Another Shift in Perspective

In which I learn that the Easter Island (Rapa Nui) heads have torsos.

Good Evening, God

After decades of seeing photos of the famous heads of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) I discover that they had torsos! Adding a body definitely altered my perspective.

Then I saw an article about one of functions of the heads. Function? These were useful? They seem to be located next to fresh water sources — fresh water that flowed down volcanic lava tubes into the sea. That seemed like a lot of trouble to go to, God, to mark an essential location. But, I was delighted to discover even one practical use!

Next, I noticed the drawings on the back. Complex and powerful — they strike me as full of meaning. But, what? Still, I am totally delighted to have had my perspectives added to. First the hidden torso, next the complex imagining on their BACKS. So much for seeing only the Heads!

Hmm. I am overwhelmed by how true this is for me — in all categories — of what I somehow thought of as my “body of knowledge”! I am humbled . . . and eager to expand. But where to begin, God?

Posted in connecting

A Change of Perspective

snow covering the Acropolis in Athens

Good Evening, God
I was eager to see the image of snow on the Acropolis . . . but when I saw it, I felt disoriented! Of course! This photo was from above — instead of from below. And this photo was from the back side of the Acropolis — instead of the front! And, to be honest, when I thought of the Acropolis, I was really picturing the Parthenon.


The Parthenon is there . . . but it is so much smaller when compared to the Acropolis. And look! There are strong walls holding up the large flat area that the Parthenon is resting on. Hmm. Also there is another smaller temple. And what are those modern looking building doing on the corner closest to me? 


This change of perspective was opening my eyes and my mind. How many of my Mental Maps or Mental Images could benefit from a change of perspective? ALL OF THEM!


But, I can hear Suzanne, our first-born, saying BE SPECIFIC, Mom. So, God here is ONE thought from Sherri Mitchell’s book,  Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for living Spirit-Based Change. She points out that CONQUEST IDEOLOGY is the foundational mindset of Western Civilization. She then links this to our living in a hierarchical structure in which one “advances” by “bettering” someone else. And she uses the “War on Climate Change” as an example of this underlying mindset. 


I want to outgrow my limiting mindsets or maybe I should call them enchantments? That much, I can see. But, I am seeing “through a glass darkly” as St. Paul says. Ah, God! There is so much unlearning to be done! Unlearning just scratches the surface. Perhaps, God, it is Transformation that is needed?

Posted in connecting

A Change of Perspective

snow covering the Acropolis in Athens

Good Evening, God

I was eager to see the image of snow on the Acropolis . . . but when I saw it, I felt disoriented! Of course! This photo was from above — instead of from below. And this photo was from the back side of the Acropolis — instead of the front! And, to be honest, when I thought of the Acropolis, I was really picturing the Parthenon.

The Parthenon is there . . . but it is so much smaller when compared to the Acropolis. And look! There are strong walls holding up the large flat area that the Parthenon is resting on. Hmm. Also there is another smaller temple. And what are those modern looking building doing on the corner closest to me?

This change of perspective was opening my eyes and my mind. How many of my Mental Maps or Mental Images could benefit from a change of perspective? ALL OF THEM!

But, I can hear Suzanne, our first-born, saying BE SPECIFIC, Mom. So, God here is ONE thought from Sherri Mitchell’s book, Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for living Spirit-Based Change. She points out that CONQUEST IDEOLOGY is the foundational mindset of Western Civilization. She then links this to our living in a hierarchical structure in which one “advances” by “bettering” someone else. And she uses the “War on Climate Change” as an example of this underlying mindset.

I want to outgrow my limiting mindsets or maybe I should call them enchantments? That much, I can see. But, I am seeing “through a glass darkly” as St. Paul says. Ah, God! There is so much unlearning to be done! Unlearning just scratches the surface. Perhaps, God, it is Transformation that I need.

Posted in Changing, connecting, Enchantment, Perspective, perspectives, The difficulty of changing

Being Outdoors and Hope?

