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About admin

Gabriella was born in Budapest Hungary. Some of her family still resides in Hungary. After escaping the Communist regime in the aftermath of the 1956 Revolution, Gabriella's family settled in Cleveland OH. She graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and attended college but did not earn a degree. She met her husband in Devon PA, and soon they were married and began family life in PA. Only a few years married, John and Gabriella moved to FL to be with Gabriella's aging parents. Two o their three children were born Florida. After the children began school, Gabriella volunteered in schools and libraries. Her love for swimming drew her into the world of aquatics. Part time coaching jobs evolved into career aquatic management. Her children out of the home, Gabriella worked full time as an aquatic manger, coach and swim instructor. In 2001, John and Gabriella's plans to ease into retirement in Tucson changed drastically when John suffered a heart attack in 2002. John’s amazing recovery after bypass surgery allowed Gabriella to seek a new career. It was a life changing experience for both of them. Gabriella returned to school at the University of AZ and John took over household responsibilities. A shift occurred in their lives. Gabriella felt called to become a spiritual care provider. Preparing for seminary, she chose interdisciplinary program, combining Psychology, Family and Religious Studies. She graduated with honors in 2006. Gabriella and John moved to Berkeley for her to begin seminary at the Pacific School of Religion. Gabriella was accepted on the ordination track in the Swedenborgian Church of North America. Her goal was to becoming a chaplain. John's health crisis necessitated a move from Berkeley back to Tucson in 2008. Gabriella transferred to Earlham School of Religion to complete the Master’s program. In her senior year, working in required Supervised Ministry, Gabriella created a dual ministry; Circle Community, a sharing, praying and studying support group and worked as a crisis advocate in Tucson area hospitals. Most of her family was present in Cincinnati OH when Gabriella was ordained in July 2012. In July of 2011 she was ordained in the Swedeborgian Church and accepted a call to be the pastor of the New Church of Southwest FL. Soon after her ordination Gabriella accepted a call to become the pastor to the New Church of Southwest FL in 2011. John, a VA patient needed comprehensive medical care unavailable in Fort Myers. For Gabriella ministry begins at home. Once again new a health crisis changed their life. They moved back to Tucson AZ. Back in Tucson, Gabriella found ministry opportunities with Circle Community, did workshops and conducted weekly Prayer Meditations at Rincon U.C.C. She completed a course in Spiritual Direction at the Hesychia School for Spiritual Direction. In mid October 2012, Gabriella began to work as a Chaplain for Harmony Hospice. The job all she had expected. She found great satisfaction working with patients and their families. Gabriella left the per diem position with Harmony for a full time job with Valor HospiceCare. Here too, she worked with grieving families, conducted grief support groups and lead Community Memorial services during the same time that her husband's health was spiraling downwards. Gabriella resigned her job to care for John in the last months of his life. John died in April 2014. Life became chaotic. An intense search a chaplain position in Tucson and other parts of the country was unsuccessful. Peers suggested Gabriella look into open churches with the Swedenborgian Church. She candidated in Kansas with two churches. She was called to pastor the Pretty Prairie and Pawnee Rock churches in July 2014. A new life began with the move to rural Kansas. In August 2014, Gabriella began to serve as the Pastor of the two churches.

Fear as the Teacher

Fear as the Teacher

For some of us, these are times of deep change and transition. While we may have good intentions regarding new practices for reflection, exercise and meditation, everyday stresses can derail our best plans. Tuning into our innermost yearnings in challenging times can be greatly enhanced with a deeper understanding our unconscious patterns of thinking. Foremost it means identifying  fears  and barriers that keep us from moving forward towards new behaviors and more loving relationships. Fears limit our ability to respond to situations creatively. “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.”   Khwajeh Shams al-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Shirazi, 14th Century Persian Poet understood fear may be our best teacher. However, fear’s lessons can be deceptive. Often it appears to teach us to avoid the object or actions we fear. Misunderstanding fear’s message may cause us to miss opportunities for healing and growth. Consider fear’s real message, ‘There has been pain here before, this is difficult and scary, so I must be cautious and alert. Here is a learning opportunity for a different perspective and different action. Fear, it seems to me, is a lack of understanding the real nature of the event, person or thing. Fear then is the caution light, there is danger here, look, listen learn before you proceed. Recognizing fears is the “first room” in Carolyn Myss ‘s Entering the Castle: an Inner Path to God and Your Soul. My lesson in that first room was “the fear of humiliation controls” me more often than I ever imagined.

