Together We Thrive
Spiritual Wisdom for Thriving in All Areas of Your Life
Thriving in Community
Sep 12, 2023
by Rev. James Kress, DD
“All natures, all forms, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again in to their own roots. For the nature of matter is released into the roots of its nature. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.” – Gospel of Mary Magdalene 2:2-5
Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of engaging with sacred writing. Simply put, Lectio Divina is a shift in orientation from reading a passage and trying to figure it out to letting a passage read you and figure you out!
If we apply this practice to the above passage from Mary Magdalene’s Gospel, we can discover some jewels of truth that can help us Thrive in Community.
There are four steps (all begin with R) in the practice of Lectio Divina. I invite you to brief Lectio Divina journey with me in the above passage.
You may want to take a few deep breaths before reading the passage.
When I reflect on this passage, I notice that it is a statement. It is not asking me to do anything. As I let the passage read me, I hear it telling me that everything is connected. And everything is moving toward reconnection. And the movement of life is out and back toward its origin. Wow.
- Respond in prayer.
Pray yourself into the experience of the answer. I sense my heart responding with awe and gratitude. Awe for the mystery of being connected to so many things that I think from which I am separated. Gratitude for the assurance of not being alone nor isolated.
- Rest in silence.
Watch and listen to how your heart, your body, responds to the passage.
So what does it mean to Thrive in Community? Here are three more R’s to consider:
- Remember that community is affirmed, not created.
In an article on Thriving in Community, it is so tempting to tell you to join a group or get more involved. But I think you already know that. Furthermore, we live in an age where we are more socially connected than ever (thank you Facebook), and yet the experience of loneliness and isolation is as high as it has ever been. There is more to community than activity.
- Respect the experience of loneliness and isolation.
Loneliness and isolation are real and valid experiences. And if you find yourself experiencing them, it does not mean there is something wrong with you or your faith. It may not be easy nor pleasant. But it may just be the path to reconnection. What you long for, longs for you.
- Receive the gift of community.
I think Mary Magdalene’s wisdom inspires us that community is a gift to be received. Let your heart, your ears, your eyes, and your mind receive the connection that already exists. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you open to the real connection that we already have to ourselves, fellow humans, and the amazing world in which we live.
Affirmation: “I can not be alone. I am part of the One.”
Action: If you feel ready or called, lean into community. As a deeply spiritual community, Center for Spiritual Living Seattle is a place to find support in times of joy, celebrations and triumphs, as well as through times of loss, sorrows, and pain. Whatever your situation or season of life, you’ll find support in the form of one of our many drop-in community groups.
Thriving and Home
“Welcome Home” to Your Spiritual Family
July 14, 2023
by Rev. Abigail Schairer
I remember walking into my first Center for Spiritual Living in San Jose, CA in March of 2000. The host for the day started the service with, “we’re so glad you’re here, welcome home!” Between that, the interfaith banners hanging in the sanctuary, and the message, I was hooked!
We all have a physical family that we are born into or adopted by, but we also have a spiritual family that we choose to belong to. Our spiritual family are the people who share our vision, values, and beliefs, who support us in our growth and development, and who inspire us to live to our highest potential. Our spiritual family is our chosen home. Center for Spiritual Living is my chosen home.
As we enter the month of July, I am reminded that our spiritual home is a place where we can practice our teachings. One of the principles of Science of Mind is the Law of Prosperity. This law states that prosperity is not something we acquire, but something we experience and express. We experience it to the degree we express it.
By giving our time, talent, treasure, and prayers to our spiritual community, we are expressing that the universe flourishes through us. By receiving guidance, support, and prayers from our spiritual community, we are acknowledging our worthiness and abundance. By expressing our gratitude and appreciation for our spiritual community, we are affirming our connection and harmony.
Have you been practicing expressing the prosperity that you are? Consider these ideas or activities to enrich yourself and our community:
- Pray: claim a thriving life for every member of the community. Share your prayer by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sacred Service: volunteer a couple of hours a week or a month in service to the community. (Interested in greeting, spreading the word, or visioning for the community? Send an email to email@example.com.)
