Tangled up

dog-tangled-up-in-blue-1Today I was knitting a top for my adult granddaughter. The yarn I’m using is very tricky to work with and gets tangled up easily. It did! I realized that I had done something wrong and had to back up several rows. No way did that work. The yarn became so tangled that I ended up cutting it and pulling it all out. Now I will start over. To say that I was frustrated is an understatement.

I thought about the saying “oh what a tangled web we weave.” I didn’t practise to deceive anyone but I sure wove a tangled web and had to fight my way out.

dont get stuckWe can get ourselves into messes from time to time and some of them are more complicated to get out of than others. Sometimes we volunteer to do something and discover that it not only it too much but also that we don’t like it. The getting out gracefully may not be possible.

When I got married 57 years ago the only advice that my mother gave me was “start out the way you intend to go on.” I asked her exactly what she meant and she said: “if you plan on getting up at  4 am every morning to fix breakfast just be aware that it will set the pattern for the rest of your marriage.” I have found this advice to fit so many situations. Take a good look at anything you are getting into and see if you want it in your life before you are stuck with it.

Mastering Silence

There is so much noise in our daily lives that silence is almost unknown. When I worked for the church I would occasionally ask people to sit in silence for one minute. I actually timed it and after 30 seconds the fidgeting would begin.

silence power

There is not only no silence on the outside but there is little silence on the inside. Most of us have not learned how to shut off the voice in our heads. Since we have been so little exposed to quieting that voice it requires time and effort to learn how to do it. We decide that we want to try meditation and we can’t seem to settle and so we quit. It really is difficult to meditate in the beginning on your own. It is so much easier if there is a voice directing you. There are many Amazon Alexa apps that will take you through a meditation but even those aren’t always enough.

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The best meditation I ever did was in a group with someone walking you quietly through the process. A really good leader can help you explore more depths that almost any other way. I have not found many meditation experiences except in yoga classes and most of them don’t meditate long enough for you to get into the place where you can let everything go.

I am hoping to start a group but I don’t know if I will have any takers. It remains to be seen.

Seek the infinite

A “better” world is one in which we recognize that all people possess an incomparable value that we are morally obliged to respect . . . in social, political, and economic terms. Honoring the humanity of your fellow beings means that if they are hungry, ill, or oppressed, you must exert yourself to help them. . . . But this . . . runs up against our inherited instincts of self-protection, greediness, and desire to dominate others. . . . If we could rearrange energy from within—if we more often nurtured our companions and promoted their well-being, we would suffer much less. Rearranging energy from within is what mysticism does.                    Dr. Beatrice Bruteau (1930–2014)

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This quote from the meditation of Richard Rohr really speaks to what we must do to make the world a better place. Each of us has to dig deep and find that core of humanity that allows us to respect all beings.

She is so right. Our own instincts of survival, both physically and mentally, get in our way and keep us from becoming the humans we can be. She is calling us to seek that inner place where we meet the intangible, infinite spirit….no matter what we call it.

New patterns

sand_mandala-kalachakra-mandala
Sand Mandala

This is something I wrote years ago when a dear friend moved away to be near her Aunt. Sadly, she died and her aunt lived on.

My friend
Your journey begins
A new life

Exploring your place
among
your beginnings

a time to see yourself
in your childhood
memories

and measure
what
you have become

sand-mandala-royal-photographymy friend
the for me
brings sorrow

a turning loose
of patterns
I loved

Learning how
To reaffirm
The friendship we have woven

Now must become
New patterns, new threads
New fabric

Not losing
The old
But adding new

Journeying on
To see with
New eyes

The whole pattern
Will emerge
In all its beauty

Words

Why do people say terrible things!  Why would a nurse in a doctor’s office say to a patient “we don’t know what is wrong with you. You may have cancer?” If it really happened that sent someone on their way in a panic.

words-are-power

I don’t know whether the above story is true or not but that is my point. We hear stories every day about other people and we have no idea how far they are away from the original. It may have floated through 20 people and been changed by every one.

Gossip. It can be a killer. It may start out as a fact but it really can evolve as it goes. I heard that a husband and wife were very sick. His illness was not specified but it was told that she had serious cancer. Both were on their death beds. On checking facts I discovered that she did in fact have cancer but is finished with treatment and doing well. He has a problem that he has had for a while and things are no different.

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A friend’s son is going through a divorce and I’m sure by now he has been tarred and feathered and run out of town.

Why do we enjoy passing on things told to us? Is it because we can gloat that we are not in the same predicament? Does it make us feel better?

