Have you ever laughed until you've cried? Have you heard the old saying, laughter is the best medicine? Has your doctor ever made you laugh or cry with their medical diagnosis? Do you cry over something one day, and the next day laugh about it? Has a doctor ever told you jokes? Can laughter heal us? What is it about laughter? Have you ever thought it possible to come to church and laugh the whole time you were there? Ever hear of a spiritual comedian? Do you think God has a sense of humor, or is He too busy chalking up our wrong doings? Have you read this line: "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan?" Aren't your best buddies in life those who can help you to laugh at yourself?
Faith & Spirituality
Looking for a class that is simply out of this world, and will give you the sun, moon, stars and planets too? Consider an experiential class called, "Powers of the Universe," not for the faint of heart, but a class to really sink your spiritual teeth into. A 12-week spiritual journey packaged into a course aimed at pondering the most puzzling questions known to man, "Who am I?", "Where did I come from?", and "Why am I here?".
Answers to these profound questions will be explored and may be answered, if you are open to the wonder of answers. This star-filled journey is based on cosmologist Brian Swimme's DVD series, and the spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest trained as a paleontologist and geologist. He is famous for the quote: "We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience." Brian Swimme is a faculty member at the California Institute of Integral Studies, teaching evolutionary cosmology.
Unity proudly welcomes Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith on July 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dr. Beckwith is the founder and spiritual director of the Agape International Spiritual Center, a trans-denominational spiritual community known for its rich cultural diversity, local and global humanitarian programs, and promotion of the arts in Culver City, Calif. He will speak and his wife, Rickie Byars Beckwith, will perform at Unity Hall on the campus of Unity Spiritual Center, 23855 Detroit Road in Westlake.
Ever walk a labyrinth? Know anything about their fascinating history? Are they the same as a maze; a form of a puzzle? Can they be used as a tool for psychological and spiritual growth?
Some definitions describe them as a single path, designed to enliven right-brain activity. Generally speaking, right-brain activity is visual, big picture, intuitive neurological thinking. A labyrinth can help you relax, as a walking meditation, to enjoy nature, to unravel the hectic pace of day-to-day life.
Live well, think well, eat well, be well, get well, stay well. We hear these short, two-word sentiments all the time. Well, well, well. Just as long as you don't tumble down one, because your wellness is something that should be taken seriously, but with a splash of fun, and a dash of the alternatives.
Come join us at Centered Wellness's Wellness Fair where there will be plenty of "well" and various ways to nurture and sustain your own wellness. Scheduled for Saturday June 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be ample time to browse and meet our caring practitioners. Admission is $5.
Unity Spiritual Center is honored to have Amma's sacred purpose and program of love and peace come to Westlake this June.
Some messages we have heard in childhood may persist all of our lives, like "Mother knows best." Or "Finish your vegetables, they're good for you." Or the central message of the Hippie movement – "Peace and love." What if all those same messages could be experienced and understood today in greater depth, with more powerful meaning, in truer spirituality, in the form of a spiritual being, known by her followers as "the Mother of Compassion?"
As the crocuses yearn to reach toward the sun, and Spring sings and dances her merry song, we too yearn to come more fully alive, to leave the stifled, bleak air of winter behind.
So how do you feel more alive? What steps do you take to move forward into greater expression of who you are? How do you expand your identity and your creativity in this new spring of 2014? This moment has never been here before, it offers endless opportunities for expansion and greater living.
Let your interests guide you into new endeavors. Like the daffodils – shine brightly, reach upward and sway with the wind as you express your greater self. Try a new class, take a workshop, find some new friends!
Helping people transform their "poverty" consciousness to a "prosperity" consciousness through the understanding of spiritual principles has long been a staple of Unity Spiritual Center and the broader Unity movement worldwide. Master Stephen Co returns to Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake for the third time on April 17 at 7 p.m. with a workshop on "Prosperity Healing: Balance Spirituality and Material Abundance."
An author and nationally recognized speaker, and senior disciple of the originator of Pranic Healing and Arhatic Yoga, Master Co has been featured on CBS News and has been spoken of as "the real deal; his Power of Prana could save your life" by Wayne Dyer. He will share simple and practical energetic techniques to purge out poverty/lack consciousness and flood your mind with prosperity energies to magnetize abundance.
