Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Yep, It's National Body Challenge time. And I'm signing up and trying again. Why? Because I continue to fight with my weight and health. It's a constant and it's depressing, which creates a vicious cycle.
So how did I get here? Years of not paying attention and being lazy, to be honest. When I was younger I was an excellent athlete. I played every sport under the sun. And I played it well. I had a name and an image. I don't know if it was the injury that caused my lack of enthusiasm or just trying to live up to the image. But at some point I gave up. I started to hide under a layer of chubby.
Unless you've fought the battle you can't truly understand the toll it takes on your mind and body. And it is a vicious cycle. You realize you put on 10 lbs and you think, "That's easy to fix." So you work at it. You exercise. You diet. And six months later, you realize you took off 10 lbs but gained back 20. Thus beings the yo-yo. Two steps forward, three steps back. Years go by. Next thing you know, you step on the scale and are completely disgusted with yourself. You've gone up 5-6 sizes and your clothes don't fit...again. Now you have a hard time with exercise because your joints ache and your body just won't do the things it used to do. That, in itself, is depressing all over again...and you order cheesecake to feel better.
The problem is that none of the food stuffing makes it better. It does great things to the chemicals in your brain, but it ruins your body. Now you begin to feel horribly unattractive. You buy baggy clothes. You hide out in your house. You turn down invitations to go out. You become a hermit. And you eat more.
Once a year, on New Year's, you make that resolution to change, join a gym, exercise daily, and eat more healthy. Once a year. Three weeks pass and you become disappointed at the lack of instant success. You proclaim yourself a failure and hide in your house with Blue Bell ice cream. And the cycle starts again.
So, it's New Year's and time for my annual resolution to get in better shape. I tell myself that it is a journey, not a sprint and it will take time. It took time to get here. It will take time to get back. Somehow, it's little comfort when you turn around in the shower and clean the walls with your backside. (fat humor)
I guess I'm writing to make myself accountable to someone. To you, my gentle readers. I need to do this and be consistent. I need to gain control again. I know at 49, I'm not going to be the athlete I once was. Fibromyalgia and age have taken care of that. But I do want to be healthy again. I want to be able to walk my dogs without gasping for breath. I want to be able to go out with my precious partner without feeling like people are looking wondering what a cute little thing like her is doing with a chubby like me. The inner talk is deafening! I want to tell it to go away.
I ask for your prayers and positive energy as I embark on this journey. I pray it's not another failed attempt, but a success and that I have the "stick to it-ness" it will take. So, here I go again...
Happy New Year's to all!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Okay, you know I have to say something.
In case you've been living under a rock, President-Elect Obama has chosen Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Now, that wouldn't be such a big deal if Rev. Warren wasn't so blatantly bigoted and anti-gay. Rev. Warren was a HUGE force in California in regards to Prop 8. Remember Prop 8? That was the law that completely removed the civil rights of gays and lesbians that were originally granted as the court believed that lack thereof violated the constitution.
Okay, let's step back a bit, shall we?
First, I fail to understand how me wanting to get married and have access to my partner during illness and death, let alone the other 1000 benefits that marriage affords in this country, affronts the dear pastor. Good grief! I'm always amazed at the Christian religious fundamentalists.
Let's look at just a few of those benefits.
Access to Military Stores
Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
Sick Leave to Care for Partner
Social Security Survivor Benefits
Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison
Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
Automatic Housing Lease Transfer
Crime Victim’s Recovery Benefits
Domestic Violence Protection
Exemption from Property Tax on Partner’s Death
Immunity from Testifying Against Spouse
Joint Adoption and Foster Care
Joint Parenting (Insurance Coverage, School Records)
Certain Property Rights
Reduced Rate Memberships
Visitation of Partner’s Children
Wrongful Death (Loss of Consort) Benefit
And the above list is by no means exhaustive. There are many, many benefits that come with marriage. Let's look at some of the more intimate ones:
Bereavement leave: When a partner dies, it's not often that the surviving partner has benefit of leave from his/her job. I don't know about you, but to tell me after many years of living as a spouse of my partner that I cannot take off work to make arrangements, attend the funeral, take care of the estate, or even take a couple of days off to mourn is inhuman.
Visitation or Decisions on Care in the hospital: I've run up against this one and it's a doozy. In my case, the one person who can make decisions, my sister, is estranged and certainly doesn't know, care about, or understand my wishes. But, as a blood relative, she's it. My partner can be, and has been in some cases, summarily dismissed by hospital staff. In one case I actually lambasted the patient advocate to get access to my partner.
There are so many!
These are the things that Rick Warren, in his narrow view, want to deny me and every other gay and lesbian person out there. I saw a video today posted on americablog.com (http://americablog.com) in which Rev. Warren states that, in his understanding, all gay people want multiple partners. He has in the past equated giving civil rights to gays and lesbians in the same context as pedophilia and beastiality.
