Every Question Mark is now a Stop Sign?

Hello there…

Here’s a new insight.  As I was studying the Christian Science Bible Lesson, I realized there are often times when there is a question to be read –either in the Bible or in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (by Mary Baker Eddy).  Usually, I just breeze on by and treat the question as a normal part of the text.

But guess what?

It’s a question.  Try answering it.

That’s why now whenever I come to a question mark, I treat it as a stop sign.  Stop.  Take a moment. Consider.  And,….answer.  I realize you and I may not always know the answer, but we can discover that much too.

Eddy asks us, ‘Have you ever imagined John’s heavenly city people with diving beings?”  That’s not just rhetorical.  Ask yourself – what is that like?  Living with divine beings all around you?

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Disasters Big and Small…

Our nation is reeling after the mass shooting in Las Vegas (or the forest fires, or the hurricanes…it seems to go on and on) At the same time, individually, someone may be mourning the death of a loved one, from crime, disease, or accident, perhaps even relationship disasters like divorce or break-ups.  The scale may be different, but the challenge to our hearts similar.

So, how to think now?  How to feel now?

We have to listen, not talk.  We have to receive wisdom — we have to be open-hearted right now.  We have to find moments of still peace…

Mary Baker Eddy said that: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”  Today our need is to feel that Diving Love acting in our lives, individually and collectively.  She also said, “Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance.”

Her human life was not a bed of roses.  She suffered many personal losses.  Yet, seeing through the sadness, seeing through to spiritual reality, she could with confidence write:

“There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind, and its infinite manifestation, for God is All in All. Spirit is immortal Truth; Matter is mortal error.”


I Kings 19: 9-15

The Lord Speaks to Elijah at Horebelijahathoreb1kings19-11

9And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 14And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

15And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. 17And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 18Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.


I also recommend this post from the Christian Science Sentinel written after the nuclear disaster in Japan:  Continuing prayer for Japan By Kazuhiko Kaneda From the Christian Science Sentinel – May 11, 2011

Coming out of the wilderness…

I haven’t shared in oh so long —  I have been in a bit of a wilderness spiritually.  Sometimes I share those long moments when the days drag by and the inspiration lags, mostly I don’t.  It’s doesn’t do me well to broadcast it, and only serves to keep me stilted.

Today, I am thinking of Easter next week… I am thinking of how Moses led his people out of the wilderness – after wandering there with them for 40-years (see my post “40 Years with a Friend of God?“).  I am thinking of Jesus now – and those paintings of shepherds which lead their sheep from behind.  Christ Jesus is known as ‘the good shepherd’.  This painting shown above is one that hung over my piano as a girl.  It resides deep in my soul today.  It implanted the idea that we are led by behind too.

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The Shepherd

That’s a little how it feels to me personally this time.  I returned to Portland these last nine months to complete my Masters Degree.  I now have it:  MS ETM, Engineering and Technology Management from Portland State University Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. What to do with it though?

I feel led from behind.  I think God is behind me prodding me forward.  While I am not sure what’s to come, I feel safe, secure, confident.  My shepherd is there pushing me forward to new valleys with verdant fields.  I return to Michigan right after Easter grateful for all that’s been accomplished and the new friends, domestic and international, I’ve made while at Portland State!

In keeping with the new management degree, here’s a lovely business article by Sophie Johnson relating to leadership from behind and the kind of creative success possible with this style of leadership.  I have always loved the idea that the true leader is one who cares for her people, washing their feet so to speak…and I want to share this model with you too.  It shows that business can be influenced by spirituality ~


Link: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/theory-leading-behind-76457.html

The Theory of Leading From Behind

by Sophie Johnson

A manager who leads from behind emphasizes employees.

A manager who leads from behind emphasizes employees.

The theory of leading from behind is one proposed and championed by Linda Hill of the Harvard Business School. The professor had the idea when reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, in which he likens leaders to shepherds directing flocks from behind. Some sheep will move ahead, the flock following these trailblazers, but actually, it is the shepherd who oversees the flock. Hill says that today’s business climate requires leaders who act similarly, allowing their charges to emerge, lead and innovate. The manager, meanwhile, supports these initiatives, yet stays ever mindful of the bigger picture and direction.

Servant Leadership Style

Of the different styles of leadership, a leader who leads from behind is behaving as a servant leader. Servant leaders see to the needs of the team, which helps create the conditions that allows individuals to shine, making the best use of themselves and available resources. The servant leader also sets a powerful behavioral example, which affects company culture. Strong ethics, integrity and generosity set the tone for employees, creating a supportive environment within which each member can contribute her best.

Climate Of Innovation

When a manager applies the lead-from-behind model appropriately, an employee group primed to see and make use of opportunity can meet different business circumstances. Operating in a particular environment at a particular time, one or more members will be inspired and innovative. Different circumstances will inspire different group members. The process is ongoing, so that innovation becomes part of the company’s culture. In such companies, brilliant ideas don’t depend nourishing and supporting a single visionary but on every member contributing at various times. Hill calls this collective genius and says that companies of the future must foster and rely on it.

Proper Organizational Environment

The sense of employee empowerment, support and innovation that leading from behind promotes may be hard to achieve within the traditional organizational structure that most small businesses adopt. The traditional structure relies on procedures and management control, and workers functioning within specific, well-defined roles. Though department managers may be able to adapt the servant approach to their respective areas, a small-business owner who wants to encourage leading from behind may be better served by a looser structure such as the team structure. This structure creates employee teams that take charge of projects and goals.  It promotes innovation and employee initiative.

A Modern Style

Hill points out that businesses are increasingly interdependent, requiring leaders who can bring collaborative skills to the table. The small-business owner creating partnerships with other businesses, including international alliances, might be well-served by managers who employ the lead-from-behind approach, since it includes the ability to generously share power. Additionally, since leading from behind promotes cooperative initiatives from within teams, this style of leadership can be a good fit for businesses dedicated to working for the common good — community service organizations, for instance.

 

 

Can Love blanket the world?

We finally got our snow here in Northern Michigan…first, a few stray hard flakes, the kind that hit hard…then overnight, more. Now just the tallest grasses are visible. As we approach our Christmas holiday here in the United States, it occurs to me, that perhaps love can act like snow… blanketing the world.

I had just had a chat with someone at the little restaurant I frequent here in Charlevoix. She is estranged from one of her sons. Hard feelings exist on both sides. Some of the reasons for separation seemed justified. But I encouraged her to keep the idea of reconciliation and love active in her thoughts and to act from that same standpoint. One never knows at what point the way will open, …but always be open to it.

Then, looking outside at our first snowfall, I could see the perfect analogy for the way love works sometimes. If love can come in a steady, constant flow (which is exactly how God’s love works), we can see our world, our life, blanketed with that same love (like fresh snow on the lawn). Both humanly and spiritually –there need be no separation, we can see the love and protection of God’s love active in our own lives.

I like that.

So any situation we face, individually and collectively, we can apply this idea. Even hard-hearted conflicts and violent terrorist acts can be covered by God’s love. THAT should be our first thought when we are hit by bad news, not fear, but that God’s love covers all like a fresh new-fallen snow.

Years ago, my husband and I were estranged, separated. It was a very difficult time…but one of great growth too. There was a lot of prayer, and the support of Christian Science practitioners too.

It was when, one day, I realized that I loved my husband, as a fact, as a truth about me (like 2+2=4), …that healing and reconciliation began. No matter what behavior or reaction I was seeing, I KNEW, it didn’t alter that fact. My love for him was a fact. That freed me to respond according to that fact and be my best self as well. This led to great healing in our marriage.

