumbling!

You decide on a direction.  But it doesn’t happen overnight, and the results are not immediately obvious. The inner work is happening bit by bit over days and weeks and years. Walls are being shored up and new elevator equipment installed. Each day some old mortar is removed and replaced by new. You think you’re almost there and then oh no! another remnant from the past.

And then finally, after you have hauled in buckets of new ideas to replace the buckets of stuff-that’s-not-working you hauled out, you unveil. In what looks like a blink of the eye to the casual observer you have shifted your whole way of being. Your close friends, the ones who have been witnessing you dump out the ickyness buckets and helping fill them with confidence when you’re short, they know. They are as happy for the new unfenced you as I will be the day the tower is reopened.

But then, what will be next? Before the fountains were even finished we were looking to the next project. Stop, take a moment to bask in the beauty of what you have done, and then, as the Zen proverb says,

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

The work is a continual process, just as physical structures must be cared for, maintained, and sometimes completely overhauled, so too is our inner process. Sometimes we can’t see it, but it’s happening.

I hope that you keep hauling those buckets so that the tower within you can always take you to whatever height you desire.

Peace,

Rachel