by rivkah koppel
Waterhouse is co-minister with her husband John at The Center for
Creative Living. Seeing her in action every Sunday is inspiring, exhilarating
and fun. She is a beautiful force of nature and it’s impossible
to be unaffected by what she says and how she says it. RK
did you grow up Barbara?
up in Miami into a family with a lot of dysfunction. It was pretty
nuts—my mother would lock my siblings and me out of the house
and tell us we had eaten when we hadn’t. There was very poor
hygiene and we pretty much lived on our own as kids. My father was
an alcoholic and although there was no physical or sexual abuse,
it was pretty crazy.
a clear memory as a very young child wandering up and down the street
knocking on people's doors and asking if I could come in, and sometimes
people would let me in and allow me to hang around until they would
tell me I had to go home and then I would go to another house and
do the same thing. I did this every day. And then on Sunday my family
would put on a happy face and we’d go to church. The hypocrisy
of that was very obvious even to my young mind.
in school I was in a speech class for a long time because I had
a speech impediment which I think was partly due to the dysfunction
at home and a severe lack of self esteem. I’m sure I came
into this life with a spiritual awareness because the fundamentalism
of the Southern Methodist church we belonged to was something I
could never relate to.
of the early memories I’m proudest of was getting into an
argument with a male Sunday school teacher who was trying to tell
me that there was a place in the bible that said that a group of
people had been cursed for turning their skin dark, or they were
cursed and their skin was turned dark and that’s why black
people, (and that’s not the word he used), were a lesser people.
I remember standing up in my little body and just taking him on
and out of nowhere came this rational, logical, elegant argument
that had him in tears and he ran out of the room. I was in 4th or
5th grade but something inside of me said I just wasn’t going
to let him tell all those innocent children that the entire black
race was cursed because God had ordained it. So they took me out
of Sunday school and stuck me in the nursery to help with the babies
because they thought I wasn’t fit to be around the other children.
I’m so grateful for that voice within me that just wouldn’t
buy it, and was willing to stand up and say so.
the same way I wasn’t willing to accept that women had certain
roles they had to adhere to and other roles they weren’t allowed
to take part in. I just couldn’t buy any of that, even at
did you stay and graduate high school and go to college?
graduated from high school. In junior high integration became law
and it became very tense in North Miami. There were 2600 kids in
my high school and half of them didn’t want to be there. There
were gangs and gang fights and kids being beaten up and I couldn’t
handle it so about half way thru 10th grade I just stopped going
to school. By that time I had already been drinking for a couple
of years and I had started doing drugs. By 16, I moved out of my
parent’s house and in with a friend who had a child and I
worked a couple of jobs and helped support them and was so grateful
to have a home to be in.
hand over my paycheck to my friend and would take care of the house
and generally take care of them. After about 4 years of that I met
my first husband. I moved in with him, got pregnant, and we got
married and moved to central Florida where I delivered my son at
home. My husband and I ran a business from home and suddenly I found
my self doing important work, or at least it seemed that way to
me at the time, and I realized I could do something other than take
care of people. But after about three years I felt I was stuck going
nowhere and I took my son and moved to Eugene Oregon.
your husband realize you were not happy in the relationship?
sure. I’d talk to him over and over telling him how I felt
and trying all those self-help techniques on him but to no avail.
So I packed up everything I owned and flew to Eugene where the
woman I had lived with earlier was living. I bought a pickup truck,
and she and her boyfriend, her two kids and my son and I drove
down to Arizona. Soon after we got there we went to a party which
was pretty wild. Our kids were at home with a babysitter and on
the way home from the party we had a terrible accident and my
friend’s boyfriend was killed and she was injured and was
in the hospital for a while. I got a nasty gash on my head but
other than that I escaped without serious injury. As soon as my
friend was out of the hospital I took the last money I had and
bought bus tickets for us all back to Eugene. The day after we
got back Oregon my friend told me someone had sent her money and
she was moving back to Florida. She bought plane tickets for her
and her kids and flew back. This all happened within 14 days to
the day I had moved my son and I to Eugene. I ended up sleeping
on the floor of someone’s house and my son was sleeping
on the couch. The people whose floor I was sleeping on invited
me to go along with them to church and that was my first experience
with Science of Mind. I heard these ideas for the very first time
in my life; that there’s a power within you and you can
do anything you want in your life. That if you’re willing
to put the time and energy into yourself you can create the life
you’ve always dreamed of. And I had absolutely nothing left
to lose. From that moment on I knew this was all I ever wanted
to do in my life. And I have never varied from that. I wanted
to learn it, I wanted to teach it, and I wanted to make it real.
I had spent a lifetime trying to find my way out of this thick
covering of struggle and problems and I just broke out into the
sunshine and knew life could be like this. Finally someone was
saying what I always intuitively knew was true.
this is obviously the point in your life when you knew that teaching
the concepts of Science of Mind was what you were here to do.
Were there as many women ministers as there are now?
