Loving the Dark-Stuff

Lent as a way of Releasing and Embracing

Living a Spirit-filled Life

Living a spiritual life is not easy. Though it often sounds like it, it is really not about sitting for a while daily chanting  some mantra hoping that all that is challenging or uncomfortable in our life will magically disappear. 

In our commitment to living a life with the Divine in it, we commit to change and to align ourselves with the ‘will’ of God. Though it sounds spooky, it actually means that we allow God/the Divine to guide us. We do not give up control over our choices in life, we just allow the inflow of Loving to move us to places that is dark and sometimes scary. These scary places need to be discovered so we can bring God’s unconditional Loving Light into it; so we can heal.

Pictures source

In my experience as I meditate and invite God to walk with me, It starts showing me where I carry pain, anguish, anxiety, fear, hurt inside of me. The Divine wants me to Love me for the beautiful and unique creature I am. God wants me to see myself as Its seems me in Its infinite Loving. 

But I cannot.  The Dark Places, the unhealed places, inside of me prevents me from connecting to the Divine Loving. I sit and call upon God/the Divine, we connect, I feel Its gracious Love for me, then, suddenly, all I can feel is pain and anger. What has gone wrong? Nothing, God has just guided me into a place inside of myself where I store past huts, a sense of powerlessness and shame. I cannot tell you how uncomfortable and difficult it is to sit and look into the darkness and the pain!

Picture source


Release and Letting go is a conscious inner action, a strong desire to reconnect with the Grace and the Loving of God. The deeper I moving into the Darkness, the more clarity I gain on what this darkness is about. With every bit of clarity I call upon the the Divine Presence and Release it. I say: ‘God, I release this pain and anguish and I am willing to let go of whatever caused it in the past.’

When memories start flowing from the past, I simply forgive them. Regardless of what happened, whether I was wronged or I wronged someone, I do not ponder over the event. I look at it and forgive it. I say: ‘I forgive myself for having generated this experience or I forgive myself for judging myself and others.’ Nothing else.

Then, I start listening into God’s caring whisper: ‘Love it all!’ With that, I start embracing parts of me who felt judged, unloved, uncared for, all that the darkness has covered up until now. I bring it all into the Light, offer it all up to God to be Loved. 

Divine Love

In my release, I create a vacuum, some space is freed up inside of my consciousness that is now available to be filled with Divine Love. This Love is not a fuzzy feeling but a new level of consciousness, a new way of seeing myself and my life. This Love makes me a happier person without any change in my physical environment. 

All it is an inner action, not an outer one. The Love the Divine has in store for us is immeasurable and incomparable to any human love.

40 Days from Release to Embrace

Release and Letting Go is rather appropriate as we are moving into the Lenten season starting on the 22 February, 2023. Till the 6th of April, I will walk the 40 days of Lent from Release to Embrace daily. I will share my journey in short posts daily offering something to contemplate on every day. Join me if you like! I would love to have some company!🙂 

By Ildiko Kudlik, ministerial student at Unity UK, DailyWord UK, and UUMS

Picture Source

Let’s Walk this Journey Together

Join me by …

either reading the daily blogposts I create or joining the FACEBOOK GROUP where I am going to share my writings and daily contemplative questions. I will also post a short video/audio material on the daily posts. (click on the buttons below to join)

Featured Picture Source – oleg-illarionov-unsplash

40 Days of Lent

From Release to Embrace – An Introduction

What is it about? 

As I was looking for some material for contemplation for LENT this year, I decided to meditate and contemplate of some quotes from a book called ’40 Rules of Love’ by Elif Shafak. (Read more about the book below. )


At first, I thought that Shams Tabrizi wrote a book – which is very unlikely – and started to look for his ‘rulebook on Love’. Since he was a rather particular 13th century Sufi Mystic known for being the teacher of Rumi, I thought,  that he might have left some notes behind which served as a base for the book. Well, nothing like that. The book – 40 Rules of Love  – is a fictional story. It is a story of Love, on Shams and Rumi, but most importantly the book offers 40 so called ‘rules’ on how to live a Spirit-filled Life.

