2021-10-22

Minister's Post, Fri Oct 22

Dear Ones,

A big heart means allowing ourselves to take in and be aware of suffering. It means we don't push the plight of others out of our mind. It is, in a word, compassion. With a big heart, the structure of the self takes on a certain permability -- maintaining its boundaries yet also absorbing the whole world. Big heartedness makes our planet better.

As Radhule Weininger writes: "The bigger our heart is, the more permeable the structure of our self, and the more we can think beyond our self-interest. Slowly, our world transforms into a place all of us, as people on the planet, can feel at home."

May our hearts grow bigger.

Yours in faith,
Meredith

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)

The Oct 17 worship service, "A Covenantal People," is here:



See our channel for many other past services HERE.

Covid Review

The Worldwide numbers are not reliable, and likely are greatly underestimating the actual prevalence of Covid-19. These numbers may nevertheless give us an indication of trends.

New Cases
Average New Cases per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Apr 23-29): 828,587
Lowest since peak (Jun 15-21): 360,875
Highest since the June low (Aug 24-30): 659,633
Two weeks ago (Oct 1-7): 421,319
Last week (Oct 8-14): 405,517
This week (Oct 15-21): 410,512*
*Up 1.2% from previous week.

Average New Cases per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 5-11): 255,889
Lowest since peak: (Jun 15-21): 11,963
Highest since the June low (Aug 27 - Sep 2): 167,101
Two weeks ago (Oct 1-7): 99,557
Last week (Oct 8-14): 87,972
This week (Oct 15-21): 74,912*
*Down 55% since Sep 2 (average decline of 1.6% per day for the last 49 days).

Average New Cases per Day, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Mar 23-29): 949
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Aug 19-25): 29
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 6-12): 861
Lowest week of 2021 (Jun 17-23): 11
Highest since Jun low (Aug 15-21): 212
Two weeks ago (Oct 1-7): 100
Last week (Oct 8-14): 95
This week (Oct 15-21): 77*
*Down 64% since Aug 21 (average decline of 1.7% per day for the last 61 days).

Deaths
Average Deaths per Day, worldwide:
Peak week (Jan 20-26): 14,818
Lowest since peak (Jun 29 - Jul 5): 7,694
Highest since the July low (Aug 19-25): 10,271
Two weeks ago (Oct 1-7): 7,098
Last week (Oct 8-14): 6,692
This week (Oct 15-21): 6,590

Average Deaths per Day, US:
Peak week (Jan 7-13): 3,524
Lowest since peak (Jul 1-7): 248
Highest since the July low (Sep 17-23): 1,961
Two weeks ago (Oct 1-7): 1,687
Last week (Oct 8-14): 1,493
This week (Oct 15-21): 1,469

Average Deaths per Day, Westchester County, NY:
Highest week of 2020 (Apr 9-15): 52
Lowest week, post-peak, of 2020 (Sep 27 - Oct 3): 0.0
Highest week of 2021 (Jan 28 - Feb 3): 11
Lowest week of 2021 (Jul 21-27): 0.0
Highest since the July low (Sep 10-16): 1.3
Two weeks ago (Oct 1-7): 0.9
Last week (Oct 8-14): 0.0
This week (Oct 15-21): 0.3*
*After 14 straight days without a Covid death in Westchester, there were two deaths on Oct 20.

It's concerning to see that the worldwide numbers of new cases began increasing a bit this week. Moreover, upticks in the worldwide numbers are often harbingers of upticks in the US, and in Westchester.

Nevertheless, the new cases per day in both the US and Westchester continue to drop -- for now.

The US vaccination rate continues to slowly climb. As of Oct 21, 57.6% of the US population is fully vaccinated -- up 1 percentage point in the last 14 days.

Meanwhile, the Westchester County fully-vaccinated rate is 69.7% (as of Oct 21) -- an increase of 1 percentage point in the last 13 days.

Be careful out there!

Practice of the Week

Ask Yourself These Four to Remember

Four to remember. Our brain chooses what to perceive based on the questions we ask ourselves. The four to remember are four questions that connect you with what is positive and true.

If you’re always asking, "What’s wrong with me?" – or, "What’s wrong with them?" -- you'll feel morose. Successes, gratitudes, love, and self-appreciation: those are the four to remember. So these are the questions to ask yourself about:

What small successes have I had recently?
What could I feel grateful for?
Who do I love or who loves me?
What do I appreciate about myself?

Each of these questions can be like a flashlight that helps you see past your inner darkness to the "heaven within." It only takes one or two minutes of focusing on any of these questions to change what you perceive and how you feel. Be sure to think of specific instances when you felt what the question is asking you about. They need not be big, dramatic examples -- they only need to be times that were emotionally meaningful for you.

To change how you feel, ask yourself the right questions – and the four to remember are:

What small successes have I had recently?
What could I feel grateful for?
Who do I love or who loves me?
What do I appreciate about myself?

For more details about this practice, see the post: "Ask Yourself These Four to Remember."

