Tuesday, May 24, 2016

On Religion


Recently in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, former “Hollywood Squares” host, John Davidson “came out,” as he called it. He admitted that at 74 he joined the Openly Secular movement! He no longer took the Biblical myths as facts nor could he accept denial of modern, scientific information which could help people live healthier lives. He went as far as to say that it was clear to him that “the world would be more sane if all religions, all primitive superstitions, were abandoned.”

A Shocker....

What a shocker for some! Maybe even heresy! Not for many, however, and not for me. Long ago in my far-away childhood I felt intuitively that I belonged to something larger than myself that had nothing to do with the traditional belief systems that strapped the brains and punished the souls of non-believers. Consequently I have come to believe that we have a spiritual origin within us that is self discover-able, with little or perhaps no connection to organized religion.

Rational thought...

            I also think there is a place in us where rational thought cannot take us.  Yes, we may reason ourselves to the highest levels of human knowledge, but then, if we are truly adventurous, we will let ourselves be open to the depth of life that only we as individuals can know, sense or experience.  Perhaps we could call it Basic Spirituality 101 and be curious enough to watch it unfold over time, perhaps in the company of like-minded thinkers, hopefully willing to be made uncomfortable at times with what we cannot fully understand
Forays into expanding truths...

I don’t think it is a question of either proving or disproving the existence of the Divine as a fact. More, I think of these adventures as forays into expanding truths rather than facts, into boundaries that are dissolved and flights into what may be experienced but are perhaps ineffable in the world of bounded information. Maybe it is frightening that we cannot know all there is to know about ourselves, but there is real savor in knowing that there will always be more of us to uncover.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

On the Power of NO


As willing, positive thinkers, spiritually-minded people learn to cast their thoughts on uplifting ideas, which is wonderful and healthy. We want to make sure our divine connection is strong and affirmative, so much so that we sometimes become concerned if we find ourselves thinking in negatives. We try to avoid negativity at all times. Understandable… but we should not forget that there is a great, cleansing power contained in a strong NO. A refusal of conditions contained in the NO that sweeps away mental debris can clarify our paths and make possible brand new mind sets.

A powerful NO...

Consider the Biblical tale of Paul on the road to Damascus, found in the Book of Acts, Chap. 9. We find Saul, a “zealous” Pharisee persecuting the new sect of Christians who are gathering themselves after the death of the Master, Jesus. Suddenly he experienced a powerful NO, a blinding light that cast him to the ground as a voice cried “Saul, why do you persecute me?” For three days Saul was blinded, and when he recovered his sight, he was changed in every way. He discovered something about himself that he did not know was present. He found a belief he could embrace and follow for the rest of his life. Saul became Paul, the disciple who was greatly responsible for bringing the Christian message to the gentile world of the Middle East. He was a man who found a great positive in his life while passing through a great, negative experience.

Sit at its feet...

We should perhaps not worry so much when a great negative confronts us. It may hold gifts that only come by passing through the experience and not fighting it. When we become aware of the power of a great NO, we can sit at its feet and learn from it, perhaps to become more effective and expansive at living than we had ever imagined!

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tinyurl.com/kxsb47cYou might also enjoy "When Nothing's Working"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

On the Most Interesting Thing in the World

At this time the cares of my life are keeping me close to home so that my public life is on hiatus. Actually some days my most important decision is what to fix for dinner. Therefore I have time and opportunity to see things I have only glanced at for years. Maybe when I was very young and life was new I noticed it all, but certainly not for a very long time. Now I have questions, many, varied, reflective; some are deep (Are her wrinkles simply the effects of gravity or the heralds of a life filled with joys, cares and demands?...His knobbly knuckles, do they hurt as much as they look like they should, or has he set aside the outrage of arthritis?...That smooth-faced child, does a peaceful childhood lie ahead or will a sudden leap into unwary adulthood disrupt everything?) Some questions are trivial (When did it become fashionable to have every bare spot of skin adorned with a tattoo?...How is it possible to wear such tight pants?)

A community of hills...

Because there is little else we can physically do right now, my husband and I often drive the graceful, upward-arching streets that are characteristic of a community of hills. Can these vistas ever become commonplace, even to those who see them every day? How can they when every sunrise is different than the last, each shuttering sunset a harbinger of another dawn? They are adventures, complete within themselves, all on display for the most interesting things in the world,... the people who make their homes on the landscapes or walk the streets, bridges and byways of our small city. These are the greatest gifts of all…vigorous, frantic, dispirited human beings, seeing all or maybe blind to everything. They are old before their time and forever youthful. Who can get enough of these shape shifters…happy one minute, in despair the next.

Too enmeshed...

How could I have not seen all that was passing before my eyes? Too busy, I suppose, too enmeshed within my own boundaries. All these years I have become more because others have lived and set their footprints on the pathways of my life, and they have become more because of me.