- Share your treasure: instead of being an observer, shift to being an owner of the community invested in our future. Set up a recurring gift.
- Sign-up for a class: your growth and development is a catalyst for change in the world.
- Ask for prayer support: our practitioners WANT to pray with you. Take advantage of their love and service to you. You deserve it! Write to PrayerRequest@SpiritualLiving.org, visit the prayer circle, or submit a prayer request at the practitioner table in the sanctuary.
- Appreciate: notice when a community member is in service – let them know how much you appreciate them. Express gratitude to others about our community.
As a member of the spiritual family, know that I love and support you. May we all flourish together! And welcome home.
Affirmation: I am grateful for my spiritual family that is my chosen home. I give and receive with joy and abundance. I am prosperous in every way.
Thriving and Work
Jun 23, 2023
By Rev. Don Beaty
How do you define Thriving? Is thriving a state of mind or being? What about your definition of work? Is work just something we do?
Unfortunately, our culture tries to conflate these ideas and make work the source of our thriving. So, what if we bring our thriving state of mind to the work we do?
Developing my spiritual practices allowed me to bring thriving and work into harmony. The awareness of Oneness and our connection between all of creation reminded me that what I do is part of the whole. Recognizing Divine Wisdom as mine, I could call on It for guidance in my work. With Spirit as my coworker, the work seemed to flow for the Good of all, especially me. Knowing God is my Source, work became one of the channels for my thriving.
And there were times when work seemed to override thriving and became a job. Those were the times I relied on my spiritual practices to get through. Ultimately, I or something else would change to bring my thriving and work back into harmony.
Thriving through work is about being my best self, doing my best, and remembering that my work is more than the task.
Affirmation: Divine Intelligence guides my Thriving and Work.
Take Action: Join Rev. Don Beaty and other professionals for the Better Business Break (BBB). Here you can explore spiritual practices to bring your thriving and work into harmony. The BBB is held the 1st Tuesday of every month from 12-1pm PT on Zoom. Due to the July 4th holiday, the next BBB wil be on July 11th. Learn more >>
Thriving Through Service
The Gift of Serving Others - Contributing beyond yourself creates thriving in you!
May 18, 2023
“Change the world by changing yourself. Heal the world by healing yourself. Find a need and fulfill it. Service is the greatest form of spiritual practice. Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Our personal thriving depends upon our authentic connection to ourselves, to the God of our understanding, to others, and to being of service to the world around us.
Ultimately, I believe life is about service. In Sanskrit it is known as ‘Seva’ – selfless service. Seva is about serving the need of the time with love and devotion. It’s about being the vessel for Spirit to move through you and out to the collective whole. As you give fully, allowing Spirit to move you, you begin to identify with the needs of the world around you through the sight of loving consciousness. Hopefully, this allows you to see yourself more clearly, and to offer your gifts more gracefully.
Service doesn’t always mean volunteering your time at or donating financially to an organization (although those are both excellent options!) Authentic service, or Seva, is literally being of service in every moment, in every interaction, bringing the fullness of yourself to the current need – not only to those you like, but to the whole world. As you offer your gifts in service, you are gifted in return. This is the Law of Circulation in action.
A thriving world and a thriving community depends on each of us to thrive as individuals. Our very existence is interrelated so we must be oriented towards the service of the whole, but not at the expense of the individual.
Theodore W. Higgingsworth reminds us of the importance of starting with ourselves: “To be balanced in life means to be aware of the need for self-care for without which you cannot adequately care for others.”
Remember, there is always an opportunity to be of service, and there is always time.
Affirmation: I express my gratitude through service. I experience the joy of authentic loving service. The Universe supports me abundantly because I help support others!
Choose one way to be in loving service this month. Join us at our Sacred Service Fair on June 11 9am-1pm in the Fellowship Hall or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
You might also volunteer for an organization you believe in, support a neighbor in need through a meal, or write a letter to someone who might need some connection.
Thriving in Joy
Joy in the Darkest Times
Dec 16, 2022
By Karen Schiller
As we go into the winter, I am reminded that we face adversity or dark moments throughout our lives. Sometimes we feel hopelessness or despair.
