When I begin a new year, rather than a list of “Resolutions” that I am likely to break, I prefer to create a list of “Intentions” that can become my guideposts throughout the year. Here is my list for 2017. Care to join me?
*Love unconditionally *Listen to Spirit *Forgive quickly
*Breathe deeply *Give generously *Receive graciously
*Pray without ceasing *Cherish every moment *Laugh uncontrollablly
*Create miracles *Listen well
*Honor my body temple *Praise God always
Read our Greatway Newsletter from September 2016.
In Scene’s January 2016 magazine issue, Unity of Venice got featured in the article “Uniting For Good”. Read it below.
Read our Greatway Newsletter from January 2016.
Read our Greatway Newsletter from September 2015.
Read our Greatway Newsletter from May 2015.
A breathtaking crimson sunset…the sound of children laughing…an exquisite landscape painted by a brilliant artist…the majestic plume of a peacock. There are so many beautiful things in our world to behold and be awed by. For me, however, there truly is nothing more beautiful than experiencing or bearing witness to a moment of Namaste.
Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit word that essentially means, “The Divine in me honors the Divine in you.” There are three key components to the practice of Namaste. First, we come from a place of understanding that we are made in the image and likeness of God and that our true essence is Divine. Second, we recognize that truth for another. Finally, we not only recognize that truth but we ACT accordingly. When we come from a consciousness of Namaste, we seek to honor, to bless, to appreciate, to serve and to love others.
In my 25 years in Unity, I have experienced literally thousands of Namaste moments. In a ritual called an “Angel Wash” I have walked down the center of two lines of people that blessed me with honoring touch and whispered words of affirmation in my ear as I passed by. At retreats I have led participants in finding a partner, looking into their eyes and singing “You Are the Face of God” by Karen Drucker. Time and time again at youth events and church services I have joined in the practice of extending our hands towards an individual or group and saying, “We love you, we bless you, we appreciate you and we behold the Christ in you.” In each of these moments my heart has been opened and I have felt the presence of God. Namaste moments like these always bless me but, given the context, never surprise me.
Not long ago I was truly blessed and pleasantly surprised by a magnificent moment of Namaste. While on vacation in Orlando, I was awakened by beautiful singing coming from out in the hall. I got dressed and went out to discover that in the expansive atrium of our hotel there was a Hindu wedding taking place. The singing I heard was sacred chanting welcoming the bride down the aisle. The entire thing was an incredible sight to behold. Guests and wedding party alike were dressed in traditional finery. They wore intricately beaded saris and sarongs and a jeweled bindi adorned the center of each forehead. The ceremony was filled with rituals and traditions involving the families of the bride and groom. I wept at the beauty of the entire scene.
Many hotel guests had gathered to watch this amazing sight. On the balcony next to mine, a woman sat and watched with her eyes wide and wet with tears. I noticed that she was wearing a name badge from the convention that was taking place in the hotel. I recognized it because I had walked through the convention center from the parking lot the day before. It was a national conference for the Knights of Columbus, an organization that describes itself as “the world’s foremost Catholic benefit society”. So, here she was, a devout Catholic, bearing witness to a traditional Hindu wedding. She turned towards me and as our eyes met she said, “Isn’t it all just so beautiful?” There it was…Namaste. She could see the holiness, the sacredness and the beauty in the people and the illusion of religious separation was shattered in that moment of oneness. I felt my heart break wide open and allowed the tears of gratitude to flow. I believe we are here to practice Namaste not only in the comfy confines of our happy Unity world, but everywhere, every day, with everyone.
Read our Greatway Newsletter from January 2015.
On Friday, June 27th I checked in at the Cape Surgery Center to have a partial hysterectomy. The doctor had planned a very straight-forward procedure that would happen laparoscopically and would be outpatient. That meant that I would only have three small (approximately one centimeter each) incisions in my abdomen and I would be back home in my own bed by lunchtime that day. As it turned out, however, there was a completely different plan at work in the universe. Because of scar tissue from a previous surgery they had to do a much more extensive procedure.
I ended up with a large (we measured it…it is BIG) incision in my abdomen and I spent two nights in the hospital so I could be more closely monitored and my pain could be better managed.
The interesting thing about all of it is that, even though my procedure was more extensive than I had wanted or had planned for, I have actually found myself feeling quite grateful for how it all went. That may sound like a strange statement but it is completely true! What I feel most grateful for are the life-changing teachings of Unity and the incredible power of prayer. Were it not for those, I cannot imagine how much I would have struggled these past 12 days. In the days leading up to the surgery I truly prayed without ceasing and continued to know and affirm that God was at work in every aspect of the experience. As we headed to the hospital my mom, my wife and I were praying the prayer I always do when medical procedures are involved: “Throughout this process I know that EVERY hand that touches me is the healing hand of God.” I held to this prayer with great vigilance through every step. From the young man who checked me in to the nurses, the assistants, the anesthesiologist and the surgeons I knew that whether they were fluffing a pillow, checking my vitals or performing the surgery itself that the mighty hands of God were indeed upon me. As it turned out, though it was a more extensive procedure, it happened easily and perfectly without any complications.
I am happy to report that 12 days into my recovery I am doing phenomenally well. My pain has subsided almost completely and I am able to move around quite easily considering the circumstances. I continue to be truly grateful for the countless prayers that have been coming my way. I know they have everything to do with my gentle and speedy healing process. I have been blessed by wonderful flowers, cards, messages and even food being sent by those that I cherish. I am joyously anchoring to the Truth that God continues to be at work in every cell in my body and in every hand, heart and prayer that touches me as I heal. I am telling you, friends, this prayer stuff…IT WORKS! Thank you, God! And now…back to my healing!