The Joy of Beauty

The flower of a Dragon Fruit. Photo by Tina Yap

Good Day, God

At first I was going to describe this as a night blooming cereus bloom. But, then the friend who took the photo called us and I asked her if that is what it was. She told me it was from her Dragon Fruit plant. She rarely calls us — so I considered her timely call a gift! Accuracy it important.

Although, flowers can be appreciated without names. One just has to stop and admire. The same is true of people. One can smile, nod and chat without learning a name. But naming — learning the correct name — is important. To me, it feels like I then have shifted them into a more appreciated part of my brain. It is as if my brain has distinct territories. Or is that my heart?

But what is also special about this blossom — is the briefness of its existence. Perhaps because we live IN TIME we value duration. However the Japanese have an expression that basically says that this is MORE to be valued BECAUSE it is so fleeting. I feel this way about this flower. STOP. LOOK. SEE. APPRECIATE. It will not be here tomorrow.

Ah…..Mindfulness! Living as fully as we can in the NOW. Yet, still being aware of our need to see the present as part of the path to the future. Questions like how much to save? How much to spend? Labels like Grasshopper and Ant spring to mind. But those are Labels, not names. And I am very wary of labels.

Will I begin my day with a walk or dark chocolate? Both, I hope! So many tiny decisions. And my Life is an ongoing mosaic of them all.

Posted in connecting, appreciation, time, the joy of sharing, taking time to focus, recovery time, Wanting a protected time, beauty, JOY, mindfulness, simple joys of daily life, Needed Repair Time, Enjoyment, an invitation to abundant life, Abundant Life, setting my life in context

Finding a new Tool Belt

Good Morning, God

In an article in Design for Humanity (put out by the Princeton School of Engineering and Applied Sciences) They asked questions to help us access our creativity. “How does a bus driver avoid a ticket passing a stop sign, turning the wrong way?” The answer: he is walking!

Sigh, I sure suffer from that one. But, it goes deeper than just arranging for help. In one of my Centering Prayer Times it came to me that “Being Meticulous” would solve some of my problems — quite a few, actually. But, I am unwilling to (and probably unable) to change who I am. . . or at least change who I see myself as.

Of course! I too get stuck in Roles and Self Images. Plus, there is a huge assortments of rules and limits that we are mostly not aware of. Another example is a friend who isn’t going to travel to a special event. There are limitations and problems to be sure. But it hit me that maybe he thinks he has to do it without arranging for help?

Then it came to me that I could have a Meticulous Tool Belt! WOW! I would just buckle it on over my carefree me, and get busy! Daughter Sandy suggested it could have different pairs of glasses in it — some to see Spaces and Others to look at Times.

I am totally delighted God! This is an exciting way to explore ways of being and doing in a playful way. Like all new ideas — it will be in development for a while! I am in day 3 and just beginning. But for me this “New Image” is an enormous help!

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Posted in accepting my authority to set limits, Changing, connecting, Play, The difficulty of changing

Considering Various Types of Rest

Puakenikeni

Good Evening, God

It never occurred to me that there “kinds” of rest. But then I listened to Kendra Adachi’s Lazy Genius Podcast #258 and she talked about SEVEN kinds of rest. As she said — she just made this list up! It isn’t scientific, just antidotal — but useful!

Number one: RELAX . . . as in maybe just slow down? I remember when a dear friend share the lyrics, “Slow DOWN, you’re goin too fast. You want to make the moment last.” I resonated! And the melody is catchy and I love repeating it. Relaxing is something we might have to learn to do. Especially, the idea of relaxing in the moment — between actions or during actions.

Number two: RESET . . . Kendra describes it as “putting something draining, back on track.” It could be as simple as a pile of mail from several days. Or it could be setting a relationship back on track. But, basically it comes after attending to something that needed to be done for your sake.

Number three: RECHARGE . . . this is what I am needing. I saw it when I worked in a retirement community. Women caring for loved ones — even with amazing help — grew drained. Batteries were into red. Completely drained batteries take longer to recharge. They only seem to do a slow trickle charge.

Number four: YOU NEED A BREAK . . .this is when you are in a season of life that is demanding. You want to be where you are. . . but, still, you need a break. This requires help. And you need to believe you need breaks and can actually arrange for them. (I’m working on this one.)

Numbers five, six and seven: . . . are variations on YOU NEED A BREAK. Kendra talks about proactive planning when you know a hard time is before you. Plan breaks just before, during and most definitely AFTER. She talked about teachers using Spring Breaks . . . tax accountants taking a break in March. I’m very grateful to Kendra Adachi and her Lazy Genius Way for bringing this whole idea to my attention.