Startling as it may seem, there are only only five basic fears;  all others are derived from these five: Extinction – fear of annihilation, Mutilation – fear of losing any part of our precious bodily structure, Loss of Autonomy – fear of being immobilized, paralyzed, restricted, this one is a biggie, it encompasses most of our fears, Separation – fear of abandonment, rejection, and loss of connectedness – of becoming a non-person, Ego-death – fear of humiliation, shame, or any other mechanism of profound self-disapproval that threatens the loss of integrity of the Self. I found myself hovering over this one. Working my way through the rooms of the castle  I noted the things that scared me and with noticing they ceased to paralyze me.

In his travels through the heavens and hells, Swedenborg saw the hells ruled by means of their fears. Now that’s a scary thought. Could it be that in the physical plane, our fears rule over us? Swedenborg asserts,  No one is reformed in a state of fear, because fear takes away freedom and reason, or liberty and rationality; for love opens the interiors of the mind but fear closes them; ”

I see a clear choice between acting out of one fear or another or acting out “dignity, direction and purpose”. I see a clear choice between acting out of one fear or another or acting out “dignity, direction and purpose”.  According Dannion Brinkely, three time Near Death Expereincer,  we must exercise our free will to live with joy rather than fear.

Circle Community begins an exploration of “fears” in the upcoming meeting February 10, 2013 at our new location at Denny’s Restaurant at 6484 E. Broadway, Tucson, 85710

A rock window sculpted by wind on Mt. Lemmon

 

 

Celebrating Swedenborg’s birthday

A little early but just in time, today, January 27, we are celebrating  Emanuel Swedenborg’s  birthday. Countless number of books have been written about Swedenborg, a scientist, philosopher, public servant to the King, inventor, astronomer engineer and most of all a mystic, who explored higher levels of consciousness. The most remarkable thing about Swedenborg is that he invites us into that world. Jonathan Rose and co-editors Stuart Shortwell and Mary Lou Bertucci called him the, Scribe of Heaven in a recently published work. Today our community will reflect on Swedenborg and his influence on the great minds of Western civilization and most importantly, for us, how his writings inspired us.  I could not fit all the books on the table. Here I show a small sampling of his books and a few written about him  and a small sampling of books written by people who profess to have experienced an awakening  as a result of exploring Swedenborg’s writings. It is worth noting renowned authors and artists such as Emerson, Balzac, Blake  were  influenced by Swedenborg.

Sampling of books by and about Swedenborg

Circle Community a sharing, praying studying community come together to support each other along life’s journey. Swedenborg’s journey into the spiritual world has profound implication for the way we live our life right now. We’ll show a show portion of movie Splendors of the Spirit  to get us in the mood for deeper reflections about own experience of living our religion.

My father found Heaven and Hell translated into Hungarian, a miracle in itself, during the aftermath of a bombing raid in Budapest in WW2. Our family did not know about a church based on his theology.  His writings became for me a guide to discover internal states of heaven and hell. Church affiliation and formal study of theology came decades later. The passion for exploring hidden treasures in his writings sharing those insights in non-theological wrappings is my life’s work. Vaishali in her 09/16/11  Huffington’s post writes of Swedenborg as “the quintessential one-stop shopping for “afterlife” wisdom.” See more of her article here, You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Died: Emanuel Swedenborg and “the Afterlife”. Much more can be found in researchers’ findings and Near Death of Experiencers discoveries of the parallels  to their experiences in Swedenborg writings.

Today, we celebrate with gratitude not just Swedenborg the mastodon of science and mysticism but the mystery of our own life.

Come and join us this afternoon at 4:30 if you are in town. The location of our get-together is posted in Meetup.

