It’s been a big couple of months for this couple.
Our First Assistance Group
As many of you likely know we held both sessions of the first group in our Education in Love assistance group series.
In total 118 people attended “Using My Will to Love” and we received great feedback from many of those people about the format and content of the group.
Jesus single-handedly presented these two groups. It was a mammoth effort on his part.
He always gives a lot in terms of wisdom, love and energy in every presentation. And while he displays far more stamina than I (and many others) have, in the end presenting for 64 hours in the space of 3 weeks was a lot of giving out. So I want to acknowledge him for the incredible gift of his time and love.
The Format & Venue
Each of the assistance groups in this series has two rest days built-in to the programme. The other days are made up of 4 or 5 presentations, 30-60 minutes in length, each focussing on specific topics relating to the overall theme. Attendees said that this format is easy to manage and because the information in each session is succinct many people feel that they have gained more clarity on key issues. The groups provided quite practical suggestions and information for people to use in day-to-day life and so we are hopeful that many people will take the opportunity to grow God’s Way as a result of attending or viewing what was created.
The new venue has been excellent. The seminar room is very comfortable and easily accommodated all attendees plus our considerable amount of recording equipment. Fab and Kate provided some musical entertainment on rest and reflection days in the programme and many attendees found that having the beach only 5 minutes away has also been a lovely addition.
We also had very dedicated helpers who performed some essential jobs throughout the groups.
We send our thank you to the following people:
Thanks to Lena & Igor for the work that they do in preparation, set-up, filming, pack-up and editing. If you want to catch up on more from Lena and Igor they have a new blog: https://legorblog.wordpress.com. I’ve encouraged them to share on the blog all of their enthusiasm and inspiration about Divine Truth that I hear from them in private discussions. Hopefully they will sometime soon.
Thanks to Cornelius for being a dedicated audience videographer with an eye for detail and finding the best shots.
Thanks to Eloisa Lytton-Hitchins & Joy Harris for being in charge of name tags and guest lists in my absence.
Thanks to Bruce & Kelly Carrigan for helping out with transporting of equipment and gear.
Also special thanks go to those people who donated towards the expenses of the groups even though they personally could not attend.
Being A Participant
I’d also like to thank those people who made their presence at the group as one of ‘participant’ and not just ‘attendee’. Those of you who come and listen with an open heart and engage without resistance not only make these groups more enjoyable to present, but also add to the valuable content in the videos of the event which are a resource for many future people to come.
Unfortunately there were still a lot of people present at these two groups who sat in the audience as ‘attendees’ only. Sitting back in fear and silence means you aren’t engaging your own learning. Equally when you engage in addiction and demand you take energy and focus away from truth and miss the opportunity to learn. This was a large problem in the first two groups, and Jesus will be taking steps to address it, since he found the resistance and addictions in both groups quite oppressive, and he could not present all that he wanted as a result.
Those who open their hearts to the material, own their emotional responses and resistance and engage learning are the ‘participants’ and there is so much pleasure in sharing truth with such people. For those of you who were ‘attendees’ only last time, I encourage you to be brave, challenge your fear or your addiction and become a participant. It will help you progress so much.
There is such a difference between wanting to learn about principles of God’s Truth that can be applied to all aspects of growth and demanding ‘answers’ to individual problems (which is often just the desire for reassurance in response to emotional panic that arises when truth is presented). The former type of engagement enables you to learn truths and tools that can be applied to everything you encounter, it creates independence and maturity in our development and growth. The latter is actually a childlike response, a desire to be comforted away from pain, and to be ‘parented’ by someone other than God.
Jesus and I want to help you ‘grow up’ and become independent in your progression which is why we have made a firm choice to help people with principles and not continually focussing on personal individual issues. In addition, Jesus will be much more firm in the future about not answering questions which have been asked to support your personal addictions unless he feels something can be taught from the interaction.
Of course, at times it is helpful to have an example to illustrate principles in action but giving simple answers to specific issues (without the context of the underlying principles) isn’t the best way to assist anyone to grow their relationship with God.