See also our SPIRITUAL PRACTICE DIRECTORY

Ask Yourself About Successes, Gratitudes, Love, Self-Appreciation

Practice of the Week
Ask Yourself About Successes, Gratitudes, Love, Self-Appreciation

adapted from Jonathan Robinson, Find Happiness Now

By asking yourself specific questions on a regular basis, you can dramatically change your life.

Questions are a quick and powerful way to change your focus -- and what you focus on grows. Our emotional state is largely determined by what we think about. If we subconsciously think throughout the day, "What else is wrong in my life?" then we'll likely feel anxious a lot of the time. However, if we focus on the question, "What can I feel grateful for?" then it's easy to feel a whole lot better.

Asking questions to change your focus is a time-tested technique. We already do it, and it has an immense impact on how we feel. Unfortunately, usually we use this method to make ourselves feel angry, depressed, or anxious. We think of things like, "What else do I have to do today?" or "Why is that person such a jerk?" Like a good computer, our brain attempts to answer whatever question we feed it. Out of the millions of things it could think about, our mind chooses just a few things to focus on. How does it know what to let into consciousness, and what to ignore? Our brain chooses what to perceive based on the subconscious (or conscious) questions we ask ourselves. If you ask a negative question, you'll likely feel morose. If you ask a positive one, you'll focus on different thoughts and likely end up feeling good.

Over many years of trial and error, I have found there are four specific questions that are effective in quickly changing how a person feels. They are:
  1. What small successes have I had recently?
  2. What could I feel grateful for?
  3. Who do I love and/or who loves me?
  4. What do I appreciate about myself?
Each of these questions can be like a flashlight that helps you see past your inner darkness to the "heaven within." It only takes one or two minutes of focusing on any of these questions to change what you perceive and how you feel. To tune into the magic they offer, simply begin by taking a slow, deep breath, and then repeat the chosen question a couple of times. At first you'll probably come up with intellectual answers that don't seem very connected to your feelings. Yet with practice you'll learn to feel positive emotions that result from the answers you think of.

For example, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, you may choose to ask yourself, "What small successes have I had recently?" As you think of several answers you'll notice your thoughts will begin to move in a different direction. By focusing and visualizing one or more successes, you can begin to tune into the feelings of confidence and achievement. In just a couple of minutes you can transform your experience and feel immensely better.

When you answer any of the four questions, the important thing is to think of specific instances when you felt what the question is asking you about. They need not be big, dramatic examples -- they only need to be times that were emotionally meaningful to you. For instance, when asking yourself, "What could I feel grateful for?" you could feel thankful for literally hundreds of things. You could feel gratitude for being healthy, for having food when much of the world goes hungry, for friends, or even for the use of your phone. By focusing on how fortunate you are, you cultivate gratitude as a habit.

The question, "Who do I love and who loves me?" can be a wonderful way to dive into your heart and experience the grace of love. By remembering a specific time you felt loved by someone, or a particular time you felt in love with someone, it's possible to tune into the warmth within your heart. With practice, you can take "mini love breaks" throughout the day that open your heart with love in just a minute of meditation.

The final question, "What do I appreciate about myself?" can be a good antidote to feelings of self-dislike or unworthiness. The simple fact that you have read this far shows that you're interested in bettering yourself. You probably have a lot of little things about yourself which are likable. By thinking of some of them, you'll feel better. For some people it's hard to see what is good and lovable about themselves. If you have a hard time with this question, you might try asking yourself, "What good things would my friends say about me?" As you focus on what you (or others) see as your positive traits, you'll feel more confident, lovable, and have genuine compassion for yourself.

The hardest thing about this technique is remembering to use it. Yet if you give it a really good try, you'll see that it works wonders. Being able to quickly go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling confident, or feeling anxious to being grateful is one of the most important skills a person could learn. To a large extent, your ability to act effectively in the world is based on how good you feel. As you gain more control over your thoughts and emotions by asking yourself these four questions, you'll not only feel better -- but you'll also be better able to contribute to others.

How do you quickly change how you feel? By asking yourself the right questions!

For Journaling

Each day this week, incorporate into your journal entry an answer to one of the four key questions.

* * *
For list of all weekly practices: "Practice of the Week Index"

2021-10-21

Religious Education: October 24, 2021

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
Religious Education & Faith Development
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains
October 24, 2021

2021-2022 RE Theme: Community, Wholeness, Discovering Our New Normal.
Up to Date RE Information & Class Summaries Online Here. 
Click Here for a Handy Fall RE Schedule to Post at Home.
Sunday Morning 
Childcare

9:30-11:45am, Outdoor Playground
Diane and Hans offer childcare for young children on our outdoor playground. Everyone wears a mask. No snacks are served. Drop off and pick up on the playground (enter through the upper parking lot). 
Activity

10:00-11:15am, Upper Parking Lot
Children through 7th grade are invited to the game table with Laura S and Norm. Bring your favorite board games to share and your mask. Meet in the upper parking lot in front of the RE doors. 
8th-12th Grade Youth Group
 
10:00-11:15am, Kitchen Patio
Cyndi, Daniel, and Raquel look forward to catching up, designing decorations and activities for the upcoming Halloween party, and playing games. Bring your mask. 
8th-12th Grade Families, please add Raquel's new e-mail address to your contact list so you don't miss information and updates. 
Raquel Belkin, youth@cucwp.org
10:00am Worship
In Person & Online

“Thank God for Queer Folk” ~ Rev. Meredith Garmon
Celebrating LGBTQ History Month, and the ways that, throughout American history, the presence of queer folk has enriched the nation, forced it to confront its intolerance, and made us all better.
As we return to in-person worship in our sanctuary, we will be following Covid safety protocols: showing proof of vaccination if asked, remaining masked, and maintaining social distance from those not in our household. We will live stream the service on our usual Zoom, so those who are not attending in person can join online or by phone. We will not yet be hosting in-person coffee hour after worship. 

