Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Celebrating Earth Day

On April 20th we merged our youth lesson with a celebration of Earth Day.

It was the perfect time to remind ourselves what an amazing miracle this life is. That inside all of us is Universal presence that exists in every aspect of being, in every form of being and in all the space in-between.

We spent time marveling at how our bodies know exactly what is needed to function on the inside. How everything works together to support each of us. From the transportation system of our veins and arteries, to the factories of the heart and brain, to the mechanics of our joints and bones ~ all of it working together in harmony for our highest good in every moment.

We expanded this idea to include the miracle of everything around us, our plants, trees, oceans, rivers, pets, friends, family and the precious planet we live on. We spent time sharing all the ways we care for the planet, and explored a few ideas that we can add to be even more mindful of our resources.

When it came time to have a little creative fun we re-purposed and re-used as many items as we could to create mini versions of ourselves. Being that we are one with all of life, that meant embracing our connection to everything. Some of us choose to look through the eyes of animals ~ or to have the body of nature.

Some of the students choose to add words to their projects, such as, Nash who wrote "I am Nature" or Mateo who added "I love Life" and Sophia who reminded us "We only have one Planet, so let's take care of it."

Sage advise and reminders from our young friends that we can all benefit from.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Volunteer Spotlight!

It takes a lot of volunteers to support our Youth Ministry and Nancy Moorehead has been doing it for the past 18 years!

If Nancy looks familiar to you, it's likely because youth ministry isn't the only place she offers sacred service to our Center. She assists twice a month in our finance department, helping count the Sunday offerings. She serves as an usher on 5th Sunday's and she is often found in the rose garden quietly tending the soil, pulling weeds and nurturing the rose bushes with her tender loving care.

Recently I asked Nancy what some of her favorite things are about serving in youth ministry. "I love listening and learning from what the children share" she replied "Sometimes the wisdom of a 4 year old is exactly what I needed to hear."

As a teacher, I appreciate the beautiful way Nancy shares her love of Spirit and Nature when we are together in circle time. I'll often schedule our new volunteer assistants to serve when Nancy is present so they can witness the gentle loving way she greets our families and tends to the needs of the children during our time together.

Nancy's preferred service time is 11:30 and she is often with us several times a month, which is rare and wonderful. In her own words ~ "I feel like I get so much more than I give."

We are so grateful for all you give, share and the joyful way in which you do it. 
Thank you, Nancy ~ we love and appreciate you!

Susan Robinson, RScP
Director, Youth and Family Ministry

If you are interested in volunteering in our youth ministry, please send an inquiry to

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Honoring our teens with Gratitude and Love

It was my honor to participate along with three of our teens at last Wednesday’s evening service. In Rev. Tara Steele's closing statements she invited those in attendance to write a personal commitment on a 3x5 card after service, and if they choose, to leave a message of encouragement and support behind for our teens. I was going to have one of our volunteers type them up - but decided to do it myself. I am grateful I did. The words were a healing balm to my soul.

In addition to these words of inspiration and encouragement, I have been approached by several members of our community since the service, sharing how grateful they are to have attended and how inspired they are to take action to make a difference in the world. Two people have contacted me directly, interested in volunteering in our youth/teen program. And, the bond that was already deep within our teens, seems to have grown even more deeply.

I am grateful to be a part of this community and all that includes, staff member, Practitioner, Teacher, Mentor… and my Momma Bear pride is off the charts for these amazing young people who are growing up and being the change we all so very much wish to see.

There is movement in creating “A world that works for everyone” and our youth and teens are leading the way.

Below is the written word piece by Estrella Rose Pacheco that was read during the service by Kalyla Harper and the community comments that were shared with us after the service. It's a long post, but well worth the read!

Thank you all for your love and dedication to the spiritual enrichment of this beautiful Life ~ I am honored to serve with you!

With Love,
Susan Robinson, RScP
Director, Youth and Family Ministry
Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa

A written word piece by: Estrella Rose Pacheco

Three weeks ago a student wrote a threat on the bathroom wall of my school, as I evacuated campus a child lit off fireworks, sounding so much like what we all feared, and we all ran for cover.

That night I fell asleep and was in a dream. A lock-down in a classroom - while lights flash - shots sound - and money flows out of slot machines on the wall. - All I can hear is the heavy breathing of the future scared behind their books and the clanking of blood money.

