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When I tell people I am a Yoga Instructor, many often reply with, “I know Yoga is good for you, but I just can’t do it because I am too old, fat, tight, uncoordinated, or intimidated.”
Imagine being in a class where the instructor recommends that you close your eyes and just let go of everything. Imagine just be there with the time to enjoy listening to the sound of your own breath. What if you were in a class where the instructor said to slowly bend forward and hang your arms down
(as if they were rag doll arms) toward the earth, and if you can’t touch the floor— it didn’t matter?
Did you know that when you practice Yoga in the traditional way, you are instructed to love yourself, to let go of judgment, and to be grateful for what you can do. Now, doesn’t that sound wonderful? Yoga is meditation in movement, and breath is medicine. I am going to answer the question “Why Yoga?”
If your neck, shoulders, back, or hips hurt— practice Yoga. If you feel depressed, anxious, insecure, stressed, or have low energy— practice Yoga. If you have been told you need to work out with weights to keep your bones strong— practice Yoga. Yes, that’s right. Most people don’t realize they they can build strong bones by practicing Yoga. The challenge as we grow older is to exercise in a way that does not contribute to bone fractures. The usual forms of weight-bearing, high impact exercise such as jogging and other sports often contribute to joint destruction that can result in hip and knee replacements. Non impact, non weight-bearing exercise such as swimming won’t wear out your joints, but it won’t strengthen your bones either. The good news is that a balanced Yoga practice can give you all the positive benefits of weight-bearing exercise without negative wear and tear on your joints.
*Learn to Meditate with Yoga is an upcoming class meeting at the Center in May.
So, lately there have been a lot of conversations about books.
Some want them banned, kept from the innocent hands and minds of children. Some want to burn them, kept from anyone whose life is sparked by imagination. I guess they prefer our children to watch the hate and destruction that is popular in action movies, or to learn that our minds are limited.
As a group of believers, I would be willing to bet that many of the books that underpin and explain our beliefs would be heretical to some. After all, do we not say that we are God in form and action? The writers who explain the beliefs we hold looked at Scripture in a novel way (pun intended); does that make us threatening?
How do we oppose this trend? We buy banned books, or borrow them, and read them. Build a library of knowledge that outsiders cannot destroy or dispute. Encourage study of our principles and practices. Read widely as much as well.
Heinrich Heine wrote, “Wherever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn human beings.” Let us stand up to those who would ban or burn books in whatever way we can.
I read banned books. Do you?
Now is the time to begin planning your Spring food garden!
Whether you have acres or mere feet in which to plant, the joys and health benefits of growing, harvesting, and eating your own fresh foods are plentiful indeed! No one is exempt from enjoying these benefits with a modest amount of space and effort. Even urban apartment dwellers can grow fresh herbs, tomatoes, lettuces, peppers, squash, carrots, beets, peas, and beans. With a little bit of advance planning and the right ingredients, you can create the garden that is just right for your needs. Your garden has the potential to reward you mentally, physically and even spiritually for many months to come. This can even be done year-round, with a little additional planning and preparation.
The first ingredient for a successful food garden, as with most worthwhile endeavors, is a mindset of willingness and enthusiasm. You must plan what veggies and / or herbs you want and learn how and when to begin cultivating them. Needless to say, that plan will vary widely depending on what you choose to plant, where to plant, and so on. The other essential ingredients are probably not hard to guess. Adequate sunlight, healthy soil (a whole, rather amazing subject unto itself), enough water, quality seeds (or plant stock) and a good mulch of some kind to cover and protect your soil. While the details of such an undertaking are beyond the scope of this little "elevator pitch", there is plenty of good guidance to be found. Fortunately, YouTube is loaded with videos on every aspect of the process. Your local Agricultural Extension Agency may be able to provide valuable help and insight as well as provide soil testing for pH and nutrients.
My favorite two books on the subject of gardening are Toby Hemenway's "Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture" and Eliot Coleman's "Four = Season Harvest". It is an ongoing learning process, so be patient and just put in what time you can as you are able. Consistency is key. When we open ourselves to Nature and learn to work with her, she will reveal to us her magic and magnificence. This relationship with Nature and our food can transcend practicality and become an art form, a meditation, a healing therapy, and a source of nourishment for our whole being. This is a gift you can't put a price on.
