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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Star

We each are the stars of our own lives. Most people are extras that make entrances and exits. Shakespeare wrote of life being a stage.

Some are villains, some are helpers, some switch roles being both positive and negative at different times, some walk a long way with us and some only fleetingly. All are teachers.

There have been teachers in my life that dish out really painful lessons. I am still too sensitive as I am still easily wounded by some. I think it is my expectations that get in my own way. A Christian is kind, loving, forgiving, etc. But that is not actually the case. Some who proclaim Christianity are angry, judgemental and opposite of how Jesus taught.

So when I walk into the wall of hypocrisy, especially in regard to someone I care about, how do I avoid heartbreak? Do I rationalize, all are flawed so don't expect congruency. Do I cry? Well, yes sometimes I cry. Do I ask myself, what would Jesus do? Do I ask myself what am I to learn here? Yes, I do the above. And it can still hurt. Life has no guarantee of a smooth sailing life, so I better get used to it.

How do I get thicker skin? I'm getting there, but I don't want to be callous either. Sometimes it feels like a difficult path to walk somewhere in the middle, caring yet not so vulnerable that I am easily wounded and not numb or distant either.

My touch stone is what I learned reading and rereading the New Testament in my childhood and my youth and continually through my life. Jesus was mistreated but did not mistreat. He was attacked but did not attack. He loved. He forgave. He healed. In my own flawed way I must do my best to do likewise. I cannot control others. I can control myself, I maybe cannot protect myself from outside things, but my heart and mind and soul I can protect.

Monday, July 29, 2019

East vs West and Resurrection

I'm reading a Crossen book that looks at the differences between Western and Eastern Christianity, especially as seen via art. Icons, frescoes, statuary, wall carvings, art in general portray viewpoint. The main focus in this book is upon resurrection.

A simplification is that the Western art shows Jesus in various stages of resurrection alone. He emerges from the tomb with one foot still in the tomb, alone. He floats above alone.

Eastern art shows Jesus holding out his hand and bringing with him Adam and Eve as representatives of humanity along with assorted Biblical characters such as David, Isaiah, etc.

Orthodox or Eastern Christianity sees us as sharing the resurrection.  This is obviously so different from our Western teaching where Jesus alone rises. We are left behind. We have to earn our way into heaven.

There are an incredible amount of assumptions made based on which view is the starting point. Maybe it is time to reexamine our assumptions.

Imagine Jesus is holding out his hand to you. You have not been abandoned. All you need to do is reach out to Jesus and accept his hand.

Thursday, July 25, 2019


Last week I was diagnosed with macular degeneration. It turns out it is hereditary. My dad lost almost all of his sight, unable to do his beloved gardening or crossword puzzles. It was challenging to say the least.

For some reason, this diagnosis brought to the forefront in my mind my own mortality. I look at these hands, looking a lot like my mother's. One day they will be dust, no longer writing words, caressing loved ones, no longer making quilts or painting pictures, no longer whipping up new and creative recipes. My body will be returned to earth, no longer "mine" and no longer the garment my soul uses to navigate earth. This phase of my eternal journey will conclude.

So I ask myself, I am using it as fully as I could? Are my hands helping always? Is my mind seeking Truth always? Is my heart loving with abandon? Am I the best I can be?

I believe I am accountable for loving unconditionally.  We all are. I believe there is a purpose for me to be here at this time and place. We all are. We have purpose. Can I honestly answer affirmatively to these when I'm done here?

I need to look at myself and keep moving in these directions, for the hourglass of my life has just a little left. I will be 80 next year. of course it is possible I could live to be 100. Even so, the most of this life has gone before and some smaller piece remains. I know I must use it wisely.

Divine Presence, fill me, lead me, guide me to employ each moment in service of Your Highest call to me. Cleanse my heart of all darkness so Your Light shines brightly. May these final years be lived to Your Glory. Let it be so.

