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.
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.
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.
A friend and I were reminiscing yesterday and I wanted to share some memories from the “ancient person.”
I remember lying in front of our fireplace and listening to the radio. Yes radio! Fun programs like “Let’s pretend, The Shadow, Fibber Magee and Molly, and many more. There was something enchanting about picturing the stories in your own mind.
I remember watching TV for the first time. Of course black and white, tiny screen.
I remember playing outside in the twilight..Kick the Can, Hide and Seek.
I remember visiting my Aunt and seeing the horse drawn milk delivery truck. The horse knew the route and moved to the next stop while the man took the milk to the door and picked up the empty bottles to be washed and used again. She lived in what was a small town at that time.
I remember standing in my front yard (on a main highway) and watching convoys of military vehicles going to a nearby post. I was quite young but still remember this from WWII.
I remember hanging clothes on the line outside to dry and running to bring them in if it started to rain.
I remember, in my teens, taking a bus to Washington DC, (we lived in the suburbs) and visiting the museums and Smithsonian. Taking the bus home and being perfectly safe.
I remember watching the McCarthy hearings and being upset that people could be treated that way.
It was a different view of the world.
None of us is perfect. No matter how hard we try. We are human and humans make mistakes. In the Bible Paul says I do the things I ought not and don’t do the things I should. This is true of everyone.
The things that most of us do wrong are usually not serious but can hurt others. Hopefully, we don’t really want to hurt anyone. The thing that is hard to take is that there are some who really do want to do harm. There are many explanations why this happens. Most of us want to believe that they are damaged in some way. Many of them are. The shooter in New Zealand may have been taught the hatred he exemplified.
There are those that were damaged by the treatment they received as children. The things that happen to us in the early years can leave some terrible scars. Some people are able to recover and make peace with themselves. Some are not and that past pain is reflected in their treatment of others.
In my lifetime I have had the experience of meeting a few whose earliest lives created true monsters. There are theories for why this happens… some about early bonding. One of my friends adopted two infants from mothers who were addicted to crack cocaine. One of them did well but suffers from some physical problems. The other was diagnosed as a sociopath. ( I think now called antisocial disorder) As early as preteen the rooms of the other family members had to be locked in fear of his actions. They tried everything they could to help but to no avail. This very loving family was able to keep him until his teen years and at that point safety for the family required letting him go. I know he was in treatment for a while but I don’t know where he ended up. God help those where he is.
Every one of us has done things we regret and wish we could fix. We would like to go back and change everything. We may not be able to do that but we can go forward with a desire to do better. Doing our best to respect and understand those around us can make a difference.
If you have things you need to let go confess them. Whether to God, your own higher power or even to yourself. Acknowledge your mistakes and move on. Forgiveness heals.
Western society is a “first-half-of-life” culture, largely concerned about surviving successfully. Richard Rohr
Some of the Eastern cultures understand that life has stages. The Hindus see a learning/student stage, a family/work stage, a retirement/spiritual exploration stage and an enlightenment stage.
This kind of thinking is also present in Buddhism and other cultures. We seem to get stuck in the beginning stages and have no understanding of how we need to live the “second half of life.”
In the first half of our life we are learning and absorbing things. It is as if we are creating a receptacle in which to live. The second part of life should be about putting things in the receptacle. This means understanding the world around us from a deeper perspective. Filling ourselves up with the meaning of life and understanding what is important. This leads to a deep fulfillment and sense of purpose.
Experience the first part of life with everything you have. Learn, grow, love but don’t skip the next part which will bring you to a place of peace.
It is so sad that Christianity is struggling today. There have been so many issues not confined to one group. The Catholics have been fighting sex scandals for years and this seems to be the most explosive. The United Methodists made decisions recently that may split the denomination. Episcopalians meeting in England were distressed to have same sex spouses barred from the proceedings. These are all mainline churches.
The less united denominations don’t seem to have suffered as much since members who disagree just move elsewhere. However, over the years, they have suffered from what seems to be leaders who took advantage of them.
Christianity has been tested before. Usually it seems to help people assess what it means to them and what it is really about. The way it looks after this testing we can’t know. It may be radically different. Hopefully people will look deeply into their hearts and draw closer to the deeper meanings of that faith. All I know is that testing usually results in change. Hopefully for the better.
The Mighty Oak
My life must be a shadow
Standing beside the mighty oak
Towering toward the sky
What has he seen of life
Passing beneath outspread branches
Green with fern
Resting in the shade
Deer, squirrel, possum,
Raccoons, and rabbits wait
They hide when men with
Feathered headdress and
Quiet steps wander by
Mighty ships tall with sails
Have brought others
To sit below the ancient boughs
Strange machines have moved
And dwellings rose
The oak reached further
And green with rain
No loss of leaves in winter
but when new leaves form
in spring old pushed aside fall
My life but a shadow
Of time for Him
Gone in an instant
He sees each change
As in a dream
Of centuries gone
Life moves along. The things we knew slide away and new things come. The church that I used to work for has 2 new pastors. They seem to have jumped in with vigor and lots of things are going on. This is a really good thing. The offices, which were in another building, have been moved back to the church building and rooms have been updated. This is moving forward.
I was there today and it did bring memories and nostalgia about the past. There are things that I will miss. A while ago I said I should have a T-shirt made that says “I have survived 8 pastors.” If I added the ones I worked with before that job it would be even more. Each one had their own personality and own way of doing things. Part of the job is to support the pastor so I learned the ways and ideas of each one. It feels strange not to be doing that with these two but it is time to help elsewhere.
We have all talked about dealing with change. it is a constant like death and taxes. There are changes that are easy to move on from and some that are not. Regardless that is life. There will always be changes that we will regret and mourn. That is as it should be. We just have to accept that there are things we can’t do anything about and we don’t need to get hung up on them.
We have to move on to new things ourselves and find our place and our fulfillment somewhere else.