August 2 Sunday Service

God as a Spiritual Practice with Guest Speaker Toni Hamilton

Taking on the challenge of finding my connection with Spirit, (“God”) and truly living from the God-self has been a life-long dance. It has been a journey of reflection, research, study, rehearsals, surprise exams…  There have been times of dangerous, lonely treks into the abyss, exalted pas de deux, solos and again the mysterious dance with the Divine and my limited human self. Always, the questions, the unknown and how to alchemize fear into trust, figure out “what’s mine to do” and how to do it well so that I don’t leave here without contributing in a valuable way. Come share a few moments of my journey and I will share my heart, experiences and tools that have supported me.

Toni Hamilton is a vocalist and licensed and head practitioner for nine years serving the Center for Spiritual Living North Jersey. Toni comes with a rich history of Religious Science. She has been influenced by a wide variety of Religious Science teachers and mentors. She brings her Science of Mind (SOM) experience which has been enriched with her own worldly experiences and a long, deep personal journey to bring a profound and unique point of view to New Thought. Toni is known to friends and family as a woman of high and unyielding integrity. She allows her integrity to speak through her in a passionate and clear way. Your heart will be touched as your mind is enriched.


Every Day is Election Day

dreamstime_xs_58901956I promise, this musing is NOT about the candidates; enough already! And if you know me even a little you can safely guess who I am voting for on Tuesday. This is, however, about voting. I am hoping that everyone consciously votes for the candidate of their choice because the conscious choice is what is most important. And even more important is to remember that we have that same invitation to make conscious choices every day, not just in November. Why… because we are the ones who are choosing our experience of our objectified reality. That is the Law of Consciousness. Sorry, can’t change that because you don’t like what you see. But you can change it by electing to see it differently… every day… in every moment. And the other part of the Law of Consciousness is that you are making these choices anyway… so the question is: Are you doing it consciously or unconsciously?

First you have to shift from unconscious thought. You know, running on automatic, letting your past beliefs and past experience shape your current reality. It requires waking up and looking at the situation from our wholeness and not from our conditioned mind. In each moment of awareness, you can choose how to direct your attention.  You can choose to look differently at your experience and reframe what you see.

If you are a practicing student of Metaphysics, you know this. If you have been participating in our current series/classes on The I of the Storm, you have been practicing this. And we have all been getting lots of opportunities to practice in the political climate of this election. How ripe it is for opinions, judgments, outrage, and then, of course… healing.  ecause we are all being asked to elect a greater perspective, a higher more conscious choice not just of the president we want to represent our country, but the consciousness we want to embody ourselves. It seems clear from the candidates which one we wouldn’t choose to carry forth a perspective of acceptance and a more loving and cooperative approach to life. Are we just as clear with our own thoughts, perspectives, and actions?  Do we choose to be loving and accepting of ourselves and others in every moment? I know I don’t. Sometimes I even forget that I have that choice. I often live from the structures, routines and habits that I have created to feel safe and in control of this wild world.

This election has reminded me, over and over to stay in love… no, not with the “other” candidate’s ego and personality, but within myself. To elect the higher point of view that whatever needs to fall away (within myself) and in the world today is being dismantled and falling away, even though it is fighting (dirty) to hold on.  I know some of the structures and beliefs in me hold on that way sometimes too. So, I trust that what is happening out there is part of the same transformation process that occurs in our inner world. We continue to elect higher thoughts and feelings of love and acceptance and faith and understanding, over and over again because the redemptive power of love will defeat anything unlike itself.

So consciously vote on Tuesday for the candidate that represents the highest ideals to you and consciously vote in every moment for the same ideals to out-picture in your world through conscious thought and conscious choice.  Click on the link below and get started.

Blessings Beloveds,
Rev. Janice

Surrender! Again?


Surrender is a spiritual buzz word that may still make us shudder.  Actually our soul is buzzed and encouraging us to surrender our self concept, our point of view, our need to be right, our confusion, and our defensiveness.  Wow, that is a lot for our ego mind to surrender, no wonder our human self shudders.

But here’s the thing folks, when we are truly struggling, when we feel that we are in a storm of doubt, blame, confusion, lack and real pain, surrendering is the surest way to healing, wholeness and truly living a life of purpose, meaning, and joy.

And yet…we still hold on.  Even to what is making us unhappy and unhealthy.  Often it takes utter exhaustion and hitting bottom with feelings of hopelessness and defeat before the ego mind finally says, “OK, Enough…You do it!”  One of the subtle misunderstandings in the spiritual community of this kind of surrender is that we may think that “You” is a God outside of ourselves who has an exact plan that we are just to stubborn to see.  When actually, we are surrendering to our own Soul, the individualized essence of God that is within us and does contain the next highest divine ideas that we can choose from to live our divine purpose.  Our Soul essence within us is the fullness of all of the divine qualities that will support us in living our highest life.  That is what we are invited to surrender to and dissolve into.

