Plumerias and Asking for Help

PlumeriasGood Day, God!

This is the week of Kit’s 65 Punahou Reunion and we were all given yellow plumeria leis at the Kapuna Luncheon. For years we all MADE leis. And they were mostly plumeria.  I think, God, I still have the long lei stringing needles. But, now we buy leis.

I’m thinking about this because some of the class members are going to want to toss flowers of remembrance into the ocean this Sunday. (Note to self . . . go on walk and gather plumerias to take.) Gather is a euphemism . . . because we have no neighbors with trees. . . no one we can ask. So I will look for neglected trees . . .

But, that brings up a topic from this morning . . . HOW DO I  get myself to ask for help? Hmm, actually, God, the real problem is: how do I know that I need help. Sigh.

I have over-embraced my people’s culture of self sufficiency . . . of doing my duty . . . of carrying on . . .  And all of this without even considering if asking for help might be a really good idea. Darn! 

This came to a head this morning when I got cross at our wonderful oldest daughter for getting cross at me (I felt) for eating junk. After a few volleys back and forth elicited some self pity from me I heard her say, “But, I didn’t know! You didn’t tell me!”  I hadn’t. It never occurred to me. I was too busy leaping tall buildings . . . sort of . . . to even consider how I was doing.

But, today I took a step forward! I asked her to call me if she noticed that I hadn’t contacted her for two days! To call and gently but firmly ask “How are you doing, Mom?” She has agreed! The mechanism is in place — now all I have to do is figure out how to humbly check on my inner states.

Practice . . . Practice . . . Practice!

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Posted in accepting my need for help, asking for help for myself, connecting, daughters, Humility or Needing Help!, Pride, Self Care, self care as self compassion and humility, Self sufficiency

Perspective . . . perspectives

Saguaro and me

Good Morning, God!

Here’s a photo of me in Tucson. I was walking with my wonderful daughter, Sandy. I’d stopped to gaze UP at a giant saguaro cactus. I think it is the biggest, tallest, most impressive saguaro I have ever seen. And, of course, I wanted to have my picture taken with it!

Perspective? That’s what I thought at the time. Awe? That too. But, there is more . . .

This saguaro captured my Attention as An Other. Another life form . . . another Being? As I gaze at myself looking up at the saguaro, I find myself contemplating the evolution of life here on our planet. First one celled creatures in the oceans . . . then plants and creatures in the  ocean . . . then plants and creatures on land . . . then us. US as in human beings . . . as thinking beings? And now we are creating silicon/Creatures who are learning to Think! Yikes!

Back to the saguaro. How long have cactus been around? Cactus developed only in the Americas which means they developed AFTER Gondwana split into South America and Africa (145-101 millions years ago). But, cactus — as we know them — might have developed after the Andes rose . . . increasing arid conditions . . . more like 5-10 million years ago.

So much for the Species Perspective, God! I’m humbled. We humans are such a New Species.

But, looking at this saguaro as a fellow being — I put its age at maybe 150 or 200. Not, God, like the sequoia with their 2-3,000 years. Still, more than twice my age. And standing before it is thought provoking!

Meanwhile, I am home today with the sniffles. I’m not really SICK but I am not well either.  It feels as if I am Reassembling myself. An odd term. But, that is what it feels like as I putter and read . . . rest and ponder. Perhaps, God, what I am doing is reassessing myself? And contemplating Perspectives!

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Posted in connecting, Our Extended Family - all creatures great and small, Perspective, perspectives, reassembling, recovery time, time, Wanting a protected time

 Six Key Commandment — Navigating Life

Good Morning, God!

I was going through my drafts on my email — basically emails that hadn’t been sent — and I found this email to myself. It’s a riff on Being a Tree as in Psalm One.

Psalm One — what does it mean to be a tree of life?

I loved the leaves never withering and the bearing fruit in its season but then my thoughts made it down to the Roots of these trees.

Commandments as roots? Here are MY favorite commandments.

  1. Bless bless don’t curse. Cursing is an extreme form of judgment And it clogs our capillaries 
  2. Offer up the sacrifice of praise First fruits of lips that name Jesus as Lord — praise is Trust made audible — the opposite of despair — an antidote to fear.
  3. Confess your sins/shortfalls one to another that you may be healed Sharing — hearing and being heard is powerful when just humans listen. How much more when God listens. And That kind of sharing strengthens the body of Christ
  4. Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice — this is the Power of being with one another. And again it strengthens the community — the body of Christ.
  5. Pray for those who despite fully use you — if your enemy is thirsty give him to drink. Ah, that is the effect of prolonged prayer! We begin to see with God’s eyes and that changes everything — especially us.
  6. Care for the orphan, widow and stranger in your midst — that is seeing Jesus in the Least — and are we not all one of the Least?

I thought but what sort of image for this riff? Images of real roots? And then I saw an image of a map of Singapore — taken when we visited– and realized Your Commandments God, are to help us find our way in Life. Help us navigate. Help us live more love filled lives. Help us be more fruitfully human.

Posted in connecting

The Power of a Name

BougainvilleasGood Morning, God!

I’ve been meaning to write about the importance and power of names for weeks now! I’ve always been — what I charitably call a Name Hawk — ready to correct people who call my friends by an incorrect version of their name. Names ARE important.

