Monday, October 5, 2015

Reviewing Trust

The Mystery within...
I learned many different things about life, and myself, as I struggled to care for my aging parents who suffered from alcoholism and Alzheimer's disease.  Perhaps the most important was to trust God as I was running out of solutions and hope to solve big problems. From God Never Hurries: “What a plan God had to test my trust—to go to the root of my perpetual responsibility condition—to let go of any savior image of myself, to let pain be pain and mystery be mystery.”  I found real courage during that time of significant difficulty.  I did my inner work through daily written reflection and came to own my complicity in my troubles.

Lately, life is again stressful for me on multiple fronts.  I’ve been working hard to find solutions--maybe too hard.  Is daily written reflection currently a part of my life?  No.  I know it would help.  Are there things I should be grateful for?  Yes.  I own a home and have homeowner’s insurance that will cover much of the needed repairs even though they have been dragging out all summer and are still not done.  I have health insurance to cover the medical tests I am currently undergoing.  And I have a pension that pays the bills.  I know there are deeper hidden gifts in my current troubles.  Daily written reflecting could unwrap them for me.  For now, I printed out Teilhard de Chardin’s “Above All Trust in the Slow Work of God” from my Comfort Messages titled Learning Trust.  

What if it was easy to find the gifts in our troubles?  Would we still learn as much? 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Shadow and Light

The Mystery within...
I watched in fascination as the Earth’s shadow gradually darkened the moon’s bright face last night. I wondered what part of earth’s geography belonged to the slow growing darkness that was eclipsing the moon’s reflected sunlight?  What landforms and people existed in that growing shadowy space?  Were famine and violence there?  Carl Jung in his wisdom said:  “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people.”  And I felt the opportunity that awaits us all in the power of reflection.

I also felt a little sigh of relief that Pope Francis was now safely back home tonight.  He came and looked upon us with God’s eyes bringing Peace, Love, Joy and Compassion and an example to emulate if we wish to bring the same to others.    

What if we could all know the power of reflecting on our shadow?

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Hidden God

The Mystery within...
“Whoever does not know God hidden in suffering does not know God at All.”  Martin Luther.

“Prior to hardship a heart may be proud but honor comes only after one has been humbled.”  Proverbs 18:12

Pope Francis comes to talk to Americans.  I believe he will ask us to look with God’s eyes on those who suffer, suspend all judgment, and act with compassion. Can we be humbled?

What if we could all see God in another and our suffering?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Who Needs Trouble?

The Mystery within...
I have been wrestling with a financial scare these past few months.  It’s the kind of worry that comes with a sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach and concern for the future.  Through frugal and thoughtful living I have generally felt financially secure—a feeling I now have hope will return.  But there is grace in this current uncertainty.  It comes with a sense of deep empathy for the many who experience the insecurity of inadequate food, shelter, and access to medical care.  I am now aware of deep gratitude for my new knee, relative good health, house and car.  How easy it becomes to take these blessings for granted.  And my mental mettle is being challenged and exercised as I work to solve my problem.  I am also experiencing genuine kindness from others who offered helpful facts and advice.  Sharing their knowledge and concern makes me want to be truly helpful to another someday.  So who needs trouble?  I think we all do to some degree to grow our empathy, realize gratitude for what we have, exercise our brain in working to problem solve, and be a benefactor of genuine kindness. 

At yoga this morning, where I go the stretch and soften my stress, I half seriously asked if we could work on memory.  I was astounded at the eloquent mini lecture our wise instructor gave as we worked to both soften and strengthen our bodies.  He relayed four things we can do to help our memory:

1.  Exercise our large motor muscles—such as in bicycling.  Exercise our fine motor muscles—such as in keyboarding, or playing a musical instrument, or even computer games.  

2.  Mobilize heartfelt love and compassion. 

3.  Have concern and empathy for the other. 

4.  Do deep diaphragmatic breathing to oxygenate our tissues and brain and potentially connect us to our Energy Source.

I’ve had my share of past troubles.  Where I would be without them?

What if we all had a good mix of trouble and help to work through our problems, grow gratitude, empathy and kindness and work on our memory too?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Being Human

The Mystery within...
Sometimes it’s not pleasant being human.  My gremlin within reared its ugly head this past week and made me feel really crummy.  I was making a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things and standing in the less than 20 items checkout lane.  The woman in front of me had only two items but there was a very elderly couple in front of her who had several bags of groceries, and now with pains taking slowness, the wife was handing over a handful of coupons one by one.  My demon within mumbled quietly, “What the hell.”  The woman in front of me with the two items turned and looked at me so I said, “This is a limited items checkout lane.”  To which she replied, “Oh, I didn’t even notice that.” 