Surrender in the truest sense is not just turning things over to a God outside of us (in the sky?) and saying, “OK, fix this while I just go about my life.”  Sometimes it feels like a relief to do that,  we think we are practicing the idea of  “let go & let God” and we relax.  This can shift things, for a while.  But I have found, that unless we use this time of letting go to truly deepen our understanding of the Truth and of God, by having a direct experience of that Truth and of God, then we can not permanently bridge the apparent divide between our oneness and the stubborn dualism that characterize much of our common experience.

What is a direct experience of God and Truth?   It is the experience of our Soul essence, the actual place of oneness.  We do this through meditation.  That is what true meditation is, the direct experience of God.  We need to truly experience the peace, calm, wholeness and clarity that is at the center of our being.  Then, and only then should we walk back into the conditions of our life, now with the perspective of our soul and not our self concept.

Very often we come back too soon.  We feel the relief of letting go.  We call on God and our higher self to lead us, to guide us, to direct us, to support us, to care for us.  We may even spend considerable time in the silence and stillness of our soul.  Our ego and intellect gets a needed rest and may even enjoy this little respite for a while.  And then it starts to get stronger again, it gets bored, it feels like it is not doing its job and begins to peek out at the circumstances of our life and doesn’t yet see a change, a shift, or any movement at all.  If your ego is anything like mine, it begins to get loud again…”Well, obviously this is not working! Nothing has changed yet (in one hour, one day, even one week) so I have to take over again because if I don’t it will all fall apart and then where will I be?”  Anybody…or is that just my mind? Those who are still with me will recognize that this is where we jump back in, where we start taking action again (usually the exact same action that got us here in the first place).  And we are back at the circumference of the storm where the winds of confusion, defensiveness, blame and the need to be right blow with devastating ferocity.  Instead of remaining at the center, at the eye of the storm, or as Gary Simmons teaches in his book and our fall series and class, at the “I” of the Storm.  There we are invited to remain centered in peace and clarity UNTIL our intuition, our soul knowing guides us to the next principled step that will bring us wholeness.

In this way we learn to honor the ebb and flow of our lives.  We learn to surrender when it seems that things are at a low point so we can drink deeply from the well of our soul and then return to ride the flow and rise up again to greater heights.  It is all a wonderful cycle and when we consciously engage it, it can be a wonderful ride.

I highly encourage you to join me in this series at Unity to discover the “I” that is your Spiritual Self and to learn the tools that will allow you to remain centered there as you are guided to choose from this perspective.  Join us on Sundays, or keep checking our website for blogs and podcasts.

autumnFor today, I invite you to use the season of autumn to open you to the idea of surrender and engaging the cycles, just as the earth does with the cycles of the seasons.  Let this remind you of how often she opens herself to the dying and rising rotations.  I offer you a part of a Prayer of Acceptance, by Wendell Berry to the Eternal One…

When I refuse to wait with the mystery of the unknown, when I struggle to keep control rather than to let life evolve,

Wrap me in the darkening days of autumn and encourage me to wait patiently for clarity and vision as I live with uncertainty and insecurity.

When I fight the changes of unwanted, unsought events and struggle to keep things just as they are instead of letting go,

Place me on the wings of traveling birds flying south, willing to leave their nests of comfort as they journey to another destination.

Oh, Eternal One, change my focus so that I see not only what I am leaving behind, but also the harvest and the plenitude that my life holds.  May my heart grow freer and my life more peaceful as I resonate with, and respond to, the many teachings this season offers to me.

Amen and blessings beloveds,
Rev. Janice

Keep the Faith

If you have or know a teenage girl, or one that was a teenager in the ’90s, you must have heard them say, at least once (or to some of us parents, many times) AS IF! (insert attitude). When it is used in this way, they mean… “like that would ever happen.”

12-conditions-of-a-miracleWhen we use it as a spiritual principle it actually means… it can only happen if we act as if. This was the 9th condition of a miracle that we explored this week, Acting As If, and I want to continue our exploration because this is a crucial step in the manifestation process that is often overlooked or misunderstood.