I have collected some information on Shams’ Life and his impact on Rumi’s Spiritual unfoldment that you can read HERE

As I was reading the book, I have fallen in love with both the story and the ‘rules.  I found them thoughtful and deep. Each one made me think. They reminded me how much we are attached to the phantasy of rom-coms that tell nothing about the Truth of Love. They do not make it real or even believable. But there is a kind of Love that is beyond the warm and fuzzy emotions and fantasies, a Love that Rumi and Shams wrote so beautifully about.  

We often spend countless hours trying to find love in another person or in the world but what we fail to see is that the Love we are so desperately searching for is right there within ourselves. It has always been there. We only need to discover it or uncover it, more like.

Personally, I think it is important to find the True meaning behind the word ‘LOVE’,  understand it and experience it as a Spiritual Quality inherently within us. 

I am going to walk this 40-day Lenten journey contemplating on the True meaning of Love, Divine Love, Spiritual Love for me by experimenting with the 40 rules and quotes from the Lent Booklet. Every day,, between the 22nd of February and the 6th of April, I will post a ‘rule’ from the book ’40 rules of Love’ and an a release idea from the book ’40 days of Letting go – Lent 2023′ by Unity.org. Then, we will contemplate on it and share about it in this  Facebook Group.

Let’s walk this journey together!

Picture Source

Everyday Miracles

We read in the Bible about many miracles that supposedly happened.  Many people today dismiss them out of hand as myths or creative inventions and do not accept that such things as miracles exist. Others staunchly insist they were literally true. Some believe that these incidents happened, but only demonstrate some law of nature that people did not understand at the time. For me, there are daily miracles that happen which are every bit as mysterious as the ones in ancient spiritual literature.

For example, how do people find one another? Not only is this a big planet where the likelihood – of, say, my wife and I – ever meeting must be astronomical; this entire physical creation is gigantic and souls could exist here for eons without ever running into one another.  Let me tell you our story. 

My wife and I first met decades ago at one of the spiritual classes I taught.  She was one of many students who attended, and we did not have a personal relationship back then.  Thirteen years passed.  She was proctoring at a regional academic spell bowl.  My son wanted to attend to support a friend who was competing, so I drove him there and dropped him off with the teacher from his school. I was in the building for barely five minutes. During that brief window, Ani saw me, recognized me, and came over to speak to me. That was the beginning of our reacquaintance, our romance, and eventual marriage. Thirteen years!  Five minutes!  That was a miracle to me.

How do we find our spouse, our closest friends, our spiritual community, our life’s purpose? How do we find God?  How did you find this path? How did you find the people and books that have changed your life?

Did you know where to find them before they showed up?  What is behind the amazing sequence of apparently “random” circumstances, all of which have to happen at just the right time and in just the right order for these connections to take place?  The logistical mathematical probabilities to make it “just happen” to occur in just that way are staggering! 

There is an invisible, but intentional, movement going on behind the scenes of our life all the time, and it is done so well and so skillfully that we seldom even notice it.  Yes, even in the bad things, the unpleasant and painful ones, something – insight, wisdom, compassion, strength, new and profound life-changing connections – comes out of those that we could (or would) never anticipate or design on our own. Something as simple as getting a puppy, meeting someone through a mutual friend, showing up at a particular event, or just walking down this street instead of that one, can create an unexpected connection and intimacy that forever alters the course of our lives for the better.

Who knows what lies in store for us today? Whose path will we cross? What new friend is wending his way toward us, unbeknownst to either of us? What new discovery will awaken us to new understanding? What opportunity is just around the next corner?  Is that, in itself, not miraculous, and completely worthy of our awe?

This much I am sure of: if I am the new connection that Spirit is planning on bringing into someone else’s life, I want to be worthy of that. I want to be a blessing, something that the person I’m affecting is thankful for, and not something they will regret having encountered in life.  

Oh, and by the way, finding you is something for which I am deeply grateful.

in loving,


Written by Rev Steven McAffee

With questions and for counselling contact Rev Steven at onebyonecommuity@gmail.com


Things Are Not Always As They Seem

There is an old story that I remember went something like this: Two angels were walking upon the earth in the garb of human beings, one was an elder angel and the other a young angel who was traveling and learning from the elder.  

