To praise you for an amazing sunrise? That’s almost automatic! But, to seriously consider praising You for ALL things . . . PROBLEMS even? Sigh, that is best begun with very small steps. But, after chatting with the younger of my beloved daughters, I have been moved to try to list a few of the benefits that I have experienced.
First, Praising You for a Problem sets that problem inside a much BIGGER CONTEXT. I do believe nothing is impossible to YOU. Right away the problem seems less overwhelming. And I have a bit more emotional room to focus on possible options I might take.
Secondly, when I focus on the Problem my body secrete stress hormones and other toxic chemicals. Yikes! Anger and Fear and Hopelessness are bad for my health and bad for creating options. The very act of praising You for the Problem slowly helps my body relax and return to the parasympathetic state where cleaning and healing take place. Perfect Love does cast out Fear . . . and even my imperfect attempts really help!
Thirdly, as I praise You for a problem or situation, I feel like I “expand.” The problem seems smaller and takes up less room inside me. Praising You for the problem seems to SLOWLY OPEN me up to HOPE and that opens “doors” inside me for Your Love and Help to seep in. Sometimes they seem to FLOOD in!
It strikes me that this is somehow related to Your command to PRAY for those that persecute us (or the planet) . . . but that will have to wait for another blog.
I watched Ms. Cadwalladr’s talk on TED . She talked about how many lies were posted on Facebook during the Brexit elections. And was struck by the difficulty of fighting lies that pop up on our Facebook feed and then disappear. The memory lingers on. But there is no “paper copy” so to speak. And that absence of evidence makes it hard to refute and to prosecute for libel.
Alas, Facebook could provide “evidence” but chooses not to do that. And perhaps because of the number and volume of the lies produced they have so far refused to monitor them. Although that may be changing.
Free speech is really free money. The folks producing the lies are backed by big money. How easy to say . . . they have a right to their opinion! And pocket the money.
It makes me think of Justice Oliver Wendell Homes declaring that free speech does not give a person the right to falsely cry FIRE in a crowded theatre.
And indeed these “ads” are fueling the fires of fear, hate and division. Myself, God. I am trying hard not to be inflamed. Trying to pray FOR people — including myself!
If ever there was a time for mutual respect and charity it is now! So help me keep balanced. Help me release fear. Help me choose love.
Well, I am now at the point of knowing that I NEED to do my Centering Prayer twice a day. I’m not up to 30 minutes, yet. But, I can feel the changes happening in me. I’m tempted to list possible changes. . . but, the best testimonial I can give is that my oldest daughter said to my youngest:
Centering Prayer is the best thing that ever happened to Mom!
So, come on in to our online chapel and join us . . . sitting in silence . . . with one another . . . with the intention of inviting God in to do whatever.
My wonderful husband Kit is well, and while he has signed up to run the Kauai half marathon in September, he no longer aspires to run marathons. And he is working with me on balancing exercises!
Last year the concept of Personal Responsibility slowly unfolded itself. I used to think of being personally responsible as mostly outer focused. Was I being a responsible member of the family and community? But, more and more I am understanding that personal responsibility starts with being responsible for ME. Responsible for my variety of Inner Beings who each bring gifts. They want to be acknowledged, respected and deployed. But, of course, they don’t all want or need the same things. This requires balancing!
Actually, just as learning also involves unlearning, balancing involves REBALANCING! And indeed, last year involved a lot of rebalancing! First of all, I have come (finally!) to appreciate my body and to realize I am responsible for caring for her! Oh! She just reminded me that I have more rebalancing to do. And that is true! But my respect for her is growing! And specific actions and changes that she wants are being sketched out.
I have to say that doing Centering Prayer twice a day has really helped my inner awareness. I had no idea how much I needed Your help! And I am looking forward to more help from You in 2020. I have lot more rebalancing to do.
The planets and moon are predictable . . . their paths known. Not so we humans who have been given the power to make choices. I hadn’t thought about this as a key part of being human until I read Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. He was in a German Concentration camp and saw that many people died soon after entering. So he asked a long time surviver how he did it. The man told him that one purposes of the camp was to take away the ability to make choices. He said, I have only four choices: On / Off and In / Out. But, I work at exercising those choices!
That story keeps coming to mind when I think about making choices. And, it reminds me that “not making a choice” IS a choice. I realize that most of my choices are within a fairly narrow range. Habits and patterns prescribe most of my days activities. And I LIKE my comfortable range of choices! I like my life as it is!
But when our grandson, Ian, went to a Climate Rally . . . holding a sign that said, I STAND WITH GRETA . . . it called me to make new choices. This afternoon I put away the two loads of clothes that I had hung up to dry indoors. (We are in a townhouse with no outside clothes line.) Cutting down on using the dryer is such a small thing I’m embarrassed to share it. BUT, it was the third time I’d done it. And I realized that it felt easier this time.
I am becoming conscious of the fact that there ARE choices for me to make. And I’m aware that I have to WORK at making them.
And as I do my small acts of hope I think of Vaclav Havel’s quote: “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
I love silhouettes! That way I don’t invade people’s privacy. And these folks — either going out or coming back from surfing — caught the JOY of the morning. Then too, there is the BLUE of the water and the sky . . . which I figure must be one of Your favorite colors. It is surely one of mine!
Actually ALL COLORS are favorites of mine. Seeing Moorish Idols fish with their yellow stripes with the black and white stripes brought me joy. Even the black and white Convict Tang were a joy!
My wonderful husband Kit suggested last night that we could go to the beach this morning. I really appreciated that because he is not a “Water Rat” the way I am. So he takes off his shoes and socks and walks around on the sand . . . working on his balance and grounding . . . while I snorkel away.
Our trip to the beach was such a good example of the blessing of being in the NOW. Yes, there are problems and worries . . . and even fears ahead. But, I am learning that RIGHT NOW is almost always wonderful. And I am also learning that my imagination is almost always worse than reality.
Then too, I have been through AWFUL TIMES and YOU were there with me. And I made it through to the other side. Not with out pain and loss and sorrow. But with HOPE.
I guess, God, that believing that You do love us and will not simply abandon us . . . is a VAST COMFORT! Perhaps that was why it was so easy this morning to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the beach. And the joy of being alive!
I’ve been thinking of just what I can do to lower my contributions to Global Warming. My wonderful husband Kit challenged me to Make a List! Then as I was centering the other night — a Brand New Thought for the List entered my head.
BE LESS JUDGMENTAL and ANGRY
Could my indignation and “righteous anger” be contributing to the warming of our planet? Good Heavens! I wanted to argue. But, golly! It felt RIGHT!
Hmm. So, Jesus really meant it when he said, But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you [and the planet.]
Fortunately, there were a few other (easier) ideas: 1) give money to Nature Conservancy who are planting a billion trees. 2) try for 2 out of 7 showers to be short each week. 3) batch my Amazon purchases . . . pretend I pay for shipping! 4) batch my errands and trips. 5) maybe have a no car day once in a while? 6) use the clothes hanger I got at least one load a week. 7) batch washing — fewer but bigger loads save energy . 8) turn off all the electronic in my office when I go to bed. 9) turn off lights when ever I can. (I used to resist this as a moth.) 10) more veggies and less meat.
All of this takes HOPE. It take FAITH. It takes EFFORT. It takes believing that everyone matters and that everything matters — no matter how small. Thankfully, You gave us the example of Greta Thunberg to encourage me.