To attend in person, please have your mask on and proof of vaccination (or blue dot on your nametag) ready as you enter.

To watch the service online from your device, click https://bit.ly/CUUC-Worship, or phone in (audio only): 1-646-876-9923. Webinar: 761 321 991 · Passcode: 468468

Orders of service are e-mailed and uploaded to our website prior to each Sunday.  Revisit past services anytime at our YouTube Channel.
Connecting in Community
Halloween Party
 
Saturday, October 30th, 1:00-3:00pm
Start thinking about your Halloween costumes and
invite friends to our parking lot Halloween party at CUUC. Trick-or-Treating. Games. PlaceKeeping activities. Fun for all ages! We invite all CUUC committees, teams, youth group, and individuals to occupy a spot along the parking lot circuit and help fill up our trick-or-treaters' bags with goodies. 
MLK Institute Reading Initiative
PreK - 8th Grade
 
Online Groups Begin October 27th and 28th
Since 1988, through programs for all ages, the MLK Institute has taught nonviolence as a way of life, and as a path to social justice, equity and security for all. We work to further the legacy of Dr. King when he envisioned and took action to build the “Beloved Community.”

Now we present a reading initiative for children and youth, through our exceptional Martin Luther King Freedom Library. Focusing on early childhood through middle school children, we will draw on our core themes. Our Library holds over 3.000 books and some DVDs and videos about Dr. King, other great peacemakers, African American history, the Civil Rights Movement, African American biography, peace, anti-racism, nonviolent action for social change and more.

Early Childhood, K-2nd grade, and 3rd-5th grade meet in separate groups the 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month starting 10/27, 4:00-4:30pm. The Middle School group (CUUC’s Amy Nathan is one of the readers!) starts October 28th at 6:30pm and meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month.  Click on the grades above for that group’s registration link. Find additional information on the library’s website.

Save the Date
Holiday Gift & Donation Activity

 
Saturday, December 4th, 10:00am-12:00pm at CUUC
This is a fun activity for all ages, making holiday gifts for friends and family, and something special to brighten another person's day. We'll be making earrings. For every pair you make to take home, you'll make a 2nd pair to be donated to a local women's shelter. We hope you will join us! We will observe safety measures like wearing masks and distancing. Contact Raquel (youth@cucwp.org).
Racial Justice Book Discussion

Book Discussion Groups: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
The Racial Justice/In the Spirit of Truth team invites you to read Caste, by Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson, then join us at one of three discussion groups.

If you haven't had time to finish Caste, you can read the excerpts below to get an idea of Wilkerson's use of "caste" as a way to consider racial divisions in the U.S. That should provide enough of an introduction that you can engage in one of our three virtual discussion groups. (Then be sure to go back and finish the book!)

Email Pam at admin@cucwp.org to sign up for a date below:
  • Sat Oct 23, 3:00pm, Facilitator: Amy Nathan
  • Sun Oct 24, 11:45am, Facilitator: Jeff Tomlinson
  • Tue Oct 26, 7:00pm, Facilitator: Kevin McGaren-Clemens
Meetings will be online in Zoom 6161, Meeting ID: 616 163 6161 · Passcode: 468468. Contact Jeff Tomlinson with questions (jefftomlinson8@gmail.com). 
Available Now: 2021 October edition of "On the Journey: Wonder"
Family Packet
Theme: Wonder

Raquel has prepared a family packet for our monthly theme, Wonder. There are discussion prompts, activities, videos and other resources we hope you will enjoy. Click here for the packet.

Podcasts for Parents and Caregivers

Audra R let us know about excellent podcasts for parents and caregivers offered through the White Plains public library. You will find podcasts about parenting and caregiving, equity, diversity, inclusion, antiracism, social justice, books, health and wellness, and more.  Click here.

Helping Families Rebuild

Furniture Sharehouse is launching a Hurricane Ida Mattress Campaign to raise funds to purchase new mattresses to help affected families begin rebuilding their lives after the devastating storm. Donations will go directly towards purchasing new twin, full, and queen mattresses sets and frames. In addition, if they raise $10,000, an anonymous donor will match it with an additional $10,000! To learn more, click here.

For the most updated information, schedules, past class summaries and Zoom links, visit the RE overview and schedule. You may also consult our CUUC website calendar, which always has Zoom links. Families participating in childcare through 12th grade RE, please submit 2021 registration (click here for the form).
Read All CUUC Announcements in the Weekly e-Communitarian Newsletter
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains  
468 Rosedale Ave · White Plains, NY 10605-5419