I don't know about you, but that certainly doesn't describe my life. I go to work every day. I pay my taxes. I obey the law. My partner does the same. We don't go "clubbing." We stay home with our dogs and cats in the evening and check out the internet news and watch our favorite TV shows. We pay our bills. We give to charities. We donate our time. We visit sick friends. We attend church.
We're actually pretty boring.
And regardless of how "normal" our lives are, people like Rick Warren don't want to afford us basic civil rights. God forbid we use their term "marriage" to describe our relationships.
And it is in this context that I vehemently disagree with President-Elect Obama's choice of Rick Warren to lead the invocation at his inauguration. It's about fairness and civil rights. Civil rights. You know, those things that gays and lesbians don't have and have been fighting to have for decades? Yeah, those.
So, if you're one who espouses the mainstream Christian Fundamentalist view of gays and lesbians, I implore you to think for yourselves. Don't dig into the Bible and read it literally. It's not literal. It's allegorical. It's a history book. And if you feel the need to be literal, then be literal about everything. Don't eat shellfish. Don't wear clothing of two types of material. Do it all.
Once you obey the whole of the law, talk to me about gays and lesbians. And then after you do that, look at Jesus' teachings. Jesus said the whole of the law and the prophets were summed up in two commandments: love your God with all you are, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Then explain to me how denying civil rights to gays and lesbians is loving your neighbor.
President-Elect Obama has made a HUGE gaffe; a major mistake. And it would do him well to correct it before the inauguration and replace Rev. Rick Warren with a more compassionate, progressive pastor.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This is a really personal post. And it's not the easiest to write. So hang in there with me.
I am bipolar (along with a few other initials and disorders--imagine that?). It's not pretty. And it's ruled my life for many, many years. I'm up. I'm down. I'm in between.
Up is good. Up is creative and wonderful, full of life and love. Up is always ready for a party or a late night dancing. Up is quick with a smile or a joke. Up writes wonderful poetry and prose. Up is a blast to be with.
Down is not good. Down is depressive and brooding, full of self-pity and self-loathing. Down would rather hide under the blankets and sleep life away. Down does not carry on conversations. Down does not laugh. Down just wants to eat and sleep and be left alone.
But, in between? In between is the worst of all. In between is rage, anger directed towards everyone and everything. In between takes everything personally. In between is ready to throw a punch without blinking. And in between copes by stuffing food in large quantities (and gaining weight). In between makes itself and everyone around it miserable.
So where am I? I've been in in between land for several months and it's getting worse with time. You see, I did the usual bipolar thing thinking I could live without medication. Yep, me. Me, who is always diligent with meds, understanding why I take them. My head-shrinker has said I'm her best patient. I know the disorder inside and out. And I have committed (pun intended) to being diligent with the meds. Inside I know better than to play that game. But, here I am doing it just the same.
So why did I try it without them? Besides being an idiot? Well, there's that voice inside your head that says you can't just live on pills. There must be a healthier way, a more natural way, to deal with the moods. So I tried to do the healthy stuff: take the herbs and supplements. Boy, was I wrong. And when I say wrong, I mean wrong in a BIG way.
The anger and hate becomes overwhelming. I've been biting the heads off of everyone who says anything to me. Everything is personal. Everything's an attack. And I just ran headlong into that wall of "stupid, it's time to give in to the reality." The reality is that I need medication.
So, for the past three days, I've been back on. Smart move. I'm starting to feel a difference. Today, there was no anger. Today I've been productive, actually. I've accomplished a good bit at home on my off-day. I'm still stressing over stuff. But, it's better. I'm better. Give me a couple of good weeks without missed medication and I should be good as new.
So why share all this? Because each of us has our "issue." Mine is bipolar. Yours may be depression. Or any myriad of other things. But we have to know when it's time to do a reality check and give in. So many voices out there tell us that we must suck it up; pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Voices that say giving in is defeat.
I beg to differ. I'm finding that giving in takes much more strength of purpose. Surrendering to that which is best is not always the easy road to take. So I want to encourage you to look at your "issues" and find what is the best path to take for you. And then have the courage to take that path. It's your journey. Be healthy.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Today I am thankful for so many things. You are one of those things! I've been on this writing journey for a few years now and every year brings new readers with new ideas and insights. Thank you for sharing your time with me and your thoughts with all of our precious readers. You are a blessing in my life.
Today I am thankful for a new president who I believe will listen to the people and care about their lives. During Barack Obama's interview with Barbara Walters last evening he made a point of his discussions and negotiations within his security detail to allow him ways to keep his finger on the pulse of the nation. I think that's amazing and wonderful. We finally have the opportunity for a president who actually believes in the Constitution and all the good our country is and should stand for.