If we knew that the love we have for the world were similarly, a fact: A truth about us, we could see that same love blanketing the world. This same blanketing love covers our ‘enemies’ –whom we are charged with loving by Christ Jesus. The same love inspires the Christly direction to “forgive 70 times 7”, –forgiving so thoroughly that there is nothing left to forgive because the love is so complete.

Complete love! Now that’s a Christmas concept worth thinking about. A love so complete, it must be God.

GOD is LOVE. MERRY Christmas to you, and the wide-world too.

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

 

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Smoke on the Water Cafe, Charlevoix, Michigan  

Sometimes

Sometimes

My heart wants

To burst from

Love…

It seeps out

and even radiates

Within range.

It’s a happy sort of

Love — almost bubbly.

What’s changed?

An hour ago I

Might have sat

In dispare, or

A kind of grief?

Well, you know —

God entered in

I turned ever

so slightly in her

Direction — and

Bamb!

Love overtook me.

–Love is all

 

July, 2015 .

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

And,.. If I be Lifted up–

I’ve been dwelling on this phrase from Christ Jesus a lot lately. It came to me, oddly, after watching an Adam Sandler movie a week ago while on a business trip in San Jose, California.

In one scene, Adam is challenged to battle a competitor. Unusually, it was set in a fantasy future with antigravity effects. But first, he steps onto a small flying disk— which lifts him upwards. Then, it hit me…

“If, I be lifted up…I will (in a spiritual state), see all others, that way too.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote once, ‘Jesus beheld, in Science (sic: or, in Truth), the perfect man– where sinning, mortal man appeared to others. In this correct view of man, the Master healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, restored the dead to life, thus proving the Kingdom of Heaven intact, and man, pure and holy.’

It explains how Christ Jesus could put his arm around the leper, because leprosy does not exist in the divine consciousness. It also explains why he could call Lazarus forth, because, he was very much alive to Jesus’ thought.  He could never have called him forth if he thought otherwise.

It also explains the necessary time Jesus spent alone, in prayer, in quiet meditation with God. Lifting himself up…up from the struggles of daily first century life. In realizing his own divinity, he brought others to theirs. The illusion of anything less?– Shattered, dissolved.

This is ours to do as well; Our work in the world, our way of being-undivorced from good, God. It can be as simple as dropping judgmental labels, or reconciling with someone…as dramatic as speaking truth to error, or giving your life to helping others,….and always lifting ourselves up. Get on that ‘high flying disk’, as Abraham Hicks has said, and stay there, as often as you can.

Then, you too will be lifted up, and those around you, or in your thoughts and prayers, too. And THAT is the practice, isn’t it? That’s all it is.

See John 12:32: “And if I be lifted up, I will draw all unto me.”

Love to you, this Easter morning, 2015.
Alexis

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

Enthusiasm does not know age–

Quick insight to share….

I was leaving the office early, just a few days after Christmas. It was my son’s birthday and I had some things to finish up before having friends and family over to celebrate. My computer was being upgraded, and I couldn’t really work without a CPU on my desk. I am an architectural designer for a large firm, here, in Portland.

I felt especially gleeful. I exuded enthusiasm as I said goodbye to coworkers and receptionists. Then, it hit me.

Enthusiasm doesn’t know age!

These office friends were seeing ME as enthusiastic, happy. And, that’s what they responded to… not to my size or shape, or how slow I walked, but just to the enthusiasm. I walked out with enthusiasm, at a normal, pace.

We are ‘made of qualities’, really.

The same rule could be said of joy, honesty, loyalty, hope, confidence, caring,… none of these know age. Whether three years old or three-times-thirty– If we ‘live out’ of these qualities there really is nothing for age to attach to. We are ageless. We are full and overflowing of God.

I learned this as a little girl from my parents, from my wonderful Christian Science Sunday School teachers ((forever grateful)) and again, in Christian Science Class Instruction… this time, an Angel whispered in my ear.

“Enthusiasm does not know age”.

Play with it some:

Joy does not know age. Courage does not know age. Strength does not know age….

Joy does not ‘know’ pain. Courage does not know fear. Strength does not know lack. Love does not know disease….

The permutations of this concept are infinite, are Life itself.

God IS good… in Him, we live and move and have our being. “Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, —neither in nor of matter, — and the body will then utter no complaints.” Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scripture.

Love to you right now.

Tiny flower

Tiny flower

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

A ‘Treatment’, or Better Still… ‘A Treat’-

A Treatment, or a Treat?

Sometimes it helps to write down your prayers. I have to admit I am not in practice… a bit rusty. Today, I start with a heavy sigh like one preparing to sit in meditation.  In my thought there is a catalogue …ills that need addressing. I could go there, make a list. Check it twice. But today, my question is:  Treat or treatment? This is the question I go to God with.  It occurs to me today  for the first time, that a real treatment is truly a treat…one in which, Christ enters in. Now, that’s THE  treat, agree?

We are told to ‘Enter his courts with thanksgiving and praise’.  That’s a clue.

One could view metaphysical treatment as a love letter to the ‘one and only true God’ as I think Moses may have said.  Here goes….

 

Dear One, God–

I know that you God, are the only One in my life. I ‘have no God’s before you’. Your creation appears in the world around me. But, you, the creator, are reflected in every aspect.  You continue to create. Mary Baker Eddy: ‘Creation is ever appearing and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source,’.  First, let me say, I love you, your world too. I am happy in it…   Everything is good, very good. That includes man, who you proclaim in Genesis 1, ‘Very Good’. That includes me, too!  As though that is what all our names  are:  Alexis ‘Very-Good’ Wittman, Child of God.

I’m thinking this love letter needs to be a daily thing, right?  So, to recap, I have acknowledged God and secondly, man as God-created. Perfection.

God is the power, the intelligence, the love… like a diamond with many facets, God’s facets are infinite, powerful and good; All part of the diamond. Mary Baker Eddy, author of ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’ back in 1875, liked to think of God in terms of qualities, specifically seven synonyms: Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Mind. Taking one of these into thought, Life, for today…. brings Divine Life more clearly into focus, let’s me explore God. Think of that as a definition of treatment.

Humanly, I am suffering. I am having what I euphemistically call ‘mobility issues’. That could mean, car troubles? But, no, today there’s some pain I am facing as I move through my day. It’s truly uncomfortable and limits me, too much. This is hard to share, with you, with God even. I feel like a failure.

Those words, I’ve italicized, ‘pain’, ‘uncomfortable’, ‘limits’, ‘failure’… express the erroneous ideas I seem to be experiencing. I have taken them into thought. I want to be free of pain, comfortable, unlimited, a success!…. that’s the course I am charting here. Life (God) is too good to behold evil, pain, uncomfortable limbs, limitation, failure. They are unreal and unnatural in God’s creation. The only power they have over me? None, really.

Eddy again: ‘Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusion as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.

Eddy says that, ‘man is not brains, blood, and bones’.  We are not our bodies. We are something else entirely…. spiritually made beings. ‘in the image of God’. Christ Jesus states that ‘in Him (God) we live, move, and have our being’.  Mrs. Eddy’s words to the world were, ‘God is my life.’ This for us…

Christ Jesus states in John 10: ‘ I am come that they might have life; and that they might have it more abundantly ‘. This is really the message of Christmas, isn’t it, by the way? Abundant life, for us.

