That inexplicable moment

Today I shared, on my other blog, a song by Khris Khristopherson that has always meant a lot to me. Below is the video of the song with the story of how it was written. The song itself may not be your cup of tea but the lyrics are powerful and so is the story. Please read on after the video.

It is possible for each of us to have an experience so powerful that it can change us. It doesn’t matter how we connect with God/supreme being/universal One. What matters is that it is possible to do so.

We may be moved by music, nature, love, poetry, art or community…anything that can take us to that place where we are held by that breathtaking sense of oneness with everything. I have had that experience in my life. It can’t be grasped and held on to. It is just there and then gone. We remember it but can’t fully experience that moment again.

We can intentionally seek that place by letting go of ourselves through meditation, silence or whatever works for you. There is still no guarantee that it will find us but by striving for connection we open ourselves to the experience.

Holy moments are beyond explanation and something I have never forgotten. May you find and be embraced by them in your life. I believe in more.

 

A day out of time

moment-in-time-imageToday felt like a day out of time. My husband had tests scheduled and left our hotel at 9:30 and came back at 2:30. He says the day was organized and fairly simple. For me it felt like a day out of time. I spent most of the day in the room and re-read a book that I loved (When Breath Becomes Air). It is the journey of a remarkable neurosurgeon, scientist, PHD in English as he receives a terminal diagnosis. It has some sad parts but some amazing quotes. He was an amazing writer and thinker.

For me it was a day to think and just be. I did some knitting…also think time…and a little TV. I think it was the first day in a long time where I had nothing planned and no agenda at all. In my case this would normally be stressful but today it was so calm. What a joy.

I am not sure why the calm settled in since tomorrow we (hopefully) will have a plan in place and normally I would have been anxious about that. The calm was a blessing.

awesome momentsHow often are we blessed enough to feel calm? For me that is not often. I let myself dive into it. Thanks to God for the moment out of time!

Touch heals

There has been a lot of research about touch and how healing it can be. Over the years, while visiting people at home and in the hospital, I have always used touch to draw closer. I truly believe that touch can be therapeutic if used with intent to heal. Recent studies have shown that just holding the hand of a loved one can reduce pain.

healing touch

When visiting a member of the congregation in the hospital I found her in pain. Unfortunately, he pain medicine was not due for some time and she was very uncomfortable. She responded well to my touch and using both touch, a soothing voice, and a meditative talk (like a mantra….”just rest, just rest..close your eyes and just rest) over and over she relaxed into a calm and peaceful state and was able to wait for her next dose of medicine.

I don’t know how many times I used this technique on my children and never thought about it but with my job as parish nurse it was very helpful. Having someone focus your thoughts soothes us and along with gentle touch can bring us to a state of calm.

The problem is it is hard to do this for yourself. I have done it on occasion when I found myself in a situation when I was about to lose either my temper or my mind. Just stepping back, breathing and focusing my mind….I sometimes repeat “be calm, be calm”…does help me get past that moment. I had a Tai Chi instructor who said when faced with her kids waiting in an airport she had to keep saying “lower your chi” over and over.

Sometimes when I am alone I like to sing a piece of Taize music. These pieces from the Taize community in France are soothing chants that can calm your mind and soothe your soul. If you have never heard these look it up.

This link will take you to one of my favorites on YouTube.

A spiritual connection to the earth

We have had our friend, Harold Littlebird, here for the last few days. Harold’s heritage is Pueblo (I’m sorry I don’t remember more specifics) and he is an amazing potter, poet, storyteller, songwriter and singer. He is amazingly talented.

This is one of his pieces. Each piece has a story attached to it.

P1010277

He is also deeply spiritual and an amazing Christian. He sees God as both infinite and immanent. God is present with him at all times and when you are with him you can feel that presence. It is a joy to be with him.

Having him in our home is such a reminder of the things I fail to do each day to connect me with God. Silence is his friend but he can also be fun and funny.