One life at a time ... that is how we will combat the epidemic that we’ve been hearing about for months now. Becoming informed is an important component in this battle. Last year, CrossPointe Community in Westlake hosted a very helpful forum on the topic of heroin addiction. Several similar events have been hosted in our community, including one at the Bay Village Branch Library on Feb. 20.
As a pastor, I am personally grateful for the work of Y-Haven in Cleveland which has provided us with a number of young men who are in recovery. Two of these young men began a Christ-centered 12-step group a year ago, which I wrote about in the Observer last year.
Are you, by chance, feeling anything like I am about the snow, the cold and the ice? Want to throw your hands up in the air and say enough already?
Perhaps we should call on the Wicked Witch of the West from the land of Oz, and revive her line of menace, but turn it around for good – "How about a little fire, Scarecrow?"
The properties, characteristics and legends of fire are fascinating! Fire is commonly associated with the qualities of energy, assertion and passion. There are three astrological signs associated with fire – Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. In the practice of alchemy, fire is the prime method of conversion, it is the great transformer. Everything that fire touches is changed, rearranged. In one Greek myth, Prometheus stole fire from the gods to protect helpless humans. Yet today, humans have learned to harness fire and use it for good.
A little blonde girl with a big heart who loved to sing, whose mom sent her to her uncle's to learn to play guitar, but ... she continued to sing. She grew into a beautiful heart-centered woman, and continued to sing. Today she sings, and holds "heartfelt" workshops for hundreds of people in Unity churches, from Tennessee to Indiana to Ohio.
If you've never heard Jody Soland sing and play guitar, you're in for a spiritual treat, a slice of audio-bliss, when she visits Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake on March 9. Her music will dance on your heart strings and move you into new places. Her numerous CDs bring forth her strong voice, and vocals primarily written by her and her husband, Gary, a singer-songwriter whom she met in Nashville. Her music allows a story to unfold, so the listener can become one with the story, or sit back and simply enjoy the musicality.
If you were to visit CrossPointe Community Church in Westlake, the first person who would greet you is Linda Lucas (permission granted to use full name). Eight years ago on the last Sunday in February, Linda decided she was done with drugs and prayed that God would direct her to a church.
She drove down Columbia and saw the red, white and blue welcome flags flying that "looked like the arms of God." She turned in and drove around to the parking lot and prayed; deciding that this was to be the church to which she would come. I followed up with her that week and shared how God loved her unconditionally. She decided to open her heart to Jesus Christ and become a Jesus follower.
Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake is in its fourth year of actively supporting the Metanoia Project which gathers and welcomes homeless, especially the shelter resistant (living under bridges, in alleyways and on park benches) and provides meals, relationships and overnight hospitality.
Advent prepares and serves nourishing meals to as many as 85 guests the first Sunday of every cold-weather month from mid-November through mid-April at the Hospitality Center in the old St. Malachi’s School at West 25th Street and Detroit. Advent volunteers lead a time of spiritual nourishment for guests who choose to join in prayer, Bible readings and devotions – a quiet time to reflect on the Good News of Jesus. We collect their prayer requests and carry out intercessory prayer on their behalf in the following 30 days.
Unity Spiritual Center invites all to hear special guest speaker, Vince Lisi, on Sunday, March 2. Lisi, a philosopher and faculty member of both Youngstown State University and Penn State University, will speak on moving forward in conscious evolution while facing questions of limitations and vulnerability.
Lisi will speak at Unity's 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services, and conduct a workshop from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Unity is located at 23855 Detroit Road, a block west of Clague. Details at www.unityspiritualcenter.com or call 440-835-0400.
More is better, right? That's the message we hear repeatedly from the AT&T commercials with the cute kids sitting around a table in thoughtful discussion.
Does that "more" theory apply to everything? Can we apply it to our hopes, our dreams, our wishes? What is the best way to do that? How do we multiply the good things in life, the desires of our hearts, that we don't yet have, into our personal daily existence?
