Heaven IS a Choice



“Heaven is the decision I must make.”

This is the title of lesson #138 in the spiritual, psychological, metaphysical book, A Course In Miracles.

We have choices daily – minute by minute – we can be mindful and watch our busy monkey mind and

when we make a decision or a judgment, we can CHANGE it!

Instead of being angry and someone…..CHANGE it – Why not?

That is choosing Heaven.  Heaven is a choice I can make when I refuse to believe every judgment

that crosses my mind!


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Listen to Peace

Why we Sing for Peace Part II

A free concert Sunday May 22, 3:00 pm is at First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main Street, Ashland.   www.roguevalleypeacechoir.org   The theme “We Are One” from a song written by Pat Humphries of Emma’s Revolution and arranged by the late Dave Marston, says it all. 


Why we sing for Peace:


Singing, meeting folks

Showing up for facial joy

Hear the difference

Barbara Settles


In 2010, I interviewed for a job in Ashland. When asked if I had any questions, I said, “Yes! Are there any community choirs here?” I was delighted when the answer was, “Lots of them, including the one I belong to.” Singing in a choir offers an immediate connection to a new community and a set of friends with shared passions and values. The Peace Choir sings with joy about things that matter deeply to me.  I live in Ashland, but in many ways the choir is my home.—Kim T. Griswell-Lowry


When I first heard the Peace Choir sing, I was inspired and enthusiastic and delighted to find it was a non-audition choir so I joined.  Singing for peace brings comfort and healing that is ancient and primal.  The rhythm of many voices raised together is a powerful tool.  If you don’t believe it, look up “The Singing Revolution in Estonia”.   Carolee Buck


Being a member of the Rogue Valley Peace Choir is satisfying and I feel lucky and proud to raise my voice among a community of singers who, for the most part, feel the same as I do and want to share the message of peace.  I am grateful to be surrounded by compassionate and forgiving individuals who understand that none of us is perfect, but together, singing for just causes with love in our hearts, we somehow make the world a better place and I believe we become better people. When our voices blend together in a rich tapestry of sound, emotion and message, I feel such great joy and I love sharing that joy with others during our concerts.   Cynthia Taylor 


 In 2008 I finally took the leap and showed up to check it out, see who was there and thankfully, no auditioning!  When I walked in, Elizabeth B. hugged me. Then I spotted Dave Marston and he said loudly, “Ah, now we have a drummer” and embraced me. I’m not stupid, I know a God shot when I feel one. I’ve been the percussion section leader ever since. The Choir provides a place for creativity, love and what I call the expression of each one’s Genius.  Let us cherish this rich and wonderful opportunity to create something vibrant and needed for our community, ourselves and the world.  Peace out, baby! 

Patty Aulik


I believe in the Margaret Mead quote that says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Singing for peace is what I can do to help.   Instead of griping about politics we turn to song and offer it to the world.     There are selfish reasons for me to sing.  The happier and healthier I am, the more light I’m able to cast.  I struggle with health issues, pain and depression.  As a child, I was silenced as many of us are taught not to speak up.  Singing affirms my right to use my own voice.  When I sing with the Choir I move and my heart is free, there is nothing but music and unity.  It is my church.  The people I sing with are tolerant, forgiving, respectful, and responsible.   We are part of a global family.  Music is a universal language of love.  The Peace Choir is a reason to live!  Liza Yates



When I sing with an organized group of people that performs for others I experience multiple personal benefits.  It encourages wonderful self-discipline.  When done well, the harmonies of the many voices release a unique joy that fulfills me beyond description.  Bringing people of all different backgrounds together for a common goal is so enriching.  And there’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment in bringing a small measure of beauty to life.  I’ve never experienced anything so rewarding and so enjoyable.  Avram Chetron







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Listen to Peace

The Rogue Valley Peace Choir members invite you to free concerts next Friday, May 20, or Sunday, May 22. Below several members share the reasons they sing for peace. For me, peace is stronger than war because it heals rather than destroys. Come, listen and enjoy the sound peace.