They had walked a long way and were tired as evening was approaching.  They came to a large, wealthy looking, well-manicured home with several large outbuildings. They knocked on the door and explained they were travelers who were hungry and tired and asked if they could please have lodging and food for the night. The grumpy man who answered the door said that he had no room for them and nothing to spare, but that they could spend the night in his barn and eat the slop with the pigs.  So, they bedded down in the barn as best they could on some unsoiled hay and ate the filth in the pig trough. It was a thoroughly miserable night.  They noticed as they lay down to sleep that there was a small hole in the wall behind them in one corner of the stable.    

In the morning, when the younger angel awoke, he discovered that the elder one had patched the hole in the wall. They set out on the road again, still hungry, and now sore.  The younger angel said, “I do not understand – he obviously could have fed us decent food and let us stay in comfort, but he was so miserly he did not, and yet you fixed his wall for him! Why…??”

The elder angel answered, “Things are not always as they seem!”, and then fell silent.  

That night, after another long day’s journey, they came upon a poor, dilapidated farm house and noticed one spindly cow in the small field nearby. The farmer and his wife both greeted them at the door. Hearing their tale, the elderly couple who lived there welcomed them into their home, saying, “We do not have much, but you may sleep in our bed tonight, and we will sleep on the floor. And you can share dinner with us, such as it is – a loaf of bread, some cheese, and milk from our cow.  We barely get by selling her milk in the village. I am sorry we cannot offer you more.”  The two angels expressed their gratitude for the couple’s kindness and slept well that night after dinner.  

They awoke in the morning to the sound of the woman crying. They went to the kitchen to find the man comforting his sobbing wife at the table. The younger angel asked them what had happened. The man answered sadly, “In the middle of the night our cow died.”  The elder angel said a brief prayer and some words of comfort before the two angels took their leave and were on the road again.

The younger angel said: “I do not understand. This couple had so little and yet were so generous to us, and you did nothing to help them! You even allowed their cow to die!  Why?”   The elder angers answered, “Things are not always as they seem”, and continued walking.

After several hours the young one spoke up again, distraught. “No, this is not right! It should not be this way. The grumpy wealthy man offers us nothing, and you fix the hole in his wall.  The kindly couple opened their hearts and home to us, and you did nothing to help them at all! Why? I need to understand. And please do not just say that things are not always as they seem!”

The elder angel stopped walking and looked at his young companion. With a sigh he explained, “While you slept in the straw in the barn, I explored what was behind the hole in the wall. It was a vast collection of gold and money and jewels – where the wealthy man hid his treasures.  So I did not fix the wall, as it appeared to you; I sealed it so he can never access it again. 

“And in the case of the elderly couple, I awoke to find the Angel of Death in the house in the middle of the night and asked him why he was here. He pointed to the farmer’s wife as she lay sleeping, and told me he had come for her. I stopped him and said, ‘Take the cow instead.’ ”  

The younger angel said, “So he still has his wife.”  The old angel smiled, “You see, things are not always as they seem.  He will get another cow.”

In my life, in yours, things are not always as they seem. What looks one way often turns out another, and there are hidden blessings going on all around us.  All we need are the eyes to see…and it is the light of love within our hearts that makes that vision possible.


Written by Rev Steven McAffee

With questions and for counselling contact Rev Steven at onebyonecommuity@gmail.com

Did You Know?

Photo by Mads Schmidt Rasmussen on Unsplash

Did you know that Jesus – whose Hebrew name was Yeshua – never started Christianity? It developed years after his death, primarily built around the theological concepts and teaching of Paul, whom as far as we know historically, never met Yeshua?  And those teachings were often at odds with what Yeshua and his apostles did teach?

Not only did Jesus not start a new religion, he never even started his own synagogue (a local center for worship, study, prayer, and community gatherings in that era).  He worked within the religion and culture into which he was born.  And in a time before the advent of modern technology, with no internet, no media, no mass marketing, no public transportation, he and his small group of devotees transformed the world.