Receiving and Giving

Receiving and Giving

You probably heard the phrase, “Christmas is about giving” in TV shows and movies in the Christmas season. When we see the delight on the face of someone opening a gift we remember that Jesus himself said: ‘It is “More blessed to give” than to receive,’ in Acts 20:35. While this is true, we are continuously on the receiving end, receiving life and in turn we have the ability to give to others. Life is receiving and giving. In the ,The Nativity Story,  we see Mary receiving the divine seed  culminating in the birth of the child Jesus.  Every woman who has given birth understands that gestation and birth evolves in stages and birth itself involves the most intense labor, the body making way for the gift of life. (See more about  Stages of labor)

Nowadays, birth is sanitized. Babies are born in a sterile environment, but the work of the body has not changed. After the birth, work of another kind begins for the mother. Christmas is the call to new beginnings, the nurturing of the infant.  Swedenborg writes of travailing a term meaning labor rarely heard these days, is faith in producing. See more about the significance of   travailing in the  Arcana Coelestia number 4919.

Our work begins when we accept the gift of life. What we do with the gift of life is our choice. What do we give? How do we give expression to our faith? Howard Thurman suggests work that should begin after the celebration of the “birth” of Jesus  in

Work of Christmas Begins

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.

And to radiate the Light of Christ,

Every day, in every way, in all athat we do

and in all that we say.

Then the work of Christmas begins.

Albrecht Dürer’s (1471-1528) nativity scene lacks the sentimentality of many artists’ depiction.albrechtdurer_nativity

 

I felt drawn to the ordinariness of the scene. There is no attempt to reproduce the Bethlehem stable, instead, Durer places the couple and infant in a Medieval house that has seen better days. Joseph is drawing water, while Mary is leaning over the baby Jesus, seemingly overshadowed by the building in disrepair. There is a sense reality about this scene. There is work ahead for the couple and for us.

Circle Community is moving to a temporary home on Dec. 30, 2012. The topic of our discussion and sharing is “Service”.  Please join us Dec. 30 at 4:30 in our temporary home. We will have refreshments following the meeting. Please RSVP in the reply section,  by Dec. 29, 2012.

 

 

Remebering Mikulas Day or St Nicholas Day

Remembering Mikulas Day

December 6, brings up memories of St. Nicholas’s visit in our home in Budapest Hungary. You may never have heard of the Saint Nicholas, but in Hungary, but for many Hungarian children it is a special day. December 6 th is the day when Hungary ’s Santa makes his rounds, traditionally, by a horse drawn sleigh. He is said to be accompanied by two helpers, a good angel who gives out presents to good children and a krampusz, a mean goblin who punishes bad children.

Santa is Szent Mikulás (Saint Nicholas) and 6 th December is Mikulás Nap (St. Nicholas day). He is similar to the Western Santa except that instead of a Santa Clause costume he wears the red robes of a bishop, a red miter on his head and carries a staff in one hand.

On the evening of December 5 we children polished our shoes and put them on the window ledge. By morning, if I had been good, judged my parents, Mikulás filled my shiny shoes with candy, tangerines, walnuts, apples, and chocolate Mikulás figures. I remember back then, the Mikulas candy was the figure of the saintly Nicholas who gave of his fortune to poor family’s children.  See more about  St Nicholas legends

Though many legends floated throughout Eastern Europe most relate back to Nicholas born to a wealthy family in Patara, Lycia (modern day Turkey). His parents died, and he inherited a considerable sum of money, but he kept none of it. In the most famous story is about Nicholas  throwing  bags of gold through the windows of three girls about to be forced into lives of prostitution as (as a child we heard the girls had no dowry and could not be married and would have been sold as slaves). This sounds more real to me than any other legend, It is not so different today, human trafficking is common is many parts of the world. Human trafficking, is the dark shadow of our culture, sadly,  it is among us, often unseen. See more about this Human trafficking, the dark shadow upon our culture

Getting back to my memories of one Mikulas Daywhen my family was invited to a Mikulas Day celebration. We were gathered at a friend’s house waiting for his arrival. We heard loud thumping outside the door, suddenly I was a bit frightened, just not sure what to expect. The door opened and he walked in tall, impressive in his bishop’s robe, mitered hat carrying a big bag in one hand and holding unto his tall golden shepherd’s staff. Behind him lurked the dreaded krampusz, with red horns in dark devilish red. I was spared the twigs and received a bag of candy and nuts.  Mikulas was stern, he warned us to be obedient to our parents and be good to each other. The memory of that one night remains vivid though I never knew who played the part Mikulas and Krampusz.  The night remain very real feelings of fear mixed with expectation of goodies. None of us moved to open our goody bags until Mikulas had thumped out of the room. At home, If I had been bad, my shoes would not have goodies, instead just a bundle of twigs usually with a krampusz-figure attached, indicating a beating is in order. Thankfully, I never got only twigs. I still recall fearing the morning of Dec. 6. Since I was never all good or all bad, I usually got a bundle of white twigs sprinkled with glitter and the goodies. Memories of Mikulas Day celebrations were fearful and wonderful.

