Ritual

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.

ritual2

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.

Coincidence?

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.

coincidence

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.

quotes-about-coincidence

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?

Thoughts can bring good days

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?

monkey thinking

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.

basset shaking

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.

good actions

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.

The marsh grass —a poem

The Marsh Grass

marsh grass

 

The water moves slowly

at first

tide changing

 

as if

trying to decide

which way to go

 

Then I see

the clusters

of marsh grass

 

loosened from their

home

begin to move

 

slowly at first

then faster

seeking the sea

 

finding

a new home

vast and free

 

drifting on

the crest of each wave

waving at

the sun

 

The dance

toward ending

begun

 

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.

C-S-Lewis-Quote-You-can-t-go-back-and-change-the-beginning-but-you

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!

 

You are important

pused over the edgeLife 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.

wonder womandc-comics-superman-maquette-tweeterhead-903305-07

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.

Furry+Logic+-+Ten+Speed+Press+-+(c)+2004

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.

Life unexpected

unexpectedYesterday 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 (1)

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