God is my life too. I am the ‘man’ of God’s creation. Any other claim, symptom, distress, is obviously a false clam, a lie against this established truth, fact. I can correct any, let me repeat, any lie… by knowing the Truth.  Once I understand, through lesson and demonstration, that two times two is four, I don’t have to conjecture about five, six, or three.  It’s true sometimes it helps our thought make the necessary course correction by ever so briefly, acknowledging, what is not.  The science of Christian healing can work like a mathematical proof, demonstrating so clearly Truth overcoming error, that only health remains standing IN OUR EXPERIENCE. Creation is perfect, and it our divine right to experience God’s creation here, now. We are not changing anything but thought. Eddy says, ‘Thought must MOVE”.

Eddy put this ‘proof’  into what she termed a Scientific Statement of Being….(in part):

There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. (The lie)

All is infinite Mind (God) and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. (The Truth)

So, this includes ‘my life’.  I have now taken a particular aspect of God, Life, into my thought, or love letter. And, wrapped my own life up in it.

What’s missing from this treatment? There is an element of healing so crucial, that it alone heals. Even without the affirmation and argument that a treatment may represent. It’s the ‘treat’ I hinted at earlier.

Thinking about God, as principles or qualities, can leave us ‘in our head’ as you might say. But what brings these healing thoughts into our lives in a way that secures them, that anchors them in our very being?

What is it that God acts through? What is the activity of God in our human experience? Simply put, the Christ.

The Webster -Merriam Dictionary includes this idea in defining Christ: ‘the ideal truth that comes as a divine manifestation of God to destroy incarnate error’. It’s origin is from the Greek Christos, literally, anointed.

So more than only being immersed in Truth, I ask for the anointing. The presence of God, God’s blessing in my life. THE Christ.

This healing treatment IS a treat. It operates through the Christ, in accordance with God’s law. I can rest knowing that it is active in my life, and true for the world as well. It is sealed by God’s great infinite love. Amen.

Blessings–

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

 

“How long did it take this time”?

Clear sky Pix by AW

Clear sky
Pix by Alexis

I am frequently amazed at how long it takes for me to turn to God. If you note the time between recent posts, it’s been months… literally. I have been in a desert place, (or is it a dessert place)? Could be. I have been feeling fat, undesirable, unattractive, and honestly, unhappy. I could blame it on the weather, dreary drizzle here in Portland; the place, I’d rather be in Northern Michigan for the snow and companionship of old friends, my diet–one too many cheese sandwiches…. but, really… really, it’s feeling turned away from God.

This is not in some intentional decision based way. It’s not exactly laziness. It’s something else. A vacation away from God. As if. God waits patiently. Always here, living me. Loving me.

But, often, it takes me while to warm up to God. To think, “There is a solution”.

Slowly, I have been thawing out of this frozen state of consciousness. And I’d like to share a simple, goofy, story that occurred a few days ago as an illustration of this. Sometime in the night, I had taken off my wedding rings. I remember putting them both on the broad table beside the bed. The next morning, there was the wedding ring, but not the diamond engagement ring. Huh. I looked all over, checked the floor, under the dresser scarf,.. no sign of it. Not a big worrier, I went ahead with my day. Later that evening,… still no ring. Next morning, and one or two morns after, again, no sign of it.

Well, I had just gotten back into reading Mary Baker Eddy’s book, Prose Works. Just a dabble of inspiration for my cloudy thoughts. And walking into my bedroom, a bit later, I thought (like a lightening bolt) as I turned to sit on the edge of my bed, and look once again for this ring of mine, ‘God knows’ (where it is)… and ha! As I turned my butt to sit, THERE IS WAS SHINING AT ME UP FROM THE BED. The same place and side I’d slept for several nights without feeling it. It was comically laughing at me. Right there, twinkling. One way or the other, it was restored to me. Logical explanations aside, it was important to me.

I did one of those, V-8 Juice, head slaps. You know, “I could have had a V-8!”……….. I could have had God. This is an expression that I have shared with clients. Thinking, asking myself, this time, ‘How LONG did it take this time to turn Godward?’ You get it, right? We go along in our cloudy stew of issues, problems. Happy enough, sad enough. But finally the little stirring inside awakes and we remember God’s power, love,  and authority over our lives. In all ways.

So, ask yourself, as you turn toward God: “How long did it take THIS time?”

The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof’ Psalm 24:1

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

Quick update–

After a lot of very supportive prayer — my own and others, I have a job for the summer working for CH2M Hill.  It’s a great company and right next door to Portland State University where my graduate classes take place evenings.  Couldn’t be better –… well, it could, and continues to unfold in an upword direction.  I want to encourage anyone in the same situation of long term unemployment…. hang in there and look up!

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

Planting Seeds

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JoLa café, on SW Corbett Ave. Portland, OR

Sometimes you need to read your own ‘sh*t’. ‘Know what I mean?

I’m in a period where I feel more fear (money related) after an extended period of being in grad school and without professional work… While I know the practical steps to finding a job, nothing is working. I applied to about 20 jobs yesterday, from senior manager, project architect, office manager, to receptionist. This flurry of applications has not been successful. I am not on top of my best self, but struggling to keep above the flood.  So just going back over my post about joy… you know, ‘Your joy, no man taketh from you’ helped remind me of the real goal: expressing good, finding more of God reflecting in and around me.

Sitting at a communal table with the ‘laptop-set’ at JoLa Café here in Portland, I am overhearing two women. They are in circumstances similar to me. Older, laid off, one in tears because the way ahead seems so dark.  The other leading the conversation with some tips for setting up a consultancy. It’s obviously a great example of networking.  I am not alone.  It seems that many older workers have become too expensive to hire, unhip, and too uncool. Waves of gray – hitting the wall!

What to do? What to do?

Seek refuge. Seek safety. Seek God. (If you are one who doesn’t naturally think in terms of a power outside yourself, stay with me).

Take a virtual breath. Look up and around yourself. What’s going on here? What’s percolating? What’s trying to emerge? It’s ok.

I have to remind myself how ‘this’ works… first the grain, then the fruit.

The ‘work’ is to see God clearly, love good dearly, … (I know, I know, amazingly similar to the song  ‘Day by Day’ in Godspell, the Stephen Schwartz  musical.) Finding ourselves– spiritually, lays the groundwork to find ourselves a job too. Somewhere, and I can’t find the quote… but it says something to the effect: ‘What God has fixed in heaven, shall be fixed on earth’. I DO know Christ Jesus asked us to pray/think: ‘As in heaven, so on earth.’ Our work is complete, whole, fun, perfectly suited to us WHEN we find it in heaven first.

Our practice may be architecture, law, engineering, education or business…. but the work begins by first turning humbly to God for inspiration. Making meditation and prayer a priority in our lives will create a shift. A shift which moves circumstances into place so that everyone benefits. Trust this.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”. GALLATIONS 5:22-23.

En route back to Portland, Pix by Alexis

En route back to Portland, Pix by Alexis

 

 

 

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

 

 

 

 

 

40 Years with a Friend of God?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Moses lately…. I know, he seems rather ‘old school’, old testament, old news, right?  You all remember the story of the exodus of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt; they spend 40 years ‘wandering’ in the desert ….following Moses.  We get the impression that this is a fruitless time. Perhaps truly frustrating for those escaping slavery– looking for home.  A hard, difficult time.

 

But think about this, really… This thought hit me the other day —

 

Wouldn’t you willingly spend 40 years following a man who saw God ‘face to face’?

 

A 40 year pilgrimage- a lifetime with a prophet; one who brings truth to the people.  Wouldn’t this ultimately be a fruitful 40 years? Certainly, being led through the wilderness by a pillar of fire by night, and a column of smoke by day, finding manna each day in sustenance, were some of the many proofs of God’s care for the Hebrew people.  But most of all, God spoke to Moses, their leader, their liberator, with the intimacy and truth, as friend speaks to friend.

