Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lonely

The Mystery within...
Loneliness is almost never an issue for me.  I am guessing that’s because it is really hard for me to find time to do what I want to do like writing another book.  Keeping up the house, yard, and myself, and being on-call for others can be all time and energy consuming.  But I did feel lonely last night and felt its value.

I decided to forego a weekend trip up north with my daughter and son’s family and just stay home alone with my yellow lab Oliver, and daughter’s cat Zu Zu, and the tick tock of my grandfather clock.  But as the day progressed and my writing didn’t I began second guessing my decision.  By evening I was feeling lonely and wondered where the lesson is in that feeling.

So I took a bike ride at dusk, my favorite time of day.  All the chaotic dysfunction I was missing out on became apparent as I rode in the quiet near evening.  I valued that revelation and am hoping I can embrace more of the chaotic dysfunction when they all return.


What if we could experience the value in loneliness more often?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Worried

The Mystery within...
I became painfully aware how much the world of electronics is consuming the time and attention of so many and it is a worry.  As I sat outside my grandchildren’s summer school waiting to pick them up, I watched parents walking into school with their heads down looking at their electronic devices and barely glancing up in time to see how close they were coming to the school door.  And when coming out again, these parents had the same downward fixed gaze as they walked back to the parking lot.  That same afternoon when I took my granddaughter to her orthodontist appointment, we walked into a full, but very quiet waiting room.  Parents, and grandparents, looking down at their electronic devices, occupied every chair.  And later that day, when I went to lap swim at the pool, sunbathers reclining in poolside chairs were also absorbed in that fixed downward gaze.  I checked out the lifeguard to see if he was minding us swimmers who were temporarily free from that electronic grip.

I recalled my earlier reading of the evolutionary biologist and anthropologist, David Sloan Wilson, who wrote, “Every movement made by an organism is based on a physical environmental input, which initiates a physical chain of events inside the organism, which results in the physical movement of the organism—its behavioral output.”  And “Left unattended, cultural evolution will take us where we don’t want to go.”

Wilson highlighted the late priest and paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, and wrote of him:   “For Teilhard, the vital spark that transformed us from a mere species to a new evolutionary process is the capacity for reflection…the power acquired by a consciousness to turn in upon itself, to take possession of itself as an object endowed with its own particular consistency and value…to know oneself…to know that one knows.”  

Teilhard believed an atmosphere of trust was needed for reflection; trust in the slow work of a Loving Vine Dresser who leads us through some stages of instability and gradually forms in us a new Spirit.     

What I wonder is all this absorption in electronic devices affecting our evolution as a species?  Is it taking us where we want to go?  Does all that information being absorbed facilitate trust?  What are we loosing in being less present to our surroundings and one another? Do our devices broaden our focus and lead us to ask the right questions to become better people? Do they help us listen? Do they facilitate reflection and contemplation? Are they improving our behavior?  Can we reflect on our use of our new technologies so we will be led to better love, serve, and forgive one another?


I’ll confess I am at the other end of the spectrum and should be more facile in the electronic world.  I have a little flip phone that I try to remember to take with me in case of emergency.  I never leave it on because I won’t remember to recharge it and then it would be useless in an emergency.  This frustrates my children since they can’t always get in touch with me, which at times has its advantages.

What if we each reflected on our use of electronic devices?
                 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Parades

The Mystery within...
Watching parades makes me want to cry good tears.  I’m not exactly sure why.  Part of the reason must be watching young and old proudly display what they give themselves to in life, be it in service to country, fire fighting, entertaining others, dog rescues, historic preservation in autos and agricultural, and service to youth and families. 

I left this year’s 4th of July parade with real regret.  Regret that I did not take up the invitation on a small groups’ sign to join them as they marched for “Democrats for Wisconsin.”  I clapped and yelled, “Hooray! for Democrats for Wisconsin!”  My feet and body wanted to join them.  But my head said I can’t leave my lawn chair and when my son returns from helping my granddaughter, who was waiting in the line up to proudly parade on a horse, he won’t know where I went.  So regrettably I stayed.  I later realized that this grandma does have a cell phone and needs to remember to use it.  I was at the very start of the parade route and am hoping many others did accept Democrats’ for Wisconsin invitation to march with them.

