Beware cultural cloning

Cultural cloning …levels human personality and deifies predictability. When this is the goal, diversity is no longer recognized as a strength in this culture. Sameness becomes the bottom line.  —–Michael Yaconelli in Dangerous Wonder

Are we headed in this direction? It seems that we are but I really hope not. Are we destined to be identical robots? Will we lose the ability to think for ourselves?

1984Just picturing us all being the same reminds me of 1984 and Soylent Green. If anyone thought for themselves they were corrected…that is reprogrammed. In a society such as this anyone with any kind of mental disorder would either be reprogrammed and if this was not successful, eliminated. Aberrance would not be tolerated. Most of us who express our opinions on blogs would be done away with.

And yet, it seems to be that the function of society at this moment appears more likely to create people with emotional distress. The more we separate ourselves from each other the more our mental stability is at risk. We are humans who need others to thrive. Isolation causes emotional distress. We are communal in nature.

need help

I have noticed there are two types of people. Probably related to introverts and extroverts (but not entirely). Some of us feel better if we can share our emotional distress with someone else. Usually with someone we trust deeply. Then there are those for whom sharing makes things worse. They may have had a bad experience with this in the past. I feel better for sharing.

This is the beauty of these blogs. Even those who feel insecure sharing can share in a community of understanding. It has been a blessing for me to be able to share my anxieties in this format and find support, positive feedback and understanding. I know that occasionally someone will respond in a negative post but I hope that is the exception.

Mental disorders are difficult to cope with and just as difficult to share. Too often the response of the public is one of disdain or, at the least, not understanding. Understanding comes from those who have experienced similar things in their lives. Helping others by sharing is a gift.

God willing there will be no human robots.

Age is a gift

lit windowI live in a neighborhood where it is fun to walk the dogs and just appreciate the overhanging trees, the green lawns and nature in general. Sometimes I walk in the evening and people are turning on the lights in their houses. I am not a voyeur but I do like seeing people living their lives, maybe in a kitchen, a living room, wherever. I  think about what their life is like…if they are happy or sad, healthy or not, satisfied with where they are.

This little glimpse into someone else’s life reminds me to consider my own. As I walk I think about the blessing and challenges I face. I conjure up memories from the past and think about how my life flowed along. It is time for reflection and consideration.

Yes, I have fought the demon of anxiety attached to IBSD, Yes, I have had moments of regret when I didn’t live up to my ideals. Yes, I have good times and bad. However, on the whole my life has been blessed. I have grownup children who are able to live their own lives. I have grandchildren. some have already left the nest, some are on the way. I have one great grandchild who is almost 2 months old. What more can I hope for?

share wisdomNow it is up to me to use the knowledge and wisdom gained from this lifetime to share what I can to help someone else along the road. I will be a good listener, a good friend, a caring adviser and try to love as Christ has called me to do. That is what this time of life is for. It is not for sitting in a chair in front of the TV and vegetating. That is not why God granted me this time.

I think that when we contemplate getting older we need to consider why we have been granted this gift and try to share as much as we can.

The Beautiful Death

My friend Deirdre loved and cherished all those who crossed her path. She welcomed people from different faiths and different cultures. Her death was so amazing with people of many faiths joining together to send her on her way. I wrote this poem following that experience. The “all shall be well” is a loose copy from Hildegard of Bingen.

RisingSun-Feature

The Death of De

The light is waning and the gloaming is here.
There is a hush in the turning of the earth
it holds its breath for just a moment.

We stand watch sensing each breath
matching it with our own
anxious with each pause
while darkness encompasses the room.

Her soul loosens but holds
I sign the cross on her brow and Christ is here
A Hindu friend joins and her prayers are added.
Another comes and the prayers to Allah are lifted up.

With loving hands we anoint her with sweet lotion
brought from France by another.
All faith is here, we can feel God's gentle breeze,
there is true communion

My friend is held in the arms of love
She is suspended between life and death 
through the night.

As the sun lifts itself into the heaven
love lifts her on her journey
and with the smallest wisper
she is gone.

Behind her from the air come the words...
All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all things shall be well.

 

Be kind to yourself- you deserve it

a communityBefore I write for the day I always read what shows up for me to read. Quite often it inspires me to write about a particular topic. Today it reminded me of my writing yesterday when I talked about how wonderful other’s blogs are to read. I felt the same way today.