My throat–a clarinet of lumpy keys

My lips–a flute of changing pitch

My chest–a chamber, the hollow of a guitar

My breath–the feelings from inside

Miriam Sundheim

This year’s theme, “We Are One” from a song written by Pat Humphries of Emma’s Revolution and arranged by the late Dave Marston, says it all.  The free concerts are:  Friday May 20th, 7:30 pm, Congregational Church of Christ, 1801 E. Jackson Street, Medford or Sunday May 22, 3:00 pm First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main Street, Ashland.   www.roguevalleypeacechoir.org  

 Read More from choir members at:




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Remembering the One by Jim Hatton

“And give thanks to the One to the One.”  Rod Stewart

All the great traditions in the world are monotheistic – in other words subscribe to one God, one spirit, one power and one source.  In this belief of the One comes other commonalities of what God is:

Omnipotent – All powerful

Omnipotent – All Knowing

Omnipotent – Everywhere present all the time

Loves Unconditionally

Think of the love you have for your children and this would be only a minute resemblance of Infinite and Unconditional Love. So if the Love of God is truly unconditional, and it has to be as a God cannot love conditionally (if It could then It would not truly be a God), then we can release the idea of God being judgmental, revengeful, emotional, evoking punishment, having favoritism, etc. These are all human constructs made up in an effort to separate and elevate oneself from another tribe.  Truly not the actions of (a) God.

Does this mean that God loves a terrorist as much as God loves you?  The essence of the terrorist and the essence of you both emanated from the One.  Our actions are a result of the individual’s choice and use of intelligence. God neither ordains nor condemns any actions.  We are all like children learning in this physical world.  Does this mean we permit such terrorists actions in society?  Absolutely not.  However, as we seek to contain those and their actions, we much realize that at the core everyone has the same Consciousness of God.  We would be well served to always remember and look for the divine essence in all.

Please know that God is right where you are, you have done nothing “wrong” or offensive, there is nothing to forgive, and nothing you need do to earn the Love of God.  God loves you unconditionally. Be in Peace.   

      Read the entire article at the Daily Tidings:


Jim Hatton, Author: “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life” available on Amazon or at SpiritualMaster.co

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Living Enlightenment by Jim Hawes

How does one instruct another person, especially a loved one to be more conscious or enlightened without getting sucked into an egoic ping pong battle?

            The most important first step is that you must become intensely alert to your own thinking and your habitual tendency to react. You will feel the anger, the need to defend your position. Your ego demands that you react or respond. At this very moment, if you really are focused on this thinking of reacting; you catch yourself and become silent or still. Speak no words, and do not even think that you are more enlightened that your loved one. There is a quiet loving acceptance.

            As you practice this not reacting watchfulness when a loved one, a friend or coworker smacks you with some caustic or critical remark; you find yourself making almost no reactive responses. Yes, you will slip and the ego will pull you in occasionally, but be patient and you are ready for the next step in the process.

            The second step is to gently, but openly explain to your loved one, friend, or coworker that you are working on being more awake or conscious and not reacting and would they like to participate?  If they agree and begin using this practice with you there will be huge decrease in these ego reactions. When these reactions occur and they will; a gently reminder will help them to become aware of them. Because there has been initial agreement to help each other being very alert or conscious; there are fewer negative reactions.

            This is living enlightenment or consciousness. With perseverance, patience, and helping each other resist the ego’s attempts to ensnare you; a peaceful, calm presence pervades these relationships. Peace now. 

(Read the entire Inner Peace article in the Tidings Inner Peace Column published April 30th.) 



Jim Hawes, a retired Medford school teacher has published Ageless Child, Balboa Press. Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobles and is working on his new book, AGELESS LIVING.

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Lighten Up by Bonnie Greenwell

Ways to Lighten Up

by Bonnie Greenwell

If you are having challenges with a spiritual awakening process or just life in general here are 10 things you can do every day that will help you lighten up.

1.Take a few minutes to make a running list of things you are grateful for in your life.

2. Spend some time outdoors relating to a tree, a rock or a river.

3. Remember to use your senses to be fully present now — instead of entangled in watching and reacting to your thoughts, most of which are not true and just neurons firing. Can you predict what thought will arise next? Then why believe they are based in truth? They mostly spring from long past experiences and habit, or from something someone once told you as if it were true. Look out the window and be with what is real right now.

4. Stretch and breathe into the heart or the belly. Breathe in clarity, Breath out love.

5. Stand up and Swing your arms and body from side to side scooping energy in and flowing it out.

6. Even when setting a boundary you can send out love. Boundaries are not about blocking people, but about doing what is right for you in the moment. You may need to avoid crowded places, and toxic interactions.

7. Avoid intoxicants and mind-altering substances. Eat well.

8. Your true nature came into existence as form to enjoy the experience of this amazing world and the adventure of a journey through it. Facing what we do not like and cannot change is part of the journey. Resistance doesn’t support change — clarity, acceptance and creative action does.