When we are working towards manifesting our dreams, creating a new situation or circumstance, attracting greater love, abundance, joy, creativity, restoring our health, living our purpose, any and all desires that we hold in our heart, we know that any change must begin within our own consciousness. This is liberating and also can be daunting. We are told that all things are possible with God, and of course they are, and yet we also know as Truth students, that it is our responsibility to align our consciousness and our vibration with the most high and not with our self concept or mortal mind that cannot see past the objectified conditions of our life. So we learn the steps, we practice emptying, letting go, surrendering, aligning with Spirit through prayer and meditation, imagining our new life, and then we are told to act as if. We are told that acting as if means that we take action in the direction of our dream and that this action is often a big leap of faith.

dreamstime_xs_29965881Ok, here is where some of the misunderstanding may come in. Acting as if is NOT the same as “fake it till you make it.” If we are saying what we think we “should say” and acting in a way that feels inauthentic just because we want to “walk our talk” but we don’t even believe our talk, then it may make us look better to our “spiritual friends” but the Universe only responds to HOW WE FEEL; the Universe only responds to the authentic energetic patterns we are holding. So if we are faking it… you get the picture. What to do? Well, don’t lose faith!

We must not only “act as if” we must “FEEL AS IF,” and we must make this leap of faith in our own consciousness and inner energy field first before we even speak or act. How do we “feel as if” when things don’t feel good? We use some of the same steps of manifestation that we are using to create miracles:

Empty – Turn away from the condition and even how you feel about the condition. Breathe deeply, let go of fear, worry, doubt.

Align – Turn within and connect with God in whatever way works for you.

Feel – Imagine how you would feel when you achieve your desire, whether it is perfect health, a new relationship, a new job, greater financial abundance,  peace in your relationships. If you can’t imagine, then think of something you already have that makes you feel good, connected, joyful, peaceful. But you must be able to feel the feeling of the desire already met.

dreamstime_2559456Then, when you return to objectified consciousness and you still are not experiencing this new condition, you keep the faith. You continue to feel as if it is happening even though the evidence has not yet appeared. Remember, lack of evidence is not evidence of lack (thank you Michael Beckwith for that Truth that I pull out of my “Truth Tool Bag” often).   This is the biggest leap of faith you will take, to continue to trust that God (remember to whom ALL things are possible) is arranging all of the details in the great mystery of life to bring you the greatest life.

It is a big leap of faith in consciousness, one that requires constant diligence and still requires us to act as if. Again, not faking it. If you cannot speak authentically yet, or even act authentically yet, then be quiet and just be. Never speak against your dream or act in ways that will negate the prayer you have made to the Universe. So often, and I can attest to this more than I would like, I have to just not talk or act (both of which I love to do), until once again I can align with the feeling tone of my desire as if it is already here. Then I can move forward authentically with faith and inspired action.

Something to remember… while you are getting to this point, it may often be necessary to work through your doubts and fears with a trusted spiritual friend or teacher; please do that. Don’t deny what you are feeling; just know that you are working toward the feeling that you know you will have and that God wants you to have. Oh, and in the times that you can’t find the feeling at all, feel gratitude; be thankful for all that you do have. That will lift your vibration in an instant.
Blessings beloveds,
Rev. Janice

Balancing Act

autumnAs I write this on the day of the Autumn Equinox, may the blessings of balance be with you. It’s not easy for me to say good bye to summer, nor is it always easy for me to maintain balance in my life. Since it still feels like summer on this 80-degree fall day, that one is not so hard this year, but always staying centered in my life is a continual practice.

I spend a lot of mental energy trying to maintain balance in my life. On this day of the Autumnal Equinox, I am reminded of an insight I had a couple of years ago, one that I still try to remember when my life feels out of balance. During an equinox, there is almost an equal number of hours of light and dark, as close to perfect balance as we get. But this only occurs two days a year, the other 363 days are “off balance.” So this insight reveals to me that even in nature, there are more times when it appears that things are not perfectly balanced.  Being a perfectionist, this is a relief!

It also reminds me of the mysterious perfection of nature, which does have its extremes (more light-back to equal-more dark-back to equal) and then automatically restores balance by the natural order of things. This is important to remember since loss and change are part of this human experience and things are going to shake our balance. And even more important to remember is that, when it happens, we can seek a different kind of balance, through the natural order of things. Instead of instantly trying to fix things to restore balance or getting upset because every area of our life is not working perfectly, we can apply the practice of equanimity (it even sounds like equninox).

calm woman at sunsetEquanimity is a beautiful spiritual practice where you remain centered, calm and accepting with whatever is happening in your life, be it what you would consider good or bad. You treat all situations and circumstances equally. Yes, I know, sounds crazy right? But this is what emotional and spiritual maturity is all about people. This is present-moment awareness, this is remaining centered in Spirit. This is the beautiful harmony that we see in nature. There are highs and lows; there is light and dark. Without one, we could not appreciate the other. It’s not a matter of controlling life so that we are not shaken up, it’s a matter of how we process the high moments and the low moments.