For the ninth year, St. Raphael Church in Bay Village will conduct a series called Catholics Coming Home on seven Wednesday evenings from Feb. 5 to March 19, 7-8:30 pm. These sessions are for non-practicing Catholics who might be interested in returning to the Church. There will be informal sharing and an update of the Catholic faith in a support-group format.
A new year, a time to make new resolutions, a time to grow, to leave the old behind, sing Auld Lang Syne, allow the new to emerge, ring in the New Year, watch the ball drop – common phrases we have all heard around this time of the year. But I wonder, what does all that mean for us individually?
As we party here below, the skies above are busy giving us unique configurations, and warm smiles from the round-faced man in the moon. Nineteen years ago was the last time a New Moon (one of the eight phases to our favorite aerial rock) landed on our New Year. In addition to the New Moon, we can glimpse the Blue Moon if we only look up around the end of January.
The Renaissance, a cultural movement that spanned the 14th to the 17th centuries, beginning in Florence, Italy, brought widespread educational reforms and magnificent artistic developments to our planet. In addition to affecting art and education, its influence touched music, politics, science, religion, philosophy, etc.
The word itself means "rebirth." Thinking about this time in history, we can't help but think of the people who embodied its true spirit. Men like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo lived this spirit to the fullest and were the inspirations for the term Renaissance Man.
Melinda Mason, a University of Mount Union junior, was seriously injured when a drunk driver crashed into a car she was driving during the kickoff of the Drive Sober Get Pulled Over campaign at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium earlier this fall.
The near-death experience due to being hit by a 34-year-old drunk driver is the basis for an inspirational talk presented by Melinda on Sunday, Dec. 1, 10:30 a.m., at CrossPointe Community, 1800 Columbia Road in Westlake.
Do you seek something more than what could be called "churchianity?" We invite you to CrossPointe Community, 1800 Columbia Road, Westlake, for a spiritual retreat featuring Billy Huddleston. Gathering times for the three-day retreat are Sunday, Nov. 24, 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 25, 7 p.m.; and Tuesday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.
Billy Huddleston has a passion to lead people into a powerful encounter with the living Christ. It is his desire to see lives and lifestyles changed as a result of those encounters. It is Billy's belief that all lives, young and old alike, are valuable to Jesus Christ and that each one has a vital role to play in the fulfillment and building of His Kingdom.
What is the best time for grandparents to influence their grandchildren as they consider life’s biggest decisions – those life-shaping decisions about college, careers, relationships and marriage? Hu Auburn, former pastor of Bay Presbyterian Church and author of a new book entitled "Grandkids Camp Guidebook," believes that window of opportunity opens when grandkids are three-years-old and potty-trained.
At least that’s an ideal time to begin planning and hosting an annual grandkids camp: a week (or less) when grandkids gather at their grandparents’ home to “do life” together in a way that phone calls, shorter visits and the presence of parents don’t allow. A week at the Auburns' grandkids camp includes daily flag-raising ceremonies, a camp pledge, hikes, outings, games and a daily excursion to local ice creameries to score and rank the product and experience.
There are many paths to health and wellness, but the most important one is to take responsibility for yours. Ever hear the names Hatha, Kundalini, Ashtanga or Iyengar, and wonder what in the world was being discussed?
Mystery solved: all are very different types of yoga. Some yoga styles teach through slow and gentle movements, some are intense and focus on the core, others focus on alignment and detail using props, but all aim to increase your wellness and health. Not sure which one may be right for you? Take the time to talk to an expert one on one.
Collins Tuohy, sister of the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive tackle, Michael Oher, spoke to students at Westside Christian Academy on Oct. 18 and to almost 300 people in the evening at Westlake High School for the Family Strong Series, “Never Lose Faith.”
Her family’s story was included in Michael Lewis’ 2006 book and was the basis for Academy Award-winning 2009 movie, "The Blind Side." Lewis started to write a financial piece to examine why the left tackle is the second highest paid player on a football team after the quarterback. He protects the quarterback’s ‘blind side’ and prevents possibly a career-ending injury.