Memories of holidays, celebrations and special occasions form the fabric of who we are. Our world view is shaped by these memories.  Psychologists call memories etched into the fabric of our being,  Episodic Memory. According to Swedenborg, memory is multi layered; we recall events in the exterior memory, but the most interior memory is shaped by God’s presence, where the very fabric of our being is maintained.  See more about this in Swedenborg’s, A C n. 2490. More startling are reports of many Near Death Experiencers’ (NDErs) reports about Life Reviews during intense Near Death States. People experiencing panoramic simultaneous recall of their life-events and the feelings associated with them are truly amazing phenomena that has life altering effects on those undergoing  life-reviews. Here is just one example of an NDEr’s  Life Review.

Sharing our holiday memories is fun, join us for a festive occasion on Sunday December 16 at 4:30 at 698 E. Wetmore Rd. suite 200B, Tucson AZ, a sharing of holiday memories.

St Nicholas or Mikulas

 

Forgiveness

November 20, 2012

Forgiveness

“I am sorry, please forgive me”, often, we say it lightly and without much thought. Sometimes, these words give us an advantage, we are perceived differently. Asking to be forgiven and forgiving someone is powerful enough to move us to a different place in our hearts and minds. Suddenly, we feel lighter and more compassionate toward the one to whom the apology is addressed. It changes us and it changes them. Forgiving is like the crocus breaking through the frozen ground. Forgiving is life affirming. While an apology may be quick with an instant reward forgiving is much harder work. Forgiving is spiritual work.

What is forgiving? When you forgive someone who has deeply hurt you, you let go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge, no matter how deserving of these things the wrongdoer may be. You give the great gifts of acceptance, generosity and love. Forgiving, however, is not about forgetting the injustice, condoning or excusing the wrongdoer; it means you no longer condemn or hold the person(s) in contempt. If you forgive only superficially and continue to hold the person(s) in contempt the work of forgiving is incomplete because you consider yourself morally superior. Forgiving from a moral superiority is not transformative and not life affirming. The frozen ground remains too hard for the flower to push upward into the warming sunlight.

 

See more on Forgiveness hereBreaking through

Dr. Robert Enright devotes his life to researching and teaching forgiveness. Undoubtedly his work is “groundbreaking. Dr. Enright offers a new understanding of forgiveness as an act of love that profoundly affects not just the person forgiving but also the community. We will use Dr. Enright’s model of Forgiveness.  In the Forgiveness Workshop we will work through Dr. Enright’s a model of the forgiving process. According to Dr. Enright, forgiveness is more than a onetime act; it is a way of life.

I begin with an apology for cancelling the Forgiveness Workshop scheduled for November 18. Dr. Enright’s interview is a good way to begin the workshop, Dr. Robert Enright Interview

The new date, is December 2, 4:30 PM, in our new home at  698 E. Wetmore Rd, Suite 200, Tucson, AZ 85705.

 

Does prayer have an effect on those we pray for?

Does prayer have an effect on those we pray for?

I was at Wal-Mart yesterday morning, long before the crowds fill the aisles and checkout lines. No one was behind me at the checkout counter.   The checkout clerk and I began a conversation that quickly turned to the storms’ devastation. I asked if she had family in the Northeast. Almost immediately tears glistened in her eyes. She has family in NJ. She doesn’t know how they are doing. She sent a package by UPS, because the Mail deliveries have not resumed. There has been no phone communication in days. She longs to hear the voices of her loved ones. “I feel so helpless” she sobbed. “All I can do is pray.” “Yes,” I said, trying to be pastoral to this woman expressing her deepest concern to a stranger. “We must hold our loved ones in prayer, projecting our love towards them. In this way we are placing them in God’s care”. We held hands over my filled bags and in that moment we were connected in a mysterious way, tears spilled down our cheeks signaling God’s mercy falling into our hearts.

