Sunday, March 25, 2007

"Repo Man" as a spiritual tool

Hammy and I are in agreement that we will, as a family, attempt to go through the summer with only one car. I will offer my resignation to the social research gig and go apply at Kroger. We will cut back on our commitments. We'll apply my paychecks as well as any money saved by not having a second car toward our debt.

This is a major milestone in two ways: attempting to be car-free in Nashville is something no one I know with children has ever done by choice; and the fact that Hammy and I agreed on a course of action this quickly is amazing! Stars must be in auspicious alignment or something. Maybe hell froze last night. I prefer to think that this was simply the right decision but I guess only time will tell.

This blog is an interesting exercise for me. I try to be aware of the Divine in my day-to-day actions and thoughts but fail to do so much more often than I succeed. I try to speak with truth from my heart. When I blog about my spiritual journey I feel like I'm neglecting to write about my journey as a mother and wife. When I blog about my family life I feel like the Spirit that infuses my life is not well represented. Today I wanted to write about staying up late last night to watch "REPO Man" with my oldest but I didn't because it didn't seem very spiritual a topic. But, for me, making that connection with my teen is a joyful act. His willingness, even eagerness, to spend time with me doing something we both enjoyed; being together, relaxed brings me great happiness. Just as every act is political, every act is spiritual. Spending time hanging out with people I love and care for allows me to connect more fully with the Divine, if I allow myself that opportunity for doing so. But it's hard to write about that without sounding preachy or over-the-top or "new agey" or whatever. The meaning of each moment is in one's intent. When I spend time with my child, my intent is to love him, to deepen our bond and in becoming aware of that it also allows me to become more aware of God, my Divine Mama, loving me.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Blowing a gasket because of parasites

So, yesterday I went with a buncha people up to Bugtussle Farm in Kentucky ( and had a very nice time cutting up seed potatoes and planting them. I got a little sunburned and reinforced to myself that I do not have the constitution to be a farmer (besides the fact that I kill most green living things I come into contact with). I'm a city dweller at heart.

Hammy was able to go to work in the morning and then took our son to the Dr. It was confirmed that he has pinworms and so today we are deworming our bedding, clothing and selves. Each of us has to take one pill, one time and then bathe thoroughly. The risk of reinfection is high so all our bedding must be washed, vacuumed, or cleaned.

I took Hammy's (newer) car to Kentucky so he drove mine to the Dr. On the trip home, my car's engine blew a head gasket which means I no longer have a car (the car is too old with too many major systems that were breaking to replace the engine). We can not afford a second car payment. I took the social research project to pay off some debt we already have, we can't take on any more debt. But I can't do the research project gig without a car. My dad offered the use of his truck but I don't think I'm willing to take him up on it. My parents are more than generous and gracious but I think we need to deal with this without imposing on their kind offer. I'm leaning toward calling my field manager for the research project to tell her that I no longer have a car so I will not be able to do the assignment and then going up to the neighborhood grocery store and getting a job. I think maybe we should live with just the one car at least until we have it paid off and have a good down payment for the next car. We live a mile to a library, grocery store and the bus stop. If the boys and I cut back on the amount of commitments we make and simplify our schedule, I think we can go at least until next school year with only one car. Yes, it will require a lot of sacrifice and juggling of schedules, but there may be benefits, as well. I enjoy walking. I love the city and being around people and one doesn't experience either much from inside a car. I like the idea of polluting less and using a lot less fossil fuel. I like the idea of saving money on gas, car repairs, taxes, and insurance.

I think the person who will be most impacted will be Zed. I will have to be particularly creative and flexible about getting him together with his friends.

And, of course, buying a scooter is probably not even a consideration. Every penny earned will have to go into paying off Hammy's car. And I can't justify buying a scooter for a job that may only last 3 or 4 months. Sigh...
At least I'm not at risk of becoming disillusioned by my heart's desire.

Last night I went out with my old "gang". This is the group of women who were my main social support and community for almost a decade. We all homeschooled our kids and we did lots of classes, activities and field trips together. There was a point of more than a year during which we were together, in one facet or another, 4 or 5 days a week, easily. There were 7 of us at dinner last night plus one of us brought her mother. Of the 7, 4 of us have at least one child in public or private school. Only me and one other are actively homeschooling, the other two have children who are adults. I see a couple of these women almost weekly, another every couple of weeks because our sons are close friends but the others I don't see nearly often enough and I miss them.
One of the group is in the midst of a family crisis which is triggering a personal crisis. She needs moral support and that's why I organized the night out. As we sat and caught up on what's going on in our lives, it's helpful to know that everyone struggles. Money, teenagers, aging parents, too little time, too many choices, health issues, relationship discord, job successes and frustrations.
My friends were concerned about my car blowing up. One offered the use of the car she's getting ready to sell. Several offered advice. I don't feel badly about the car, or lack thereof. Just like I believe that God causes "way to open" I also believe "way closes" for a reason. I know that whatever happens, whatever Hammy and I choose to do, or not do, will be what is supposed to happen. There are lessons in borrowing from others, in going deeper into debt and in learning to simplify life. My intuition leans toward simplifying. We'll see what happens next...

Friday, March 23, 2007

All God's Children Got A Place In the Choir

Yeah, yeah, yeah but pinworms?! AND, I might add, mosquitoes, ticks and poison ivy? What part of God's divine plan do these creations hold? What part in my life? Acceptance of that which I cannot control? Acceptance of discomfort?
I'm leading a field trip for 35 people to a CSA (community supported agriculture) biodynamic farm in Kentucky today so Hammy took off work to take one of our sons to our family physician because we discovered last night that son seems to have pinworms. Can I just say "EEEEEWWWWWWW"! Somehow I managed to make it through childhood without any of the yucky things invading my person-no lice, scabies, chiggers. One or another of my sons has had, at one time or another, scabies, impetigo and now pinworms. No lice so far (knock on wood).
I believe there is a lesson in everything if I keep my eyes and heart open. I'm sure I'll learn something about myself from this new class in grossology.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Help me to find my happiness in acceptance of my purpose...

"Help me to find my happiness
in acceptance of my purpose;
in friendly eyes;
in work well done;
in quietness born of trust;
and, most of all,
in the awareness of your presence
in my spirit."

