Archive for December, 2017

Dec 20 2017

January Journal: “Hear Our Vote”: Women’s March 2018

Published by under Minister's Musings

“Hear Our Vote”: Women’s March 2018

January 20, 2018, 11 am – 2 pm, Downtown San Jose (exact location not yet announced)

Unitarian Universalists, LET’S SHOW UP!! Once again this year, there will be many women’s marches on January 20, including one in downtown San José. The march and rally will reaffirm our commitments to building a positive and just future for all, and will celebrate the spirit of resistance over the past year. This event is designed to engage and empower all people to support women’s rights, human rights, and social and environmental justice, and to encourage participation in 2018 midterm elections. HEAR OUR VOTE! For more information or to register:  Additional details and events for the “week of action” to be announced.

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Dec 20 2017

January Theme: What does it mean to be a People of INTENTION?

Published by under Minister's Musings

Resolutions or Intentions? A Difference in Direction

by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones, with help from the Soul Matters team


“Here’s what I discover,” Katie Covey begins. Katie is on staff with our Unitarian Universalist Soul Matters Sharing Circle—a circle of congregations with whom we share monthly themes and spiritual growth. After brainstorming with colleagues about this month’s theme—“What does it mean to be a People of Intention?”—Katie comes to understand that “intention is different from setting goals or resolutions. Intention ‘pulls us into’ who we truly are. Goals and resolutions ‘push us out’ into future possibilities. To set intentions, we listen to our inner voice, which tells us who we truly are.”

Some of us find it hard not to buy into the familiar January ritual of setting “resolutions.” Aren’t we all always trying to “become better”? Even our Unitarian ancestor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote a passionate essay about the value of “self-culture,” which was his word for self-improvement. Our society has been entranced with the lures and promises of self-improvement ever since.

But more and more, I wonder if such “self-improvement” is what we really want. Wouldn’t I rather be “pulled in” to my deeper self this year, than “pushed out” into another round of striving for accomplishments? I don’t know about you, but I have spent far too many years caught up in societal expectations around looks, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, intelligence (including the gender-coded message to hide our intelligence). My own internalized oppression about striving for some kind of “perfection” in order to be lovable flies in the face of all I believe as a Unitarian Universalist: that we are inherently lovable just as we are. And that we are always growing.

Instead of taking this New Year as another opportunity to leap into “self-improvement,” measured by some external standard, let’s pause. Let’s ask, “What hunger really has my heart?”

          There is a big difference between becoming “better” and becoming ourselves. Self-improvement is not the same as self-alignment. Wanting to get from point A to point B is quite different from longing to find our inner anchor.

So this month, our most important work is to make room. May we, as a people of intention, keep our attention close to the present, on who we already are at our center. May we make space for listening before we leap into striving.

Intention, for me, is about setting a “good holy direction” for ourselves—holy, because it comes from our authentic core. With that grounding in our human being, we’ll know what we want to do.


With love and faith in our journey together,

 Rev. Nancy

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