The second most snow on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea since record keeping started

Good Evening, God

So….I had just started to do my Centering Prayer this afternoon when I realized that I hadn’t put down my Earthing Mat. The idea is that Earthing Mats connect us to the earth — with her negative charge — and help us rebalance our body’s electrical charge. I like the idea. But, I haven’t ever noticed anything when I do this. However, this afternoon, right after I put my feet on the mat, I noticed an upwelling of HOPE!

HOPE? I had never considered that a lack of hope might be partially a result of a deficiency of outdoor time!!! A brand new idea! And a FUN one. What might be related? I considered the idea of Seasonal Affective Disorder. My mother suffered from depression linked to living in low sunlight regions — like the years we lived in the fog bank south of San Francisco. She clearly needed the benefits from sunlight.

Then there is this new idea — about the benefits of Forest Bathing. This practice started in Japan in 1982 and was intended to reduce the stress level in the general population. I haven’t tried it. But, when my wonderful husband, Kit, and I go for a walk up our valley, we do feel better afterwards. And we aren’t even practicing mindful sensory awareness — I just take photos of beautiful flowers, etc.

Another clue? Kit said that when he attended Punahou — from four year old kindergarten on — all the students had to go barefoot until the seventh grade. Hmm. I wonder what the school knew? I alway gave poi the credit for Kit’s wonderfully strong feet, bones, and teeth. But who knows? Maybe going barefoot helped too?

I do have one tiny bit of research. This is from Explore magazine: Integrative and lifestyle medicine strategies should include Earthing (grounding): Review of research evidence and clinical observations. Cimone Kamei, who is our acupuncturist, was one of the research participants. And they have photos showing better circulation after earthing.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU, God! I feel that new perspectives are really good for my brain. And why not PLAY with ideas!

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Posted in Centering Prayer, connecting, Earthing, Forest Bathing, hope, Hope as a gift from God, Seasonal Affective Disorder, snow on Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, Sunlight explored, the essential nature of hope

Give Sorrow Words . . .

Shakespeare in McBeth

Good Evening, God

Grief, no matter how long unspoken, still longs to be shared. I am experiencing this first hand. Several months ago a dear friend, who had lost her beloved son, asked me to join a Monday’s Mommy’s Mourning Group. I agreed, feeling quite confident that my grief was long past, but wanting to be helpful.

Aaah, yes. Surprise SURPRISE! There were still reservoirs of grief — pain, guilt, regret, sorrow . . . we do not have enough words such pain — waiting to be expressed. And, that Nexus of Grief, wanted ME to hear. Me, that Conscious Mind, that had gone back to work. That me, who had frozen her inner core so as not to wash away all around her with the volume of her tears.

I remember, envisioning myself as having a HUGE inner inland SEA . . . a sea of tears . . . rimmed round with ICE. Sailing ships were moored to the dock — furled sails covered in ice. I saw the ships. But I didn’t understand that they wanted to set sail and carry — a complex cargo of MEMORIES/FEELINGS/EMOTIONS and LOSS — into the outer world.

Mind You, God, I knew this quote from Shakespeare. I just didn’t understand how SOLID the WALL was that protected my Inland Sea. I grasped it cognitively. I was even able to give an historical example. If one was a member of anglo saxon shield wall, you could not scream when wounded Screaming would upset the warriors on either side. Clearly, my culture said, Die QUIETLY. And try not to bleed on others.

I am able to write this NOW, because, I am on the journey of HEARING MYSELF INTO SPEAKING. So many layers, God! So many layers of SLOWLY accepting my small human self. With help, I am beginning to grow in compassion for myself . . . and then, — slowly — the others I formally had judged so harshly. Sheesh!