How creative will I permit myself to become? And how deeply am I understanding my vulnerability?

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Posted in A weekly day of rest, days of rest as conservation days?, Needed Repair Time, recharging my battery, recovery time, relaxation, renewing, rest, sabbath rest, taking time to focus, time, Wanting a protected time

One of the Beloved Community

photo by Julian Rad from the 3/4 2022 issue of National Wildlife

Good Evening, God

This photo of a European ground squirrel with a tiny aster — moved me. There was such a delicacy of touch and of awareness present. And tonight as I was beginning Brothers in the Beloved Community: The Friendship of Thich That Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr. I remembered this photo.

I’m smiling, God, but it seems to me that this small ground squirrel is one of the Beloved Community. A creature living in peace with one another. A creature treasuring other portions of creation like this flower. I first heard the phrase “Beloved Community” back in early 2019. I immediately longed to be part of a beloved community. At the time, I referred to our church as our beloved community.

But, that is too small a way to understand this phrase. At least, God, my heart is creating her own understanding, in which all creatures desiring to dwell in harmonious appreciation of one another are part of the Beloved Community. Now, desiring is — at least for me — often very far from actually dwelling. But, being as unfinished as we are — I am hoping our intentions and desires do matter.

And for me, just the phrase — Beloved Community — calls me to be. Calls me to compassion, to appreciation of each one of us as we are …. Calls me to respect — to an honoring — of each one with the flame of life.

And each one of us has a small path to travel lightly on. Travel without crushing the spirit of any of those traveling along side.

Aaah, back to bed. Preparing for a new day.

Posted in Beloved Community, Choosing to respond, Honoring, personal responsibility, Personal Responsibilty, respect, Responding

The First Monday after Easter

The full moon as seen from our dining room window. The lights are from the park and elementary school.

Good Evening, God

Today seemed special — well, today IS special. It is the first Monday after Lent. I was trying to find out what this season is called. All I could find was Ordinary Time. Hmmm. It does not feel ordinary at all! It feels as if everything has changed — everything has been infused with HOPE and MEANING. At least, this is how I am feeling today. I like it so much that I am going to try and keep counting until we get to Pentecost. Forty Days?

I just looked it up and 40 days takes us to the feast of the Ascension. Then, ten more days until Pentecost. So I am going to see if I can develop SEEING each one of these days as special. I mean, every day is special. But, I feel as if this simple exercise of counting will help me appreciate each day.

Appreciation — looking for miracles in the ordinary. As one who “believes,” I feel that everything is a miracle. Full moons. Crescent moons. The fact that the disc of the moon exactly covers the disc of the sun — permitting eclipses!

The joy of starlight. And, alas, how seldom I am out in nature to SEE the overwhelming star studded sky. So many joys — waiting to be seen!

Posted in appreciation, clapping our hands in joy, delight, Enjoyment, JOY

The soft power of love and forgiveness

Rembrandt’s Dinner Emmaus — painted in 1648

Good MORNING, God!

Before church I got my best Easter message from a writer who normally deals in history and world events. He was talking about how the power of love and forgiveness has transformed the world and still has the power to transform the world. Of course, God, first we must let “the same Great Spirit the raised Christ Jesus from the dead” work in us.

Your Spirit is always springing forth! Willing and WANTING to embrace us with LOVE. Willing and WANTING to HEAL us and RESTORE us. Folks to not need to be nominally Christian — and I think of Gandhi and Thich That Hanh — to express Your Spirit of Compassion. Or the “Power of Extravagant Tenderness” as Father Boyle expressed it.

So, God! This morning I am awakening to Your Word in a new way. A way of HOPE. A way of LOVE. A way of FORGIVING — myself and all others.

With YOU all things are POSSIBLE!

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Posted in asking for and accepting forgiveness, being FORGIVEN by God, developing helpful definitions of love, Forgiven!, Forgiving, LOVE, opportunities to forgive myself, Peace, power and peace and gentleness, The Endless Flow of God's Love, the gift of persistent love

An Easter Hallelujah — by Leonard Cohen

sung by Cassandra Star and Callahan

Good Evening, God

I just saw this and longed to share it. Yes, even to folks who have heard it a million times. This is just an ethereal version. Apparently it was recorded by these sisters for their grandparents.

An image is worth a thousand words. How much more when combined with music. I am so thankful . . . thankful for Easter . . . for life . . . for life eternal . . . however You do that.

The other day I was waxing exuberant about the Golden Plovers getting ready to fly from Hawaii to Alaska. What is even MORE amazing, I said to my wonderful husband, Kit, their babies fly from Alaska to Hawaii and they haven’t ever even been here!