I'm not sure who the author is, maybe St Columba, probably a monk; it's an old Celtic poem that I read last night in In Search of Sacred Places. The poem spoke to me.
Blessing and Gratitude. I give thanks today for my eyes with which I can see the sunrise. I give thanks for my ears with which I hear my son drumming. I give thanks for putting me in a position to be able to purchase organic milk and cereal for my family and take responsibility for working to ensure that all families have access to healthy, whole foods.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God?

I began reading Daniel Taylor's book In Search of Sacred Places: Looking for Wisdom on Celtic Holy Islands last night (I'd misplaced A History of the End of the World). It's about the author, who'd been raised "Texas Baptist" learning what pilgrimage means to him while exploring the haunts of ancient Celtic saints.

The last thing I read last night was about the holy being all around us all the time-a knowledge I have but an awareness of which I loose frequently. I believe 'that of God' is within me and without me, within and without all of creation always. God is here with me just the same when I center down and when I write about my spiritual journey and when I get distracted by playing the word games on the dictionary website and when I yell at my kids for wrestling in the livingroom; it doesn't matter where I am spiritually or emotionally, God is with me. Sometimes I can be aware of God's presence. Occasionally I allow God's presence to actually impact me in any meaningful way. Why is that? Why is it so hard for me to remember, to be mindful of, what is ultimately the most important thing about life? More importantly, how do I learn to live in God? (which, of course, leads to a song-again by Van Morrison "When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God")

The sun was setting over Avalon
The last time we stood in the west
Suffering long time angels enraptured by Blake
Burn out the dross innocence captured again

Standing on the beach at sunset all the boats
All the boats keep moving slow
In the glory of the flashing light in the evenings glow

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything
I need and more
When will I ever learn?

You brought it to my attention
everything that was made in God
Down through centuries of great writings and paintings
Everything lives in God
Seen through architecture of great cathedrals
Down through the history of time
Is and was in the beginning and evermore shall be

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

Whatever it takes to fulfill his mission
That is the way we must go
But you've got to do it your own way
Tear down the old, bring up the new

And up on the hillside its quiet
Where the shepherd is tending his sheep
And over the mountains and the valleys
The countryside is so green
Standing on the highest hill with a sense of wonder
You can see everything is made in God
Head back down the roadside and give thanks for it all

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Preparation for Transformation

I read the Pendle Hill Pamphlet Members One of Another: The Dynamics of Membership in Quaker Meeting by Thomas Gates a couple of days ago. In it, the author describes my condition of a year and a half ago that lead to my forming the "Motherhood and Spirituality" retreats, to my opening myself to deeper and more intimate awareness of God and to my desire for strengthening my Quaker identity.

The second paragraph expresses so well my experience of agitation and an awareness that something was happening to me, something beyond me that I did not understand. I was being readied for a change but I didn't know what or how, all I could do was to trust God and open myself to God's will. I had no idea what the feeling of discontent meant to me but my instinct was to reach out and connect with other spiritually aware mothers. Being a woman and a mother is integrally connected to my understanding of the Divine and so I sought out other women to help me find the path I seemed to be searching for.

I no longer have the feeling of agitation. I feel a deeper, more mature awareness of the Divine (on most days). I no longer feel like a spiritual adolescent. I still don't have any idea where I'm going or who I'm in the process of becoming; I don't know where this path is leading me, but I trust that God does have a plan for me and I trust that one day my purpose will be revealed to me. I'm sure that I have a lot more lessons to learn about obedience and letting go of my own will. My desires-ego-attachments still get in the way of my "living up to the Light" I currently have. I am hopeful, simply because I am more aware than I have ever been before of the Light and of my own obstacles. I know that I am on the path I am supposed to be on; God has put enough trail markers on the route (in the form of people, books, synchronicities, large old trees, songs, epiphanies, wonderful coincidences and warm streams of fresh air) that I know I'm where I'm supposed to be and I trust that there is Divine purpose.

"...Up to this point, we have been talking about what is conventional, comforting, secure. By contrast, what begins at this stage is challenging, uncomfortable, transforming. William James once said that for some, religion exists as a dull habit, while for others it is an acute fever. Embarking upon the stage of transformation involves just such a shift in perspective. What up to this point may have been peripheral-the dynamic relationship between individual, community, and God-now becomes central.

This transition may first come to our awareness through a vague feeling of discomfort, a sense that something is about to happen, or perhaps that something unknown is struggling to be born. Before, we have been seeking,
but now we are aware of being sought. Before, we have
been turning toward God, but now we sense God turning toward us. Before, we have depended on our own initiative, but now we are being asked to respond to God's initiative."
(italics mine)

Monday, March 19, 2007


I'm reading a book, "A History of the End of the World" about the book of Revelation in the bible. Way before Jesus, people were writing about judgement day. It seems it's human nature for some people to view things as black or white and some people as gradations of color. I wonder why. Why do some people need to see God as punitive and punishing? I would say it has to do with the kind of upbringing one has but I was raised in a very black/white, fundamentalist family and I am, what they would derisively call, a "moral relativist". How did I evolve to become this? Why do some people innately seek Truth and some people seem to have no spiritual curiosity?
This line of thinking makes me think there must be something to reincarnation. I don't make any claims to knowing what happens beyond this life. I don't think it much matters. What does matter is how close to Truth we live this life. But sometimes I wonder at some people who seem to be born, for lack of a better word, in touch with their center (and conversely, those who seem to be born without a moral center). Sometimes I wonder if this lifepath that I'm walking is part of an eternal path with many different Mary Lindas (That of God; my original face ) learning new lessons for each part of the journey.
But this is mostly just idle curiosity because I really don't think the answers to these questions makes any real difference to the way I'm living, the way I want to live my life. This moment is all that matters. Knowing God in this moment. Reflecting God's love for me by loving God's creation.

Imagine by John Lennon

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Creating Peace

Yesterday we went to the peace rally where we saw many of our old friends and made some new ones. We stayed at the rally for a couple of hours in the brisk, cold wind but left when people lined up to march to the federal building.
Hammy was to play music with friends last night so when we got home I sat the boys down and told them I needed quiet. I said that if I heard one word of bickering or any rambunctiousness that I would send them to their rooms for the night and if they didn't like it they could go with their father or find out if they could hang out at my parent's house until Hammy could pick them up. The called my folks and asked if they could come over. My parents, of course, we very happy to have them, so the boys got to play games and eat junk food and watch TV, Hammy got to play loud rock music with friends and I got the house to myself.
I brewed a cup of tea, brought my pillows into the couch, got in comfy clothes and read for hours until I (finally) finished Peaceable Kingdom. I made myself a yummy omelet with tomato and avocado and ate a bunch of chocolate covered cherries. I nurtured myself and found tranquility. When the guys got home at 11:00, I was a much more centered, contented person.
At the peace rally yesterday, I talked with a Veterans for Peace activist. He said he and two other vets spoke to about 75 kids at another high school this past week. He said it went well. I told him I'd love to help facilitate them speaking at my son's school but that I'd have to talk to my son first. I talked with Declan last night and he is fine with it. He said he would attend even though he's heard it all before and thinks the speakers will be old and boring. He suggested I talk first with the head principal but then follow up with one of the assistant principals.

