Tips on joy

As defined by the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a common but serious mood disorder.

The website reports that “Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.”

Medications, psychotherapy, and brain stimulation are discussed as options to treat depression. Other tips include staying active and exercising, setting realistic goals, continue to education yourself about depression.

I’d like to add my own tip: educate yourself about joy, motivation, and spiritual worth.

Even if these attributes feel distant, they do exist. We see joy in other people. We feel the earth constantly motivated by renewing springs. We hear about the spiritual worth of finding peace and confidence within.

What if joy, motivation, and worth were created before us? What if joy, motivation, and worth didn’t need human beings, human personalities, or money to exist? What if joy, motivation, and worth were sustained by an unseen force that exists everywhere? What if we didn’t “get” joy, or own joy? Could it mean that we can’t lose it?

Is joy helping others? Is motivation the drive to share goodness? Is worth estimated by spiritual qualities of honesty, modesty, and letting go of materialism?

Quoting from science & religion to God

We must spiritually think for ourselves and image forth divine knowledge; otherwise, indifferent, self-destructive, and depressed behavior is believed to be our own thinking and it will be exhibited. We also need to encourage in others their right and responsibility to know and act on divine thoughts.

Don’t build up evil.

This human way of life can be awful to contemplate. Mortal existence can be the drudgery of pro-creating without love or building up false images rather than being an image of Spirit. Though mortal existence can be fun sometimes, it’s the blind leading the blind. Our passions and appetites end in pain. Superficial joys cheat us. Our gratifications get prickly. Then we die.

What do we gain through toil, struggle, and sorrow? We can gain the strength to bury our beliefs of perishable life and happiness, and reach for the immortal.

Truth causes us to be honest and care for ourselves and the environment. Love causes us to better ourselves, to fight for and share in a practical, meaningful life. We eventually realize that the consciousness of love is the only asset worth taking with us whether we move, change our image, or die.

Silent prayer, spiritual awareness, and obedience come with the grace of Love. We are worthy of Love’s grace. We can be patient with ourselves and with others, because in this complicated world most of us are rookies at internalizing the divine character.

Divine knowledge exists, is in force, and has ultimate power. Divine thoughts are intelligent, fruitful, unified; they belong to us.





New book now available

My new book, Zen Dogs and other Woofs, is now available at

Here is one essay from my book, Zen Dogs:Venus grassbrightercropped

A Christian Learns from a Jewish Community

Printed in the Daily Star, Oneonta, New York, 2014

The human proclivity to classify coffee as rich, dark, light, bitter, smooth, also classifies religion: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, the list goes on. Moreover, within each of those denominations we find factions: orthodox, modern, non-denominational, even inter-denominational.

Aside from the dirty laundry of religion that gets aired frequently—as it should—we can look into the face of faith and discover many layers, giving it a depth that shows no end.

With faith, not agenda, at the helm, the future of religion shows adaptability. At the time of this writing, First Baptist Church in Oneonta is continuing its mission locally and throughout the world in a new church building.

Established in 1834, First Baptist Church served faith from the corner of Chestnut and Academy streets for eighty years. “We moved 30 yards away, to a smaller place at 73 Chestnut Street,” said Philip, a church deacon at First Baptist Church. “Our tradition of focusing on a spiritual mission, along with making the building available to the community will continue with the time and resources we have today.”

The larger original edifice is currently in the process of being sold to Chabad of Oneonta, a Jewish organization. Once the legal process is complete, the building will again be a vibrant part of faith. As for symbols of sacredness, Philip said, “First Baptist members selected items and brought them to the new edifice.”

More interested in sharing spirituality than symbols, he added, “First Baptist Church welcomes people of all faith. Church services are at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, with a concurrent Sunday School.”

The art of embracing people of many faiths is also seen in the Chabad organization, which welcome interested minds no matter what their background.

As for the Chabad, it’s managed by husband and wife team, Rabbi Meir and Fraidy, who both depict an orthodox appearance, along with respect for a diverse range of how Jewish laws are observed. “We don’t cater to any group. We are all God created, to be loved and cared for,” said Rabbi Meir. “The Chabad Center has a unique founding principle that all persons offer something good and that all can be leaders.”

Accommodating the Jewish Student population, Chabad Oneonta adjusts to the college schedule. It began nearly three years ago when the couple and their children moved to Oneonta from Brooklyn, New York. College students have found family away from family at the Chabad Center.

“We have three young children and have fully invested ourselves in the center,” said Rabbi Meir. “The number of visitors to the center has grown so dramatically, it was natural to find and work with First Baptist Church members to purchase the historic building.”

Rabbi Meir, 28-years old, came with a background in Yeshiva education, “It was discussion style learning,” he said. “As I got older, studies became intense and focused on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study.”

Meir grew up in the Midwest and attended rabbinical schooling in Canada and New Jersey. He brought to Oneonta a compelling, upfront, alive, attitude. “The students know I’ll open the door if they knock at 2 in the morning,” said Meir.

