Rev. Arlene’s Blog

Rev. Arlene Meyer, our Minister, posts mid-week messages on this blog. Come back often to read her inspiring and thought-provoking posts. Learn more about her.



From Rev. Arlene

Last week I went to see the movie “The Shack” based upon the book of the same title which I had read some years ago. There was a really powerful scene in the movie in which the lead character tells a female representing wisdom that he can’t forgive the person who abducted and killed his child.

Wisdom then asks him, “Is it that you can’t or that you won’t?” I really thought about how that question can apply to so many areas of our life, not just forgiveness.

For example, someone says they can’t change the things they need to change – whether it is bad habits, character defects, changing the things in their lives that need changing, or taking actions that we know is for own good. As with forgiveness, we need to ask ourselves is it that we can’t or that we won’t.

Most of the time the answer is that we won’t. It is obvious because we don’t even try and if we do not make an effort how do we know we can’t? Imagine how different our lives could be if we understood this and at least made an effort to do those difficult things.

How do we change an “I won’t” to, “I will?” We seek a Power greater than ourselves for the strength to make the effort. We begin to understand that by refusing to do the things that help us grow spiritually as well as emotionally, we are hurting ourselves more than anyone else.

The next time you say you can’t do something, be honest and ask yourself “Is it that you can’t or that you won’t?”

Quote of the Week

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
John F. Kennedy

From Rev. Arlene

Spring is here (in Southern California), although it might be different wherever you are. But whenever springtime arrives it is a time of renewal and growth. All around, nature begins to awaken from its long winter sleep.

Just as energy fills our planet it, also, fills us humans as the days begin to get longer and warmer. I think that is why so many people enter into a frenzy of spring cleaning. What is interesting to me is that if we were to put half as much energy into our spiritual life, as the energy we put into our gardens and our homes, spring could be a powerful time of spiritual renewal and advancement.

Here are some ways to do a cleaning of our spiritual interiors as we clean our home interiors. First take some time in prayer and meditation asking God to clean our hearts and create in us a new spirit. This is not something we can do ourselves and, therefore, we must seek God in this matter.

Next clean out your spirit by eliminating all complaining and criticizing. Words that are critical are damaging to the health of our soul. Try going 21 days without doing any complaining and criticizing, you will be surprised at the results.

Lastly, clean out the cobwebs of your inner being by forgiving everyone and everything. We can do this by praying for the person we need to forgive and if we cannot do that, we can pray for the willingness to forgive.

Spring forth this season with a new spirit, a new sense of purpose and a feeling of “Light”ness as you clear out the deep recesses of your being and open up to the “Sunlight of the Spirit”.

Quote of the Week

“Krishna insisted on outer cleanliness and inner cleansing. Clean clothes (or houses) and clean minds are an ideal combination.” Sathya Sai Baba

From Rev Arlene

Here we are again, changing the clocks. Surely a sign of spring and longer days to enjoy everything our wonderful planet has to offer.

There is something magical about this time of year. For me, the longer days represent the chance to see sunsets on the beach and spend time walking along the shoreline taking in the majesty and wonder that is the ocean.

It seems everything is energized in the spring as nature begins to bring forth bursts of colors and life. Spring also reminds us that life is continually evolving, growing, changing as are we.

Take advantage of the longer days to come and spend time appreciating all the beauty and wonder that is God in action.

Quote of the Week

“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” Harriet Ann Jacobs

From Rev. Arlene

Are you a happy person or a gloomy one? Do you have a positive, “can do” attitude filled with gratitude, or do you walk around feeling like life is a burden just to be endured?

Did you know that each day we get to make the decision whether to be happy or not? Yes, happiness is a choice we make and is not determined by what other people do or do not do. This is a difficult concept for many of us to accept. We spend our lives being victims and feeling like our misery is beyond our control.

For years I fell into that category of victim – filled with self-pity, self-doubt and self-centeredness. Then a wise mentor of mine taught me that I had a choice as to how I wanted to live my life and who I wanted to be in the world. She told me that how I prepared myself early in the morning made an impression upon others throughout the day.

Each day upon awakening we get to decide whether or not we want to be happy. Does that mean that “stuff” won’t happen to us? No, it just means that we do not allow that “stuff” to determine whether or not we are happy.

Tomorrow, when you wake up, make the decision to be happy, no matter what! You may be surprised at how great a day you will have.

Quote of the Week

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

From Rev. Arlene

In all changes in life there are endings and beginnings. As difficult as beginnings and endings can be, it is the Middle, some call it ”The Void” – the time between something ending and another thing beginning – that can truly be a challenge.

It is during this “Middle” that doubts and fears really rear up and begin to plague us. It seems like we will never reach our goal or that new beginning. We are neither here nor there.

Endings can certainly be upsetting; it is like an earthquake shaking up our life. The Void, is like being lost at sea or in the desert. This time can feel empty because we no longer have what is familiar and we do not yet have that which is new and often exciting.

But this time in the Middle is an important aspect of the change process in that it is here that we strengthen our spiritual selves in preparation for what is yet to come. There are many mystics that see this, “ Middle” as “Sacred Emptiness,” for it is during this time that we become truly alive, awake, and receptive to wisdom.
It is here, if we willing to spend time in The Silence, when God may speak directly to us…but we must be open and willing to receive His Presence.

