Evaluating the journey

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.

Change-is-Scary

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.

everything will be ok

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.

Remember when?

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.

parents-with-three-children-watching-television

I remember playing outside in the twilight..Kick the Can, Hide and Seek.

milk truckI 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.

Imperfect

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.

imperfect

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.

wired

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.

Life has stages

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.”

LI-at-various-life-stages-jonah-sept-2016-v2

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.

findingmeaning_mailer_facebook

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.

Testing Christianity

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.

testing

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.

time for change

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….a poem

The Mighty Oak

 

The old oak tree bwMy 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

Pine neighbors

And dwellings rose

 

The oak reached further

Growing older

Stretching out

 

Resurrections ferns

Adorn branches

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

Change AGAIN

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.

old new

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.

life changing2

We have to move on to new things ourselves and find our place and our fulfillment somewhere else.

 

24 hours to rant

status-quoI have been thinking about the words “status quo.” There are many people who struggle against change of any kind. They fight for things to remain the same. The problem is that things never stay the same no matter what.

The one thing we can count on is that things will change. Sometimes that change is for the better, sometimes not. One of the greatest lessons we can learn is how to cope with change.

Recently I have used the term “new normal.” This is how I describe the pattern that is present in my life at the moment. I hope that this pattern will hang on for a while. Patterns give me peace. But I can surely count that, at some time, everything will change again.

pity partyCoping with change is one of the critical lessons we can learn. The ability to let go of our previous “normal” and move on to another has a lot to do with our state of mind. For those of us who battle anxiety change is a trigger word. It can send our whole world into a tailspin. Coping mechanisms for dealing with change are a must. I have a friend who says that when change happens that is negative we are entitled to fuss, fume, and cry about it…..for 24 hours. I have found this works. Just being able to rant for a while seems to get some of the frustration out and it helps me to move forward. I may be having a pity party alone or with someone…it doesn’t matter. It helps either way. There is a positive to venting. Let all those feelings out! Then move on.

When change comes use all the coping skills in your arsenal to overcome fear and anxiety.  It can be done!

Just thoughts

memoryToday I cleaned my office. Until today it has been impossible to even walk through it. Literally! I should have taken a photo that I could post. This room was used for storing and wrapping gifts and it got completely out of hand. It is so nice to look around and not see chaos.

Life has been reasonable this week and I am glad. Things seem so much more normal. (if there is such a thing) Sometimes settling into routine can be boring but at the moment a little boring is good.

Several  bloggers have posted how difficult the season has been for them and I hope that things will get better for them. I have had my ups and downs but right now feels better. I will wallow in it for as long as it lasts.

art.jetson.hbWe are heading into 2019 and I can remember wondering if I would still be around this far into the 21st century. That may seem strange to most of you but if you were born in the first half of the 20th century it is not strange at all. I can remember reading 1984 and thinking it was so far in the future. I remember all the predictions of the strides in gadgets for the future and I want to know why I don’t have a flying car! I was promised one and I am disappointed.

I don’t think anyone foresaw the leaps in communication. If i heard anything about the impact of the internet (before it appeared) I don’t remember it. When I think that my grandmother was born in the 19th century it is hard to believe all the changes.

I hope that as we head into a new year that younger people (than me) will make communicating over distances a way to bring us closer together without losing the importance of being able to physically touch someone. We are social beings who need touch. It is critical to our well being. Without it we can end up with attachment disorders that can make our life and the lives of those around us horrible. Humans need bonding. We can’t let that get away from us!

International-hugs-day-January-21

I know this kind of relationship is difficult for some and that might be attributed to their upbringing. I hope that in the new year you may each find your comfort zone with another person and be able to get a hug when you need one.

A Reflection

Yesterday was a good day. We had lunch with out friend and dinner with my son and his family. Both of us won’t eat for several days. For some reason today I am sad. It may just be the let down from all the energy spent getting everything done.

reaction-adjust

It is strange that each Christmas seems to fall out differently. I miss a routine. I miss a Christmas I recognize. I know things will continue to change as we age but it would be nice to have a few more Christmas norms. I guess if my whole family lived here it wouldn’t be so hard but I don’t know many people who have their whole family in one place. My children had to go where the jobs were best and it was the right thing to do. We are blessed to have one here some people have no one.

I do miss the old Christmas. I wonder if we ought to pull a Kranks and just skip it but neither of us  wants to do that. We really do love it and want to celebrate with whoever we can whether it is family or friends or whoever. I do remember the real reason for the celebration and will continue to give thanks.

Life does have ups and downs. We spend our lives accumulating…people, family, things and then we spend our “golden years” divesting ourselves of things. The family decreases on one end as it grows on the other. Our parents are gone and other family members but we have gained children, grandchildren and not great grandchildren. We will be the next generation sliding out and new generations will come. It is the cycle of life but sometimes it is hard. I remember my grandmother saying that she was a girl trapped in an old body. It is easy to feel that way. Sometimes I look at things from ancient eyes and sometimes not.

horizon-learn-orlando-espinosa

This blog has ended up sounding depressing but reflecting on my life span and where I am in the scheme of things is part of acceptance. No matter the past my life continues to be full. I am living each day, continuing to learn and grow. I will do that until I slip into the twilight.