While he did speak in public arenas from time to time – such as at local synagogues, on the steps of the Temple, and in the marketplace, most of his teaching was done in private.  Where?  In homes.   He and his friends and students would gather in homes to listen to his teachings, to share meals, to learn his “way.”  The innermost teachings about the Path were given in these settings.  To the public he spoke in parables – meaning he basically told inspirational stories that would transform their way of looking at things. To his disciples, in these private gatherings, he revealed the mysteries of God: 

“And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the  mysteries of  the kingdom of God, but to the rest they are told in parables…”  (Luke 8:10)

This is not just a history lesson. I share it to point out that what he accomplished, he accomplished by working on a small local level with the means he had at hand and spread the word through sharing in homes and private venues – not through the means of wealth or mass communications.  Today, though we are blessed with the technology to stay in touch over long distances, our opportunity is the same.  We can connect with one another in our homes in small gatherings (even virtually) – listen to the teachings, share our experiences, and serve God one soul at a time, one life at a time.  No matter how limited your resources may appear to be, you can learn and live and support the work of the Lord right where you are.  And while it may not seem like much, neither did a handful of Jewish fisherman and village women two thousand years ago.  And look what happened.  You are in good company. 


Written by Rev Steven McAffee

Contact Rev Steven at onebyonecommuity@gmail.com

Photo by Arturo Rey on Unsplash

Unity’s Five Principles in terms of Meditation and Prayer

In this posts I talk about my personal experiences with the 5 Basic Principles of Unity and Prayer+Meditation.

First of all, some words on Unity. Unity is a spiritual philosophy based on holistic Christian concepts. Unity is based on five principles concerning God, goodness, thoughts, prayer and action. These basic ideas make up the Unity belief system. Unity is not considered a “mainstream” Christian religion. Rather it is classified under the “New Thought” genre.

The Five Principles

1.There is only one Presence and one Power active as the Universe and in my life. God the Good.
2. Our essence is of God; therefore we are inherently good. This God essence was fully expressed in Jesus, the Christ.
3. We are co-creators with God, creating reality through thoughts held in Mind.
4. Through prayer and meditation, we align our heart-mind with God. Denials and affirmations are tools we use.
5. Through thoughts, words, and actions, we live the Truth we know.

The Unity five principles support the spiritual seeker to understand what it means to live in true oneness, how to tap into and live our own divinity; how to use our thoughts to forge our best reality; how to stay in contact with the Divine within through prayer and meditation and what it means to live the Truth.

The first principle supports us to understand and embrace the idea that God is the source and creator of all. God is present everywhere and that God is all good. This principle also suggests that there is only Spirit. From a prayer and meditation point of view, I think it is essential, to experience the Divine Presence within ourselves for ourselves. Having an intimate knowing of the innate living Loving of God helps us embrace Life – particularly its ups and downs – itself easier. Meditating helps us consciously unfold and become more and more aware of God’s presence in all.

The second principle suggest that we are created in the image of God and the Spirit in God lives withing each of us. As we pray and meditate, we deepen our relationship with God and as a result, we become more aware of who we are in Spirit and as a unique expression of God. Then we start seeing the presence of Spirit within everyone we meet. As we start experiencing the goodness within, we start seeing Good in the world, too. (beyond the layers of drama and confusion)

The third principle teaches us that we are the creators of our own experiences. We are co-creators with God. Probably this is the hardest principle to embrace. We are often so unconscious of our ‘thinking’ that we do not realize how we generate the various experiences we have throughout our lives. Probably the first step is to look at our experiences as a mirror of our thoughts. As we close our eyes and turn within, we also open to see ourselves in our entirety: the Good and the Limitations, too. In our prayer we deny and let go of the limited and as we do that, we start seeing our greatness reflected back at us in our daily lives.

The fourth principle teaches us the importance of prayer and meditation. I wish this principle was the first principle because for me this principle helps unfold all the others. Through prayer and meditation, we align ourselves with God. The tools we use to do that are denials and affirmations. We use affirmative prayer to raise our awareness of God and all the Good that God is. With denials we elevate and free ourselves from our limitations.

Finally, the Fifth principle reminds us that knowing the Truth is not enough, we must live it though our actions. We live the Truth as we know it. Meditation and prayer help us discover the Truth and help the Truth unfold and evolve within.  We can also connect with Wisdom, Understanding and Divine Guidance.