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.  [Exodus 33:11]

With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. [Numbers 12:8]

Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,.. [Deuteronomy 34:10]

They saw that his face was radiant.  [Exodus 34:35]

 

I don’t always take the time, or presence, to speak with God in this way. Do you?   My face doesn’t shine like that – for sure.  (Once in while, there’s maybe a little glow.)  Daily life enters in.  There seems to be a promised land to find.  But right there, right now Truth Is.  And, God is always calling you in….in to His Life.

At my coffee shop early this morning a group of young pastors bows their heads in prayer to speak to Jesus.  They bring themselves into the circle of prayer.  They humble themselves to hear what Spirit says back.

40 years – in the company of one who has that daily intimacy?  Well, worth a lifetime’s worth– if we also respond to that call, listen to the Truth around us.  Even in the coffee shop!

2013 - August in NP artwork and assorted events 013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

 

Do I really believe that God is Love?

I am asking myself this, this morning….in the midst of my trip to San Francisco to visit Ian, Andrew and Lindsey while looking for architectural work.  There’s been a disappointing ‘almost-job’, crushed expectations, good meetings but no offers. I have discovered the charming village of Pt. Richmond across the bay from the city and come here to decompress from everything.  It reminds me of the way of life back in small Michigan towns.  People are especially open and friendly here.

Sitting in a cafe, thinking about the way things have gone this past week, the thought asks:  Do you really believe God is Love?

We may acknowledge that statement as a fact, or a truth, … but, do we believe it?

Do I believe?

In some ways, it is the ultimate question of faith.  Faith presented as a love request from the ultimate Source. Do I really, really believe that God is Love, that God loves me… then that thought expands to, does God care for me, provide for me, shelter and protect me?

‘Cause maybe, THAT’s what’s going on.  And my stubborn-minded prescriptive determination to have things MY way is masking the love God has for me.  For you too?

(Already so much has been given me, including running into someone at church my first Wednesday night here, who so kindly offered to let me condo-sit for her giving me a whole extra week in the area.  And, her place was within blocks of the motel I’d been staying at, meaning I already knew the area.  AND, her condo sits on a lovely canal with sailboats perched alongside.  AND, turns out we knew each other 25 years ago in the Christian Science Church in Indianapolis.)

How cool is all that after all?  And, I was doubting?

So resting in that idea, that God IS Love, my breathing slows, my brow relaxes, and my joy returns to consciousness.

Everything is ok.  God is Love.


ImageImage

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

Being a life coach…or, a Life coach? [with a capital ‘L’]…

Sometimes friends say I should be a life coach.

A life coach is helpful to those trying to figure out a next step, a career path, relationships, money strategies, and much, much more.  I know some who practice helping others as a life coach.  In fact, in Portland, Oregon, USA where I sometimes hang my hat, there’s one on every corner — or every bulletin board at least.

Friend to friendIt’s a real complement to me, and I hear what they are saying.  I could add that to my shingle.  BUT, I really am more of a Life coach; with a capital L. Capitalizing like that is often a reference to divine Life, or God…  That’s the kind of coach I am as a Christian Science practitioner.

You see, I have been trying to live with God in my life for so long, that God is my life coach — or, really, my Life coach.  The divine life.  I am trying to live a divine life.  That takes guts to say, but there, I said it!  When I work with others, THAT is what I’m trying to do – guide them to God, to Life.

In Him, [God, Divine Life] we live and move and have our being.

God is All-in-all.

God is Love.

Think about that for a minute.  If you took nothing but those simple, dear, phrases from the Bible into your prayer and mediation, you would have the wealth and health of the world in your lap!

I find that turning to the divine Life solves my problems far better, quicker and gracefully than any human advice could.  That’s why I love to say: “God is living me!”   The instruction book that we have?  The Bible.  My references all tie back to the Bible in one way or another. I discover new ideas and fresh concepts to work with just in opening it.  Very often, right on that very page, is the very answer I need.  I REALLY encourage YOU to try it.

Mary Baker Eddy said in reference to her life-long healing practice, and the discovery of a Christian Science: “The Bible was my only textbook.”  Science and Health, p. 110.

Her desire was to understand God, Christ Jesus, and healing.  Simple, grand desires.  She stayed so close to the bible, was immersed in it as a child in the early 1800’s, that healing came naturally to her.  And, then, when faced with a life-threatening moment, asking for her Bible…. she opened to a section in Matthew, that so illuminated Christ’s healing presence, that she herself was healed.  Not only of the effects of an accidental fall in her 50’s, but also of a life long sensitivity to a painful spine and nerve related condition.

English: Public Domain Image of Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy
Look at that sweet expression–

She lives a second half of her life so full of accomplishment, freedom and success that the first half’s struggle was fully compensated.  At an age when many would sit in a rocker lamenting their declining years, she founded in 1908, an international daily newspaper of great renown and Pulitzer Prize achievement [7 of them!]: The Christian Science Monitor.  The Monitor’s mission?

 ‘To injure no man, but to bless all mankind.’  Boy, say that three times.

Christian Scientists study a Daily Bible Lesson, and this same lesson forms the central message of the Sunday sermon in Christian Science Churches around the world today.  The Wednesday Testimony Meeting also contains readings composed of the Bible, as well as testimonies of healing shared by congregants.  Her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scripture is shared as well.  Together, The Bible and Science and Health,  constitute the pastor of the church today.  Much like a pastor exposing on a biblical point through sermon.  However, these lessons actually have more of the Bible read than ANY sermon I’ve ever heard preached from a pulpit or podcast.

So, to get back to my premise – that of being a Life coach with a capitol ‘L’.  Be a Life coach to those around you today.  See if there might be guidance from the Bible that enriches your experience?  Try to crack the book open and really see what’s there.  Truth is a living, real power in the Bible.  Start with the book of John in the New Testament of the Bible, if the whole concept is foreign to you.  But really, anywhere you seek inspiration and fresh ideas, it’s in there!

“As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.”  Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, p. 497

See also this page with more of her references to the value of this great book:  http://www.glenmontcsn.com/christian-science-and-the-bible/ and some great info.

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

Christian Science is not just another ‘complementary health care practice’.

Many friends ‘pile on’ their regime of health care practices.  Try this, try that…supplements, nutrition, acupressure,  acupuncture, reike.  Thinking that maybe I have something up my sleeve as a Christian Scientist, they want to give it a try at times.  And, THAT’S great.  I understand that step by step we find it.  But I want to explain something, why there is such a turn-around in a new and different direction when you start studying Christian Science.

(One studies Christian Science by reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Rev. Mary Baker Eddy which was originally published in 1875 alongside the Bible.)

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It’s hard not to grasp at straws when one is suffering, isn’t it?  But I DO know that having a Christly consciousness will bring relief and healing to any situation.  It’s the same spirit that prayers are offered to those in the hospital, or someone who just crosses your path. It’s really your duty to meet any need with that same Christly consciousness.

While I study, pray, and work, as consistently as I can, to maintain a clear, direct understanding of my own spirituality, it is not always the same when you just ‘dabble’, or pile on.  One foot in this or that school of thought, another in trying Christian Science.  (And, I am someone who is always open to seeing  Christian Science ideas finding their way out into the world, in other denominations and practices.)

I am talking about something more – the nitty gritty of getting in and doing the work.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote that it is the ‘radical reliance on Truth‘ that heals.  What does that mean?  More than just turning from other systems of healing, she is talking about Truth, another synonym for God.  Eddy gave us seven synonyms for God, and I find them helpful when talking with people who are even hesitant to say the word ‘God’ outloud:  Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, Soul, Principle and Mind.  All facets of the same diamond, you might say.