Service to others, over self-interest, is easy to spot in a parade and in those who watch it.


What if our minds, hands, feet and whole body, marched in service to others more often?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Courage

The Mystery within...

Courage to make tough decisions is a frequently recurring need of mine. The gift of fear calls courage forth by heightening my awareness to everything and everyone around me.  The deeper my fear has been, the more heightened my awareness grew until I came to know a loving Source within the natural world and everyone in it. 

Courage led me to search for truth; reject diseased concepts of sin, masochistic obedience, and unholy martyrdom.  My eyes opened to woman’s compliance and its resulting destructive behaviors I knew too well. 

Courage led me to ponder the following recipe for abuse:

Claim masculine superiority.
Refuse to integrate feminine spirituality that honors the body and the earth.
Silence dissenting voices.
Create doctrine and dogma that obscures the sacredness of everyday life.
Claim infallibility.

Courage also led me to edit the Spiritual Works of Mercy and question what if all our beliefs were subject to intellectual and spiritual maintenance?

Grow in grace and wisdom.
Share your beliefs.
Invite positive change.
Bear wrongs patiently.
Forgive offenses willingly.
Be present to the afflicted.
Pray for the living and to the dead.


Courage remains a continuous need in me to remember to embrace my fear; trust my mind, heart and gut, trust the loving Source within, and learn from others’ reactions. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Evil

The Mystery within...
Healing from past abuse has been occupying my thoughts of late and how evil can be a both/and thing. 

For me, past abuse closed down some ability to feel and made me fearful and compliant with the expectation I should be seen, but not heard.  M. Scott Peck, in his book, “People of the Lie,” spoke of evil as that which kills, either the spirit or our aliveness.  His definition makes it very easy for me to understand evils’ effects.  I also understand, on a deeper level, how looking away from others needing help is another form of evil.  And treating others who commit evil as being less than human, is also very wrong. 

Has my past abuse served me?  Most likely the expectation to be seen and not heard has led me to work to write with clarity.  Learning to live with chaos and numbed feelings allowed me to be a student chaplain in a downtown emergency room with a degree of calm and presence to patients in turmoil.  Seeking peace and refuge in the natural world has brought me to know a comforting Presence; there to teach me what I yearn to understand, by my being present and open to my surroundings.  It has made me a seeker, searching for forgiveness and a desire to share what I am learning about the evolution of love.      

We need one another to become more fully human and heal from past abuse.  My late friend Rosemary gave me her copy of “People of the Lie” many years ago as I began to seek to understand what happened to me and forgive my father.   At the end of Peck’s book I found comfort in these words from the Reverend Charles K. Robinson’s imagining what a Creator, sourced in love, would speak to my father.  

I know you.  I created you.
I have loved you from your mother’s womb.
You have fled—as you know—from my love,
but I love you nevertheless and not the less however far you flee.
It is I who sustains your very power of fleeing,
and I will never let you go.
I accept you as you are.
You are forgiven.
I know all your sufferings.  I have always known them.
Far beyond your understanding, when you suffer, I suffer.
I also know all the little tricks by which you try to hide the ugliness you have made of your life from yourself and others.
But you are beautiful.
You are more deeply beautiful within than you can see.
You are beautiful because you yourself, in the unique person that only you are,
reflect already something of the beauty of my holiness in a way which will never end.
You are beautiful also because I, and I alone, see the beauty you shall become.
Through the transforming power of my love which is made perfect in weakness,
you shall become perfectly beautiful.
You shall become perfectly beautiful in a uniquely irreplaceable way,
Which neither you nor I will work out alone,
for we shall work it out together.

From “Known” by the Reverend Dr. Charles K. Robinson, November 4, 1973 (Duke Divinity School Review, Winter 1979, Vol. 44, p.44). 


What if we could really know what part evil plays in the evolution of love?