Monday, October 26, 2015

An Inside Job

The Mystery within... 

From God Never Hurries:

God is in the sunshine,
God is in the rain.
God is in the wheat field
And in the sky again.

God is in the birds
Who sing to you and me.
God’s also in the puppy that
Plays so gleefully.

God is in the mountains,
God is in the sea.
But best of all, don’t you know
God’s in you and me.

I was privileged to attend a Jean Watson Caring Science Institute conference titled “Weaving a Tapestry of Caritas Through Collaboration and Connection.”  I was privileged to be among people who practice living with grace under pressure.  It all seemed so easy to do when I remembered Divine Love dwells within everything and every one of us; that each and every one of us also has a shadow side, and when I learn to accept my own shadow I can more easily accept the shadow of others.  Remembering I am only a part of the whole is humbling and comforting, and knowing how I respond in the world affects the whole.  I left the conference wanting to overlook much and accept others as they are.  Instilled in me is a true desire to respond from my heart where God and I are one.   

What if we could all want to respond from our heart where God and we are one?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sharing Grace

The Mystery within...
Last weeks post ended asking, “What if we could all go to our heart when the pressure is on?” since it is in the heart, not the mind or gut, where we learn to live with grace.  So this past week I have been asking myself, “What could help me get to or stay in my heart when pressed?”  The poem titled “New Year’s Resolutions” came to mind.  I put it in my blog’s Comfort Messages section and labeled it Ego Training.

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.

Author:  Anonymous

I have also been wondering if you readers have something to share on how to go to or stay in the heart when the pressure is on?

What if we all shared what helps us live with grace?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Grace Under Pressure

From my memoir “God Never Hurries:”

“I found much grace in my trouble.  Because my life was at stake, I became keenly aware of everything.  It was a time of heightened consciousness and vivid dreams.”

* * *

“There was much grace in howling.  It gave voice to my pain.  The deep inhalations and long slow exhalations were good for the body as well as the soul.  It was an instinctive response that helped me understand how the ability to flee is injured when being too nice, and how being too nice normalizes abnormal behavior.”

* * *

“Grace happened frequently on public radio broadcasts.  It was uncanny how things I struggled with would then be featured on my favorite public radio station.”

A ritual of writing about the joys and troubles in each day, and immersing myself in the natural world, tended my grief as I struggled for my mother’s safety in her Alzheimer’s disease, and with my father’s alcoholism.  I came to see God in all things and people.  Time spent in sorrow and solitude somehow nourished me.  Facing my fallibility was freeing.  My soul awakened with outrage.  Neglected and repressed parts of myself learned to speak.  Through vulnerability I came to know the comfort of others’ empathy.  Ever so slowly, God was growing me.  Having gone through all of that I have been puzzling lately how stressed out I have been over less monumental problems.  So in Yoga class this morning, when our instructor asked, “What do people want to work on today?”  I responded, “How about grace under pressure.”  I was grateful my request did not stump him.   

As we lay on our mats doing calming diaphragmatic breathing and heart-opening exercises, our wise instructor said, “One way to combat stress is to be thankful for what we have.”  And I have consciously been working on that.  But then he added, “You also have to get out of your mind and gut and be in your heart.”  Immediately I understood.  When the pressure is on I am nowhere near my heart.  He also said, whatever happens, it is important to know I will be all right.  In the community of my yoga class, with the rapt attention of all, my stress was replaced with a calming anticipation of a more open heart and continued learning.

What if we could all go to our heart when the pressure is on? 

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?