Center down

Unexpected (1)Today has been an interesting day. The plans for our trip are changing daily. I may stay home part of the time. Family may stay here. We will just take one day at a time.

Someone that I read today said that learning to turn ourselves off in prayer or meditation is an ego-ectomy. To do either we have to let go of ourselves and place ourselves in the unknown or the hands of god. We let our own thoughts and the clutter of our minds drift away. I used to be able to do that. I can remember being able to let go to the point that I felt “out of body.” I was lifted up off the floor. I long to have that experience again. I am trying to get back there but it does take time and practice.  When you start out thoughts crowd in and want to take over. With time, the ability to “center down” (Quaker expression) becomes easier.

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It is so easy to go off the deep end about something that is really not important. The fact that I can’t walk through my office is insignificant at this moment. My bed will get made and the laundry will get done. Eventually. There will not be anyone coming in to inspect. One day at a time is all we have to handle. Remember that!

 

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.

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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.

A wider God

This morning the pastor at our church said in her sermon…spoken to God….“Let me not confine you in the narrowness of my mind.” This is a very profound statement.

Whatever your belief, if you espouse any God, this tells us where most of us want to be. We want a God who is like us. We want to create God in our image instead of the other way around. We want a God who thinks like us. We want a manageable God.

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If God is like us then God has the same bias, the same prejudice and the same belief system. Then it is easy for me to point fingers at others and scoff at their beliefs. It allows me to pick and choose what God thinks. Aren’t I amazing?

This God can occupy a nice closed box in my mind and I will only let out what I deem appropriate. However, God is tricky and sneaks out of the box in and plants ideas that I don’t want to consider. He/she is constantly challenging me and widening my mind, calling me on prejudices and making me rethink my ideas.

It is abundantly clear to me that however much I could live with God in a box that is not going to happen. And in reality it would not be something I want.

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I see a God who is infinite and intimate. I see a God whose mind I cannot comprehend. I see a God whose thoughts are so far above mine that the universe can’t contain them. Maybe this is not at all comfortable but this, for me, is God.

Do we really want to see?

We so often talk about knowing ourselves. We want to see ourselves and know our innermost thoughts and feelings. Most of the time I don’t think that we are ready to see ourselves fully. The truth would be too painful.

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I often think about this as standing in a bright light looking in a mirror. In the mirror we see our face unadorned. All the blemishes and flaws are totally revealed. If we see this most women are quick to add make up to cover what we see and make it acceptable to us. We hope that others will not see what we saw. The face we present to the world is different than the one in the mirror.

The same thing is true of us. We don’t really want to see all the flaws that would be revealed if we could really see what is inside. Our minds have doors that we don’t open. We say we want to see but we look without opening those doors.

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I wonder if this is part of the reason that contemplation/meditation is so difficult. Not only is it not part of our culture but it can be revealing. Sitting in silence and letting the unconscious be in charge can be scary. We may learn things we didn’t really want to know.

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The other side of the coin is that opening those doors and cleaning out those closets can bring us a peace that we can only imagine. We just have to be strong enough to accept what we find and let the ugliness drift away and hold on to the beauty. We will find beauty there as well and it can bring peace and help us to love ourselves.

We have to keep on!

stress level imageToday has been a little hangover from the stress of IBSD yesterday. I am better but have not totally let go of the anxiety. It is incredible how it can get a hold on you and not want to let go. It truly takes positive action on my part to continue to push it away. Sometimes I think how silly it is to let anxiety take control when there truly is nothing to be anxious about. We surely can make our own distress. Unfortunately, it is not under my control. I keep working at it and it is better than it was in the past.

stressed-stress-relax.jpgLife will always be up and down. That’s just the way it is. It’s how we handle it that counts. In spite of struggles we have to keep fighting! Giving up is not an option as none of us wants to live that way. Life is such a gift. We can’t miss it.

Stay with what works!

hit on headToday has been one of those day where you could say “I shudda stayed in bed!” I doubt it would have helped. I have been doing so well and just chugging along in spite of the total chaos of my life at this point. Well, as you might imagine, that didn’t last. Again struck down by an episode of IBSD. Just when I think I have it all under control….WHAM!

Of course the problem is that I haven’t been doing anything I should. My diet has been awful, no meditation, insomnia, and whatever else can mess up. Today I went over the edge and realized this has to stop. When you are afraid to go anywhere because of IBSD it is time to rethink.

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So, back to real food, a good schedule, meditating and being sure to keep as much as possible stable and ignore the rest. It is amazing how easy it is to let all the things learned about keeping stable go right out the door.

It’s terrible when you know how to stay well and you just let it go. Life is always better when we do the things we should.

Stay on the right path and keep going!

Focus on now!

I love C.S. Lewis. I have read a great deal of what he has written. He has written so much beside the Chronicles of Narnia. Recently, when we were without power I re-read his other fiction series beginning with “Out of the Silent Planet.”

I could quote him every day but I want to focus on this one.

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We all have a past. It may have been wonderful or it may be have been awful but it is the past. We can’t change it but we can let it go. Even if we are struggling the struggle will pay off. We are like the swan who looks so wonderful as she glides along and is paddling furiously under the water. Each thing that we do, every moment that we glide ahead takes us one step further even if we are paddling frantically.

We can change only the moment we are in. That’s as far as we can go. We need to not obsess about tomorrow but just manage this day, this hour, this minute. It’s all we have.

We can change the ending. Believe it!