I didn’t know of any. All the ministers I knew were men
and I assumed it was a pretty male dominated philosophy. I wanted
to be a minister but at that time in my life I was still working
my way through my past struggles and negative beliefs. It took
me a while to get clear
you didn’t have any female role models?
have a female role model until 10 years later when I met Edwene
Gaines. By then I had done all my ministerial studies, and was co-
minister of a pretty big church in Miami and still didn’t
know any other female ministers. I knew of some women in the national
movement but I hadn’t gotten involved with the national part
of the movement at that time. Now I look around and see there are
probably 3 females to every 1 male minister in the movement.
do you think that is?
Because it’s a movement that doesn’t care what your
gender is and when women are on equal footing they excel.
How did you and John get together?
About two years after starting my ministry in Miami he walked into
my office and said, ‘what do you guys do here anyway?’
He had just returned from Australia where he had been studying with
a mentor and was curious about what Science Of Mind was and who
we were. And by then I was very full of myself being a young minister
of a nice sized church, and I told him to come back on Sunday if
he wanted to know. And he did. He became very involved in the church
and ended up becoming the administrator and actually living in a
small cottage on the property, so he and I worked together very
closely for a long time. Years later I left that church and when
I returned for a Terry Cole Whittaker workshop I saw John again.
We went out to lunch and realized our very close friendship was
shifting into something deeper. So after a time when both of us
had worked out our prior personal commitments, we moved in together
and after about a year and a half we got married.
son had come back to live with me after being with his father and
I didn’t want to raise him in Miami so we looked all over
the country for a new place to live. John had a conference to attend
in Asheville and while we were there we went out to Fairview to
visit his uncle. We got out of the car, looked around, felt this
incredible energy surge through our bodies and simultaneously said,
“I could live here!” And that’s where we started
our first church, in that very spot. We ended up moving on to the
farm, living in a trailer and when his uncle had a heart attack
he went to live with his daughter and we rented out the trailer,
and started our church in the living room of that old farm house.
When the tenants who were living in the trailer moved out we built
the first Center for Creative Living on that old trailer spot and
we were there for almost 6 years. That first year, John completely
supported the church with his full time job. The money he brought
in made it possible for the church to exist. And then later, as
the church grew, he quit his job and we became co-ministers. We
were then as we are now, the largest financial supporters of the
moved here in November 2000. At that time our membership was around
65 people and on Saturday people would come here to work on this
building, stay all day and then show up in Fairview the next morning
for Sunday celebration. And then on Monday they’d go to their
regular jobs, work all week and then show back up on Saturday to
work on the building. This went on month after month after month.
It was a complete commitment by all involved and it speaks to what
can be accomplished when a community sets its mind and heart to
something. People just showed up every week for months on end to
complete this dream, this project we were all dedicated to. We’ve
gone from 15 members when we started out in Fairview to around 300
does Science Of Mind differ from new age thinking?
a lot of new age thinking is dualistic in nature in that the power
is outside of people. The power is in the trance channeler, the
power is in the Tarot Cards, the power is in the crystal or the
book. And SOM continues to bring the power back to the individual.
It’s based on the premise that whatever this thing is, whether
you call it God or Spirit or the Creative force of the universe,
or whatever IT is, IT is all that there is. And so everyone has
the ability to create their lives and their reality. It’s
never outside of us, the power is always within. Everything is always
an opportunity to look at ourselves and see what we’re putting
out into the universe that then comes back into our experience as
form. And it also calls us to a very high level of clarity; that
we don’t get to indulge in victimized thinking or poverty
thinking if we want to create happiness and abundance in our lives.
We don’t get to create health while we’re operating
in a state of dis-ease in our hearts or in our relationships or
in our minds. So it calls us to a very high state of clarity. I
think SOM asks a tremendous amount from people because it asks them
to be fully responsible and fully present in their lives. To take
full responsibility for everything that’s been going on in
their experience. And in doing so, what people get is that the power
is within, the power is within, and the power is within. And it’s
not this isolated little bit of power; it’s the doorway to
the infinite. It’s like you get to hold hands with God and
create your experience. And it doesn’t have anything to do
with what’s going on outside other than the outside is simply
your reflection. John and I went to see ‘What The Bleep Do
We Know?’ and finally after 80 years of SOM stating this over
and over again it’s being supported by physicists and scientists
and doctors and all these people are finally able to start proving
in isolated circumstances what we have been proving in our lives
all of these decades.
