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Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In my lifetime, I have experienced many struggles, challenges, and triumphs. Life is full of them! And I am glad to say, my lived experience includes watching the courage of Dr. King as a little girl. I couldn’t understand why anyone held such bitterly displayed disgust for my ancestors and for people who looked like me. He fought for justice. And now after six decades, I still cannot fathom the deeply embedded prejudices and systemic injustices that still plague our society. We must continue to work until “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24 NRSV).

Today, I celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and his work for justice that we must continue.

Happy MLK Day!

Rev. Dinah

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Mission: Joy – Virtual Screening Nov. 26 – 28

Gather your family and friends to watch this exciting documentary!

To join the Watch Party – Saturday, November 27, 5 p.m. Pacific – CLICK HERE

Meeting ID: 835 9392 7253

Passcode: 029656

Or,

To watch any time between November 26 – 28

CLICK HERE – use password: joy1121

Join the discussion group – Sunday, November 28, 4 to 5 p.m. – JOIN HERE

Meeting ID: 812 9011 9317

Passcode: 130371

Deeply moving and laugh-out-loud funny, Mission: JOY is a documentary with unprecedented access to the unlikely friendship of two international icons who transcend religion: His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Tutu. In their final joint mission, these self-described mischievous brothers give a master class in how to create joy in a world that was never easy for them. They offer neuroscience-backed wisdom to help each of us live with more joy, despite circumstances.

With genuine affection, mutual respect and a healthy dose of teasing, these unlikely friends impart lessons gleaned from lived experience, ancient traditions, and the latest cutting-edge science regarding how to live with joy in the face of all of life’s challenges from the extraordinary to the mundane. Mission: Joy is an antidote for the times.

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Virtual Movie Screening – Nov 26 -28, 2021

Deeply moving and laugh-out-loud funny, Mission: JOY is a documentary with unprecedented access to the unlikely friendship of two international icons who transcend religion: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. In their final joint mission, these self-described mischievous brothers give a master class in how to create joy in a world that was never easy for them. They offer neuroscience-backed wisdom to help each of us live with more joy, despite circumstances.

Inspired by New York Times bestseller The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in Changing World, the film showcases the exchange between these two Nobel Peace Prize winners that led to that book.

Consisting largely of never-before-seen footage shot over 5 days at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala, the film invites viewers to join these luminaries behind the scenes as they recount stories from their lives, each having lived through periods of incredible difficulty and strife.

With genuine affection, mutual respect and a healthy dose of teasing, these unlikely friends impart lessons gleaned from lived experience, ancient traditions, and the latest cutting-edge science regarding how to live with joy in the face of all of life’s challenges from the extraordinary to the mundane. Mission: Joy is an antidote for the times.

More to come – details to view the movie will be sent Thanksgiving week! I hope you will join in to watch with us!! Blessings, love, and joy, Rev. Dinah

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My September Celebration

As I drove across the bay on the San Mateo Bridge to my two-day “stay-cation” spot, I was amazed as the sky eerily got darker and darker. There was no sunlight! “What is happening?” I thought. “No, this can’t be,” I lamented. Then I snapped out of it and decided my birthday celebration would NOT be dampened by this gloomy atmosphere. 

You see, the fires on the West Coast had caused smoke to blanket the entire Bay Area (and beyond). My best laid plan to book a room with a view overlooking the Bay was crumbling, and all I could see was grey everywhere. I could barely see the water. Finally, though, I reached my destination, checked in, and relaxed in my room. At last, I could settle in and finally write this overdue blog.

It’s been almost 6 months of sheltering in place for me since the pandemic began sweeping across the country. You might have seen my social media posts with my feet “pounding the pavement” – – I have been walking, walking, AND walking. It’s one of the healthiest things I’ve done throughout the pandemic. I’m not in competition with anyone; I just like it. It’s good for my brain, my heart, and mentally, it’s quite relaxing and meditative. It relieves stress. My day job starts around 8 a.m. (I’m working at home), so I like to get outside and do some walking before my workday begins. (But not this week. Egads! We’ve got all this SMOKE!)

I haven’t blogged for a while…for a few reasons, not excuses, just reasons. For one thing, I’ve been dealing with some stuff, you know …stuff, …like everybody else at this particular time. We might have different stuff; however, there’s been this BIG major stuff going on in society these days. You know what I’m talking about, right?

