Thursday, January 2, 2020

White Stone Names

I have had wonderfully meaningful White Stone names since Rev T introduced this ceremony to us in January 2014. These are mine since the beginning:

2014       Pay Attention
2015       Open and Receptive
2016       Mirror
2017       Easy
2018       In the Flow

My take-away for Pay Attention was to let go of distractions and pay attention to what’s important. Open and Receptive was about how I need to open myself to life. Mirror was to remind me that what I see outside is what is in me or what I am sending out so when I don’t like what I see out there, take a look inside me to see what I need to heal. Easy reminded me that life doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact it’s easy when I pay attention, remain open and receptive, consult the mirror and take it easy.

In the Flow is like a continuation of the Easy concept – just let go let God, Golden Key any concerns and stay in the flow of life.

Each of these white stone names never leave me, they are just joined by my newest name. Each first Sunday in the New Year I look forward to my new name. I don’t share it with anyone until the end of the year when I have fully embraced all I have to learn from it.

I trust that each of us will receive exactly the right White Stone name for us.

Bless us all,


~ Jean

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Mindful Way of Being

This spring a member of the Hunterdon Hiking Club began leading Mindfulness Hikes. I noticed these listings because the thought of walking mindfully in silence satisfied two of my most treasured experiences: walking in nature and silence (except, of course, the sounds of nature). However the hikes always fell on Thursdays which is the day I work at Unity so I wasn’t able to attend.

Last week though I switched my day at Unity to Wednesday and went on a Mindfulness Hike on the Delaware Canal Path across the Delaware River from Frenchtown. The email read: wear warm clothing and bring a time keeper because each participant would walk at their own pace.

A skim of ice on the canal
That Wednesday morning about 10 of us plus the leader, Carolyn Creed, gathered in Frenchtown. Carolyn gathered us together in a circle (even though it was 35 degrees) and explained the concept of mindfulness walking. Quoting from the HHC Newsletter: Mindfulness is the practice of quieting the mind so you can be fully aware of the present moment. This practice relaxes the body and quiets the mind, reducing fatigue and anxiety. Walking while practicing mindfulness may bring the added bonus of a fuller enjoyment of being outdoors with friends and Nature. For each walk, Carolyn will provide simple instructions for practicing a mindfulness technique, such as noticing the breath or just being aware of the sounds around you.

The path back
Carolyn suggested techniques like concentrating on our breaths to get silent, then to notice how we feel, then to notice what’s around us and finally to pay attention to any messages we received in the silence. Smiling at each other was fine. Taking pictures if we so chose was fine.

With the orientation complete, we all set our timers to 30 minutes and began walking toward the cliffs to the covered bridge where we joined the canal path. It was a beautiful clear, crisp, sunny/cloudy day. Along the walk I took a few pictures which I’ve shared here.

At one point a hiker with binoculars and a camera walked toward me from the other direction. She stopped me to point out a Great Blue Heron perched at the very top of an evergreen tree overlooking The Giving Pond. She also identified two raptors that had been circling over the cliffs earlier – one was a Turkey Vulture and the other was a Red Tail Hawk. She asked about our group and I explained we were on a mindfulness silent walk. Though she was apologetic, I hastened to assure her that I appreciated knowing what the birds were and seeing the heron. She turned back at the same time as I continued on my 30 minutes, neither of us talking. A short time later she stopped, pointed her binoculars up into the trees near the top of the cliff and said “A Bald Eagle. Do you want to see it?” I replied “Absolutely.” Two other HHC walkers caught up with us and wanted to see it too. The rest of the walk was silent. However I was and am content to have seen the birds even if it meant a small amount of talk.
An angel appears over New Jersey

The Mindfulness Hikes are weekly at various locations in and around Hunterdon County. I intend to join more of them.

Not coincidentally 3 days later a friend gave me a birthday gift of the book “see your way to mindfulness” by David Schiller. The author writes in the Introduction: “The meaning of life is to pay attention, to see. Open your eyes. Reality, that which is before you, is where you live…The aim of [this book] is to encourage the reader to discover the joy of [intentional] seeing, and through it, find a more balanced, mindful way of being.”

A mindful way of being. That is how I want to be more often.

With love,

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Rumi Saying

Whatever lifts the corners of your mouth,
Trust that.


I came across the above and it touched something deep inside of me.
I'm sharing it with you.

With love,

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Using our Senses Every Moment

As Eckert Tolle says “We only have the present (now) moment. In fact, our whole life is made up of present moments.” Thinking about that, I realized that staying present all the time means paying attention to what’s around me at all times, using my senses all the time. Not coincidentally I have been noticing several of the Bible verses in the Daily Word these last few months have been about our senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. I’ve listed several of those verses later. A recent Daily Word was Guidance. Part of the meditation is:
Each time I ask for guidance, I am placing my trust in Spirit. By consciously taking this step, I open my mind and heart to receive….As I wait, I do not “fall asleep” by restricting the way in which guidance comes. It reaches me in many ways, perhaps through something I hear, see, read, or feel deep within. I maintain a faithful watch for I know answers are available and my way will be made clear.
I think of how I get guidance in eating. First I look at the food to be sure it is fresh. Then I smell it to be sure it hasn’t spoiled. If it’s something brand new for me, I may like the look and smell of it so I taste it – and I love it or not.

When I’m out and about on errands I listen for the sound of an emergency vehicle so I move over out of its path and let it pass safely and quickly (the occupants are my sisters and brothers who need help). Finally when I’m petting my dog, I feel for any lumps or bumps that our veterinarian may need to take a look at.

