Creative Suffering

A talk by Rev. Jim Lockard on the creative opportunities for transforming suffering. Given at one of our sister centers.

Spirituality & Spring Rolls: A monthly lunch chat to enrich, empower, and discover


Feed body and soul among new friends as we nestle in a quiet alcove of the elegant, meditative space of a restaurant named Present. With a bubbling fountain beside us and twinkling stars overhead, we will explore together questions like these:

  • Who am I really?
  • Can I use my thoughts to bring forth more good in my life?
  • How can I expand the flow of divine guidance?
  • What does it mean to be fully present?
  • How can I best serve?

Although it is moderately priced, several reviewers have called Present a hidden jewel and the area’s best Vietnamese restaurant. Its menu encourages mindfulness for full enjoyment of the whimsically-named dishes like Smokey Petal, Pilgrim on the Beach, or Gregarious Lemongrass Chicken. Tasty vegetarian and vegan options are available. Entrees from $9. See menu.

Your hosts are several folks with long experience on the spiritual path and deep respect for all religions. No dogma or right answers, but a special interest in mature expression of New Thought —  Ancient Wisdom. On any given Sunday your fellow diners may include interfaith chaplains and ministers, practioners/ministers of New Thought, and those intrigued by integral metaphysics.

Meetup_rsvpYou buy your lunch, we add a complimentary spring roll for all those who rsvp. Please specify vegetarian or prawn & pork when you sign up at our Celebrating Spirituality Meetup event. You will also find there instructions for ordering and paying for your meal ahead online.

We are eager to meet you and hear of your journey!

Second Sunday of each month
1 pm
Present Restaurant
6678 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22042
(at the intersection with Annandale Rd)


Dance Your Prayers


A Sacred Sock Hop
Freestyle Dancing  with a Sacred Intention

Monthly, normally on 4th Saturdays
Next: Saturday Nov 26
7-9 pm

Celebration Center for Spiritual Living
2840 Graham Road, Falls Church VA
ample free parking

Bring your intentions and join us as we dance them into the present moment. We’ll circle up to introduce ourselves and the intentions we’ll be dancing for.  We’ll surrender to the beats of world music ranging from Hindu chants to African drums to techno pop and maybe even a golden oldie or two. Wear loose or yoga-style clothes and appropriate shoes (barefoot dancing OK). Appropriate for all fitness levels and faiths (including those who consider themselves “spiritual,” rather than identifying with a specific religion).

Our Hosts

Rev. Raymont Andersonraymont_anderson is a much-loved interfaith minister and holistic motivational coach. He holds multiple degrees in movement and the performing arts and is founder of the theatrical company B.E.L.I.E.V.E. He authored “Visual Music: Interpreting music in American Sign Language” and “Moving Mountains: The Journey of Transformation.”

 Jenn Fayjennfay knows the amazing results of sacred dance. It is a powerful means of accessing wisdom and support for any challenge. As a licensed spiritual counselor she knows the power of setting intentions for every area of life, and she encourages those she works with to bring their deepest desires into all their spiritual practices. Whether she is guiding others in yoga, meditation, dance, or writing, she has a steadfast vision to help people relax into a creative awareness about new possibilities for a more meaningful and joy-filled life.


Teri Murphy was inspired to design this series by her participation in the passionate praise at Black Christian churches. How could we integrate that electric energy in a spiritually open context?

cheryl_sabo_100Cheryl Sabo is director of Music Together Vivo and Harmony Within Yoga.  She leads classes and workshops in YogaDance, yoga, and early childhood music in Virginia and nationally.



Ask a question, RSVP, or suggest a song for our next playlist

Ever-greater Good – The Tempest

by Tim Phares, RScP–November 10, 2012

Today we saw another Met Live in HD opera presentation.  It was Thomas Ades’sThe Tempest, based on the Shakespeare play of the same name.  The music is very modernist and the libretto has been modernized, with but a few of The Bard’s most famous lines surviving.  (“Those are pearls that were his eyes.”)  One character observes that “fortune, ’tis said, favors the bold.”  Certainly, as tomorrow is Veterans Day, we honor the boldest among us, a boldness motivated by love.

