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Why this journey?

Life is a series of choices. We don’t often think of that but just getting out of bed in the morning is a choice. We are so used to routine that it doesn’t seem like we made a choice. It’s just what we do every day with little thought. How different life could be it we could be fully present for each of those choices. It is interesting to reflect on one’s path in life. It is so easy to see the places where I stepped off the path and usually paid for it. Sometimes the slip brings an instant outcome. Sometimes life continues and only with a long look back can we see the result of the choice.

I have always wanted to learn to live each day in the present moment but I haven’t mastered it yet. If only every second of every day I could remember I am alive now!  How different my whole life would have been.

You see, I am a worrier. I cross bridges and explore every good and bad outcome for each crisis or major event that comes up. I can easily picture myself with a fatal illness or catastrophic problem. The real question is how I have managed to live for 76 years and not learned how to let this go. It is time to move on. This is my journey into change. My first step into a new way to really live each moment.

I know that I have a tough road ahead of me and will struggle with my resistance to changing habits and applying all the advice and wisdom I have been given. I worried as a child. My grandmother used to tell me to sit in a chair and worry as hard as I could and get up and see if anything had changed. Her wisdom (she died at 100 ) was there for me as long as she lived. I heard it over and over but never learned how to do it.

The practice of faith was not absent in my growing years. God was a part of my everyday life. I was baptized in the Presbyterian church that my parents attended and each Sunday was in church with my parents or my grandmother (she was Methodist) I saw my grandmother read her Bible each day and pray as she rested after lunch and again at night before bed. Her connection to God was strong. Was Her consistent time spent with God the thing that brought her such peace? Many of my adult years have been spent in God’s ministry. Interesting that all that energy and action didn’t have a deeper effect on my way of being. One would think that Bible study, leading church events, teaching yoga and meditation would have had more impact.

So many human quirks that have been around since Adam and Eve have been given titles and are seen as present in many of us. In today’s world, my worrying would be given the title mild anxiety. What I do is not unusual nor can it be considered a psychiatric diagnosis. It seems to me that the recognition of garden variety anxiety has given some relief for those of us who worry. I am not the only one and will certainly not be the last.

Added on to this propensity to worry are the major changes in our way of life. It seems to me that sometimes ignorance is bliss. (note: I say it seems that way). Today we are bombarded with information. The world seems to be more dangerous day by day. To quote Dr King “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We can see the result of this on the streets of our cities. Have we been desensitized to violence so that nothing is too abhorrent to do?

All the electronic devices have added noise on a former unprecedented level. Is there silence anywhere? Do we understand the effect on body and mind of constant noise? Do we ever just sit back and think? I see this pattern as actually increasing worry or anxiety in the future. There is no time to just be.

All that having been said this writing will record my progress (or lack thereof) of a journey into change. I cannot change the world but I can change myself. I believe in the butterfly principle and maybe if one person finds a different way something will change.

A lost day?

Today seemed lost. My friend’s husband ended up in the hospital and I spent the day sitting in halls, cafeteria, wherever waiting for answers. Because of the flu outbreak they are only letting one person in at a time. I found places to stay away from the sick, read, knit and watch things on my Kindle. It was a day for kind thoughts and waiting.

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We arrived there about 10:30 and got some answers at 4:00 pm. He has a kidney infection and will be kept over night and assessed in the morning. I hope they send him home as the hospital is a source of infections.

So often I have struggled with what I am needed to do in my retirement but I think this day puts it in place. I am able to drop everything to be with a friend and that is something special. I am doing what is needed.

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Sometimes it is hard to see what is right in front of us. We all want to do something that “counts.” Counts how? Something that everyone sees? That is not what is important. Important is answering a need. Important is being there. So no one knows this is how I spent my day. It doesn’t matter. I was there when needed.

Be there for someone’s needs.

Live your beliefs

A number of years ago my husband and I had a house that we rented. Some people moved in and at first it was perfect. They paid rent on time and the house (from the outside) looked good.

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As time went on the husband told us that his wife was sick and they would be late with the rent. This went on with them occasionally paying something on the rent. My husband and I felt sorry for them to be going through such a tough time.

Then it got to where they were paying no rent but continued to tell us their many problems. We were worried but we were too kind to put them out. Two of their grown sons came and went along with other relatives. Now we were more worried. Then one day they came and told us they were moving. This actually was a relief. They left and we went into the house. Things were damaged everywhere. It took much money and lots of work on our part to fix the house up to rent again. We later learned that the sons were selling drugs from the house.

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Now we could haunt ourselves with how stupid we were to let this happen. And you are right…we shouldn’t. But here’s the thing…we consider ourselves to be good people….worthy of being called Christian and that is how we live. We wouldn’t let that happen again but they were the bad people not us.