If the caterpillar knew its destiny to become a colorful butterfly, would it mourn the loss of its caterpillar existence? Would it feel like a “failure” because it can no longer succeed in the caterpillar world? Or would the butterfly glory in its new wings of freedom?
The caterpillar is born with a set of cells called imaginal buds. They are dormant until the time is ripe, and then they awaken and multiply. At first the caterpillar’s immune system attacks these cells, perceiving them as invaders. Yet it is the caterpillar’s own genes that are doing the work of transformation that will lead to a greater destiny. Then comes the seemingly ultimate failure. When the caterpillar’s body can no longer fight the forces of change, it spins a cocoon. Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar’s body is no longer recognizable, and all boundaries dissolve. Only when the creature emerges from its cocoon will this process of loss and disintegration reveal the beauty of the butterfly.
When I look at my losses and “failures” I understand that my view is limited, and there is a larger context that connects unseen forces working toward a greater destiny. What might be considered a failure in one era could be the genesis of a success in another era. We who are in process must be wary of labeling ourselves as “successes” or “failures.” We are too close to the situation to see clearly.
At age thirty-two, Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome, contemplated suicide. A series of business failures made him feel that the best thing he could do was to relieve the world of his unwanted presence. He didn’t commit suicide, but he did decide he would live as if he had died that night. He committed to questioning continuously, “What is it on this planet that needs doing that I know something about, that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?” Instead of trying to avoid failure or create success, he just kept asking questions, following his instincts, and contributing to each situation as it arose. Working for the Universe instead of himself, he made a lasting contribution that is still affecting our society in positive ways today.
It is time to move beyond labels of “success” or “failure.” We are all in process, and we are all beautiful children of the Most High who are growing into greater expressions of good in wonderful and mysterious ways. The endless love of the Divine Givingness is there to help us transform our caterpillar dreams into butterfly realities.
• Treat with me…
There is one life and that life is God, and that life is my life now. Every day I evolve and expand my consciousness. I make positive choices that empower me to embody love in action. I know that every challenge is an opportunity for something greater to express itself in, through, and for me. Some may call it a miracle, but I call it the Law of Life and Love, the presence and power of the Divine Intelligence working in my affairs to bring forth the highest good for all. That which I once thought "impossible" is now possible, for I am willing to think about myself in a new way. I release that which no longer serves me. Good unfolds effortlessly, naturally, and beautifully in my life. I thank God that everything is working together perfectly to bring every gift to full fruition. And so it is.
One can study a caterpillar forever and never be able to predict a butterfly.
I find myself on the other side of conflict with great hope dawning all around me. I was one of the members who felt estranged by the challenges of 2019 and 2020. Now I am Chair of the Board of Trustees and helping define a new, much needed role for the Center, Administrator.
In 2008 my family found this Center and its liberating teaching with our then 2 year old. In 2014 Svea and I started four years building a loving and stable place for 0-5 year olds. We took a much needed break as 2018 ended. Little did we know how much would change over the next 2 years.
Svea is now 15 and excited about what a strong, revitalized Creative Youth means for her and her friends. So much possibility is visible before us as dedicated members of our beloved Center.
These times, as our world learns how to cope with a major pandemic, are unique and bring different challenges and new things. So too has the Center of Spiritual Living Nashville changed and grown.
We are navigating these amazing times with enthusiasm and as safely and sanely as possible. Growing the Center to meet the needs of our seeking, spiritual Nashville community and longtime, loyal members is an exciting challenge for all of us. I look forward to experiencing this new world with all of you.
Please join me in helping us reach out and grow. There is so much to do.
(615) 398-2684, email@example.com.
Devastating experiences at the whack of a cosmic 2x4 are never comfortable, but over time can be seen as course corrections, a wakeup call, or what one needed. I’ve had my share, and tend to rely on reframing in the long run.
