Sunday, February 18, 2018

Love + Watercolor = Fun

What do you get when you combine a love for learning and growing together spiritually with watercolors? A whole lot of fun and creative expression.

Our youth classrooms were full of conversations and collaborations today. We met new friends, shared stories and let the paint flow.

Love was everywhere! In our prayer requests, in our art, and in the way we all worked together.

Big thanks to the many hands and hearts that helped us go with the flow, and then clean it all up. We are so blessed!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Love is Love is Love is Love in Winter

There is something wonderful that occurs every January over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. It's the Centers for Spiritual Living winter teen camp! Each year teens, and advisors, gather in 4 regions through out the United States over the same weekend to partake in a 4 day 3 night workshop filled teen camp. In Northern Ca. we gather at YMCA Camp Loma Mar. This year we joined together with friends from Centers in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and two representatives from our Home Office in Golden Colorado. Our Nor. Cal. camp was 104 people strong. We all bonded together through workshops, laughter, music and activities that were designed to empower us to stand in our authenticity and celebrate our spiritual magnificence.
 This year was a bit extra special for our Santa Rosa crew. Our own Dylan Jansen submitted an application to run for co-director for the 2019 winter camp. There were 5 nominees all together, each candidate had to submit an essay along with their application and address the camp by making a short speech which was followed by a vote of their peers. Only teens vote. The new co-directors were announced on the last night of camp at our closing dance. Dylan was voted in along with Risa Mykland from Santa Cruz. (both pictured below) Congratulations to both of our new co-directors!
One of our long standing traditions is to drive to Pescadero Beach on the way home from camp. It is a sweet spot that many of us stop at to have one last farewell with our friends while taking in the views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. There is something special about this place that seems to calm the sadness of leaving camp. Plus it's a great photo opportunity location as you can see by the pictures below. All in all it was a wonderful weekend of Love is Love is Love is Love in Winter.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Farewell 2017 ~ Hello 2018!

This time of year is often a time of reflection of all that has transpired throughout the year, and wow was 2017 a full year. We covered 12 Spiritual Values and they supported us well as we navigated our time together. Especially this last quarter when life took a turn none of us expected.

The love and support that radiated in and beyond our classrooms after the fire storms was beautiful to witness and be a part of. All of our teachers and assistants agreed to hold our lessons lightly and give space and time for the children and teens to share their stories so they could be heard, loved and supported through prayer, hugs and more.

I am beyond grateful to all the amazing volunteers that make up the team that supports our Youth Ministry. Week after week, month after month they say YES and show up to bring love, laughter and spiritual study to our classrooms. Our Nursery is always bursting with happy toddlers who play and pray together in their own special way. Our teen group has grown even more this year and we are proud to share that 3 of our teens are also members of the One Heart Choir! (Photo above from our October teen overnight)

As we wrap up our year on New Years Eve, we'll talk about releasing anything that no longer serves us from 2017 and setting intentions for 2018. In addition to having a little fun!

Our theme for 2018 - is 100 years of Science of Mind. Lesson plans are in place for January and the year is designed to take us on another fantastic journey of self discovery and growth as we explore spiritual principles and practices.

We will also be implementing something new in the coming year ~ youth registration forms for our students. It will be a simple form that parents and guardians are to complete so we can gather a bit more personal information. Things like last names, birthday's, food (or other) allergies, contact information and social media preferences. We'll update our photo/video permission form as well so we can share more of the goodness that happens in our youth classes.

More goodness is on the way too. Rev. Tara is working on hosting a few community events that will be held throughout the year for families and members of our community to come together in a casual fun way. I'll be hosting a Conscious Parenting book study for a small group of interested parents. Free Wednesday Wisdom evening classes! Information on all that will be coming soon.

In closing I want to Thank YOU for sharing your children, teens and families with us. It is an honor and a privilege to be of service and I look forward to sharing another amazing year with you in 2018.
Susan Robinson ~

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday Success

Another amazing Sunday with these bright lights. Our Holiday fundraiser was a huge success. Thank you, teens, advisors, parents, and Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa community for all the smiles and support.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Summertime fun

As most of our families and students are now complete with the activities of summer and all that goes along with summertime fun, we are SO happy to have our Sunday classrooms filled with children and teens again. It's been a joy to listen and share our stories of summertime adventures.

We've had a fun summer too. Four of our teens attended the Centers for Spiritual Living summer teen camp. Our theme was Love is Love is Love is Love. With a theme like that along with approx. 350 participants you can imagine there was a lot of LOVE going on. Together we blessed and gave back to the land at Buckhorn Camp by spreading wildflower seeds and planting flowering plants near the dinning hall. We created beaded bracelets filled with God qualities then did a huge group blessing over them before they were packed up to be sent to Jamaica as gifts for the school children. We danced, we laughed, we participated in 12 workshops, we sang, we prayed, we cried healing tears and we grew in our Spiritual practice.

