Author Archives: Cheryl Petersen

Maleficent film review

Disney’s film, Maleficent started out with a big clash between the human world and the world of fairies. My first thought was, “This is a movie for children?” I’m not into attacking, fighting, and destruction for children.

But, I hung in there and watched the entire movie. There was a lot of flashing, flying around, spectacular imagination. At the age of sixteen, Maleficent was kissed by what she thought was true love.

Years later, her kisser betrayed her. Maleficent became revengeful and bitter.

When her ex-lover got married and had a baby, they named Aurora, Maleficent put a spell on Aurora, she would prick her finger when she was sixteen and fall into a coma. Yep, Sleeping Beauty.

So, sixteen years goes by and Maleficent’s heart warms up. Her bitterness melts like snow and waters her love for innocence and goodness. She even wants to trust love again.

But, Aurora does prick her finger and fall into a coma. Oh, I forgot to mention that just before her sixteenth birthday, Aurora meets a dashing young prince.

In a coma, Maleficent brings the prince to Aurora, hoping his kiss would awaken her. No such luck.

After the prince was gone, Maleficent stands near Aurora and says, “I’d ask for forgiveness but what I did was unforgiveable.” She then leans over to kiss Aurora on the forehead, and surprise, ha, Aurora wakes up.

I loved the movie.

Yes, why not re-write the Sleeping Beauty tale with a little reality.

Oh sure, I’ve met couples who have truly love one another since they were sixteen, kudos to them, but love is more. Love is great. Love is contrition, patience, forgiveness, humility, and care. Love doesn’t even have to be related by blood.

maleficent2

Prostituting ourselves

Although prostitution is ranked rather low on the scale of suitable employment, there are a couple of times in the Bible when prostitutes themselves ranked high in the work of God.

In the book Joshua, the prostitute, Rahab, saved the spies sent to Jericho to scout out the land before the children of Israel moved in.

I’ve never entered the trade of prostitution in its common definition, however a friend enlightened me to a broader meaning. Prostitution doesn’t only pertain to sex. It can be anytime someone sells their abilities, talents, or time for an unworthy purpose.

This broader meaning causes me to step back and ask myself as a freelance writer, Do I ever sell an article I wrote for an unworthy purpose?

Do I ever sell my time for an unworthy purpose?

Do I sell my talent to speak before a crowd for a selfish or shameful cause?

I don’t particularly want to prostitute myself. I don’t want to spread lame opinions. I don’t want to try to convert someone to a certain lifestyle even if I think its godly.

I want to use my skills for worthy things…like Rahab the harlot did.

“Then [Rahab] let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. 16 And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19 Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. 20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” 21 And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.” Joshua 2:15-21, ESV

Rahab

Exfoliating my mind

While living and working in the desert my skin would get dry. I didn’t think about much other than I purchased jugs of skin lotion and applied the lotion all over my body, every night after a shower.

Somewhere along the line I heard an expert say that dry dead skin is constantly falling off our bodies. The dead skin, however can cling to the body and make it difficult for the skin lotion to be absorbed.

I looked at my skin and found flaky dead skin all over. The dry skin was an impediment. Basically, it blocked the lotion I applied from reaching the skin. I scrubbed harder in the shower to get rid of dead skin. I also applied less and less lotion until I got to the point of rarely needing it.

I think back on this experience from a metaphysical view and can glimpse how thoughts of fear, envy, and anger are dead thoughts. Negative thoughts do me no good. And if I let negativity cling to my mind, they can even stop me from absorbing good (moisturizing) thoughts that come my way.

lotion

Get a divine perspective

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite system that provides location information. My husband has a GPS gadget in his truck to tell us where we are and where we are going when we are in unfamiliar territory.

The GPS system is based on a rather large view of the world, from outer space.

But it still has its limitations.

The other day, a large delivery truck driver was following directions from a GPS and he turned onto a narrow road, in upstate New York. Snow, snow, snow everywhere on the backroad. The poor guy slid and the truck tipped over.

Although out in a rural area, the emergency services were there quickly and no one was hurt thankfully. We can follow the GPS, with its large world view, however the shortest route is not always the best route.

The incident reminded me not to lose track of following divine guidance.

Divine guidance comes from a divine view, seen and heard as I heed intuition. The divine view involves hope, faith, understanding. It’s not afraid to ask for directions from the locals.

“Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.” Ps. 66:5

gps

Flipping positive thinking

Life in America wasn’t easy in the 18th century.

America was carving out its new identity. Science and medicine were floundering in guesswork. Religion was preaching fiery sermons on damnation and hell.

Thinkers mobilized in the 19th and 20th centuries to enforce more scientific, compassionate organization. Not that there is a perfect system today in the 21st century, but much of what these old-time thinkers did, brought us to where we are today.

Author, Mitch Horowitz’s book, One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, tackles the history of a national movement that echoes in statements such as, “Hey, you need to change your attitude.”

Most of us know the “change” referred to is a more positive attitude.

Positive thinking has its benefits, but it also holds a strong suggestion that people can be responsible for their fortunes, or misfortunes. If the status-quo of positive thinking people isn’t challenged, broader social problems can be marginalized and blaming fingers get pointed where they shouldn’t. The privileged have better results with positive thinking.

I will admit, I like myself better when I have a positive outlook on life. However, in my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned the “positive thinking coin” must be flipped. I need to not just think positive, but I also need to “unsee” the problem.

I can’t just ignore problems. It’s foolish to deny problems as if they aren’t real. But, I can un-see them, just as humankind was able to un-see a flat earth.

The technique of un-seeing is mental.

For example, years ago I had Strep. It included a severe ear pain. There was no positive thinking on my Shepherd-and-sheep-2part. I begged God to take away the pain. I called a friend from church for help with prayer, but felt no relief, so called her back and told her I was going to call someone else. Within fifteen minutes it felt as though a pump went on in my ear and puss began flowing out, to my blessed relief.

My husband took me to the doctor who confirmed Strep and prescribed me antibiotics for 10-days. The doctor didn’t have much hope about my hearing returning to normal.

I only took a few of the pills because even the doctor admitted I was on the mend. And, by now, my life picture had broadened.

The bigger picture: At the time I got sick, our young family was moving to another job, home, and community. It was exhilarating yet scary and the stress got to me.

While resting and praying, I could see God in the popular Biblical depiction of a Shepherd. My trust in God as Love to guide me and my family with wisdom and safety solidified. The fear lessened.

What I’m about to write now, sounds totally contradictory, but I saw more clearly, that Strep wasn’t a part of God’s shepherding and this helped me un-see the disease.

I didn’t try to get rid of Strep. I didn’t try to create God. I saw life, and myself, as an image of divine Spirit, Mind.

I didn’t even have a positive human mind of my own. I was image of God. My ear healed quicker than predicted and my hearing returned to normal.

Although I try to have a positive attitude, I don’t rely on it as a source of guidance.

I often seriously scrutinize problems to unsnarl their purpose and makeup, but this mental work is grounded on the fact that the physical body and mind are temporal while I believe God’s mind is substance and eternal.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Walk with spiritual thoughts

For some reason, a walk in the woods clears my head. So, I try to walk each day.

Yesterday, snow was gently falling during my walk and I felt an idea gently fall into reason.

Thoughts come and go. Sometimes, I think the thoughts “are mine.” I think the thoughts are absolutes, true, unchangeable. But, time and experience show me otherwise.

Then it dawned on that some of the absolute aren’t even my own opinion. They are thoughts I picked up from other people or the world’s mass consciousness.

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, It Seems to Me: Selected Letters

deer in snow fall

From snow to desert

The human mind gets stuck so easily. It can even require a shock to get un-stuck. But getting unstuck is possible. It actually happens more often than I realize.

I recently visited friends in Tucson, Arizona. The temperature here in upstate New York was minus twenty degrees when I boarded the airplane. I arrived in Tucson to a temperature of seventy degrees.

It was laughable. I wore short sleeve shirts the whole time. My friends and I had a grand time chatting, getting a few chores done, and touring Old Tucson, the Wildlife Museum, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Changes like these remind me of the plasticity of mind, or rather they remind me I have the one Mind, God, to image forth. Divine Mind is free, happy, and satisfied. I do not need to get stuck on anything other than God.

If my mind tries to get stuck in mortality, I can get my mind un-stuck with God’s help. God loves us and shines goodness through us. We have mobility and health because God does.

cactus_tucson_arizona

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