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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 thank you matters

Recently I have received two notes from people I saw often when working for the church. The notes were so affirming of my ministry when there. It was such a surprise and a joy. It touched me so to know that my time there meant something.

It reminded me of how important it is to affirm those who have meant something to us. It is so easy to make complaints when things go wrong but we forget to give thanks and praise when things go right.

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It try to thank those I meet daily even if it is a small task…thanking a waiter/waitress or someone who works on our car. Thank you for doing a good job means so much to someone who has had people putting them down all the time.

Take the time to be appreciative. It can change someone’s day or their life.

Tell the truth??? or not??

Truth said in love can hurt before it heals. Unknown

Sometimes we know something that we feel needs to be told. It is something that we know will be a surprise (not always a good one). It is something that could be devastating. What do we decide to do?

This can be an awful decision. It is important to look carefully at why we would disclose. It is possible that we might never be forgiven. It is possible that any friendship will be gone. Do we want to tell for us or for them? Will the disclosure be worth the pain it could inflict? We absolutely have to look closely at ourselves and think about the outcome. Sometimes revealing something it not necessary in the long run. Some times the repercussions will be too painful and can be unnecessary.

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Taking the time to think everything through is most important. Hurting someone should not be done lightly. Think before you do!

Why?

Today we went to see the movie 1917. I am not fond of war movies but my husband wanted to see it. I don’t want to talk about the movie but something that came to me while watching.

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Another war….how many since? Why are we this way? Why do we go to war rather than solve problems? Why are we greedy and selfish? Why do we hate those who are not like us? Why are we not loving and kind and compassionate?

Did we start out that way or did we grow into it? And the real question is what can we do to change?

Lots of questions and no real answers. Rilke’s quote tells us to live in uncertainty and wait for answers.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Rainer Maria Rilke

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I hope that he is right and that some day, somehow, a miracle will occur and the earth will be a place of peace and love.

Success at last

Today I have been working on communion bread for my church during lent. Since I make bread all the time you would think that this would be easy. Not so! I lost my original recipe and have been hunting for another one. So far I have tried two that didn’t work for me. They both tasted fine but looked awful.

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failure #2

So I gave up and came up with my own recipe. Here’s hoping that this one works. If it doesn’t it is back to the drawing board and next week is Ash Wednesday. See what we get when we volunteer. Something that is usually easy can turn into a nightmare.

If this one works I will post a photo of it. Here’s hoping.

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Success

Can we help?

In life, we often want to help someone who doesn’t want help. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes trying to help is the wrong thing to do. But sometimes they genuinely need help and there are many reasons why they might refuse.

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Pride can frequently get in the way of accepting help. Many of us were raised to believe that taking help obligates us to return the favor to the person who helped.  Over the time that I have lived I have become a big proponent of “paying it forward.” We don’t have to be beholding to the specific person but we are called to help someone else in the future. However,we should never feel obligated but take the opportunities when they present themselves..

I know for sure that I can get the bit between my teeth and be determined to finish something myself. I can push away anyone who really wants to lighten the load. I want to “do it myself” like a three year old.

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When people turn us away from helping it is difficult to know when is the right time to push and when we should just back away. I really can’t guess myself. It is an individual determination. I wish I had some crystal ball but I don’t. I do know that there are times that I have had to back away or lose any chance to remain a friend or help later.

Happy Valentine’s Day

There are stories about where Valentine’s day originated. Most versions have to do with a Valentius. All the stories agree that he was a hero who helped during the early Christian days in Rome whether by marrying young men against the orders of Claudius II or by helping Christians imprisoned by the Romans. February 14th may have been chosen by the Roman Catholic Church in order to coincide with a festival dedicated to one of the Roman gods. During its history the church did this for several holidays to make it easier for cultures to shift to Christianity.

None of this matters in the big scheme of things.

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Hope your Valentine’s Day has been filled with joy and love!

Watch out for the wall

I often think of Robert Frost’s poem about building a wall. He is thinking about what happens when we do this. We can wall things out and sometimes we have to do that to survive. Many victims of abuse can only manage by walling the abuse out. Some have even developed different personalities to not be present themselves. This is the extreme example.

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However, we do need to be careful about walling those around us out. Usually what we need for healing begins outside of ourselves. We need others whether in the form of therapist or loving friends/family. We have to be careful not to wall out the help we need. If we are fragile it is so easy to stay inside our protective shield but this is only a temporary solution.

Try and find those who can help to pull you out from behind the wall and eventually tear it down altogether. In that place is healing.

Don’t mess with Mother Nature

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The new virus that has risen out of China is just an example of how vulnerable we are. People travel the globe and it is so easy for someone who is infected to travel before they know they are sick.

It is very likely that some time in the future we will suffer a pandemic. There have been pandemics in the past…affecting the known world. They did a good job of culling the population.

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With the earth being past it’s ability to manage the number of people I do wonder if this would be its way of fighting back. Maybe we have messed too much with Mother Nature.

Time

Science doesn’t know the answer to this question. None of us do. There are some ideas and some speculations but no proof. I was thinking about that when I wrote this.

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Time

Time
You move
Forward ever
Nothing the same
Ever forward

Time
Pulling me
Inexorably
Toward an end
For me
Time stops

I wonder
If
Time itself
Ever ends

We all are important

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For those of us who struggle with mental health issues it is easy to look down on ourselves. We have the idea that we are not as good as others. Unfortunately, for some, this is what we have been told.

This is so far from the truth. Some of the most famous and inspirational people suffered things that would be categorized as a mental health issue today. Below is a list of some of these people and an estimate of their problem.

11 Historical Geniuses and Their Possible Mental Disorders
  • ABRAHAM LINCOLN // DEPRESSION. …
  • LUDWIG VON BEETHOVEN // BIPOLAR DISORDER. …
  • EDVARD MUNCH // PANIC ATTACKS. …
  • MICHELANGELO // AUTISM. …
  • CHARLES DICKENS // DEPRESSION. …
  • CHARLES DARWIN // AGORAPHOBIA. …
  • WINSTON CHURCHILL // BIPOLAR DISORDER. …
  • VASLAV NIJINSKY // SCHIZOPHRENIA.

We may not consider ourselves to fit into this list but it is obvious that we all have something to offer to the world. Never put yourself down. Know that you have gifts that are needed. Ignore those who want to put labels on you and just keep going.

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