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Posted in being together in a compassionate presence, Compassion, compassion to care for myself, connecting, going THROUGH the sorrow, Grief, Regret -- acknowledging and releasing it, self care as self compassion and humility, self-compassion, Sorrows of the Deep

A Call to Pray

Good Evening, God

I was stopped by a thought while going upstairs to pray. First, I must send out a CALL TO PRAY! And encourage others to share this CALL TO PRAY. Why my sense of urgency? Perhaps it started while I was reading the book, A Dissenter in the House of God, by Alvin Rosenfeld.. It’s a moving account of a holocaust surviver’s journey from walling off unbearable memories into the world of pain and compassion. I was touched by the power of prayer, even on a man not yet able to forgive You, God.

Then just a few days ago in rummaging through one of my bookcases I came across a book I bought years ago: Mary’s Message to the World. And that put me in mind of how — before the bloodshed in former Yugoslavia — Mary had appeared over and over to children. And her message was always, PRAY!

I’m smiling, God. No, I haven’t had a visitation by Mary. But, I do hear the call . . . PRAY!!!! Indeed, I am on my way to do just that. I will be doing Centering Prayer. My intention will be to sit in silence while consenting to Your presence and action within me. What happens is only between You and my Inner Self. It is rather amazing that my bossy conscious mind will make time for this. She is just going on trust and as much love as she can muster.

I feel so very strongly that You, God, welcome all our attempts to pray — silence, formalized words, and just plain cries for help. You seem to want us — to want You. And maybe that is at the heart of prayer. . . wanting to be closer to You.

Posted in Centering Prayer, connecting, Prayer, praying, Praying for our enemies, Praying together extemporaneously, the JOY of praying together

The Comfort of Being Together

 Tobias Baumgaertner took this photo in 2019 at the St. Kilda penguin sanctuary across from Melbourne

Good Evening, God

The penguin on the right is an older widowed female. The penguin on the left is a young widowed male. While the other penguins are eating and wandering around, these two stand together for hours — just being together — and looking at the lights of Melbourne.

Oh, my. Oh my! I am feeling as if these two small penguins have more “Heart” than I have. And, perhaps, they do! I am beginning to realize that maybe humans lack some of the simple virtues of so-called “lesser animals.”

It makes me think of how I used to believe that You had made a mistake, God, in letting humans out loose with such a thin human layer. Certainly, my human layer was not thick enough to keep the occasional BURST OF RAGE inside! Looking back, I can see that I was simply BLAMING YOU for my failures to build up a stronger cortex. That is bad enough.

But, the real pain arrived the other day, when I realized – our human brains are too big for our hearts to manage! Sigh, let me make that personal. My Mind is too big for my Heart to manage. It can talk faster than my moral compass can calculate.

The penguins are — for me — a needed lesson in humility. And they are also an encouragement to value more highly the simple things of the heart.

Posted in Being Together, Caring, caring for the widows and orphans, comfort, connecting, developing helpful definitions of love, Faithfulness, LOVE, the gift of persistent love

Entering My Local Library

Good Afternoon, God

It was just a couple of days ago that I was able to enter my local library — AFTER an absence of TEN MONTHS. It may sound silly, God, but it was a chicken skin moment. I felt like I was entering “sacred space”. The Library is one of the last COMMONS that we have in our culture. Maybe the last non-commercial commons?

I use that term — Commons — but I’m pretty sure some folks have no idea what the term refers to. Well, having read the definition in Wikipedia I can see that I didn’t understand much beyond the 15th century English usage. At that time it referred to pasture or forest land that was shared by all the people in the village or surrounding area. However, this land was “enclosed” (fenced in for a private owner) by parliamentary acts starting in the 16th century. These acts of Inclosure were often enforced by violence. One of the argument was that private “owners” could maximize the yield. But, obviously, it was the wealthy who had the connections to create these parliamentary enclosures. By the 19th century about the only commons left were difficult to access pastures or forests.

