I have been thinking about ritual.We often equate it with religion but that is not the only place that we see it. When I get ready for bed at night I wash my face, clean my teeth, ready my bed, lower the temperature in the room by opening the window or turning on the air conditioning, turn on the overhead fan and turn out the light. I do these things in order. That is a ritual. The doing of those tasks in order brings me continuity and peace.
This is part of what ritual does for us. participating in religious ritual at its best brings us to a place where we can experience the infinite. For most of us this does not happen often. In the Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis has a demon distracting us in church by having us focus on anything except on the ritual. Is the lady ahead of us wearing a big hat? Is that a different woman with John? Anything will do.
Ritual of any kind usually feels comfortable and calming. (if it is familiar) We have many rituals whether we realize it or not. See if you can identify the rituals in your life.
I don’t believe in coincidences. For me, it seems that the things that happen are meant to be. I guess I believe in Karma, fate, destiny and the arangels. If this seems naive then so be it. So many things have happened in my life that would be incredulous without this belief.
I had retired from nursing and was just enjoying the time. One day I decided to read the newspaper. (I never do that!). Even more unbelievable I read the want ads. There was an add for a Parish Nurse. I had heard about this movement to join nursing with church life and had been very interested but never thought about actually doing it. The add asked for a reply to email which I did stating that I did not want a job but a ministry.
I was called and asked to interview. The job was part time, a two year grant to start and run a program and teach the idea across all denominations in my town. Good so far. I was then told that the pilot program would be hosted by a church where my Aunt was a member and where a “kissing cousin” worked part time as a visitation minister. I had been to that church often and in a town with many churches this was amazing.
I took the job and after two years was hired by the church to continue. Twenty years later I retired.
Too many “coincidences” for me to swallow.
What do you think?
What is thinking and how do we handle it? Being able to think is such a good thing but we can really get off track. Our thinking can make decisions about how we live each day. I want as many good days as possible, don’t you?
We get up each morning and without conscious thought may make a decision about how the day will go, This early morning idea can make or break our day. The thoughts may be a follow-through from the day before. It could be leftover feelings from a dream. Sometimes I wake up with a dream in my conscious mind and the related feelings foremost.
Knowing what is scheduled for the day may set the path even before we really have our eyes open. If we dread the day and let that be paramount we will start off with that underlying thought. I don’t think it will be our best day.
Feelings influence our thoughts and can take over from our rational mind and start us off on the wrong foot. When this happens I have to shake myself, like one of my dogs do, and push that feeling away.
If we want the day to go well it helps if we start off that way. If you can find something that gets you up to a good day use it. Someone I admire opens her eyes and says “God be on my right hand, God be on my left hand, God be in my heart and God be in my mind this day.” She says it brings her desire for the day into focus even before her foot hits the floor. Someone else has the things she is most thankful for taped to her bathroom mirror.
Whatever we can find to get those thoughts started off right will make a tremendous difference in our day. Make it a habit and plan for good days.
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.
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!
Life can be difficult at times. It may not be one big thing but many little ones that push you over the edge. In fact for me that is usually the case. If there is a big crisis I seem to do well until it is over…then I crash. Many little things nibbling away at just push you closer and closer to the precipice. You don’t notice it is happening until it is too late.
We want to be strong and able to handle the things that life brings but sometimes it is just not possible. When this happens I have to take a step back and realize that I am over the edge. It’s time to back away from the things that I can and handle only the most important. Sometimes I struggle to prioritize and don’t know which balls in the air to let fall. Sometimes some fall while I am not looking. It can’t be helped. None of us are Wonder Woman or Superman. We just aren’t.
I spent much of my life trying to be all things to all people and the stress took it’s toll in anxiety, depression and physical symptoms. We have to learn that we are vulnerable too.
The sad part is that when you spend your time saving everyone you become expected to do it and sometimes you receive no thanks or appreciation. When you stop it is a tremendous shock and you may have some upset people.
We have to set boundaries. I think our struggle with self worth is part of the reason we fall into this trap. The more secure we are with ourselves and our own self respect the more we can choose wisely. Logical decisions about what we can do are critical.
You are important. You are just as important as anyone else. You deserve to have pride, dignity and self regard. Don’t throw yourself away.
Yesterday I wrote about the challenges in the last year and that I hope we are heading for a break. So that’s what I thought? Guess again. Now with plans to leave my home in coastal Georgia and travel to Florida there are three storms in the Atlantic! I just want to yell at God and say “GIVE ME A BREAK!” By the way, it is ok to yell at God. He can take it.
So now we are watching hurricanes and hoping that we get a miss. My brother-in-law will be with our dogs. He is flying in tomorrow. I bet he wished he had never agreed to this!
Well, life goes on and we cannot control mother nature.
I am sharing a poem I wrote about life:
Life is very strange its patterns like paisley swirl on fabric
blending colors and shapes our life takes strange twists unexpected directions
and we are unable to see the form from within the design our viewing point
deep in the weave we can only see one color at a time
and cannot know the beauty of the whole
and even though God allows us to choose colors and patterns he alone can see the beautiful design