There is such a fundamental difference in Christian Science to other approaches, that it isn’t really fair to mix them.  The medical model relies on your whole fledged buy-in to the materiality approach, even if we are talking nutrition or homeopathy, or energy work.  While seemingly a step away from the medical model, these approaches are still working from a different basis.  One is like applying a patch vs. ‘the whole cloth’ if you know what I mean?  You Christians may get that reference to the whole cloth – like the robe Christ Jesus wore.

Christian Science is based on spiritual-truth-telling, by transformative thought.  Not by studying disease, but by studying health.  And not in a material sense either.  They contradict one another, don’t they?

In fact, they can sometimes seem to work against each other.  And it’s important to understand why –

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Students in a cafe in Boston

Eddy discovered years ago that the ‘atmosphere of thought’ surrounding the patient/client was crucial.  Even medical researchers today study the placebo effect to understand expectations, the power of thought.

Just as Christ Jesus did in healing the young dead girl;  Jairus’ daughter [Mark 5]  He had to ‘put out’ those who were not present to faith, to healing; those who laughed when He said, ‘She but sleepeth”.  He wanted to keep the atmosphere around her pure, and focused.  Focused on healing.  Focused on life, not death.  And suddenly in that healing atmosphere, with Christ Jesus, she was alive, not dead.

There is such a fundamental difference in the frame of thought associated with spiritual healing than with medical, nutritional, oriental, energy models.  They don’t mix.  Not really.

I attended a Christian Science lecture last night in Glen Arbor, MI by Robert Gilbert, CSB [Christian Science Practitioner and Teacher].  He explained in a way I’ve never quite heard it, Eddy’s understanding of matter and thought.  Matter and thought = the same stuff!  Just as ice is a form of water as is steam, matter is thought taking form.  Wow.  That’s pretty clear isn’t it?  (It even has some parallels in the way quantum physics looks at particle and wave.)

And, why is SO important to guard your thoughts!  To keep them pure and centered on good.  “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7.  Eddy wrote:  “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 391)

But,what I want you to get, … even more important than what our individual (or collective for that matter) thoughts are, consider God’s thoughts.  Consider how God regards you.  From the beginning we are taught:  ‘Man was made in the image and likeness of God.  Very good.  Perfect. Jeremiah 29:11 says…

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

– King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition

God is ever active.  S/He didn’t create the world one day and leave it — No way.  God is active, thinking, loving us all the time; always.  That activity of God is another way to think of the Christ:  The action of God in the world.

That Christ, is what heals.  The Christ is what reveals.   That thinking, that knowing, that activity, that God, that perfection, is the Life of the world.  When we realize, become conscious, of God’s thoughts — they become our own.  Our world experience becomes one of joy, peace and health.  Wholeness.  “…There is no room for imperfection in perfection.” (S&H, page 205).  Like when you turn on the light in a dark room, there is no room for darkness anymore.  There is no room for disease, in the consciousness of God.  So it’s not human thought that heals – it is God thought.

Then you can say with me, ‘God is living me’.

That’s how Christ Jesus could say, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand“.  It really is.  God’s thought is accessible and practical.  And in II Timothy 2: 15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

So “Dig in”….

The First Church of Christ, Scientist Boston, Massachusetts

The First Church of Christ, Scientist
Boston, Massachusetts

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

Magic? Or, Majesty….

It’s easy to fall into the trap (and it really is a trap) of what I call ‘magical thinking‘.  It’s anytime you think, ‘if I do, say, think, make, follow that__________, then this (fill in the blank)____________ will happen’.

For example, hypothetically, IF I drive a hot new sports car, red maybe?. Then, I will attract my wife to me.  If I loose weight, then everything will be perfect.  If I …. If I, If that…. really, it’s speculation isn’t it?

It can happen if one health area or another…. if I drink wine, then my blood pressure will be lower (if that’s even what they say), if I drink coffee, then I’ll live longer, or if I run everyday, then I will avoid heart disease.  I see that if/then thinking is all over the place.

My current big one has been, ‘If I go to grad school for my master’s in engineering in technology management, then I will find a big paying job to last me the next 15 years…’  It may, or it may not.  Really. Some of the most what we call ‘common thinking’, or rule of thought, is really magical thinking in disguise.  ‘Act your age’, ‘Time will tell’, ‘Knock on wood’.

Such thinking can get really far out and magical, ‘If I wear a certain gemstone, then I’ll take on the qualities of that stone’, or ‘If I buy a lottery ticket every week, then one day I’ll be rich, or ‘If I wear my team’s jersey on game day, then they will win the playoff’,  ‘If I read my horoscope every day, then I will know how to live my day’…  These are all pretty much the same.

If you take a moment to think about it, our day might seem to be ruled by if/then magical thinking.  Discipline yourself to spot it.  You’ll be catching it in your thought all the time…  If I wash my car, then it will rain.  That’s a funny one.  If I eat dark chocolate, I will be happy, then I won’t be depressed.’  Such ideas are magical, and magnetizing.

Some on the spiritual path, practice this thinking — ‘If I outline what I want, specifically and with all the emotion I want to invest in something, live with that idea,  then it will happen.’  If I make a vision board with all my dreams on it, then I will see them come to life in my life.  I admit, I’ve done that too – fantasize and  outline exactly what I wanted to happen in my life.  I am preaching to my choir, believe me.

~  ~  ~

Here’s a question.  Please give it a moment’s thought:  WHAT does that kind of thinking leave out of the picture?…  Really give it a deep moment’s reflection.  I want you to.

Pix by Alexis Wittman

Think on this a minute…

 

 

 

 

 

Who creates?  What governs?  What is cause?

 

 

 

God.

We leave God out of the picture when we are doing magical thinking.  So much so that we are warned directly ‘that such is an abomination unto the Lord’.  It doesn’t get more direct than that.

Whereas, …

“The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, — that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle.

To grasp the reality and order of being in its Science, you must begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle of all that really is. Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, combine as one, — and are the Scriptural names for God. All substance, intelligence, wisdom, being, immortality, cause, and effect belong to God. These are His attributes, the eternal manifestations of the infinite divine Principle, Love. No wisdom is wise but His wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, no life is Life but the divine; no good is, but the good God bestows. (M.B. Eddy Science and Health, page 275.)

There is but one real attraction, that of Spirit.

The pointing of the needle to the pole symbolizes this all-embracing power or the attraction of God, divine Mind.

The planets have no more power over man than over his Maker, since God governs the universe; but man, reflecting God’s power, has dominion over all the earth and its hosts.”  (Ibid page 102.)

Life and being are of God, (Ibid page 103.)

Like our nation, Christian Science has its Declaration of Independence. God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love.  (Ibid page 106.)

Quoting from Galatians:   “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

That’s the majesty.  So instead of magical thinking today, instead try opening the door to God.  Pray to understand Divine Love better.  Express order and Principle in your day.  Let God unfold your day for you.  Begin as Spirit.  Gently.  Perfectly.

That’s my point.

Unfoldment of God’s plan for each of us, rather than outlining its outcome.  That’s what I was taught in Sunday School.  It’s just now I am really looking at that in my daily life.  Again.

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Each day, a complete idea. Perfect unto itself.

 

Read a bit more, but you don’t have to…

I’ve been enjoying a copy of the Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text, George M. Lamsa’s 1933 translation from the Aramaic language.  Aramaic, the native speech of Christ Jesus and the early disciples, along with Hebrew and Greek, it is still spoken in parts of Syria and scattered communities in the Middle East.