The Tempest is an odd story of revenge, forgiveness and release.  Prospero, a magician of fading powers, was Duke of Milan until his brother betrayed him and made a deal with the King of Milan to depose him and exile him and his young daughter Miranda to an enchanted island.  There he rules, served by Caliban (who believes himself the king of the island) and Ariel, a sprite. Prospero has Ariel arrange a storm (“The Tempest”) to bring his enemies to the island, where he plans to get revenge.  When they arrive, however, the son of the King of Florence, Ferdinand, falls in love with Miranda.  At first, Prospero tries to stop it, but they keep falling in love and eventually, he forgives his enemies and releases his daughter to marry the man she loves.  (A happy ending?  In an opera?)   Miranda and Ferdinand lead him there.  Prospero gets his dukedom back and Caliban gets his island back.

So what does The Tempest tell us?  Well, it tells us that as we plot revenge for those who may (in our perception) have wronged us, our power diminishes.  We’re out of alignment.  Things go wrong.  “The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve.”  And that is certainly the way things are headed for Prospero, Miranda, Caliban, and everyone else.  But when we forgive and release, all things are added. That which we’re working for is attracted to us.  But that takes boldness.  It’s somewhat counterintuitive.

So we accept boldness, forgiveness, and release, knowing that the ever-greater is always right at hand, that even as the great globe itself dissolves, Spirit is at work, bringing us ever-greater good.

If You Believe – Oz

by Tim Phares, RScp — March 30, 2013

Today we saw Oz the Great and Powerful.  Very fun movie — a prequel to The Wizard of Oz — and some interesting metaphysical lessons.

When we first meet the Wizard in Kansas (true to The Wizard of Oz, this part is in black and white), he is neither great nor powerful, but is a circus magician and something of a cad with his female assistants.  (Check out the name of the circus; I won’t mention it, but it’s quite a fun inside joke.)  He is doing magic shows for audiences.  Someone spots the wire on his female assistant that is holding her up, so he makes her disappear.  He explains that you can do anything if you believe.  A little girl asks him to make her walk (she is crippled).  He can’t, and he runs away.  The entire town and many of the circus performers are chasing him.  He hops in a hot-air balloon, gets caught in a tornado, and lands in a river.

A pretty woman comes along and explains to him that he is in the Land of Oz (convenient, since his name is Oswald and as a magician, he is billed as “Oz the Great and Powerful.”)  She tells him about a prophecy given by their late King when he was killed that a great wizard will arrive and save them from the wicked witch.  It turns out she’s a witch herself.

They begin the trip towards the Emerald City.  Along the way, they encounter a talking, winged monkey who is about to be eaten by a lion and Oz saves him.  The monkey becomes his devoted servant.  When they reach the Emerald City, he enters the palace, is shown the gold that belongs to the King, and meets the girl’s sister, also a witch.  She presents herself as the guardian of the palace.

Oz and his monkey go out to save the land.  Along the way, they find a china doll whose family has been shattered.  He asks her to walk towards him, but she can’t — her legs are broken off.  The wizard fixes them with a magical substance (glue).  She insists on going with him.

They encounter the witch.  The wizard was told that if he broke her wand, he could kill the wicked witch, fulfill the prophecy, and become king.  So he sends the monkey around a flank and sneaks up on the witch.  He’s gets her wand, then discovers that she is a pretty blonde.  She says she is Glinda the Good.  They team up to save the Land of Oz from the witch.

Meanwhile, back at the palace, the witch has seen in her crystal ball that Oz and Glinda have teamed up.  She plays off the jealousy in her sister (who wants to be Oz’s queen) to get her to bite an apple, which turns her wicked — and green.

