Monday, February 20, 2017

Flawed

The Mystery within...
I’m flawed; we are all flawed in some way.  Episcopal priest Father Michael K. Marsh wrote a thank you note to president Trump for being a mirror for him to take a closer look at his own dark side.  He suggests Trump can be a mirror for us all to know our own darkness.  The following link http://upliftconnect.com/thank-you-note-to-president-trump/ will take you to Uplift and the thank you note March wrote to president Trump. 

I felt my darkness this past weekend as I greeted my very zealous Trump supporting neighbor.  Just seeing her and hearing her speak gave me a tight sensation in my chest.  My heart felt constricted, vengeful and cold.  It was a very unpleasant feeling that scared me and it let me know that violence is our common enemy and has its roots in fear.  I am grateful our meeting was brief.   

Feeling those roots of violence in my heart left me with wanting to do anything I can to keep them from sprouting.  Marsh suggests, “We must choose our own peace leaders to inspire us on our journey forward.”  Leaders like Dorothy Day, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King who can disarm and inform my heart.  I do not want a passive heart but rather one that seeks justice and good through love.

I want to take to heart other uplifting suggestions Marsh’s gratitude link gave me:  

-  1.  Speak one word today that will give a fearful person courage.                   
-  2.  Never repeat stories and rumors that spread fear;
-  3.  Make eye contact with people who I normally ignore;
-  4.  Give someone an unexpected smile;
-  5.  Listen to news items with common sense.

Marsh relates gratitude and common sense to a cosmic intelligence—a sense of belonging to the common concerns of all, which he adds would include Muslims, immigrants, refugees, women, the disabled and Mexicans.  I was left questioning, “How do I relate my zealous neighbor and Mr. Trump with cosmic intelligence?”  It led me to reread “Known” by Reverend Dr. Charles K. Robinson that is found in my Comfort Messages section of my website under my title of Learning Forgiveness. 


What if we, with all our flaws, knew the unconditional embrace of love more often?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Woman Spirit Conference

The Mystery within...
What a privilege it was to attend the “Woman Spirit Conference 2017 Just Women:  Just World” sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in DeKalb, Illinois.  Through the creativity and grace of music makers and singing we were soothed, lightened and emboldened.  Empathy and compassion were heightened in rapt listening to one another’s experiences.   And our keynote speaker, Sr. Simone Campbell of “Nun’s on the Bus" fame, skillfully paired tragedy and humor to give me hope and direction to become a woman for just change. 

I came away with a better understanding of today’s turbulent politics, and how its culture of fear and individualism breeds hate intended to divides us.  I understand I need to share my fear to reduce its impact, to speak out of my experience, and be a good listener.  I know I need to work on radical acceptance and compassion for “those we want to vote off the island” as Sr. Simone quipped.  To do so I need to understand my own shortcomings first.  I want to be able to speak my truth with joy and humor and articulate a vision I can fight for, not alone, but with others who also include radical acceptance and compassion for oppressors.  I want to nourish a holy curiosity and be able to talk to and listen to people who think differently about issues--and then engage in sacred gossip and share what holy curiosity taught me.  I need to moderate my exposure to news broadcasts and electronic media.  And when I feel overwhelmed I want to be able to share that feeling with another for relief.  I want to remember it’s not all up to me, but to listen for, and know my part.  I hope to meditate daily to help me know and accept my part. 

As a woman who walks in the white skin of privilege, I learned much from other women’s stories of oppression—stories that have broken them open to radical acceptance and compassion for the other.  The Woman’s Spirit 2017 conference was a joyful but intense experience that left me exhausted.  I was so very grateful to return to my home and the prospect of sleeping in my own bed.  As I stepped into my shower before bed, I thought of the world’s immigrants, who have not home, or bed, or shower.  Grief overwhelmed me. 


What if we, who walk in the skin of privilege, could be overwhelmed with grief for the other more often? 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Remembering

The Mystery within...
I had a welcome day off from the world and its cares this past Saturday as my “Women Gathering” group of friends got together for a day to retreat and sit in circle.   Prior to gathering we had been given this question to ponder, “How am I willing to hold myself in reverence?”  Several times before our gathering, I would ask myself, “Now what was that question I was suppose to think about?”  Even just remembering the question was hard for me let alone coming up with any answers. 

