Reflections: Self-Transformation to Create a world that works for Everyone
Rev. Juanita Gardner
“Stand Tall and Proud, Go Out on a Limb, Remember Your Roots, Drink Plenty of Water, Be Content with Your Unique Natural Beauty, Enjoy the View.”
– Advice from a Tree by Ilan Shamir
This is my twentieth year as a practitioner, and I have been attending this “Jewel by the Sea” since 2006. I have had some awesome role models at this Center. Rev Peggy Price was our Senior Minister when I joined. She impressed me with her passion for her work in the Interfaith Community. When she would open the services on Sunday mornings, she would say “We are an open and inclusive sanctuary and no matter where you may be on your walk of life you are welcome here.” We discussed this opening one time. She said she specifically chose the word, “inclusive” as a part of her greeting. I am also impressed by Rev Margie, a past senior minister, who continues to be a steadfast spiritual presence as she faithfully attends our services after many years of retirement.
Our Mission Statement was crafted under the leadership of Rev Peggy and to my memory, Rachel Rosen is the only one that is still attending this Center who was part of that committee. And I like to think that Rachel and my conversations about the differences between transformation and self-transformation are the reason that “self-transformation” ended up in our current mission statement: “We are a loving spiritual sanctuary where everyone is welcome. We celebrate the abundance of life through study, inspiration, gratitude, and
service. With open hearts and minds, we participate in self-transformation for a world that works for everyone.
We now have shared leadership and Rev John DePalma, our Interim minister has introduced us to the idea of “extraordinary respect.” So, my goal now is to be extraordinarily respectful and authentic in all my interactions.
We are collaborating with Namasté. I am not totally clear on what that means but I am participating in two activities because of that collaboration.
I am also impressed by the leaders I have meet at Namasté and feel fortunate to be participating those collaborative activities. One is to co-facilitate the first collaborative class with Sylvia Hungerford—Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life (September 15 to October 13) at 6:30 pm on Zoom. Fee is $110 for the five weeks or $22 per week. Rev Bobbi is our “sponsoring” Senior Minister, and the class is being offered to Namaste and SBCSL congregants. This class is one of the basic prerequisites for Practitioner Training.
I am also on a committee that has been charged with creating a curriculum for a four-week series for Namaste’s Adventures in Faith (AIF) program (October 9 to November 22). It is based on the book, Stain Glass Spirit by Stacy Brown whose message is about diversity and
inclusion. To me, the intention of the book is to start dialogue with a group of people with the like-minded intention to create a world that works for everyone, and with those who have a sincere desire to grow and serve by practicing this philosophy, this faith, and this way of life. That is, to see God in everyone.
A quote that motivates me that is attributed to indigenous people is “when you heal yourself, you heal seven generations back and seven generations forward.” As the descendent of slaves and slave owners, who desires to heal that ancestral or generational trauma, I work on healing myself. I trust that as I heal myself, I heal my ancestors and my descendants.
I believe healing myself, leads me to a sensitivity that I would not have if anything in my past had been different. In Psychology Today, wounded healers are described as people whose painful experiences enable them to help others; they are good listeners, empathetic,
accepting, and resourceful; they view all experiences as [growth] opportunities; they are lifelong seekers; they have a strong sense of purpose; people call on them when in need; they are able to find the calm in the chaos; and they are inside or outside of the helping
This is the description of those who are, in my opinion, in alignment with our global vision to create a world that works for everyone.
Rev. Juanita Gardner
Juanita Gardner was introduced to Religious Science in the mid-1970s. She committed to Religious Science in 1996 and received her Practitioner Licensed in 2002 from The Agape International Center for Spiritual Living. In 2005, she was ordained a religous science minister at the City of Angels Chuch of Religious Science. She received a Doctorate in Metaphysics from an independent distance learning program from the University of Sedona. She moved her Practitioner License to Seal Beach Center of Spiritual Living in 2006 where she has served as a facilitator of several certificated classes, including Practitioner Training I and II. She has been married for 54 years and has provided Spiritual Guidance to couples and singles alike. Her emphasis on forgiveness and self-healing is a major part of her Spiritual Practice. As an African American, she is committed to the indigenous people’s philosophy that by healing one’s self you heal seven generations back and seven generations forward.