So many days I can start out feeling down and the blogs lift me up. Some are funny, some give me ideas to try and some I feel that I can say something that may help. This really is a community of comrades.

rest

Today has been so calming. I found that more company were not coming and was able to relax. Little got done but that is ok. The vines in my yard are going apace and will continue to do so since I have no plan to tackle them at the moment.

Sometime we have to give ourselves permission to take some down time. The world will not end if my yard is not perfect or my house spotless. We frequently push ourselves too hard and forget that everyone needs rest and think time. We cannot be healthy or creative if we don’t take this time off. Be kind to yourself.

 

Keep sharing!

why meI have long felt that that pain and sorrow have an important place in the scheme of things. They come to us unwanted and hard to accept. We wonder “what is the point?Why is this happening to me?” We feel lost and abandoned. Suffering is lonely. It removes us from our everyday world and causes us to live within ourselves and our pain. Nothing else matters. We can’t see past it. We can’t make plans. We just live in limbo.

The up side of all of this is not readily seen or understood but it is there. For those of us who share on Word Press it should be noticed more easily. I offer this short poem as an explanation.

The pain of aloness

not belonging

not accepted

 

The pain of sorrow

grief

anxiety

 

Is an instrument

carving out the soul

to hold and heal

Someone elses

pain

 

shareOur sharing on Word Press is an example of this. We share in the hope that our own struggles, journeys, ideas for healing…will help someone else. We share and find the belonging and acceptance that eludes us elsewhere and a life of meaning and importance.

Keep on sharing!

Touch heals

There has been a lot of research about touch and how healing it can be. Over the years, while visiting people at home and in the hospital, I have always used touch to draw closer. I truly believe that touch can be therapeutic if used with intent to heal. Recent studies have shown that just holding the hand of a loved one can reduce pain.

healing touch

When visiting a member of the congregation in the hospital I found her in pain. Unfortunately, he pain medicine was not due for some time and she was very uncomfortable. She responded well to my touch and using both touch, a soothing voice, and a meditative talk (like a mantra….”just rest, just rest..close your eyes and just rest) over and over she relaxed into a calm and peaceful state and was able to wait for her next dose of medicine.

I don’t know how many times I used this technique on my children and never thought about it but with my job as parish nurse it was very helpful. Having someone focus your thoughts soothes us and along with gentle touch can bring us to a state of calm.

The problem is it is hard to do this for yourself. I have done it on occasion when I found myself in a situation when I was about to lose either my temper or my mind. Just stepping back, breathing and focusing my mind….I sometimes repeat “be calm, be calm”…does help me get past that moment. I had a Tai Chi instructor who said when faced with her kids waiting in an airport she had to keep saying “lower your chi” over and over.

Sometimes when I am alone I like to sing a piece of Taize music. These pieces from the Taize community in France are soothing chants that can calm your mind and soothe your soul. If you have never heard these look it up.

This link will take you to one of my favorites on YouTube.

Remembering with tears

This is Memorial Day in the US. Many people do not know that this day of remembrance was begun by former slaves honoring the dead Union soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina. This is a day for remembering those who made the final sacrifice.

Happy-Memorial-Day-2018

My husband is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. We married after graduation and spent 20 years moving from post to post. West Point instills in it’s graduates a phenomenal love of country and a desire to be the best person you can be. My husband has lived out that code his entire life.

duty

Two years of that time were spent in Viet Nam with a brief tour in the states in between. He led a Company of soldiers and spent the first year almost entirely in the jungle. His men faced danger every day. The jungle was so hot that they literally rotted through their uniforms and new ones had to be delivered by helicopter each week. They never knew each day if they would be just struggling through the heavy jungle growth or fighting for their lives. Each night’s rest could be interrupted by gunfire and fear. He fought during the Tet Offensive and cannot talk about that time.

His men loved him and after he returned home I received a letter in the mail with money collected from the company for us to enjoy meals out. He was the only commander who walked away from that company. The others died.

vietnam

Each day I thank God that he returned home, not only in one piece, but also able to endure the memories. He has been to the Viet Nam wall in Washington, DC once and will never go again. It is too painful

Just thinking about the men who fought with him and the classmates of his who died in that war brings tears to my eyes and his. Neither of us can listen to taps played at military funerals. May God grant peace to all those who served in that war and all others. Those who lived and those who died. They blessed our lives.