I remembered past negativity toward me from others but it didn’t feel okay to blame them for my difficulty in reverencing myself.

When sitting in our circle I admitted my frustration with the reverencing question.  After our two skillful facilitators uncovered statements written on a white board, and suggested we pick a statement or statements that spoke to us and write about it, I knew what I forgot to remember.    Every statement (bolded below) spoke to me.  It was as if God were speaking them to me.  I knew what I forgot and remembered how to reverence myself. 

Everything will be okay.  Thank you for reminding me everything will be okay.  Sometimes I forget that your hand always is there to guide me.  Help me remember you are with me and to watch for signals you send from your beautiful creation and everyone in it.

Your connection to me, to Source, never needs to be earned.  I love that I do not need to earn your love.  Help me to be likewise with all others.

You will never be without me.  May I always remember you are with me, but when I do forget, open me to the people, places and things you send to remind me of your Presence.

Inspiration is Divine guidance and will not lead you astray.  May I trust your guidance and know there is always an answer. 

You are never trapped.  If I ever feel trapped, I know you will rescue me. 

You can heal from anything.  I am grateful for all my healing and know you will continue to grow me.

Nothing lasts forever.  No pain lasts forever and all pain can be transformed.

You are creation embodied and if you can imagine it you can create it.  May your creative spirit flow through me.

I always keep my promises.  I love that you will never forget me.

I will not be afraid. 


What if we all helped each other remember how to reverence ourselves more often? 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Spiritual Success

The Mystery within...
My December 5, 2016 blog titled “The Gift of Seeing” opened with a quote from Teilhard de Chardin, “The whole of life lies in the verb seeing.”  After finishing reading Isabel Wilkerson’s descriptions of the plainspoken Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, one of the three protagonists in Wilkerson’s book, “The Warmth of Other Suns,” my heart was better informed about spiritual success.   Of Ida Mae she wrote:

“She had a way of looking past the outer layer of people and seemed to regard everyone she met with a kind of searching intensity, as if this were the first person she had ever seen.”

“She was too good natured to waste energy disliking them no matter what they did but looked upon them as a curiosity she might never comprehend.  She learned to give them the benefit of the doubt but not be surprised at anything involving them.  This alone probably added decades to her life.”

When Ida Mae heard someone complaining about a rainy day she responded:

“Now we ain’t got nothing to do with God’s business, she says, sitting back in her seat.  She adjusts herself and straightens her scarf, contenting herself with whatever the day has in store.”

“She lived in the moment, surrendered to whatever the day presented, and remained her true, original self.  Her success was spiritual, perhaps the hardest to achieve.  And because of that, she was the happiest and lived the longest of them all.”

It is an awesome challenge to live in the moment; accepting whatever the day presents; while remaining true to myself.  Looking past the outer layer of people and regarding everyone with a searching intensity, seeing them as a curiosity I might never comprehend sheds light on accepting the other.  Ida Mae strikes me as the master in reframing what is for spiritual success.


What if we could reframe what is for spiritual success more often? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rest

The Mystery within...

Sometimes we just need to rest and not feel guilty.

What if we all rested when needed without guilt.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Love Resolutions

The Mystery within...
As the new year begins, the anonymously written poem titled “New Year’s Resolutions” came back to me.  The poem reads:

New Year’s Resolutions

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.
Be honest and transparent anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People who really want help may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt.
Give the world your best anyway.
The world is full of conflict.
Chose peace of mind anyway.

I keep this poem within my blog under the heading, Comfort Messages, and titled it as a source for Ego Training.   

The beauty of this poem for me lies in knowing love is not dependent on the actions of the other but rather in how I react to others’ actions.  And it implicitly makes forgiveness an integral part of any love resolution.

The Reverend Charles K. Robison’s words describes what Divine forgiveness looks like.  His words can be found in my Comfort Messages Section under my assigned title, Learning Forgiveness.


What if we all saw love resolutions as personal ego-training and could emulate Divine forgiveness more often?