Back home our youth classrooms were filled with fun projects to enhance our spiritual lessons. With our attendance being lower than normal we combined many of our youth classes so that our volunteer teachers could enjoy their summer too. We played games ~ read stories ~ created fun things and even had a Sunday with our teen big brothers and sisters. Near the end of summer several of us teachers and advisors got together for a send off party to celebrate long time classroom assistant Camille Escovedo. Camille has been assisting in our youth classrooms since she was in Jr. High and has been a beloved presence in our youth program. We love you Camille and wish you the very best!

On August 20th, Practitioner Debbie Butterfield brought her Zentangle workshop to our teen group. We spent a little over an hour together learning new techniques and patterns. We found the practice to be very calming and meditative and since many of us like to doodle, this practice taught us how to do it with intention, focus and non attachment to the outcome. The results were beautiful, expressing our individuality and creativity all at the same time. Thank you so much ~ Debbie.

We hope you've all had a fun summertime too. We look forward to sharing a Sunday morning with you soon. Youth classes are held at 10 and 11:30 in classrooms 1 & 2 and our teens meet from 11:15 to 12:45 in room 11 in the north wing.
Love and Blessings,
Susan Robinson, RScP

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Laying the foundation for Love.

Over a long weekend in late May 50+ of us gathered together at Buckhorn Camp, Idyllwild Ca. for an in person teen Advisor Intensive Retreat. The word retreat is often associated with relaxation. This is not that. This retreat is geared to lay the foundation of what it takes to be an advisor at at CSL teen camp. As a CSL advisor we are required to take an in-person training, at minimum, every 3 years with on-line refresher training in the in-between years. Every bit of it is necessary to do this work.

We sleep (as best we can) in bunk beds in cabins (or a bunkhouse) just like we do at summer camp. Our schedule, while slightly lighter than camp, is very FULL. From our very first meal together we began the process of engagement, learning about each other, finding common interests and making connections. It's so great to meet other youth leaders as well as witness young adults/former teens who are stepping into advisor rolls. We are a unique bunch of people that share a dedication to support, guide and spiritually nourish youth and teens. It is in these moments where we find our expanded tribe, we speak the same language, we network, we learn from each other and we are reminded of why we do what we do.
The CSL adult leadership team did a fantastic job of guiding us through intense and important training on mandated reporting, suicide awareness, gender expression, how to be an engaging and effective workshop facilitator and so much more. We also have a bit of fun participating in ice-breaker activities, mock workshops as well as nurturing activities to feed our soul. On Saturday we took a perimeter hike of camp boundaries. It was a beautiful day and the views were breathtaking. A highlight for me was spending time at and around the Labyrinth. It's location on the mountain and knowing that our CSL teens had a hand in creating the space always warms my heart and reminds me to breathe in deeply.               
We will gather again in a few short weeks in the middle of July for our week long adventure on that beautiful mountain. I am so grateful to be a part of this experience. Grateful for all the families and communities that come together to support and send their teens to these camps. We are prepared and ready having created the foundation for summer teen camp 2017, Love is Love is Love is Love. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


It always puts a smile on my face when we do our opening check-in on Sunday mornings. When the children share their age the replies include extra values such as 5 and a half or 4 and three quarters. Sometimes they jump ahead and say I'll be 6 in two months! I can recall doing the same thing when I was younger. Always looking forward to that next birthday, that next new number.

Somewhere along the path of life we adults (or maybe its just me) often stop counting the extra months and almost never count ahead. Recently, I had the opportunity to take a little vacation to quietly celebrate the turning of my new number. Gone are the days in which I want the party with the cake and presents. My preference now is to spend time in reflection and gratitude for all the gifts Life has given me. To notice where I am now, and to look ahead at the ways in which I can give back going forward.

One of the ways I like to give back is working with teens. Sure I get to do that as part of my job as a youth director, but there are also opportunities to go the extra mile and support events like teen overnights or teen camps that stretch way beyond a normal work day. Teens today deal with far more than I remember experiencing when I was a teen. Being an open, loving, supporting presence for them is both inspiring and uplifting - though sometimes not for the faint of heart.

In April the San Jose Center for Spiritual Living, held a teen overnight. Our final workshop consisted of a visualization/meditation process in which we reflected on our past, our present and our future and concluded with the creation of vision boards to guide us on our journey forward. All of the boards were filled with so much hope and promise and inspiration.

Birthday's are great time to create vision boards. Or, if you've created them in the past, pull them out and witness all the ways you've manifested growth or change in your life. Below are a few of the boards that were created by the teens. Take a moment and allow their work to inspire you. Know that what ever way you choose to count your age or celebrate the anniversary of your birth YOU make a difference and are a blessing to this thing called Life!

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