Category Archives: Stress

Writing conference, part three

At the Writing for Your Life conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, I attended a workshop led by Jeff Chu, author of  ”Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America” It was top notch. An excellent speaker, Chu was honest and humble and helpful. He strove to take away fears that come with writing and to instill hope.

By this time, we attendees started opening up and getting acquainted with one another during “free time.” I discovered that although most of the attendees were pastors or preachers, they did not carry dogmatic attitudes. It was supremely refreshing. They left behind ministries and churches focused only on the opinions of leaders and outdated concepts and practices. They were willing to face their fears to learn how to write and join the conversations today meant to embrace diversity and unite and heal, rather than convert and make a homogenous society of believers, who ultimately portray an us versus them.

There was no us versus them at this conference, that I noticed. We didn’t use our differences as a means for demanding better treatment. The diversity was appreciated and combined to show a big bright picture of an infinite good God.

I barely could get to sleep that night. I was exhausted and riveted at the same time. Sleep finally came about 9 p.m. I woke at 12:45.

A.M.

12:45 a.m., awake and compliant to get out of bed and start driving home.

Nighttime traffic was much easier than daytime traffic.

Five hours later, I was driving out of Washington D.C. and could see on the other side of the highway lane incoming traffic. I’d just missed morning rush hour.

I made it home just before noon. Dog-tired but delighted to see and hug my cats. Worn but calmed to see my chickens. Drained but filled with the desire to keep living that which has no end, creativity and the sense of belonging to an expanding and generous mind.

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Brick walls

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like I run up against brick walls. PHAP. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I can even do something, if I did know what to do.

It’s not a bad place to be when I realize it is the opportunity to return to the now, to know God NOW.

Brick walls seem to come about when my mind is in the future, when I’m really busy aiming for some future goal. Say a trip. A trip that will bring me closer to a job that will help me in my career.

Another “future” issue that can get stuck in the head is an avoidance of death. We do everything possible to keep our life pattern today the same. But, death isn’t what we make it out to be. Death isn’t the stoppage of life, but the end of false beliefs, fears, and desires.

The desire to push for advancement in my career is not that good. It can actually keep me from doing the job I need to do today. Advancement will come, it’s the law of God, but it comes by God, a good Spirit.

The brick walls fall when I, this is funny, when I go back into the past and recall truthful convictions, finished embraces. I remember a time when I was alone and couldn’t get up my driveway, after a long day of work, because of eight inches of new fallen snow. I have a long driveway. A truck pulled up behind me and it was our neighbor, who never comes home at that time. He said, “Cheryl, I felt like I needed to come home right now. I even drove my bosses truck. It has a lift in the back and I will go get our snowblower and come back and clear your driveway.”

I wonder, Are there really brick walls? Or, opportunities to see more of our infinite God, Love?

 

Rest is relevant

My house was a mess. I didn’t know where to start cleaning. I felt tired.

Then I woke up. Heeh, I was cozy in bed. I had rested.

My house was still a mess, but the “tired” feeling was only a dream, so I didn’t buy into it. I stood firm with the truth that I have the consciousness of being rested because that is surely what a good God has expressed through me.

I cleaned the house.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”- Psalms 23:3

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Shaking the mind

Yesterday, I was compelled to call a friend. Her voice was so shaken, I asked, “Is everything okay?”

I then received shocking news. Completely unexpected and undreamed of.

She said, “No, I’m not okay. Eddie (her husband) died two days ago. It’s odd you called, because I wanted to call and ask you to do something for me.”

I said I was sorry, shook my mind free of getting into the sadness of it and asked how I could help. I was able to help. Death is always a trying time, and we shared out gratitude that she will get back on her feet.

Matt. 5:4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Psalm. 30:11: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness

Cautious open mindedness

I try to be open-minded without absorbing useless information.

Why?

Because I don’t know everything. And, there is a lot of useless information available.

We human beings tread on forces of incomplete knowledge; new knowledge is being revealed each day.

The knowledge in my head is incomplete, so to speak. It’s like a mathematics student who learns the principle of addition. The student gets addition correct but isn’t yet aware of subtraction, division and so on.

Or, the knowledge about my physical body is incomplete. I learn something new each day about the body and even though the body is impressive, it’s still an incomplete, immature idea in knowledge.

So, I need to be open-minded. I need to be open to receiving the knowledge I need for each moment. I can do this with an all-knowing divine Mind, ever revealing useful ideas.

The all-knowing isn’t defined as a mind that knows all at once, all data and statistics and truths. It’s defined more so as a mind always knowing true ideas exactly when needed.

Divine Mind doesn’t know or create incomplete ideas. Therefore, the all-knowing Mind didn’t create physical bodies. Mind created all the right ideas about a body, but not the physical body in and of itself because it always includes an unknown.

