Life is a series of choices. We don’t often think of that but just getting out of bed in the morning is a choice. We are so used to routine that it doesn’t seem like we made a choice. It’s just what we do every day with little thought. How different life could be it we could be fully present for each of those choices. It is interesting to reflect on one’s path in life. It is so easy to see the places where I stepped off the path and usually paid for it. Sometimes the slip brings an instant outcome. Sometimes life continues and only with a long look back can we see the result of the choice.
I have always wanted to learn to live each day in the present moment but I haven’t mastered it yet. If only every second of every day I could remember I am alive now! How different my whole life would have been.
You see, I am a worrier. I cross bridges and explore every good and bad outcome for each crisis or major event that comes up. I can easily picture myself with a fatal illness or catastrophic problem. The real question is how I have managed to live for 76 years and not learned how to let this go. It is time to move on. This is my journey into change. My first step into a new way to really live each moment.
I know that I have a tough road ahead of me and will struggle with my resistance to changing habits and applying all the advice and wisdom I have been given. I worried as a child. My grandmother used to tell me to sit in a chair and worry as hard as I could and get up and see if anything had changed. Her wisdom (she died at 100 ) was there for me as long as she lived. I heard it over and over but never learned how to do it.
The practice of faith was not absent in my growing years. God was a part of my everyday life. I was baptized in the Presbyterian church that my parents attended and each Sunday was in church with my parents or my grandmother (she was Methodist) I saw my grandmother read her Bible each day and pray as she rested after lunch and again at night before bed. Her connection to God was strong. Was Her consistent time spent with God the thing that brought her such peace? Many of my adult years have been spent in God’s ministry. Interesting that all that energy and action didn’t have a deeper effect on my way of being. One would think that Bible study, leading church events, teaching yoga and meditation would have had more impact.
So many human quirks that have been around since Adam and Eve have been given titles and are seen as present in many of us. In today’s world, my worrying would be given the title mild anxiety. What I do is not unusual nor can it be considered a psychiatric diagnosis. It seems to me that the recognition of garden variety anxiety has given some relief for those of us who worry. I am not the only one and will certainly not be the last.
Added on to this propensity to worry are the major changes in our way of life. It seems to me that sometimes ignorance is bliss. (note: I say it seems that way). Today we are bombarded with information. The world seems to be more dangerous day by day. To quote Dr King “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We can see the result of this on the streets of our cities. Have we been desensitized to violence so that nothing is too abhorrent to do?
All the electronic devices have added noise on a former unprecedented level. Is there silence anywhere? Do we understand the effect on body and mind of constant noise? Do we ever just sit back and think? I see this pattern as actually increasing worry or anxiety in the future. There is no time to just be.
All that having been said this writing will record my progress (or lack thereof) of a journey into change. I cannot change the world but I can change myself. I believe in the butterfly principle and maybe if one person finds a different way something will change.
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Today I am writing random thoughts. I finally finished the baby blanket that obsessed me but I am not happy with the result. Aggravating.
We all have things that we do like that. Something that we tackle with lots of enthusiasm and great expectations and then they don’t turn out. I am disappointed but it is time to let it go and time to find a new idea to work on.
It is so easy to get down after working so hard on something. Someone else might say it is fine but it doesn’t suit me. That’s another problem. My expectations of myself. There is no reason why it has to be perfect. It was done with love.
This is how we get into trouble. It’s not only our expectations of ourselves but sometimes the pressure from others. the point is so do the best that we can.
We don’t need to get caught in the cycle of too much expectation of ourselves and then disappointment. We must not get caught by the unreasonable expectations of others.
Putting our all into something is enough.
Tonight I am just plain tired. I woke up at 5:00 and couldn’t go back to sleep. You know how it is. You wake and think of something that you need to check on but you don’t want to get up and do it. You keep hoping that you will fall asleep but that thought just keeps nagging at your brain. It was a question that could be answered by looking at my calendar on the computer. I knew if I got up and did that it would wake the dogs who would be delighted to have someone up, bark, wag tails, want to go out and wake up the neighborhood. Not a good idea. So I fought the urge and finally dozed off about the time I needed to get up.
How often we do this kind of thing. Once the mind starts working on something it is really hard to let go. It can drive us crazy until we give in. Usually it’s nothing that is really important but just nagging.
Our brains are funny things. They can cause us to obsess about something. We can wring out our brains until we pull ourselves into a state. That is what happens with depression and anxiety. We just can’t let go of the idea. When we are like this we have to find something to distract us from that obsessive cycle. For me it’s usually TV or listening to a book. The minute I stop I can go right back to ruminating again. Just like a cow chewing a cud. I struggle with breaking that habit but am better than I used to be.
If you are suffering from obsessive thinking try and find the thing that will break the cycle. Keep trying until you find something. Don’t give up.
Today as I sat in church I was struck by the thought “don’t let religion divide us.” I am not sure why that came to me so strongly but there it was and it kept repeating itself until it was rooted in my mind.
There have been wars about territory, water rights, expansion of empires, money and whatever else. There have also been wars over religion. The middle east (or the fertile crescent) has changed hands so many times. Mostly is has been about territory but religion was involved. The fertile crescent had many different religions over the centuries but the Jewish worship of one god persisted.