We often hear that prayer is talking to God. Praying, we place ourselves and those for whom we pray in the stream of providence. In prayer, we channel God’s inflowing love. The circumstances may not change immediately and maybe not in visible ways none the less we are changed and transformed by prayer.

To appreciate how prayers and thought can affect suffering, we must realize that intentionally directed thought and love are activities. Thought and love reaching outward can be felt by others. The interchange between the checkout lady and me was a powerful moment. I drove home renewed in hope. “All will be well”.

The effects of  Prayer and Meditation under the scientific lens shows surprising results though the efficacy of intercessory prayer is not easy to investigate scientifically. Results are often mixed and inconclusive. However, there is more evidence for the effectiveness of prayer than would be expected by chance.  It is easy to be sidetracked by research data. Those of us who choose to meditate and pray do so because we long for consolation courage and strength that is beyond our capacity. Meditation and prayer are focused on channeling divine energy toward a particular situation or person(s). No progress, healing or renewal occurs without trusting in the inflow and outflow of the divine. Becoming prayerful is an activity of projecting good wishes, hope and love towards others. We may feel helpless and unable to do anything to alleviate the suffering of people affected by the storm but we can spend time in prayer. Thought is an energy flowing from mind to mind, in a continual stream arising from its origin, the mind of God. Intentionally directing loving thoughts towards others places us and those we are praying for into the stream of Divine Providence.See more on this in Swedenborg’s Arcana Ccoelestia #Number 8478.4 on  Divine Providence

“It is one the most beautiful compensations of life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves.”

John P. Webster

 

 

 

Nourishment: food for the body and food for the spirit.

Have you been able to stick to a strict regimen of three meals a day? Sure you say, but are you honest about it? Tell the truth, maybe you cheated once in a while; a mid-morning treat, mid-afternoon or maybe a late night snack? I could never just have three meals a day without snacks. Maybe you have stronger will power than I if you never eat in-between meals. Some nutrition experts claim six small snacks or “grazing” is the best way to maintain blood sugar levels. I am not a diabetic or a nutrition expert but snacks work for me. Snacks

I am quite content if I have a mid-afternoon snack and evening snack. By snack I mean fruits, a nut mixture, cheese, tea in the afternoon but desert has always been my downfall. I rarely miss desert, my evening snack. Though preparing food are among my favorite topics of discussion I want to shift toward something of even greater significance; spiritual food and nourishment. I have a notion that eating six small meals is like spiritual snacking only it is for the soul and has eternal value. What is good for the body may also be good for the soul. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Indigenous Religions, in fact, all religions though differences among them are many recommend in some cases demand practices or spiritual nourishment that lead towards transcending ego/self-orientation leading to spiritual fitness. Meditation, prayer, chants, reading or reciting sacred text, community meals, storytelling/sharing, kind acts, alms giving, community work, are just a few honored practices common to nearly all faith traditions.
Spiritual Nourishment By meal time we are usually ready to eat. Often we have a distinct sense of hunger. Does our spirit like our body have hunger pangs? If so, what does it feel like? I propose that meal preparation and eating resembles preparation and consumption of spiritual nutrition. Our bodies would suffer if we waited to feast once a week. Similarly, saving ourselves for a once a week “worship” and fellowship starves the spirit. Over the years I have come to recognize that my spirit requires “small meals”, little practices, such as prayers, meditation, daily readings, and some form of humble submission to God’s will. Over the years I’ve learned to recognize sings of spiritual hunger. I began to cultivate spirit fitness. Regular spiritual exercises build spiritual fitness. Reading and meditating are very important practices for me. I am currently reading Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young,a God filled daily reading feeds my soul. For many years my husband and I have been reading Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia (Secrets of Heaven). . I continue to read Near Death Experience (NDE) studies. My current book, Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story: What They Teach Us About Living and Dying and Our True Purpose, by P.M.H. Atwater, deals with every aspect of the near-death phenomenon: from first-hand accounts of survivors experiencing flash forwards, waking up in morgues, and developing psychic abilities, to stunning cases of groups experiencing NDEs together. Of most interest to me are Atwater’s analyses of the physiological and spiritual changes that result from near-death experiences. I am fascinated by Atwater startling connections between the NDE experience and what is often called “enlightenment.” Studying NDEs convinces me that nurturing spirit is as important as feeding the body.
I invite you to post comments about your spiritual practices. Circle Community begins weekly meetings exploring and practicing spiritual fitness and supporting each other along life’s journey.