Today I'm thankful for my job. I have the best job in the world. Every day I go in and help really great people care for their companion animals. I spend all day getting doggie kisses and ferret hugs. And, yes, I occasionally get peed on. But what's a little pee between friends, right? I have the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible people who do the most amazing things with the little they have for themselves: rescuers who pick up a dog on the side of the road and pay for vet bills and give the dog a warm bed and good food; ladies on fixed incomes who buy bags and bags of food for the feral cats in their neighborhoods, capturing the cats and having them altered before returning them to their families; owners who care enough about their companions to give them training and learn how to be better dog moms and dog dads; and families who bring their children in and teach them about how to care for their cats or dogs--or fish or ferrets. What an awesome job to have!
Today I'm thankful for my friends. I have many acquaintences, but few real friends. I pick them very carefully. I learned many years ago that a true friend is hard to find. I had a teacher in high school who once told me that if I can go through life with one or two really true friends that I would accomplish more than most people. And her words have proven to be so true. I am blessed beyond measure by the true friends with whom I share my soul.
Today I'm thankful for the Provision of Goddess. No matter what happens (and as I've said before, happenings happen) there is always an undercurrent of support. Bills get paid. Food is on the table. A roof is overhead. And all of the pets in our home (seven dogs and eight cats) all have the best food and care that can be given to them. Goddess reaches into our lives every day and gives what we need. And we even get some of what we want. It's a wonder to see Provision every single day when so many have lack. We're not rich monetarily, but we are loved and cared for by a Goddess who created us and wants us well.
As we move through the harvest into the winter of the year, let's take a moment to remember those people who have affected our lives this year and give thanks. Let's remember those souls, animal and human alike, who have taught us this year's lessons and be thankful. And let us move into the next chapter in our lives with a grateful heart knowing that our needs are met and our daily comings and goings matter to a Goddess who loves us.
Happy Thanksgiving, all...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
These are the words of an old song; I believe Quaker in origin. I love them. It is a gift to be simple.
Our confusion comes in thinking about the word, "simple." Simple doesn't mean short on intelligence. Simple doesn't imply an inability to understand. Simple is...well...simple! It teaches us to be uncluttered and unencumbered in this life.
Why uncluttered? Because one of the most pressing anxieties we have is our attachment to "things." When we desire something we create an attachment to it emotionally, physically and spiritually. Often our attachments keep us from fulfilling our truest self. For example, I love chocolate ice cream...alot. If I continue to allow my attachment to that object, I suffer. Emotionally, I berate myself for my lack of will power. Physically, I feel unwell and my body is in a state of ill health. Spiritually, when I give myself over to that attachment, I create a barrier between me and my higher self. All of this attachment encumbers my life and disallows me the freedom to simply live.
So why is this on my mind now? Because life is becoming over-cluttered and over-encumbered and I'm feeling the effects of it all. The stress of an encumbered life does a number on you. And as I look back over the years, I've allowed myself to become further buried under mountains of attachments: education, finances, tragedies...things. And all have worked together to put me in a place of stagnation. Stagnant is certainly not a place of growing. And we all must grow to live...if not, we're dying.
I look around my house and there's stuff everywhere. I've never been a cluttery sort of person, but here I am in the midst of stuff that needs to be done. I've neglected my physical self for so long that I struggle to do the most mundane of tasks. I eat poorly. Sleep poorly. Exercise poorly. It's no wonder I feel the way I do. And all of it affects my spiritual well-being beyond measure. So what keeps me in bondage to it all? Me. Just me. I am responsible for my life.
We've gotten away from personal responsibility in recent years. If you're unhappy, it's your mom's fault. If you can't keep a job, it's your boss' fault. Ad infinitum. No. All things are under your control. True, you cannot control what "happens." Happenings happen all the time. What can you control? Your response to them all. My response to them all.
So, in response to the stressors in my life, I buried myself under mounds of objects and food. But there comes a time when you face yourself in the mirror and realize all is not how you expected it to be. Life is a chore. And that's when it hits you...simplify. Take control and simplify life so I can truly live.
So, today Goddess speaks to me of simplicity. I'm being urged to clean out the clutter, organize and do away with many of the attachments in my life. I am compelled to care more about myself and my health. And I know deep in my heart of hearts that by doing so, I will set my spirit free, as well as my mind and body.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I grew up with a veteran. My father was a vet of WWII and Korea. He was a submariner. He loved his country. We went to the parades on Veterans Day every year. I even remember marching in some of them with various civic groups. But the one thing that stands out in my mind, even after all of these years, is my father standing for every single American flag that passed by. Every one. He didn't stay seated. He didn't turn around and pretend it wasn't there. He stood and saluted.
When we would sit together as a family at these parades, my parents in their lawn chairs and me on the curb, I would notice a wistfulness in his eyes. His countenance changed when those flags marched by. As a child, I didn't understand. As an adult, I may not fully understand but I see. I see that same look in the eyes of The Greatest Generation.
