Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Receiving Each Day as an Invitation

Each new day is a path of wonder, a different invitation. Days are where our lives gradually become visible.
Often it seems that we have to undertake the longest journey to arrive at what has been nearest all along. Mornings rarely find us so astounded at the new day that we are unable to decide between adventures. We take on days with the same conditioned reflex with which we wash and put on our clothes each day. If we could be mindful of how short our time is, we might learn how precious each day is. There are people who will never forget today. […]
The liturgy of dawn signals the wonder of the arriving day. Magic of darkness breaking through into color and light is such a promise of invitation and possibility. No wonder we always associate the hope and urgency of new beginning with the dawn. Each day is the field of brightness where the invitation of our life unfolds. A new day is an intricate and subtle matrix; written into its mystery are the happenings sent to awaken and challenge us.
No day is ever the same, and no day stands still; each one moves through a different territory, awakening new beginnings. A day moves forward in moments, and once a moment has flickered into life, it vanishes and is replaced by the next. It is fascinating that this is where we live, within an emerging lacework that continually unravels. Often a fleeting moment can hold a whole sequence of the future in distilled form: that unprepared second when you looked in a parent’s eye and saw death already beginning to loom. Or the second you noticed a softening in someone’s voice and you knew that a friendship was beginning. Or catching your partner’s gaze upon you and knowing the love that surrounded you. Each day is seeded with recognitions.
The writing life is a wonderful metaphor for this. The writer goes to his desk to meet the empty white page. As he settles himself, he is preparing himself, for visitation and voyage. Each memory, longing, and craft set the frame for what might emerge. He has no idea what will come. Yet despite its limitations, his creative work will find its own direction to form. Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.
--John O'Donohue, from "To Bless the Space Between Us"

How to Believe in God

Everything on Earth displays God's glory.Just as many religious texts are interpreted differently, many religions have varied interpretations of God. However, most formal religions are based on the very strong belief that a specific Higher Power exists. It is possible to have faith in such a Higher Power yet not be a follower of one of these religions. Here is how to search beyond yourself and find enough for you to prove God is real for yourself and others and bless the whole world... Steps 1.Accept that God is by definition an intelligent authority that decides what is or isn't real. 2.Accept that intelligence is the ability to put facts together and create relationships, and that these are shown in science and reality in general.

3.Don't worry that people may want to tempt you to deny God -- because their "logic" is not based on any real authority: just upon their own denial. Be glad when that denial-logic makes you sad -- be glad that you have sympathy and love for them. 4.Look at the finely tuned world around you. It was designed and made by an intelligent being, according to logic. For instance, life displays thousands of balanced and regulated bio-chemical and electrical systems, sight, hearing. This like a "living, growing, super-computing brain PLUS logic and emotions." These amazing systems also include gender, species, racial and familial characteristics -- "genetic programming of individualized uniqueness" and instincts, immune system, healing of injuries, digestion, even self-awareness, self-development and personality all point to highly organized and clearly purposeful traits: not random. Think of it like this: Saying that the whole universe was created by chance(no intelligence) is like saying that Mt. Rushmore is just the product of chance erosion. All cells come from other cells. A cell reproduces by dividing into two new cells.(Mitosis). So where did the first cell come from? God. Even non-living seemingly simple and also the complexly ordered things don't come into existence if they were never planned and made. Intelligence and logic is in all things seen and unseen (microscopic) in life. 5.Feel the pains or the joys of your life, not necessarily in your body, but in the heart and in your core-being. The pain can come from various sources, death of a beloved one, loss of a job, financial ruin, or divorce. The joy can come from finding love, reaching a goal or developing a new talent and nurturing your gifts. 6.Find it difficult to look forward to each day without thinking of what you had, lost and left you seeking real answers. Lost not to your choosing, but slipping away from you. Hold your hopes firmly. 7.Find it impossible not to look forward to each day because of the incredible opportunities you have been given, the beauty all around you, the magic you see in all aspects of nature and life. 8.Look around you -- your home, your car, your health, your talents are fine -- but they do not give meaning to life. Your tears may become less, or your joys become greater, but still you need someone to listen -- not just to hear your pain or share your accomplishments. You walk alone in your spirit, but not by choice. You are healing, but you need someone beyond a friend or family member to help you heal the loneliness you feel and share the magic that you see all around you. 9.Walk into a /Mosque/Church/Synagogue/Zendon/Ashram/temple. Any faith or denomination, and attend a service. You are not looking to join that congregation, or learn the beliefs or that specific religion on this day, you are just looking for an inward life-giving, satisfying hope. This can be compared to sitting in a hospital Prayer Room. You sit alone with your thoughts, and pray. Your prayers are not really religious, but are releasing your feelings as if you are with your best friend. You are praying to God. Seek a fuller appreciation of faith and the meaning that gives existence. 10.Listen to what is said. If it makes you feel that you have found what you have been looking for, you will feel a stirring within you. Something warming and filling is happening. You suddenly feel less alone, and less helpless. 11.Think as you walk away and look at the sky, or the earth. You see that the Creator God did make it all, even you! Say, "I am finding faith, and life can have new meaning to me." Saying it thus repeatedly to oneself can help the idea bypass the rationalizing, doubting process and elevate it to a self-evident truth. Now turn to the Creator and live life as it was meant to be. Feel the gratitude - for all the Creator has done, and say, "Thank you that I no longer feel alone." Now you feel that when you need help and when you get down, you have someone to talk to, and guide you. 12.Decide to be joyful and experience the incredible gift of life; you will now be aware of the Power that has given you that most amazing gift.

13.Read a religious text such as the Quran (Koran),the Avesta,or the Bible. Many people find guidance and truths for life in it. Try studying -- seeking, then you find. Develop a pattern of communicating with the Creator, praying and studying everyday.

Good words from an Elder...

An old father is telling his grandson about a fight that is going on inside himself. He said it is between 2 wolves.

One is evil: Anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is good: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old father simply replied, "The one I feed."

Encourage/Discourage

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time. My dear son /daghter this story teaches two lessons: There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day.

A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path.

The power of words....it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another. Be Special to others.

Dandelions and Mud Puddles

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to
take over my yard. My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff you can
wish on.
When I look at a junky and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person
who probably wants money and I look away. My kids see someone smiling at them
and they smile back.
When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm
so I sit self-consciously and listen. My kids feel the beat and move to it. They
sing out the words. If they don't know them, they make up their own.
When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my
hair and pulling me back when I walk. My kids close their eyes, spread their
arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.
When I pray, I say thee and thou and grant me this, give me that. My kids say,
"Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away
tonight. Sorry, I don't want to go to Heaven yet. I would miss my Mom and Dad."
When I see a mud puddle I step around it. I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.
My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross and worms to play
with.
I wonder if we are given kids to teach or to learn from? No wonder God loves the
little children!
"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they
were the big things."

Kelley R. Kirby
Litton Loan Services
1 Cor 2:9