Is There Room in Your Closet?

Does your closet sometimes get so full that you have trouble locating what you would like to wear? This happens to me more often than I care to admit. An overflowing closet might be exciting if everything in it were something I actually wanted to wear. But no, many of the items just take up space making it difficult to find what I am looking for.

A closet is not unlike the human mind. Like a mind, it stores necessary things as well as those that are no longer useful. Even when not conscious of the items held there, they sit, waiting, taking up space. And like a closet, the mind is unlikely to relinquish the things it holds unless there is a conscious the choice to let them go. We often hold thoughts and ideas about ourselves, about others, and about the world that are no longer useful, that in fact, cause so much crowding in our consciousness that little space remains for the creative thoughts that would cause us to thrive.

Think about that old tattered shirt in your closet. It’s there every time you open the door. You know the one; the one you push out of the way over and over again trying to find something more appealing. You know you would rather wash an entire load of clothes than wear it, yet there it hangs, taking up space, mocking your inability to surrender it to the giveaway bag. What thought, idea, or belief is lingering in your consciousness taking up space like that tattered old shirt? What belief about yourself is filling your consciousness day and night leaving little room for the peace and joy you seek?

If you are seeking joy, but holding thoughts of anger, fear, guilt, remorse, or regret, there is little room for joy to seep in. There is of course nothing wrong with having these thoughts or feelings. They are a part of our human experience and often helpful in defining ourselves. But holding onto them until they become a tattered memory squeezing out the joy we seek is counterproductive to a life that thrives. You are intended to thrive. You are intended to experience joy. You were meant to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Whatever that thought is, you really don’t need it anymore. You know you don’t. Take it out of there right now. Take a good look at it and realize it does not define you. It is not who and what you are. It is just some fleeting idea that crossed your mind one day and decided to settle there. Let it go. Drop it in the giveaway bin or set it on the porch and call the universe to come and pick it up. You haven’t needed it in years.

And now quickly, before it wanders back in there, replace it with something else – perhaps its absolute opposite. It might feel strange at first, but over time the new thought will become a comfortable part of your attire.

© 2019. Eileen Patra

Beyond The Tomb

The angels in Jesus’ tomb asked Mary Magdalene, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Why indeed do we seek new life, a new way of being, while continuing to do what we have always done?  Why do we seek freedom among the thoughts, words and actions that have held us captive?

To live beyond what might seem like a tomb, we must be willing to bless what has passed and then look beyond it.  A tomb experience in life can be anything that draws us apart for a while and provides an opportunity for growth and realignment with Spirit.  A process of deep and lasting change is revealed when we explore four stages of transformation that take place in the tomb; renunciation, retreat, resurrection and realization. 

On the cross, Jesus renounced the world as his source and commended his Spirit to God.  He took the final step toward overcoming the greatest block to transformation; the belief that life is created and sustained by the world.  What is demonstrated for us through the crucifixion and resurrection is that   Life is independent of the world.  Life, the flow of Spirit within us, creates the world according to our ability and willingness to allow Truth to be expressed through us.

Jesus was laid in a tomb, retreating from the world for three days. Three is symbolic of completion in Spirit, soul and body.  Resurrection is instant, simultaneous in Spirit, but soul and body require a time of unfolding. When we pray, our prayers are answered the instant we release them to Spirit.  Yet, most often, a time of quiet reflection and letting go is required for our prayers to fully manifest in our minds, hearts and body.

Mary returns to the tomb with the intention of blessing what she believes is lost.  The willingness to bless what has passed away rolls away the stone and opens the way for divine inspiration. When we bless what has passed for the opportunities of growth and realignment provided, blockages are removed and our way is made clear.

Mary did not realize that the gardener was Jesus until he spoke to her.  When he did, she ran to inform the others.  When we realize something we incorporate the new information at all levels of being. Only then is deep and lasting change made possible.  The risen Christ sent his followers to convert the nations.  To convert is to change. To convert the nations is to change everything.  Realization happens in us when we recognize the Christ as the Life within each of us and then inform every level of our being to live this Truth.  When we live this Truth everything is made new and we live beyond the tomb.  