I will not forget again…

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You might also enjoy "On This and That"

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

On The Science and Art of  Caregiving
     For several years, in varying degrees, I have found myself becoming a caregiver to my heart’s love, and for expediency’s safe and our purposes today, I have decided to designate this love…and all our loves…as George, which will get away from the need for using mixed, p.c. pronouns so that no one feels left out.  For now, the ubiquitous George will cover all the bases.  I am calling care giving both a science and an art, a science because we are dealing with acquired wisdoms about what we can and cannot do, an art because of the love behind the willingness to give care, whether for a personal George or as a professional caregiver.  Let me share some practical observations on when to give care and when not to.  (Do we have choices here?  We do, and it is important to know them.)  We can give care when it is a gift of love we want to give another.  We should not give care if we and the one who has needs despise each other.  (Yes, it is not always love that binds people together. I once buried a congregant who was taking care of a dragon named mother and whose only way out…as she saw it…was to die, and she did.  This is not as uncommon as one might think.)  There are some considerations I have thought about in giving care, which I hope you will find valuable.

a)      You can only do the best you can do, and you will not be perfect.  You will fail according to your own measurements time and time again, even if George makes no complaints.  You may even get frustrated enough to do a little yelling, so get over it quickly and get on with things.  George won’t hold it against you.  Neither should you.
b)      Be very careful about doing physical things.  Above all, do not hurt yourself or there will be two of you with problems.  If you need helpers in lifting and moving, be sure to use them.
c)      Absolutely take times out , every day if possible.  Even a couple of hours in an unconstricted environment will keep your sights fresh and allow you to come back to George with more love and smiles.  Trust me, if you do not do this, even your best efforts will eventually become a slog.
d)      Get used to being a bad guy at times.  Unless you really are a miserable sod, you definitely are doing good things for George.  It’s just that he gets frustrated too and will push back at the one on the job, which is you.  Don’t take it personally.
e)      Learn as much as you can about doing more with less.  If you can shorten up some tasks and learn from people who know, you will end the day with less weariness.
f)       Let people love you.  Whether you know it or not, in some ways your needs are as great as George’s.
g)      Hardest of all perhaps…Recognize when you can no longer give care as you have done, and let that go to others.  You will be much more available to love.  Remember that this is where we are right now in life, and it can become a blessings or a curse.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On the Comfort of the Familiar


We all know that much is said about being forward thinking and welcoming the new, all well and good because, God forbid, we should get entrenched in the narrow ridges that life can take. We want to be stimulated and stimulating; we want to be modern and up to date; we want to be able to welcome the change that is always coming. Yes indeed, but isn’t there also something to be said for the warmth and stability of the familiar?

Current and prescient...

I want to be current and prescient to what is forming before me, but I also do not want every day to be up for grabs with the instability of the unknown knocking at my door. There is comfort and restfulness in the familiar. The neighborhood restaurant where people we know congregate for breakfast and the waitresses know your name…this is a place to land in a sea of fulminating vitriol, especially during election years. I can count on the “kite guys” and their magnificent, 30-foot streaming kites decorating the skies most weekends at our nearby waterfront park. I live in the San Francisco bay area where our little cities are ringed about with marshlands and changing tides that always await us as we drive up. A stay in these well-known vistas lends a quiet opportunity to let the mind settle its differences.

New and invasive...

Of course the new and invasive unknown will always be coming about, especially in urban areas that thrive on change. But I think we also need the quiet pockets of the familiar so that we can lay back and catch our breaths during the day. A favorite place or a trusted hand can never be replaced. What lies before us can shine splendid and monumental in its excesses…and it still stands on the shoulders of what is already here.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On "OMG! They won!"

In the sports world of the San Francisco bay area, the Golden State Warriors have now set the standard of most wins for a regular basketball season with their 73rd victory while playing the Memphis Grizzlies. This, now, will be the untouchable winning number for some time…until the next set of mega players come along to up the level of winning games and seasons.

And now the fun begins…

Golden Gods...

The Golden Gods’ moves will be examined at every level, from the T-shirts and tube sox they wear to what they eat for breakfast. Steph Curry’s little daughters will be aped by little girls (and their parents) everywhere, and there are probably already those who hope to get into their garbage looking for souvenirs. Basketball coaches are reporting that their basketball kids are not interested in learning to dribble; they want to shoot three-pointers!

Political Correctness...

Now the magnificent players must learn to become even better at political correctness. When asked about North Carolina’s law aimed at codifying discrimination against LGBT people, Curry, a Christian Pentecostal, replied that “no one should be discriminated against.” Blasted by some for his “tepid” comments, it should be noted that Curry belongs to a Pentecostal church whose minister decries “the homosexual lifestyle.” In a tension between Pentecostals and sexual liberals, who is he going to offend the most…or the least?

Scrutinized, sanitized, criticized...

Which now begs the question…Whatever happened to simply winning for the sake of winning a good game? Is it not enough anymore to just be a group of superb athletes winning a fabulous record and then moving on to what’s next? Must every player, every coach, every detail be scrutinized, sanitized, criticized, legitimized and brutalized until all the joy of accomplishing a great victory is torn to pieces through discourse which ultimately destroys real meanings?

We can only hope for some return to sanity.

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