The answer is both are true. There is something so fiendishly fun gossiping about someone else’s misery. We are not sick, not evil, not in trouble like them. We can walk away with a smile leaving the trash talk behind. And on the story goes on changing with each telling.

no gossipMy father used to say “put your brain in gear before you put you mouth in motion.” A wise saying. We need to think about the pain our actions can cause. At a new kind of mediation I observed recently the leader said “think about the ABC’s. Action, Behavior, Consequences.”  Every one of us needs to think about that. Words can hurt, words can kill, words can ruin someone’s life.

Be careful what you pass on.

Help where you can!

Yesterday I didn’t write which is unusual for me. I spent the afternoon with my friend while someone came to get a history on her husband and help to evaluate her husbands mental status. He has had such a devastatingly physical journey that it has taken its toll. It took all afternoon to get it all down on paper.

She wanted me there because I have been on a good bit of this journey with her and could help with the history. Just having someone write it all down made me realize what an extensive and harrowing time it has been.

I feel so humbled by how she has weathered this whole scenario and my heart aches for all she has been through with him. I don’t think anyone can appreciate the level of exhaustion and stress seen when a long illness puts their partner into the caregiving role.

fragile

It is so important for caregivers to have time away from the situation. Without it their physical and mental status is at risk. It is a blessing when help can be afforded but in some cases that is not possible.

Most people just keep going and hate to ask for help. Frequently there are friends, neighbors, church members or others who would be willing to sit for a while with the ill person. When they do it is important for the caregiver to do something for themselves…..meet friends for lunch, go outdoors away from home, or whatever rejuvenates them. Too often they take that time for errands and tasks that must be done. This may be necessary but even a short while doing something they love will help.

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If you know someone who is a caregiver take the time to offer help. Be specific. Tell them you can sit for them or run errands or, if they can, take them out. Caregivers need all the help we can give. It is so easy to continue with our own agenda but remember those who have no time for themselves.

No labeling

I was reading an old journal of mine today and come across the statement “Labeling is easier than compassion.” I don’t know if this thought is mine or a quote so forgive me if I err.

stop-labeling-people-just-because-they-are-not-like-you

It is so easy to label people. It is also easy to make snap judgments about who they are. How many times have I met someone and “assumed” what strata of society they come from or their level of schooling or intelligence. How often I have been wrong.

My son, when a teen, worked at a golf course’s shop. A man came in browsing. He was dressed in somewhat crumpled clothing and sported a battered hat. Fortunately for him my son just took it in stride and sold the man the things he wanted. Later someone told him the mas was Sam Walton…the founder of Walmart. How easy it would have been to think the man didn’t have the money to buy anything.

Labels are “odious” (Madeleine L’Engle). We have not walked in the shoes of the person we are labeling. We don’t know what kind of life they have had. Someone who seems angry man have been abused as a child.

jars

Having compassion for those we meet is the way to start out. Even if we don’t know what is behind their behavior or mindset. We can’t go wrong in setting our own behavior to believe they deserve our compassion. Maybe we can change lives.

 

Today is what matters

It is so easy to forget that today…this moment….is all we have. The sky could fall on me right now and it would be all over. Yet, I can spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about tomorrow.

Those of us who are troubled with anxiety are so good at worrying about things which usually don’t happen. I tend to pick the worse case scenario and obsess about it. So silly.

worry about tomorrow

It is time to throw off the shackles of worry and enjoy each moment of life that is given to us. Tomorrow may never come and if it does then that when I’ll think about it.

Music, music, music

Music is very important to me. I took piano lessons for years and studied with a concert pianist. It was there I discovered that I didn’t want to be a concert pianist. I just wanted to play for enjoyment. I sang in choirs and for 10 years was a choir director. I think that music moves me more than anything else. I can sit in church or in the car or wherever and find tears rolling down my cheeks. Once, spending three weeks in the hospital, only the Brandenburg Concerto would comfort me. This has a wonderful explanation at the beginning.

I cannot stay still when the rhythms of music move me. I have to tap my toes or move my hands. I MUST do something! I don’t understand people who sit perfectly still. I know that their enjoyment may be equal to mine but they are STILL!

My father was the same way. He loved Dixieland Jazz and took me with to bars as a child to listen to the greats. No one said anything. I think they knew he wasn’t plying me with liquor but with music.

There is so much wonderful music in the world. I know I will not live long enough to absorb it all. I want to develop a playlist for when I am fading out of this world. I want to hear the music I love and take it with me.