© 2016.  Reverend Eileen DeRosia Patra

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A Sabbath of the Soul

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(photo provided by: Pixabay: jillwellingtonphotography)

While considering what was “perfect” about the summers of my childhood, I recalled a consistent theme.  The summers I deemed to be perfect were timeless. There were no schedules to keep, no piles of homework, no vocabulary lists, no math, no science projects, and very few places to be.

As adults, living in a time-bound world, schedules keep us on task, tasks demand lists, and there are many places to go and be. But I wonder if, in the midst of all of this activity, we might recreate that sense of timelessness we once enjoyed as children? I think we can.

Recreating the timelessness of childhood requires just three things, a willingness to stop for just a moment and breathe, remembering that time is an illusion governed by the planet we inhabit, and letting go of all our thoughts, concerns, and lists for just a little while – even a single moment.

In this way, we command time to stand still. We shift from thinking and doing to being, and we open ourselves to the timelessness of Spirit. We remember what Moses called the Sabbath, a time of rest that, according to Jesus, was made for you and me.

Take a moment today, maybe even right now to “Remember the Sabbath” that lives right there inside of you. Take a momentary Sabbath of the Soul.

© 2019. Eileen DeRosia Patra, OUM, LUT, CSE

Eileen Patra is an ordained Unity minister and the author of the soon to be released book, The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings

(photo provided by: Pixabay: jillwellingtonphotography)

Get a “Lovel” on That

LOVEL2.building-1080599_1920Carpenters and builders use a phrase, “Get a level on that,” which means placing a tool called a level on the surface of cabinets, shelving, and flooring to be sure they are not tipped too far in one direction or another. In other words, everything is balanced; you can drop a ball on the floor, and it will not roll to one side of the room or the other, and books will not fall off the shelves.

A level is a handy tool for building things that are balanced. But what if there was a useful tool for creating balance in life? What if you could similarly use the power of Love? What if we could get a “Lovel,” on things that might be out of balance in our lives?

Imagine this tool as a flat measuring stick with a bubble in the middle much like a carpenter’s level, but the bubble is more than an empty space in a tube of liquid. The bubble is a heart, representing an open space within you, filled with love.

Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, a New Thought spiritual movement, claimed that “Love is the great harmonizing power of the universe.” Love is not just an emotion. It is not only a romantic or familial connection to another person. It is a powerful resource within us, and it is essentially the stuff we are made of. The essence of this indwelling power of Love is harmony, the bringing together of two into one.

So how can that power be utilized as a “Lovel,” or a tool for balance? We could tune into the heart-shaped space within us to view everything through the harmonizing power of Love. Seeing things through the eyes of Love is more than placing rose-colored glasses over one’s eyes. It activates a flow of harmony which brings balance to the whole being. It doesn’t change the person, place, or thing that we are getting a “Lovel,” on.” It changes us.

Opening up to our inner “Lovel,” changes our energy, our perception, and the power we give to whatever is occurring. This three-fold transformation harmonizes our own thoughts, words, and actions. The very energy that we project then has a harmonizing effect on the person, place or thing that we are experiencing. Sometimes this effect is immediate and obvious, other times it is subtle, a gentle stirring in another’s soul that we cannot see, but have had a role in activating it.

Regardless of the effect on the outer experience, the activation of the harmonizing power of Love within us brings us into a more harmonized, balanced state of being. And isn’t that what we are really after? Living our lives in harmony and balance? It seems that the simple act of getting a “Lovel,” on life might make all the difference in our lives and ultimately in the world. Won’t you get a “Lovel,” on something today? It will make all the difference.

© 2019. Eileen DeRosia Patra, OUM, LUT, CSE

Eileen Patra is an ordained Unity minister, inspirational speaker, and the author of the soon to be released book, The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings

Funny Thing About Miracles

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There’s a funny thing about miracles. They always require us to do something different than we’ve been doing.

In my prayer time this morning, the health of our planet came to mind, and I found myself wanting God to do something about it. I wanted God to miraculously alter the way we have abused our earthly home and bring it back to its pristine and healthy state. I wanted a miracle. And then I remembered, God can only do for us what God can do through us. We, every one of us, must change something in our thoughts, words, and actions to bring our planet once more into its glory. It’s the way miracles work.