I'm relieved at his open willingness to participate in this. He's been going out with his school friends more often lately and Friday night (we didn't know and wouldn't have given permission for) the guy driving a brand new Mustang was a kid we don't know at all but who Declan described as a racist. I'm glad D can identify racism when he hears it but it troubles me that he is willing to call someone like that a friend. He supported some of the kid's views, saying that the majority of the people in his school are of a particular type because of the culture to which they belong. I tried to get him to understand that labeling all people within a group as being the same is wrong but he didn't want to hear it from me. I think, I hope, this is a phase, an immature perspective that he will soon grow out of. He's a peace activist white kid in a school that is 90% black and the only white kid who, he says, doesn't wear a rebel flag on any of his clothing. I'm sure that he feels overwhelmed by being the minority of the minority much of the time. Thankfully, he is a strong individual with a good sense of himself and his boudaries. He is not easily swayed by other people. I think his "painting everybody with a broad brush" is a response to feeling overwhelmed and once he is out of that school, he will be able to gain perspective that people are individuals, no matter the larger culture they are a part of.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Finding Peace Amidst Chaos

My monthly flow started again yesterday. I find my thoughts are disjointed, my emotions abruptly changeable. Physically I feel 'wrung out'. When I was a young woman I would have cramps so bad that I would feel as if I was going to pass out. I don't have cramps nearly so badly now. But when my menses begin to flow I feel as if energy is literally flowing from me. I feel weak and tired, especially in my lower torso, upper thigh and pelvic region; drained.

Yesterday should have been delightful. It was delightful but I was too tired and scattered to be in the moment and enjoy it. We went to a friend's brand-new, in-the-process-of-becoming farm in the afternoon and then to the Mothers Acting Up ( potluck in the evening but I was just cranky and tired.

This is when the idea of a "red tent" is so appealing; a time to separate from the day-to-day noise and responsibility to center down and focus on my needs; a time to create. During these 5 days each month I feel overwhelmed by the maleness of my household. I feel like a stranger in my own house. I'm mystified by the aggression and chaos that comes with boys (and men) playing with one another. Carmac described it well a couple of weeks ago when he said, "Wrestling is how dad shows us love". My guys play with their whole bodies; they wrestle, tussle, and throw themselves around. They're rarely still, even in sleep. They're all drummers so there is constant tap, tap, tapping in my house.

I feel like a volcanic island, alone, simmering. Sometimes I don't know how my life got to this point. Is this the life I created? At this moment it is not the life I want. I want the life that my lesbian, childless friends all seem to have or my friends who are single mothers with single girl daughters. I want the quiet stillness. I want my home to smell like fresh herbs, not like sweaty socks and the piss of whatever animal is living in the crawlspace under the house. I want to be able to display beautiful pottery and not cringe every time a ball enters the room. I want to be able to set something down and have it be there the next time I look for it. I want to be able to read a whole paragraph without hearing "Mom...". I need a room of my own.

I think immediately of my post from before Creating Room for God about making space in ourselves for God. I'd been thinking that I've made some progress (whatever that means in this context) at centering down and being able to step into the "stream" but the last couple of days I've been anything but centered. My thoughts jump around; I can't seem to maintain a linear thought. Right now I'm not even sure I have a center in this crazy jumble of thoughts and emotions. I try to pray and don't get beyond the initial impulse before my mind distracts itself and I forget what I'm doing.

I wonder if I lived in a way that would allow me to remove myself to a more nurturing space at this phase in my womancycle if I would be able to use this crazy energy in a different way to know and honor God rather than to feel so distant from God. This is the time when I could feel closest to God as Goddess (or, as Joan Borysenko in her book A Woman's Journey to God called the Divine, "Goddessence"). I need a community of calm, nurturing, creative women around me. I need good food, art, gentle-soulful music. I need to find the Holy Spirit in each of those things.

I must take a shower now to begin yet another day full of action and noise but I will carry this idea of honoring the Shekina, the feminine Divine in myself and in the world. I'm going to a peace rally to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the beginning of the war this afternoon. I will bring my peace, my awareness of Shekina, with me.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Scooter Dreamin'

I've wanted a scooter pretty much as long as I can remember; all my adult life-since viewing my first Italian film, for sure. I used to dream of Vespas but, after researching scooters, I decided that I could only justify owning one if it was the most fuel efficient, cleanest burning engine and Vespas do not qualify. Only the newest (and most expensive) Vespas have a 4-stroke engine and they're not particularly good on gas. Yeah, they look cool, but looks are not everything.
In my searching, I found the Bajaj Chetak ( It's an Indian scooter with the same basic body structure (monocoque) as the Vespa because Bajaj used to manufacture the Vespa in India. The Chetak gets 100+ miles to the gallon and rates the best on running clean according to several measurements (
(which none of the other scooter companies even tries to claim). Chetaks are built for durability. The thing is that last year was the end of production so whatever one finds in a dealer's showroom is all there are. Bajaj promises that parts will be available for a long time and with hundreds of thousands of Chetaks being driven around the world, I believe them.
I've taken another social research field interviewing project (this time doing a survey for the federal reserve) which will start in May. I'll be driving all over the county and will easily put 300+ miles on whatever vehicle I'm driving each week. The mileage reimbursement is good for this job ($.44/mile), it covers gas and wear and tear. But imagine, I said to Hammy, if I'm getting 100+ miles per gallon! I could pay for a third to almost a half of the scooter just out of my expense checks in the first 3 months of the project!
I think Hammy's almost talked into it.
I'm now trying to ascertain if getting my hands on a Chetak is a possibility. There's a scooter shop in Chattanooga who's owner I like and trust (the first time we met him he was wearing a peace sign t-shirt; not that that makes a person trustworthy or not, just that it shows that we share some values):
I'm waiting to hear from them about Chetaks or other scoots they would recommend that fit my criteria.
Lately, I've been reading my horoscope on occasion. I don't believe in astrology; I think it is, at best, pretty silly. I don't know what my children or my husband's 'signs' are and I don't care. I read my horoscope almost as a query or some rhetorical spiritual question or a tool to gain psychological insight. A couple of days ago my horoscope coincidentally said that I was about to get my heart's fondest wish such as a car or lingerie and then it said, "would it help to know that you'll want to take it back to the showroom the next day". Hmmmm....
It makes me think about "be careful what you wish for". Do I really want a scooter? Will my life actually be improved by owning one? Is it a whim? An indulgence? Will it help me be the person I desire being? Will it feed my ego? Yes, I do want to pollute the environment less, use less fossil fuels and save money but am I justifying buying a scooter when really I just wanna have fun?
I'm going to "sit" with these questions for a few days. I don't want this to be an ego driven purchase nor a waste of money. On the other hand, maybe I think too much.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dressy Bessy: "Tis A Gift To Be Simple"