Walking my doggie Gus on an early fall day.
My senses in the fall are especially dear. I taste delicious cider donuts, smell the fall leaves, hear the leaves crunch underfoot, see the leaves turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange, red and rust and feel the cool breeze on face and in my hair.

In my spiritual life I am aware of my senses as well. The sensations may be physical and yet also internal. I pay attention to how I feel, to what I see inside. If a message feels, looks and smells kind and gentle, this message is from Spirit. If not, it’s not from Spirit but from ego. The expressions “doesn’t feel right” and “leaves a bad taste in my mouth” come to mind.

I hope you enjoy these Bible verses and notice that they have deeper meaning. The Daily Word they accompanied is in parentheses.

  • Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Psalm 100:1 (Harmony)
  • My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. John 10:27-28 (Listen)
  • Let anyone with ears listen! Matthew 11:15 (Listen)
  • You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19 (Understanding)

  • I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Job 42:5 (Perspective)
  • Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:25 (Clarity)
  • Now, O my God, let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to prayer from this place. 2 Chronicles 6:40 (Let Go, Let God)
  • Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” John 3:3 (Begin Again)
  • The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the body. Proverbs 15:30 (Healing)
  • Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light…Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. Luke 11:34,35 (Guidance)
  • What can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (Perspective)

  • Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. John 4:14 (Refresh)
  • They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. Psalm 36:8

  • Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. Psalm 47:1 (Joy)


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Compassionate Communication

What I learned last night about Non-Violent Communication (NVC):

1. I learned that everyone deserves NVC or compassionate communication - whether that person is someone I love best in the world or a total stranger. We have all heard of people who take their loved ones for granted and are especially kind to strangers. We have also all heard of people who are especially kind to their loved ones, family, friends and coworkers and who are completely indifferent about how they treat strangers both locally and globally. We talk cordially to friends on the phone and talk rudely and slam the phone down on telemarketers. So I repeat - for us all: EVERYONE deserves Compassionate Communication.

2. I also learned there are 1001 or more strategies for communicating compassionately. How I do it will most likely be totally different than you do. Neither of us is wrong. The key is to observe what's happening, acknowledge what I feel, recognize my needs as well as the other person's and make a request based on that. This is simplistic at this point but I'm still learning.

I highly recommend reading Marshall Rosenberg's book Non-Violent Communication. It's easy to read, though not necessarily easy to do and you will, as I have already (only half way through), learn a lot about communicating compassionately with the people in your world.

Thank you Laura Kinney for facilitating our group.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

I am Comforted

Last Friday’s Daily Word was Comfort. This is part of the meditation:
I feel such deep loss when a loved one passes … I may struggle with deciding how to fill the empty void left behind. Healing takes time and love. I am fortified by my inner strength. I can begin a new journey in my life without letting go of sweet memories. I keep each blessing I have received tucked away in my heart and bring it out whenever my spirit needs a lift. I am comforted and at peace.
Two months ago we became home to a lost homing pigeon. We attempted unsuccessfully to find its original owner and in the meantime named him Homer – until, that is, she laid an egg – when we renamed her Pidge. We bought pigeon food, an outdoor house and began to get attached to her. She spent many nights on our roof. We would hear her fly down onto our porch and that was our signal to feed her. We worried about her safety and, it turns out, our worry was justified: on Wednesday (the 28th) a sharp-shinned hawk swooped in and caught her, killing her instantly. Nooooooooo! But it was so. We miss her but we are able to appreciate our two months with her and learned a lot about caring for homing pigeons in that time.

Three years and eight months ago we adopted a parakeet named Jojo whose family had been transferred back to their home in Germany. They couldn’t take him with them for various reasons. We kept him in our breakfast room and greeted him every morning when we fed our dog and him and Pidge too, while she was with us.

Jojo was sweet but did not tolerate a lot of handling. We did find out he loved Romaine lettuce, cashews, celery leaves, showers in our kitchen sink and to fly around the room a couple time. He also loved playing with the ping pong ball my husband hung in his cage, ringing the small bell hanging in his cage and talking to himself in his mirror.

Over the last week or so Jojo was acting sick. We tried to figure out what we could do to make him better, to no avail. On Friday morning (the 30th) I picked him up and was surprised how thin he was under his fluffed up feathers – he was breathing with difficulty and too weak to perch. I held him, stroking his head and back (something he wouldn’t have allowed if he was well) and kissing his head until he took his last breath.

We now have two "empty voids" now. But we also have great memories of both Jojo and Pidge.

There are no coincidences: that Daily Word on Friday was meant just for me. I am sad and I am grateful for the reminder of my inner strength, that these two sweet birds were blessings in my life and we will always have our memories (and pictures).

And so it is.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

More About When Nothing Makes Sense

I wrote last week about not judging when nothing makes sense. Just try to be my best self in the world.

I forgot to add this: When nothing makes sense, I still believe inside that all is in divine order. All is happening for my good even if I don't necessarily understand the why's. This was confirmed for me in Tuesday's Daily Word: Gratitude.
Today I embrace all things with an attitude of gratitude. My life might be a mix of what I call good or bad, but I choose to believe it is all happening for me, with each experience benefiting me in some way. Even if I am not able to see my good or growth in this moment, I trust all will be revealed in time. 
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving. - 1 Timothy 4:4
An attitude of gratitude and believing "it is all happening for me" is what I hold onto these days.

Thank you, God.