My Lyft Ministry

For the last year or so, we've been using Lyft to get around. It has been a fascinating experience. We've met drivers who moved here to our little valley from all over the world, as well as lifelong locals and people who moved here from other states. We've gotten personal insights into all kinds of matters, from personal to global issues.

Most of these drivers share their lives and their issues as if we are old friends. I've shared experiences, counseling, philosophy  and spirituality with these "strangers." I seem to be an unofficial minister to Lyft. It is a blessing to me and hopefully a blessing to them.

It has been a pattern of my life. In my youth, I often heard the words, "You're a lifesaver." There is something that makes people feel safe to talk to me. I often marvel at it all.

I wish the people of this world could feel safe with one another. I wish people of this earth shared genuine caring and compassion with all. It is possible, but so far unlikely. 😢

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Thoughts = Truth?

Our thoughts are not necessarily the truth, especially not The Truth.

I see people acting as if every random thought they have is really important and must be acted upon. I think part of the cause of this predicament is lack of a developed core of values against which all can be measured. We develop our core by filling our minds with wisdom of the ages and by daily quiet times when we still our minds in meditation and contemplation.

When we ask ourselves important questions, what do we answer? Who am I? What is truly important? What is my life? What is the legacy I create with my life? What shall I do in this moment?

What would happen if we journal on these questions for the next month? Let's see. Let's do just that.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Another Lesson From History

I read a rather detailed account about what happened in the siege and following destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE. Can we learn from it?

First of all it was more violent than anything in recent history. For example, during the 14 month siege, Titus and his soldiers crucified 500 Jews daily, deforesting the entire area and piling up bodies to be devoured  by wild animals. And that was mild compared to what happened when they finally breached the walls.

The soldiers and mercenaries went into a wild frenzy of horridness. Titus tried to stop them, but it was too late. They already had gone over the edge between humanity and crazed bestiality.

It does seem there is a tipping point for humans, especially in groups. Right now there are those who want to end The Constitution, flinging wild lies at everyone and everything. They call others what they themselves are. They follow Saul Alinsky's formula for bringing down the West and establishing a Marxist dictatorship. There is a clash between Alinsky's worldview and the American worldview, but few recognize it. Many seem to be unknowingly seduced by it. Some are quite aware. I wonder... How close is the current tipping point? Can we learn from history before it's too late?

God bless us and guide us through these perilous days.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Are You Drunk?

The Dalai Lama says that many people are drunk. They are filled with negative emotions such as fear, anger, hatred, greed. It makes them act like drunk people. I certainly see this, especially with much of our political class, our entertainers and entertainment, and actually in many people.

I also see care, kindness and compassion in most people I meet. It seems to me, these positive responses to life need to be taught, reinforced and held up as not only ideals, but also as the way life works best. Religion was once the carrier of goodness training. Now with its decline, we have to either turn that decline around or find another way to inculcate positive values lest we fall into ugly anarchy and chaos.

So much research now verifies our natural inclination for community. Solitary confinement is a dreadful punishment. Our heroes are those who rescue, overcome, uplift, empower and care daringly.

Maybe we need a 12 step program for negativity. 😇 We need to sober up from the drunken state of negative emotions and the awful behavior that follows.

Oh Divine Presence, grant me the wisdom and courage to rise out of all negativity. Fill me with awareness that Your Seed is in me and is ready to sprout and grow and expand so that all I am and all I do is as You would have it to be. Lead me to fully shine Your Light. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Addendum to Yesterday

A further question - is it my emotions or my body wanting this food at this time?

Sometimes my emotions are hungry, not actually for food, but it seems at the moment food will do the trick. Of course, since the hunger is directed elsewhere, food is unable to satisfy, not even that bowl of ice cream.

I would do well to pause to ask which it is. If emotions, a follow up question is in order. For what am I yearning? Then, how can I satisfy this yearning? A hug? A phone call to someone special? A walk? Writing in my journal? etc...

