The living tradition, which we share, draws from many sources:
Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces that create and uphold life.
Words and deeds of prophetic women and men, which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.
Wisdom from the world's religions, which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.
Jewish and Christian teachings, which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Humanist teachings, which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions, which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Focusing on Friends and Family
The start of the holiday season can cause many people to struggle - family relationships can leave you feeling depleted and unsure of your next steps. Familial relationships can be some of the most confusing and complicated that we'll ever experience. Difficult relationships can be great teachers, but there comes a time when we just need peace. Peace can look different to all of us depending on our circumstances.
First, know that the "perfect" family doesn't exist - in this age of Internet perfection where many things are faked and photoshopped, don't fall for the belief that perfection exists in every family but your own. In reality, every family can have drama - it's up to US how we respond to it, because we only really have control over our OWN responses.
Learn how to recognize if you're being emotionally sapped by another person and take practical action to protect yourself against people who are not good for you. A favorite meditation can help you stay centered and calm.
Protect yourself from common "control dramas" that arise when people are feeling defensive - recognize the behaviors of the intimidator, the poor me, and the interrogator, and prepare in advance what you want to say to maintain your calm and enjoy the holiday.
Get past denial and distraction and learn the wisdom of forgiveness. Unwind and release the limiting beliefs that aren't true and learn your life and soul lessons with gratitude.
Learning and implementing these skills and the knowledge you'll gain is indeed hard work, but you'll continue to improve your life and shed the old - just in time to start the new month with increased joy, confidence, and strength.
Adapted from Madisyn Taylor, DailyOM
Same Choices, Same Results
“A change in perspective, behavior, or response can do so much more to help us move past issues left unresolved”
- Madisyn Taylor, DailyOM
June 24: Al Daniels - Flower Communion: Come as we say good-bye to the church year, and hello to summer with our annual Flower Communion. Bring a blossom to share. But prior, we will follow up on a sermon from two weeks ago.” Why Am I at UUCN?” Each person will be asked to share a minute or two about why they are in a church that by all accounts can only hold you with one thing – your decision to be there. See you Sunday!!!
The Flower Ceremony, sometimes referred to as Flower Communion or Flower Festival, is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. Originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek of Prague, Czechoslovakia, the Flower Ceremony was introduced to the United States by Rev. Maya Capek, Norbert's widow. In this ceremony, everyone in the congregation brings a flower. Each person places a flower on the altar or in a shared vase. The congregation and minister bless the flowers, and they're redistributed. Each person brings home a different flower than the one they brought.
Aaron "Al" Daniels is a 30+ year resident of Eastern CT, including spending 21 years serving on U.S. Naval Submarines. He retired in 2001 as a Chief Petty Officer and shortly thereafter began a career at Norwich Public Utilities, where he works as a Watch Engineer.
Al's love of music (he's a professional percussionist and plays with multiple bands), and the community (including serving on the Board of TVCCA and the Norwich Board of Education) keep him busy, as does his love of aviation (he holds a private pilot's license with multi-engine endorsement, and is the President of the Flight Officer Connie Nappier Jr. chapter of Black Pilots of America). He brings diverse and thoughtful subjects to his sermons, along with an easy laugh and encouraging spirit.