Happy New Year!

Well, 2019, that’s a wrap! Here we go, 2020! 

It’s been quite a year! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season and that you are doing well.  I hope you are envisioning an awesomely prosperous and healthy year in 2020 and beyond.

As you may recall back in 2019, my last Sunday as senior minister at Unity of Tri-Valley was Easter Sunday. After that, I gave myself permission to take six months off as a sabbatical.

Over the summer, I started reading Wayne Muller’s book, Sabbath- – Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives, reflecting, taking walks, and quieting my life down a bit to listen…listen to my heart. It felt a little weird at first not having my calendar filled and working 12-14 hour days and all weekend. I began to understand that I needed more time for spiritual renewal in order to not lose my joy for serving in ways that sparked my enthusiasm and more in alignment with my gifts and talents.

The funny part is when you create space for creativity and make time to think about what you want for your life, the most amazing things can unfold in your life. Each day I went to work, quietly affirming, “thank you God for this or something better,”  and “I am open and receptive to God’s living spirit of Truth.” Gratitude opens us up to receive more in life. After a conversation with a previous manager of mine in 2013, one thing led to another and I was blessed with a new position with my former employer, Kaiser, in September. The blessing was not only a financial blessing and a raise, but I could also work 100 percent from home. I started late September and worked 5 weeks before my trip to China.

China was indeed a trip of a lifetime. I wanted to get out of my normal routine…and boy, did I ever! I’m still reminiscing and processing it all. The trip was a busy 16-day tour, starting in Beijing and ending in Hong Kong, but well worth it. I returned home for about 10 days and took off again for another “vacation from the vacation.” My family reunion was a family cruise to the Western Caribbean during Thanksgiving week. It was very relaxing and a blessing to spend time with family. 

The big lessons I believe I have learned in 2019 are:

  • Do not postpone joy. If there’s something you want to do, do it. Don’t wait so long to take care of yourself. It doesn’t mean you’re selfish if you practice self care and good boundaries. Self care should be all throughout the year; do not wait until 3 years to do self care! 
  • Do little things all along the way regularly to renew and rejuvenate and lift your soul.
  • Allow space to feel. By that I mean pay attention to our emotional health. Things can really pile up. Sometimes there are losses in our lives and we need to have breathing room to see what’s going on inside of us. There were people who passed away this year, and I had to take time to recognize I was in a grieving process. 
  • Don’t let grievances pile up, forgive but don’t continue to be a dumping ground for others who are not consciously doing their own healing work. Life is too short to carry the weight of unforgiveness or any kind of malice toward others. if you knew that person would be gone tomorrow, what would you do differently? 
  • And finally, with the socio-political climate in our country, we must seriously commit to bridging the gaps within our communities, families, and nation wherever and whenever possible and express more understanding and kindness. By all means, pray.

So, in 2020, I hope you will plug into what brings you joy, makes for peace, stirs up divine love and right action, and makes your heart sing. Be intentional and really do it! I feel called to continue working on my online joy ministry. Joy is my strength, and it has sustained me in countless ways.  It’s not about being glib or glossing over our challenges. True joy resonates from deep within and will buoy us up through whatever comes our way.

I am still in a place of listening, visioning, and affirming that I will will be guided in the right steps and right timing for the best unfolding of this ministry. The best is yet to be! Thank you for your loving support and prayers.  May you be blessed richly in 2020 and full of joy!

Love always,

Rev. Dinah