I find the translation has a subtle grace to it.

Opening today to Deuteronomy 8, it felt fresh, like I’d never seen it before….

Basically, it says:

“All the commandments which I command you this day you shall observe to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and posses the land which the Lord swore to your fathers.

And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, and prove you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep the commandments or not.  And he humbled you and suffered you to hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you to understand that man does not live by bread along; but by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord does man live.

Your clothes did not wear out upon you, neither did you feed go bare during these forty years.

You must know in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Therefore you must keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in his ways and fear [adore, understand] him.

For the Lord your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and mountains.

A land of wheat and barley, and of vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees, and of oil and honey;

A land wherein you shall eat bread without scarcity, you shall not lack anything in it;  a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose mountains you may dig brass.

You shall eat and be full, and then you shall bless the Lord you God for the good land which he has given you…..” (Deuteronomy 8: 1-10)  and so it goes.

Put God in the equation.

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.”  We are like the fish in the ocean, looking for the water.

~ ~ ~

Many, many years ago I had the inspiration that the commandments are more than just a set of working instructions to life…. they are, in fact,  a statement of being.  A statement of spiritual being. A statement of God’s man, or woman or child.  God’s man does not kill, nor steal, nor covet.   I’ll write about that one another time.

Love, and a hug –

Lexis

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

“If you don’t know the path, do you know the direction?”

At one point in my life I made a lot of plans… starting when I was 25.  Five year plans, ten year plans.  You know, how you do?  Then LIFE enters in and plans shift and transform to reflect the real world.

I was in the midst of my plans when I moved to Washington DC when I was 25 to work for a small architectural firm there….probably on track to get my registration and AIA* accreditation.  But, I met my husband Brice there and turns out – he was career military.  So every so often, instead of establishing my career somewhere – we’d move.  We did see the best parts of the country – big cities, like Honolulu, Indianapolis, New York City.

Children and homeschooling them in our semi-retirement in Northern Michigan happened next.

Major moves to Oregon when they were teenagers happened next.

(And, to be open – some marital problems, a separation and reconciliation added to the mix of experiences).

Last on the list of big surprises, Brice made his transition in 2007.  I never had that on my plan – ever, anywhere.  Learning to work through grief has been a huge life lesson.

Each time I shifted further and further away from any plan I might have had in mind, you know, I still was moving in a certain direction.  Each time events conspired to teach me lessons, major and minor, I learned.

Now, I can say – I don’t know what plan I am on, but I DO know the direction I am going.  I am taking the talents, skills and gifts that have matured along the way and allowing them to grow.

It says in the Bible, ‘It only takes a small tiller to move a very large ship’.  That’s a favorite quote of mine.  It speaks to the way course corrections are made.  Carefully and gently.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her book ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures‘, “Time is measured by the unfoldment of good”.  I love this idea.  Because if you started to measure time in this way, time would have no meaning – but the quality of good in your life would have all the significance.  Instead of 5-year plans, you might think in terms of the expectation of good.  You might start to look for the good unfolding all around you.

As I sit here writing this little message, three different teams of elementary school kids have passed by on a little treasure hunt their class is doing here in Downtown Traverse City, Michigan.  I happen to be sitting under the historic market that denotes the answer to one of  the questions they are hunting for ‘when was the TC Opera House built?’  Well the answer is…1891 when three brothers-in-law built the 1200 seat Victorian showpiece.  Each cluster of kids has come right over to my table,  And each has taken a few minutes to love on my dog, Bear.  It’s a small thing, but given the lovely interactions we’ve both had with the kids?  That’s good measured.

And, back to the title of this piece, “If you don’t know the path, do you know the direction?”… It turns out, we are directed to good.  By good.  For good.  Always.  The path is not always clear, but the direction is —Image

‘I am the way, the Truth and the Life’ — Christ Jesus.

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

 

Heaven Pokes Through Bit by Bit –

The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

This famous express of Christ Jesus has new meaning for me today…. let me share a bit with you, ok?

First, there is the immediacy of this statement.  There is nothing closer than ‘at hand’, right?  One could even go so far as to say, ‘Heaven is handy’… This is now, here, practical truth, this present moment.  Not some far off land over the rainbow.  This is R-E-A-L-I-T-Y.

Second, just look at that word ‘kingdom’.  It’s not used that often, is it?  A kingdom speaks of domain, authority, presence, power, protection, peace. And of course, the leadership of a king.  We are never in this circumstance or condition alone.  We have a king.  How cool is that?  Under such protection, all is well…

Lastly, heaven breaks through our daily experience, here and now.  Just as the man lame for 30 years, from birth, instantaneously finds his feet, or the leper Jesus EMBRACED and transformed finds his health, there are moments we can see where our own perfection shines through, or when the coin appears in the fish’s mouth?  The Bible is filled with the testimony of such moments of heaven.  That’s why I love it so much!

AND, here is the new, fresh Truth…. Heaven ‘pokes’ through our daily life.  AND, keeps building and the moments of pure inspiration, health, goodness get longer…stronger.  That’s how we come to the Kingdom of Heaven, moment by moment…Until, we come to that ‘perfect man’, the man of God’s creating.  And, there we are — “Already raised up in Christ” as it says in Ephesians 2:6.

I was talking with a girlfriend recently about the joys and struggles of family relationships….we all work within the circle of others.  Sometimes it is in relationship with others that we face the greatest difficulties.  It can be the boss, the sister, the kid… but each one (even if WE can’t see it yet) also lives within range of heaven.  We have to drop the labels  the basket of diagnosis, the history of hurt to see transformation.  The best healers to this ALL THE TIME.

In Him we live, move and have our being.

We find as we turn spiritward, that we are really here as witnesses to the good God is unfolding before us, each day – ever new.  So we CAN be surprised by the harmony that breaks in on us, the healing that speedily restores health, the joy that a moment of pure heaven inspires in us.  It can be as simple as the license plate I saw this morning that read: “LK-UPWD”  Look upward!

Heaven is the conscious awareness of the power of Love in our lives, in our world, and in the lives of those around us.  It’s not our power, it’s ours to reflect, shine within, manifest, and pass along…

Here’s a healing experience about relationships from my early career in architecture:  I had a disagreement with a co-worker one time.  She’d been a good friend, a lunch-mate.  Then when she became my direct supervisor on the job I was doing, something shifted.  Egos entered in.  Control issues arose, and we became VERY uncomfortable with each other, both personally and professionally.

As I walked one lunch hour the streets of Detroit, MI to think this through. …to pray about it.  It suddenly occurred to me in a flash, as a visual image —  that of a mask that she was holding up (Certainly I was doing the same thing too).  As soon as I saw that, though, and could visualize it,…that the mask that was hiding her real, genuinely warm friendship from me,…in a moment – whoosh, it dissolved.  In Christian Science we call that mask ‘ mortal mind’.  Paul called it the ‘carnal mind’.  It’s good to have a name for it, nothing more than a hypnotic suggestion that God, Love,  is not in control.

As I returned to my drafting table, and she came over to check my work, it was all ease and friendliness.  I was no longer reacting defensively and she was no longer imposing.  It had healed.  Just LIKE that! Snap. And we went back to our friendship.  Small healing, big principle!

In fact one time working with a group of small kids, I had them draw masks on paper plates held up by popsicle sticks….like the scary mad monster faces.  As we played at being ‘mean’, holding up our masks, we could see the giggles and friendly faces hiding behind them…we could see that if our friend, our siblings, mom or dad were acting angry, or hurt, or sad, or whatever — it was only a mask.  We didn’t have to ‘react’ to the mask.  Their real self, their real godlikeness was perfect and untouched right there all-a-long.  And, we could find them by ‘dropping the mask’.