I wake up.  I go to school.
I stop thinking about slope intercepts to wonder, where I would hide, should one kid decide to hurt others?

I tell myself  "Fear should not rule my life!"
Yet even my sleep is ruled by death, fear and the money it generates. 

So I say Dear America, 
How many tears will I cry before you cry with me? 
How many days will I sit scared before the day you decide enough is enough?
How many steps will I march before, you take a step to stop the violence? 
How many voices will yell before you tell the future you care? 
How many prayers will you say for tomorrow before you realize WE ARE tomorrow? 
How many hearts will break before your heart goes out to us? 
How many lives will be taken before our lives are in our own hands? 

Under one sky we all dream for tomorrow.
Dear America, let me see tomorrow. 

On one planet we love one another.
Dear America, let me know my future lover.

In one day so many are born.
Dear America, let me hold my own child.

On your birthday we hear fireworks,
Dear America, let them be beautiful again.

In a life we care for each other
Dear America, let those who need help receive it.

For a moment we hurt for each other, 
Dear America, let our hurt not be forgotten at the end of the day.

With each moment a life is born, 
Dear America, let us live our best life today.

Community Comments
You are amazing young beings with your whole life’s ahead of you and look how great you are starting out. Thoughtful, aware, loving, caring. Thank you for being who you are!!
I appreciate your beautiful, vulnerable, honest expression of your power through your individual sparkle of God.
We support you on all levels of your marvelous endeavors. Thank you for tonight.
I thank you for your bravery, strength and faith. You walk tall and strong for our Earth. Heads High – Eyes clear. Xoxo
Thank you for your courageous Hearts!
I am so grateful to hear your voice and encouraged that I can be more like you.
Fifty years ago today I mourned the passing of Martin Luther King. I reflected and thought how far we have come, yet we still have a ways to go. May this generation see it through.
Keep on Keeping on…
I am so incredibly Proud of all of you!!
In my heart I feel your power (not BS) your strength and your commitment to honor the goodness of our shared history and most importantly your decision to move forward facing the many challenges of our future. I honor and thank you. <3
I have been a photographer for 20 years. The program this evening has committed me to using my art to create visual awareness of what our young people spoke and prayed for.
Thank you so much for your Love and your strength and your beauty and for sharing it with our community. We hear you, we see you and we believe in you. Together, we are one. And so it is!
Hello my Darlings, Thank you so much for being you! for speaking truth, nonviolence and Love. I commit to the peace and justice center of Santa Rosa. I commit to speak, March and Love!
Thank you for your words, your thoughts, your courage! You are all an inspiration and a strength in this world. You are so needed! Thank you for being the change. I stand with YOU!!!
Thank you wondrous youth for your bravery and wisdom. Keep speaking your truth!
Hearing these young people speak their courageous Truth and Power gives me Hope and faith in the evolution of our Earth. Namaste and Thanks
I have hope again thanks to our youth. <3
I am grateful for the fortitude, courage and intelligence of our youth.
Be brave, be courageous, and stand up for the truth! <3 You give me hope!!
It brings me great comfort that you express your thoughts and feelings clearly and with such depth. Thank you ! <3
To our wonderful, courageous youth – you have touched me, our world deeply. I am so filled with hope for our world hearing your voices rise up and ring out with Truth and Love. You have shown the way back to hope and peace and I for one will support and learn from your amazing leadership. God Bless you All!
Thank you for standing up for yourselves and all of the rest of us.
What a powerful service… I appreciate all of you and your efforts. I commit to loving and supporting my 2 grandchildren 4 & 7months to a life of Love and Peace. And to support everyone I encounter to forward the agenda of Love and Peace.
I am honored to be in the presence of one amazing high school son, which brings me into the presence of so many of the teen group. You are all simply amazing!
I am grateful for our youth’s bravery, love, intelligence and peace that they bring to the world. It is a good reminder of what many older people have lost. They give me hope.
I am blessed by the teen groups ability to embrace the diversity of all of the teen community! Love to all of you!
Thank you for having the wisdom & courage it takes to be a facilitator of change!
Continue to shine bright. The world needs your positive energy. I believe in the power of our youth!!
One Love – What inspiring brilliant lights of love and strength, we were honored to be a part of this magical sacred space to hold with our youth and collective futures. I promise to always be open hearted, to listen actively and stand with and for our youth.
We value you and your journey.
Thank YOU.  Thank You!
Thank You for being the good we need in the world today and in the future! I support you all. Blessings.
I love you guys and gals. Thank you for being brave. Never give up on yourself or the fight.
Let us support all Life, Animals and Humans and eliminate all guns.
I will continue to march and vote and take action on your behalf and for all of us to change gun laws. I will speak and share with others a calm centered conviction for essential change in our country. Peace to all of us – with action.
Thank you for shining a light of love with your activism. I have stood and will stand with you both in Spirit and activism. I am so proud to hear your wondrous voices of Peace.
Thank you for your words of wisdom, your courage and your strength to stand up for the Truth. That together we can create change… We can create a world where we are at peace, where we embrace each other. All of us, together, appreciating diversity and difference knowing diversity makes us stronger. One Love.
I thank Kalyla and Dylan for being amazing. They are really good people in my life!
I want you to know that I have your backs and I will continue working toward a better world for all of us.
I want you to know that I was very moved by your talks tonight. I will sign every petition against gun violence. I will go to more marches. Thank you for speaking up. You are all awesome!
Teens: I so appreciate the willingness to speak your truth. You help me awaken to my truth. Thank you!
Beauty is deep with you all, and kindness through the pain. May Love be in around you always. God Bless you.
Thank you for your strong clear message. You are so Powerful. I stand with you in prayer for your support.
My gratitude is for Sonoma County Supervisor Shirley Zane, an advocate for homeless in Sonoma County and for (those suffering from) Mental Illness.
You guys are fantastic – leaders already! Keep going strong. I appreciate and Love you. <3
Know that you are loved, absolutely and whole heartedly ~ “just the way that you are, and just the way that you are not” <3
I stand for youth experiencing Freedom & Pure Love.
You are held in Loving Space!
In the future, when you think things can’t get any worse, they can. When you think you’re at the end of your rope, you will survive. Next time you’re at the end of your rope, you will say I’ve been in the place before and some how I survived to live again.
…the dew on the soil of the heart.
I will give my smiles, express my thankfulness and joy more frequently – daily – to everyone I see. And, I will get back to my spiritual practice!
I will save my money and use it wisely rather than squander it.
Dear Susan & CSL Teens, You are guiding lights and I am so inspired to carry the vision of wholeness and oneness forward. I will finish that gun legislation idea and send it to my congressmen & women.  I love you all.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The healing power of our emerging youth leaders