I don’t ascribe ALL the things happening to a particular year (like it’s the big bad 2020 boogey monster or something). 2020 didn’t just decide to jump up and clobber us. To me, I see it as a season, a transitional season…a culmination, a big build up, a colliding of lots of unchecked, unexamined, unconscious decisions in human society, globally and collectively, and yes, individually. What will we bring to the world in this moment? Something different? Or more of the same? There’s lots to ponder! Ponder, pray, reflect…and take constructive, divinely-guided action. That’s what I’m doing.

Ok, so I’m not going to get all philosophical. I am still a person of FAITH – – and my faith is lifting me through all this. With the eyes of faith, we can see new possibilities. For me, limiting social media consumption has been helpful, especially while grieving this year. I know there are those who will never understand what it’s like to walk in my shoes. I even started setting a timer and limiting intake of social media. It’s not the source of true connection. I believe those who are really in genuine connection with me will contact me to see how I’m doing. I’ve been reaching to others out as well. I believe we all desire real connection. It’s part of our humanity. We must continue encouraging one another.

I’m not one to go and stick my head in the sand either and just wish away these challenging times. I feel that we must engage, otherwise we just feel powerlessness. I pray and ask what is mine to do. My intention is to show up and be present with the best version of myself as much as I possibly can. That’s my goal. What’s also been helpful for me is remembering to be extra, extra kind, empathetic, and compassionate. Most everyone is feeling a weight of some kind. If not, then great for you! Now is a good time to lift up others!

So, yes, it was my birthday on 9/11. As always, I celebrate AND I commemorate. I am grateful for family and friends, and I am so very grateful to be here on planet earth! A special shout out and much appreciation for all the birthday wishes coming my way and for my sister and my fellow seminary classmate joining me for dinner on my birthday!! BIG PARTY OF THREE – MASKS and all!!

Just so you know, I will not be silent on things that matter. I am here to be light, love, wisdom, and joy, and that’s what I plan to keep being and doing. I cannot worry about those who are throwing “virtual” sticks and stones when I speak up, trying to shout me down. Joy is my strength. Joy is YOUR strength, if you so choose. Don’t let anyone steal your joy! It’s time to shift into high gear and release the power of true joy! If you seek the true source of joy, you will find it. Ok, so where are my JOY warriors? Let us keep marching, y’all, and standing for the truth! We know where our help comes from!!

That’s my check-in! That’s all for now, folks! Carry on.

Love  & blessings,

Rev. Dinah

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.  – James 3:13

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an overflowing stream.  – Amos 5:24

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  -Romans 15:13

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Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day!

May all dad’s have a blessed day as we celebrate you!

We celebrate and lift up all the dads, and those who fulfilled the role, who have labored in love, guided in wisdom, provided in loving ways, and blessed their children with many gifts, tangible and intangible. A special shout-out to my Dad, who is getting doubly blessed for he has a birthday coming up very soon. I am so honored that he raised me up in the way I should go (Proverbs 22:6) with such a rich spiritual heritage, taught us to love God and neighbor.  Yes, I am a PK (a preacher’s kid). And if the picture above gives you any indication, he was (still is) a tremendous chef among other things! Thank you, Daddy!

Today, we also bless the memories of those dads, grand-dads, even great-grand-dads, who are no longer with us…all those who did their best and loved us the best they could.

Let us continue to appreciate the blessings of all our family relationships, including extended family and friends.  Let us continue to be kind, be compassionate, communicate, love, forgive, and show dignity and respect to all, today and always.

Joyfully,

Rev. Dinah

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

mothersday-2

I have so many memories running around in my head of my mother. She is no longer on this physical plane of existence, but her memories live on me, my siblings, and all of her grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Whether you are a mom, you’ve had/have a mom, or becoming a mom, or even if you’ve had to fill in as a mom, I hope this day brings a rich, satisfying, joyful day of celebration and gratitude. Happy Mother’s Day!

Love & Joy,

Rev. Dinah

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Joy in the Midst of All This?

Distancing Graphic Instagram Post

Yeah, in all this? How can we find joy?