The short version is what’s terrible today could end up being the best thing tomorrow. Or in some tomorrow. Events for our church family over the last couple of years qualify. I’m suggesting we put down, push aside, or let go of any issue or trigger we may have and reframe this experience to a metaphor of a cocoon.
This cocoon of change began with the retirement of our founding minister, Dr. Mitch Johnson. Many know, suspect, or anticipate change as difficult. Problems arise, adjustments happen, or they don’t. Some are easy. Others bitter. Change and transformation are seldom pretty or pain-free. Ask any butterfly.
In any profound transformation, everyone does the best they can to allow, accept, or advance the process. Some wait to see. Some rant. Some bale. All may hope for the best. In truth, we can’t escape from dealing with any needed change. If we resist, it’ll show up somewhere in our lives at another time.
This is our time. Thank God for people who stay the course, ride the waves, sit with, and participate in the steering a way through the transition. We are a church filled with these butterfly angels. In every cocoon, the walls close in, revealing many things to us and about us. Uncomfortable decisions have to be made. All kinds of new information pouring in on all levels: fight or flight. The truth is and remains we are in a state of transition…in a cocoon. To be transformed…to develop our new wings. First, we have to shed the old skin ways. And attitudes. Or keep some as a launching pad.
As always, fear is generally the first response. There are, by human standards, infinite possibilities of choices. In this cocoon of change, our church needs to move into the light of the new and what’s coming next. To become a church family requires surrender and commitment. To surrender to the process or surrender to the breaking of the cocoon and prepare to fly is what we are being called to. With trust, surrender, and commitment, we can break the cocoon and be a new butterfly in the world.
Trust in the gentle process that spirit guides us into being a spiritual home and community that serves. And we will triumph. To dance in the air of Nashville as a spiritual butterfly will occur. Many work daily to do the work to make this so. I ask each to hold this knowing. Through continual support and participation, we will break out of our cocoon and touch the sky.
To do that- begin again, begin anew, we must travel from head(reasons) to heart(love). Love calls us to reframe any past into the now moment. Do whatever we can to transform ourselves to this higher calling. The constant process of changing our belief systems to love and shine by contributing to this rebuilding is all of our work. Bravely choose the new wings for CSLNashville so that we can re-emerge from our cocoon. Let hearts rejoice in our next new adventure, and help us rise to our new calling, break out of the cocoon and fly again. To touch the sky will take work, ask any butterfly. Become with us.
Holidays always make me stop and reflect. In my mind, Labor Day is noteworthy as the beginning-of-the-end of summer, so I paused today to reflect on this year. And I’ve decided that 2020 has pretty much sucked. On top of the pandemic and all the restrictions and changes it has brought, I have personally lost two siblings and two brothers-in-law. When those close to you make their transition, we typically think of others close to us that may soon slip away from this human existence. I see my son look at me with a bit of worry since he’s lost three uncles and an aunt in such a brief time. Just recently, I learned that one of my dearest friends for the past 40 years is battling ALS, and I’m simply heartbroken for her family and her wide network of friends.
So how do we get past heartache? Well, sadly, alone, we don’t. I’ve come to believe that in times of loss (of family, friends, or ways of life), Spirit brings us comfort through those around us. I have a caring group “siblings” who serve with me on the Board of Trustees. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive group. While our larger CSLN family hasn’t been in face-to-face communication for much too long, I know they’re there. Their prayers and beautiful, positive energy are sustaining our community through all of our individual and collective losses. Thank you to all who pause each day to send comfort.
On a happy note, I want to welcome Lucia Coopersmith to the CSLNashville Board of Trustees. The Board voted to appoint Lucia to the position vacated by Rev. Lynn, as he moved into the minister’s position on the Board.
In her own words, Lucia said, “I would just like everyone to know that I love being part of such a wonderful spiritual community and that I look forward to helping our community grow over the next year.” We are so happy to have her light and love in this leadership role.
Love to All, Cate
Two Months and Counting
It’s been an interesting ride since our senior minister departed in mid-June. During that time, this congregation has stepped up to learn and do things that we had not experienced before.