I’m hopeful that this first group will be of long-term benefit for those who attended and I know that Jesus’ presentations will be a valuable resource for online viewers for many years to come. As always he provides the opportunity for growth but the truths can only have an effect on your lives if you choose to experiment with them.
Post Assistance Group Work
Video Editing & Production
Since returning home Jesus has worked 7 days a week, and Lena and Igor have been working 5 days a week, to finish the edit for the first group so that it was available for viewing on YouTube as soon as possible.
I’m pleased to tell you that they have finished the edit of the first group and on 5th April 2016 it was loaded onto YouTube and the Divine Truth synchronization server. They expect to complete the second group by 24th April 2016.
I’m so proud of these three and the effort that they put in. It’s difficult to describe in a blog post all the time, care and attention to detail that they put in at every step of production to make sure that the end product is valuable, usable and accessible to as many people as possible for many years to come.
During the group Jesus puts a lot of focus not only recording the material but ensures that we also have reliable back ups if anything goes wrong. We generate a lot of data at each group. Each day what is created is backed up three times via automated scripts that Jesus creates, and two of these backups are stored and kept for the long-term.
Immediately before our first group, it became plain that our Apple Mac hardware will not consistently mount our current USB3 backup storage devices. This meant that Jesus had to quickly create a temporary method for backup while at the group, and for future groups had to buy two thunderbolt backup stores (without drives) which cost $1600.
In addition our first group revealed some issues with the discs we were using for back up. 8TB archive and enterprise drives have only just been released by Seagate. It was our intention to use the same archive drives for editing as we use for backup since they are much cheaper than enterprise drives. The 8TB archive drives cost $400 each when we purchased them and we use 6 per group to store all the data at a cost of around $2400. But when we began editing our processes exposed problems with using these drives for editing in a shared environment. As a result of these two problems, Jesus had to purchase an additional 10 x 8TB enterprise drives which cost $7500 which will be installed in RAID SAN configuration for the purpose of shared editing.
In our original expenses calculations we did not account for the archive drives for each group, for the additional backup storage devices we would need to backup the material during the group, or for the enterprise drives needed to edit the material for all groups. In addition, Jesus, Lena and Igor also needed a well deserved rest before packing up and returning home to begin the additional exhausting process of editing 5-7 days per week and this decision added expenses in accommodation.
These extra expenses resulted in Jesus spending all of the donated funds we received personally during the groups on these extra expenses, and so we have not covered our general operating costs or living expenses for that period. These additional expenses have now been included in the calculations for each group, a summary of which can be downloaded from our website. The basic result of these changes is that the expenses of each 8 day group are now around $330 per participant rather than the $200 originally calculated (assuming 70 people attend), which is still very reasonable.
Please remember that this is just an indicative cost only. All of our events are free and we shall continue to hold them as long as we can cover our expenses. We have already paid for these expenses since we have taken funds from a personal gift we received from a generous family. We are just informing you of the changes of expenses for the groups and the reasons for those changes.
Preparations for the Next Assistance Groups
Jesus has been so incredibly busy and it will be great for him to have time and space to focus on his own progress before the next group. However before then there is still a lot to do in terms of preparation.
After finalising edits for the second session of group one, and loading everything on YouTube, which will be completed over the next two weeks, Jesus will start preparation of outlines for the “Developing My Loving Self” groups.
Very little material has already been prepared for these groups, and each outline takes him around 2-4 hours to complete. There are 32 outlines in total to prepare for each group. So this will take him anywhere from 65 to 130 hours to prepare. He doesn’t actually need these outlines for himself. He can present each subject thoroughly without an outline. But he creates these documents to make it easier for each of you to prepare for the group, and to have a summary of the information he intends to present while at the group.
Jesus is constantly assessing and reassessing where participants are ‘at’ and how to simply present the most important principles that will be of most benefit to people at this stage in their growth. My man is incredibly thoughtful and caring like that.
I’ll be helping out where I can (more about my personal progress below). I absolutely am passionate about the material for these groups. I want to be involved because I love to talk and hear about the concepts and truths essential to gaining an education in love. But I’ve come to feel that all the words in the world don’t have meaning unless we are willing to bravely and humbly experiment with them for ourselves. That is why we made the gift of will the focus for our first group. The choice to change, experiment and receive truth into the soul (true learning) is entirely an act of will and no one else can do it for us.
