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.

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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.

Good grief ! I’m lost!

crazy gramGood grief! Our local civic center offers shows all during the year. I get their email with the line up for the next few months. The scary part is that of all the people listed I didn’t know a single one! I know I’m getting older but somewhere I have lost my connection to the current music etc. stars. I guess I have some serious catching up to do. I need to spend some quality time with my grandchildren (who are all adults except for one), It’s going to be bad when I have to ask my great grandchildren about the current music scene. I have always tried to keep up enough to know who is currently singing, playing etc but I have lost it now.

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My grands are going to be hearing from me asking to be brought up to speed. I don’t want to become the dotty old grandmother.

An amazing manifesto from parent to child

This is from my daily readings by Richard Rohr. I find this truly amazing and wish I knew about it when my children were small. I plan on creating a copy for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. My whole family needs a beautiful framed copy of this!

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Researcher Brené Brown knows the importance of vulnerability and open-heartedness. In her book Daring Greatly, she offers a parenting manifesto that can serve as a touchstone when we feel afraid or resist vulnerability. You might read it aloud to a child, someone you love, or yourself:

“Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions—the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude. I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.”

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Avery: 2012), 244-245. Visit brenebrown.com for a copy of the manifesto and other resources.

Fast money = big interest

Today has been calm and a nice break. The weather is hot but after all it is summer. Today I did another mediation. It is amazing to me the terrible fixes people can get themselves into. Sometimes I just want to say “what were you thinking?”

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So many of the mediations are about loans. Not today but I have seen cases where people borrowed money and I’m sure they had no idea how 25% interest would affect them. You can quickly end up owing so much more money than you started out with. Money management is one of those things that should be taught in school. Someone should show them how if you borrow money at that interest rate you will be in trouble fast.

I have heard some educators recently talking about things that should be taught. It seems that people need education on practical matters. I don’t know what happened. Are parents not teaching money management or cooking at home any more. My parents made sure that I understood about life issues. I may not have wanted to hear it but they told me anyway.

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Sometimes I feel so sorry for the people who end up in a legal problem because no one explained the basics to them. Quick money = big interest. It is important to pay attention and know what you are doing.

Opinions

The holiday is over and we are heading back to ?normal? There is nothing wrong with that but I do miss them. I used to have a sign that someone gave me to hang in my kitchen. It said: all our guests give pleasure…some by coming, others by going. These were not guests….they are family. In today’s world it is not unusual to have family living far away. I feel blessed that they are not a country away. At least I can fly there easily.

Now it is time to catch up on things that have been waiting for me to get to them. Life continues to move on and there is always something to do.

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Having a 21 year old and a 15 year old here was fun. I love ferreting out what how they see themselves. The 15 yo is an introvert and a male so feelings are not something that one discusses. I was able to sound him out about his favorite subject….biology..especially viruses and how to fight them. I can picture him working for the CDC one day. He struggles with social situations…but will learn with age. It’s funny that as we get older and find people who are like us things become easier.

My granddaughter is brilliant and hard to keep up with. She amazes me with her knowledge. She has done some modeling and can look beautiful when she wants. I like that sometimes she just wants to veg.

I wish I could say that I was able to dig into how they see themselves but that is hard to get from anyone. I have some idea from my experience of them but have fun trying to dig deeper.

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My father taught me to watch out forming opinions of others but I think our opinion of ourselves tends to shape us. The new generations have time to decide how they feel about themselves. I hope they are able to see beyond the opinion of others.

Worlds are there in books

readI have been a reader my whole life. I don’t know how old I was when I started reading but I do know that books have always been my friends. I still have a lot of books in my house. My husband told me that if I brought another book into the house I had to take one out so I bought a Kindle.

For years reading was how I remained sane when I was on the verge of panic. I could lose myself in a book and escape. I have some books that I have read over and over. I put them on the shelf for a few years and then pull them down and read them again. It is like visiting an old friend.

I love my Kindle but I still like holding a book in my hands. There is something about the feel of the page that is special to me. I hope that with all the electronics we don’t do away with books. It would be terrible not to have libraries to browse in. It is so different from looking up books on line.

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I read everything from fiction to the orange juice container. I think one of the best ways to learn to write is to read. Reading increases your vocabulary and your knowledge. I want to keep reading and learning until my life ends.

Don’t give up

Acceptance. A powerful word. A word that can take time, struggle and sometimes agonizing over. Reaching it can make you go through the storm with no umbrella.

The medicine that worked for my IBSD last time doesn’t seem to be doing the same thing. I will continue to hope that it will at last work but in the meantime I need to think about moving forward where I am.

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To just sit and  bemoan what is happening doesn’t help. It is best to reach an acceptance and go to plan B or Z if that is necessary. Moving on is what has kept me afloat for all these years. Sometimes I enjoy wallowing in misery for a short while but that doesn’t really help.

Sometimes we would just like to get in the bed and pull the covers up but life tends to make us get up. At least if we want to live life we have to get up.

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Don’t ever give up and let set backs push you into a hole. Life is better if you take a good breath, fuss about your problems, and go on.

 

Watch! You may find wisdom

Each of us has a story. Story is so important. It sticks with us so much more than classes or text books. We often think of story as fiction but so many wonderful stories are true and the people were real. Some of the greatest learning experiences have been taught with the use of story. I had a history professor in college who said that good historical fiction taught us more about lives in the past than anything else.

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Story also comes from TV, movies and our own lives. Lately I seem to find great meaning in the oddest movies or programs.

I can’t begin to count the wisdom I have acquired in stories…. fiction and non-fiction. I often find a quote that I have to ponder on. I actually keep a handwritten quote book with things that have taught me or touched my heart. Here are several of my favorites:

Any man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it. From “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson

To live is to dance in and out of the shadow of joy. From the blog “The Death Project.”

Hate is a very big, very hungry thing with sharp teeth. It will eat up your whole heart and leave no room left for love. From the movie “Amish Grace.”

We have the best system of government the world has ever seen but it is only as good as the people in charge. From the TV show “Madame Secretary.”

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Wisdom shows up in the most unexpected places. We have to pay attention to catch it. The things you learn are worth the effort.

 

Religious Literacy

Religious illiteracy is a luxury (we) they can no longer afford. Barbara Brown Taylor in “Holy Envy.”

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I am loving the book “Holy Envy” which is Taylor’s  reflections on teaching a course in World Religions. This really jumped out at me. In today’s world we cannot be ignorant of the tenets of other faiths. No matter what our job other’s beliefs will touch us in some way.

Years ago, when I worked in the hospital, we had to be aware of the needs of the Gullah people who live off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina on small islands. Much of their culture has now been lost due to encroachment on their islands but they had ideas that impacted their healing. Blue is a very auspicious color for them and selecting a blue hospital room, when possible, could enhance their recovery.

The world has grown so small that we can’t afford to discard other beliefs just because we don’t agree with them. At some time we will be interacting with those of another faith and would do well to understand backgrounds and customs.

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Placing other faith’s tenets beside our own can expand our understanding of our own…..that is if we are not afraid of really exploring with an open mind. Being fearful or unwilling to step outside of our comfort zone exposes how little we have tested and explored our own faith.

Don’t be afraid to talk with others openly about their beliefs and be willing to accept where they are.