Author Archives: Cheryl Petersen

My cat didn’t have nine lives

To my horror, I recently found one of our cats killed, ran over by a vehicle. I’d gone out unusually early for my daily walk, and knew instantly that the dead weight in the road ahead was our cat. I was mortified and started bawling like a calf that lost her mother and was starving and scared.

I carried the cat back to the house and buried it with tears blurring my vision. The entire rest of the day, my emotions were scattered. I broke out crying on a whiff of a memory, and there were many good memories.

It was the image of the dead cat that stuck in my brain. I tried to shake it. I begged God to take it away—when I wasn’t throwing anger God’s way—why couldn’t God keep the cat safe?

My writing projects came to a screeching halt. They required inspiration, devotion, intuition, knowledge, none of which could be found in the immensity of grief that poured into my soul.

I started cleaning out closets. Literally. I sorted through items that had been stuffed into closets over the past few years. Piles accumulated. A pile to give a way, a pile to recycle, a pile to throw away, a pile to find a better location for.

I decided to look at pictures of the cat. It was easy. I had a million pictures. I took them when the cat was cute, entertaining, compassionate, every second. The bad image started to fade.

The next morning, I heard the thought, “Cheryl, it’s time to go back to your writing, you can do it.”

My conscience was struck. That thought was exactly what my cat told me. Was this the new form of the cat? Or, had it always been the cat’s form? Because the furry form I’d typically attached to the cat was gone?

Answers to those questions didn’t matter. The feeling of all-presence rubbed itself on me and I felt at peace.

curled hand warmg

Different approaches to cleaning

Is love blind, or does love see what the human eye can’t see?
This weekend was a typical weekend. I am patient with Doug as it literally takes him 33 hours to clean the bathroom. Yes, I love him, even though he puts the cleaning tools in the bathroom and goes off to do something else.
The cleaning tools continue to rest on the counter. I don’t know if he forgets or what, but he will eventually get the bathroom cleaned, though I might have to remind him again.
Love sees that this marriage is not one sided.We may have different approaches to cleaning, but the love is the same; patient and mindful.
Last night, I woke Doug up from a sound sleep because I was taking 33 hours to go to sleep. I do not like those nights— loud with insomnia. And Doug will get up and read out loud to me from scripture of other inspired books.
Last night Doug read from Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy and I heard the idea that I don’t have to be affected by the loud human mind.
Jesus was temporarily perceptible to the human senses on this world, but he showed me that his thought continued to ascend, become more and more spiritual. Or, rather less and less affected by the material world. I can practice this.
I went to sleep, thankful to Doug for loving me.
“God calls us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (I Cor 7:15-16, NIV)

Pioneer a healthy conscious

The word pioneer has the same Latin root as peon. During the 16th through the 19th century, pioneer was a military term referring to low-status pioneers who labored to clear paths, build roads, and dig trenches. In America, it wasn’t until the 19th century when the word pioneer was applied to the land-clearing settlers as they transformed the width of the Continent into settled territory.

Paradoxically, pioneers entered land that was already settled by Native Americans. What was discovered was already discovered, just in a different form, no longer attractive to the majority of the population. It is therefore no surprise that pioneers follow pioneers to reestablish the spirit of discovery and universality—an ability to include a greater magnitude of thinkers and doers in an infinite plan.

Oftentimes, other people can be suspicious of pioneers who throw off the restraints of tradition, and the old-guard will protect themselves from the pioneer’s discoveries, even classifying the new as religious quackery. But, that which doesn’t change and develop becomes obsolete. However, the old-way is inadequate and petty as new spiritual solutions are developed. Amazingly, pioneers do not demand a radical conversion and rejection of the familiar rites but provide a fresh and inclusive outlook with a sense of a wider world.

We can pioneer a peaceful consciousness, a strong family, or a healthy work place.

Let the pioneer spirit flow freely.

Brain is not as brainy as first thought

Do you know anyone who…

  • faces and overcomes challenges?
  • travels?
  • produces offspring?
  • adapts to new environments?
  • has plenty of drama?
  • is capable of deception?
  • is a skillful predator?
  • is fiercely competitive?
  • will pounce without mercy?
  • is stunningly beautiful and eye captivating?

Is their name Orchid, Sundew, or Milkweed? Well, those names are names of actual plants.

I am intrigued by the fact that plants prove a brain is not necessary to know, survive, and move. Some plants express more intelligence than people with brains.

The mysterious anomalies presented by plants and people make more sense to me because of the teachings of Christian Science, especially, “all is infinite Mind and it’s infinite manifestation.”

Mind, not brain, directs, controls, guides, relates, motivates.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “For a single moment, become aware that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual—neither in nor of matter—and the body will stop complaining.