I hope that you will find yourself watching, WATCHING, for heaven in this present moment. Drop the mask.  Whether it be the belief you are sick, hurt, angry, unemployed, struggling…ask God to help shine over it and light up perfection for you.  It IS right there.

The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares.”  Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. (P. 574)

Report the effects of such good to others, be a witness to the world. See Heaven breaking through your day!  THAT is your job today!

ashville 050

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

Space and Time

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This is a painting a group of friends worked on with me to commemorate a birthday of mine.  I sketched out the idea, and everyone filled in the loops. It’s called: “Infinity Loops”.  Each loop is a moment in time and space, infinitely connected.

Lately I have been aware that  space and time are two filters that we view God through.  God exists, we exist, everyone, everything ever created exists…. but we see them through these lenses of space and time.

I had a dream not that long ago, where my husband, Brice, and I were both preparing the same house for habitation.  It was a cute Norwegian cabin with a bright yellow part and another part, bright clear red.  The thing of this dream was that we were there [together] but in different dimensions.  We saw each other, we moved in unison with purpose, but then he slipped his dimension one way, and I the other way…  If you were watching from a third view point, it would be like two films slipping in different directions, yet still, working on the same house.

Space and time, the framework within we live…Is there a way to view them as spiritual?  THAT’S a new question.

If the spiritual source from which we spring, is springing out dimensionally and in a particular time, is there any reason to exclude that from the spiritual totality of the world as spirit?

Are these two, space and time, more fluid and malleable than we know? Certainly they are in some of our experiences. For example, I remember in childbirth, at home, how the corners of the room receded far from me and space stretched to give me the space I needed to focus on the arrival of my son.  Time shifts all the time, depending on how much fun we’re having, how much concentration we give something, what we focus on.  One time a day long trip to Washington DC with my mother happened so quickly that there was no way physically we could have traveled that far, that fast.  Believe me, I stay pretty close to the posted speed limit.  But that trip, we didn’t care about time — and it wasn’t a limiting factor on our day together.

I have been taught the spiritual interpretation of the bible from a child, but I also genuinely believe each and every ‘miracle’ experience recorded there.  Why?  Because I have EXPERIENCED similar miracles, in some small degree.  If mine are true, and note worthy, surely those of the great mystics and the savior, are certainly experiences worth note in their reality.  The seas did part.  The lessons they teach are even more note worthy.

The bible shows many experience where space and time shift to meet the immediate need.  Not only that, but all the forces of nature shift.  Gravity?  A sure thing? Sure.  Until you’ve dropped an axhead which belongs to another in a pond.  Along comes a ‘man-oh-god’ with the right consciousness of God’s ever present help, and UP pops the axhead.

An Axhead Floats [Kings II 6: 1-7]  New International Version

6 The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.”

And he said, “Go.”

Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”

“I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

And time?  Is it really fixed?  Read these words in 2 Kings [20:9-11]

Hezekiah, on his death-bed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going to die. Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof. Isaiah said, “Do you want the sun to go ahead 10 degrees?” Hezekiah said “It is nothing for the sun to go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backward 10 degrees.”

Isaiah spoke to the Lord and the Lord brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD! Ten degrees is 40 minutes.

Modern quantum theory starts to understand the communication between particles vastly separated from each other by distance moving through time..http://http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2007/06/weird_science_c.html

Or, http://http://planetpailly.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/

Then distance dissolved many times, for example when Christ Jesus was INSTANTLY at the shore on one of his trip across the shore.   He also overcame mass and gravity by walking on water.  Christ overcame disease too.  He embraced the lepers by knowing something above and beyond the belief in leprosy.

Mass, matter, time, space, all the usual suspects in defining our experience are more open to interpretation than we allow.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of a different kind of science, Christian Science, shared that idea.  She wrote:

Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures [pg. 477]

I think as we unloose ourselves from the boundaries of time and space, and matter and mass, we will see new horizons.  They have a role to play, but not a limitation ultimately.  Explore God and these will be less limitation, more framework.

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

Uninterrupted Joy

“Your joy, no man taketh from you!”

March 2013 Nokia Download 530

Light about you-  Photos by A.W. March 2013

One of the most influential statements from the Bible that has influenced me, is the verse from John 16:22  “…Your joy, no man taketh from you”.

A very dear practitioner shared that verse with me when the my new marriage was struggling.  That idea, that joy BELONGED to me, that it was mine was a new idea.  It brought healing to us. It was mine to hang on to, mine to express, to live within.  Even in the darkest day, joy, as a quality of God is ours.  It’s part of our inheritance as a child of God.

This thought, that joy is continuous, uninterrupted, even when circumstances might indicate otherwise is very powerful.

Joy breaks through -

Joy breaks through –

The complete quote from John is this, based in the Christ, also continuous, uninterrupted, always available to shine within us.

And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

 

Copyright held by Alexis Wittman

 

Learning from example…

What was MY fresh inspiration this morning?  You know, the idea that hits you like a lightening bolt?  Sometimes so simple, it’s as if God is saying: ‘duh’….you obviously should know this one!’

We learn from example.

Christ Jesus could surely feed the five thousands and the ten thousands because he’d seen it done before.  Moses had fed all the Israelites in the wilderness.  God’s good isn’t just a one event, it is an always!

I had never connected the two experiences before.  Duh!

“Divine Love always has met, and always will meet, every human need.” 

 [Mary Baker Eddy, 1875, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

Bread

And, if you read my prior post, you know what our real ‘bread’ is…..

Work to keep your inspiration fresh!

Do you want to know one of the most important things I’ve learned on this path?  What sustains me?  What I urge my friends and clients to do?

“Keep your inspiration fresh!”

Just as God gave manna DAILY to his people, God gives us inspiration DAILY, moment by moment. While it is important to remember the spiritual lessons and ideas garnered throughout your life, if you just try to store that up, you’ll find it can disappear as much as the manna did.

Image

 It’s hugely important to stay connected to God, your source.  Work daily to read, pray, meditate until you really feel that connection you have with God; and then, this is important…until a brand NEW idea comes to you.  Not just what someone else has written or thought. But what GOD is thinking.  What God is thinking to YOU! Active, alive, fresh Truth!

This is a point I make to others, and especially myself.  How easy is to ride along on the inspirations that’s worked to inspire you in the past. Or, by voicing someone else’s truth.

If you are feeling discouraged, alone, in pain, or even just a tad off your game, it is your CUE.  Get back to Source, to God.  Often that’s when it’s hardest to turn to God, Divine Love.  It’s easy to feel God’s presence in a moment of gratitude, in the warmth of the sunrise– but at the moment of uncertainty, confusion, or loss, turn, turn, turn– find the FRESHNESS!

That’s the big lesson of that story…

Do you remember?  Moses was leading the Hebrew people out of their period of enslavement to the ancient Egyptians and guiding them to ‘the promised land’.  “And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” [See Bible: Exodus 16]

They were worried; genuinely fearful for their lives.  They couldn’t see the plan, nor remember the pain of enslavement.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.  [Exodus 16]

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. [Deuteronomy 8:3 ESV]

It really couldn’t be clearer than that, could it?

How?  Well, it is different for every one.  Me, I take the time early in my day to read inspirational writings.  While such work is full of great ideas, and I DO take them in….it’s really the moment of newness I am after.  At some point, when I am reading, another idea enters in….ah, that’s it!  It is so fresh, so beautiful, simple.  Yet, it’s power is in its direct connection to God.  You can really feel the difference.  THAT is the daily ‘food’ that sustains me!

