For a better world

In some of my recent reading I came across an interesting fact. As a Christian I have learned about original sin….the sin that came from the mistakes of Adam and Eve. However, the history of this idea was not originally connected to Jesus. It was not know in the very early church. It was not a doctrine accepted by either the Jewish faith or Islam. It is another doctrine that was hammered out when the early church was struggling to keep some cohesiveness of ideas.

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Several communities of Christians developed ideas that others saw as heading the wrong way and tried to wipe out what they considered heresy. The struggles led to the Council of Nicea where many church fathers sat down to come to some agreement. Many doctrines of Christianity came from this meeting.

The interesting thing to me is that things we have been taught as “truth” may have a different beginning than we realized. It shows how what we learn from those around us can be colored by their viewpoint.

Reaching back into time to find the history of concepts we have learned may bring a different perspective entirely.

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Not too long ago I saw a program that had people tell about their backgrounds and explore some of the prejudices they had about those from different cultures. countries, and races. They then had their DNA tested and it was interesting to discover that many of them had DNA in common with those they thought were different from them. It was, for them, a wake-up call to re-examine what they had been taught.

Never be afraid to explore the birth of customs and ideas. We may find that their beginnings are not what we thought. If, by doing so, we could discard some of our learned prejudices we may create a better world.

 

Again with the change?

Today I am back from traveling again.’I think that traveling lowered my immunity and I am coming down with a cold. Always something to add to life. This too will pass. I’ve been at my other daughter’s home because of a baby shower for my grandson and his wife. Life is always messy. The odds of everything being perfect are astronomical. 

The shower was wonderful. Everything it should have been but….. as always expanding families create issues with change. I am going to be ever hopeful and hope that they work themselves out.

As we get older, we tend to look at the big picture. Life, hopefully, is long with much time to tweek things so that they work out. I live always with hope and some positive vibes.

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As usual, change always rocks the boat. Most of us don’t really like change. Me too! I would be happy if things just kept on as they are but that is not realistic. Sometimes change is good and sometimes not. We do have to try to roll with the flow but sometimes that is so hard. The trick for is to try not to look too far ahead. I have to keep reminding myself to take one day at at time…sometimes one minute at a time. Just keep going.

Controlling thoughts

Life is uncertain; in the end we control only a single thing: our own thoughts. From the book “Pandemic”

While reading the book this jumped out at me. It is so true. There is very little that we can control and sometimes we have trouble controlling our thoughts. And yet, it is one of the things we most need to learn. Our thoughts can take us on a wonderful journey or send us into the deepest depths.

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For those who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar etc. it transpires daily. Our thoughts control how we feel. Sometimes the problem can begin with a trigger such as stress caused by the life we deal with or by physical issues such as IBS. Whatever sets off the thoughts can bring us down in a minute.

Most of the coping mechanisms we learn have to do with changing those thoughts. If only it were easy. We can learn the coping skills but we have to use them for them to work. This means making them become habits and that is the hard part.

calm yourselfWhatever helps you to override the thoughts that bring you down work hard to have it become natural as breathing. It is a struggle but one that is worth the effort.

 

Never give up on finding and using what helps you calm those errant thoughts!

Have I?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you live—that is to have succeeded.”

That is my hope. I would like to think that somehow I have left the world better. That would bring meaning to my life.

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Have I done something to help someone?

Have I done something to make the earth cleaner?

Have I stood up or spoken out about abuse and injustice?

Have I showed kindness in the face of anger or hurt?

Have I helped the cause of injured or abused animals?

Have I listened when I should?

Have I followed my beliefs?

Have I showed love?

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And most important of all Have I done any of the above?

Saving from pain

When my mother died and then my aunt a year later I was tasked with cleaning out their homes. This was not an easy task. Not only were there things that hadn’t been seen in many years but also things that brought back memories and tears. This was back around 2003-2004. I still remember the agony of that job.

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For this reason I am trying, little by little, to make cleaning out my things easier on my family. I have written about getting rid of things but this is the underlying reason. I am moving slowly but making progress. This is another thing that strangely enough is on my bucket list. I know, this is not a fun thing but it matters to me.

Little by little, bit by bit I am going through papers and personal items. Many things can be discarded but others need to have a place, with explanations, where they are kept. I hope I don’t die soon as this may take me until my death to do. For my children’s sake I hope not. For me this is not a macabre task but a loving one.

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It seems that we spend the first half of live accumulating things, the next quarter enjoying them and the last quarter letting them go.

Each part of life has its demands. Too many people leave a huge disaster for others to clean up. I hope I can do better than that.

Evaluating the journey

Looking over some of my original posts reminds me to take stock of how I am doing on my journey. Changing ourselves is one of the hardest things that we can do. We have to begin the change and then repeat it util it becomes habit. Not so easy.

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We struggle with the habits that are ingrained from years of practice. Once we begin trying to change it is so easy to fall back into the old routine. Since I began this journey I have made some positive changes that have stuck and some that have not.

My task now it to evaluate and decide if the things I haven’t changed are still relevant. If so it is time to tackle them. I find it easier to make small changes that lead me to the bigger one.

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I have not been meditating as I should and this is one I will tackle with intent. Why should I consider 5 or 10 minutes out of my day as a problem. From there I hope to grow back into a routine discarded years ago and see the result of spending time in “neutral.” As I said once before my long ago yoga instructor said when we are awake we are in forward gear, asleep in reverse and in meditation in neutral. Routinely meditating brought me calm and a sense of connection to the universe. I want to regain that.

Changing is hard and not for sissies. I won’t give up but keep on keeping on.

May you each have a serene weekend.

Don’t wall yourself in

When I look back over my life I wonder what things I have not done because of thinking I couldn’t. I grew up caring greatly what other people thought. I don’t like conflict and would back away from things to avoid it. I always wanted peace and was the mediator in my family. I was afraid to make waves.

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The funny thing is that in some ways I was an independent thinker. In my teen years everyone smoked. I didn’t. I took a stand about getting drunk ( although I would take a drink.) I never took drugs. I didn’t like feeling out of control.

However, those were things I did for myself. I never confronted others about their ideas. I just faded into the background. I was an only child and had trouble relating to those my own age. My primary experience was with adults. I found good friends in high school and in college where I finally felt I belonged.

I was not one to take risks. There are some risks I regret not facing. I always wanted to learn to paint but never tried since I assumed I couldn’t be best at it. My father encouraged me to try things and I never really stepped out of my comfort zone until I was married.

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Now I will try anything. (maybe not skydiving..I watched my husband jump with the military for years although  I have been on some planes I would rather have jumped out of.) I am not afraid to speak my mind and disagree when I want. I don’t care as much about the opinion of others and am unafraid to rock the boat. I still don’t like conflict but am unafraid to speak up rather than hide.

I am sorry it took me so many years to get to this point. Each of us is the only person who can hold us back. I am loving who I am now and having a great time exploring anything I want. Don’t wait to try things. There is no disgrace in failing. That’s how we learn.