Thursday, April 30, 2020

THRESHOLDS: Spiritual Exercises and Theme Packet for May

Who knew that the theme of Thresholds would be so timely for this coming month of May when we find ourselves in a middle ground, between two worlds?

Here's a letter of introduction to this month's theme, by Rev. Scott Tayler and the Soul Matters team which puts our monthly packet of spiritual exercises and resources together.  For those of you who find yourself craving it and with time for it, this can be a time of rich personal and spiritual development.  If you'd like to be emailed these rich packets for your own perusal and spiritual reflection at the start of each month, sign-up here.  We hope to start more online small groups soon, including Soul Matters groups that meet to reflect on their experience trying out a spiritual exercise or pondering the questions.

What Does It Mean To Be
A People of Thresholds?

When encountering thresholds, we often talk as if our work is that of successfully “passing through” them. We speak of “making healthy transitions.” We seek out advice and support as we decide which thresholds to lean into and which to resist. The goal, it would seem, is figuring out how to travel forwardin the rightway.

But what if the true invitation of a threshold is not to successfully move from here to there, but instead to just sit and pause? What if we saw thresholds as resting places rather than as those moving walkways that transport us through airports? What if thresholds help us “become” by asking us to just “be” for a while?  No moving. Just noticing and naming. Less traveling and more listening.  

One of our Soul Matters ministers, the Rev. Sara LaWall, gets at this when she writes, “A [threshold is] a space to imagine a new way, and new self. Not moving or pushing but sitting and cultivating… [the goal] is to allow you space and time to reflect on your past, present, and future.  To imagine a new beginning…”

And that imagining and naming may be more powerful than we usually assume. From the outside, it may seem that nothing has changed in our lives, and yet once that imaging takes shape in our minds and hearts, nothing is ever the same. The idea, the dream, the recognition suddenly takes on gravity. And that gravity creates an inevitability that transforms us, sometimes whether we like it or not.

Here’s how the writer Gary Zukav puts it, “At that moment [of realization], a threshold is crossed. What seemed unthinkable becomes thinkable... Once that realization has emerged, you can either honor it or ignore it, but you cannot forget it. What has become known can not become unknown again.”

So friends, maybe our question this month isn’t “Are you ready to change?” but “How have you already changed?” How have you already passed through? How is your “threshold work” the work of noticing a shift inside you that has alreadyoccurred? 

           There is, after all, no forgetting it. Only living it. And letting it live in us.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

UCM Groups Go Online for Social Distancing

As you know, our need to safely protect everyone from the spread of Covid 19 has us all practicing physical distancing right now.  But many connections are still happening.  All of our Chalice Circles have transitioned onto Zoom, like the 3rd Monday Soul Matters group pictured below:

Bridging is the process of high school seniors reflecting on growing up UU and their process of transition into adulthood.  This year we have one high school senior and here's a picture of our most recent Bridging session, which was a very grounding experience to check-in during the early days of Stay at Home.

We've had three check-ins as part of a weekly Tea & Talk drop-in time for UCM Parents and Caregivers to support one another each Thursday night 8-9pm (below).  Topics range from checking in, sharing resources and ideas, and just a space to laugh or cry as needed!

Our Chalice Circles for elders, Seasoned Souls, have done a great job transitioning to online sessions, with two of the three opting to meet on a weekly basis.  Below are the members of the Friday Seasoned Souls group:

Peace is Something We Do

This piece was written in September 2011, shortly after the floods caused by Hurricane Irene.  I could have written it this week.  At the ti...