Job and Job Loss

Job and Job Loss

Have you ever been confused about what you are meant to be doing? During our formative years our psychosocial environment, education and personal choices shape our individuation process. Think about how long it takes to become your own person, the years of school and many attempts to find the right job, the right partner and the right location. If motivated and positive about our future, “what do you want to be….” can be a positive experience. But often, becoming our own person is not the easy access ramp to a successful career and happy life especially not in today’s job market. What about when you lose your job? I arrived slowly to the concept of vocation and to the discovery that work is intimately related to my happiness and contentment. Everything changes when you lose your job. Al my ideas about vocation fly out the window when I do not have a job. I know vocation does not come from a voice “out there” not even when it is a job offer. It comes from a voice “within” calling to fulfill my original mission given by God. From our earliest childhood clues appear about what God calls us to be. A sure sign for what we are meant to do is the joy we feel doing it. Not having a job crates a huge gap in the lives of people who love their job. Some career changes may not be our choice. A lay off, pink slip, reduction in hours and wages may test their coping skills.
Losing a job for men and women who love being useful and who love to serve can be particularly difficult. Losing a job may bring on Job Loss Grief
The five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance, or getting on with your life associated with death are analogous to the stages experienced by people who lost their jobs and cannot re-employ quickly. Just as with other types of grief, a person with job-loss grief can make choices to progress into a new stage of life, though life may never be the same or the individual can regress and stagnate in despair and anger. The healthy and productive way to progress always involves making life affirming choices. Finding a support group, processing emotions, affirming self by letting go of guilt, renewing relationships and family ties, deepening spirituality are all part of a new way of being. Like the phoenix rising out of the ashes, a person is born anew, a new love ignited.
Of the 8 Srategies for Coping with Job Loss, I found journaling, and volunteering helpful. For me, volunteering was a way to remain true to my love for serving. In the in-between time, I continue my spiritual practices and keep connections with friends and family.
I completed training to be crisis hot line counselor at EMERGE the Center Against Domestic Abuse. I joined an enthusiastic dedicated group of people, who create opportunities for change in the lives of people experiencing abuse.
Attempting to live by the reality of my own nature without denying my limits or potentials is rigorous soul work. I agree with Florida Scott Maxwell, “I grow more intense as I age.” The intensity has to do with a deeply spiritual view of useful activity gleaned from the Swedenborgian concept of “uses”, a desire to serve. This desire leads me to seek new skills to advance my ability to serve. See Divine Love and Wisdom Number 297 Divine Love and Wisdom #297
I ask what God requires of me at this stage of my life. In Micah’s voice God answers, “do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God.” (Micah 6:8) I interpret this to mean a journey away from my ego-self towards God’s leading. In Let your Life Speak,Let Your Life Speak, Parker Palmer names five “shadow casting monsters” that must be faced on journey toward self-discovery. These monsters are: the insecure self, second is the notion that the universe is battleground, third is functional atheism, a conviction that we are the only ones who can make a difference, fourth is common to most of us, the fear of chaos and messiness, and the fifth shadow is the fear of death itself. If unexamined, these shadow-casting monsters destroy our ability be truly useful. Uses are linked to what Swedenborg describes as the life of charity; a life that combines a spiritual awareness with an active life in the world. See Charity, Number 158 http://www.sacred-texts.com/swd/cha/cha04.htm

We live because we give ourselves away generously and lovingly in service. Poet Wendell BerryPhoenix rising speaks of it this way:
Now more than ever you can be
Generous toward each day
That comes, young, to disappear
Forever, and yet remain
Unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
Not to give yourself away.

Near Death Experiences: Blissful and Distressing

Near Death Experiences: Blissful and Distressing

Raymond Moody, the author of Life After Life, who coined the phrase near death experience, and the first medical doctor to compile hundreds of shared near death experiences in Life after Life, gives us this succinct definition of what he believes about the afterlife, “What I think happens, when we die is that we enter into an extraordinarily different from the spatial temporal frame of reality in which we exist in the physical world that the language we have is not yet adequate to describe this other state of existence or consciousness. Watch the documentary Life After LIfe.