On one forum recently, a poster stated that to be a hero was to do the courageous thing, think it nothing but their job, and be silent in honor of those who gave all. I'm thinking that might be true. You see, my father never spoke of his military service. Only once did I get a glimpse of that world when a PBS documentary came on about submariners. He spoke very little. We visited the USS Drum here in Alabama and went through the sub. Still, very little words were spoken. It was a humbling experience, nonetheless. My dad was silent.
Later, after he passed away, I started looking into his service. I remembered the name of a sub he was on. I found their reunion group. A few of the old sailors were still alive and remembered my father. One even had a drawing he did of my dad all those years ago. He had kept it and never knew why. Well, now we know. He was kind enough to send it to me. I found that he was a Plank Holder on that sub, one of the Mighty Mine Dodgers. They fought in the precarious, mine-filled waters off the coast of Japan. I am amazed at the strength my father had at such a young age.
But, when I consider that strength and remember the man who saluted every American flag he passed, I'm not surprised. He carried himself with honor and integrity his whole life. He was a walking picture of the quintessential American veteran: full of respect for his country and his countrymen.
And in honoring my father, I must say a word about my partner. She served almost 15 years in uniform. Fifteen months of that service was active duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Like other soldiers, sailors and Marines I've known, she carries that honor and integrity as a banner. She speaks of the fallen as the heroes. She simply did her job. But to me, she will always be a hero for her service. And it is this love of God and Country that drew me to her. She, like my father, loves America and that for which it stands.
And last, we must remember not only those who gave their lives, but those who have not returned home. How many of our beloved military personnel are still not repatriated? And what has our nation done to return them home? Yes, every now and again you hear of remains that are found and returned. But it is rare. And we hardly ever hear of them. I would hope that we would honor our commitment to them and work to ensure all of our soldiers are returned to the country for which they died.
My father's brother was killed in VietNam. My dad served in WWII and Korea. My partner's father served in VietNam and was career military. My partner served in OIF. Like other families, there is a long and wonderous military tradition that should be respected, honored and celebrated.
Let me close with this story: After my father passed away, I felt such a gut need to connect with him. I planned a vacation to Washington DC. I wanted to walk among the monuments to previous wars and soldiers. I wanted to experience this America for which my father would have offered himself to die. I wanted to see the VietNam Wall and find my uncle's name. I needed to walk Arlington National Cemetery and see my uncle's gravesite. I needed to pay my respects to all who gave so much so that I could live in the greatest country on the planet.
It was a most memorable visit. I went to all the places I wanted to see. I took etchings of my uncle Bobby's name on the wall and sent them to my father's two remaining brothers, one of whom served in the Navy during WWII. I bowed my head at the grave of my uncle. And all of these were life changing for me.
But the greatest touch of all came at the Tomb of the Unknowns. I couldn't help but think of the families whose loved ones were entombed there. For decades, these families have lived not knowing the fate of their loved ones. And, yet, there were here, celebrated and honored every hour of every day...rain, snow, sleet or shine. I stood in the heat and watched the changing of the guard. The preciseness of their movements, every step in honor of the fallen. I was moved by every click of the heels on their shoes. Every salute was so perfectly performed and timed. And it wasn't just the precise nature of it all. It was why the precise nature. Every movement, every salute, every step was there to honor a fallen comrade known only to God.
I can't say if people noticed the sweat pouring down my forehead. But I can tell you there were tears streaming down my cheeks. They were tears of gratitude for a country and for the men and women who have made it possible with their sacrifices. And today, you'll probably see a tear now and again as I remember why this holiday is so significant.
Please, take a moment this day to thank Goddess for men and women of strength, courage and honor who selflessly serve our great nation. And then thank a soldier for their service. Chances are they'll be self-effacing and point to those who gave all. But, please remind them that they are heroes, too.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I'm an avid reader of AmericaBlog. I'm addicted to it. I read it several times a day. Today, John Aravosis writes on the loss of civil rights for gays and lesbians.
I had great hopes for people in California seeing beyond the hate and voting to support gay and lesbian marriages. I mean, California is a big, blue state. And I'm disappointed that churches would dump hundreds of thousands of dollars in another state to control who gets to celebrate their love with whom. The Mormon church should be ashamed of themselves.
This is a new blog I found and I cannot agree more with the writer. How would these folks who voted against gay marriage and gay adoption/foster feel if the rest of us decided they were worthy of our hate? What if tomorrow, when the votes were counted, all of their marriages were declared void and their children declared illegitimate?
I think they would rise up in anger, claiming that the majority had no right to take away their lives. What would they do without access to their loved ones in hospitals? What would happen if they all lost their spousal survivor benefits and found themselves without recourse to keep what they worked, with their spouses, so hard to maintain? What would happen if the state came in and took their children because they were no longer able to adopt or foster?