It seems to me, this is my responsibility to my own life. I cannot go far on earth without my body.

Sunday, July 14, 2019


This morning, during my meditation, some practical advice spoke up and got my attention. Since we've been in hotels for awhile, I've gained some unwelcome weight. Still I was very surprised to receive an idea for weight loss, or more appropriately body health, during my meditation.

It said, "Before you put anything in your mouth, be still and ask your body if that is what it wants. Your body wants to support you to live fully, and it knows what's good for it."

 That struck me as profound and incredibly helpful. So here goes, I'm trying this out. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, July 13, 2019


Humanity has always lived with stress. For eons it was mostly about survival, about food, about safety. Once agriculture brought people into villages and then cities, there were additional stresses. Will the crop succeed or fail? Then there was ownership of land or dwelling or stuff that had to be protected. Then there was the concern about getting on the good side of the gods, and the angst about getting back on the good side when natural disasters came, attributed as they were to the displeasure of the gods.

To deal with life, our ancestors had each other. For the most part, extended family lived and worked together and shared joys and woes. Humans are naturally led to community with one another. The shared life was the usual life.

Moving through industrialization and the fracturing of the extended family to the information age, we see countless new stresses. Few share their lives with the support of extended family living together. We find the new term, nuclear family, and many or maybe most of those are fractured. Divorce, mobility (you are free to move about the planet), technology, modern life itself, give people the feeling of facing it all virtually alone. Few know their neighbors, fewer and fewer are part of a church community, clubs and associations have fewer and fewer members. So many relationships are shallow and fleeting.

People worry about little things, about things over which they have no control, about the fear of failure or lack of statis. People are easily led into mental mobs, incited by this or that talking head on television or Twitter. Life is lived in the fast lane with minds racing here and there. More and more people are so insecure that they require everyone to agree with them on all matters, whether it be politics, religion or even what to eat.

Most of our fears and stresses are of own making, born in our minds and elaborated by our fears and wildly racing minds. We are overwhelmed. We have a zillion more things to deal with than those who lived in a simpler time. We're not doing too well with all of this as evidenced by the alarming rise of drug addictions, crime, estrangements, suicide, and murder.

An antidote I use and recommend is stillness. In the quiet of meditation and contemplation, in prayer, in the afternoon with a book, in the sauntering walk with a loved one, in the moments in nature, we can find our center. We can find others who also value stillness and be part of a community of simpatico beings. We can be healed of the franticness of this time. We can find peace and courage and freedom.

Lord, Divine Center, Presence, guide me out of the franticness of "modern life", into the welcoming arms of stillness. I take a deep breath and let go of false stresses, and I turn to You and Your Guidance. Lead me to my deep and true self. I let go and am free.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Crazies

It's like a Grimm's tale, the crazies are making the rest of us crazy. Somebody open a history or science book please. A few examples:

  • Betsy Ross was a Quaker, against slavery. Put the flag on the sneekers.
  • The Pledge of Allegiance is for citizens and residents to reinforce and remember allegiance to U.S.A. and not to some other country. If you live here, you need to be loyal and proud to be part of this great experiment in self-rule.
  • Hobby Lobby does give birth control options to its employees, just not abortion pills. They have this right. It does not work in relation to sustaining freedom to not "allow" points of view other than one's own, to try to shut them down.
  • The planet is not dying in the next 12 years. Check out some real science, not the phony news people's pretend science. And weather is not climate.
  • Calling people names such as racist, homophobic, Nazis, rarely are factual descriptions. Just because someone has a different opinion, doesn't make them bad and evil.
  • When someone is spouting whatever, check it out.
  • You don't need to be saved from a mythical violent god. God is Love. You just need to live as the great spiritual lights have taught, and you get saved from your own ego.
Well, I could go on and on. The point is, maturity involves responsibility. Check things out from several sources that are as neutral as possible. Don't be led by others down their path. Learn, think and make a path that makes sense and has a basis in reality.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


I'm reading a wonderful book about a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Bishop Tutu on joy. It's called "The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness."