In 2015, my then wife died of cancer which was one of the darkest moments in my life. And you are probably asking “Where is the joy in this situation?” Well, the joy was that I found a community that I could lean into. That held my hand through the tears. That hugged me when I broke down into sobs. That brought me groceries or lunch, or even cleaned my house. A community that prayed for me and embraced me during this challenging time. The joy comes from not having to go through anything alone.
Because I was able to love myself more deeply, I was able to open my heart again when I met my future wife, Sarah. I could not have let her in if I hadn’t grieved my losses, for I grieved with my heart wide open. There is great joy knowing that life begins anew even after those dark times.
For me, thriving in joy Is not having the perfect job, the perfect partner, or the perfect house. Thriving in joy is that deep abiding faith that God is present in any given situation. That I can face my deepest fears with God at my back. I am no longer alone in the darkness and there is a promise of light, even when it looks the bleakest.
Affirmation: I thrive in joy as I celebrate my connection to God!
Take Action: Come and receive support in whatever loss you are mourning in a safe and compassionate space. CSL Seattle is launching a new ministry called “Grief Circles,” January 1st. Everyone is welcome.
A Thousand Days of Blessings
Celebrating 1,000 Days of People Praying Together
March 11, 2020. We knew there was a virus. A virus that was about to overwhelm humanity. In Seattle we were just beginning to realize it was here, too. The day started like any other…coffee, breakfast, cuddles with cats. After a brief foray into the outside world in which nothing had happened to upset me, I found myself agitated and anxious. I asked God, “What am I supposed to do?” The answer was simple, too simple. Pray. Something in me knew it was more than sitting down and having a chat with my Creator. I was being called to something bigger than that. Pray with others. How long should I do this, I wondered. A friend suggested forty days. Nice Biblical number I thought. So, I asked, I heard, I followed and on March 15, 2020, started what I assumed would be a 40-day spiritual practice.
Today we gathered again at 7AM. We gathered to pray. We gathered to love and support each other. We gathered to be Anchored in Prayer. We gathered for the thousandth time. A thousand days of prayer and blessings. I am awestruck at the working of Spirit in my life and the joy of witnessing It at work in the lives of others. We have had miracles and healings, witnessed deaths and births, received callings to become Practitioners, and our paths have been made easy and straight before us, by simply starting our days in prayer. I never imagined all that would happen from my willingness to say yes and keep saying yes all these days. As we celebrate this amazing milestone, a thousand days of Anchored in Prayer, I invite you to consider for yourself what a simple yes might do in your life. God is Good. Always and in all ways.
Thriving in Generosity
The Consciousness of Being Blessed
By Rev. James Kress
Nov 14, 2022
“Being blessed is not something you have to earn; you already are abundantly blessed. The challenge is that those blessings will never be actualized as long as you are obsessing over what appears to be wrong or missing in your life.” – Dennis Merritt Jones, The Art of Abundance, p. 166.
Thriving in generosity is the consciousness of being blessed. When we are aware and grateful for all we have, generosity just happens. Generosity flows. And the good news is, the reverse is true. When we are generous with what we have, we grow in consciousness of our abundance.
This is why giving is a spiritual practice. It is easy to think that we give in order to meet a need – a need of a person, or a need of an organization. On one level, this is true, and it feels good to help meet the needs of others.
But there is a deeper, spiritual benefit to giving. When we generously give, willingly and joyfully, our consciousness of blessing is magnified. That is to say there is a shift in awareness, a shift from lack and limitation toward abundance and expansion.
Regarding gifts he received from supporters, St. Paul wrote, “Not that I am seeking a gift, but I am looking for the fruit that may be credited to your account.” In other words, Paul is saying that when people give, the givers are the benefactors, not the recipients. The fruit of giving is the abundance consciousness of the giver!
Jesus captures thriving in generosity when he says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap.” To practice generosity is to live in the flow of abundance.
Remember, we don’t give to get. We give because we already have, and in so doing, we thrive in generosity.