The students also know they can contact the Rabbi and his wife through Facebook. “We use technology for good. We are not separate from the world but make the distinction between heaven and earth with the goal to infuse spirituality into earthliness,” said Meir.

Resounding in the Chabad newsletter is a quote from Maimonides (Jewish philosopher, 1135 – 1204): “One good thought, one kind word, one good deed, can change the world.”

The term Chabad covers a wide definition today, from a philosophy to an organization. In mid-20th century, Menachem M. Schneerson, the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe turned Chabad into a dynamic and geographically diverse religious movement in Jewish life. “We don’t need to lessen our religious convictions in the modern world,” said Meir. “We encourage participation in good deeds and observance of God’s commandments.”

When non-Jews think of Jewish traditions, Hanukkah comes to mind. But, “Hanukkah is a minor festivity,” said Fraidy, raised in a home grounded in the Chabad philosophy. “Hanukkah is misunderstood because it falls near Christmas, which is an important holiday for Christians.”

The major holy days on the Jewish Calendar are: the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), Passover, Shavuot (The Festival of Weeks) and Sukkot (The Festival of Booths).


Little miracles

Miracles seem to come in different sizes. Some big, some little. But, if we look at all the little miracles, do they add up to a big one?

It’s the many little miracles in the 1947 film, The Bishop’s Wife, staring Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young, that bring meaning.

A Bishop, played by Niven, is troubled by an obsession to fund the building of a new cathedral. He prays for guidance and an angel by the name of Dudley, played by Grant, appears.

The miracle wasn’t a funded and built cathedral, but spiritual guidance that influenced the Bishop, his wife, and the people around them. They were influenced to treat themselves and others better.

At one point, Dudley, the Bishop’s wife, and a taxi cab driver went ice-skating. With a little angelic miracle working, everyone ice-skated, heavenly.

Afterward, the taxi cab driver thanked the couple for including him and said, “You restored my faith in the human soul.”

Restored faith in goodness and humanity is a big miracle.

bishop wife

Woman walks El Camino Santiago

Rocks from Delaware County were carried to Spain and placed at the foot of an iron cross, by Kathy of Delhi, New York. The iron cross, also known as Cruz de Ferro, marks the highest point of the El Camino de Santiago, a network of trails that converge at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

The cathedral is said to be the resting place for the bones of Saint James, an apostle who spread the news of the gospel throughout that region of northern Europe, two-thousand years ago.

In the 10th century, European Christians trekked their way to the cathedral and made it a popular pilgrimage. By the 11th century, businesses along the routes built up. In the 12th century, a handwritten guidebook was compiled for pilgrims.

Although a dip in walkers occurred during the Renaissance Age, pilgrims still walk the routes, generally for spiritual reasons.

Kathy, a Buddhist, walked 500-miles from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela, from October 1 to November 3, with a group of 14 pilgrims. “We walked about 15-miles each day,” she said.

A support services was enlisted to transport baggage from stop to stop.

Kathy, 73-years old, carried rocks from home and some of her mother’s ashes, with the intent to leave them at the iron cross.

Pilgrims leave rocks at Cruz de Ferro as a symbol of shrugging off the weight of one’s sins or worries. “There are a ton of rocks there,” said Kathy, who wanted to leave behind a sense of hopelessness.

“Really, I’d lost hope before the trip,” she said. “The American political situation and environment need so much help. I have too many sick friends. It all felt hopeless.”

In Spain, after placing the rocks at the cross, she then released her mother’s ashes and, “Tears welled up and I started to cry,” said Kathy.

A young woman came to Kathy and “patted me gently,” she added.

Affected with relief, Kathy then walked down the hill only to discover she had left behind her hat and gloves. “It was cold, about 30 degrees,” she said, so she dug through her backpack and found socks to put on her hands.

“A man came over and gave me his gloves. He insisted I take them,” said Kathy, who brought the gloves back to Delaware County.

Also brought home was a scallop shell marked with the cross of Saint James, passports, and certificates. “I carried the shell as a memento, but a thousand years ago, shells were the proof that pilgrims made it to the coast of Galicia,” said Kathy.

During the journey, Camino passports were stamped at churches, restaurants, and hostels. Certificates show how far pilgrims traveled before arriving at the cathedral.

History and architecture delineate the walk.

“It was an interesting and easy walk. Not a hike,” said Kathy, who has, in the past, hiked the John Muir Trail, Appalachian Trail, Anapurna Circuit, Catskill’s Peaks, and others.

She said, “Because it wasn’t physically demanding, and because I was away from America’s stimuli, I was able to enter a zone of reflection on the history, art, and people. It was illuminating.”

Kathy arrived home in time to vote. “I have no explainable reason why, but my hope was restored, and I was glad to be home.”

Kathy Mario camino de santiagosmall.jpg

Book display

All books price listsmall

booth carly and teens

Selling at the 2017 Brooklyn Book Festival

Christmas article in newpaper

From The Daily Star newspaper in Oneonta, NY:

Bryan called this week to tell me that I have a new granddaughter. Her name is Aria.

