Pay Attention!

Good Evening, God

Pay Attention
Be Astonished
Tell about it

These are Mary Olivers guidelines. And what a marvelous job she did of all three. A few days ago I was surprised to find the injunction to pay attention in the book Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil. Poet and Saint!

I like to think that I pay attention. Kit and I have been going down to the marina to watch the sun rise . . . more often to just to enjoy the light entering the world. And on one occasion to watch a stingray glide by. We are definitely paying attention.

Truly, God, Your world is filled with magical things — waiting for us to pay attention. But, the other day, as I missed our regular turn going to church, it occurred to me that it is all too easy to fall into ruts. That afternoon, while praying, I thought I would vary Our Father, by starting with Our Mother. . .

I was astounded at the power of the impact of that one change of word! I must confess, God, that when I name You as Father, You seem quite content to “stay up in heaven”. Not so, when I changed Your gender! You as Mother were immediately IN ME! In every cell and deeply concerned/ interested in every detail of my life — my very being.

Oh my goodness! Is this just how I perceive the genders? Or did I accidentally open the door to a more “intimate” connection with You? I certainly do not want to go back. It isn’t so much that my cognitive understanding changed. I have “believed” for some time that You were “Willing; Wanting; and WAITING” to be invited in to every nook and corner of my being. But what happened here was a flood of FEELING. It wasn’t that You wanted. It was that You WERE!!!

Feelings are so vivid and compelling.

So, I am sharing.

Posted in Attention, Feeling our feelings, gender universes, LOVE, Mothers, Mothers and Fathers, Prayer, praying, The Endless Flow of God's Love

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.

I just thought this was worth reposting . . .
Posted in connecting

Meaning as an Essential Nutrient for Health

Good Day, God

While chatting with my wonderful husband, Kit, about how his older brother had died in his early 80’s while he, Kit was still alive at 88, I commented that church goers statistically live longer than non-church goers. I think by church goers it was referring to people with an active faith community.

But, as I said the words, it hit me! Having a sense of Meaning — helps us withstand the vicissitudes of life. And that reminded me of Fr. Rohr’s summation on meaning:
A trust in inner coherence itself. “It all means something!” (Faith)
A trust that this coherence is positive and going somewhere good. (Hope)
A trust that this coherence includes me and even defines me. (Love)

When I look at this image of Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh which has a photo of galaxies superimposed on it — I feel full of faith, hope and love. Perhaps, because the heavens do declare the Glory of God. Maybe because like this reminds me of the creative gifts we all have been given.

But health? Ah yes . . . when I awake in the middle of the night. . . filled with regrets of things done and left undone. . . I turn toward these beliefs. I can repent and ask to be forgiven. I can ask for enough love and compassion to forgive myself. I am, in short in a loving and meaningful universe.

Yes, I am in the same world as everyone else. A world of injustice, cruelty and pain. A world filled with creatures like me who have been given free will. Sigh . . . You have put this world into our hands . . . . People ask — how can God allow this. Well, God, as You know, I have also yelled at You: HOW CAN YOU ALLOW THIS.

When I pause to listen, I hear words out of scripture like
Pray for those in authority over you.
Pray for those who despitefully use you.
Bless bless, and do not curse.ove

Sigh — a big sad sigh. And I ask You — how will that help? And I seem to hear, It will help YOU. Praying for people isn’t about You changing them. It is about YOU changing ME! Alas my work seems to be — not about changing others but about changing ME. And even then, it is more about my praying the Welcoming Prayer. Welcoming Your Indwelling Spirit and opening to whatever YOU might want to help with.

And, I have noticed that there is nothing “magic” about prayer. Changing requires my full consent — even into my unconscious — and my slow hard work of cooperation. Dang! But, learning to value slow — instead of my former almost idolatry of fast — is helping.

So, I press on . . . with Hope and Faith and Love.

Posted in Centering Prayer, Choosing Meaning, connecting, Faith, health, hope, LOVE, Meaning, Prayer, resiliency, small meaningful moments, The daily details of love, the gift of persistent love, Welcoming, Welcoming Prayer

Adventures in Personal Responsibility

Good Afternoon, God

I have given up the idea of growing up! I am just trying to grow toward up. In truth, it I were to try to define up — I wouldn’t know where to begin. Well, not quite true. I am working on some of the ways in which I can become “responsible” for myself.

