Tag

spirituality

What Is UnSunday?

UnSunday is an opportunity to engage with other like-minded spiritual travelers, around topics that affect our lives and our world. It is interactive. There is no preaching and no expert. UnSunday provides a welcoming and safe container in which to explore ourselves and the times in which we live.

Chris does an introduction using video, poetry, or whatever else she finds compelling, and then facilitates dialog and processes to explore the topic and our responses to it. It’s a deepening experience, but it’s also funny & life-giving.

What else do I need to know?

Come a bit early to get your coffee or mimosa. See the map below for this month’s location. Wear what you want. Come as you are.

There is a still small voice that calls to us, telling us that there is something that only we can do. A calling, a higher purpose, a passion, a way of being or doing in the world. But we sometimes ignore it — maybe we’re afraid of it or believe we’re not up to what feels like the impossible.

In this talk, Rev. Chris uses Christian scripture to illustrate that we are not alone in our callings or our fears. She also reminds us that it’s not just little old us that can make the vision happen; it’s actually the presence of Spirit in us and that, in fact, if we can do it ourselves, the vision isn’t big enough!

Metaphysician Ernest Holmes said the world has learned all it can through suffering; modern day researcher Brene Brown says we humans are built for struggle. How do we find middle ground in this seeming dichotomy and move forward so that we can stand in right relationship to our humanness? Chris shares the wisdom she learned in Alcoholics Anonymous and in the Science of Mind & Spirit to come to a practical and positive understanding of how to live in the balance.

My beloved spiritual teacher told me a couple of weeks ago that I’m experiencing a classic dark night of the soul. It wasn’t news to me, but in an odd way it was comforting to hear her say it.

Despite the fact that I’m a preacher-chick with a pretty good understanding of the path and its peaks and valleys, like many spiritual travelers I’ve met I tell myself the ridiculous story about how if I were more spiritual I wouldn’t feel the way I do, wouldn’t be struggling, blah blah blah. It’s a lie, of course. I remind myself of these terms: spiritual journey; the path; a closer walk with thee. It’s not like one is supposed to find some level of understanding and faith and then build a house there. No, the point is to deepen, evolve, be on the journey. Anything else is known by another name: rut.

Anyhow, my teacher and I were attending the Circle of Love Gathering at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. (If your path is New Thought with an emphasis on the heart-way, this retreat is exquisite. You can find out about it here.) I spent a good bit of time in contemplation of my surroundings — a spaciousness the high desert conveys to my soul — and another good bit of time focused inwardly, on the cycle or wheel of the breath.

And that’s when it came together, became very real and intimate for me in the metaphor of the breath: The in-breath is not fully possible without the out-breath. The in-breath is that time of filling and newness that leads to fullness, and it’s beautiful and life-giving. But it can only happen after the exhale — that time of emptying that rids us of what is stale and fetid and no longer serves.

I’m breathing now. I’m allowing the breath to remind me of how important this dark night, this time of emptying, is. I know that what awaits me once I’ve fully surrendered to this part of the process will be the embracing of a fuller, deeper, more grounded version of myself. For now, I’m in the exhale.

I talk for a living and that’s a good thing. I love to talk. It’s something I can’t not do. Writing? Not so much. See, something happens when I write that doesn’t happen when I talk. When I talk, the words just sort of fly out of me — poof, they’re out there — and there is no time for me to ‘erase’ them or judge them or edit them (and yes, this is sometimes an issue). But when I write, that small lapse of time between the thought forming and the reproduction of that thought onto paper is just enough time for the infernal, internal critic to make her presence known. I could tell you all the things she says, but really, I’m sure you have your own version of her and one is definitely enough. The currency of the critic is fear, and man is she rich.

All that being said, this whole blogging thing… I’ve managed to put it off for three years now. Three is a nice number, a number representing wholeness, so I’m declaring that I am wholly finished putting this off and that I shall, dammit, I shall blog regularly, happily, and truthfully. I’d be pleased if someone actually reads this. But here’s what’s true: It is a spiritual practice for me to actually do something that I’m afraid to do, and the joy is in the overcoming of the fear, not in anyone’s recognition of it.

One more thing about doing something that you may be afraid to do. A brilliant teacher of mine once told me, on an occasion of great personal fear, that I should celebrate that fear. I thought she was nuts but had just enough respect for her to listen to her reasoning. She went on explain to my doubting mind that fear is a sign that we’re out of our comfort zone, and so when we feel it, we’re growing. It made sense then and it still does.

In a mostly outdated evolutionary sense, fear meant “Stop! Danger ahead,” and it served us by keeping us out of harm’s way, keeping us physically safe. But something has gone haywire, and our brains still tell us there’s danger even when there’s not. Actually, the real danger most of the time is that fear will keep us stuck and miserable, and the very mechanism that was meant to keep us safe now keeps us unnaturally frozen.

There. I’ve done it scared. I’m growing, and my spirit is a bit more free than it was thirty minutes ago. I hope you’ll try it; the freedom is worth it, and so are you.