Personal Reflections on Preparing for Sabbatical

Beloved Community,

The practice of coming apart for awhile, of taking time away for rest and renewal is a time honored practice in both the spiritual and secular worlds. I am now in my sixth year as Senior Minister at Unity of Tustin. Time truly has flown by. My ordination ceremony feels like it was just yesterday. And yet, here we are, over six years later. Much has happened over this time, personally and in our community. We have cried together. We have laughed together. We have celebrated together. And, most importantly, we have been together. We have walked this sacred journey hand in hand, in prayer. In my conscious memory I have never not been connected to Unity of Tustin in some significant way. The idea of not being together for an extended period of time feels foreign to me.

You and I are entering uncharted territory. Whenever we enter the unknown, it is good to call together a trusted group of souls to hold the field and navigate the waters. Therefore, in preparation for my time away, a sabbatical team has been assembled, including Stedney Phillips, Debbie delaCuesta, Gary Conway, Christy Sternlicht and myself.  We are working together to ensure that all the major factors of my absence from June 5 to September 5, 2017 are addressed in a prayerful and wise way. We are compiling a document with answers to many of your anticipated questions that will be available soon. Additionally, the team will communicate with you monthly regarding our preparations and process. While I am away, they will also serve as a communication link, be available for questions and to hear any concerns.

This isn’t just a sabbatical for me, however. I see it as a time of empowerment for our community. You’ll be seeing me invite more people to do things that I used to do alone. You’ll see new leaders, or leaders that haven’t been as prominently featured, be more visible. Additionally, our Executive Director, Stedney Phillips, has an extensive background in church ministry and it has been my delight to work with her so closely. I am confident in her abilities and consciousness to care for the structure and heart of our community in my absence.

I have also invited Gail Hamley, Licensed Unity Teacher, to come to be in support of our community and of the sabbatical experience. She will speak most Sundays, teach classes and be available for prayer support. Gail has a beautiful prayer consciousness, and is one of my trusted friends. She also has an intimate knowledge of our prayer ministry and our community.

While I will be away, our community offerings will stay vibrant and deep. We have several awesome intensives, workshops and classes scheduled with internationally recognized spiritual teachers. Rest assured, what you have come to expect from Unity of Tustin will continue.

With all of those pieces falling into place, I began my own personal inquiry: what would truly feel like a time of renewal for me? I intend for this time period to be one of rest, retreat, spiritual renewal, empowerment for myself and the community, service, professional education, and spiritual education. What has come is a combination of many things, including just simply being home, meditating, practicing yoga, cooking, reading, and gardening. What has also come is a time of travel and retreat. During my sabbatical I will attend two retreats:

Retreat 1: Sacred Number ~ the Matrix of the Universe the Fifth Liberal Art Arithmetica in Chartres, France with Jain, Carolyn Myss, Ruth Cunningham, Apela Colorado, Jim Garrison, Andrew Harvey, Karen Rivers, Peggy Rubin, and Banafsheh Sayyad.

Retreat 2: Mystical Andalusia, Garden Amidst the Flames, Ibn Arabi, Rumi and the Dance of Oneness in Granada, Cordoba and Seville, Spain with Andrew Harvey, Banafsheh Sayyad, and Jim Garrison.

I will be diving into rich esoteric and mystical material with some of the most well-known and respected teachers today. I will get to share time with them in the setting of retreat. My heart, mind and soul are so excited for the blessing of this opportunity. I look forward to sharing some of this material with you and for it to provide a depth to my ongoing teachings when I return.

While this is a period of unknown for our community, what is known is the spiritual principle behind what is unfolding. We know that when we take time to go into the Silence and listen with our inner ear to the still small voice, the opportunity to live from a new consciousness becomes more available. With the sabbatical team, the strength of our Board and Staff, Stedney, Gail and you all in place I feel confident that we all will continue to thrive.

In Deep Love,

Rev. Carolyne