On Tuesday June 15th, 2021, it was announced that New York State was lifting most of the Covid Restrictions after 472 days of lockdown. During the last several months of restrictions, I took this opportunity to obtain another 200-hour yoga teacher certification. For those of you that are not familiar with yoga, the “Lotus” pose is one of the fundamental yoga postures. For some reason, when this announcement was made, my mind went to that of the Lotus Flower. A cherished symbol across Eastern traditions and other cultures, this flower grows naturally in ponds. The Lotus grows by rooting in mud and murky water until it breaks the surface and in time blooms in the sun to a whole and most beautiful flower of shades of pink or soft vibrate whites. The Lotus Flower, because of its unique transformation is a symbol of enlightenment, purity, triumph over obstacles and rebirth. The Lotus Flower, a striking parallel to all that we have endured during this pandemic. The Lotus blossom is the embodiment of our spiritual awakening that fills us with hope, strength, love, and wisdom. Like the Lotus Flower, we have emerged with significant insight, knowledge and understanding of this life and beyond. May we always remember to open ourselves completely to the fullness of our own blossom knowing that everything we want, we already are.
I hope to see you in the fall at the Assembly Hall. My love to you all.
Believe it or not, our most inspired moments are often found in the depths of our deepest pain. As a child, I found myself at quite a very young age suffering from depression, sadness, and feeling isolated. I could have very well become one of the statistics of childhood suicides that are presently increasing across the country since the pandemic. A self-taught guitar player by the age of 6 and writing poetry and songs at 9 years old, I found great solace in words and music. I found relief from the pain I was in through tapping into other sources that gave me a sense of inner happiness and freedom.
Since the pandemic, I have once again found myself dealing with bouts of depression and sadness and feelings of isolation, as I know many of you have too. The CDC states that one in 4 adults have struggled with suicidal thoughts since the coronavirus hit. So rather than just hide these feelings as I did as a child, I choose this time to speak out loud about it, speak out loud about it to you…. because there is no shame in exposing our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. At a most complicated and confusing time of our lives, I understand that several of you also suffer with the disillusion of our current reality. I know many of us still sit in disbelief as to whether this is real or just a really bad dream that we can’t wake up from.
Without even realizing it, I once again turned to poetry, words and music. Through my sadness, I find inspiration to write, listen and hear my inner voice, and it once again gives me comfort in my time of need. I even bought a beautiful Native Flute that I am learning to play and create sounds that calm and soothe me.
I share my story to let you know that you are never alone, even though at times you may feel as though you are. In the depths of your deepest pain, I challenge you to find what will inspire, ignite and awaken you to face the light and beauty of another day.
I love you all
March will be a year since it all began, this pandemic. A year later and with over 2.5 million deaths worldwide to date, something none of us could have ever imagined or predicted. In thinking about this and knowing I wanted to write about this epic “anniversary” of sorts, one song kept coming into my head…… “Both Sides Now”.
“I've looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow, it's life's illusions I recall, I really don't know life at all”
Joni Mitchell wrote this song back in 1969 and stated that when she wrote this, she was going through a difficult time in her life. She describes the song as a type of meditation on reality verses fantasy. An idea that seemed larger than life itself. This song reflects a feeling of deep retrospection, of how our own child’s eyes saw things far differently than our adult eyes do today. The reality that each and every one of us has been living in this past year does indeed seem quite unreal. We have taken it day by day, but many questions and uncertainties arose. Should there ever be a time in our life when we should stop interpreting what we see, when we should stop searching for questions to our answers especially amidst a pandemic? Our pioneers of spiritualism have taught us to hold present beliefs open to restatement as growing thought and investigation reveal new truth. This past year, when we have been stripped to the barest of truths within ourselves and have truly witnessed “Both Sides Now”, we must believe that new truths will indeed reveal themselves as we all discover our own answers. I say to you this day let us see the clouds as “ice cream castles in the sky” and beyond and let us learn and bask in them while we can.
I love you all
Our new routine of wearing masks; all of a sudden, our faces are covered. You walk through stores and buildings and all sorts of venues and we are all wearing them and so much has changed because of masks. People do not seem to make eye contact with you anymore. There is no reason to say hello or quietly smile when you walk by someone. I have heard so many people say, “I don’t even recognize people with their masks on”. We all may look alike but we still understand that we are innately different.
As ironic as it seems, masks also gave some people the strength and ability to speak out and rally for causes that they may never have had the courage to express before. Masks gave timidly shy people a sense of security in public that they may not have felt before. Masks allowed our prejudices to loosen and our intuition to unfold. Masks forced us to recognize people not for their physical appearance, but for whom they genuinely are at the core of their being.
Masks are a constant reminder to us that we are vulnerable people whose lives can end at any given moment; however, masks can also be a reminder of how resilient each and every one of us can be and how adaptable we can become to any circumstance.
Let us never choose to hide behind our masks. Let us always remember to find our voice, say hello, speak our truth, purpose and spiritual belief.
Someday when the masks come off, may we never forget all the lessons we learned during this time our faces were covered. Let us remember how we were able to look beyond the masks we wore and saw humankind with more clarity than ever before.