There was a pause — and then Kit said, “God wants us to be amazed.”

Posted in Amazing, an invitation to abundant life, Awe, setting my life in context, web of life

Abba, Forgive us . . .

Good Friday, God

Sigh, You forgive us — because You love us. And all you seem to ask is that we go and forgive others. Not those seeking forgiveness. Everyone! I remember reading how Fr. Rohr said that God loves God’s enemies. That statement hit me dead center! Of course! Your nature is love. And so You LOVE and forgive.

Now, it has taken me a very long time — and I am probably not there yet — to see that You look on our Hearts. And my heart is just like everyone else’s heart. Capable of goodness and hatefulness. I am especially capable of Hatefulness when I am JUDGING others. Judging them from my position of “goodness” and “correctness”. Oh dearie me.

Listening to Father Boyle’s latest book — The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness — has been overwhelming. Father Boyle is responsible for the world’s largest gang intervention program. But, it is the former gang members who are really running the various businesses. There is an 18 month training program — but in essence what happens is that everyone there is looking to find the goodness in one another. It is there! It is waiting for someone to see it. To see it faithfully enough so that the person comes to see it too.

Extravagant Tenderness is being poured forth — from You, into us, and then into one another. Sounds like the antidote to all the ills of the world. If only we would know how much we are being forgiven. . . for those who have been forgiven much . . . love much.

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Posted in asking for and accepting forgiveness, being FORGIVEN by God, developing helpful definitions of love, Forgiven!, Forgiving, LOVE, opportunities to forgive myself, The daily details of love, The Endless Flow of God's Love

Unfurl your sails — the Winds of Love are blowing

A training ship of the Polynesian Voyaging Society

Good Evening, God

This morning, early, as I was Centering, my Sacred Word* changed itself! I had started with “unfold” as in unfolding a blanket. Midway through, it became “Unfurl” as in unfurl your sails. And I felt as if that was addressed — not just to me — but to each and every one of us.

For surely, the Wind of the Spirit, is once again blowing over the waters. Calling us to turn away from Fear. Calling us to turn away from Hate. Calling us to care — to dare — and to set sail — blown by the Winds of Love.

I wanted to share. But what image? I thought of the clipper ships that set speed records just prior to the age of steam. Or maybe the galleons of exploration? But, no, not those. I wanted one of the Polynesian Voyaging Society sailing ships that had traveled the Pacific and circumnavigatined our Earth — using the Old Ways.

What better image could I have of people bringing a dream into a profound and moving reality. And that is just what we need now. To rediscover the Old Ways. To IMAGINE a thousand better futures.

  • The sacred word is not “sacred” in itself. It is a symbol of our willingness to consent to the presence and action of the Indwelling Spirit within us. It is used when we find our mind has wandered, to reaffirm our intention to consent to the Spirit’s presence and action within us.
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Posted in Centering Prayer, connecting, Imagination, imagining, LOVE, The Endless Flow of God's Love, water and love

We come: bleeding and believing

Even familiar paths seem darker

Good Morning, God

The scripture this morning was Mark 5 — about the woman with the issue of blood being healed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. I really identified, God. Maybe women feel this story more than men. Twelve years! And, the society made her “unclean” — a societal leper — making anything she touched unclean!

Our pastor Mary went on to say that she had come “bleeding and believing.” Wow! That phrase hit me. We are all invited to come — bleeding and believing — to be healed.

I am real clear on the bleeding. Alas, my believing could use a lot of help. Do I believe You can heal? YES! I DO! But, I falter when I am believing You will heal me. And I fall down flat, when it comes to believing You will heal our World. Why? I believe it is Your Desire to heal! But, I have this feeling that I have to 1) want to be healed and 2) follow Your instructions to receive healing.

So, God? What would be so awful about healing us against our will?

Oh, hmmm. It is this “free will” thing. And free will bleeds into our “personal responsibility” thing. Yes! I sort of understand. We are Your Children. We are not Your Puppets. And so . . . I mess up. We as species mess up . . . mess up frequently and horribly. Freedom is messy. But, perhaps it is WHY we are here on Planet Earth?

Please help me. Help me to redouble my efforts to offer to You the Sacrifice of Praise (Hebrews 13:15). Praise founded only on trust. . . what little I have.

Posted in a prayer for healing, Believing, connecting, Faith, Prayer, praying, Praying for our enemies, Sacrifice, The sacrifice of praise, trust, Trusting God

Blogs I Follow
Brené Brown

chatting and sometimes, listening

Rachel Naomi Remen

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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

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