Picture sources TOP pic and Unsplash


I choose to live my life as a loving, harmonious, delight-filled experience

Epiphany means “manifestation of the Divine,” and I am a unique, valued expression of the Divine as I walk in the world. Today I celebrate life around me and as me. … I accept the gifts life offers me. My mind and heart are receptive to the blessings of abiding peace, abundant prosperity, unconditional love, glowing health, and unlimited creativity.

Today I let my light shine brilliantly. I anticipate and welcome
opportunities to give and to be a blessing. As I expect and look for the
best in others, I become even more aware of the spark, the light of the
Divine, reflecting from them. SOURCE

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 10:10

Day 12 + The Twelfth Night + Epiphany

The twelfth symbol is Twelve drummers drumming

12 Days of Christmas

How it all started? In 2019 I decided to look for meaning in the symbolisms of this well-known song. In this post (click) you can read about my journey and how it all started. 🙂

Twelve drummers drumming
Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords a-leaping
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a-milking
Seven swans a-swimming
Six geese a-laying
Five golden rings
Four calling birds
Three French hens
Two turtle doves, and
A partridge in a pear tree

The twelfth day

On the first day, we receive twelve drummers drumming. Another joyful day of celebration and welcoming.

According to my research – By the Middle Ages the drum, which was probably introduced to Europe from the Middle East by knights returning from the Crusades, had become a common instrument.

Among the drum’s other uses was to combine it with the trumpet to get people’s attention when making a big announcement such as the arrival of the king or the reading of an important proclamation. In this case the drum was used to announce the serving of the next course of the feast. Source

After the day of Epiphany, the party season starts through the season of Mardi Gras up until Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season.

The Twelve Drummers – similar to the 11 pipers (read more here) can be perceived as the ‘announcers’ of a new era starting with the Holy Spirit, descends upon and enlightening the seekers. They  sure that we are awake and ready to perceive the gifts that are offer to us during the Twelfth Night. Read more about the Twelfth night

The Twelfth Night

After the last day of the 12-day-of-Christmas, Christians observe Epiphany or enlightenment when the Holy Spirit descend upon and enlightens the ‘faithful’ with wisdom and revelations of Christ’s teachings. The 12 days of Christmas is the bridge between Christmas Day and the day of Epiphany. On Christmas day, ‘my true love’ aka God gives me my first gift of Christ, the promise of enlightenment, atonement and eternal life. By the time we walked the bride of the 12-day across, we have collected and regained certain qualities that we must possess in order to observe the revelations and receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Epiphany.

I also found that investigating the symbolism of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ song can help us uncover what it is that we can do to support ourselves. Following the guidance of the song we can become empty  and  open to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Epiphany is what we labour towards during the nights and days of the 12-Days-of-Christmas.

Below is the result of some of my research:
“It all goes back to the early 4th century Christian church, which believed that January 6 (Epiphany) is the date that Christ was baptized, representing the birth of Jesus’ soul. This was more important than December 25th to them, regardless of the Winter Solstice at the time. It took a few hundred years; but, by the 6th century, the Christian emperor, Justinian, proclaimed Christmas as a public holiday, with 8 days of feasting. Then, by the 9th century, King Alfred of England increased the celebration from 8 days to 12 days. He declared December 25th – January 6th, with the twelfth day falling on January 6. Note: This means the actual night would be the day before on January 5. Confusing, I know.

One tradition for some on Twelfth Night is to go around wassailing fruit trees as a kind of fertility rite. Exactly how this is done had varied from century to century. But, in the 18th century (when the song was created) wassailing was done by pouring cider, honey, spices and pulp from a burst baked apple (all mixed in a bowl) around the trees. The term “Wassail” is taken from the waes hael meaning “be whole” (aka be in good health).

Another folklore claims that a young maiden was suppose to walk backwards around a pear tree three times on Christmas morning. Then she gazes into the branches. She should see the image of her future husband.”

During Epiphany, we celebrate both the three kings’ (or three wise men’s) visit shortly after his birth and also Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. According to the Story, three Magi arrives to the crib bringing gifts to the new born. In the sacrament of Baptism, Jesus receives the Holy Spirit.