Thanks to the donation of a friend and supporter of Circle Community, I will attend the International Association of Near Death Studies Conference. See more about International Association for Near Death Studies The organization rose from its humble beginnings to an international association that attracts the best researchers and supporting staff. See IANDS history

In the past few years, more people have come forward to talk about their extraordinary experiences. Many wrote books, appeared on talk shows and wowed audiences in lecture halls. There are too many authors to name here but more information is available here, Information about NDEs
The universality and characteristics of near death experiences entices one to consider their implications for our life in the physical existence. Before NDEs entered popular culture, Emanuel Swedenborg wrote extensively about experiencing another dimension of life. Raymond Moody noticed unmistakable parallels between Emanuel Swedenborg's near-death experiences the afterlife as described in Swedenborg’s writings and those of NDE experiencers.

Well-known NDE researcher and experiencer, , P.M.H. Atwater, calls near death experiences “a brain shift”, a transformation of consciousness. In Heaven and Hell, in his most popular book, Swedenborg writes, “We are only separated from physical nature that was useful to us in the world. The essential person is actually still alive. I say that the essential person is still alive because we are not people because of our bodies but because of our spirits. After all, it is the spirit within us that thinks, and thought and affection together make us the people we are.” Many experiencers would agree with Swedenborg, that death is merely a passing from one world into another or moving into a new state of consciousness.

I am privileged to attend the International Association for Near Death Studies (IANDS), IANDS 2012 Conference beginning August 31st in Scottsdale AZ, a mere 2 and half hour drive from my home.

Circle Community will host a two part discussion on Near Death Experiences: Blissful and Distressing will focus on recent studies of NDEs and the “myths” perpetuated in the media surrounding NDES. Experiencers are welcome. A question and answer session will follow each meeting.
Part One, on Sunday August 26 will be at the Murphy-Wilmot Public Library, 530 N Wilmot in Tucson. Join us for refreshments at the Paradise Bakery, 6129 E Broadway, just West of Wilmot.
Part Two, September 9 will be at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Public Library at 8959 E Tanque Verde Rd in Tucson, 3 PM – 4:30PM. Join us for refreshments Le Buz, Caffe/Espresso 9121 E Tanque Verde Rd, around the corner from the Library. This meeting will focus on the integration of NDEs, from the perspective of researchers and experiencers. I plan to share new knowledge I gained from the speakers at the Conference. It is not too late to for you to register.

“Be a Blessing”

Be a Blessing

Discovering our talents and learning how to use them takes up most of our life. Often, we discover new gifts in the second half of our lives. These gifs are often different from the skills perfected during our careers. Many of us are still trying to discover talents that went hidden while we pursued career goals and achievements. We perfected job skills and learned to juggle work and family responsibilities. A health crisis often changes everything. Old ways of being must give way to new self-discoveries.

Take for example Grandma Moses, who admitted she would have done anything to keep herself busy, lucky for us, at age 77, she turned to painting. She may not have discovered her gift but others did. Thankfully for us, debilitating arthritis caused her to turn to paining. Millions of tasks performed for family and friends are unrecorded, but her paintings continue to be a blessing for generations to come. See more of Grandma Moses

For many artists creativity emerges late in life. A longtime friend and supporter of Circle Community, Linda Shearer paints because it gives her joy. In Chinese Brush Paintings Linda captures timeless beauty. Linda Shearer's Chinese Brush Painting

Shirley Leighton, a friend and regular Circle Community participant began writing poetry many years ago, but at this stage of her life, her poems reflect a new self-discovery. She sees blessings everywhere. Her poetry is full of gratitude. Her poems testify of blessings everywhere.

Heaven
Feels like love –
Love overflowing –
Changing me
Opening locked doors
Earlier closed….
Unblocked energy
Allows for good’s flow
Into Every phase of my being
In every form
Enjoyed by humans.
The smile in my heart
Bends me in humility
Bursting over into dance –
This must be heaven…
~ Shirley Leighton ~

Rev. Frank Rose, another long time friend, a retired pastor now preaches with a camera and paintbrush. His watercolors and photographs of wild flowers are blessings to wild flowers everywhere. His paintings are a joy to behold. Count me as a member of his fan club. Frank Rose Mountain Wildflower Portraits

Discover your gifts, be a blessing!

Hibiscus Red

Chinese Brush Painting

Linda Shearer