Balance does not mean that everything in our life is perfectly aligned. I’m not saying that we have to like everything that occurs in our life, but if you want to grow and have a truly rich experience of all of life, then let this realization be an awakening!

Steven Izen did. Who is that, you may ask? Are you wearing a Lokai bracelet, or do you own one or know of them, since they are everywhere now. Well, Steven Izen created them based on this realization which became the driving force behind Lokai, a bracelet that encourages one to be humble through the highs and hopeful through the lows.

So on this day when we let summer slip away, and embrace this new glorious season of autumn, let yourself be with both. Another way to practice equanimity is to embrace everything and attach to nothing. Embrace all the wonderful joys of the passing summer and then release it (that one is for me). Embrace all the wonder of this gorgeous fall, that is already appearing stunningly in Sussex County. Embrace both the highs and lows of your current life circumstances, reap the riches of the experiences. Try not to label them as good or bad. Don’t attach to any of them, because in the natural order of things, they too will pass.

Blessings beloveds,
Rev. Janice

Here is a video about how Lakai bracelets are made:

What Will YOU Never Forget?

Last Sunday was the 15th Anniversary of 9/11. My talk to honor this event was titled Forever In our Hearts, which is not just one of the phrases associated with 9/11 but actually how it is imprinted upon anyone who was alive on the planet that day.  I know for me, that those who lost their lives, the heroes who responded, the outpouring of love, the prayers, the unity, will forever be in my heart.

Another phrase that has become associated with 9/11 is Never Forget. I don’t really think we need a phrase to remind us of this either, because again, it has become a part of the history of humanity and a piece of our individual hearts. What I spoke about on 9/11/16 was a way for us to remember the events of 9/11/01 with the same compassion, respect, love, and unity that we experienced then and perhaps not with the emotions of fear, retribution, and anger that this phrase, Never Forget,  has seemed to gather over the years.

9/11 was an epic spiritual wake-up call. And we were all wonderful first responders, but did we stay awake?  Did we use this unimaginable tragedy as fuel for transformation?  Did we continue to treat others in the world with compassion, respect, love and unity?  Or did we fall back to sleep?  I’m only musing here, what do you think?  I guess we just have to look at the continued wake up calls, the smaller yet still devastating world wide tragedies for a clue. Wake up calls will continue until we stay awake.  They will continue until we allow them to truly transform us and not just use them for a momentary burst of energy and action or even just a momentary softening of our hearts.

But, let’s bring it down a notch and get personal, because that is always where we need to start.  You all know what I’m going to say by now, we must start with the situations in our own lives because the metaphysical principle is that world events are merely a reflection of the dominant consciousness on the planet today.  So, yay, let’s start with our consciousness.

Think about a situation in your personal life that caused you  to feel loss, pain, suffering, or unhappiness. Think of a person that you feel mistreated you, disrespected you and even was the reason (in your mind) that you suffered, even if it was 15 years ago.  Even if it was longer, like someone in your family, or your ex ___(fill in the blank).  Think of any  stories that you may continue to hold forever in your heart that caused you pain (and continue to keep you as a victim of that pain). What about any mistakes you have made or that others have made that you will never forget, let alone forgive?

Of course we are meant to deeply feel and honor our emotions, even painful ones and then to use them as as a kind of raw material to stoke the engines of transformation. Of course we are meant to learn and grow from mistakes and and then we are meant to let them go. Once we use the pain to birth a new experience or conception of ourselves, we have the capacity to forget it. Ask any mother who has given birth if she really remembers the pain or if she glories in the new life. Every experience is meant to lead us to an inner transformation of love, compassion, and connection. That is actually sometimes the deeper meaning for the spiritual wake up calls that feel like a challenge, or a crisis.

The same way that we can choose our thoughts and beliefs to ensure that we have a greater experience of our objectified reality, we can also choose our memories. We can remember the beautiful, loving and wonderful aspects of anyone and everything. We can still honor the memory of those who have made their transition by never forgetting the gifts we received from them.  We can even honor those who have left us or hurt us in relationship, or any past experience by also honoring the gifts we received from them, even if the gift was greater growth and freedom for ourselves.

I decided to honor the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 with acts of compassion and forgiveness in my own personal experience. I did an inventory of these things myself. Wherever I was still holding a hurt, forever in my heart, I bought love and compassion there for myself, which allowed me to forget the supposed injury and forgive. Forgiveness is what leads me to freedom. Isn’t that what we all want? To remember that we are truly free and no one and no thing can enslave us. And to remember that we are not here to enslave others, but that we are all connected. Mother Theresa, the newly canonized saint said, “We have forgotten that we belong to one another.” Let’s make an intention to never forget that.

Blessings beloveds,
Rev. Janice