Oz, Glinda, the monkey, and the china doll arrive in the Emerald City to great acclaim.   Unfortunately, the sister witches have an army and all Oz has is tinkers, farmers, and Munchkins.  But they gain entrance to the city, and using various tricks and tools that he has devised (which are nothing but pure prestidigitation), they save the city.

There are several metaphysical lessons in this movie:

It’s all about changing perception.  There is no way that the wizard and his ragtag allies can defeat the witches and their army, but he changes the perception and they do it.  Isn’t that what we do  — change perception and consciousness and thus change the circumstances?

There is greatness in everyone.  When Oz says he only wants to be a great man, Glinda sees the greatness in him, even though he is a self-described con man.

“Do all you can with what you have in the time you have in the place you are.”

You may not get what you want, but you always get what you need.  At one point, Oz says to Glinda, “I’m sorry I’m not the wizard you were anticipating, but I may just be the wizard you need.”  He certainly seems to be that, as his tricks save the day – just what was needed.

Never give power to your fear.  The people of Oz are living in great fear of the powerful Wicked Witch and are desperate to be saved from her power.  When you fear, you empower what you fear.

And the movie’s biggest theme — you can do anything if you believe.

Time for Action – The Great Gatsby

by Tim Phares, RScp, May 10, 2013

 Today we saw The Great Gatsby.  It’s an excellent adaptation of the classic Fitzgerald novel. The Great Gatsby is about striving, dreaming, and trying to restore what was.  Jay Gatsby is a man who has remade himself from a penniless war veteran into a millionaire, all in pursuit of his lost love, Daisy, who is now married to Tom Buchanan.  Tom is old money. The green light at the Buchanans’ residence across the harbor represents the dream that is just out of reach for Gatsby.  At one point, he’s talking to his friend Nick, the narrator (and most likely Fitzgerald’s alter ego.)  He asks if his preparations are “too much.” “It’s what you want,” says Nick.

So what do we want?  Is it too much?  Is that dream just out of reach?  Are you standing on the dock, staring at that green light?

Time for action.

So …  Knowing that there is only One, that It is all of us, that everything is that One, knowing that, as Robert Browning said, “Man’s reach must exceed his grasp/Else what’s a Heaven for?”, I simply now know and accept that Life moves forward.  We cannot go back.  But dreams are always made real, if we focus and follow Divine guidance.

I am thankful for that beacon of light beckoning us all to reach for dreams and I am grateful for the knowledge that we can make of our circumstances whatever we choose to make them.  I accept this in gratitude, and I release it to Divine Law.

And SO it IS.

Tim Phares is a founding member of Celebration Center

A Hundred Million Miracles

by Tim Phares, RScP

A hundred million miracles are happ’ning ev’ry day,
And those who say they don’t agree
Are those who do not hear or see.
– Oscar Hammerstein III, “A Hundred Million Miracles,”  from Flower Drum Song

What are you doing right now? Silly question, of course: You’re reading this article. But have you contemplated the miraculous chain of events that enables you to read these words? I am sitting here at my keyboard, typing these words. A few clicks send them out and a few more clicks post them on this site. Then, with just a few clicks, you are able to read them. This is just one of the hundred million miracles each day to which Oscar Hammerstein’s lyric, quoted above, refer.

Recently, this song was played on one of our favorite radio programs, Footlight Parade: The Sounds of the American Musical. It’s one of many from the Broadway stage that promotes a positive, spiritual, empowering message.

The science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” How much of that magic does it take simply to create this article and for you to read it?

Well, yes, I hear you say, but it’s all science and engineering. It’s just a network of wires transmitting electronic signals. Not miracles, just technology. OK, then, what enabled that to happen? A Course in Miracles says, “Miracles are natural. If they are not occurring, something has gone wrong.”

Every day, we are surrounded by miracles. Remember Einstein’s rule. We can approach life as if everything is a miracle or as if nothing is. What do you think will yield better results – a happier, more inspired life, a more prosperous, productive life? I submit that we ought to live in conscious awareness of the miracles all around, of the hundred million miracles happening every day.

Practioner Tim Phares is a founding member of Celebration Center.