All hell would break loose. And you know it would! So why are we sitting back and allowing bigots to control our country. Although President-elect Obama doesn't agree with using the term "marriage" to describe our relationships, I hope and pray he will look beyond his own fears and issues to grant us an equal place at the table.
And to our gay and lesbian friends, I say, don't walk to the back of that bus! Don't turn away from that place at the lunch counter! Don't allow bigotry to stand. Stand up. Be counted. Continue the fight.
On this day, civil rights have been hilighted as we've elected our first black president. Let today be the day the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens are hilighted as we stand against the new acceptable bigotry: hatred of us and our desire to be full citizens of this country we love.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Yes we can! Yes we can!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
It's that blessed time of the year again: Samhain. Samhain was to those ancients the separation of the seasons, dark and light, dead and living. A time to honor those who have passed over, as well as a time to be thankful for the harvest that would carry the people through to the next year.
And although there are many ways to celebrate, I think many of us have our own special time and traditions. For me, this is an opportunity to take stock of the year: successes and failures. The veil between the worlds is at it's thinnest and it is a time to ask direction for the coming year. Our ancestors stand at the precipice waiting for us to communicate with them. As they pass over, they take with them all of their experiences on this earth. They may exchange vessels, but their souls carry on. And at this time, Samhain, the veil is thin and they are there to give us wisdom and direction in the year to come.
Many of my pagan friends' holy days are steeped in ritual. We find great comfort in the familiarity of them. However, there are times when I prefer spontanaeity to ritual: to talk to the deities from a full heart not leaning on formality. And Samhain is that time for me. I spend my time in meditation of my friends and family who have passed over this year and years past. I think on the year and what I've accomplished and that which has been left undone. And I set priorities and goals for the next year asking the help of the ancients and dieties to bring them to pass.
As the veil becomes thinner, I ask the souls of the departed if they have messages of instruction, correction or hope. And then I listen with my spirit for their offerings. And when all is said and done, I give them offerings of my own to thank them for sharing their time and wisdom with me.
All of these things bring me comfort, hope and help for the year to come, but they also offer me closure for the year passing. Samhain, being the New Year for pagans, causes me to look forward to waking the next morning with hope and strength renewed for the winter months ahead, trusting that needs will be met.
This Samhain, I invite you to celebrate the old and the new. Reach out to those departed with whom you wish to communicate again. And know that the veil that separates you from them will allow you both to reconnect in a way that is mysterious but very, very real. You will find comfort for your soul and wisdom for your journey.
To all, a Blessed Samhain...
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
A rabbi with whom I am familiar was writing in response to a series of posts in a forum. The posts were started by a woman who seems to be firm in her personal faith and path, but is pushy, domineering and intolerant of others whose journey is different than her own. The back and forth has continued for days, with no relenting on anyone's part. Well, the rabbi wrote some of the best words I've read in a long time and I wanted to share them with you:
"We all dance in different colored rays of light that all trace their way back to the prism of reality which refracts the one light that comes from beyond. If we are open we realize this fact and appreciate the other rays, even though we are most secure within one
particular ray of color. We travel not only different paths, but even those of who share the same pathway are not standing at the same point on the road."
His writing is always eloquent and I wish I could sit under his teaching. He has a way of looking at life and the differences in people that astounds me. It is true; we all dance in different colored rays.
The word "dance" first caught my attention. We are in a dance with the Divine. A dance can be quite intimate. Have you ever truly watched a ballroom dance competition? There is a look in the eye, a movement in the step that brings a heart to the performance. It is that intimacy that we all seek along our personal path, be that songs of worship or ritual in the forest.
The rabbi continues to describe "different colored rays of light." We all have a journey. It is a personal journey; a spiritual journey that is different for all. The different colored rays are like the paths: Judaism, Paganism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. And the differences within those paths are colored, as well. Each has it's own flavor, a way of worship that is Divine in nature. No one ray is better than the other because...
The colored rays all trace back to the "reality which refracts the one light that comes from beyond." I don't necessarily think it matters what name one gives to the Divine. We all experience Goddess (God, Creator, Divine, etc.) in a way that is different...but the same. I used to dislike that phrase, "different but same." But it is true here. We worship. We offer time, talents and treasures. Some of us pray. Some meditate. Some use the mind to find peace. Some use the heart. Some experience their faith loudly. Some, quietly. But all in all, we all seek the same: an experience with the Divine that brings health to our bodies and comfort to our souls.
And "even those of us who share the same pathway are not standing at the same point on the road." How true. Many look down their noses at those who they feel are not as enlightened. Within our same paths, there is elitism which quelches the desire of the follower. What a shame, truly.