We were created to embody complete, spiritual, harmonious, beautiful ideas.

This eliminates the stress that comes with trying to make an imperfect body into a perfect body. We can instead know, and act on, what the all-knowing Mind is knowing, holy, just, purposeful, humble, grateful, honest ideas.

Have you ever experienced a time when you did something unexpected and later discovered it kept you safe? The idea came from divine Mind. Those ideas are present and powerful all the time.

  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.–Isaiah 30:21, ESV

World Prematurity Day is November 17

Monday, 17th November 2014 is World Prematurity Day, designated to raise awareness about babies born too early.

Premature births can be traumatic, as I discovered when interviewing Lynn. Happily, she and her husband are very grateful today because their son, born at 3 pounds and 4 ounces, is now a 22 pound healthy baby.

Experts don’t understand the mechanism of preterm birth enough to come up with safe, effective ways to prevent it, however people are working together to try to turn the tide of an increase in premature births in the world.

Past my child bearing days, I still can appreciate listening to Lynn tell me her story. I even know that we birth new ideas all the time. And, I see the importance of keeping these new ideas safe in the womb of Love and Truth.

I shouldn’t force the conception of a new idea and whether in the process of conceiving a child, a book, a movie, a piece of art, a dance, a new job, I can do so with patience and quietness.

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;
even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.” —Isaiah 46:3-4, ESV

“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.”— Luke 8:15, ESV

From 21st Century Science and Health, “As a physical, theoretical life-basis is found to be a misinterpretation of existence, the scientific and divine Principle of our spirituality dawns upon human thought. Consciousness is guided to “where the child was”[1]—even to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes. Thus the whole earth will be transformed by Truth as enlightened thought displaces the darkness of error.

“Mortal birth and death comes across as irresistible or untimely, however God’s people aren’t mortals. Mortals are unreal and obsolete. The truth of being is perennial. We are God’s image and likeness.

“To attend properly the birth of the new child, or divine idea, be sure to detach mortal thoughts from the human conceptions so that the birth will be natural and safe. As the child gathers new energy, the divine idea cannot injure its useful surroundings in its spiritual birth. There is not a single element of error in a spiritual idea and this truth properly removes anything that is offensive. The new idea, conceived and born of Truth and Love, is clothed in white garments and includes a humble beginning, a sturdy growth, and a renewing maturity. When this new birth takes place, the infant is born of the Spirit, born of God, and can cause the mother no more suffering. By this we know that Truth is here and has fulfilled its perfect work.”

[1] Matt. 2:9

Fostering love in the desert

“Are you sure you want to walk with me?”

“Yes.”

“It’s about 90 degrees out there and you know how far I walk,” I added.

“I know, I’m coming with you,” said Dak, the foster child who came to live with our family that year.

Was I surprised when Dak started petering out about half way through the walk? Yes and no. He was a sturdy 9-year old and had come on the walk with me before. But, Dak had a penchant to want to prove himself stronger, smarter, and faster than he really was, more often than not, getting himself into trouble.

We, previous foster parents, and social workers all strove to bring balance to Dak’s life. But one mile from home, he stopped in his tracks. Dak had sweat one drop too many. Something triggered and he sulked.

I remember sulking in the same way when I was a teenager after realizing I wasn’t getting my way.

But that day, we were on a desert trail. Not a high traffic area. So, I picked Dak up and started carrying him. His grouched weight strained my 115 pound slim (read non-muscular) physique. I started suffering.

Was my love for Dak’s safety carrying the load even though I was suffering? Probably not, I was pretty pissed. But the faith in me knows that God loves Dak. And the realist in me knows this human experience reeks with suffering; so much suffering in fact, that I’ve searched the Bible for meaning.

At the Pool of Bethesda, Christ Jesus healed a disabled man who had suffered for 38 years. Interestingly after the healing, “Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.’” (John 5:14, ESV)

In this case, Jesus attributed suffering to sin. On one hand, it appears as though suffering serves to draw us away from sin and closer to God, life and love. But on the other hand, suffering isn’t posed as an agent to God because Jesus stopped the suffering of the man before fully knowing if the sin was stopped.

What about the times when innocent people suffer?

Prior to his crucifixion, the innocent Christ Jesus told Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38, ESV)

I take his “watch” instruction to mean stay awake to God, to life and love, mainly because Jesus went on to show the result of staying awake to God, rather than being mesmerized by, or trying to manipulate the drama and suffering. Although he experienced horrible human suffering, Jesus passed through the suffering alive and useful.

Suffering may get our attention but it doesn’t have to keep it.

Instead of letting suffering use me, I use suffering to repent or think differently.

As I carried Dak in the desert, my attitude cooled off. I gave God the pissy feeling to deal with and felt thankful for the fact that God loves Dak. Mercifully, Dak relaxed and offered to walk on his own and the whole incident never became a thing.

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