I think that the Twelfth Night marks the reception of the Holy Spirit. During the time of the 12-days-Christmas, those who follow the holy order laid down by many masters,  Jesus Christ being one of them,  make themselves ready to receive God’s ultimate gift. During the 12th night and the next day, the Holy Spirit descends on the faithful seeker and fills him/her with the Light and Sound of the Holy Spirit. The seeker unites with God’s Essence and becomes whole again.

I have a different read on the fertility and sexuality symbolism in the Twelve Days of Christmas, suggested above. Unity with God is often called ‘penetration’ and occasionally appears as an act of sexuality in our limited minds. Being united with God may appear to be an act of intercourse  and for that one must be fertile or empty in order to receive God, similar to the way a woman receives a man.

In order for the Holy Spirit to fill the faithful seeker on the Twelfth Night, the seeker must have achieved a state of emptiness and receptiveness. What we do (did) during the Twelfth Days of Christmas to empty and prepare ourselves to be able to receive the Holy Spirit.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, the three wise men – named Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar – followed the star of Bethlehem across the desert to meet the baby Jesus, offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts were symbolic of the importance of Jesus’ birth, the gold representing his royal standing; frankincense his divine birth; and myrrh his mortality. Source

In my understanding, the three kings represent the three levels of consciousness we humans live with. They are called many names such as conscious, subconscious and unconscious. They all bring a present that may also be interpreted in many different ways. The important message for me in the story of the three Magi is their long journey and arrival to the birth of Jesus.  I see our human consciousnesses arriving to the teacher, bringing presents that show our devotion and submission to the order that Jesus later lay down for all seeker.



We are in the middle of the festive season of 9 ladies dancing, 10 lords a-leaping, 11 pipers piping, 12 drummers drumming so I found it amusing to see that today’s Advent reading from Unity.org is about Zeal, one of the 12 powers that humans possess according to Charles Fillmore, founder of Unity. These 12 Powers are there to guide us and support us on our journey to reconnect with our Divine Essence.

Click on the picture for more info on the 12 Powers

Audio version of the text below

I am a beloved child of God, shining with the brilliance of the
Universe. This is expressed as optimism, abundance, and enthusiasm in
my day-to-day living.

If I feel less than enthusiastic or energetic in any area of my life, zeal is
an ever-present energy that I may call upon. It ignites my dreams and
fuels my life. It fills me from the inside out. As I enthusiastically express
the Spirit within me, I bubble over with joy!

I do what I love, and I love what I do. I am vibrantly healthy. I am alive,
awake, alert, and enthusiastic about life.

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good
works and give glory to your Father in heaven.—Matthew 5:16

My zeal shines from me, lighting my way forward
and brightening our world. I glow!

Source – Unity.org

Day 11

The eleventh symbol is 11 Pipers Piping

According to The Newman Center at Keene State College, the “eleven pipers piping” represent the 11 faithful disciples, excluding Judas Iscariot. These disciples gave up everything in order to follow Christ. These men were commoners — such as farmers and fishermen — and not wealthy and influential. Jesus spent time teaching them to carry on his work, according to Crosswalk.com. The disciples are Peter, James, John, Andrew, Bartholomew (Nathanael), James the lesser, Judas Iscariot, Judas (Thaddeus), Matthew (Levi), Philip, Simon the Zealot, and Thomas. SOURCE

I am rather hesitant to believe that the 11 Pipers symbolize 11 disciples instead of the twelve because we are still upset with poor Judas.

Luckily, we are still in a festive mood! 🙂 So, let’s find a more jovial meaning to these lovely pipers.

According to numerology experts, Number 11 is the Master number that is related to Karma. This number is also a symbol of spiritual awakening. If this number keeps appearing very often by your side, … it means that you should turn more to your spiritual life. You have your life purpose on this planet and you need to serve to others. Master number 11 is also called Teacher, which means that it can teach you lessons that are very important for your life. SOURCE

I am not very much a numerology fun but I can see how eleven pipers skirling a waking tune herald an opening in consciousness. Many spiritual teachers talk about ‘awakening’ as if it was some kind of rousing from a sleeping state. These lovely pipers are sent to wake us and keep as awake to the visit of the Holy Spirit. Epiphany can only happen to those who are awake and alert to the indwelling Spirit and God’s ever guiding presence. (God= Divine Essence, Spirit, etc.)

In order to keep you in a festive mood …