When did we become a faith of destruction and not rebuilding and replanting? What happened along the way that turned our hearts to stone when it comes to others? Being accepting of another's personal journey is part of being secure in our own! And being secure in our own faith doesn't mean we try to convert all we see to our way of faith! It's not about how many people you convert to your path. It's about loving everyone with whom you come in contact on your path and your journey.
Maybe it's time we all put down the hatchets and turned our swords into plowshares. Maybe it's time to learn to love and accept and not beat down and degrade. Maybe it's time to be people of faith; faith that loves all humankind, seeks to respect Mother Earth and be creators rather than takers of Her bounty, offers care to the sick and in despair.
That is what faith is about: reaching out. We ought to try it sometime. And great thanks to the rabbi who challenges me with each word he says.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
This is the face of the man who wants to continue to see your children killed in Iraq.
This is the man, the one with his sleeves rolled up, who wants to bring our children, mothers and fathers home from an unjust war.
The choice seems so obvious. But some won't get it. They'll hang on to the Republican party, party of hypocrisy, for all they're worth. Somehow the reality of what has happened to our beloved country is lost on them. They are oblivious, preferring to live by what they are told rather than see for themselves.
So many of my friends, gay and straight alike, lean towards the Republican party and nominee because they're so afraid of seeming "liberal" in their politics, theology and perceived lifestyle. It's an exercise in futility; going around and around and getting nowhere. Rats on a wheel. Follow the leader. Lemmings.
Now, I'm not saying that the Democrats have a grip on the market. Democrats (label them Liberals) can get smug and annoying with their "we are the world" stuff. Liberals have a broad spectrum of followers, just as the Conservatives do. You'll find everyone from tree huggers to lumberjacks. But, for the most part, from my observation, Liberals tend to be realists.
Is there room for others in this two-party system we've created? You bet. I'm listening. But I don't hear anything that hasn't been said before. No creativity. Same stuff, different day. If you're going to create a new party, or be a nominee from one, give me a good reason why I should care. Because unless you bring something spectacular to the table of discussion, all you're doing is trying to be a spoiler in the game. Nobody wins.
I'm doing my best to listen to all the speeches. I'm plastered to the nominees' websites, reading the political blogs, watching the pundits, etc. From Sen. McCain I hear jokes about bombing Iran. I hear him contradict himself over and over. Frankly, it scares me. From Sen. Obama, I hear a man with a vision of what can be again if we dream and work together.
And I hear the mainstream media picking their darlings and not reporting anymore. The days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are gone. Picking sides and slanting stories has become the way of the "journalist." Why can't we just go back to reporting the news instead of telling us what to think about it. It's an insult to intelligent people.
And in the end, is it really about Republican and Democrat, Conservative and Liberal, etc. or is it really about whether we put our collective heads in the sand and pretend we weren't taken for a horror ride by the current administration? I want on a ride towards freedom, civil rights, and reclaiming a place of honor in the World. I want on a ride that looks toward the future with bright ideas and expressions of peace. I want on the Peace Train! And, from my vantage point, it looks like Sen. Obama is going my way.
Monday, July 07, 2008
I'm Becoming More Aware of My Feelings About Money. . .
Many people protest when we explain to them the power of telling the story of their finances as they want it to be rather than as it is, because they believe that they should be factual about what is happening. But if you continue to look at lackful what-is and speak of what-is, you will not find the improvement that you desire. If you want to effect substantial change in your life experience, you must think thoughts that feel different as you think them.
Hello again, Gentle Readers...
This was today's quote from Abraham-Hicks. I get their daily quotes and enjoy them immensely. I hope you'll check out their website. http://abraham-hicks.com/.
I've been concerned about money lately. And yesterday, at the church service we attended, they were talking about choosing to view the world from the "shall be" and not the "is now." The pastor was speaking of free will. Now, as one who has been a hard-core fundamentalist in the past, we were taught that free will was one thing and one thing only: Our choice of whether we believe that Jesus was the Messiah...or not. We choose wrong and we get the hell-fire and damnation.
You know, I have problems with that free will. I have a hard time picturing God (or Goddess - you choose your diety) as an angry God who will simply throw you to the fire if you won't do as he says. But this pastor spoke of a different kind of free will: the free will to see beyond the now and embrace the future as it should be. No, I'm not talking of the whole "believe it and receive it" type of prosperity teaching. I am speaking of the free will to look at a situation, such as a financial one, and speak the positive into the world. For example, I may see that my dollars won't go as far as I would like. The electric bill is ridiculous. I can choose to be negative and gripe about the cost of it. Or I can choose (free will) to be positive and be grateful that I have heating, cooling and a way to cook my meals. It is the free will of the grateful spirit that brings positive results.
If we subscribe to the idea that all is energy, we now have the free will to speak positive into that energy. Okay, I know it sounds a bit "out there." But if our words and actions affect what we see and get in our lives, why not choose the way of free will? Choose to take up the positive instead of speaking the negative.
