thoughtful travels, spiritual sojourns

Several folks at work today were celebrating the end of the week. The atmosphere was more light-hearted, a little more laid-back. It made me consider how I view Fridays, the end of the “work-week.” Actually, there is a definite change in my attitude toward the end of the week. I look forward to my concentration of spiritual boost.

Saturdays. We’re half-way through my current series, Journey Through Grief, during which we explore the emotional, physical, and psychological response to loss. I don’t define what type of loss is significant to the individuals. We have folks with diminished physical abilities, death of a loved one or pet, financial struggles, relocation and loss of friends or neighbors, adjustment to employment circumstances… There are so many ways we experience loss and sometimes we can use a little help moving through the journey of grieving. I get to use Science of Mind principles with Person-Centered therapy when working in this group setting. And the discussion always comes around to something I needed to be reminded of.

No sooner do I get done with groups than I get my personal spa time… either manicure or pedicure. I alternate them so as to maximize the pampering time. Sunday mornings at the Center with our fantastic musicians, ecclesiastical leadership, members and friends, a great opportunity to newly explore some spiritual truths (or be reminded of how to make them work in my life).

These “week-end” days usually include time with the kids and their families, a sit-down meal out, and at this time of year… Football! Hurray. I catch up on the shows I’ve recorded on the DVR during the week, read a little, and research for the groups coming up during the week ahead.

For me, this is the week-start rather than the week-end. It’s my time to refuel, relax, and renew to move into the week of being with the hospice families who may have forgotten where to find their spiritual refreshment. Hurray for Mondays and the open book of experiences and activities.

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7 Minutes or Less

I had an opportunity recently to participate in an annual interfaith event… The Interfaith Forums presented by the Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada (www.interfaithsn.org). The format is pretty much unchanging over the 23 years we’ve been doing the Forum series: Introduction of Panelists representing 5 or 6 local faith communities; 6 or 7 minutes to speak on your faith tradition’s teaching or perspective on a specific, pre-determined topic; open questions from the audience; fellowship and informal dialog.

I was participating on the panel for “Religious Principles and Spiritual Development.” We were to address how our “religion” promoted our spiritual development and what a spiritually evolved member “looked” like. When I discussed this with Rev. D, he suggested I just stand up and say, “Here.” We laughed. I struggled. Not because the topic was difficult to address, but because I had only 7 minutes to say everything about Religious Science that deals with spiritual development.

Seven Minutes!?!? Didn’t Dr. Holmes spend more than 40 years talking about this? Isn’t that what every Sunday morning message is leading toward? A lifetime of ministry in 7 minutes. What to say, what to leave out, what questions will the audience ask? It made me realize I had become “rusty” in providing a concise, comprehensive statement of Religious Science. In the past few years, my path has allowed me to take my time explaining to the uninitiated or promoting deeper understanding in our students or congregants.

I remember in my Practitioner studies, we were encouraged to be prepared for just such an occasion… the casual conversation that leads into the question, “Just what IS Religious Science?” or “What is your church all about?” And I remember sitting in a cab, heading to the airport in Orlando, FL, with my mentor/teacher when the cabbie asked us just that question. She waited for me to respond. I knew I had a captive audience for at least the 15 minutes to the airport, but I had only 1 or 2 minutes to capture his attention so that he might want to know more. Quite honestly, I don’t remember what my reply was, but we did end up talking about Religious Science for the rest of our ride.

7 minutes or less… a whole lifetime of change can take place with the well-chosen, or well-prepared word. How ready will I be the next time I have 7 minutes or less to make a difference?