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Why this journey?

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.

Scrooge’s Ghosts

ghosts

This is the time of year when the Scrooge story is on TV. I started to think about the ghosts that visit him. Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. I always think about Christmas Past. I think about the time when we had small children and Christmas was so joyful and exciting. Seeing the children as they opened their presents was wonderful. That time is gone for me. I’m not sure I completely appreciated it. I didn’t lock it away and say to myself “remember this, it won’t come again.” We don’t usually think such thoughts when we are experiencing life. I don’t know if we have to or should. It might bring sadness into the picture….the thought that time is moving on and this moment will be gone.

Each phase of life is different. Years ago I studied Hindu thinking with a practitioner and liked the idea of the eight-fold path. We have important things to accomplish in the different ages we live. My age should be concerned with understanding life in all its aspects. I think that is what I am doing. I can look back…not to bemoan my faults …but to glean the wisdom I gained. I want to accomplish this and share what I discover.

I do miss the joys of Christmas Past but it was a different time and I can’t go back. I don’t think I want to. I just wish some of it would stick around. Instead we have another wonky Christmas. We will be gone next week for Hap’s therapy and my daughter will come the Friday we arrive back to celebrate early with us. She will be working Christmas week. We celebrate with my son and his family Christmas week. My other daughter and her family we will not get to see.

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It is life. I will concentrate on the reason for the holiday and enjoy the family time that we will have. I don’t have time for regrets and wishing the past was back. I have too much living in the now to do. After all, who knows what Christmas Future will be.

 

 

Waiting for what?

waiting isnt punishmentThe other night I had the strangest dream. I was in a situation where all I did was wait. I won’t explain the whole dream but it was obvious waiting was the point. I was with others and waited for hours. I got very upset and angry because the wait was due to poor management.

I don’t like confusion, poor planning, and waiting.

Years ago I learned the response to poor planning: “poor planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on mine.” I actually used it once and then felt so bad that I have never said it again.

I think the dream was trying to remind me that there are times when we have to wait and we need to do it patiently. We also have to remember what we are waiting for, This season before Christmas is Advent. The dictionary says that Advent is: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. If you are Christian then the wait is for the Christ child.

I am not sure in this day and age how seriously we consider this. There is so much else….shopping, parties, baking, decorating and sometimes traveling. We are so busy that there is not time. I doubt that those who are celebrating other holidays do any better at paying attention to the meaning of the holiday. I hope some do.

what does it mean

During this time before Christmas I plan to  concentrate on the meaning of it all and try to move away from concentration on gifts and gatherings. I hope that my times of meditation and contemplation will help me to focus on what I am waiting for.

Rudolph? Really?

Today I was listening to Christmas music in the car and it reminded me of the controversy over some Christmas songs this year. The protests over things has certainly reached the point of the ridiculous. Someone always has to put a meaning that reflects their negative attitude on something that has been around forever. As someone said there are more victims that people.

ridiculousOne song under contention is “Baby, its cold outside.” My parents were around during the time that this was written (I think 1944) and there was no ulterior meaning to this song. Some of the phrases used were common vernacular during that era. Now we have to put a spin on it that reflects today’s world and it just doesn’t fit.

The other song is “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.” Once again something is being made of nothing. I have always seen that song as a positive to Rudolph. He wins in the end and his skills become paramount.

silencejpg-1536912226-884-640x480When is this craziness going to stop? It is becoming impossible to say anything that will not offend someone. Any common sense has been thrown out the window. I can envision us in a future where there is no music, or books, or speeches, or talking, or ads, or TV, media or anything. It will be a silent and sullen world. Everyone will always be angry with others. Eventually we will kill each other and there will be no one to complain.

It is impossible to please everyone and offend no one. If everyone carries a chip on their shoulder there is no way to fix it.

When will we put away all this anger and contention and turn to kindness and love? That is the only thing that can save us.

love-grows

What has been done has been done!

one day at a time
Jane Seabrook

Today I have been feeling stressed. I started obsessing about dec 18th through 21st when we have to go back to Mayo clinic for therapy for my husband. We have no one to keep the dogs and so if all works out will take my friend’s 27 ft, camper. It is a real luxury but easy to drive since it is not one of those ones that looks like a bus. It looks more like a truck and has all the bells a whistles that we need. She bought it recently and has not used it so we do have to check everything out and be sure it all works.