And, it comes from God.  As Christ Jesus urged us to pray daily: “Give us THIS day our daily bread”…that’s what he was talking about.  We live by every word of God.

English: Moses telling the Israelites to gathe...

Do ‘God’s work’ out the front door, and you will be rewarded in the back door…

A cup of cold water...

A cup of cold water…

This is an expression I share when asked why I don’t seek remuneration as either a life coach or,  as Christian Science practitioner:   “If you do God’s work ‘out the front door’, God rewards you through the back.”  While I do accept donations for my prayerful work, I do not send bills.   I know that God is the source of all reward in the world.  That’s the difference.

We each are asked to be our best self, our ‘God-like self’, in the world.  We are asked to preach the gospel, the good news, to the all the world.  If that is our real business, then let’s be about it…

 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  

(Matthew 5:16)

This is really telling us to be transparent– letting God shine through.  What I have found is that if I do the work of the day, EACH day, as someone comes to me for inspiration or guidance, or healing support, or just a friendly chat, sometime later I am rewarded.  There’s always a moment when it feels like I am ‘plugged in’, and inspiration flows from God.  (I also have made time for my own prayerful inspiration work. )

The reward in return to me, may be in small ways.  It may be in great ways.  Sometimes it comes in advance, sometimes weeks later.  The flow of good is the main evidence that I am on the right track.  Of course, GOOD, God, is always present and I am saying that I am really trying to be fully awake to this truth.

Mary Baker Eddy, the author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, originally published in 1875, wrote:

 ‘Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained, and more secure in our keeping if sought in Soul.’ (p. 60).

Eddy expanded our understanding of Soul, from the limited ‘soul in body sense’, to the much greater understanding of Soul as God.  Big Soul!  Which WE express, especially through beauty, talent, graciousness  calm; whatever meets the need of the moment.

“Soul is synonymous with Spirit, God, the creative, governing, infinite Principle outside of finite form, which forms only reflect” (p. 71).

I have a story to share, one little payback,  quite remarkable…

One day I was sorting through my mugs and glassware in the cupboard.  I could see I had an excess of mugs, and gathered some of the clunkier ones together to donate to Goodwill.  But I said out-loud to myself, “I could really use some more glasses”.

It wasn’t three days later as I was driving through a Portland neighborhood that was new to me, perusing the new developments and fixed up houses…driving slowly.  I pulled over to the curb to allow the red pickup truck behind me to pass.  Seemed liked the right thing to do.  I happened to be next to a bus-stop.

There was a large box on the grass to the side of this bus-stop.  On its side, there was a large post-it note that read:  “FREE GLASSES”.  Humph!  That’s curious.  So being the kind of person who gladly takes things from the curb if I can reuse them, I went to check this out.  There, the box was.  And on the very top of the box was another note:  “THESE GLASSES WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE”.  How remarkable was that?  I mean, who does that?

Opening the box up, inside was a beautiful set of new glassware: tumblers and smaller juice glasses.  Just perfect.  Not a chip or blemish on them.  In fact, they looked to be never used, just perfect, really.  I scooped them up and enjoyed having a matched set of glassware to use in my home.  It was only later that I realized the connection between my expressed need, and the beautiful way that little small need was met.  The experience really DID change my life.  It couldn’t have been better orchestrated by angels.

Learning along the way…

Official seal of Twin Falls, Idaho

Official seal of Twin Falls, Idaho (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just completed a cross country trip…in winter.  I learned tons.

Columbia River

The Columbia River Gorge along I-84

One, that the best thing is to be prepared.  So I spent about $50 at Ace Hardware on some wonderful emergency kit stuff. They have a prepackaged kit for about $20 with jumper cables, flares (my personal favorite), first aid-band-aids, ties, bungee cord, to which I added more flares, dry-gas, graphite key aid, fix-a-flat, hand-warmers, and a kids snow shovel (just the right size for snow behind the tires).  I felt so good, smart, and confident knowing that I had that bright yellow emergency kit on the floor of the front seat where I could get to it if needed and chains in the back.

Two,  be prepared mentally too.  I always say I depart like a flock of geese… have you ever watched them prepare? The energy builds, they get set, and then whoosh — off they fly.  When I travel, I have to know that I am prepared mentally, spiritually for the trip.  The moment for departure has to be just right.

164401_2679580644030_925599564_n

Rocky Mountain Roads

I hit heavy fog the first night, just at the edge of Idaho (having come from Portland, en route to Michigan taking I-84 to I-80).  It was getting dark, cars had their headlights on, and while I couldn’t see very far I could navigate the hills just fine.  Sometimes you just can’t see how the road leads…you just take the next possible step.  You keep focused on the path. The fog was magical, quiet, and really didn’t impede my travel to my first night in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Here’s a brief side-trip about focusing on the path…

I remember after my husband, Brice Kenny, made his ‘transition’ in 2007, I was a total wreck.  Grief hit me hard.  I was in no shape to run a business, much less make a sale.  Then, in an attitude of listening prayer, I heard the thought, ‘Go to the temp agency’…as direct as that.  Doing so, taking the typing test…something I’d never done before, I was asked to come in for an interview at an engineering firm only 2 miles from my home.  While I was interviewing for a job more than 15 miles away, they liked me so much, they kept me at their headquarters.  So that scary long winter commute never happened.  I kept saying yes!  I was willing to do the drive, but turned out I never had to.  And, knowing that I had architectural design in my background, it wasn’t long, maybe 6 months, before I was working in my field again at a very good salary.  I was so grateful!

It was as if God had left me little breadcrumbs to follow.  As long as I kept open, and saying yes, yes, yes…. I was lead along the right direction.  I doubt I could have walked in the door and gotten that same job I ended up with. Continental Divide I am so grateful for that lesson.  I always pay attention to what feels like ‘bread crumbs’…knowing there’s a loaf of bread somewhere nearby.

Three, that you can’t always tell how bad the road is ahead… this one is another metaphorical lesson.  The car was coated with ice outside Colefax, Iowa.  Bad news predicting all day ice, but warming trends.  Sidewalks coated with slick ice….yikes!  I was skating over to the parking space. So I waited till 10 AM instead of my normal 7 AM start.  Still icy.  But, I checked the windows and turns out, they just flaked off with my fingers.  I used a credit card to clear the windshield (handier than locating the 4’ long snow brush somewhere in the back).  So I took off gingerly.

Turns out, the roads themselves, the interstate was fine!  Well brined, and as long as I kept to the speed limit, no issues.  There were a number of trucks turned on their sides here and there which must have attempted the roads during the icy night.  rainYou start to get used to that in the winter- But for me, the roads were nice and dry.

So I learned that I could test the waters, the ice, so to speak…venture gingerly off into life.  Instead of holing up for an extra day in the hotel.

Four, you have to know when to use real caution.  When I got past Chicago heading up to Grand Rapids, MI, the roads were really deteriorating.  Traffic was slowing to 40 MPH and it was getting dark.  At some point, you realize, it IS time to stop.  Even though the destination is not as far as your might hope, you have made progress.  And, I was rewarded with one the best motel rooms of my entire trip.  The Super-8 in St. Joseph, MI was all remodeled like some boutique hotel back in Portland.  I really enjoyed my stay there.  Safe and sound.

Super-8 Motel St. Joseph, MI

Road trips are great for thinking.  I think I needed that space (2500 miles) and time (4 nights-5 days), to think about my life.  I know I learned a lot just from the road – and how I handled it.  New life ahead.  I know that much for sure!

God is living me, taking care of me, guiding me, loving me.