I am in Day 32 of sheltering in place here in the Bay Area. I haven’t binged watched anything nor have I taken up a hobby. If there’s one tip I could share, it would be this. I have taken up being aware of my emotions and doing a daily check-in with myself. Nothing really stringent, just noticing. The one thing we don’t want to do is ignore the challenges and what’s going on all around us. And we don’t want to ignore what’s going on inside of us either, physically, emotionally, mentally, nor spiritually.

I’ve been wondering about how to talk about joy in the midst of all this. Where is joy in all this? After a few minutes of checking the news to see if there’s anything I should do differently, I pick up my remote and remove the noise and go for my daily walk. 

Walking has been the best way for me to not only get exercise, but it’s like rebooting to my system. It helps to refresh my perspective and clear my thinking. I can hear my own thoughts rather than being bombarded with all the stuff from the networks and social media. Once I settle my mind and breathe in fresh air, a sense of peace and joy is right there waiting for me. Ah yes! In this little piece of the world…there’s a little joy oasis. 

Joy is the ever-abiding stream of gladness and delight for living that wells up on the inside of us if we’ll allow space and time for it. As I walk, I begin to notice the beauty of the flowers, the sky, the trees, and relish in this simple noticing. As I walk, I am grateful for my legs, my ankles, my knees, my balance, my heart, everything in my physical body that allows this motion and activity to take place. Sometimes I listen to a podcast, sometimes I don’t. It is so quiet on the streets now; there’s nothing to drown out! No traffic on the streets. Hurray! The streets might be a little empty, but the information super highway is not! LOL! I feel gratitude and appreciation for this time to reflect. While centering and placing my focus on my heart, I bless all those who come to mind and pray for our world. Before you know it, I’m back at my apartment…looking forward to the next walk and allowing space for joy to rise in my awareness once again. Wash hands Quote Graphic Instagram Post

Where is joy in all this? I think it’s in every moment we choose to recognize, realize, and respond to it. Then we can express it, and it blesses others in our world and those all around us.

Whoever and wherever you are:

May we all  be well.

May we all be secure.

May we all be happy.

So be it.

Amen.

Blessings & Joy,

Rev. Dinah

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Bye-Bye March – Hello April – COVID19

Wash hands Quote Graphic Instagram PostThis has certainly been an interesting month with the COVID-19 global pandemic that the world has been facing for the past few weeks.  I’ve been constantly reminding myself that even in the midst of all this, there is a real true sense of joy and vitality that runs like a river deep down inside of us. I’ve seen videos of people singing from their balconies! Yet and still, we are in the midst of a “new normal.” Here in Northern California, we were the first to undergo an active official “sheltering in place” program on March 17, but it had been swiftly building and coming to that. I’ve gone out for food a couple of times and came right back in. Each day I have been walking to get exercise. It’s also been the perfect time to connect and re-connect with family and friends through various means of communication. (My day job continues, thankfully — I’ve been working remotely now since September).

It’s more important than ever to remain connected and express as much love, gratitude, compassion, and empathy as we possibly can. My ask of everyone is to follow the guidelines that we are asked to follow; check out official reputable sources for information (such as the CDC); you never know whose life you might be saving. Stay in place and save a life. There is plenty of anxiety and tension circulating. So I invite everyone, myself included, to slow down, breathe, meditate, contemplate, and pray, or do whatever spiritual practice works for you to stay centered, purposeful, and positive. Be prayerful and practical. We can help each other through this, even in small ways. Whatever is within our power and means, help others. I’ve seen some folks online sharing their creative gifts and talents, too! Singing, music, dance, …the arts are flourishing!

As human beings, it’s natural for us to try to make meaning of it all, leaning on either spirituality, or conspiracy theories, to help us cope.  However, we have to stay grounded. One thing that stands out for me is that I see the resiliency, the coming together, the heroes and sheroes, the health care workers, service industries, the humanitarian rallying of thousands of communities and all the good that seems to emerge in a crisis. Why must it take a crisis before we see this great outpouring of these gifts? My guess is that this good-will is there all the time but rises to the surface more prominently when there is a huge crisis such as this. My hope is that we, the human race, can shift to a higher, more just and equitable way of being a global community. On some level, maybe we can dwell together in more humane ways working for the good of all humankind, regardless of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender, identity, age, or any other identification or classification. How will we be different when this subsides? or will we be? Distancing Graphic Instagram Post

This is my prayer for all as we come to the end of the Season for Non-Violence (which started on January 31 and runs through April 4th; read more about it at Commonway.org).  I have been saying the pledge and including this in my prayer and meditation time:

“May all beings be well – – May all beings be secure – – May all beings be happy”

I am a firm believer in the power of affirmative prayer.