As Christianity grew it encountered other faiths and prevailed over most of the ones in Europe. A form of the Jewish faith moved south and morphed into Islam with Mohammad.
During the middle ages Christianity and Islam battled in Spain and the Holy Land. The crusades were launched to recover the Holy Land. Many died in this conflict.
Later Christianity became obsessed with itself and the Inquisition had many innocents slaughtered in the name of religion.
Conflict rose again with the protestant reformation and Catholic and reform groups both suffered.
Religion has added prejudices to the ones about skin color, nationality, and anything that makes someone “other.” Now there is much disagreement among Christian denominations.
If we add the widening influence to other cultures and their faiths: Buddhism, Hinduism and many others we now have a world with religions bumping into each other everywhere.
I think all of this leads me back to my original thought. Do not let religion divide us. It already has with Islamic extremists planning death to “infidels,” fighting between India and Pakistan and conflict almost everywhere.
I love the God that I believe in and I don’t think that his/her intention is for us to slaughter each others over our faith. Instead we are called to love everyone. We are told to turn the other cheek. We are not told to murder others because of their beliefs. God is greater than us and his plan is beyond our understanding. Please Lord, help us not to kill each other over religion.
For those of you who have never read Madeleine L’Engle’s books I am sorry. She wrote a great many: fiction, fantasy, theology, biography etc. I think I have read everything she wrote and had to get some out of print by searching. Today I went to see the film “A Wrinkle in Time” and they didn’t do a bad job with it although it’s hard to reproduce the amount of science (mostly physics) that she incorporated. The average movie viewer wouldn’t get it.
The graphics were absolutely beautiful and although I don’t usually do 3D it just happened to be at the time that I wanted and I am glad I did. It made the graphics gorgeous. L’Engle was a deeply theological person and so much of that is subtly in her fiction books. It is the kind of thing that makes me say WOW and AHA! There was some of that in the film but I definitely recommend reading the books. You may think they are for children but not so. Like Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia there is much to learn and much joy in reading. I have read this series several times as a adult but (they came out after my childhood) but I am going to pull them out again.
I only caught one AHA! statement in the film. There probably were more but I couldn’t catch them fast enough. One of the characters said “It is okay to fear the answers but you can’t avoid them.”
When the book was published originally many fundamental groups banned them because the said their were”witches” in them. There is a Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit who could be equated as witch like characters.
For me her Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and An Acceptable Time are worth adding to Lewis and Tolkien. Hers are more like Lewis but she could have joined that writers circle.
I feel as if I lost this week. Tomorrow is Friday and it seems as if I haven’t done a thing. Actually I have…I have been working on a baby blanket that I have to finish by the 24th. A lot of it is finished but, dumb me, I can’t do anything half way and I decided to put cars on each of the blue squares. There are 18 blue squares and 18 white ones so there is a lot to do. The cars are fairly easy to crochet but time consuming. My hands (with mild arthritis) are hurting and my mind is numb. I would love to just trash the whole thing….but I won’t. I will work my butt off to make this amazing since my stuff always has to be the best! Can you see the problem?
It’s that thing again about wanting to do everything perfectly. I ripped parts of that blanket and started over because of some minor errors. That kind of obsessiveness has haunted me my whole life. When I was young my father always pushed me to try things but if I thought I could’t do well I wouldn’t try. I know that I have missed so many wonderful chances by being this way.
I am not as bad as I used to be because age has helped me to not worry so much about perfection. I have tried some art projects that I never had the nerve to do. I am definitely not an artist but I had fun. I guess age has given me more freedom to be me.
None of us can ever be perfect. We are not made that way. The obsession to be perfect at everything we do can add to anxiety and depression since we feel we are not worthy. We are worthy to try everything. We may fail at some things or not be the best but it can be fun just to try. Don’t get caught in perfectionism.
” data-hasqtip=”18″>John 9:2
And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”
Do we visit our sins upon our children? Or we can ask “what traits of ours are passed on to our children and their children?
Case in point: My father had multiple kidney stones. The doctors called him a stone maker. I’ll be he had a least 50 or more in his lifetime. In college I developed kidney stones. You can inherit the tendency but not the actual thing. I guess I go the tendency. Fortunately I didn’t have the same problem as my father and had only a few stones.
None of my children have shown that tendency nor my grandchildren so I hope that is gone. These kinds of things we pass on are not under our control unless they are a major problem such as Tay Sachs disease and we can have genetic testing to make decisions about those things.
There are other things, however, that we do pass on. Sometimes without realizing it. At one point in our marriage my husband was switching jobs and money was tight.My stress over this was passed on to my daughter. The bad news is she worries about money. The good news is she is careful but not obsessive and always willing to help others when needs arise.
In raising children we sometimes find ourselves repeating the things said to us by our parents. Some things good, some bad.
It is a known fact that abuse and addiction put children at risk for the same problems. I know that I passed on my anxiety to some of my grandchildren.
The thing I have learned is we need to be aware that we can teach coping skills to our children and hope that they can learn from our mistakes and issues. Our own ability to cope can be a positive example to them and others. They can fine hope in the fact that we have struggled with problems and conquered them. This is the legacy we can give them.
Share your experiences with your loved ones. Pass down your struggles and how you coped. It will help them.
There was no sin that caused the man to be born blind. Just a natural event. Our children will not be afflicted because of our mistakes. God doesn’t work that way.