Looking back, some take a stroll down memory lane "lightly" – they bring to mind old beaus, wild friendships, favorite songs from that era, crazy things they did then but wouldn't do now, their favorite pair of jeans or even a funny hat they wore constantly as their signature accessory. Some look to their past to recall and remember happier times, yet others take a more serious look backward with a specific intention, the intention of healing old hurts.
All humanity exists within the sphere of the trilogy of time consisting of past, present and future. We weave our way through these three, not often realizing how one is affecting and influencing the other. What we bring forward from the past can shape our present day thoughts, habits and actions, essentially how we live our lives.
For over a decade Unity Spiritual Center has held a six-week Fall Program featuring many small groups studying a special spiritual book. A very popular ongoing event, the Fall Program begins with a kick-off ceremony on Sept. 18.
This year's book is "The I of the Storm: Embracing Conflict, Creating Peace" by Dr. Gary Simmons, a renowned peacemaker, Unity minister and spiritual leader. The book is now in its 16th printing.
In "I of the Storm" we learn to go beyond merely managing the conflict in our lives to actually embracing the conflict, allowing it to teach us what we otherwise might not learn. This process leads to peacemaking whether it be within ourselves, in our relationships, or as a result of outside circumstances.
Have you ever felt there is too much chaos in the world, and wished you could make the world less so? It's very possible you can, and it may begin very close to home, meaning with yourself. Becoming more peace-filled, less frenzied, less hectic, beginning with the person in the bathroom mirror, can truly add peace to us and to the world.
Often anger, even self-hate or doubt can hide deeply and hold securely, leading us to live lives that are less serene than we would desire. Repairing old hurts frees you up to be more creative, happier, healthier, consequently contributing this harmony to those close to you, therefore expanding it into the world.
Prayer is the bedrock, the solid foundation of Unity's philosophy. Prayer is the time and the place within that we converse with God, the Spirit who expresses through us, God who is our friend, our guide, our therapist, our counselor, our guru, our bliss.
Prayer has energy and power, and when the prayers of many unite and combine, they expand the intention beyond the individual. Uniting all in affirmative prayer is the purpose of World Day of Prayer.
Throughout the day, celebrated Thursday, Sept. 12, people worldwide will join prayer upon prayer, heart to heart, sharing like intentions, for Unity's 20th annual World Day of Prayer. The theme of this sacred event is: Living Well, Nurturing Mind, Body and Spirit.
Think about the Bible for a moment.
Do your thoughts become mingled with confusion over the enormous amount of writing by different authors in this historically rich Book of books? Or do you think back to the Hollywood drama starring Kirk Douglas as Moses? Do you ponder over the interesting characters whose stories are told, like Samson and Delilah, Noah and his Ark, Elijah and his fiery chariot?
From June 14 through June 16, a Catholic youth conference was held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, which is located about three hours away from Cleveland. This youth conference is one of the most famous youth gatherings in the country, with hundreds of Catholic high school students from various parts of the nation attending. I went to this conference and I feel fortunate to have been able to be part of the magnificent experience.
Philip R. Belzunce and Lalei E. Gutierrez, holistic psychologists with over 60 years combined experience, have written a book to help readers learn what "pathway" in their relationship life they are currently on. They will be sharing their experiences and hosting a presentation and book signing at Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake on Thursday, August 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This is a free event.
Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake will be hosting a beautiful candlelight walk this Friday, June 28, at 7 p.m. At 90 feet in diameter, Unity’s outdoor labyrinth is one of the largest in Ohio. This meditative experience, “Walking a Sacred Path,” will focus on the Lord’s Prayer and the seven steps to transforming your life. This event is free and open to the public.
Why walk the labyrinth? The world is thirsty for a connection with the soul, and the answer can be found in the renaissance of this ancient image. The mysterious labyrinth is a symbol of wholeness, combining the circle and the spiral into a meandering yet purposeful path.
Even with our hectic lives, most of us find time for significant ceremonies.
Weddings, graduations, christenings, memorials, civil unions, birthdays and other rituals in our lives makes us stop and think about what is important to us as human beings. Many ceremonies are short, followed by merriment that goes on much longer. Yet we know in our hearts that the ceremony is still the cake, and the party to follow is the icing, for without the substance that the words and power of the ceremony provide, we have only unsatisfying fluff.
