Time, Intention, and the Other

Forget about Eternity!  Eternal Being is overrated!  Time is the cool water which will quench our thirst for the other person, who can only be encountered in time: time for listening, time for learning, time to hold the other in love.  Only Time allows us to be beside ourselves with the other person.

Join us on Sunday, January 28th as our guest speaker, Gus Santo, explores “Intentions” and the impact it has on our relationship with ourselves and others.

Poetry, because…

Sunday, January 21, 2018 10:45am

In a few words, a poem can tell a story, express an​ emotion, ​or convey ​a ​big idea. Th​is morning members of the​ Tree of Life Poetry Group will share their thoughts on why poetry is important to ​each of them​, and share some of their own poems, as well as some favorites from other poets that have inspired and delighted them.

Heart Mindfulness Retreat and Workshop

Saturday, February 10, 12:45 – 4:30 pm                                                                                   

Advance registration is necessary  

Individual:    $20 if paid in advance ($25 if at the retreat)  

Family (2 or more people):  $30 ($40 if at retreat)

Scholarships are available

Come, take a break from winter – and maybe even bump up your levels of serotonin.   Although frequently imagined to be just a quiet sitting meditation, mindfulness is actually a dynamic and fully engaged way of going about life.   The mindfulness-based stress reduction programs of Jon Kabat-Zinn, are taught in hospitals around the world to help people deal with chronic physical and emotional pain and other health challenges.    His books, particularly Coming to Our Senses, and Full Catastrophe Living, are wonderful resources for understanding the how and the why of mindful living and in his writing, he encourages us to see that, through mindfulness practices, we develop an expanded awareness, and that this “awareness offers a safe haven in which to restore ourselves and rest in a vital and dynamic harmony, tranquility, creativity, and joyfulness.”

For our retreat and workshop, we will work on developing our “awareness” in a meditative environment and within the quiet stillness of shared practices.  Among the various exercises, we’ll work on sensory awareness,  qi gong movements, breath practices, and we’ll do some focused reflection.   There will also be suggestions for incorporating mindfulness into your daily activities.

Everyone is invited; no prior attendance or experience is necessary.  This program is open to the community and you may invite friends or family.  This program is suitable for youth, but probably a little challenging for very young children.   If you’re curious, Marc Stettner, Janet Burns, Irene Raven, or Linda Howanietz can offer insights into what they find beneficial about these practices.

In order to make arrangements for our space, an advance registration is necessary.   If you plan to attend, please let me or the office know by February 5.   The cost is $20 if paid in advance, and $25 if paid at the retreat. There’s a family discount $30 for 2 or more people with advance payment and $40 for 2 or more, paid at the retreat.   All proceeds will be donated to the newly created Member Care discretionary fund, to serve members of our community in need.   If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact me:  m.e.tanabe@comcast.net,    phone   815 337 9895

Wishing you deep peace and joy,

M. E. (Emi) Tanabe

To register, please see me at church OR send me your intention and contact info.  All checks are made out to Tree of Life UU with “retreat” in the memo line.  Please, include your email address so that you can receive updates and reminders.  There are registration forms on the table in the fellowship room to give to Judy if I’m not available.


Soul Matters at Tree of Life: Being a Community of Intention

In worship and chalice circles we are exploring the value of holding “intention” – for our community and for us as individuals.   Through the Soul Matters curriculum, we are invited to consider how “intentions” are different from “goals”.  We are offered ideas for considering how intention is a form of alignment.

In Phillip Moffitt’s The Heart’s Intention, we find these words of reflection:

Goal making is a valuable skill; it involves envisioning a future outcome in the world or in your behavior, then planning, applying discipline, and working hard to achieve it.  You organize your time and energy based on your goals; they help provide direction for your life.

Setting intention is not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are “being” in the present moment.  Your attention is on the ever-present “now” in the constantly changing flow of life.  You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values.

Goals help you make your place in the world and be an effective person. But being grounded in intention is what provides integrity and unity in your life. Through the skillful cultivation of intention, you learn to make wise goals and then to work hard toward achieving them without getting caught in attachment to outcome.  Continually returning to your intentions can be helpful in working on goals.  And this remembering of intention can be a blessing, because it provides a sense of meaning in your life that is independent of whether you achieve certain goals or not.