I recently read someone's blog in which she wrote about what the testimony of simplicity means in her life (and I'm really sorry I don't remember who's blog it was as I've read so many of them recently). One of the things she wrote was that she wears solid, unpatterned plain fabric clothing.

I'm a flashy dresser. Well, in the summer I am. In the winter I love wool clothes and favor greys and blacks and browns. In the winter I dress like a spinster librarian from the 1940s in sensible shoes, long kilts and cardigan sweaters. But in the summer I dress like a gypsy as portrayed in a 1940s movie. I love bright colors and patterns and swirly skirts and mini skirts and funky shoes and anti-establishment t-shirts.

A good part of my simplicity testimony (as well as my integrity, peace and equality testimonies) is tied into where and how I shop. I buy almost all the clothing for me, Hammy and our two youngest and many of my housewares at thrift stores (although he dresses like a punk, Declan won't go thrift shopping with me anymore). When I shop second hand I know I am not supporting sweat shop labor. I know that the environment is not being degraded to manufacture the items of clothing I'm purchasing. As a matter of fact, by buying clothing second hand I am keeping things from the landfill. Usually I shop at Goodwill (although I do occasionally go to church sponsored thrift shops and garage sales) and I know that the money I spend is going to help individuals who are outside of mainstream society gain life and job skills. And I spend probably 1/4th what a typical American consumer does on clothing which allows me to work less and offer the children more classes and activities.

Dressing the way I dress, in my own style is also part of my integrity witness. I don't dress like I shop at a mall. I don't dress like anyone else. I dress like the individual that I am. I march, in my beflowered satin sneakers or my red ballet flats or my brown mary janes, to my own drummer. Through my clothing I tell the world that convention doesn't matter; conforming is not the answer to anything.
On the other hand...
I had an epiphany a few months ago. I have always used clothing to define myself, to set myself apart, to raise my voice even with my mouth closed. I could not stand to have people think they knew who I was by what I was wearing so I used clothing to keep people off guard. And I was getting carried away with it. My ego was too involved. I HAD to look different. I had allowed my physical appearance to define my identity. One day, while trying to dress to look more different than any of the young, hip mamas I was going to be around, I was able to step back and gain perspective and understand that it was all EGO. I realized that I am not how I look; I am my heart, my soul and spirit. Being so tied to my physical self was holding me back from knowing myself inwardly.

Since then I have been much less tied emotionally to what I wear. I still dress oddly but I don't feel I have to. Sometimes I even dress like a "square". I came to the realization that if someone deems me to be "normal" because I'm wearing jeans and a crew neck sweater it makes no difference to them or to me. What's in my heart and how I act as a result is all that really matters.

Now, getting dressed in the morning is almost a spiritual practice for me. Each morning my first impulse is to choose ego-driven clothing. Each morning I sort of center and reconnect to 'that which is eternal' within me. I let go of needing to be different and then I choose clothes based on other things (usually, weather, destination and then finding whatever's clean and unrumpled that fits the first two criteria).

Spring is here; yesterday the temp was in the high 70s. I've been digging out my fun clothes and folding away my woolens. I've lost 17 pounds since I packed up my summer clothes last fall and fit in some really great thrift store finds for the first time ever (I haven't been this skinny since being pregnant with my 12 year old). I'm really happy to feel lighter and look better in clothes. I feel healthy, less bulky, less encumbered. When I try on a dress that I've never been able to wear before and it looks good I wanna dance and shout and show off. I think the next month of clothing rediscovery will be a challenge and new opportunity for me to center more deeply on what is important and what I truly value and believe about myself. I think I will be singing "Simple Gifts" each day as I dress to help remind me of who I truly want to be.

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Patti Smith: "Creating is an act of hope"

I walked into the living room after my Quakerism class last night to find Hammy watching the inductions ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I usually dislike watching shows like that but it happens that Patti Smith was about to be inducted. I've never been a "fan" of Patti's work but I respect her as an artist, an individual and as a woman and mother. I think the reason I've never gotten into her music is because I'm impatient; I think her work is much deeper than I had the fortitude to explore.

I was really surprised that she would be inducted. She still epitomizes the essence of rock/punk. She's pure, untainted. She seems (to me) to have never sold out her soul for fame or money or power. She seems true to herself and her heart which seems (again, to me) diametrically opposed to the great majority of the kinds of people who are usually honored at awards shows like that. She's raw, not polished. She's honest, not polite. She's politically charged, not correct. She 'speaks truth to power' not as an act of self-promotion but because she is in a position to make her voice heard, speaking for the millions, like me, who are not in that position.