As the holidays are quickly approaching, we are keenly aware that these holidays will be unlike any of the recent past. Usually a time of Thanksgiving and Celebration, I’m sure there will be many of us that will struggle with this. With over 230,000 deaths to date this year from the Coronavirus, many of us experienced the loss of a family member or friend. Many of us felt the impact of unemployment children out of school, empty shelves and raging cost of goods. However, amidst a pandemic that brought with it a complete change of lifestyle, as we knew it, the larger lesson perceived through all of this is the resilience of humankind against all odds. We adapted, we learned, we became more sensitive to each other’s disparities. In spite of everything we are facing today, we really do have plenty to be thankful for and to celebrate. We are alive. We are breathing. We are living, experiencing and growing. For when our masks finally come off, I truly believe we will find a better version of ourselves revealed because of it all.
On Behalf of The Church of the Living Spirit, I’d like to wish each and every one a Safe and Blessed Holiday Season.
Nameste’ Nancy Lombardo
I could never have imagined a year ago when I accepted the position of President of our church that it would turn into such a challenging year for all of us. On March 14th 2020, the doors to our Church closed and in the blink of an eye, the whole world changed. I, like many, sat in my house during the cold winter months in tears mourning the loss of life, as I had known it. As difficult as it was to pull myself out of my own depression if you will, I knew I had a church to run and people would need their church, religious beliefs and God, whoever that may be to you, now more than ever. Our on-line services, although challenging at times, have been well received. In fact, our viewership has increased and we are now receiving requests from all over the United States from people interested in joining our church.
The winter passed and spring emerged with a new sense of life, a breath of new energy. We found that loosing everything allowed us to embrace the simple eloquence of life and living, of family and friends, of hope and love. Summer is here and slowly we are gaining our familiar lifestyles and comforts but with due caution. Our Church has never been about a building. Our Church is about faith and family, trust and knowing that we are always together in love and spirit in this moment constantly and forever. I thank each and every one of you for your kind patience and support as we move into the season of fall.
And with the simple beauty of seeing lilies in full bloom on a cold snowy day; we find comfort in knowing against the most difficult of conditions, life does go on.
Your Honored President
In a recent trip to Florida I witnessed one of the most stunning sunsets. With each day the sun sets later and later. As the days grow longer, we anticipate daylight savings time in a few short weeks. Clocks moving backwards, and clocks moving forward does any of this really matter when it comes to what time means to each of us? Although we measure time in hours and minutes, time is timeless and our time is priceless both here and hereafter. Revel in your time. Cherish every infinite moment as you live your past, present and future in a single instant. Take seriously the old adage of don’t waste your time. As I watched the sun slowly setting below the horizon of water surrounded by vibrant colors of oranges browns and golden yellows, I felt a sense of calm, wonderment and the presence of our eternal God. I was in a most incredible precise moment of time. I encourage each of you to find and embrace your own extraordinary moments.
Nameste – Nancy Lombardo
I have never been one to have “New Year’s Resolutions”. I saw far too many people make them and break them. I really wasn’t sure why people felt they had to make one in the first place. It should not take the beginning of a “New Year” for us to make changes in our lives we believe would be beneficial to us. This process of change should be an on-going, ever changing cycle. If there is something that you don’t like, or something you feel needs to be changed in your life, don’t wait for a New Year to put it into effect. Always remember that you have the ability to change your perspectives to the wisdom of endless possibilities just like the evolving seasons that change throughout the year. Welcome the manifestation of the New Year, 2020, and trust in the natural flow of your life.
May each and every one of you have a blessed New Year.
As the holiday season approaches once again, I find myself reflecting on past holiday seasons and what they meant to me. For many years, I worked every holiday; yet still found time for quiet and contemplation. I believe holidays are as individual as each and every one of us. Some may choose to celebrate these days, while others may not. Some may find themselves with family and friends, while others will be homeless on the streets. Some may have the means to buy whatever they wish, while others will struggle just to make ends meets. Some will find the holidays to be a joyous occasions, while others will fall into depression. What ever our individual situations may be during this time of year, I ask each of you to take a moment, take a breath and find something in your life to be grateful for. Find love, give thanks and appreciate the tiniest things in life.
My love to each and every one of you this Holiday Season.
It is with humble honor that I assume the position of President for the COLS Board of Trustees. Emmy has been an exemplary example of faith, wisdom and knowledge having held this position for many years. Emmy will continue to mentor me and stay very active with the church in her position of Board Trustee. I cannot thank her enough for everything she has done for this church and our community.
For those that might not know much about me, I moved back to this area after retiring as an Oklahoma Police Detective and now reside full time in Lily Dale. I have acted as the COLS treasurer for the past two years. I am an Ordained Spiritualist/Interfaith Minister, a healer and a student medium. I also do Public Speaking on various topics and am a Certified Yoga Instructor. I accept this position with great enthusiasm to continue the foundation that was laid by our Pioneers of Spiritualism, to uphold our church principals, to offer a safe and sacred place for everyone to freely discover their own path and to lead by example. I thank you for this opportunity and look forward to serving our church, congregation and community.
Namaste Nancy Lombardo