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.

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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.

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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

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

The Imaginal Realm / and the Hyporheic Zone

Van Gogh grasped the activity of the Starry Night — and here it is, overlaid with photos of galaxies
Margie reading this blog

Good Evening, God

When I first read about the existence of the hyporheic zone beneath natural rivers and streams I was struck by the reality that it was analogous to something important! But WHAT? Then just a few days a dear friend introduced me to the concept of the Imaginal Realm.

Just as the hyporheic zone “flows” below the streams to clean them of pollution and to bring nutrients up to the ground of the stream — so does the Imaginal Realm “flow” above us. I would not dare to try to attribute purposes to it! But I feel as if it also cleans and nourishes all life on our planet. Including, our own dear beleaguered species.

Cynthia Bourgeault is the person who is bringing this to us now — through her book, The Eye of the Heart: a Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm. Although, many of the descriptors she uses are becoming more and more “current”. At least I have been hearing terms like nonduality, synchronous causality, fluid and permeable boundaries and holographic reality for some time. So, what IS this Imaginal Realm?

Well, not imaginary! Apparently, that was a poor translation from Islamic mystics. It is MORE real than the world we live in. More REAL than the world we live in! You know, God, a few decades ago I might have scoffed. But, I am becoming much more aware of how rich and layered and expansive — multidimensional — Your Creation is. And how incredibly little I know or even know of.

Still, the Greeks grasped that there was Kairos as well as Chronos — a radial spatial time as well as a linear, chronos time. So we do dimly sense this “more”. Indeed, as I was sharing what I was beginning to learn with a dear friend, she said — Oh, I’ve always thought something like that existed! Only I never knew how to get there. Then she added, That’s the place where anything is possible.

THE PLACE WHERE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. I thought that was a marvelous summation. But, hey, God! I am only on page 50. There is MORE to come! Thank YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I am looking forward to MORE!

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Posted in Awe, connecting, developing helpful definitions of love, God wants to nourishes us, healing, hope, Hope as a gift from God, Imaginal Realm, LOVE, Our Extended Family - all creatures great and small, The Endless Flow of God's Love, the essential nature of hope, web of life

A NEW Concept/Word/Awareness

Rebuilding the Thornton’s streams hyporheic zone

Good Evening, God

I LOVE stumbling across a new aspect of reality — especially one that seems so analogous.

Natural streams (One You and Mother Nature create) all have a Zone that goes from the bottom or the stream bed to the start of the ground water. This area averages 6-12 feet deep and can extend out even further to either side. This zone is filled with all kinds of bugs and creatures and fauna and flora constituting a sort of microbiome.

It has been called the streamʻs liver or guts. And just like our livers it helps clear up the toxins in the stream! It cleans out pollutants and helps to oxygenate the stream bed. This oxygenating is important. Fish eggs need a certain level of oxygen in the ground they are laid in — to survive.

WHO KNEW? Well, not us. For years we have been scraping streams out and cementing over their sides. Oh yes, and straightening them too. A straight stream is a FAST stream. One that carries a lot more silt that then has to be dredged out and carried away, Plus it eats away at the edges. And overflows.

The Thornton stream empties into Lake Washington in Seattle. Because it regularly flooded homes the project was able to buy up homes and create a more curvy path. These curves — plus logs and things — served to slow the stream. That meant more water sank into the ground water and there was less silt deposited in unwanted places.

The project was only for a small portion of the stream. It was approved in 2014 and it took a while to complete. But, since then the stream has not overflowed its banks and flooded. And by 2018 salmon had returned to spawn. Three to four years to return a damaging unhealthy stream to one where salmon could spawn. Thatʻs about how long it takes to bring dead industrial farmed soil back to “organic” health.

Sigh, what would it take to bring our civilization back to good health in 3-4 years? Is there a spiritual equivalent to the hyporheic zone? Well, maybe! But more on that later!

Posted in a hand up, a new view of Commons, a series of molts and upgrades, clean and tidy, Cleansing, clear waterways, connecting, healing, layer upon layer, learning, Lessons, Making Amends, web of life

Our 63rd Wedding Anniversary — Thank YOU God!

Margie reading Our 63rd Wedding Anniversary — Thank You God!

Good Morning, God!

WOWSIE! Sixty-three years married — and as Kit loves to say, AND ALL TO THE SAME PERSON! Who would have thought it? Although, I did anticipate the 50th wedding anniversary. My family has done well. I am the fourth generation — we are the fourth generation to have celebrated a fiftieth wedding anniversary. But SIXTY? And then 63? WOWSIE!!! INDEED!

Coming out of the restaurant last evening an earnest young woman asked for our “secret” . . . and shared her hope for a long marriage. I gave her an answer — saying we were both good at apologizing! And that really does help. But, then later I started to give it a little thought. And the real “credit” goes to YOU, God. You are the one whose Love Never Fails.

I remember the words of our instructor in the Marriage and the Family course we took at Stanford. Donʻt think you can each do 50 50! Expect periods of having to give 100%. Maybe 110%. You will both fall short. And sometimes at the same time. OH MY, HOW TRUE!

So Kit and I have both “fallen short of the glory of God” as St. Paul says. But the belief that we are loved and forgiven by You has helped us to love and forgive ourselves and each other. And we do love, respect and enjoy each other. But the foundation is that we are fellow humans, created and loved by YOU. That is so much! That foundation means that we can depend on You for a sense of meaning and worth. How wonderful to have You as a “safety net.”

Still. . . Oh my! How can I convey how many adjustments and adaptations have been required. How surprising it was — and still is — to live and love a person of another gender! Thank goodness for Deborah Tannen and her work on gender differences! Now the good news is that Kit is a Good Man. I started to list his virtues but the list got too long and then I realized that wasnʻt the point, anyway! Kit is REAL. He is mine as I am his. We are still enjoying “being with” each other — the touching, the listening and the laughing together.

An extra word on laughter. Kit loves to make me laugh. I think it was Joanne Woodruff who said that being married to a movie star (Paul Newman) was all very well. But being married to a man who made her laugh — was priceless! I agree and I am thankful!

So, yes, I am so Thankful God for the gift of life and the gift of life together with Kit. Yea, GOD!

Me again — reading it.
Posted in asking for and accepting forgiveness, Being ENJOYED by God, being heard into speaking, connecting, Enjoyment, Forgiving, Hearing, hearing myself, Hearts, JOY, LOVE, opportunities to forgive myself, simple joys of daily life, The daily details of love, The Endless Flow of God's Love, the gift of persistent love, the JOY of praying together, the joy of sharing

Blogs I Follow
Brené Brown

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Rachel Naomi Remen

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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.

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