Affirmation: “I am richly and abundantly blessed. I have more than enough. And in abundance, I give generously, living into the fullness of all I have, and even more!”
Take Action: Exercise giving as a spiritual practice. Give or make a pledge of support to Center for Spiritual Living and/or another organization that feeds you spiritually. Do this regularly to stretch and strengthen your experience of abundance and expansion.
Thriving through Faith
Faith: the choice is yours
Oct 13, 2022
Ernest Holmes says that “Faith is a mental attitude that is so convinced of its own idea – which it so completely accepts, that any contradiction is unthinkable and impossible.”
Faith in other traditions is described in a way that requires us to believe in something outside of ourselves. It’s a thing “out there” that makes us or allows us to feel better “in here”; within ourselves.
But what if we don’t believe in the “traditional” beliefs about faith? Can we have faith in a personalized paradigm, one that is unique to each of us? What does faith mean if we are “one with God”?
Science of Mind is a philosophy, a faith, and a way of life. This teaching is a combination of thoughts and ideas which allow space enough for everyone to have a personalized relationship with spirit, so that each may experience themselves as a fully divinely expressed human.
Perhaps faith is as simple as allowing ourselves to love more. As simple as holding more firmly to the belief that there truly is “a good out there and we ought to have it.” If we make more space in our Be-ing to love God more, to love others more, to love the earth, nature, and animals more; the “more” we are seeking will be added unto us. Faith begins with us. It begins and ends within us. We choose it or we don’t, but the choice is ours alone.
Let our thriving be born out of and extend from a deep knowing of ourselves as one with Love, one with God, and one with the Universal Supply, that makes room for and provides for everyone’s needs.
Affirmation: I live in the faith that there is a power and a presence that nurtures and supports me in ways beyond my own imagination. God/Love has a dream for me bigger than I could imagine for myself.
Take Action: Consider writing out a dream that is bigger than you can imagine, and notice your experience as you write it, noticing with curiosity, non-judgment, and faith.
Thriving through Learning
A Path for Greater Wisdom and Joy in Your Life
Sep 12, 2022
It was my first time at CSL, but people seemed friendly. I wandered around the lobby and stopped at the Education table.
“You do classes here?”
I jumped into the first class.
Taking classes became my “way in” to community and my spiritual journey. I enjoyed exploring the perspectives the class called Beyond Limits raised. I found myself in a small group led by a lovely man called a practitioner. It was fun! I was meeting great people who were interested in what I was interested in.
So began my journey through the core classes, a series of seven classes that teach the basics of Science of Mind. Each class presented new, and sometimes challenging, ways to look at my life and make changes where I wasn’t thriving. I made good friends, and we ended up taking many classes together.
With each class we got to know each other better and eventually some of us decided to become practitioners and support the classes by becoming teaching assistants. Our lives were changing for the better! Now when challenges came up, I had people who supported me through them and a tool kit of practices for support. Thriving through education – a path for greater wisdom and joy in my life!
“Self-Knowledge…someone who does not have all of the answers but who is attempting to learn what they can, about themselves and those with whom they share the journey…until it meets something other than the self it wanted to know.” – David Whyte “Consolations”
Affirmation: My mind and life are expanded through learning, prayer, and community. This brings great joy and wisdom to my daily life.
Take Action: Part 1 of Beyond Limits, our core transformational class, begins September 27, 2022. Beyond Limits will provide you the spiritual tools and practices to transform your life into one of authenticity, power, and presence. In this two-part class you will use dialog, spiritual practice, introspection, readings, group activities, and support from others on the path to develop a new concept of yourself so that you can take ownership of and reclaim your innate power. Learn more and register for this Pay What You Will class today!
Thriving through Connection
A Thriving Retreat Addict
Aug 15, 2022
I call myself a retreat addict. It started with Girl Scout Camp. Then, as a young adult, I found CSL. I wanted to go to every Camp CSL had. Maybe I’m really a God addict. I’m addicted to the feeling I get when I’m fully and freely connected to my Source. I find that connection through nature, artwork, community, spiritual study and practice, and self-care. As it turns out, all of those things happen when I’m at Seabeck All-Community Camp or at SisterSpirit retreat. It’s a one stop shop for deep and abiding connection:
- I sit in awe as the deer gracefully walk by illustrating the Peace of the Divine.
