Exploring New Things

It is fun to explore new things. Last week I bought a piano keyboard and I am expecting a learn-to-play book for adults next week some time. I am hoping playing an instrument will improve my thinking.

Also, I am sick of not contributing that Covid seemed to impose on me. I find myself bored and feeling without any purpose on this earth. I was talking to Bernie about it the other day. I said that I would make a wonderful volunteer to work with kids. In addition to motherhood and grandmotherhood, I had a career in youth ministry and another as a parent educator in early childhood. The Morrison County Record had an article this weekend about the Foster Grandparent Program. I think I will check it out this week.

No more feeling sorry for myself being stuck in these winter days.

A Walk with Dyer

I went to the New2You store in Little Falls on Thursday, senior discount day (25%).  For those unfamiliar with the store, it was opened a few years ago to help support the Boys & Girls Club next door. My husband Bernie had a hand in it and he continues to serve on the store board and volunteers hours each week helping out in the office.

I stopped by to take a quick look at their used books and ended up walking out with 6 for which I payed $2.50. How’s that for a bargain? Two I will give as gifts and I expect to read the other four.

One that I picked up is Wayne Dyer’s There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem. I liked the title because without even reading the book, I believe it. I just think reading Dyer’s take on the idea will deepen this belief. I paged through the book and read the Foreword and Introduction. I find I can’t wait to get into the meat of it.

I took a peak at the Index and found that he refers to David Hawkins several times throughout. I will often do this when buying a book. If I am drawn to one philosopher or spiritual teacher, I find that I can usually trust another who is drawn to the same. At 77, I have read many ways of looking at how the worlds work and have come to settle on some ideas of my own. I imagine my spirituality will deepen and grow but not likely change. Reading insights by others on a similar path helps me with this.

In the forward, Dyer talks about surrender or turning a problem over to a higher power. Already we are on the same page. For me this is the first step in recovery. It can be a slight turn that aims one in a totally different direction. He also talked about helping others as a path to joy. Bingo.

The third idea that stands out for me I shared with some friends this morning and these dear sojourners all nodded with recognition. He said we can shift out of low energy patterns and access spiritual guidance in a matter of moments…simply a thought away. Bingo again.

 

Cathedral Ceilings

My husband and I went shopping today for new counter tops for our kitchen. The old counters are just fine, but the color green is 21 years old and we thought something lighter might brighten things up. It is our second update on the house since we built it. The first was a new sliding glass door out the back onto our porch. That was three years ago. Don’t want to move too fast when it comes to change.

I just got up from my nap which always takes place on the couch that butts up against the tallest wall in our house, about 14 feet from floor to ceiling. When we built the house cathedral ceilings were “the thing”. You could buy a tiny little house with very little floor space that looked spacious because of the high walls. What a scam! Cathedral ceilings belong in cathedrals.

First of all, repainting the walls is out of the question. We are both 77 years old and ladders are no more a sensible option, so this is a job for professionals. The new owners whoever and whenever that may be will be blessed with that chore. On the wall behind my couch we have a hung a 4′ by 8′ Aztec design blanket. I think we got it from my daughter and her husband when they went to Mexico years ago. My daughter doesn’t remember giving it to us and we have never been to Mexico, so here is no sentimental attachment to it. But what in the world would we put on such a large wall if we didn’t have it? Cathedral ceilings belong in cathedrals.

Heat rises so we have a fan installed to force the rising heat to the floor so our feet don’t get so cold. Not a bad idea until one has to clean the fan…another ladder chore. I remember a friend who had such a fan but it was so out of reach  she had to have a professional come in just to dust the damned fan. Cathedral ceilings, ugh, belong in cathedrals.

Sound, it seem, also rises and bounces off of things like walls and ceilings. That is great if the sound is a magnificent organ or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In our house, my husband can be talking on the phone in the kitchen and I can’t hear the television in the den which is a totally different room down the hall. Yes, yes, I know. Just turn up the volume and I have done that…and Bernie yells from the kitchen, “Turn down the TV! I am talking on the phone!” Cathedrals can keep their ceilings, as far as I am concerned!

How did I get from counter tops to ceilings? If you give a mouse a cookie…

 

Memorial Day Message

I watched President Biden’s Memorial Day Speech today. It is the best speech I have heard from him thus far. Here are a few of the highlights for me:

He talked about the Right of Remembrance. He may have meant “Rite”, but I thought about the current efforts in the country to keep particular parts of our history out of the history books our children will be using in schools. Every community’s history needs to find a place in those books. Our children should know the truth even the bad so that we can learn from mistakes and continue to grow.

He refers to the United States of America as “the Great Experiment.” Of all expressions this stirs patriotism in me the most. This nation is attempting to make a democracy work in a world where many in the world believe it can’t. It takes work, honesty, willingness to tell the truth and to change when needed. This phrase stirs me to be part of those who keep trying to make the country better.