Her speech was sweet, sad, honest. She was polite. She talked about love; death and love. The thing that struck me the hardest was her beautiful hopefulness. She talked about youth being the future. She said creating is an act of hope.
I found her official website ( this morning. I looked at the lyrics to songs on her new album and found this:

peaceable kingdom { QuickTime to listen to a snippet}

Yesterday I saw you standing there
With your hand against the pane
Looking out the window
At the rain

And I wanted to tell you
That your tears were not in vain
But I guess we both knew
We'd never be the same
Never be the same

Why must we hide all these feelings inside?
Lions and lambs shall abide

Maybe one day we'll be strong enough
To build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom
Back again
Build it back again

Why must we hide all these feelings inside
Lions and lambs shall abide

Maybe one day we'll be strong enough
To build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom
Back again
Maybe one day we'll be strong enough
To build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom
Build it back again

Build the peaceable kingdom
Build it back again

Written by Patti Smith and Tony Shanahan© 2004 Druse Music Inc. (ASCAP) / Slea Head Music (ASCAP), administered by Bug

Monday, March 12, 2007


There was one person in my life who, for years, I truly hated. In thinking about this person this morning, I know that I no longer hate her but only because she is removed far enough from my life that she is no longer a threat. I tried to see 'that of God' in her and hold her in God's light but I couldn't get past all that I knew about her. She would say or do anything in order to get her own way including making horrible, life-altering accusations about one of my children because she was mad at either me or some member of my family about something (the accusation was proven false by a theraputic professional to whom we took my child as a response to her accusation).
I no longer hate her but only because she can no longer hurt me. I know that doesn't count as forgiveness. I know she hasn't changed. I know that she is still manipulating the people in her life, including two people I care deeply for. I don't know how to love her. I don't know how to let go of my anger and fear to hold her in my heart as a child of God when her actions have far more harm in them than good.
I'm going to sit with this awareness today. I will hold my self and my understanding of forgiveness in the Light today.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I'm not feeling very (F)friendly today. After a nice evening last night, visiting with a new f/Friend today at Meeting, and a lovely lunch date with Hammy, we got in a pissy little argument over nothing this afternoon on our way to take the younger kids to the park to fly a kite and play in the sand. I hate it when we engage in 'tit for tat' petty bickering. It'll all blow over in a day or so but it feels so crummy right now. Apologising always seems so insincere; like I'm trying to make myself feel better. Or maybe it's just the way he reacts to my saying I'm sorry for my part in the disagreement. I dunno.
The good news is that, during our lunch date, we came to agreement about Declan. We both feel we should allow him more freedom to take responsibility for his school work, to succeed or fail on his own. We talked to D when we got home and told him that we will facilitate or help out when he asks but that if he doesn't ask, we'll let him be. He seemed happy with that. He's almost 16. He knows that if he fails classes next year at the arts magnate school he will flunk out. We told him we trust him to be smart, responsible and wise enough to do what's right but that we'd like it if he would 'check in' with us some. We also said we'd like him to hook up with an adult both he and we trust so he can get feedback and positive reinforcement of what he's doing. We said we'd talk again in a few days to see if he's gotten any ideas about a mentor.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"Do not use a man as a means..."

George Fox is quoted as saying "Do not use a man as a means, see him as his own end" (or something like that) in the book by Jan de Hartog Peaceable Kingdom.
I got the newest issue of Utne Reader yesterday and the new editor, David Schimke, in his column "Editor's Note" writes about a media conference he attended recently. He describes the speakers and panel discussions full of "3,200 activists, educators from several small black colleges, and celebrity journalists Bill Moyers and Amy Goodman..." He goes on to write, "Still, from time to time, I couldn't help but wonder whether, to many of us well-intentioned conferees, the hotel staff became invisible..."
When standing in a long check-out line at the grocery store, when walking down the street and seeing a homeless man, when encountering a group of rough-looking youth, what does one do? I usually try to make eye contact. Often I will smile and say "howdy". Sometimes though, when I'm harried or distracted, I do not see them as individuals. Sometimes I don't make eye contact and I treat the checker as a means to receive my change so I can take my milk and bread purchase home in time to make supper.
Seeing 'that of God' is oftentimes in the details. I am not here on this earth in a vacuum; this is not my queendom. I am connected to every soul, every body, every person. I am an emissary of Divine Love. If I do not see that of God in each person I encounter, I am reducing myself and that person to less than children of God. Through my eyes and my mouth I will make connections today. Just a smile, a word of acknowledgment, a gesture, eye contact is all it takes to go from impersonal and apathetic to personal and connected. Today I will try to see each person as his or her own end and not as my means.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Letting Go and Learning to Trust

I homeschooled Declan from his earliest years until this year. He went to public school this year, and the transition has been positive. The reasons for making this change were myriad but one of the main ones was that I have never found a way to effectively motivate him so any responsibility he had was a source of struggle. Making the responsibility a normal part of life doesn't do it. Rewards don't do it. Removing privileges doesn't do it. I will say that he does take responsibility for chores better than many or most kids his age. It's "school" work that we have struggled with for so long.
Homeschooling had caused his world to be too small, too narrow. The 24/7 of "All Mom, All the Time!" of homeschooling was about 8/5 too much. He was needing to bounce himself off more adults than just his parents and he needed a larger pool of potential friends from which to choose. I recently described him as a fish who outgrew his tank and needed to be dumped in a pond; he needed room to grow.
So, he now goes to the school we're zoned for. It's not one of the better schools in our city but the transition has been good; I'm glad we did it. He's been accepted to attend the arts magnate school for next year and is really looking forward to being around people who's fashion sense includes clothes that don't have a rebel flag on them.
He's glad he's going to school but he's not terribly motivated by the academics of school. He's enrolled as a 9th grader but is taking 2 10th courses: Geometry and AP English. He's still doing alright in Geometry but the English is a source of frustration for his teachers, Hammy and I. English is his best subject (that and history). He's always been a voracious reader, has a fabulous vocabulary and writes poetry. So why did he flunk English last semester? He didn't turn in his assignments-things like reading logs. His teacher really liked him and said he understood everything; he just didn't do what he didn't feel like doing: That old motivation issue. We switched him to 10th grade standard English at the beginning of the semester and yesterday we got an email from his teacher saying that he's currently got a 67 grade point average because (don't hold your breath) he hasn't turned in his notes for a paper.
I've been trying to talk to him about motivation. I've asked him what he can do to motivate himself. He turns it around and blames his lack of motivation on everything we, as his parents, have ever done wrong when it comes to responsibility and discipline. He says that he wants us to leave him to motivate himself, to let him succeed or fail without any interference from us. I think I understand where he's coming from and I respect him, but I also do not see him taking much responsibility for his work. I'm really struggling with this. He's almost 16. That means that he's in the last years of us having much of any influence on him. It also means that his current actions could have a profound impact on his future options. I'm not concerned about 'grade level' or even grades so much as committing to the path he is on, owning the experience and getting as much as possible out of it. So what if he passes gym with a D. I didn't really care that he flunked his English last semester because he teacher was a really good teacher who encouraged him to stretch himself and he really learned from her. But...what about him learning to follow through? If he flunks anything at the school for the arts, he's out. But I guess that's his path, too.
I think we have to trust him. I think he needs to learn his own lesson. Hammy and I are going out this evening to discuss this. Hammy and I take turns being the 'authoritarian' parent. Last night he was and I was trying to engage D in conversation. I drove D to his drum lessons (which he decided to quit and gave his notice last night) and we discussed (argued) what's best for him all the way there. I dropped him off and walked to a coffee shop where I sat with my chai and held Declan in God's light. I feel directed to trust Dec to find his own way. Obviously, what we've been doing has not really worked so we may as well try it his way.
Letting go is so hard. Trusting is hard.
I was reading the Queries from the Baltimore Yearly Meeting and these spoke to me:
Are you as children learning to be accountable for your own actions? (or, as I am thinking today: Are you allowing your children to learn to be accountable for their own actions)
Do you as parents help your children to grow in independence and responsibility?
I will sit with these questions today.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