New babies at Christmas time. It happens. And it’s simply amazing. Full of wonder and glory.

It makes me think, with due respect to Christ Jesus, that wonder and glory are not destined only to his birth in history.

But, I still celebrate the birth of Christ as a religious holiday.

In a Pew Research survey titled, “Americans Say Religious Aspects of Christmas Are Declining in Public Life,” it was reported that, “most Christians (72 percent) say they mark the day as a religious holiday, including 60 percent who celebrate as more of a religious holiday than a cultural occasion and 12 percent who mark it as both a religious holiday and a cultural holiday.

Religion is important to me because I need something that explores wonder and glory, rather than only studies the transient things we call physical realities. I need something more than blood to define family and love.

I remember 30 years ago, exactly. I was nine months pregnant. Most people saw my baby bump and were happy for me and my husband. But a couple of people scowled and told me having a baby at Christmas time is a horrible idea.

I discovered it wasn’t blasphemy they worried about, but that they had birthdays at Christmas time and felt cheated. They told me, “My birthday is always forgotten. And if it’s remembered, someone grabs a present from under the tree and gives it to me for my birthday.”

I didn’t ignore their comments. They had a point, or at least alluded to a point.

When we become mesmerized by an occasion, or by one human being, we lose sight of wonder and glory for all.

The intent of Christmas is not to depreciate others. So, 30 years ago, I began making efforts to appreciate all signs of wonder and glory, old and new.

Then came Christmas Eve morning. I checked into the hospital and lay in bed, trying to focus on something other than the discomfort that comes with squeezing a baby out between my legs. I thought about the nativity story from the Bible.

The storyline includes a part about a young woman, Mary, who hears an angel’s message of promise, telling her that she’ll conceive and have a baby and call his name Jesus. The promise was fulfilled.

Arguably, there’s the issue about Mary being a virgin or not, but it didn’t affect the birthed idea of a “fulfilled promise.” It did, however, gently persuade my attention away from the labor pains.

Our daughter was born quickly. We went home and she grew up.

As a teenager, this daughter met Bryan, one of her high school classmates. They became good friends.

It didn’t take long before we realized Bryan had a tough home life. His dad left the family when he was a young child and his mom had mental problems. Bryan suffered from verbal abuse, anger and fear.

He visited our family often.

When encouraging him in life, I had to be receptive to new ways of communicating because he came from such a different place than what I was familiar with. It was difficult, but we all made positive progress.

He was then accepted to attend the local college. Our daughter studied abroad for college and we let Bryan live with us the first year. After he moved out, Bryan hesitated to come visit us without our daughter there.

During the five years it took him to get his college degree, he found a girlfriend. We included them in family events. It was obvious, however, that the couple was falling into the pattern of arguing and compromising in ways that enabled mistrust rather than trust in goodness.

I reminded him we were his family. He didn’t believe me.

I told him, he can have God as a parent, with a family of useful ideas as his family.

He broke up with his girlfriend and spent a year alone, progressing in his career.

God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity: Psalms 68: 6

Then Bryan met and married a young woman who shines with wonder and glory. After they established a home together. We now have Aria.

Bio of author: Cheryl Petersen lives in Delhi. Her books are “I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter” and “from science & religion to God: A narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.”

Infomania doesn’t support women

How can we be more productive in conversations about sexual harassment and assault toward women? Don’t cater to infomania. And, do “be” the solution.

We need solutions, because sexual harassment and assault of woman is a problem, it’s been a problem ad infinitum. But infomania, or the desire to accumulate and process information, causes the brain to deceive us into working with the men who use their penis to think and act with.

How do we be a solution? Use information instead of letting it use us.

Contributing Editor at the Atlantic Emily Yoffe wrote for Politico Magazine, “This amazing moment has a chance to be truly transformative. But it could also go off track if all accusations are taken on faith, if due process is seen as an impediment rather than a requirement and an underpinning of justice, and if men and women grow wary of each other in the workplace.”

What is she saying? Take the time to give each accusation due process. Be just. Trust one another.

We can speak out for women’s progress and goodness, fully supported by divine Mind.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Civil laws are created to implement fairness and equity in our rights, but more progress is needed, to say the least. Civilization and Science stand strong on the side of justice and encourage the elimination of discrimination, however, every time an effort is made to remedy unfairness, we must make sure that the effort doesn’t encourage difficulties of greater magnitude somewhere else. Higher aims and motives, as well as improved mental character, must be considered as the feasible and rational means of progress.

Abstinence from debauched sexual activity leads to an advanced state of intellectual and cultural development in human society, marked by progress in the arts, science, and religion. Without integrity, there is no social stability and the Science of Life can’t be achieved.

Quoting from science & religion to God

We can spiritually discern and live by divine laws. We can outgrow false beliefs that work against progress. We can break barriers in ways that benefit humanity through an understanding of Spirit.

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