- The messiness of painting a rock shows me that although life is messy sometimes, it still turns out beautiful.
- Praying, laughing, or sharing stories in a group of high consciousness individuals always has an uplifting effect on me.
- Opening my mind to new thoughts and new ways of being through study delights and inspires me.
- Allowing my nap in the middle of the day is my self-care ministry.
What do you do to nurture your Connection to the Infinite? Do you set out time in your life to connect? How do you feel when you are connected? Don’t you deserve to feel that way more often? Isn’t that connection what thriving feels like?
I invite you to create more space in your life to connect with God.
Affirmation: Connecting with my Spiritual Source is a priority for me. I continue to attract opportunities to connect with the Divine and I say “Yes” to them!
Take Action: Seek out a retreat, or set aside a day at or near home where you can plan your own activities to feel connected to Spirit. Here are a few ideas: visit a quiet space in nature and be present to what is; listen to a recorded meditation; draw, color, paint, or knit – engage in a creative activity while listening to a recorded mantra to relax your mind.
Keep your eye on our Retreats and Travel page for new opportunities.
The Nature of Thriving
Born This Way!
By Rev. Jeri Hudson
July 11, 2022
Several years ago, I read this quote attributed to our founder, Ernest Holmes. This simple statement on how Life is meant to be was so powerful to me I printed it and taped it to my wall.
“But we are born to be happy, to be abundantly supplied with every good thing, to have fun in living, to consciously unite with the Divine Power that is around us and within us, and to grow and expand forever.”
Take note!! He didn’t say that if we work hard enough, or long enough, or for the right people doing just the right thing that we will be happy and abundantly supplied. He says we are BORN to be this way.
It is the nature of Life to express and thrive. God creates the outlets or channels whereby Life flows into a greater expression of Itself. You and I are the channels! God in all Its Infinite Wisdom, Creativity, and Joy created us to express what It is. As we accept that thriving in every area of our lives is our birthright, we enable the Spirit within to expand our experience of all that It is.
Let’s make these words personal. I encourage you to say them out loud every day. Convince yourself of the Truth. You were born to THRIVE!
Affirmation: I am born to be happy, to be abundantly supplied with every good thing, to have fun in living, to consciously unite with the Divine Power that is around me and within me, and to grow and expand forever!!
At CSL Seattle, a great way to experience Divine Joy and to remember that you really are ‘born this way,’ is to attend our annual Seabeck All-Community Camp. Every August we gather on the shores of Washington’s Hood Canal for a week in a slice of heaven on earth.
Taking this week away from your daily routines (and the news if you choose), with opportunities for daily spiritual practice, relaxation, and FUN, offers a yearly chance for you to hit the reset button on your life and your thinking, returning with feelings of greater inspiration, community, and JOY!
Play is Part of Your Spiritual Work
By Rev. Andrea Weatherhead
June, 15, 2022
Life is busy. We don’t always slow down enough to look at the life we are living in response to our own busy mundane tasks. We can often begin to feel drained, overwhelmed, and disconnected from anything but lists of things to do and check off. In other words, we aren’t exactly thriving.
Remember when you were a child how you lived in the moment, in a light-hearted way? You didn’t worry about whether you were playing too much or if you should be working instead. You lived fully in the present moment, allowing Spirit to inspire you and create through you. Play and creativity are important God qualities and equally important to your wholeness and thriving as work and productivity.
Being overly busy can dampen our imagination and creativity. We have to be intentional about finding space to play; to cultivate courting our own imagination, which is in turn courting that presence that resides within.
When we are more closely connected to Spirit, we feel inspired and energized. What appears to be engaging with play, is in fact engaging with our Highest inner self, which in turn, inspires us; helps us to flourish beyond the day to day.