And as the Prayer for Protection affirms:

The Light of God surrounds us, the love of God enfolds us, the power of God protects us, the Presence of God watches over us. Wherever we are, God is.

Silent Unity® is normally open 24×7 if you would like for someone to pray with you (1-800-YOU-PRAY). Oops, sorry they have reduced hours now. Click here for more info on Silent Unity®.  No matter what religion or denomination (no division), they’ll pray with you a confidential prayer. They’ve been at it non-stop for over 125 years.

What I also love is that the U-PRAY application can also be downloaded to your phone and prayer requests can be submitted via the mobile app at any time. Check out the new Alexa requests also now available.

There’s a whole lot of praying going on, that’s true…imagine… where 2 or 3 are gathered. We don’t have to be physically gathered…we need only touch and agree for the highest good of all…in the secret quiet chambers of our hearts, extending unconditional love out to all. Ask, knock, seek…

I wonder what will be transformed when we emerge from all this?

Be safe, be well. Follow the guidelines.

Love & blessings & JOY to you!

Rev. Dinah

“KEEP YOUR JOY FLOWING”

 

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A Powerful, Lasting Impact of Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon

In June 2012, I stepped into my call to ministry while attending the Unity Peoples Convention in Detroit, Michigan. Little did I know some 8 months later, I would be quitting my job, emptying my apartment, throwing my household furnishings into storage, and driving my loaded down car from California to Missouri to go to seminary. I’d heard people say, “you won’t know until you go.” That’s the way it is sometimes when we are following our guidance. We often don’t see the next step until we make the first step. Something inside me said to leap and I did…into a full residential seminary program. 

It was an adventure for my oldest sister and I to drive across country. We stopped at the Grand Canyon and took pictures. I figured there was no sense being that close and not stop to see one of the world’s wonders. We stopped each night for dinner and checked into a hotel. We had great weather all the way, for March anyway. We plumed through Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and at last we drove into Missouri.  Funny thing is…the closer we got to Unity Village, the harder it snowed and it started to stick on the roads… but finally we made it. 

I couldn’t wait to get the keys to my room I was renting on the grounds of Unity Village. I considered it a miracle! I was told there was no housing available at first, and I was put on a waiting list. But through a turn of events, here I was, settling down in my warm, toasty room, with the temperature of 20 degrees outside and seven to eight inches of fresh fallen snow on the ground. As I lay in bed on the first night in the Women’s Annex, I was gazing out my window looking up at the famous landmark Unity Tower. In that moment, I remembered and gave thanks for Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon, who broke the color barrier at the Unity School of Christianity and was permitted lodging on grounds in the late 50s.  Unity village had been segregated. I honored her in my prayers that night and drifted off to sleep. “Because of her, and many others, I am here,” I thought to myself. She was the first African American to stay on grounds, and here I was sleeping overnight as a residential seminarian on these grounds. We must never forget those who have paved the way for us. 

While growing up as a little girl in the midwest, I had heard talk about this “woman preacher” in Chicago who had this BIG church. Oh yes, there was talk of her, but I knew very little about Unity and was fascinated to hear of big city news such as that. Our family had made many trips to Chicago, but we were in another denomination and I don’t recall ever venturing out to see her church. But in the Black community, she definitely had some notoriety and had appeared in Jet and Ebony magazine. Who knew decades later I’d come to this same place of beginnings? 

I went on to do more research about Rev. Colemon’s life and her experience while I was studying at Unity Institute and Seminary from 2013 to 2016. She made her transition in 2014. In 2016 as I walked across the stage to graduate and be ordained, I had pinned a picture of Rev. Johnnie Coleman inside my robe near my heart. I had to find a way to carry her across that stage with me for I knew she paved the way for me to be there. Because of you, Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon, we can all follow the truth in our hearts and live courageously. Thank you. We celebrate you this Black History Month of 2020. Many stories have been written about her, but this is mine.

To celebrate Black History Month, see Gems of Wisdom from Black Leaders of New Thought:

https://www.unity.org/publications/resource-materials/black-leaders-new-thought