We have other friends who are native Americans (First Nations) and I am always awed by their connection with God and the earth. We all need to learn from them. We are so often careless with our use of the resources of the earth that God has blessed us with. We are supposed to be stewards but we have so often raped the earth. Our total disregard of the fact that things are not limitless has made the decline of the earth almost inevitable. I really hope that it can be turned around and that the earth can be sustained. I worry about my grandchildren and now my great grandchild. What kind of a world have we left for them?

earthhelpdesktop1

I see on the web young people who are finding solutions to the problems that we have created and it gives me hope. Maybe it will take the next generations to reverse the trend. I hope so. I really hope so!

Seeing the destruction we have done makes me anxious for the future. Will we ever learn to care/

Compassion

Many of us have the gift or burden of sharing in other people’s feelings. This can be overwhelming. If we are sharing with someone who is in pain the results can be hard. It is so easy to take on their burdens as your own.It is a wonderful gift to understand the struggle that others are having but if we let it take over our lives it can be more than we can handle.

Compassion is truly a gift but we have to learn to back away when it sends us into depression and anxiety. Helping others to find a way through their burdens will help to bring peace to us as well.We can’t do that if we are so caught up in the situation that we also need help.We have to learn how to be compassionate without losing ourselves.

Sleep: the balm of hurt minds

no sleepI couldn’t get to sleep last night. There was nothing wrong I just couldn’t sleep. It goes without saying that today I am tired and not functioning at 100%. I have two granddaughters who have sleep problems. One of them has struggle her whole life with it. As a child she would be awake in her room all night.

Shakespeare spoke about it in Macbeth – “the innocent sleep; Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem. It causes so many parts of our body to be in crisis. The following list is from WebMD.

 

In addition to this list is the problem of brain drain. Our brains don’t work well without sleep. Our memory doesn’t work well and we have mood changes. We are also prone to accidents, weakened immune system, and lowered sex drive. We need sleep. Anxiety can easily cause us to not be able to sleep. We have too much adrenaline running and can’t slow down.

The opposite problem is too much sleep. Depression is one thing that can set us up for this. We just want to pull the covers over our heads and drift away from the feelings. The odd thing is that this can cause almost the same problems and health issues as too little sleep.

When we suffer from mental health issues we can swing from too little sleep to too much sleep in a heartbeat. There are many ideas about how to get to sleep. Sometimes routine can help. Staying away from TV or cell phones helps some people. Strangely enough I get to sleep faster with a dumb TV program on low. I guess it keeps my mind from wandering.

counting sheep

The trick is to find what works for you. Sleep is an important part to maintaining our health. Sleep truly is the “balm of hurt minds.”

 

 

Emotions: the good, the bad and the ungly

be awareLately I have been thinking about good and bad emotions. Good emotions run the gamut from a simple flash of a decent day to full blown joy.  It is easy to see the negative ones. Fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, sorrow….I could go on. To counter these we can use the positive things we don’t often see as emotions: safety, relaxation, strength, gratitude, pleasure, satisfaction, friendship, kindness, and assertiveness. (From the article How to Tap into Your Light by Kalia Kelmenson in Spirituality and Health)

Most of these we don’t equate with emotion and so we don’t key into them. We don’t see them as positive emotions. We don’t focus on them. That is a major part of the problem.

I don’t know about you, but I am more likely to come home and relate a story about how uncomfortable I felt doing a mediation than that I did a good job. I let the good feeling be lost in the negative emotion. We tend to hang onto the bad feelings and nurse them. We are unwilling to let them go. Think of how often you have been angry about something and just kept bringing it up in conversation or dwelling on it. For some reason we must enjoy holding on to them.

When we don’t let go we experience physical changes. Negative emotions can cause an increase in heart rate and rise in blood pressure. They can decrease our resistance to disease and lower the ability of our immune system to function. They allow our bodies to attack us with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, asthma, ulceration colitis, migraines and irritable bowel. Oh, what we do to ourselves.

positiveWe have to learn to focus on the positive emotions and use them to overcome the negative ones. To do that we need to remember what they are and see them when they come. The list above can be added to I’m sure. It’s easy to see how we think when I realized that I had to find that list and couldn’t just come up with one from my head but the negative emotions were right on the tip of my tongue.

I think the most important piece is to be aware of what you are feeling. We can’t change it if we can’t recognize it.

As the song writer Johnny Mercer said “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!”