"Self grows best when self is not its end"

Two things I read today are reinforcing some of the thoughts I've touched on or more fully expressed in recent posts (Unity and Body of Christ: All God Has Is Me ).
I've been reading "Prayers of the Cosmos" for a while. (Usually, when a book speaks so loudly to me I gobble it up, but I am slowly savouring this one). Today, I read chapter 5 (Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread) "The Blessing of Earthiness: The Next Step". From the author's textual notes I read, "In the first half of the prayer we remember the One and feel our blessing from the cosmos. In the second half we begin a new cycle of blessing, but in an even more embodied and practical way: we face each other and remember the divine Many. This section begins from the earth up. The prayer pushes us beyond an introverted spirituality to consider everything in our dealings with others..." (italics mine)
I'm also reading the Pendle Hill pamphlet by Thomas Gates "Members One of Another: The Dynamics of Membership in Quaker Meeting". On page 8 the author says, "In Quaker faith and practice, the individual and the meeting are in a dynamic, mutually supportive, and reciprocal relation. Viewed from the perspective of the wider culture, our most "counter cultural" claim is that, far from being mutually exclusive, true community and true individuality reinforce one another. We believe that the most vital communities are those which do not fear to encourage their members' individuality. At the same time, we believe that authentic individuality is most likely to arise not in opposition to community, but within the matrix of a supportive and nurturing community. What Joan Chittister has said about the Benedictine monastery applies also to the Quaker meeting: "It is not that there is no room for self here. It is just that self grows best when self is not its end.""

I am unique. Each of us is unique with our own gifts and talents, weaknesses and foibles. Without our uniquenesses, we do not make a 'body'; with our individualities we do, but we also have ego tied to the individuality. The key is to share our gifts with one another without getting all puffed up about it.
Right now, coming to the understanding of moving "beyond an introverted spirituality" is helping me learn humility. I am one united with Many. My self is a gift from the Divine Source, and is also my gift to that Divine Source. My self, ultimately, ideally, would transcend the ego and be a constant source of praise in service to God.

Declan-my oldest

A couple of days ago I had to drop Declan off at Centennial Park for his 'jamband' before going to my Quakerism class at the Meetinghouse. We left a few minutes later than we should have (natch) so he said to drop him off at the entrance to the park and he would walk to the community center. He got out of the car and was walking away and, as I turned around, I looked at him objectively (as opposed to looking at him with the eyes of a mother); I was blown away by how tall and handsome and manly he looks. He'll be 16 next month. He's this much shy of 6 feet tall. He has a beautiful physique and proud posture-he carries himself with poise and grace. I can not believe that my son is so grown.
He seems to be maturing emotionally, too. Yesterday was my birthday. Hammy took off work so we could hang out together and have a family day. We gave Declan the option of skipping school (we'd call in for him) to hang out with us but he said that he had a couple of assignments that had to be handed in (hmmm...go to school and see one's friends or go birthday shoe shopping with one's mom? A no-brainer!). We went shoe shopping, went kite flying and friend visiting at the park and then came home to pick up Declan to go out to eat. We wound up going to an Irish pub and we all had a nice, relaxed time. A year ago D would have been sullen and rude at being forced to go out with his family. He was so angry all the time. I'm not sure if it's maturity in general or because he is no longer homeschooling and has a much larger world to fit into but he is much happier than he was a year ago. Yeah, he still has mood swings and takes his frustrations out on his brothers but, in general, he is a calmer, less volatile, happier young man.
I'm so relieved. A year ago I loved him dearly but really didn't like him much at all. Everything was a confrontation and a reason for him to rebel. It was hard to see 'that of God' in him or in myself when dealing with him. He was miserable and he was doing his darndest to make the rest of us miserable with him. I couldn't even think about him without feeling angry and sad. I missed him. I missed hugging him and laughing with him. While he's not totally comfortable with me just walking up to him and hugging him, we laughed together quite a bit last night. A year ago I sorta believed/sorta hoped that he because he seemed to enter adolescent turmoil so early that he would also grow out of it to be a mature young adult, ready to take responsibility for himself and his world earlier than many (chronological) young adults do in our society and that seems to be what is happening. I have hope that, by the time he is 18, he will be a kind, thoughtful and passionate young man who believes in what is good and is willing to act accordingly. For now, I will relax and enjoy the young person he is and watch him blossom as he grows.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

All In Good Time: Time to Stop Procrastinating

A couple of days ago I was in conversation with several people talking about an upcoming reason for celebration. One of the people in this group was saying something to the effect of "If they'd done what I suggested this could have happened a long time ago". Ever since hearing that I've had the phrase "All in good time" running through my head.

"All in good time" means pretty much the same as "Every path is the right path" and ties into my mantra from when I was pregnant with my first baby, recently divorced, in a tenuous (at best) relationship (with a drummer!), unemployed and without insurance, homeless and car less (but not hopeless) of "It will work out because it HAS to work out". At that time I did not have faith in God. I had rejected the 'school principal'/sitting-in-judgment (just waiting for me to mess up) god of my youth but had not yet found God within me. But I did believe in myself and my intuition (that's where God was waiting patiently and lovingly for me).