9. Do some small service or something good for a person or the planet each day.

10. Take a backward step into stillness and presence and send affection to the little you that is still sometimes caught in illusion and struggle. When you learn to do this for yourself you will find it easier to do for others.


Bonnie Greenwell,  is a non-dual teacher, author  and therapist who offers programs and counseling at Shanti River Center in Ashland.  She is the author of “The Kundalini Guide” and “The Awakening Guide” on Amazon or Kindle. To receive a newsletter monthly from Shanti River Center on internet webinars and other events related to non-duality and spiritual awakening send an email to shantiriver@earthlink.net

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Hate: Not Welcome Here

I love this poster on the front doors of the Ashland Presbyterian Church!

Hate has no business here!

We carry aspects of hate in our hearts in many ways:  The crazy driver; the screaming neighbor; the alcoholic Uncle; the high school bully; etc.  Hate and condemnation go hand in hand.   All we need do is change our minds!  That is where our power lies:  In Choosing to change our minds!

Do we know what hate does to us, to our energy not to mention our hearts?

Hate is a poison and if we acknowledge it, look at it, laugh at it, it will disappear into the void!

See more at the following:



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Send Love to the tragedy


Re: Paris-Brussels Bombings by Jim Hatton


 As we pause to honor and bless those who perished recently or were wounded during the attacks in Paris and Brussels, let us also remember and honor their families, the first responders, all others affected by these horrific acts, and all people who have been impacted by similar attacks around the world. 

As we send love to those who were affected in this tragedy, we remind ourselves, once again, that regardless of the conditions that we find ourselves in, our faith and knowingness remains strong because our spiritual principles are clear. These principles do not change or waiver when one thing seems more difficult than another.  They remain true and steadfast, even when things do not appear to get better.

A Spiritual Truth is clear- that Infinite Spirit is unfolding, evolving and expressing as all of creation all of the time. The Universe hasn’t changed and Spirit hasn’t abandoned us. Rather, human beings have manifested destruction out of ignorance and fear. In such times as these, we must to turn our attention, intention and actions toward our desired vision of a loving, peaceful and enlightened world; rather than to succumbing to fear, hatred and violence, let us intentionally be the very consciousness of Love, Light and Peace, that lifts and raises consciousness as a whole.

Spirit neither endorses or condemns these hostile actions or the people that perpetrate them. Spirit only loves the essence of ALL individuals. We must endeavor to do the same. 

I know that turning to our true and Divine selves and seeing Spirit in ALL individuals can be a challenging task at times like these, but what else is ultimately effective in changing the conditions? Certainly NOT an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth. This is not saying that we endorse or permit these horrific acts, not at all, but we must look beyond the actions to see the same Divine essence in others that is in us. We are all branches of the same tree.


“Cease weeping over the mistakes of yesterday and steadfastly holding the face of the great and divine Reality, walk in that Light wherein there is no darkness.”

~ Dr. Ernest Holmes


This magnificent quote by Dr. Ernest Holmes reminds us to rise above our past, above the current circumstances and envision a future that is filled with infinite possibility, healing energy and unifying Love.

There truly is only One Thing happening, and that One Thing brings wholeness to all that we experience in our lives to the extent we recognize in our lives. We can trust this One Thing and we do so now. We recognize the One…in all and everyone.

Peace be unto you, my friend. 

 Jim Hatton, Author: “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life” available on Amazon or at SpiritualMaster.co


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Is War Necessary?

Is War Necessary?   By Jim Hatton

 Many beginning Metaphysical students become excited when they learn that they can create and mold their lives by their thoughts and feelings.  A new sense of having control over their lives motivates them to create and learn more.

After several consciously intended uses of the ‘Law of Attraction’ and their subsequent celebrations of this new found ability, something comes along that wasn’t intended. In fact, this experience is very unpleasant.  They come running back to their teacher and say “This stuff doesn’t work.”  With a grin I gently remind them of their previously created shiny new car but don’t insist they take it back to the dealer. “Maybe this stuff does work!”

For those of us who have been up and down the “Spiritual Block”, so to speak, we know that the Law of attraction works, and it works absolutely, whether our point of attraction was conscious or unconscious. Realizing the Law of Attraction does work absolutely, without exception can be a big pill to swallow.

When those manifestations and experiences come along some may not be pleasant or we may not be proud of.  Rather cursing or condemning them, it behooves us to look at this as an opportunity to look into that mirror of experience and seize the lesson that it offers.  What it offers is to see, what it is within us- that through our thoughts, actions, words, feelings, and expectations are attracting this experience.  Once we “own” this we can move on to greater understandings. Then and only then will our experience change.