Think about the things we call miracles. In every miracle of Jesus, someone has to DO something. At the Wedding Feast at Cana, water is only turned into wine after the stewards fill the jars with water. No water, no wine.

A blind man who wishes to see must put mud over his eyes and then wash it away. The man whose son is gravely ill must return to him and believe the healing will occur. The woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years? She reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.

Miracles require us to do something. And that something involves a change of thought, a change of belief, a change of words, and a change of action. They require action grounded in absolute faith.

What miracle are you looking for today? And what will you change? What voice will you listen to? What will you believe – the impossible? Or the possible? And what will you do differently?

God Has A Scathingly Brilliant Idea!

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Photo Credit: Alexas_Fotos

The phrase “scathingly brilliant idea” continuously filtered into my mind as I prepared my final Sunday talk as senior minister at Unity of Livonia. The phrase, always a favorite of mine, comes from the infamous words of Mary Clancy (Hayley Mills) in the movie “The Trouble with Angels.” As I pondered the intention of my talk, I questioned the word “scathingly.” It seems that Webster’s defines scathingly as “critical” or “harsh,” and that didn’t, at first anyway, seem to fit my intention.

But the word persisted, and when a word or a thought persists, I am compelled to go deeper. What does scathingly mean to me? In the movie, “scathingly” seemed to indicate something out of the ordinary, exceptional if a little risky. Mary Clancy (Mills) and her friend Rachel (June Harding) were two adolescents who had been sent to an all-girls, Catholic boarding school. These so-called scathingly brilliant ideas generally earned them a stint in the kitchen scrubbing pots and pans. Was scathingly really the word I wanted to use?

Critical can mean something derogatory – but it can also mean important, vital, or crucial. Harsh, as in criticism, can mean unbridled, unlimited, or unadulterated. Hmm… now we were getting somewhere. These definitions seemed to fit my intention more closely. You see, I believe that God has a Scathingly Brilliant idea – and the idea is YOU!

You are an idea, a crucial, unlimited, and brilliant idea in the Mind of God. In your most unadulterated essence, you are a perfect spiritual idea taking form and expressing God as you. In this earthly experience, there are many twists and turns as we endeavor to fully express this scathingly brilliant idea. At times it may seem our endeavors or the experiences of our lives have us scrubbing pots and pans when we were planning something much more exciting. Although Mary and Rachel spent a great deal of time scrubbing pots and pans, they also spent a lot of time growing and evolving. They grew in compassion. They grew in their sense of purpose. They discovered their own gifts and they learned to appreciate the talents of others. 

Changes, twists and turns, pots and pans, are all a part of our spiritual evolution. Evolution is another scathingly, brilliant idea in the Mind of God. Everything is always changing, growing and evolving. Evolution is the activity of Life, and it has a crucial characteristic – something is always falling away to allow something new to emerge.

The new year is a perfect time to reflect on what is falling away on its own and what you will intentionally let fall away. It is also an excellent time to focus your attention on what is being called forth from you. What is Life calling you to be? To do? To let fall away?

The New Year is often marked by resolutions for being or doing something better than before. Usually, these intentions focus on diet, exercise, habits, and behaviors. This year, why not set just one resolution, one that will inform and strengthen all the others? Let your resolution for 2019 be this; to allow no one and no thing to hinder you in expressing more of the Scathingly Brilliant Idea in the Mind of God that is YOU!

© 2019. Eileen DeRosia Patra, OUM

Eileen Patra is an ordained Unity minister and the author of the soon to be released book, The Mystical Ark: A Vessel of Blessings

The Hatchling

the hatchlingWait! What’s that? That little speck of color. It looks as if I can see through it. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Let me stretch a little bit, reach a little higher. Maybe I can see more.

Oh my! There is more. But everything around me, my home, my place of being is breaking apart. Where is it all going? What’s happening to me? Am I dying? Or, could it be? Could I be getting ready to fly?