I’m smiling. I’ve always been willing to be responsible for others! Or other things/tasks. Let’s face it. Things or tasks seem to require someone who wants to be responsible for them. People — our fellow human beings — mostly dislike it. Sigh. Most of us could size up another person in the twinkling of an eye and plan out a clear set of future goals and plans. I surely think I could. But, I have learned to resist offering my ideas.

Any Mother knows — or is learning –offering suggestion not wise. Or, as my oldest daughter told me — years ago — please don’t give me advice! It just means it will take me longer to get there.

This is an activity I am working on right now — in real time, so to speak. My wonderful husband and I are both adjusting through our 80’s. But, although we are both adjusting, I see myself as the one best suited to adjust. And, need I say, adjusting/changing is not something I do quickly or well. However, I find myself blessed to “Repeat” situations — as I slowly work toward learning.

Perhaps the most useful words I have encountered are from the Welcoming Prayer “I welcome everything that comes to me today, because I know it is for my healing.’ By healing — I take it to mean — ongoing growth in personal responsibility. Or as Paula D’Arcy put it — God comes to us disguised as Life.

Posted in connecting, growing toward up, learning, Personal Responsibilty, trying vs learning, unlearning, Welcoming Prayer

The Power of Pausing

Good Morning, God

A New Year, a New Day . . . we are given many opportunities to PAUSE and to RECONSIDER. 

This whole idea of pausing has been trying hard to get my attention and enlarge itself. Funny to think that a word/concept “wants” to do anything. But, that is what it feels like.

It might have begun when I set up a “Pause and Consider” preset time on my Insight Timer App. Gosh, that was several years ago. Then in mid-November my wonderful husband Kit and I started to begin our days sitting by the local coffee shop on the marina. Experiencing the coming of the light — the beginning of a new day.

Sigh . . . a happy hopeful sigh.

This morning I recounted to a friend the story of how — at around six or seven — my brother and I had found a 4×4 board with a large nail sticking up out of it. Right there in front of us! I was instantly consumed with the vision of myself — balancing on that large nail — and twirling! 

Well, as I was only shod in tennis shoes, no twirl — just KERPLOP and a puncture wound. My younger brother — determined to DO what his big sister couldn’t do — also tried . . . with his kerplop and ran home to our mother with his puncture wound.

My mother — worried about tetanus — sent me back to check and see if the nail was rusty. Once there, my vision grabbed me once again. Yes, I had another foot, and I tried again to TWIRL. With clearly obvious results. 

I don’t share this story on myself often. And when I do, the response is usually disbelief!  You are kidding me! The implication being that no one could be THAT stupid! But, in telling the story on myself, I never feel stupid . . . what I feel is the POWER of VISION. Even yet, I can feel the strength of my “wanting” and desiring. My “Optimism” . . . fueled by the power of Determination and Persistence. 

Iʻm smiling, God. Iʻm grateful for both optimism and persistence. It is, however, a cautionary tale.

Posted in Cautionary tales, Optimism, pausing, Persistence, Reflecting, The power of images, Vision

Small Acts of Adoration

Good Morning, God!

It seems like such a long long time since I posted a blog. A friend gave me the words to explain why — Unscheduled and Nonnegotiable — I added: life in the Care Giving Lane. The good news is that my wonderful husband, Kit, it just about back to where he was before he was laid LOW by a bad UTI — that is, a urinary tract infection.

Kit had to regain his ability to walk.
I am so thankful, God, that he has.

But, rejoicing, all to often, gives way to my “acts of encouragement” — i.e., stand up straight, you can do it, just one more time — nagging. . .?

I would like to say it is a “fine line” between rejoicing at where we are and pushing toward where I’d like us to go. Alas, it is no contest. Pausing to rejoice is not yet been build firmly or frequently into my days.

However, we have added one significant PAUSE to our days. Since mid-November we have gotten up and gone down to the marina to watch the sun come up — every day. I have thought this might have been because Jack Kruse has pushed this for years as the way to reset our inner circadian clocks.

But, now that I am observing the effects of doing this — I am giving You, God, the credit. Observing the sunrise has become a participatory activity. I am more and more responding with rejoicing — with an awe that slides into adoration.

The Heavens DO declare the Glory of God.

Tagged with:
Posted in Adoration, Awe, beauty, Circadian Rhythms, connecting, Glorious, pausing

Stolen Focus — a Systemic Situation

Stolen Focus — a must read

Good Day, God

Iʻve been READING again! I mean WHOLE books! And I have just learned WHY and how we all have the power to regain our ability to read and think. First of all, research shows that for the last 130 years our ability to pay attention has been dropping. No, it isnʻt just me . . . it isnʻt just you. It is US! Sune Lehmann, a professor of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at the Technical University of Denmark conducted studies to determine if it was just him — or if Society was actually changing.

