Into the Sea

A hour at Kaimana Beach

Good Evening, God

This has been a wonderful /wonder-illed day. Many moment to savor. Today was my second time in the water for maybe months and I relished it. Having settled my beloved husband in a comfortable regular height chair, I enter the water. After getting mask and fins on — I set off. . . only to be overwhelmed by the small swift silver fish! Thousands of them packed together and yet flowing and darting around as one entangling river. Delight! For several minutes I join them. Join in the joy that radiates from them — from just being together?

Then I move on — only to encounter a slow-moving school of much larger goat fish. The contrast is marvelous. After that I’m off to the rocks near the breakwater . . . looking for the moorish idols . . . but the rocks are empty of fish. Then the much needed swimming! I think of the quote from Isak Dinesen — The cure for anything is salt water. Sweat, tears or the sea.

Moving my body through the water I finally arrive at the natatorium only to be surprised by a very large school of goat fish. Twenty or thirty! The first time I have ever seen such a convocation of goat fish! Then back along the reef seeking my favorites — the moorish idols. I spot a couple! Swimming close together! And next to them two small yellow tang! The first time I have ever seen yellow tang at Kaimana!

Finally, enough exercise — I rush to pour out my adventures to my loving husband — complete with expansive hand gestures as I describe the elegant flowing top fin of the moorish idols.

I feel, God, a little silly trying to share such a profoundly visual experience with words. Words are so tertiary — three steps away from reality. Still, I like to think that my husband shared in the flow of my energy. And, You, God? Surely You must share in our joys — as You do in our sorrows.

Being with. Being together. That is a sharing beyond words.

Posted in appreciation, Awe, beauty, Being ENJOYED by God, Being Together, Being With, Enjoyment, Sharing, the joy of sharing

A Modest Proposal

Wintering; The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

Good Evening, God

This is the second Katherine May book that I have been listening to. I was in the middle of the chapter about her son — at six — finding school unbearable — when the idea came to me. First, I must say, I have only ONE memory of actually learning something in elementary school. That was when a substitute teacher explained about compound and complex sentences. I was delighted! The rest of the time? Moments of shame — being first to sit down in a spelling bee. Being allowed to read Greek myths. But mostly a vast nothingness.

Now, I hear my youngest daughter talk about her job teaching 4th grade. She loves it and she loves her students. But, it is demanding in ways I can barely comprehend. Out of nearly 30 children, 3 have almost full-time Educational Assistants. Others are still learning English. And so on.

Last year when they were transitioning from online learning to in-class learning she had a much smaller class — and it was all joy! Having started with 12 or 15 she was able to create a culture of kindness and mutual respect. That allowed her to gradually add another ten students while maintaining that culture.

Meanwhile our church has decided to hold a meeting to discuss HOW WE COULD PREVENT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS. A worthy endeavor! Of course, limiting access to guns will be the knee-jerk “answer”. I hope some sensible limits will be created. But, focusing on that as THE ANSWER has cultural problems.

That was when my idea popped up. What if we reduced the class sizes in elementary schools by half? That is a POSITIVE step that would benefit everyone. The folks that kill children are profoundly damaged. And our mental health hasn’t been wildly successful — especially if we wait until adulthood. Just having children in small classes might seem minor. But, a small class size allows teachers to invest time and attention in individuals. To actually see those who are in trouble.

Just ONE person who cares — can turn a life around.

People will say IMPOSSIBLE. MONEY!!! COSTS!!! But, I have noticed that there is ALWAYS MONEY FOR WHAT THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE WANT. Frankly, I cannot think of another change that would have a more positive impact on our society.

But hey! Let’s have more out of the box ideas! We need a lot more ideas on how to build a healthier community and country! Please help us, God.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Caring, healing, health, learning, LOVE, praying

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

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!

Tagged with: ,
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?

Tagged with: ,
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!

Tagged with:
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.

Tagged with: , ,
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

Blogs I Follow
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

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