The great thing about having a minister-centric community is that most of the members don’t have to worry about how things get done. Sure, anybody can volunteer to “help out” with various jobs, but in the end, the responsibility lies with the person at the helm. When that aspect of CSLNashville changed, the realization dawned on many of us that we had to make a change in our way of doing things. We could have chosen to move forward by becoming simply Board-centric, but to the Board, that wasn’t what we felt called to become. As we worked together to establish new protocols for getting the tasks completed, we realized that our focus had to be on the principles of our beliefs and the community itself. Therefore, we began seeing CSLN governance as Principal-centric/Community-led. We have chosen to call this change the Inclusivity Initiative.
Our first steps in implementing the Inclusivity Initiative were reopening our Board of Trustees meetings on Zoom, creating an informational pathway through our weekly newsletters and the BOT update on Sundays, and providing ways for the community to communicate directly with us even in this time of social distancing. Please keep your eye on our next stage: development of TEAMS. Members were asked to sign on to this process when they returned their member verification form. The TEAMS process means each aspect of the work of our Center will have a team supporting it. When the Board makes decisions, there will be input from the community.
This is a work-in-progress, and we need your involvement to be successful. Each of you will find your meaning in this initiative. Today this one spoke to me: Together Everyone Assumes Meaningful Support. What is the meaning for you?
Love and Blessings, Cate
We’re living through a tumultuous time. Consider the daily reminder of waking up to
a pandemic that causes us to always be on alert and on the ready for our safety, and requires distancing, handwashing and mask-wearing, and then add to that considerations for normal well-being, like work and creating income for food and housing, and then finding some general happiness, and you could say this is a stressful situation, for everyone.
How do we respond? Isn’t that the key? How we respond? How we respond to this current situation that is an invisible virus threat for us to contend with? How we respond to the difficulties created by the virus in the economy?
The Science of Mind, our teaching, our philosophy tells us that “We are enough”. We are enough because we are one with God. God is everlasting Spirit, an all-powerful love and all-knowing intelligence. God, the Universe, is infinite support and supply. God is one with you and surrounds and expresses through you. Therefore, you are enough because God is enough. How do we activate the power of God? We speak our word, speaking it with our mind and heart, and knowing that God, Spirit will make it so. We speak our word as a prayer that makes a statement of truth, not a plea. I know that God, the spirit within, through, and as me, expresses through me as wise choices, safety, and vibrant health. The entire Universe supports me now. I am God’s beloved child and I am enough. The entire power of the Universe awaits our word, our thought, and our deed to make it so. This is God’s gift to you. Jesus knew this and taught this. Will you not rise up and walk? Will you know with me that you are enough?
God’s grace surrounds each one of us and we know this is true now. We are one with God, therefore we are healthy, we are strong and we are prosperous. We are enough, and we say this in your name, knowing that it is true right now, and So, it is!
Blessings to you all!
When you reaffirmed your membership, you probably indicated multiple areas of interest. In the near future you will be contacted regarding your choices. Are you willing to serve on a team working to help reconstitute that aspect of the Center? Mission statements and goals will be developed. Your participation will this process will be greatly valued. You will have the opportunity to help determine the direction, the what and how, of the revitalization process. You will be a part of making it happen.
Odds are that you may have indicated more than one interest. When agreeing to be a part of the solution, please determine where your highest interests lie and only commit to what you can reasonably do. The leadership team at CSLN wants you to be successful in your commitment without experiencing overload or burnout. We look forward to your involvement in this evolution and transformation. “Nothing is too good to be true.” – Ernest Holmes
Submitted by Gary Bowers
CENTER FOR SPIRITUAL LIVING NASHVILLE ©
6705 CHARLOTTE PIKE NASHVILLE TN 37209
Corner of Brook Hollow and Charlotte
Main Line (615) 356-0174
Inspirational Prayer Line (615) 356-4572
PHOTOS COURTESY OF
Paul J. Hughes, Hughes Media Services,
Bob Sadler, and other Members
All photos are copyrighted and cannot be used without permission.