Once he established it was indeed changing — he then designed a complex mathematical model to see if he could find out the various causes. One HUGE factor emerged. “You just have to flood the system with more information. The more information you pump in, the less time people can focus on any individual piece of it.” (page 32)

“We are collectively experiencing a more rapid exhaustion of attention resources.” What to do? We just need to live within the limits of our attention resources. Of course! Just like we live within our calorie budget and our financial budget. Yes, God, that does put it in perspective for me. . . as I am both a bit overweight and using a loan to make home improvements.

But it did help me to understand my bouts or insomnia. The middle of the night is as empty as my life gets. Kit is asleep. Our children back on the mainland are asleep. And questions I had intended to ask myself during the day — pop up! And I can actually find some answers — actually make plans. Dare I say, God, that You might find it easier to get my attention then too?

Two last thoughts: First, as I look around at the clutter on my desk, I realize just simple clutter makes it harder to focus. Second, the author Johann Hari, talks about the professor seeing a photo of Mark Zuckerberg standing in front of a room full of people all wearing virtual reality headsets. Mark was the only one “in reality.” And the professor realizes that soon there will be an upper class who ARE very aware of the need to protect their attention limits and their children’s — and then there will be the rest of us.

Kind of feel like that is now. . . Johann Hari goes on to explore 12 plus other factors that are making it difficult for us to focus. And I will continue to read and think and respond.

In the meantime — I’m continuing my no news policy — except print. And silencing all notification my phone makes. And treasuring silence. Maybe even clear out some clutter? Hmm? Do I hear a need for more contemplative prayer time?

Posted in Attention Limits, Centering Prayer, choices, choosing HARD, Choosing Meaning, Choosing to respond, connecting, Distrations, Information Overload, Prayer, Rethinking, Stress, Thinking and Feeling, Thinking deeply, Welcoming Prayer

Time, Tides, and Timelessness

Kaimana Beach this morning as the tide was coming in

Good Day, God

I have to laugh at my title. This morning, I checked the tide calendar and noted what time I would have to arrive at the beach before the tide began coming in. I love getting into the water at low tide as the sand has settled and the water is clear enough for me to SEE.

I love what I see in the water. This morning I began by keenly observing the bits of worn coral and shell –mostly coral. I love pieces that have a hole thought them. But, any odd bit will delight me. This morning I was visualizing how good a spoonful of tiny worn bits would look glued to a copper pendant.

So God, when I got to the reef and began seeing the fish — You can imagine my JOY. Of course, I particularly love the Moorish Idols with their long, elegant top fin. A rare sighting of a Yellow Tang will cause a gasp of delight. Baby Convict Fish . . . or a school of the larger ones . . . again bring a surge of JOY. I suppose it is in those moments that I feel embedded in Timelessness.

Timelessness. Non-Time. Kairos. Flow. All these words are trying to describe a shift out of Chronos. Out of limits and limitations. Or perhaps just out of Time that can be measured? Or out of Time as Control?

These are thoughts bouncing around in my being as I am in a Time set aside for me to rebuild, recharge and basically Take Care of Myself. This is almost possible because my wonderful husband it in Rehab and therefore I HAVE TIME. My problem is that I seemed to have missed lessons on self care. Time alone. Time in Centering Prayer. Time at the beach. Time sharing with dear friends. These I do. These are things I can control.

But, sigh. Then comes sleeping. And there are nights when I do sleep well. But then there are others where my Mind wakes up and says — we really must research this! OR look that up! Or READ THIS. For heavens sakes what do you mean SLEEP? Or, sure, you can sleep right after you finish the blog you began this morning. Hmmm. We will see.

More on the vast variety of Tides — tomorrow, I hope.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in beauty, compassion to care for myself, connecting, delight, hearing myself, JOY, loving myself, Needed Repair Time, opportunities to forgive myself, recovery time, Self Care, self care as self compassion and humility, self-care, time, Wanting a protected time

Embracing this moment — as it is

The Chagall windows at Reims cathedral

Good Morning, God

I will be off soon to visit my wonderful husband, Kit, in the Care Center of Honolulu. I really wanted him HOME with me. Because, it isn’t just “LOVE” . . . it is a very primal attachment! In sixty three years this has been the second longest time apart. Sigh. . . however, I am slowly realizing that it would have drained my batteries past any healthy recharging if I had been allowed to continue being with him.