It's usually the ceremony, not the hoopla afterward, that brings tears to the eyes, because a well done ceremony touches the heart. During the ceremony most of us are totally present and focused, instead of multi-tasking in thought and action like we normally do. In a ceremony, we stand as witnesses to people we care about who are being celebrated, supported or remembered. We allow life to slow down for a few minutes so we can hear what is being said and think and feel about what is meaningful to us.
You may not have a substance abuse issue, but is there something – or maybe even more than one thing – with which you constantly battle? Is there something to help you overcome? You can pay a lot of money for someone to listen to you and then to talk to you. You can choose to suffer alone or you can opt to connect with a small group of people who are on the same journey called LIFE and it's free.
Many of us have character and conduct flaws that challenge us, to say the least. They raise their ugly heads at the most inopportune times. Just when we least expect it and we find ourselves in a painful situation with our children, our parents, our friends, people at work and we just wish we could stop! Like the challenge to stop smoking, these behaviors are tough to change.
Bethesda-on-the-Bay Lutheran Church invites area children of all faiths to its Vacation Bible School program, “God’s Backyard Bible Camp,” from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, June 17, through Friday, June 21.
For preschool through sixth-graders, the program will focus on serving family, friends, neighbors, community and Jesus. Each day will include Bible stories, crafts, snacks, music, outdoor games and service projects.
It’s a simple idea... with far reaching ramifications! Christian musicians come together for an evening of celebrating any and every musical genre from contemporary, to hip-hop, rock, country, rap and gospel... any others?
The first JAM Nite held in March had a small turnout with two bands and several individuals. On April 20 the event grew to four bands and several studio musicians who played spontaneously together. That was definitely fun! Two individuals came to sing with trax and one solo accompanied herself on the keyboard. It was a fantastic night; laid back, enjoyable, fun... a real celebration!
Dave and Tony, two young men in recovery, have launched a Christ-centered 12-step recovery group for teens and young adults. Fill the Void meets every Sunday at noon at CrossPointe Community, 1800 Columbia Road in Westlake (just south of Hilliard). It is a discussion group. Dave and Tony facilitate the group utilizing Scripture and the 12 Step Recovery Bible.
These two young men realize the importance of carrying the message to other addicts. They have come to realize that a major component of their own recovery is intensive work with others recovering from substance abuse.
If you’ve never seen the riveting film, “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” you need to make your way to Unity Spiritual Center on Friday, April 26. In fact, even if you have seen the movie, see it again. It’s simply that kind of movie that yields something more, something different, each time you see it.
For those who haven’t seen it, be aware that “What the Bleep Do We Know!?” is a unique type of film. Released in 2004, it is part documentary, part story and part elaborate and inspiring visual effects and animations. Blending science and science fiction, this strange and fascinating film asks the question, “What is real, what is unreal, and how do we really know the difference?”
Unity was teaching people about the universal law of attraction 100 years before the famous movie "The Secret" came out in 2006. Many people who viewed the film became enthusiastic about it but, without a consistent effort, failed to realize much change in their personal lives.
The law of attraction is summed up in Unity's law of mind action: thoughts held in mind, reproduce after their kind, and out-picture on the screen of life as our experience. It is also in keeping with Unity's fifth basic principle that encourages people to practice and live the Truth they know.
Jeremy Johnston, an avid student of the law of attraction for over 16 years, brings his enthusiasm, skill and dynamic talent in group interaction to making the practice of the law fun and rewarding.
St. Paul Lutheran Church in Westlake will host a parenting seminar entitled "Cooperation, Consequences and Keeping Your Sanity" on Saturday, May 4. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the church located at 27993 Detroit Rd. The cost of the seminar is $20 per person which includes both lunch and a children’s program running concurrent to the seminar.
“Sacred Paws – Experiencing the Unconditional Love of God through Canine-assisted Therapy,” a workshop led by Patricia Griswold and Captain Jack, a certified therapy dog, will be one of five Saturday workshops at an upcoming Christian Healing Conference. The conference, “Inviting God's Presence,” will be held this year at Avon Lake Presbyterian Church, 32340 Electric Blvd., at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, and beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27.