Taking a playful pause from your responsibilities every day is necessary for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Creativity and play can increase how much you thrive by reducing stress, increasing focus, concentration, and improving problem solving,
Ask yourself, “what did I used to do that I loved? What hobby have I stopped engaging in because it wasn’t ‘a good use of time?’” Where have you obstructed Spirit from flowing through you purely as play or creativity? I suggest you reengage with one of those. Play and get lost in it and find yourself in the process of play as spiritual work.
I pause and take time today to allow Spirit to play and create through me.
Check out CSL’s Creativity as a Spiritual Practice group every third Thursday where you can be in community with people who make a monthly appointment to play.
Thrive Through Change
By Rev. Don Beaty
May 16, 2022
What does it mean to thrive through change? Reflecting on the last two years, it meant thriving despite change. In the bigger picture, I believe we thrive because of change. In either case, thriving through change is hard. What follows are some ideas that have helped me keep my hope up and restore my courage when facing the challenges of change.
When we talk about thriving, I believe we should take the time to get clear about what thriving means. Each of us has our unique definition of thriving. Rev. Kathianne shared a definition on May 1st: thriving is living a life of satisfaction and fulfillment. My definition of thriving is “Doing Good and Doing Well.” I encourage you to discover your definition of thriving.
I recommend making your definition a verb. Why a verb? Consider nature and the universe. They are constantly changing and adapting. We’re wired for change. We can use change energy to support our journey of thriving.
How do we use this change energy? I suggest creating a community of support. Have a few trusted colleagues to bounce ideas off and get feedback. Use your spiritual practices to support your thriving. Find a prayer partner. Take advantage of the practitioners for prayer support. I draw on our community for support and encourage you to do the same.
The good news is change happens. The better news is we can use the energy of change to support our thriving.
Affirmation:I understand that change is a part of life and I can use that powerful energy to support my thriving. I navigate change in the most positive and self-loving way.
Our new once monthly article series is designed to share helpful and inspiring content that informs, uplifts, and educates people about how Spiritual Principles can create Thriving in every area of their lives.
Get more practical wisdom from Rev. Don Beaty every month at the Better Business Break. Here you can connect in a community of people committed to sharing their challenges, successes, and intentions with others. Learn more about the Better Business Break, every 1st Tuesday from 12-1pm PT on Zoom.
Our community of prayer practitioners is there to support you through change. You can submit a prayer request 24/7 to our Prayer Line by calling 206-524-7729 (PRAY) or emailing PrayerRequest@SpiritualLiving.org.
Thriving in the Now
Is Your Happiness on Hold?
By Rev. Karen Cleveland
April 22, 2022
A study released last month found that fewer Americans felt they were thriving compared to 13 months ago. I’m guessing this has something to do with the pandemic – people just want it to end so they can “get on with their lives.”
But will this help?
Eckhart Tolle says that people tend to regard the present moment as an obstacle, as something to get over with, and to rush to the future where we believe happiness and success lie. But that is a sure-fire way to never feel satisfied, let alone thrive or be truly happy. Life happens in the present. We will never find success in the future, so we need to look for it in the now. If we ignore the present moment, we will miss our lives.
Instead of putting conditions on our happiness, such as “I’ll be so happy when this is over,” “after I lose weight…,” “when I have some money saved…” and so on, how about we find something right here and now we can appreciate or be joyful about?
I used to think the magical air fryer was going to make me so happy (and a better, more creative cook)! Guess what? It didn’t. I was so disappointed, and I lost a lot of kitchen counter real estate. This simple example was a good reminder for me that happiness isn’t external.
Stopping for a few moments several times throughout the day to really be present and grateful will lead us to happiness, and to a life in which we can fully thrive. Try it and see what happens.
Affirmation: Just for today I find time to stop and see Life thrive: the plants, the trees, the birds—and in knowing I am One with this Life, I find gratitude and joy.
Our new once monthly article series is designed to share helpful and inspiring content that informs, uplifts, and educates people about how Spiritual Principles can create Thriving in every area of their lives.
To fortify and sustain your focus on thriving, join the 40 Days to Prosperity Program, a wholistic, fully supported 40-day prosperity program utilizing the daily journal “40 Days to Prosperity” by Kathianne Lewis, beginning May 15, 2022. Learn more and register >>