about people who have felt blamed for any kind of ill health in their
know, that’s such a low level of reaction. If someone tells
me I’m going west on I-40 and I want to go east on 40 and
they tell me the way to go east is to get off on the next exit and
turn around, for me to then start beating myself up for having gone
west instead of east is such a low level way to handle it. The best
way to handle it is to say thank you, get off on the exit, turn
around, and go where I want to go. So if someone takes the idea
that says your thinking affects your physical state of health, and
you’re thinking in ways that restrict and limit your health,
you might want to consider thinking differently. To take that awareness
and beat yourself up with it is just a low level way of handling
it and is crazy making. The reality is everything is ok, everything
is fine, and everything is a step on our path. It’s not good,
it’s not bad, it’s not right, or wrong. It’s very
Zen. It just is. And if we can look at these experiences and make
the connection within ourselves, we can then start doing something
about it. You know, if someone tells me taking vitamin C is going
to help my cold and I take the vitamin C and it helps my cold, that’s
a good thing. If someone tells me taking vitamin C will help my
cold and I get mad at them, that’s not going to help me get
where I want to go, which is to be healthy.
let’s talk about your personal health challenge. How and when
did you discover you had cancer?
been going to a dermatologist for years and getting this skin cancer
on my mouth frozen off again and again, and finally they said they
wanted to cut it off and because it was in the middle of my face
I elected not to have them do that and went to a plastic surgeon
who discovered it was a more serious cancer than we had previously
known. It took four surgeries and half of the left side of my upper
lip was removed and they had to move my nose around. It was all
very dramatic. So, what came up for me, talking about this blame
thing was, what does this mean? I am a religious science minister
and I’m not supposed to have cancer. I’m a public speaker,
I’m a teacher. I’m a minister and I’m having part
of my mouth removed! So what’s up with that? I’m sure
Louise Hay would have a lot to say about that. So what was important
for me to understand was that for whatever reason this was a part
of my experience; it was about me, it was for my personal growth
and I was insisting that only good could come from it, that I was
perfect, whole and complete no matter which surgery I was involved
in or how many stitches I had on my face, and that’s all I
was going to accept. And in terms of cancers and surgeries it all
went very well and went very fast and what other people have shared
with me is how that experience of mine helped them be ok in their
own physical process.
truth is everyone is perfect, right here and right now, because
Spirit is all that there is, and all we can be is perfect. However
we are acting out or dancing that dance in life it’s a reflection
of our own thoughts and ideas about who we are. It doesn’t
change the God Self that we are; it’s simply what we’re
interpreting ourselves to be. Whatever we’re interpreting
ourselves to be reflects back to us as experience and then we get
an opportunity to look at that experience. So any experience that
comes back to us holds the key to our own growth. And if we say
I like the happy days and not the sad days, well then take the sad
days and learn and grow from them. Don’t make yourself wrong
for having them. It’s like the Native American wheel. It goes
from the east to the south to the west and a lot of people don’t
like the west because the west is a time of healing, a time of darkness.
People say they don’t like the darkness, they like the dawn.
Well, you don’t get the dawn without the darkness. It’s
all part of the same thing. It’s not good or bad, better or
worse, right or wrong. So now I’m a public speaker with this
scar on my face and my lip stiffens up every so often, you know?
It’s just what it is.
do you think people’s biggest misconception of Science of Mind
is and do you think some people think it’s some kind of cult?
sure. The first misconception comes from the fundamentalists who
believe its devil worship and evil-ness. Those are the phone messages
we get every so often about how we’re all going to hell. The
second one is that it’s Scientology and very rarely people
wonder if we’re Christian Science. Those are the misconceptions.
The reality is that SOM is out there. It says you’re creating
your reality; you’re creating your experience. T hat it’s
just as solid a fact as anything else you can see and moment by
moment you can recreate your life in any way that you want. And
now science is supporting that, quantum physics is supporting that.
One of the things I’ve been saying for years is that we will
get to a point where we will recreate our past. We will recreate
it individually, recreate it collectively and there will come a
time in humanity’s evolution where we did not have wars, when
children were not born into starvation and famine, where everybody
is loved every step of the way. We will get to a point in consciousness
where we change the past. And now we’re just evolving to where
we get to that point where we change the past. And some people used
to think I was nuts when I talked about this but here we have this
movie What The Bleep that is saying exactly that. They say that
in the world of Quantum Science you can change the future and you
can change the past. SOM is out there. It says the entire power
of the universe is within you now to do whatever you want and you
can create anything that you want in your life. You have to be willing
to become the energy, the awareness and the consciousness of what
you want to experience. And once you do that the only thing that
life can do is give that back to you. And it doesn’t matter
who you are, where you came from, how old you are, or what your
gender is-it just doesn’t matter. You’ve got the power.
No blame, no victimization, no shame, no outside power. It’s
all within and we’ve got it all
feels like a good place to end the interview. Is there anything else
you’d like to say before we end?
I’d like to add is a personal note to the readers. I believe
in you. Wherever you want to go you can get there. Whatever is happening
in your life right now is fine. Take the good from it, leave the
rest and go on. Get in touch with that power that’s within
you because nothing is impossible. You do hold your future in your
for Creative Living
Two Science of Mind Way
Asheville NC 28806
LMBT is in her 21st year of practicing Therapeutic Massage and Natural
Healing. [ firstname.lastname@example.org