Here are a few quotes:
Too much self-centered thinking is the source of suffering. A compassionate concern for other's well-being is the source of happiness... All dharma teachings agree on one point - lessening one's self-absorption... When we focus on ourselves, we are bound to be unhappy.
This lesson, I think, is essential for us all, whether on a spiritual quest or just working on being a better person. I see this so urgently needed by those seemingly delicate people who tell themselves they cannot bear divergent points of view, those often called snowflakes. I see this in ego driven people from whatever walk of life. I see this need in the true believers of the world. I see it in wannabe spiritual leaders. etc etc. etc.

I agree each of us would do well to observe ourselves. Where do we see self-centeredness? Where do we come up short in compassion? How often do we ask ourselves what we can do to be a blessing to others in a pure way? That is, caring without any expectation of attention or thankfulness in return, just caring because that's who we are.

Without honest self-observation, we are doomed to suffer. With compassion our problems/challenges become a part of the whole, we are not alone. We see that others have far deeper problems, everyone has something that pains them, and as we focus caring upon others, our selfish suffering morphs into joy.

The old saying applies here, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Lord God, Divine Presence, Holy More, lift me out of my self-centeredness. Open me to true compassion. Lead me to focus on what is actually important. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Conditioning - Overcome or Accept?

Some call it socializing, some conditioning and some propaganda.

We all have it done into us. I can still hear voices from my childhood - good little girls are seen and not heard, you are a sinner bound for hell, Jesus loves the little children of the world, you can do anything you set your mind to... I can still feel the sting of the slap on my face, the pain of the yardstick on my legs, and I can hear the snap as the wood broke from the final blow for the day.

The things told to me while I was in the middle of emotional distress went deeply into my subconscious and conditioned me to have various biases about myself, others, and God, many of them contradictory.

It took me a long time to neutralize the harmful conditioning and reinforce the positive, helpful conditioning and to examine it all so as to be a whole and functioning woman able to make my own path of understanding.

We are conditioned in all areas of life from self worth, to spirituality. It seems to me that so many of us are so frantic about ourselves and our lives that we rarely focus on the most important area. Who are we spiritually? What about God? What about the teaching of our particular religion? Does it make sense? Is some or all of it contradictory? Am I living a life aware of The Presence? Am I preparing my soul for the journey after this body?

I think we would do well to look our conditioning in the face. Otherwise, we forget the most essential things and focus on illusions poured into our beings from others. Plato talked about living in a cave, facing the back and believing the shadows to be real. Hindus talk about the illusions that hold us. Jesus talked about judging not by appearances but righteous judgement.

Let's set ourselves free from illusion.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


This morning a line in a book captivated me. It said from the Latin, obligation means tied-in-ness. So many thoughts poured into my mind.

If I say I am a Christian or a Buddhist or a whatever, I then have an obligation to live and be a certain way. So, I say I am a Christian. If this is really true, I am obligated to live and be as Christ-like as is possible. My life is tied in to the life and teachings of Jesus, Jeshua ben Joseph.

I need to honestly evaluate where the ties are loose and focus on connecting fully. Am I forgiving? Do I love and accept all people? Am I judgmental? Do I strive to be aware of the Presence? Do I pray, meditate, contemplate daily? Does the Light of God in me shine brightly?

In humble honesty we can be led away from ego and tied in to God's life though the life and teaching of Jesus, as we know it. Sure we know a tiny fraction of the 33 or so years of Jesus. We realize what we do know was written decades later by people who didn't know him, who spoke a different language and had only word of mouth to go on. Still, what got through all that is a remarkable way to live, a model, inspirational, and if we should follow it, would transform us and the entire world.

It's been said that it is not that Christianity has been tried and failed, it has never fully been tried at all.

Let's explore our obligation to be what we say we are.