This is not something that I wanted to know or face. My atavistic instinct was/is to STAY TOGETHER . . . rather like the captain going down with her ship, I guess. I’m smiling, God. Laughing and crying seem to be part of this amazing series of “adjustments” as we enter the last portion of our lives. UPS and DOWNs ABOUND!

Yes, God, this being human is an amazing ride! What an understatement! I have been devouring the book by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor on Whole Brain Living. I knew my left and right brains “thought” differently, but I had no idea that they FELT differently! Imagine! TWO amygdalae — the left one acting as a bridge across time to assess the level of danger. The right one — staying in the NOW to assess danger. Jill creates /four Characters to help us get a somewhat better grip on what ALL is going on inside our brain. WOW! Fortunately daughter Sandy is joining me in our quest for understanding and Suz comes in with Jungian wisdom. How blessed I am with our beloved daughters!!!

And then yesterday while we were together with Kit, our hanai daughter, Michelle, gave me Henri Nouwen’s book Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World. And, there it was so simply put. You love us, God. You see us as Your Beloved. Each and every one of us. ONLY YOU CAN DO THAT! I am only sometimes apprehended by that reality. Just a moment now and then . . . as I return. . . slowly . . . to the NOW . . .

Slowly returning to the NOW in which YOU DWELL . . . embracing each tiny moment as it is . . . relaxing into Your Love . . .breathing in . . . being breathed . . . and welcoming Your Indwelling Spirit. Accepting Your Love.

Holding it tight as I move on to yet another transition and adjustment . . .

Posted in Beloved Community, connecting, God as an Ongoing Gift, healing, LOVE, Ongoing Transformation, Peace, power and peace and gentleness, The daily details of love, The Endless Flow of God's Love, the gift of persistent love, Transitions

Fat as a Factor

https://www.primalbody-primalmind.com/primalfatburner/

Good Afternoon, God!

Fat has been a factor in my family’s life since the late 1990s. Our oldest daughter, Suzanne, was suffering from debilitation PMSD. Every month! So, desperate to help we arranged for her to see the EXPERT on the subject at UCLA’s school of medicine. Our daughter and the expert talked — the expert telling Suz, “My you are well read.” And it ended with the expert saying — THERE IS NOTHING THAT WILL HELP BUT PROZAC

Our daughter thought that there MUST be something — besides that. So she asked me to do a little more research. I found that flaxseed oil was supposed to help. Suz got some and tried it — that month was much less bad! And as she explored various omega 3 rich oils the problem all but disappeared

Jump ahead to 2013. My beloved husband had not been his usual good natured self for some time. Suzanne urged me to set up two day-by-day containers of omega 3 rich supplements for him to take during the week I was going to be off island visiting her in California. I did as she suggested. And we returned together. The difference was astonishing! Gone was the contentious relationship he had had with her! It was like his True Self was free to express itself! And both the supplements and his good humor have continued!

I have shared my experiences — and maybe a couple of friends have “heard” me. Mind you, God, lots of them HAVE problems that would be helped. But, hey! Most folks like to stay on a more conventional path. So, in order to do a better job of sharing, I decided I would share part of a post from one of the readers of this book:

eallingSome years ago in support of my husband’s then high cholesterol, I put my family on a low-fat/low cholesterol diet. I bought a book by the American Heart Association and followed that. Always fairly healthy previously, I begun to have a number of health issues slowly appear from non-stop heart palpitations and hormonal fluctuations to anxiety, depression, and extreme insomnia. My youngest son began to have extreme behavioral issues and problems with self-regulation and then finally, severe depression in 3rd grade. Making a long story short, much of what I learned from Nora’s first book, Primal Body Primal Mind, helped transform my life and that of my son’s. Now, six years later for me, and 5 for my son, our lives continue to be exponentially better and we are no longer on medications (the meds have been gone for years too). In Primal Fat Burner, I especially resonate with the chapter, Think Fat as I am quite certain our brains were inflamed and starved of fat and while my son was healing, I saw a direct correlation with his behavior and the balance of fat and starchy carbohydrates

So God, following what FEELS like Your Leading, I am sending this out into the Wider World. I’m Praying it will help someone . . . especially the children!

A postscript: fat must be fat from grass-fed animals or wild animals. Liquid fats from seed oils are very high in omega 6 fats — the slow fats. And very low in omega 3 fats — the fast fats that our brains love!

Posted in a prayer for healing, connecting, Curiosity, Eating for health, Expand my Heart, experimentation, Experts and THE EXPERT, healing, health, web of life

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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