I can’t say that I am looking forward to those days with the dogs. I don’t know how two bassets will respond to the trip. However, bassets are not know for their energy but are know for their incessant talking. (read that as barking). I will also have no internet to blog unless I can find a hot spot.

carry onI should take this as “time out of time” and relax into it but I haven’t wrapped my head around it yet. Maybe I will after we get the camper all set up. I can spend time reading and walking the dogs. If it is not cold I would love to walk them on the beach.

Today I began something new and it really helped me to back down off my anxiety. I watched “the great bell chant” on you tube and another video that taught how to use the bell. Since I have a bell from Tibetan monks I used that and found that the sound is very calming for me. Another tool in my tool chest. Something I will continue to work with.

I have been so good about my meditation, prayer and writing time and that has helped also. The place I have failed utterly is cleaning my office and my house in general. I don’t do well with cluttered space and usually my office is my “sacred space.” Right now it is filled with Christmas presents that need wrapping. Oh well. My mother used to say that I don’t have to worry that the elves will come and clean it for me and that after I rest or go out it will still be there for me to take care of. A very wise woman, my mother. She lived to be 95 and was wise ’til death. I hope I am that blessed.

Advent continues to slide toward Christmas. I have decided to live by the prayer I use each night before I sleep. Hope you enjoy this prayer as much as I do.

From “Night Prayer” in the New Zealand Prayer Book

timelapse-of-starry-night-sky-and-swaying-fir-trees_h3geiyzmx_thumbnail-full01

Lord,
it is night.

The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.

The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.

The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
new possibilities.

In your name we pray.
Amen.

A little bit more

Well, this is my second time tow write this blog. For some reason WP lost it even though I saved it.

I wrote on https://heargodinothervoices.blog/2018/12/08/a-little-bit-more/ about Advent season and I would like to share some of my thoughts here.

In this season before Christmas there is something that changes. Whether people are Christian/Jewish or celebrate something else there is a change at this time of year. People seem more kind and caring. They are more willing to make donations and volunteer to help others. There is something about the season that, like snow, floats down over our parts of the world. It is as if a profound sense of generosity is awakened. This time of the year is different and I think Dr. Seuss, in the Grinch, was right. It is “something more.”

May we keep this caring and outpouring of help into the new year.

dr seuss1

Find Peace

Peace. How much weight is carried by that word. What does it mean to be at peace? I have come to the conclusion it has to do with accepting life as it is. The ability to see each thing that opens for us as part of life and be in accord with it.

It sounds so easy. Unfortunately it’s not. How often do we spend time bemoaning what has happened or obsessing about it? So much energy is expended worrying and planning. Think how easy life would be if we could just let go.

Peace                                                                                                                                            the quiet of a starry night                                                                                                        a moment in time

the comfort                                                                                                                                       of a warm bed                                                                                                                                on a cold night

a dog’s welcome                                                                                                                          after a long day                                                                                                                          of stress and pain

the sound of ocean waves                                                                                                           as they caress the shore                                                                                                             and the foam gently touches my feet

the Christmas lights                                                                                                                 twinkling in joy                                                                                                                         for the season of love

the quiet of snow                                                                                                                silencing the world                                                                                                                       and turning it white 

these thing bring                                                                                                                        calm to my body                                                                                                                          and peace to my soul                                                                                                          

Can you live in mystery?

Can you live in mystery? For me, advent is a season of mystery. It is about waiting…something that most of us don’t do well. It is also about not knowing. When we wait for a baby we have no idea what the outcome will be. The baby may be healthy or not…fussy or not….cute or not. We just don’t know.

mystery.png

We also won’t know for years what that child will be like when an adult. We may do everything we can to raise him/her and it still may not work out. We live daily in mystery but we think we are in charge. We think we are in control.

im not in chargeI learned pretty early on that I am not in charge. Anyone who has suffered with illness or mental health issues has that hit home. We have learned that life is about living each day as it comes.

If we have learned how to cope with unknowing then we make adjustments and move on to the next day. Strangely enough this is not a bad thing. Those who have not learned about life’s mystery have difficulty when something goes out of their control.

So, don’t bemoan the trials you have had. Take the things you have learned and use them to your benefit. You will be able to tackle challenges better and recover faster than those who have never faced the unknown that shatters their belief.

stronger

Know this—your experiences have made you stronger. You can live in mystery.