I have begun reading The Book of Joy, Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. When the book was written I dare say they had no idea that the COVID-19 virus was coming. But, both had been through enormous changes. And they know viscerally what we are now learning. Change keeps on happening.
My temptation is to read, agree, and FAIL TO PRACTICE the meditation that helps get INFORMATION transformed into BEHAVIOR. More tomorrow.
Just this evening I had a reversal of how I have been seeing things. For many years I have decried the GREEDY . . . those who seem unable to arrive at the state of ENOUGH.
Sigh, judging is never a worthy activity.
And tonight I saw that those I have considered “greedy” are actually folks who have never had their value and worth affirmed — just for being themselves. Just as plants grow toward the light . . . so we humans grow toward what we are admired for.
Golly, God. I thought of all the times I had admired someone’s new car . . . new item of jewelry . . . new item of clothing. My intention was just to connect. But, really, I was sending the wrong message. These are people I value for themselves.
Sometimes I haven’t even been honest — about the new car especially. My wonderful husband is a reverse snob …. proud of driving a 2001 RAV 4.
Now, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if we all STOPPED admiring or praising STUFF? Or on a more positive note — what if we smiled and chatted with each other. Just being a fellow human being is ENOUGH.
And as sheltering in place and social isolation take a firmer hold we have noticed more waving at folks. Our daughter said she was driving down a country road and a walker WAVED at her. The next walker she drove by SHE waved at. How wonderful to connect!
And how good it is to begin my day with You…. Coming back from our morning walk I caught another glimpse of this beautiful green gecko on the bright red heliconia. Hmm. I see that this gecko might be the Gold dust day gecko. Amazing!
My response to seeing it . . . but not capturing it on camera . . . was to find this earlier photo and share it with my wonderful husband, Kit. And then I thought — why not share it with MORE people! That was a rhetorical question as I find as much JOY in sharing as I do in perceiving.
I am thankful, God, that You have lavishly strewn “Unexpected Delights” into our lives. Stopping to SEE. Stopping to experience DELIGHT. And maybe even the JOY of SHARING . . . makes me both happy and thankful.
I saw this on my morning walk with my wonderful husband. And as I took the photo I thought about how good it is to focus on SMALL. Small beauties. Small joys. Small interactions.
Now that my pace has slowed — it is easier to see — and appreciate.
I feel as if I have been wrenched out of my busy life . . . even retired . . . I was still TOO BUSY. And now, I am not. I am on a sort of Sabbatical. And I am smiling ruefully. How many years have I known that Jesus was right. Humans were not made for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for US. It is presented as a COMMAND…..one of the Ten Commandments. But, it is so good for us. Let’s start with our Body. Resting helps move us from ON to semi-off. That is a state in which our body can CLEAN and HEAL.
Then, refraining from work gives us time to PLAY . . . and playing is good for our Heart and Mind. . . and our Creativity too. I just ordered a paperback book titled PLAY.
Then, too, a sabbath rest gives us time to PROCESS STUFF . . . old emotional stuff . . . like grief . . . that we have stored . . . waiting for time and energy. And on a lighter level . . . closets and files. Processing STUFF maybe be hard . . . but it leaves us in better shape.
So, I am feeling like this is an opportunity . . . well many opportunities . . . on HOW TO RESPOND. Like maybe money saved on not eating out could go to the Food Bank. Or taking the time to write a Thank You Note. Can we create NEW ways to contribute to our family, our friends, our community and our world? I feel the need to ponder that.
You are Invited to Participate in the United in Prayer Day in Community online
Saturday 3/21/2020 from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. https://zoom.us/j/928471152 If you don’t have a Zoom account when you go to the link you will be prompted to create a free account.
Never — in my lifetime – has there been a better time to join together in prayer. Sheltering in place makes sense. But it is isolating. I don’t have a balcony to sing from….nor do I have a lovely Italian voice. But, I can join together with others via Zoom. I have been doing that since January as co-host of Welcoming Prayer and Centering Prayer every Monday evening at 7:30-8:15 p.m. HST.
Sitting together in SILENCE? My wonderful husband says that with disbelief mixed with laughter. But, Silence is God’s first language.
And in today’s world of fake facts, lies and labels . . . silence has the virtue of being hard to contaminate.
So . . . come join us as we sit in silence . . . consenting . . . welcoming even . . . God’s loving presence and action within us.
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.