The pastor quoted a line in a musical. And, of course, I don't remember it fully. (That 50 year old memory glitch thingy!). But the gist of it was that it isn't the decision that is bad. It may be mistaken; a decision we can learn from in the future. So what? We take this moment and move forward to the next with wisdom.
So I encourage you this day to use your free will. Speak the positive. Be grateful for everything. And then watch the Universe operate on your behalf! Goddess bless!
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
On this 4th of July holiday, I feel compelled to write on independence. More than 200 years ago, some very wise individuals came together to create a country. They took their ideals and put pen to paper. Those documents still govern us today. My question is whether the spirit of those ideals still remains? In my humble opinion, I think not. Here is why:
You want to know the state of this Union? It is easily found in the media reports from those who are not afraid of this administration and who will not be manhandled by a corrupt government. Unless something changes, and quickly, our beloved country may not be around much longer. We have become weak by spreading our defenses way too thin all around the world where they cannot defend us at home. We have become weak by becoming the slave to other countries' finances and commerce. We have become weak by giving away those very precious rights and privileges given to us by our founding fathers. The Patriot Act, and its subsequent reaffirmations, has stripped us of our rights and privacy. Yet, we keep on living in our own dream, rose colored glasses intact, hoping things will improve.
Let us not only PRAY for relief that Goddess may deliver us from ourselves, but let us act! Use your vote wisely, for you have seen what can happen when it is taken away and the Supreme Court appoints a leader. Let this 4th of July, this Independence Day, signal a renewal of purpose to save this great nation. And celebrate the great nation that was...and will be again!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Amazing how there are always people going in the opposite direction. But to them, we are the opposites! What does this show us? We are all different. We all have our own desires and gifts. Each should be celebrated. Nothing says you have to accept another's sexual orientation. That is your decision to make. However, in a country that boasts freedom, it is not acceptable to deny an entire citizenry basic civil rights based on one's own direction. Different doesn't mean evil. Different doesn't mean we have the right to bash and otherwise stifle the lives of someone with whom we disagree.
Some would say that allowing gay marriage or supporting legislation that gives hate crime status to beating up on people who are different, is absolutely necessary. Others hide behind the "love the sinner, hate the sin" caption - which is totally contrary to any truly spiritual teaching. This is all false doctrine and dogma which does nothing but hide behind a veil of bigotry and prejudice.
Allow me to share two stories with you:
http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A260096 is the story of a young person struggling with his sexual orientation who was taunted and tortured -- until it killed him.
http://www.gay.com/news/article.html?2008/06/25/5 is about a wonderful 18 year relationship between two women who, when one became gravely ill, was not allowed visitation in the hospital. Eventually, after the sick partner passed, the surviving partner was not allowed access to death certificates, insurance, and those civil rights which help us care for our surviving children.
These are the kind of rights for which the lgbt citizens fight: The right to marry our long-time partners. Did you see the marriages in California last week? The first to marry were two women with over 50 years together. Just today, I received an email from a woman I know in California who, because the county clerk put "confidential" on their paperwork, must now go to court to prove the marriage actually did take place. They were sabotaged by the court clerk. The right to have access to social security, death benefits, insurance, and even the right to be at the bedside of our ill partners. The right to make decisions about our children. All of these are certainly not "special" rights." These are civil rights - basic human rights - and there are over 1000 more of them to which the lgbt citizenry does not have access.
So, please, before one jumps on a biblical high horse and proclaims the lgbt citizens of our great country as evil and our relationships invalid, consider yourself. Regardless of spiritual path, it is not the seat of judgment you occupy. It is the seat of love, acceptance and tolerance. Not all who come to the gates of the Kingdom will be offered access. Will we be considered by our piousness or by our love?
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I've had a interesting day today. What a wonderful day away from work! Usually I feel exhausted and don't want to do much of anything. But today was different. I felt good and ready to go and do.
As many know, I live in Mobile, Alabama. It sits approximately 60 miles inland off the Gulf of Mexico on a wonderful bay. On the other side of the bay, there is a cute, quaint town - Fairhope. In Fairhope you'll find little shops and very well-to-do folks who are nice and greet you wherever you go.
There is a wonderful pier in Fairhope (as you can tell by the picture). Years ago I would spend hours there with my feet in the water watching the sun set. I feel a spirit that is gentle and calm. Even when storms come up on the bay, there is peace here. I guess it's because I'm a child of the moon and water, that I find soul comfort at the pier. And it's been years since I visited the area. So, today I took my feeling-good self and ventured across the bay to Fairhope and the lovely pier.
The area has been renovated since Katrina (as in Hurricane Katrina). There are wonderful benches which have been placed in honor of veterans and loved ones. The benches and picnic tables sit under a canopy of trees surrounded by wildflowers. As I drove up to the parking area, I noticed a spot near the water where it splashes against the bulwark. I took my water bottle and settled on a bench where I could hear the water and feel the breeze.