"All in good time": Everything happens for it's own reason. I guess one could call it fate or predestination or what-have-you but I think of it as being on the path that leads one to the lessons one needs to learn. I trust my intuition but I know that I'm also lazy; I'd rather read a book than clean the house. Is my reading a book harmful? Not in one way. But, I've been wanting to socialize more, have friends (and Friends) come over to our house. Hammy is uncomfortable having people over if the house is not clean and tidy and I understand and honor his boundaries. Having a messy house is not a sin but if, sitting and reading a book (no matter how compelling or enlightening) keeps me from cleaning the bathroom and that, in turn, keeps Hammy from being comfortable with having people over and that keeps me from connecting with someone or strengthening a friendship, then maybe it is a sin. And I don't mean like "cleanliness if next to Godliness" kind of sin. I mean, I'm not living up to being the best person I know to be; I'm failing myself.
It's time to shed the withdrawing inwardness and introspection of winter. Spring is here; the sun is shining, the daffodils are blooming, the breeze is warm enough to open windows. Time for some spring cleaning. Time to move and open up my mind, my heart and my home. Time to put things right (and finally paint the bathroom after having the paint mixed and ready for 6 months).
Is there a 'spring cleaning' song? Kate Bush has a song about doing laundry and the B52s have a song "Housework is a Bitch". Any other songs about domestic drudgery anyone can think of?

"Mrs. Bartolozzi" by Kate Bush

I remember it was that Wednesday
Oh when it rained and it rained
They traipsed mud all over the house
It took hours and hours to scrub it out
All over the hall carpet
I took my mop and my bucket
And I cleaned and I cleaned
The kitchen floor
Until it sparkled
Then I took my laundry basket
And put all the linen in it
And everything I could fit in it
All our dirty clothes that hadn’t gone into the wash
And all your shirts and jeans and things
And put them in the new washing machine
Washing machine
Washing machine

I watched them going ’round and ’round
My blouse wrapping itself around your trousers
Oh the waves are going out
My skirt floating up around my waist
As I wade out into the surf
Oh and the waves are coming in
Oh and the waves are going out
Oh and you’re standing right behind me
Little fish swim between my legs
Oh and the waves are coming in
Oh and the waves are going out
Oh and the waves are coming in
Out of the corner of my eye
I think I see you standing outside
But it’s just your shirt
Hanging on the washing line
Waving it’s arm as the wind blows by
And it looks so alive
Nice and white
Just like it’s climbed right out of my washing machine
Washing machine
Washing machine

Slooshy sloshy
slooshy sloshy
Get that dirty shirty clean
Slooshy sloshy
slooshy sloshy
Make those cuffs and collars gleam
Everything clean and shiny
Washing machine
Washing machine
Washing machine

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Body of Christ: All God Has Is Me

Continuing yesterday's theme...
And beginning by reiterating that I believe God to be big enough to encompass whatever we humans of limited awareness and understanding need God to be. I am comfortable with the name God. I also pray to the Oneness, the Divine, Holy Spirit, Sophia or Shekhina, Divine Mother or Divine Parent. Please, when reading my posts, substitute whatever names or terms with which you find comfort.
Faith or works. That was the question about salvation. But I don't believe we need to be 'saved' from anything excepting our own egos. I was raised to believe that one could be guaranteed eternal salvation by asking Jesus into one's heart to rule one's life. I no longer believe in salvation from eternal damnation. I believe the reign of God (the kingdom of heaven) is now, 'that which is eternal' is within us and without us and is the source of all life and all we have to do is open our eyes and know it's there. So, faith is simply being aware of the Divine infusing all life and living in harmony with that awareness.
As for works...
The phrase from Peaceable Kingdom keeps coming back to me: "All God has is you". Makes me think of Paul talking about the 'body of Christ'. God has no form. God cannot 'do' for those in need. How can people know God's love except by us exemplifying it to them. I am God's hands. I am God's feet. I am God's voice. We are God's representatives on earth. It is through us that others will know God. God relies on each of us to use our gifts as the 'body of Christ'. I have the gift of organizing people, of creating cohesion and building community. I do not have a gift of caring for the ill but I know several people who do. We bring our gifts together to be the body of Christ. Because we love God, we want to do God's work.

"We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord.
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

Chorus: And they'll know we are Christians

By our love, by our love,
Yes they'll know we are Christians by our love.

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand.

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand.
And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land.

Chorus: And they'll know we are Christians

By our love, by our love,
Yes they'll know we are Christians by our love.

We will work with each other, we will work side by side.

We will work with each other, we will work side by side.
And we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride.

Chorus: And they'll know we are Christians

By our love, by our love,
Yes they'll know we are Christians by our love."

