Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Raising the consciousness of Generosity.

Every Sunday, when I was a little girl, my Mom and I would attend mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary in my hometown of Hanford, Ca. It was the largest building I had ever been in as a young child, with beautiful stained glass windows and a high ceiling that filled me with a sense of awe and reverence.

It was there that I first learned of the practice of tithing/giving. Mom would give me a few coins so I could place them in the basket when it came through our row. I can still recall the sound of my coins mixing in with the other gifts and the feeling of generosity and inclusion it gave me to be able to contribute. It wasn't until later in life that I realized that simple act of giving raised the consciousness of generosity that lives in me today.

As a young mother I did what I could to instill the value of generosity in my son. I'll never forget the evening he and I were to attend an event together. We had stopped for dinner and before we left he asked me if I was going to finish my meal. I thought he might be hungry and wanted to finish it himself, but he picked up my plate and his and created a care package with our left overs then took it outside to a homeless couple who were near the parking lot. Again I was in awe and I knew in that moment a consciousness of generosity lived in him as well.

In our Youth Ministry classrooms at the Center we also have a giving practice. Each week we recite the same giving intention statement that is spoken in the sanctuary. We then pass a heart shaped basket around our circle. Most of the time we twinkle our fingers over the basket giving it our energy and a blessing or share a verbal statement like "Today I give my Love and I receive Peace" and every now and then someone will contribute a small amount of coin or cash.

As a community we are actively engaged in our Giving Intention month. While it might be easy for us to give on behalf of our children, I am inviting the families of our Center to consider doing for your children, and teens, what my mom did for me all those years ago, share a few coins with them so that they may participate in and contribute in a giving practice. Let's raise the consciousness of generosity together and see what grows out of it. You too might find yourself in a state of awe.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October is off to a great start!

Over the first weekend of October a few members of our Santa Rosa teen group, joined with approximately 50 teens (and 11 advisors) from 7 other Centers at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living for an epic teen overnight. For 24 hours we took over their location and doused it with teen excitement, love, laughter, love, workshops, love, blessings and oh yeah...LOVE.

Our moments together seemed to fly by quickly and move in slow motion all at the same time. Spending a day together reminded us of how grateful we are for our spiritual teaching and how much we enjoy sharing with each other. The effortless way we are able to create a safe, supported, loving environment that allows us to go deep and remember that we are loved even when we aren't in each others company.

These events take a lot of planning and preparation. The Oakland teen team, led by Kristine Anderson, put a great deal of thought and attention into creating a safe and welcoming place for us to gather, share, learn and connect with each other.  They did a fantastic job and we are so very grateful to them and Rev. Jeff Anderson, for opening their Center to all of us.  We are so blessed!

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