So, I’ll be working on my own change and experiments and I encourage you all to do the same. There is still a window before the next group to ‘get your teeth into’ some experiments relating to the material about developing our will to love. I know that what is presented in the second will be all the more meaningful to you if you choose to do that.
If you would like to attend the second group “Developing My Loving Self” there are now 12 spaces available in the first session and two spaces left in the second. Full information about the programme and how to register to attend can be found on the Assistance Group page of our website.
My Personal Progression
The past two months I’ve focused almost completely on my personal progression. Jesus shared a little about this in the Introduction talk of the “Using My Will to Love” group. Aside from what he shared there isn’t much more I would like to add.
There might be a time in the future when I share more openly about what I am working through but then again I might not (smile).
It is personal and important and I’m treasuring this time that feels very special.
There are experiences in the growth of every soul that are milestones. When a person really ‘gets’ that free will is a gift, or receives a truth from God, or has the courage to feel the full truth of something that happened in their past, these things are special and unique. It is similar to when a child takes their first steps. Most people can walk and anyone can describe walking but when that child takes its first step, there is no describing how wonderful the synergy of desire, experimentation and lived experience of those first steps feel for that child. It doesn’t matter how ‘normal’ walking might be for others, for that child and its parent those moments are momentous.
That is how I feel about my growth at the moment. Sometimes sharing the things I’m feeling and working through feels like cheapening them, or reducing something powerful and beautiful to mere words or descriptions that cannot possibly convey how important and special they feel for me with God.
I’m also feeling more natural with being myself and knowing that part of loving myself is making wise choices about with who and how much I choose to share myself. I wrote about this back in our July update last year and I’ve recently worked through some emotions which makes me feel more relaxed about this stuff.
This is what I said about that back in July 15:
“Jesus once talked to me about some of the states we can live in when it comes to expression of self.
One is that we ‘give ourselves away’. When we give ourselves away, we relinquish our personal desires and aspirations in favour of what other people want, we alter our personality to suit our environment and we are compliant to the whims and wishes of others.
Another state is that we ‘be ourselves’. In this state we are real and open about who we are, what we want and what we feel. We don’t force ourselves, or our beliefs upon others but we don’t hide these things either. Being ourselves means giving up our façade and simply expressing our nature through our actions and in our interactions. To be ourselves at all times, with everyone, is loving.
A third state is ‘sharing ourselves’. When we share ourselves we go beyond just ‘being ourself’. Sharing ourselves means desiring and allowing ourselves to be known, sharing what we deeply feel and desire. We can share ourselves in loving, though different ways, through soulmate relationships and friendships.
We are always going to end up in pain if we choose to share, or try to share, ourselves with people who don’t want to know us and who do not love or desire to love us. In other words attempting to share ourselves with someone who can’t be trusted to love us is not taking good care of ourselves. Equally attempting to share ourselves with someone who clearly doesn’t want to know us is only going to lead to disappointment and this kind of desire is usually led by addiction. However, choosing to share ourselves with people who do love us and care about our welfare is very rewarding and encourages growth.
While being ourselves all the time is loving, to be selective and discerning about who we choose to share ourselves with is also a sign of love and development.”
At this stage I’m not likely to be presenting at our second group since I want to continue doing what I need to do for my progress.
Thank you very much to those of you who have donated to us personally these past two months. We have a number of expenses that keep the delivery of Divine Truth running that don’t change while we are away. Among other things, your contributions help us to keep our overseas servers running, in the maintenance of equipment and bills relating to the studio.
In addition, staying away from home to run the groups creates another set of expenses and we thank those of you who have donated at each of the groups.
As always, we are incredibly grateful for those of you who choose to support the sharing of Divine Truth. Your gifts make so many things we do possible and we know you aren’t obligated to give anything, so we really appreciate that you do.
We wish you a wonderful April and May, hoping that you enjoy the material from the assistance groups. To those who will be attending the “Developing My Loving Self” assistance group we shall see you in May or June.
Mary & Jesus