Monday, March 5, 2007

Practicing what I preach

I attended a workshop on "grassroots lobbying" yesterday at our Meetinghouse. A small group of activists is organizing "peaceful assembly" demonstrations at the offices of our senate and congressional representative's offices over the next couple of months to generally protest the war and specifically "pin" them to support bills that will withdraw troops from Iraq, bring the troops home and not increase funding for more military spending.
I've never done any lobbying and I'm looking forward to the experience of making my voice heard to 'the powers that be'.
I'm taking the kids; it'll be their lesson in civics for the day.
Today a bunch of Quakers are going together. We have a minute from the last Meeting for Business which shows that we have the support of our entire faith community in speaking about peace. The next time I go, I will be with Mothers Acting Up, a group of politically active, radical mothers and their children. Should be an experience for the pols and their staff to have a passel of toddlers in their office!
I'm still reading "Peaceable Kingdom" by Jan de Hartog. In it, George Fox preaches and Margaret Fell practices. Right now in the book, Margaret Fell is staying with children prisoners in the bowels of a castle dungeon because one of the children is condemned to hang in a short time and she wants to offer him as much comfort as she can before it's too late. It's really a quintessential tale of 'going into the belly of the whale' as Joseph Campbell would call it, sloughing off her ego layer by painful layer to find her true soul so she can know the Oneness of God. She doesn't want to be there, she is repulsed by the children, the jail, the guards, the smell, the other prisoners but she keeps hearing that still, soft voice say, "All he has is you".
I don't think I could do what she is doing (did-in her real life she did this). I think I would be more like Ann Traylor, her servant and companion, repulsed and terrified to the point of paralysis. But I can do this: I can get dressed in decent looking clothes and 'speak truth to power' today.
This is one of those "be careful what you wish for" kind of things but, as I've posted before, I long for a calling. I want to know that God is working through me in the way God can best use me. I trust my intuition to guide me but I feel lost right now when, for the first time in my life, my intuition is still. God is not distant from me; in fact, I feel more closely connected to the Divine than I ever have, but I feel no leading from my inner guide. I can only do what I know to be right and good and hope for some direction at some point.
For today I will gather with Friends to raise our voices to one of those who control the future of many, many poor people (this congressman sits on the house budget and armed service committees). I will attempt to speak from 'that of God' in me to 'that of God' in Jim (or whatever staff person we actually speak with). I glad and grateful I will be with Friends on this first foray into the political realm so I can learn by the example of my teachers.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Friends Meeting's Sunday service is called "Meeting for Worship". I've been thinking about what it means to worship for the last couple of weeks. I'm going to try to articulate what it means to me...
I'm not sure I've had much experience with being aware of corporate expressions of worship. When I think of it, I think of singing. I don't know if these ideas come from an intellectual place or an intuitive place in me, but I would think that worship would be full of joy and movement. Worship is praise, lifting up our thoughts and voices in adulation to God, or expressions of devotion. Worship is expressing our awe at God's glory. Worship is about overwhelming gratitude for all of God's creation.
I would imagine collective worship to be spontaneous and kind of sloppy, organic and full of humility.
I think individuals silently do this in Friends Meeting but I've never experienced this expression of worship on a corporate level. We sometimes sing before Meeting for Worship but that seems more for us, to give us pleasure, than to express joy or love for God. There are two Friends who sometimes share a message in song and it is always beautiful. Sometimes others will join in the singing, sometimes not. When all the attenders join together to sing, I think that is the closest I have ever experienced to our Friends Meeting coming together to 'worship' or praise God.
I read a blog post by another Quaker blogger a while back. He had a list of 10 things he would like to see change about Quakers (or something to that effect). One of the things on his list was that he would like Quakers to be open to more (I think the term he used was) Pentecostal forms of expression and his example was 'speaking in tongues'. The Bible says that if someone speaks in tongues, someone should interpret what the speaker has said, which I think rarely or never happens (listen to Victoria Williams' song "You R Loved" which refers to this). I don't think I hold with Friends Meetings needing to open ourselves up to speaking in tongues, although if it happened organically, on occasion, and it were a true expression of the Divine in worship, why not? I would like to see more occasion for praising God through movement or song. I understand the reasons why we don't incorporate hymns or prayers in our worship services and I agree with them, but I think that sometimes, Meeting for Worship in silence closes us off from one another and from expressing joy and happiness at God's great gifts of life and love.
Doxology (with some liberties to the archaic lyrics...)
"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Parent, Child and Holy Ghost"
In other words, praise God whatever your understanding of God, whatever the name you use for the Divine.
Something I read somewhere lately: We don't praise God because God needs us to; we praise God because we need to.
Today I will worship God in whatever way feels right. I will not be afraid to raise my voice in adulation. I will give expression to the joy I feel in God's creation.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Unity is on my mind; how we come to intuit that we are all connected in the core of our beings. The spark of life, in my understanding, is the Light of God-the Light within each of us. God is the Oneness and we are all connected in God.
I've been attending Friends Meeting for more than a decade. Up until very recently, I've felt that the once a week Meeting for Worship was my time to 'get right with God' (as Lucinda Williams sings). I would sit in silence praying, expressing thanks, waiting, with my focus on my relationship with God. It was what I needed and where I needed to be to help me center down and, I think, a necessary step in my spiritual maturation.
I have lately begun to understand the corporate aspects of Friends Meeting for Worship; that we come together to pray, worship, express thanks and wait as a body in Christ. It's not just about my personal relationship with God but about our relationship with God. I and thee and thee and thee uniting together to wait on the Spirit (I'm reading Peaceable Kingdom by Jan de Hartog and getting into the Quaker speak!). I don't yet understand the potential for unity in waiting upon Spirit but I know that it will be far greater than me waiting as if alone.
I have been in Meetings for Worship that others have described as 'gathered' or 'covered' Meetings and, although I heard the messages, I didn't feel the sense of immediacy or power that I think others felt; I didn't feel connected to Spirit, I didn't understand being unified. I've always been a 'loner' when it comes to many things. Sometimes it takes me a long time to learn to commit to things greater than myself. I'm thankful that I have gotten to this point with my spiritual journey. I look forward to the next step!

Friday, March 2, 2007

God's Image

I think that each person on earth, each person who has ever lived, is made in God's image. I think God incorporates the best of each of us (our 'original faces'-see yesterday's post) but then is eternal and encompasses all. I believe that God is in all living things: animals, air, water, earth...all things, and we should find God in all things and worship God through those things but not worship those things. I see a majestic old tree and I recognize God's work; I worship God in the recognition and in my gratitude for the tree. I see that of God in another person; I don't think of that person as divine but I know the Divine lives in them and through them.
I believe that God is so big that God can be worshipped and understood in a different way by each of us and, as long as the desire for understanding comes from a true place inside, it's all good. God is big enough to be what each of we small humans need God to be.
Most of the time my understanding of God is that of a loving, divine parent who rejoices when we're happy and healthy and is sorrowed (and sometimes really frustrated) when we make mistakes that can hurt us or others (called sinning by some). Sometimes my way of comprehending God is through 'Sophia'-divine feminine wisdom whom I liken to Athena Parthenos without the human foibles and traits that the Greek's gave to their gods (Sophia is not jealous or vindictive the way Athena was described as being, for instance). Other times, my understanding of God is simply Divine Energy-the Energy which sparks all life and created the cosmos which, I suppose, relates my concept of Divine Parent.
I'm really interested in learning how other people perceive of the Divine. What are the images you hold of God? What images do you use to help bring you close to the Divine?

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I went to a new family doctor yesterday. The good news is that I like him very much. The great news is that I've lost 14 pounds in the last couple of months. The bad news is that the way I lost the weight is through the 'gallstone pain' method and I saw the new doctor to get a referral to see a surgeon to have my gallbladder removed which will remove the motivation for that particular diet. With gallbladder pain, I've found that if I eat very small portions and never overfill my stomach I don't have pain. When I do overfill, I have a gallbladder attack and wind up hurling for a couple of hours, which is also a way to loose weight and build stomach muscles! In having my gallbladder removed I will no longer have a reason, besides weight loss, to eat small portions. The question will be: Do I have the willpower to eat right and healthy if excruciating pain and vomiting is not the result of not doing so? I hope so. I'm really proud of my thinness! I haven't been 146 pounds since I was pregnant with Zed. I feel good about my body, healthier and not so frumpy. If I would make the time to exercise as well, I'd be really fit.
So today, I will try to be aware of what motivates me in all my actions. If the cake is good, shouldn't one bite be enough to taste it (and if it's not really good, why would I want more than one bite)? Can I eat mindfully and with awareness? Can I move with awareness? Can I choose my actions with deliberation?