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     “There is no real happiness for those on the wrong side. The greatest pleasure in life is the security of the true side. You can vainly try to win over the world or you can nicely be over the world. Your task is to change your operating center from strained imagination to relaxed reality.”

New Life News 4
Previous Articles and Banquet Reports

  • 2015 Pagosa Springs Banquet

         “Inspiring Guides to a New Life” was the theme, based on a book by Vernon Howard, for the New Life banquet held in Pagosa Springs, Colorado over the weekend of July 10th, 11th and 12th.
         The weekend combined powerful talks, fabulous food and fun-filled entertainment, all presented by students learning how to work together in a harmonious spirit for the purpose of gaining more understanding about themselves and their life’s purpose here on earth. And to learn how to escape “the land of darkness and unhappiness of the world we live in,” as the moderator put it.
         “Worldly treasures leave you empty,” David Netherton said in the opening talk Friday evening, after which he quoted Vernon Howard who pointed out that what is here at New Life is “the greatest treasure of all time.” Tom Geiger followed up on that idea, saying, “We’re learning here that there’s nothing out there that can satisfy you or bring you peace…. Unless we do this work, we’ll never catch what’s going on in our minds and we’ll just be a zombie like everyone else.” He quoted Vernon, who wrote, “Take the truly brave trip and travel through yourself.”
         The point was driven home in the speakers talk by using an actual walnut in its shell to relate a story told about an earnest seeker who found a bit of truth about the size of a walnut. He went on to explain that we are foreigners in this land, trying to find our way back home. “The guide is here. The guide is Truth and it will show you the way out.” He said, “Truth and egotism don’t mix; the recognition of egotism within is the path to freedom.”
         As is customary, people came early for the Friday evening class in order to enjoy a surprisingly delightful selection of snacks, which included a platter of rolled ham, turkey, and cheeses, angel eggs, a cheese ball, bean dip, various tortilla chips, plus bowls of fresh cherries and grapes. Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings included a variety of quiches, chili rellenos and sweet rolls with a festive assortment of fresh melons, pineapple and blueberries. There was undeniably something to please everyone’s taste. And Sunday morning found the men oohing and aahing over a huge cast iron skillet of freshly made steak and eggs with potatoes — whenever they had time to eat between all the preparations for class up at the pergola.
         On banquet Saturday, New Life director Richard Wooldridge talked about how practical truth is. He explained that “the point of this class is to do whatever is necessary to help us wake up. Everything is said and done in order for us to see we’re asleep. We don’t have a clue as to what this class is all about.” He continued, “There’s a higher world for you.” Later on he reminded the class that Vernon didn’t tolerate any of our nonsense and that “you don’t even know that’s good for you.” Yes, correction was a vital part of the weekend experience, which the false self does not like. But at the same time everyone experienced relief, to one degree or another, from his or her usual painful self and relentless, compulsive thoughts. In its place was a hint of something else, a higher or true self emerging.
         “We’re here to find a different life,” Bill Brown told us. Classes included bits of humor interwoven with serious lessons. One such example was when Bill mentioned that what we’re learning about here is not in time or thought; it’s in awareness. He explained that “You should use time to bake a cake but if you use time with you, you’re going to come away half-baked.”Pretties
         Saturday banquet dinner followed class with a 24-foot table filled with various BBQ meats, potato salad, cole slaw, scrumptious baked beans, specialty breads and tossed salad. The separate dessert table featured a tempting bowl of fresh fruit, irresistible chocolate cake, fresh fruit pies, cheesecake, key lime pie and lemon squares, to name a few.
         The afternoon’s southwestern-themed entertainment opened with a pretty song, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” by our own talented singers, Lynne Wooldridge, Kyle Rickert, Kyle’s mom Vanessa, and Judy Poston. Barbara Alpher joined them for a second song also befitting the western setting, the humorous and rambunctious “I’m an Old Cowhand.” Other acts included more songs, some especially humorous jokes and funny skits, including the “Farmers and a City Slicker,” starring Bill Brown as the city visitor, with assorted country folk, Doug dressed in overalls, cowboy Gary Blatchford, and Moe Janosec, who was also the emcee.
    SoCal Judy     ‘California’ Judy entertained by skillfully reciting an Aesop’s fable about a cunning fox caught in his own lies. The finalé was a lively dance by “the Pretties,” who traditionally appear in three-tiered rainbow-colored skirts and gracefully designed blouses.
         Sunday morning’s class was held on a scenic mountainside in the New Life pergola, where it is necessary to climb up a pretty path, “the Happy Trail,” to reach it. This is symbolic of the effort required to reach higher levels within. “To do that, to wake up,” Richard explained, “we need every ounce of energy we can muster.”
         Surrounded by lavender asters, scarlet gilia and bright yellow columbine, we heard playful squirrels and a catbird cry that added to the atmosphere of the lovely forest. The banquets provide true relief from an otherwise pervasive world, for its influences are left outside the door and beyond the forest. As Moe said, echoing Vernon, “Where are your problems now?” Moe asked us to question, “What is real?” He reminded us, “God loves an audacious human being. One who will do something beyond his petty little life. Anything you get must be earned. If I do the work I get the reward.” He talked about how we want a safety net, but that Truth does not compromise; it is not gray but either black or white. Moe quoted A Treasury of Trueness, “Thought does not enter heaven. Where does that leave you?”
         Comments on the banquet experience included gratitude for the opportunity to learn from travel delays, unexpected events, corrections and other challenges. Doug, who arrived a week early, emphasized the large amount of work done at New Life preparing for the upcoming banquet. Then he connected that to its benefits to inner work and growth. He said, “I trimmed the bushes and I got my ego trimmed. And when I cleaned up the cuttings, I was clearing out inner negativities. When you sweep out the garage or other seemingly insignificant tasks, doing it can help you to wake up. Some people may not like this kind of work but we learn by doing what we don’t want to do. And the negative attitude can be swept out as well.”
         Richard concluded with the exhortation, with agreement from students, that the banquet experience is “an absolute necessity; there’s no substitute.”

  • 2015 May Banquet
  • 2015 Irish Banquet
  • 2014 Christmas Banquet
  • 2014 September Banquet
  • 2014 Pagosa Springs Banquet
  • 2014 May Banquet
  • 2013 Christmas Banquet
  • 2013 Thanksgiving Banquet
  • 2013 September Banquet
  • 2013 Pagosa Springs Banquet
  • 2013 May Banquet
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— E-mail from man

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