So, here is my local library . . . an intellectual commons . . . accessible to all. And the librarians have been entrusted to select a wide variety of viewpoints — while attempting to refrain from material that proselytizes. Not that we (I’m a retired librarian) do it perfectly. But, that is our intent. And, perhaps, our sacred calling?

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Posted in a new view of Commons, Caring, connecting, Guardians and Protectors, responsibility

Moved By The Spirit

American singer Mahalia Jackson (1911 – 1972) sings at the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, August 28, 1963. Sitting at lower right is Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) and his wife Coretta Scott King, between them is activist Whitney Young (1921 – 1971). (Photo by Bob Parent/Getty Images)

Good Evening, God

I just wanted to share a bit of back story about Martin Luther King Jr. and his I HAVE A DREAM speech. Apparently, King had decided to downplay his identity as a preacher and try to get across some serious political points. The speech had been worked on by a number of advisors and after the first several paragraphs it clearly it wasn’t going well.

At that point, his close friend and gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson yelled out: Tell them about the Dream, Martin. TELL THEM ABOUT THE DREAM! She was sitting down at the time. She wasn’t at the microphone as she is shown in this photo. But her voice carried! And he heard her!

He turned and looked at her — pushed his prepared text aside — grabbed ahold of the podium — and opened up to the flow of the Spirit. THAT great extemporaneous speech just flowed out . . . and into history.

I wanted to share that little factoid, God, because I think it is important to realize that we have Mahalia Jackson to thank for that speech. She was open to Your Spirit. And she SPOKE OUT! Her voice seemed to set Martin Luther King Jr. FREE — free to share what was in his heart. She was an encourager . . . actually, she was an exhorter! Thanks be, to her, and to YOU.

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Posted in Faith, Faithfulness, friends, LOVE, Personal Power, relationships, The Power of Naming, The Power of the Spoken Word

A New Thing

Morning Light

Good Evening, God

Sunrise does seem to lend itself to Newness. And I am in deep need of Newness. The phrase came from our church’s Stewardship campaign. We are using the verse from Isaiah 43:18-19:
“Do not remember the former things,
Or ponder the things of the past.
“Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even put a road in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.

My heart is worn down from the fear, anger and hate of these last few years. Now, God, I accept responsibility for my participation. I have been fast to judge. I have condemned without hearing. And I have enjoyed the feeling of “being RIGHT”. Not just right, but “better than those I judged as WRONG”. This is painful to acknowledge.

Back in April I felt You urging me to pray for 10 minutes a day for those who have despitefully used me. Only, since no-one was despitefully using me, I decided I would pray for someone despitefully using the PLANET. It took months, God! Months! But, what happened was that I lost my knee-jerk hatred. The filter that had instantly taken the “other side” lost its power. And, I moved on to praying for other people. . . slowly coming to see . . . that I could detest what they were doing without despising them.

I found myself really praying for them. Praying as if they were friends. Praying for the healing of their heart wounds. And I began to understand a bit more of what You meant when you told us to “Overcome Evil with Good.”

How appropriate to be writing about this on Martin Luther King Day. What a shining example, God, You have given us of the power of praying for those who despitefully use us. Plus huge heaps of love and forgiveness.

Posted in a prayer for healing, connecting, developing helpful definitions of love, Forgiving, LOVE, opportunities to forgive myself, Prayer, praying, Praying for our enemies, The daily details of love

Blogs I Follow
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Sacred Dance Guild Journal

Since 1958 articles by members & guests offer news about activities, history, Sacred Dance practices, profiles of Sacred Dancers, choreography, images & illustrations.

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Brené Brown

chatting and sometimes, listening

Rachel Naomi Remen

chatting and sometimes, listening

A Moment with God

chatting and sometimes, listening

Sacred Dance Guild Journal

Since 1958 articles by members & guests offer news about activities, history, Sacred Dance practices, profiles of Sacred Dancers, choreography, images & illustrations.

Victoria Paulsen

How to Step In -- Substitute Teaching