Instantly I regretted my words and my impatience embarrassed me.  Less than two months ago I was in that same checkout lane with a cart full of groceries because I didn’t notice the 20 items limit.  When I offered to move to another lane two women behind me said, “No, you can stay.  We don’t mind.”  Standing there having those groceries rung up, I remembered yet another check out experience when a very elderly woman was painfully slow with her purchases and payment.  After she left the man behind me said empathically, “We’re all going to be there someday.” 

Now, adding to my embarrassment was the elderly and weary looking checker who had also overheard my mumble.  She forced pleasantness as she checked me out but I suspect she wondered if I had any empathy at all.  Hopefully my dark feelings can become a sacrament of shame and will give me pause the next time I feel impatient.   

What if we could all use personal embarrassment to tame our  gremlin within?

Monday, August 31, 2015


The Mystery within...
Krista Tippet’s 2011 On Being rebroadcast shared the wisdom of centenarian Grace Lee Boggs – A Century in the World.  Boggs spoke of life as being about creating opportunities from darkness.  At the time of her interview she was creating community in Detroit’s beleaguered motor city by helping revive neighborhoods through community vegetable gardens on vacant lots.  She noted creating solutions to everyday problems creates movements.  She said our need is to rediscover who we are as human beings and to make one another more important than economics.  To do that we sometimes need to lose what we have been taught and learn instinctively.  There seems to be no shortage of opportunities to relearn or become part of a movement to bring more wisdom to our country and its politics. 

I personally came to know the power in losing what I was taught when landscapes called me into the natural world.  There I instinctively became aware I was worthy of good self-care as I struggled with my aging parents’ needs.  And there were others who helped me know my worth as a human being over economic considerations.  Those are some of my learning opportunities told in God Never Hurries.

What if we could find opportunities in darkness, question what we have been taught, and know everyone is more important than economics?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Up North

The Mystery within...
I was vacationing last week in Wisconsin’s north woods with my daughter, grandchildren and Oliver, our yellow lab.  Oliver was still a puppy last year when we were at the cottage but he definitely remembered being there.  When he got out of the car and realized where we were he did his happy dance, bounding around us in short fast circles while intermittently popping in and out of the lake.

Upon our arrival my daughter saw a hummingbird.  I didn’t see it but heard and felt the fast flutter of its tiny wings above my head.  So I looked up Hummingbird in my Medicine Cards book and it says, “Hummingbird can give us the medicine to solve the riddle of the contradiction of duality.”  I know something of that powerful medicine.  It saved my life when I came to realize that everything is a both/and thing.  My reflection titled Silence in God Never Hurries highlights that learning.  

Later in the week my thirteen-year-old granddaughter and I were gifted with an adrenalin rush at the sight of a very big black bear that looked right at us as it crossed the road only 150 feet ahead of us as we were returning from a bike ride.  Bear medicine fosters introspection and finds winter safety in a womb-like cave where experience is slowly digested and truth is found.  The Medicine Cards book states:  “Many tribes have called this space of inner-knowing the Dream Lodge, where the death of illusion of physical reality overlays the expansiveness of eternity.  It is in the Dream Lodge that our ancestors sit in Council and advise us regarding alternative pathways that lead to our goals.”

When I’m up north I somehow feel more connected to those who have enjoyed this cottage but have moved on ahead in death--my husband, youngest son, parents, and in-laws.  Do they now reside in the pines and birch, in the patter of rain on the roof, or in the lake’s sunny sparkle or the crescent moon’s path of light across the still night water?  Is it an illusion that I am now living while waiting for eternity?  Death too must be a both/and thing.

I did get to cross off one thing on my bucket list last week.  I don’t remember if I heard it is in Greenland or Iceland where people like to sit outside and watch daylight become night.  I’ve always wanted to do that so I sat out on the pier as the sun was beginning to set and waited for the moon and stars to come out.  It wasn’t easy.  I kept feeling like I should be doing something else.  My wish is to watch more days become night until it feels really easy.

What if we could all learn to enjoy sitting outside and watching day become night?