This month our Soul Matters packets offer materials for us to  come together as a community in exploring the meaning of “intention” – as we think about ways to experience it our lives and as we work to incorporate it in our community.   The Soul Matters resource packet can be accessed here.   If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take a copy from those available in the fellowship room or ask for a copy, if they have all been taken.   You might also like to consider joining a chalice circle to share your insights and hear what others are saying.

Wishing you joy in community,

M.E. Tanabe

Imagine That!

Sunday January 14, 2018 10:45am

Rev. Tom Wendt

Our life experience and actions are typically in line with what we are imagining. If we imagine an anticipated event as fearful, then that will be our experience of it. If we imagine it as joyful, then that will be our experience. Our imagination has great impact on our lives. So it’s important to be mindful of what we are imagining. Control your imagination and you will control your life.

Rev. Tom Wendt is a certified DreamBuilder Coach. You can read more about him here http://www.tomwendt.lifemasteryinstitute.com/


Come Sing a Song With Me

Sunday January 7, 2017 10:45am

Tricia Alexander and M.E. Tanabe

Music! What a wonderful way to begin the New Year at TOL – celebrating our community through singing! Tricia Alexander is joining us to lead in singing songs of the heart. We’ll be sharing songs for voices of all ages and sharing the joy of being together.

Celebrating a Community of Hope – Sharing and Listening

Sunday, December 31, 2017, 10:45 am

Tree of Life Voices

We’ll each be a part of the worship message. In small groups we’ll take on big questions — carefully listening to what others have to say and gently exploring how we and our own thoughts are important to the community. This service is designed to be welcoming to all ages — how life affirming to create a “space” to invite sharing from all generations.

Sharing the Gift of Hope

Sunday, December 24, 2017, 7:00 pm

With carols and candlelight we celebrate the joy of Christmas in our lives and community. This communal joy renews and reminds us of the powerful hope that we can share with others. The service ends with lighting candles and singing Silent Night. There will be no morning service that day.


Soul Matters at Tree of Life: Being a Community of Hope

Barbara Kingsolver writes, “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for.   And the most you can do is live inside that hope.”

Sometimes we think of hope as a kind of wishfulness or as an ingredient in optimism….  But when we talk about the power of hope from a spiritual perspective, the experience of hope is fundamentally different.  It is resilient, enduring, courageous, and occasionally bold..  When we have passed through difficulties and hard times, there is a lingering appreciation for how hope strengthens our vision and revitalizes our purpose.

There is also a good chance that many of us have had some occasion to lose hope.  Such occasions can serve as powerful reminders of the difference between living inside hope and finding ourselves in a state of defeat and lacking motivation.  Ultimately, an understanding of hope is only possible because of our experiences of passing through adversity.

Hope is also a measure of our connection: to a life of meaning, to a community, and to a larger purpose of action and Karen Herring identifies this thought by observing, “During the many times I have lost sight of hope from my window, I have felt grateful when friends have invited me to view it from theirs.”

A natural environment for hope is in community.  Kirk Loadman-Copeland writes:   “ The Common Good is affected by our individual and collective experiences and how we view the present and the future. When hopeful, we invest in the Common Good, believing the results will be worthwhile. Our circle of concern extends to include the “Other.” When fearful, our circle of concern shrinks.  We abandon the Common Good, and in so doing, imperil the future.”   As a community, I think it can be helpful for us to consider and remember this.  And to offer encouragement for working towards and holding onto hope, we have this thought from Barack Obama:  “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”

This month may we come together as a community in exploring the meaning of “hope” – as we think about ways to experience it our lives and as we work to see it manifested around us.  The Soul Matters resource packet can be accessed here If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take a copy from those available in the fellowship room or ask for a copy, if they have all been taken.

Wishing you joy in community,  M.E. Tanabe


‘Tis the Season!

Please join us for Tree of Life’s beloved annual holiday concert! The theme this year is ‘Tis the Season. We celebrate great themes of Christmastime. Themes of Winter’s First Snow, Fireside Glow, and Good Friends You Know combine to inspire that special magic that only music of the holidays can! The concert will feature the wonderful Tree of Life Choir, the delightful First Notes youth program, and some fabulous guest musicians who will come together to make an afternoon of beautiful music! Please join us at Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation on December 17th at 3:00 PM to enjoy this concert.