On April 4th our Wisdom Wednesday evening classes took a break. In its place we offered a Youth Service dedicated to healing our community with spoken word, readings, song, music and powerful statements from a few of the emerging leaders within our teen group.

Many of us have felt personal discomfort from local school lock downs and the impact it has had on our children, teens and families in Sonoma County. Week after week conversations in our youth and teen classrooms have included discussion of high anxiety levels and prayer requests for safety, comfort and peace while attending school.

April 4th also marked the close of the Season for Nonviolence. It was the perfect time to invite all of us to extend this 64 day practice of peace to an every day 365 practice. In addition, we wanted to give our community an opportunity to re-commit and/or to deepen spiritual practices and to get very clear on what is personally important to each of us so that we can take action and get involved in a positive nonviolent way to bring about the changes we wish to see.

Our teen speakers, Alexander Dunlop, Kalyla Harper, and Dylan Jansen shared with us spiritual readings along with two spoken word pieces, written by teens Estrella Rose Pacheco and Kalyla Harper, along with a public statement that was released by the Centers for Spiritual Living International teen leadership team in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting. 

The service was interwoven with music provided by Christopher Fritzche and Rev. Joyce Duffala, a sound bowl meditation by Tami Gosnell, a short presentation by Susan Robinson, RScP, Director, Youth and Family Ministry, music created for the March 4 our Lives event and the "Om Mani Peme Hung" chant led by Tsunma Ani Samten Palmo. Our teens also shared six Interfaith prayers of Peace, with welcome and closing statements from Rev. Tara Steele. It was a powerful service that raised the vibration of peace and healing within our community.

If you were unable to attend but would like to have a copy of the service we will have CD's available for order in Stepping Stones Books and Gifts by April 15.

We are so very grateful to Rev. Tara Steele for inviting us to participate in and help create this healing service for our community.

Thank you to all who attended and took the time to leave us a 3x5 card with your comments, commitments and affirmative statements of encouragement. Your words of appreciation mean the world to us!
May you all feel the healing power of Peace. 

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