I could feel the healing energy of the water and breeze as they gently swayed my soul. It was not long before the water called to me and I had to find a place to jump down off the bulwark and put my toes in the water. It was now high tide and the water splashed up to my shorts as my feet sunk into the sand. What joy I felt in that moment! Peace washed over me. I was in a sacred moment of sun, water and wind.
Funny how the most simple things offer us sacredness. I've been in pain and struggling for months now, even years. At the pier, in the water, I found Spirit. With my feet sinking in the sand and surrounded by splashing water, my spirit joined with the Spirit of Goddess and we felt as one. And as I thought on the moment, a Voice spoke to me.
"See the water. See how it rises and falls. Feel the current underneath. It is strong, but peaceful. All of the crashing is on the surface. Underneath there is quiet. Yet, in the quiet there is great strength. You are this water. Your struggle is on the surface. Your pain is on the surface. But your strength is an undercurrent giving you a peaceful place to go. Learn to ride the undercurrent. The water will carry you out of the struggle."
Oh my goodness! Here is my answer! My struggle is on the surface. It is not the whole of me and my experience. The undercurrent is my destiny. I am not to live as one who is caught up in the surface. I am one who is to allow the undercurrent to carry me. As I allow myself to go deeper in my experience with Spirit, Spirit will carry me through the surface problems to the place of peace!
Amazing how Goddess can speak when we find a place of quiet tranquility. With all of the surface crashing, I wasn't hearing her soft, comforting voice. I think I know now how to move forward acknowledging the waves but finding the peace underneath.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Hello again, gentle readers...
Yes, it's been a good while since my last post. Life gets in the way and it's easy to get caught up in the worries and drama of the day. I think we are all guilty of that in some way or another.
I added a link to a Daily OM post I recently read. It's an excellent article and one which caused me to pause and think about how I walk through life.
There is "the flow." You can call it what you will: spirit, destiny, fate. It matters not the name, only that it is and we are on the journey. Some days it is a rushing river that carries us along at breakneck speed and we fail to slow down and experience the fullness of the trip. And sometimes it is a lazy river that slowly urges us to enjoy the scenery and the lessons it has to teach.
One of the points of the article was that we all participate in "the flow." I think it is important that we engage our conscious minds to be open to the images and experiences that come our way. If we simply put ourselves on "auto pilot" and ride without conscious effort, we never experience the fullness of life.
My life as of late has been one of busyness. Busy at work. Busy at home. Just plain busy. I relish the times that I have quiet. I find myself turning off the TV and turning on the soft sounds of the music of mindfulness. I escape to my place of rejuvenation. And it gets difficult to turn off the sounds of the world around me. The dogs bark. The phone rings. Just to get to that place of being able to drown out the noise and engage "the flow!" How I long for it!
So what is your life like? Are you going with "the flow?" Are you experiencing Spirit in all things? Do you rejoice in Mother Earth and all the wonderful creation around you? Or do you get bogged down in the worries of the day?
If getting bogged down is the issue, then take a moment to break away and engage "the flow." Quietly listen to Spirit and enjoin yourself with the Universe. Be the quiet you wish to experience in your life. Go with "the flow."
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Spirituality as a Life Practice
To exist as a spiritual being in a world of matter is often a difficult process. One must be continuously aware of both planes. The material world pulls our focus off being content to selfishness. We start to respond to the negative and allow our inner selves to be compromised by toxic people, places, things and circumstances. This focus is one of imbalance: a lack of harmony.
The condition of harmony brings to mind a part in an old car I once owned. I loved that car! It was an '89 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible. I had a very difficult time getting it to run properly. Why? A part called a “harmonic balancer.”
Because of the car's age, the part was obsolete. I searched high and low through parts houses and salvage yards. You see, that part was essential to making the car's engine run smoothly. Without it, the car sputtered and struggled and wore out the other parts which relied on it far before their time.
The Spiritual Life is the “harmonic balancer” for all other things.
Spirit brings us an acute awareness that we are co-creators with the Goddess and, therefore, have great affect on the material world around us. The situations and people we encounter cannot throw us off balance if we are operating on the spiritual plane. The “harmonic balancer”, Spirit, takes all the things that we face and lines them up in harmony.
So how can we be spiritually aware? I find the Five Principles of Brigit a great compass.
1. Protect the Earth - It is our home and our Mother.
2. Be a Peacemaker - Wear peace as a mantle.
3. Care for the Poor - Serve others with gladness and humility.
4. Be a Place of Sanctuary - One who brings comfort to the hurting.
5. Carry a Spirit of Meditation - Focus on the Goddess and hear the
As a daily practice, let us tune in to the Spirit of balance, contentment, co-creation and harmony to bring about a better life for ourselves an those around us.