Naming others is important! Here is an excerpt from a blog quoting from Madeleine L’Engle’s book, A Wind in the Door[referring to the Echthroi Progo says]
War and hate are their business, and one of their chief weapons is un-Naming – making people not know who they are. If someone knows who he is, really knows, then he doesn’t need to hate. That’s why we still need Namers, because there are places throughout the universe like your planet Earth. When everyone is really and truly Named, then the Echthroi will be vanquished.

I am taking a small step toward doing something about the importance of names. For several weeks I have brought names tags to events at our church and also created a form for people to request an official name tag.   That’s because when I KNOW someone’s name that person moves into a deeper part of my mind and my heart. So learning each others names seem like a way to create a healthier and more welcoming congregation.

Oh, and I just came across another use for names. In the book, Micro Resilience: Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive and Energy the authors quote Dr. Amen as saying, “Often just naming a thought can help take away its power.” I hadn’t thought of that. But, I like the idea that there is power in naming!

There is also power in hearing ourselves say things OUT LOUD. I wonder, God, if that might make naming a thought even more powerful? Speaking the name out loud!  Taking a position of power.  Speaking!

I like that. I am going to try it.

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Posted in Books, connecting, developing helpful definitions of love, LOVE, The Power of Naming, The Power of the Spoken Word

My Wonderful Husband

IMG_6808Good Morning, God!

Yesterday we got the Punahou Bulletin and found the long awaited article on my wonderful husband Kit. And I really wanted to 1) Thank You for him!!! and 2) share the story!  Just one small corrections. I ran a marathon with Kit (in Anchorage) on our 38th wedding anniversary. . . not our 50th!IMG_6809

The Gift of Persistent Love! That is my husband. And that is YOU, God!

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Posted in connecting, Families, LOVE, the gift of persistent love

It’s hard to be a human nowadays

DilbertGood Evening, God!

I laughed out loud when I read this Dilbert comic this morning. A rueful laugh of recognition! We humans are barely able to maintain Continuous Intermittent Attention — let alone real focus. Except, of course, on video games, etc.

But, it isn’t just apps that are addictive, God. There was a study that showed rats preferred oreo cookies to morphine. Sugar is the drug of choice for Western Civilization. And I even found it added to a bag of potato chips. Yikes!

Then there is this little problem with robots. Factory workers have lost jobs to robots. And now it appears that white collar workers are at risk, too. I just read about a robot that was programed to act as a therapist. It turned out that people confided more to her/it than to a human therapist. The designers theorized that was because the robot NEVER EVER showed a nanosecond of judgment, irritation, impatience or boredom. Well, I thought, Who is next?

And then I read about a huge hedge fund that has set aside 30 billion dollars to be “managed” but artificial intelligence . . . algorithms, God!

Still, I must confess to a desire to upgrade my human OS. My wonderful husband Kit and I have reached the point where we often use Google Maps to navigate for us. The voice (we call her the Google Girl) is totally pleasant ALL THE TIME. No matter what ill advised move we made — her response is a matter of fact instruction on the NEXT turn. She recalculates with grace! Not, alas, like me. I REACT with a wide range of emotions!

So, here I am — taking the Google Girl as the role model I aspire to. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe both?

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Posted in accepting my need for help, adjusting, Artificial Intelligence, Changing, Choosing to respond, complexity, connecting, Future, Help me to see, Perspective

A few more thoughts on Resilience

multicolored hibiscus

Good Day, God!

I have yet to read the book I just bought on Micro-Resilience by Bonnie St. John. I thought it would be fun to ponder what I have learned so far about life and resilience. One huge conceptual pit — that I have fallen into — is thinking that:

“There must have been a Right Path I could have taken
so I wouldn’t have landed in this BOG — but I missed it!”

This idea that taking a better series of turns would have kept us safe puts all the responsibility and blame on our shoulders. I’ve been there! Our daughter Patty had a rare form of cancer — ergo, WHAT DID I DO WRONG????? Or what could I /should I have done differently? Horribly painful . . . and not helpful.

I had to learn that Life itself IS a Bog. Failures or wrong turns are built into it.  We just can’t know enough to avoid all possible pitfalls, Indeed, trying to navigate a perfectly safe path — past a certain point — squanders life energy that is better spent living and enjoying TODAY!

My second realization is that a major factor in resilience is the ability to Reset and Respond. This awful thing has happened or is happening. Accept it. Then look around for ways to deal with it, mitigate it, and work around it. Accepting is BIG and Acting is BIGGER. Thankfully the internet has made this possible in ways that I could not have imagined a decade ago.

But the most helpful thing for me, God, is the belief that You love us — all of us! I put my weight on You completely during Patty’s illness. And You supported us all. You didn’t heal Patty. But You have provided me with the amazing assurance that she is “Vibrant and Radiant and Alive and with YOU!”

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Posted in accepting my ability to REDESIGN, accepting my need for help, adjusting, asking for and accepting forgiveness, asking for help for myself, authority over my life, awareness, Books, connecting, resiliency

Blogs I Follow
Brené Brown

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Rachel Naomi Remen

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A Moment with God

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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