I know that they left saying how dumb we were but being told of the wife’s illness ( and she really was sick) we lived out our commitment to be compassionate. It gives us a twinge once in a while but we lived what we believe.

Time to rant/ Wrong choice

I don’t usually complain about decisions made by the president (and that includes any president…it doesn’t matter who). This is one time I take seriously this simple choice that really affects very few people.

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It is my understanding that the president decided that those football players who go to one of the academies can bypass military service and be drafted for a professional team. I see this as totally wrong. We, the people, have paid for that education with the expectation that military service would follow. It is also not fair to the other students. What in the world makes football players special? We all know the answer to that but if they are going to be allowed to escape their commitment they should have to pay back the cost of their education.

My rant is done.

Will we learn?

I heard this song just the other day. It brought back so many memories. I love folk songs and the stories they tell. I was lucky that the era when they were so popular was during my college years.

This song was written by Pete Seeger who was a long time activist. It reminds us that we are the ones who cause wars. His question always gets to me: “When will they ever learn?”

We haven’t learned yet. Is there any chance that we will learn?

Cancer aftermath

I have several friends who have had cancer and are in remission. When this happens people begin to see them as back to normal. Most people are unaware of how much courage is involved in continuing to move forward. There are periodic scans and you have to wait for results. It can be a time of nail biting and stress.

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Chemotherapy also can have devastating consequences. The medicines that make you well can also cause major problems with the well systems in your body. There are many things that can go wrong from failure of other organs to hair, skin, teeth problems. It is not an easy path.

Hopefully the future will bring us closer to our own immune system removing the cancer from our body without hurting anything else.

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Remember those who struggle with the aftermath of cancer treatment. They need our continuing compassion and support.

Knit Wits

Today our Tuesday knit/crochet/whatever group decided to knit blankets for the Humane Society. We all love animals and they need all the help they can get. We feel that we get so much joy from knitting together that we can share that joy elsewhere.

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I spoke to the humane society and they are thrilled that we will do that. It is one way to pay it forward. I can’t believe the way some people treat animals.

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Of course I also can’t believe the way children/adults are treated also. I guess my comprehension of how someone must think to abuse anything/anyone is something out of my understanding. I don’t even like to step on a bug and when I can I will put them outside. Where we are we get small lizards in the house and I have been known to chase all over to catch them and get them outdoors where they can thrive. It hurts my heart (actually) to think of the abuse some people/animals suffer.

Ethical dilemmas

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Recently I wrote about the things that will be coming in the future and there are still some things that I can see ahead. I wonder what will happen with genetics. Will we be able to solve and end children being born with serious defects? Will we be wise enough to use the research in an ethical manner? As our knowledge of our most basic programming grows will we be able to use it for good? It seems that there is always someone who can corrupt the good.

Will we use extending life for everyone or just the uber-rich? Will extending life be for the good or will it create issues we can’t even imagine?

There are so many ethical issues facing us as our knowledge of smaller and smaller particles put us at risk. The same is true of our understanding of the universe and all it entails. With ethical behavior seeming to decline how will we cope with information that could change everything?

'Yep, that does sound like an ethical dilemma, Phil. But relax... it's only a problem if you have a conscience.' 'That's just it! I think I do!!' 'Don't worry, I won't tell a soul.'

I probably will not be here to see how this all comes about but I pray that our ethical and moral decline will turn around and we will have the wisdom to do the right thing.

Where is my flying car?

Sometimes, at my age, I wonder what the future has to hold. When we were in the 50’s we were supposed to have flying cars by now. Where is my flying car? I would love to live to see the amazing things that will come. I pray that the future will find the earth the beautiful place that it can be.

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I know that I will not live that long but I have hope for the people of the future.

Intelligence and character

I am still thinking about the young people I am encountering in Community Conferencing. Since Monday celebrates Martin Luther King this quote fits right into my thinking

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What I am seeing in the schools here makes me wonder if we can find either one. Intelligence is nothing without character. The environment in school can be distressing to those who want to learn.  It is amazing that the teachers keep on. It has to be depressing to try and reach those who want to learn when around them is hatred and violence. It has to be nearly impossible to keep order in a classroom when there are so many things that you can’t do.

When I went to school the teacher was always right. My parents would come down hard on me if I wasn’t good in school. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the parents seem intent on blaming the teachers. Children are not held accountable for their actions.

There are some who are now realizing that teaching about character and accountability is crucial. Those traits are so important and often overlooked. For those raising children please have your children be accountable now or later in life they may end up being held accountable for something catastrophic.