“They died for us, for the freedom to…” I have heard this phrase multiple times. This morning I ask myself “freedom to do what?” For many Americans, it mean freedom to do whatever they want. But Biden stressed the importance of oneness…which for me, means caring for our fellow Americans. It is the golden rule applied. As I seek my own freedom, I seek the freedom of all Americans, especially those who have been deprived of their rights thus far.

He said, “Empathy is the fuel of democracy.” YES! As I implied above, Democracy only works if we are working for one another as much as for ourselves. Empathy is the capacity to see and feel experience from another person’s vantage point.

This was my favorite: “Every year we get a little more inclusive.” This gave me hope. When we are studying history, we need to tell the truth about the harms we have done, yes, but we need to also acknowledge the lessons we have learned and the improvements along the way. Sometimes I lose sight of these and that is when my patriotism wanes.

Today I thank those who gave their lives for my country. I hope to make their sacrifice worth it as I try to work with others toward the American ideal:  One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

CRISIS IN AMERICA

So far this year, in our United States of America:

Over 200 mass shootings
7,500 plus killed in shootings
23% increase over 2020

This past weekend, in our United States of America:

13 mass shootings in 8 states
13 dead and 70+ wounded,
each shooting involved at least four victims killed or wounded

This is a nation “Awash in Guns”
Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey

 

Meditation – Why Do It

Over the years, I have had a couple of experiences  (one is still strong for me) that occurred as I practiced meditation.

But for the most part, meditation itself doesn’t lead to any kind of psychic bliss, which some folks assume is its purpose. Peace, perhaps, but not bliss.

I see the fruits of meditation in the rest of my life, developing an eagle’s view, a deepening of hope, openness to the teaching offered me by nature, a consciousness of time, of connection, cause and effect.

Understanding of people, their struggle to be free, seeing them in their bondage.

So life in this way, is changing.

But do I feel bliss when I meditate? No. And somehow seeking it is to set myself up for disappointment.

So I do it because it seems the path chosen for me, an act of obedience.

And yet, I think of moments when I feel true Oneness, especially with nature, when I can call the trees and flowers or a blade of grass “companion”, when I am prodded to listen to critters, birds and four-leggeds, for the message they bring, when a word from a friend, a child, an author – that strikes me as a word from my God – a revelation, a direction, an assurance, a comfort.

Moments when I have peace and serenity, akin or close to moments of Oneness,  stillness in the midst of drama, often someone else’s drama, an “okay with the world”, accepting “life on life’s terms”, Okay, with a touch of joy.

From my journal September 8, 2014.

Reading my thoughts of 7 years ago, I see that I was on to something. I had practiced meditation for years in search of an experience of some kind. By the writing of this reflection, I had learned that spiritual experiences are not to be sought, they are given unexpectedly and uninvited. Their timing seems perfect most often in hindsight. They are not necessarily blissful or even good feeling. Think of the proverbial, “When God shuts a door, he opens a window.” Having a door slammed in your face is not pleasant but it is a spiritual experience.

Extending the door metaphor, over time one can stop before hitting the wood. They can ponder, prepare, rest in the awareness that God has another path that we might consider. Bliss comes when we trust that so totally that every experience feels right.

Today is always a good day. It is always, as my mother would say, “an adventure.”

 

Decisions and God’s Will

I wish I could say, at 70 years old, “Now I know how to live.” But that never happens. I keep trying new things when a way I’d chosen  doesn’t seem to get me where I want to go. Sometimes I get real and say, “I don’t know where I want to go.” or “I don’t know what I am supposed to do.” I don’t even know if there is a “supposed to.”

I heard a friend talking about this idea of “God’s will”. She is about 10 years behind me in age. She just finished 2 years of intensive education to qualify for specialized work in education. The study was so hard she often questioned whether this direction was God’s will for her. Even now, finally applying her new knowledge, she asks the question, “How do you know what God’s will when faced with a choice?”

I’ve grown weary of the question. I look back on my life with decisions and I think, “What if I’d chosen the other path?” The answer is simple to me: the place of arrival would be different. My path would have been different. Today, I would have a whole different set of friends. Would I appreciate them as I do the ones I have now? Would I be married? If so, to someone else? That would change the whole dynamic of my family. Would I be better educated, more worldly or the opposite? Are there opportunities that would have presented themselves that didn’t on the path I did choose?

(Sounds like “what if” and “the road not taken.”)

This I believe: Had I made a different choice that would have significantly altered the circumstances of my life. There would be something of me that would be the same as I am today. And there would be something else of me that would be different.

Back to my friend’s question. I think we expect the wrong thing of God when we expect him to make our decisions for us. I don’t think God cares much what job we take or education we pursue or where we live. Maybe, not even who we marry or how many kids we have. God creates us to be the special self, a unique presence in the world, no matter the choices we make. “Go into the classroom you’ve chosen,” God says. “Bring into it the shining light I have created you to be.”
“Go into that committed relationship and bring the your true self into it.” “Go into that job and be who you are as I have created you to be.” Because, YOU are the divine present in whatever spot in the world where you are standing.

That changes my mission. I see it now to become fully the person God created me to me to be. The decisions are mine to make. God suggests only that we make them lovingly.

From my journal, November  10, 2014.