Quote of the Week

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.” Wayne Dyer

From Rev. Arlene

Leaps of Faith – they can be scary, but if they were not, they would not be called a Leap of Faith.  The term Leap of Faith is about making changes that are not easy.  If they were easy, they would not require much faith.

Making a change in our home such as buying a new sofa is not a leap of faith although it is a change.  Moving to a new home, in a place far from your friends and family, is a leap of faith.

Some people have trouble taking leaps of faith.  They like to stay near the shore where it is safe – and there is no problem with that if that is what your heart tells you to do.  However, allowing fear to be our motivator in making decisions is not a good idea.

The next time you are faced with a difficult decision that is frightening because you have to step out on a ledge to take the first step, ask yourself,  “What would I do if I were brave?  What is my motivation in the choice I make – fear or love/faith?”

Something I have learned through the many leaps I have taken in my life is that, whether I land safely or whether I fall, it is always a positive growth experience.  Leaps of faith make me spend more time with God, spend more time in prayer and meditation, and in constant conversation with God as I move forward.

Remember that it is not a leap of faith unless it requires us to have faith even in the face of doubts and fears.  It is the “road less travelled” but it is the road of heroes.

Quote of the Week

“Be not afraid of growing slowly.  Be only afraid of standing still.”

Chinese Proverb

 

 

From Rev. Arlene

I believe that whenever two or more are gathered together in unity, The Spirit of God is there, in the midst of them. I have experienced this when faith minded people come together and the group’s decision, or group conscience, is God speaking through that group voice and vote.

And so it was this past Sunday as our entire membership unanimously agreed to move from our current location to a place we can truly call our home. We anticipate being in our new location on the first Sunday in April!

But what do we do when we are seeking an answer to something and there is no group – it is just you. I believe that there is Divinity within each of us so know this – you are never alone. When a difficult decision comes up – you can go within to access the wise being within, God, and find your answer.

That answer may not come quickly but if we continue to go within to seek the answer – it will come to us. However we must remain willing and open to receive it. And remember when we ask for something there are three possible answers from God – yes, no or not now.

Quote of the Week

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5

From Rev. Arlene

There are many steps we can take to deepen our spiritual connection, help us deal with our emotional issues, and give us more mental clarity. My favorites are service and meditation.

Service is something we often do not consider to be vital to our well being. We rarely consider service as a tool for our overall spiritual, mental and emotional health and yet it is one of the most important.

Giving helps us to find humility, gives us greater self-worth, fills us with gratitude and allows us to be less self-centered. Yet we sometimes overlook this when we are working on raising our consciousness.

There are many ways we can give back. We can give money to the place where we go for our spiritual nourishment and we can give of our time.

If you are not giving, try it! You may think you have neither the time or money to do it, but try it anyway. We really cannot afford to NOT do it!

Quote of the Week

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Winston S. Churchill

From Rev. Arlene

There are many traits that lead us into being spiritually connected to God and to others. Qualities such as faith, trust, love, kindness, etc. But often overlooked is dedication or commitment.

Dedication is an important aspect in our lives and often determines whether we fail or succeed in something.

In businesses, the ones that are dedicated to succeeding, to being of service to others, are often the ones who get ahead. In relationships, the ones in which the people are dedicated to making the relationship work are the ones that last.

Most of us are dedicated to something or someone. Maybe it’s our spouse, our children or grandchildren, our pets or a cause. Without some dedication in our lives, we live a life that just drifts along and is easily pushed off course.

Dedication means to be wholly committed to something such as an ideal, political cause, or personal goal. What are you dedicated to?

It is a good idea to put our spiritual life up there with the other aspirations we are dedicated to. When we strengthen our spiritual life, we are also giving ourselves more power to achieve whatever it is we wish to succeed in, in other areas of our life.

Quote of the Week

“Dedicate yourself to what gives your life true meaning and purpose; make a positive difference in the life of your church.” Hallelujah McBerry

From Rev. Arlene

Do you realize that the one thing you do more often in a day than breathing is making decisions?  A Cornell University study said the average working adult makes more than 70 choices a day!  I don’t think there is anything else that we do daily and that often.

From the time we wake up, we make a choice – whether to hit the snooze button and stay in bed longer or get up.  Even when we make NO choice, we are making a choice.

So although making decisions is something we do on a regular basis, it does not make it any easier when tough decisions face us.  Some decisions seem so big that it can be completely overwhelming and so we often make a decision to make none.

However, when we do that we often miss some of life’s greatest blessings which usually come after we have made a tough choice and stepped out in faith.  That is why it is important to have a daily practice of going into the silence.  A mentor told me that in doing so, I was priming the “pump” so I could access the wisdom that was within me.

Before getting on the spiritual path I made many poor decisions.  But the good news is that, following my introduction into the spiritual life, many of these “bad” decisions turned out to be a blessing.  What is interesting is that my greatest time of spiritual progress came as a result of my making poor decisions.

Today, I take the time to connect to my Higher Power before making any choices, either big or small. Once that is done, I can step out in faith and take the action necessary to experience the blessings!

It’s never too late to turn your life around.  Regardless of the decisions you’ve made in the past, God can turn yesterday’s liabilities into today’s assets.  I encourage you to take the time to pray and meditate first thing in the morning.  Your day will become much more efficient, effective, and peaceful as a result of being dressed spiritually as well as physically.

This Week’s Quotes:

“It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”  J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson