Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Middle School UU Magic Lab -- UCM and UU Church of Medford, MA

One of the best silver linings of this pandemic time for me is seeing meaningful connections and relationships form that NEVER would have happened otherwise. UU Magic Lab is one of those examples. Here's a middle school class with 8 middle schoolers (3 from UCM and 5 from the UU in Medford, MA) who are dedicated students of Magic doing a 12 week course with magician and UU seminary student, Rob Kinslow. They meet every Sunday at 4pm on Zoom, and many add in an optional practice session on Thursday afternoons. 
Rob a classmate of Julie Julie Erickson Bond and because of their connection, he gave the invite to UCM middle schoolers to join in. Rob masterfully inspires and encourages these kids to create, to work hard, to support one another. They start with check-ins and dive into the t
rick details and in the end he always weaves in some connections to UU principles or history at the same time.

I was part of today's class and blown away to see these middle schoolers taking initiative to share tricks they've been practicing on their own (a big risk since they're new to learning them), see them teach each other the tricks. The tone was so supportive and many of them have never even met in person! They've built up some really nice rapport. We're hopeful to have an in-person gathering at some future date and offer a real LIVE magic show! Thank you to Julie Erickson Bond for making the connection happen, and also to Mimi Olivier (DRE in Medford) and of course, Rob Kinslow and all the fabulous youth.

During the session pictured here, since the kids were sharing tricks they were learning to create on their own, Rob mentioned Henry Nelson Wieman. Rob says, "He wrote The Source of Human Good. Hardest book I ever read -- literally took me months to read -- but possibly the most important book I read in all of seminary. If I've interpreted him correctly, the source of human good is the creative event, divine creativity -- not creation itself, but the act of creating and creating the conditions for creating."

Above: the group made cards for a surprise celebration of the fact that Rob graduated from seminary a few days prior!  He's an official UU minister!

May 19, 2020 ~ Zentangles as Spiritual Practice with Sally Armstrong

Do you find yourself with some nervous energy lately and wonder how to channel it into a calming practice?  Are you suddenly sitting through a lot of online meetings and webinars and hoping to find a way to keep your hands busy to help you mind stay focused?  Maybe you have always been a doodler and need a new twist on the art form.  

Our weekly Art from the Heart gathering (Tuesdays at 9am) invited UCM member and former DRE, Sally Armstrong, to lead an introduction to the art of Zentangles.  Thank you so very much, Sally, and all who joined us.  We hope many more of you will try it out from watching the video!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

May 3, 2020 ~ Slideshow of Lifespan Spiritual Exploration 2019-2020

Here is our annual Lifespan Spiritual Exploration slideshow. This year it made me both sad and joyful to put this together.  Sad in that it is hard to realize how much I miss us being all together the same spaces.  Joyful, in that it was a treat to be reminded of all the wonderful memories we created in Lifespan Spiritual Exploration this year.  

THANK YOU to all our amazing, dedicated volunteers without whom we couldn't offer these program.   THANKS goes also to the participants across the lifespan who make the programs come to life!

Thank you also to the many people who took pictures this year and shared them with me when I didn't have my camera at the ready!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

April 2020 ~ Sit Spot as a Spiritual Practice

Thank you to all of you who have shared descriptions or pictures of your Sit Spot.  Here's the how to that Marissa helped me make, to encourage you all to find a spot near your home to connect with on a daily or weekly basis if you can!

How to Find a Sit Spot:

We hope to hear from even more of you soon to add to this inspiring collection of special spots.  Email me at ucm.dre (at) gmail (dot) com

"M found her Sit Spot and now she heads there every day." 

"I had actually been looking outside my house earlier in the morning thinking about how to create a sitting spot next to the river bank. You gave me the reason. I also had Juniper start a sit spot at my brother's farm last week!"
~Katie Swick

The view last night from my sit spot. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence comets my help.”

~ Mhairi P.

The first is a photo of me sitting in my still relatively new green house. I didn't realize when I built it that it would also be a great place to meditate and in fact now is more important than growing food as I have a large garden.

The second photo is of our "sacred circle." It sits on top of a knoll just  short walk from our home. From it are gorgeous views ranging from Camel's Hump to Mt. Mansfield and beyond.

And I have a third place that is a twenty minute walk to the "upper meadows" where there is also a place to sit with even more spectacular views of a larger section of the Green Mountain Range.

UCM members and friends are welcome to come here to "stop and sit" any time during the middle of the week.

Just email me at (at) gmail (dot) com. 

"I thought about you yesterday when I came upon a favorite "stand spot" this time of year at a vernal pool on my road.  The frogs in there make quite a racket, and if I walk too close, they clam up.  Well, yesterday I decided that I would outsmart them and walk like an Indian.  I did pretty well for a while, but eventually they figured it out and shut up.  I crept away and they started the cacophony again.  But this time just standing there patiently after they got quiet, I saw something I had never seen when a bunch just floated up to the surface and stayed there.  I wish I had taken my binoculars--tomorrow I will."  ~ Paula Gills  

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...