What Does It Mean To Be A Community of Identity?

“Afraid that our inner light will be extinguished or our inner darkness exposed, we hide our true identities from each other. In the process, we become separated from our own souls. We end up living divided lives, so far removed from the truth we hold within that we cannot know the ‘integrity that comes from being what you are.’” ~Parker Palmer


Susie Maharry, TUUC
Susie Maharry
Director of Adult Religious Exploration

Our entire Soul Matters program is about UU identity. Each month, we lift up a unique value or human quality that our faith calls us to live and lean into. Together, our themes tell us who UUs uniquely are. But that’s only half of the equation. In addition to “UU identity,” there’s also “your identity.” It’s one thing for a religion to offer you an identity; it’s quite another for a religion to celebrate your identity. At our best, we UUs seek both.

We agree with Parker Palmer that our society has separated us from our souls. Indeed, the only relevant religions today are the ones that take this seriously. Hell certainly exists; it’s the state of having to hide ourselves. Bottom line: we want our congregations to be places where you don’t have to pretend. And here’s the kicker: our faith wants you to stop hiding and live fully, not just for your sake, but for our sake as well. Seeing you be real gives us permission to let our true self out of the dark! Your brave honesty about your contradictions, allows us to proudly strut around in our multitudes! We save each other by being true to ourselves. An excellent example of this is the final brave act of mental health activist Carrie Fisher who had her ashes put in a giant Prozac pill-shaped urn. She has always let it be known that part of her identity was as a person with mental illness, and she rocked it. After her death a few weeks ago, so many people “came out” on social media as depressed or anxious or bipolar, etc.

I identify with Carl Sagan when he says,

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of stardust.”

And I identify with Chief Seattle who says,

“The earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons [and daughters] of the earth. If [we] spit upon the ground, [we] spit upon [our]selves. This we know. The earth does not belong to [us]; [we] belong to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

Who am I? As Annie Dillard puts it,

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them.”

Who am I? I am someone who believes as Ernest Hemingway believes that,

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Finding ways in which to become superior to my former self is why I participate in the Adult Religious Exploration programs here. And I invite you to join me. We are no longer offering a drop in class every Wednesday night. “What!” you say? I know…the ARE program has had a strong identity with Wednesday nights for over a decade. This is a shift in our way of offering programs. My hope is that soon the ARE programs will be identified with every day of the week, not just Wednesdays. Classes will be announced in the Sunday Order of Service, and the Thursday E-news, and listed on our Website Calendar.




Here is list of upcoming events on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays:

Monday Night Meditation Group
Monday Evenings 7:00—8:45 p.m.

Join us for 30 minutes of sitting or walking meditation in the sanctuary. Each week we have a topic for discussion related to meditating as a way to expand our knowledge and connect with one another. This group is for everyone, whether you meditate frequently, occasionally, or are coming for your first meditation sit. The group is also open to any ideas or topics anyone may wish to share. Alexa and Steve Arnold facilitate the group.


Yoga in the Sanctuary
Thursday Evenings, 6:00 p.m.

Join our regular drop-in Thursday night yoga group. Our participants are from ages 8—80! If you are curious, come see if we are what you are looking for. We have some spare mats, and flexible space for more to join! Our group meets weekly from September through June, with breaks for holidays.


Freethinking Mystics
February 12
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.
High School Youth Room

We are members and friends of Unitarian Universalism walking the path of spiritual experience and growth as it unfolds in our lives. We come to this group for inspiration, to study, and to explore our direct experience of the fullness and mystery of life. We meet monthly on the second Sunday from 9:00—10:15 a.m. Doug Taylor facilitates the group and shared this message for the group meeting this Sunday:

We will begin exploring and discussing John Welwood’s article “Double Vision: Duality and Nonduality in Human Experience” which is available online:  http://www.johnwelwood.com/articles/DoubleVision.pdf

After re-reading the article a few times diving into the rich density of concepts and ideas, I would suggest that we focus on the first sections of the article up to the section on “Relationship: The Play of Duality” which begins on page 6 for our meeting, however you are of course welcome to read the entire article.

And of course, please join us whether you have had the opportunity to read the material or not since your unique presence and input is a valued and welcome contribution which benefits the whole.

Concepts to explore and discuss:

Dualistic Perception
Egoic Consciousness – Ego Mind
NonDual Egoless Awareness/Perception
Being Fully Human – Fully Inhabiting our Humanness
True Nature – Essential Nature
Integrated Perspective
“Spiritual Bypassing”
How do above concepts relate to Mystical/Enlightenment experiences?



 A Time for Men – Men’s Group

Second Sundays
11:45 a.m. following Worship Service
High School Youth Room

We are a group of men who gather once a month to share authentic, non-competitive presence, camaraderie, discussion, validation, feedback when desired, support, and celebration of our individual and collective lives in a safe, confidential environment as we navigate this journey called life as men in our culture.

We typically gather, light the chalice, check-in sharing what is prominent in our lives at the present, and discuss a current topic of interest which may have significance for a man’s well-being.



Third Friday Potluck
Friday, February 17th 12:00 noon
Social Hall

Our speaker this month will be Florence Bex, a Pierce County Master Gardener. She will be talking about gardening, bees, and other pollinators. Bring a dish to share and plant some dreams about your summer garden!



Sacred Scripture with Soul
Third Sundays 9:15 a.m.
February 19th
High School Youth Room

Join us for our seventh year of Third Sunday Sacred Scripture Study (formerly known as Bible Study) at Tahoma UU Congregation. In the previous six years, we have followed the Revised Common Lectionary, looking at the Bible readings according to the schedule followed by most Protestant churches. This year we are changing it up a bit. We will still follow the Revised Common Lectionary, but we will also integrate three additional sources. This year we have the option of looking at the Torah and Haftorah (some books from what you may know as the Jewish Bible) readings from an annual schedule used in the Jewish tradition. We will have readings from Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist traditions, which have been selected to correspond with the lectionary readings. And finally, as we enter into our second year of using the Soul Matters themes, each month’s theme is listed here so that we might consider incorporating it as we read through the selections.



Chalice Circle

Third Sundays 11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
February 19th
High School Youth Room

Please join us for a guided discussion on this month’s theme of Identity. We use the spiritual practice of deep listening. Without actually using a talking stick, we take turns speaking uninterrupted around the circle until everyone has had a chance to be heard. Then we open things up to a group discussion.