It is not a new understanding that we tend to be products of our environment.  If we grow up in a family, that argues all the time we are likely to experience the same thing in our own family….that is unless we make a conscious choice to experience and ultimately expect something different.  It is our expectation that is such a powerful force in perpetuating a set of conditions…something we experience over and over again.

Therefore, I ask you…what you expect:

  • Prosperity or lack?
  • Love or anger?
  • Respect or dis-respect?
  • Ease of life events or difficulty making things work out?
  • Peace or War?

When we focus on Peace or to a greater degree, when we expect Peace, that is what we will personally experience.  The greater the focus, the greater expectation of Peace, this will ultimately allow us to walk through the greatest of turmoil and be untouched by it. If we are part of a community that expects Peace, that community will experience Peace as a collective.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if we focus on war, if we expect war, especially as a community, war is exactly what we will experience.  Granted if we are currently experiencing turmoil or war, it is a big shift in consciousness to expect Peace.  It takes a large paradigm shift from expecting war to expecting Peace as a community.  A community can be a small group, a town, a religious tradition, a race, a gender, a country, or the entire world.

If a collective of people truly desire Peace there are steps they can take to release their focus on war and focus on Peace.  These steps may include:

  • Stop celebrating past war victories and atrocities, including erecting statues to war heroes, remembrances of injustices and emphasis peace initiatives.
  • Focus on teaching our children to develop inner peace rather than teaching hatred and the use of weapons. Peace begins with one person at a time. Parents must set the example.
  • Release the past.  No matter what happened to you or your tribe in the past, focus on how your community will thrive when there is peace.  Releasing the past means forgiveness…without forgiveness of self and others there is no Peace.
  • Release Judgement:  It may be a fact that your tribe is different from other tribes but yours is not better or worse and there is no better or worse.  They are just different and that difference is simply a choice.

Peace will be achieved when the spiritual wisdom is realized: that we all have a choice.  We have experienced war and its atrocities only because we, at some level, have attracted it to us in order to learn the lessons we need to learn.  War is the greatest and most violent contrast.  Yes, indeed, Peace begins with us and it has to be internalized and ultimately expected.  What do you expect in your life?  

Jim Hatton, Author: “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life” available on Amazon or at SpiritualMaster.co

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Peace Leadership


Peace Leadership – by Will Wilkinson

Who’s leading the way on peace? Martin Luther King, Jr? Gandhi? Mother Theresa? The Dali Lama? How about me? Heroes are inspiring but the good ones are always urging us to do the same. In fact, I seem to recall Jesus saying something like, “The things I do, you shall do better.” Or something like that.

Sadly, our modern heroes don’t exactly offer that same invitation. For instance, of the films up for Best Picture in this year’s Oscar extravaganza, most of them extoll the extreme heroism of individuals, overcoming impossible odds. Admirable as this may be, it serves to further emphasize the fundamental differences between them and us. I’ll never do what Matt Damon’s character did in The Martian, let alone survive the ordeals that Leonardo’s character did in The Revenant.

Meanwhile, I’ve got my little life, void of attacking Indians, surging waterfalls, and the rigors of living on an atmosphere-free planet. What am I supposed to do, absent dragons to slay? Well, how about being peaceful? Wouldn’t that be real leadership? I mean, all those heroes did was handle what came up, moment by moment. It had to be dramatic… they’re in movies, that’s what movies are. But it’s the same principle in my little life. Circumstance, options, choice, voila. Either the result of my living is more peace or less, since that’s our topic in this column. More peace or less in every circumstance, what a bare, simple choice.

Leaders, are we born or made? That’s an interesting argument. My take is that both are true. All of us were born and we make of our lives what we choose to. So, I choose to be a leader, not the screen or stage but in the simple circumstances of my own life. That includes stuff like not cursing the driver stuck in the left lane at 45 mph and remembering to get flowers for my wife and helping a neighbor with her firewood and meditating about my good fortune and loving the plant on my desk.

Will Wilkinson is a local author, life coach, and professional speaker. www.willwilkinsoncoach.com

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    The Inner Peace blog is a place to share wisdom about peace practices and inspire, learn and explore all aspects of inner peace. A team of writers will discuss varied qualities –€” intuition, courage, fearlessness, friendship, forgiveness, gentleness, giving and receiving, tolerance, faithfulness and kindness –€” that help us all through the tough times, the challenges, the joys and the sorrows with inner peace as the ever-shining goal. Whether 2 or 92, your inner peace is up to you.
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