Imagine the inner dialogue of the tiny hatchling as its world, the egg, begins to fall away. She has been uncomfortable for some time now. It has seemed as if her walls were squeezing the life out of her. In a sense, they have, for they are pressing the life energy within her to a point where she is forced to move, to move beyond the confines of her walls. Her movements, her struggles, her pushing out creates a crack, a lesion of sorts in the place that has been her home since she first became aware that she existed. She feels discomfort, fear, maybe even terror. Now, she sees there is something beyond everything she has known to be true.

Soon, all that the baby bird has known will fall entirely away. Her fear will gradually shift to anticipation, hunger, satisfaction, curiosity, and joy beyond her wildest dreams. She will fly.

Could it be that the events that blast their way into our awareness on a daily basis are a bit like the hatchling experience? Could it that the whole of humanity is pecking its way through everything it has known to something beyond our wildest dreams?

Growth creates discomfort. Pain is often a symptom of an opportunity to expand and to allow the falling away of something old. The toddler who walks leaves behind the baby who was dependent on others to get from here to there. The teenager who has thrived in his family environment experiences emotional turmoil as he spreads his wings into the larger social community. Change, even good change can often spur intense emotions of fear and anxiety – perhaps even anger, and most assuredly judgment. 

Evolution demands that something fall away. As we watch the falling away of the world we have grown accustomed to it is natural that we experience fear and anxiety. It is inevitable that elements of our culture that no longer fit an evolving spiritual consciousness are rising up and falling away. It is the way of evolution.

Humankind has undergone thousands of years of physical and social evolution. Today, we are experiencing a whole new kind of evolution – spiritual evolution. We may be uncomfortable. We may see cracks in social structures that frighten us. If we allow fear, anger, and judgment to fall away as we stretch into a higher version of ourselves, we will discover that the sky is not falling but rather, opening up so that we might begin to fly.

© 2018. Eileen DeRosia Patra.

 

What will you leave behind in 2018?

freedom-2053281_1920-2The close of a calendar year is a traditional time for reflection; a review of the year’s finest moments and its challenges. In preparation for a new year there are often a number of things we choose to leave behind. Perhaps you’ve experienced a loss, a physical challenge, a relationship issue, a career bump, or a financial upset. Then there are the things we experience together; divisiveness in government, hurricanes, out of control fires, tsunamis, terrorism, and mass shootings. Who wouldn’t want to leave these things behind?

It is unlikely anyone would want to take the challenges of 2018 into the new year, but perhaps the truth is 2019 will present its own challenges. The question is what will you leave behind that will better equip you for the year to come. What gift will you discover in your experiences that will allow you to walk through the obstacles that appear with ease and grace?

Although we may want to leave behind the events themselves, we would be better served if we could determine the underlying emotions that caused the events to disturb our peace. The most common are fear and anger.

Fear has its purpose. It is a physiological response to danger – but it does not know how to differentiate between real danger and imagined danger. Leaving behind unwarranted fear would allow us to face what comes before us with a greater sense of balance and clarity. To leave fear behind it must be replaced by something greater. Perhaps that is a knowledge that nothing can harm the Truth of you – that you are an eternal spiritual being having a physical experience.

Anger also has a purpose. It is an energy that causes us to initiate change when something appears to be out of order. Yet anger can be detrimental when it is not directed toward positive change. It can consume our energies and greatly disturb our peace. Leaving behind unproductive anger would make room for focusing our spiritual nature toward positive change. This would allow us to tune in to the more harmonious energy of Love and project a higher vibration into the world. Love is far more powerful and initiates long lasting transformation.

What will you leave behind as the new year approaches?  I choose to leave behind unwarranted fear and replace it with knowing God within me is more powerful than anything that comes before me. I choose to leave behind anger and replace it with Love.

Perhaps you would like to join me this Sunday, December 30th at 10:00 am for Unity of Livonia’s Burning Bowl service. We will explore the things we choose to leave behind, write them on a special ashless piece of paper and place them in the burning bowl flame. In the twinkling of any eye they will disappear and give us an opportunity to create an affirmation to carry into the new year. Hope to see you there!

What does a 21-day complaint fast mean to me?

woman-954785_1920-1It means taking care with every thought and word I express. Although an adverse thought is not necessarily a “complaint,” it does require carefully acknowledgement and often a shift of consciousness to expressing it in words or actions.