“Jesus proved that Life is God by his reappearance after the crucifixion. His action paralleled his scientific statement: “Destroy this temple, and I [Spirit] will raise it again in three days.”[1] It is as if he said, the I (the Life, substance, and intelligence of the universe) is not in physical elements to be destroyed.”

What about that heat?

With the summer heat upon us, I’ve been using reason to make sure I don’t over-heat.

I drink plenty of water and do the heavy outside work in the early mornings or evenings.

I’ve also been thinking through something I read in 21st Century Science and Health: “We say people suffer from the effects of noise, heat, and fatigue; but this is a human creed, not the truth of being, for matter cannot suffer. Human mind alone suffers—not because a law of matter has been violated, but because a law of this mind has been disobeyed.”

Heat doesn’t affect material atoms. It may transform the atoms into different forms or atoms, however in the long run, heat just doesn’t bother matter. So, why does it feel like heat bothers my material body? Because I believe heat affects me. Things is, I’ve set it up as a law in my mind. I didn’t use to. When younger, I worked in the heat, hot desert heat, every day on the farm. No big deal.

Now that I’m older, it seems that heat drains my energy. To blame it on an aging body is only another law I’ve set in my mind. In comparison, I know many older people who work in the heat just fine.

I have no over-the-top imagination that I’ll change my thinking and soon be working in the heat at all times of the day, however, I am able, with this knowledge, not to let my mind get out of hand and start assuming the worst. I then feel open to spiritual knowledge, the knowing that I can have the Mind of God, Spirit, untouched by matter or heat, and this helps me get through whatever I need to do, just fine.

puddly josie looking down

Stretching soap

When taking a shower, I’m the type to use a bar of soap, rather than like my sister who uses “body wash.” When the bar of soap wears down so thin that it breaks, I put them together. But, when the piece is too thin to rub on the wash cloth, I used to throw it in the garbage. It bothered me, throwing out perfectly fine soap, but too small to handle usefully.

So, I started saving the broken halves.

After about a year, I had quite a gathering of these pieces of soap.

soap in panThe day came when I decided it was time to do something with them. After a little research, I found I could heat the pieces of soap in a pan on the stove and melt them down to eventually pour into a mold for a whole new bar of soap.

I put all the pieces into a pan and added a little milk before turning on the stove burner.

I turned the burner to medium heat and started stirring the mixture. Within one minute knew I made a mistake.

The soap mess started burning on the bottom. Instead of giving up, I carefully poured the mixture into another pan without disturbing the burnt bottom layer. I put aside the first pan to clean later.

I put the second pan, full of the soap pieces, on the burner and turned the heat level way down to melt, then added water. About a quarter cup.

I stirred patiently.

soap next to box soap barSure enough, it melted. Even when there were a few chunks in the mix, I poured it into a box, lined with wax paper. The box was one of those boxes I buy berries in at the store.

A day later, the bar of soap, shaped like none other, was retrieved from the box. It will last quite a while since it’s rather bulky.

Bulk aside, I now see how much soap I threw away in the past. No more. The process of re-forming the little pieces into a useful bar of soap is too easy. I’ll keep doing it.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.–Ps. 51:10, ESV

My relationship with pain

Most human beings invest time and money in the endeavor to get rid of physical pain.

Is that like getting rid of a rotten spouse?

Some people take pain better than others. I’ve often marveled at those people who follow through on extreme sports, immersing their bodies in harsh conditions (e.g. racing the Iditarod, climbing the 8,000 meter peaks). They don’t seem to notice pain even though their bodies are assaulted by severe weather or lack of nutrients.

For us normal people going about a daily life of family and work, we sometimes resort to psychology, massage, or medicine to try to manage or control pain.

But alas, pain still racks human beings.

CHINA - AUGUST 16: Digging out a tent after a summer snow storm. China. (Photo by Tommy Heinrich/National Geographic/Getty Images)

CHINA – AUGUST 16: Digging out a tent after a summer snow storm. China. (Photo by Tommy Heinrich/National Geographic/Getty Images)

On a personal level, pain doesn’t bother me too much. I’ve had pain, but it doesn’t scare me and when I calm myself down and focus on spiritual good, eventually the pain goes away.

One day, I thought about my relationship with my husband. It’s a good relationship. We’ve been married more than 30 years and the way it works is when we don’t try to get rid of one another. “Getting rid” of one another isn’t even an option.

We also don’t try to manage or control one another. Doing so only produces a disaster of hurt feelings, sloth, or anger.

We don’t love one another so much that we don’t love others. We just love the goodness each of us expresses.

Do I have a relationship with pain?

Pain doesn’t express too much goodness, except when it tells me, “Don’t stick your finger in moving bike wheel spokes again.”

I don’t try to manage or control pain. I don’t love pain, but I don’t hate it either. I can respect it enough to listen to it. And, this relationship with pain seems to work for me in that it doesn’t take over my consciousness and it doesn’t dictate my future.

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