Conversation takes on a much quieter character as we carefully consider our words before speaking them. Likewise, expressing thoughts about what is happening around us, particularly the news, becomes an activity for deep contemplation. If what we focus our attention on is what we create and experience, careful reflection on our thoughts, opinions, perspectives, and responses becomes critically important to our own well-being and that which the world experiences too.

Today, after a brief setback earlier this week, I continue my fast. I notice that there are a number of positive things happening in the world. I give thanks for those and consider them answered prayer. As I look at the things occurring that still cause my heart to ache, my mind to contort my inner Christ to remind me to ‘shift that thought!” I choose to keep the words of complaint and judgment to myself. I express the facts and specific needs, but not the judgement. I take positive action where possible and I choose to look at challenging occurrences in a new Light, one of spiritual unfoldment, and a evolutionary movement within the heart of humankind that leaves no stone unturned, no dark place hidden so that we might release, transform, and ascend to greater heights.

© 2018. Rev. Eileen Patra. Rev. Eileen is an ordained Unity Minister currently serving Unity of Livonia in Livonia, MI. You can view her Sunday messages online at http://www.unityoflivonia.org 

 

Awakening the Dream

non-violence-1158317_1920I watched the movie Selma Monday night.  It was Martin Luther King Day and I was looking for inspiration for my Wednesday night Meditation and Mindful Musings Service in his honor.  The movie left me with the tears I knew would flow the moment I tuned in. As the final epitaphs flashed upon the screen next to the faces of the major players I felt the emotion building.  And then Martin’s face was on the screen. The letters appeared one at a time. I knew what they would say. I had seen the spoiler in 1968. I braced myself. And then I cried.

Such a beautiful soul with a vision so much greater than himself. I cried because he was gone. And I cried because of what he had shown me.  I cried because he was so young. He was just 39 years old. He’d only just begun. Yet he had accomplished precisely what he came here to do and be; to be the Light of God expressing, to awaken sleeping souls and to raise awareness and consciousness in a much too slowly evolving country. This he did. He had a big dream and he stirred that dream within the hearts of many.  Yet still there were so many who could not yet see.

In a recent discussion on racism, the term “white guilt” was mentioned.  It was suggested that all white people carry guilt over slavery and the long, lingering energies of racism and inequality.  I thought deeply about that as “guilt” did not feel right to me. It was not the right word. Not for me anyway.  Shared responsibility perhaps, but guilt was not it. I thought perhaps that it was compassion that was somehow being mistaken for guilt because certainly I felt that. But that wasn’t quite right either. Shame. That was more like it. I feel shame. Not personal shame but shame for humankind still capable of such atrocious acts. I feel confusion and anger. I am baffled at how any intelligent being can justify such cruelty to another being for something as arbitrary as skin color. I am angry that beautiful, intelligent, loving people had their lives cut short because of inexplicable hatred. I am angry that it continues.

And then I take a breath.  I know that shame is a non-productive emotion.  Although it serves to show us what we don’t want to do, it cannot take us where we want to be. And so it must be released like molting skin or extra eyelids that cloud the vision.  Likewise, anger wallowed in serves no purpose. But used instead as a catalyst for growth and transformation it can direct us toward a greater end. That requires Love. It requires Faith. Anger, requires a greater Vision, a greater dream to direct its powerful energy toward a higher goal.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. He had what Jesus called “eyes to see,” and I “thank God Almighty,” that his dream is awake and alive in me. I honor him today by tuning in to that dream, by living it as the Truth I know. I honor him by sharing and cultivating that dream and never allowing it to fade. I honor him by allowing my heart to feel the pain of those who have been harmed and treated less than the beautiful souls they are, and then, to feel the Truth that right now unfolds itself in millions of hearts working together to let freedom ring and liberty finally made real.

© Rev. Eileen DeRosia Patra. January 17, 2018

Rev. Eileen is an ordained, Unity minister currently serving Unity of Livonia in Livonia, Michigan. She leads a Sunday service at 10 am and a Wednesday night Meditation and Mindful Musing service on Wednesdays at 7 pm.