Religion (Spiritual to me) and politics….


I know, touchy subjects I suppose. But this is my journal and I’m looking for answers.  Comments are welcome!

I’ve struggled with getting to sleep for years.  And struggle is an understatement in the last year.   My health has always been pretty good, however, a struggle this year.  I’m told by the guys with the stethoscopes that the only thing that they can deduce from my symptoms and experiences is a sleep disorder that is affecting my blood pressure and  these scarey symptoms are all part of it.  A lady doctor told me she thought my problems were about not grieving recent deaths.  Hmmm.   I sleep well about every other night when I’m exhausted from very little (and I mean very little!) sleep the prior night.

This leads me to my latest episode last night.   Yesterday was my “good” day, awesome, felt like myself, had fun.  My day was a great one actually.  Then in the late afternoon it hit.  My blood pressure took a hike – upward.  Way high again.  All of my ugly symptoms alerted me to what my blood pressure was doing.   I had taken my highest recommended dose of meds by late evening and they were not doing their job.  I continued meditating and doing the best blood pressure lowering breathing that I could muster.   It wasn’t helping.  In fact, my BP was going higher!   By 2 am, I was exhausted, considering yet another trip to the ER, trying very hard to visualize good things but ending up right back in my scariest thoughts.   I was, to say the least, desperate.  I had moved into sheer terror and fear.  And that was not helping my blood pressure – at all!  That’s when I suddenly got help.  I don’t say this easily or carelessly.  But it was nothing short of a miracle.   If you had been there you’d understand.

OK, this is the God part.

I think there are a lot of  different names for God if we believe in a higher power – I call mine God.  My belief is that there is no doubt – God exists.  In fact, I don’t even consider it a belief – it’s who I am.  Me and God.  I don’t talk about it much at all but it’s always there.  I don’t go to church, at least at this point, but I talk to him regularly.  My Dad was a preacher.  Yes, I’m a PK (preacher’s kid).  I enjoy good conversations about spiritual things with a few people but I rarely talk about being a PK to most people.  They expect me to know verses and have answers.  Uh…Not!  I’m not proud to say that I did more note-passing and day-dreaming in church than listening.   Not to say I didn’t have my spiritual experiences as a young person – a few funny stories about some of those.

Over the years, I’ve tried many times to read the bible but it’s totally confusing to me – I have a very difficult time understanding and applying what I read.   Those who can and do, amaze me!   I have read other easy-to-understand translations.  They’re interesting but even if they’re inspired, I question words.  They can be interpreted many ways – depending on many things – human perceptions and motives.  I would like to have a bible written by God – not translated by humans who may or may not have agendas.  I have my favorite verses but I rely mainly on my very personal communication with God.  Thus the spiritual and not religious comment.

I have huge questions of my own.  (I’ll be writing about those and comments from anyone who happens on to my questions will be welcomed!)  Most of the time I don’t want to think about my questions.  Not saying that’s smart, but it makes things simpler for me right now.  I’ve spent so much time in my life trying to figure things out.  Having faith, “just accepting” and believing are not my strong suits.  I’m working on that…in a lot of areas.  Balance Grasshopper….

Well, last night – in the night – in my desperation, I was talking to my Dad – in my thoughts.   I was missing him terribly.  Right up until his death, I could call him from wherever I was and he’d say a prayer.  It almost always – 99% of the time – helped me.   He’d invariably ask God to “renew my mind and my spirit”.  And God did.    It seemed that My Dad had a real connection.  My sister seems to have that connection… but it was 2 am!  Not a good time for a phone call.

Anyway, that’s when it happened.  It wasn’t my Dad but I felt sudden relief.  I felt God.   I haven’t experienced this – to this degree – except for one other time years ago when my best girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver.  I was deep in grief over my loss and suddenly felt the comfort of God. No other way to say it.  I had grown up hearing about “The Great Comforter” and that spirit was very real for those moments.  And it relieved my angst.  I don’t know how to explain the experience so I won’t try.  It wouldn’t work and would sound woo-woo.   But it happened.   It happened again in the night.  It was a complete surprise.  I sure can’t say that I used the power of believing –  “believed” it was going to happen and then brought it on myself.  But I’ll gratefully take it!!  It was quite the opposite.  I was in a “fear spin” and far from being able to be positive – even with my best effort.   I was shocked.  Very peaceful – immediate and sudden –  And very, very grateful.  That Great Comforter again – I recognized it immediately.  In my head I was singing “He Touched Me” (Gaithers).

I finally went to sleep!

I’ll work on the Politics part another time

Oprah Life Classes
The Power of Believing

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Does My Life Make a Difference?


I grew up with my Dad telling me to live my life as an example…that someone is using each of us as a role model…there is always someone who is watching to see how we handle situations and life – especially the difficult times.

I’ve witnessed 17 deaths of family members and most of my best friends over the last 19 years.  The youngest was a three year old niece.  Sometimes my grief has been overwhelming and I’ve not been sure which death(s) I was grieving.    My doctor told me  at one time that she thought I needed to grieve and it would help a health problem.  I’m not sure I know how to grieve.  Is there a proper way to grieve?  I don’t know.  I’ve read books, listened to Oprah shows, listened to friends, observed …

Last month we lost a 46-year-old niece to ovarian cancer.   There was an obvious transition from her “fighting” to “acceptance”.  Up until she was placed in hospice care, she was grieving her loss.  She wanted so much to see her two teenage sons graduate from high school, share their college experience, see them married and hold her grandchildren.  Her fight kept her going.

Then she told her parents, shortly before her death, that she was ready to leave;  that, knowing how much sadness her leaving would bring to others,  she almost felt guilty about her excitement over the adventure ahead of her.   She was very sad to leave her two teenage sons, her husband, her family and friends, but that she was ready and excited to leave.   It gave all of us a lot of peace, but how can that be.  Truly?

I am so fearful of dying that it’s very difficult for me to comprehend all that she said she was feeling.  I have enough gray hairs to know that God gives us grace to face…when we need it, when we’re actually confronted with challenges and passages.  Jennifer was a recent example.

She was involved.   There were over 700 people at her “celebration”.  She wasn’t a celebrity but she had lived life.   She was involved.  She made a huge difference in many lives.   She was very active in her church, children and recovery ministries, her children’s schools, 12 Step Programs.  If you had known her, you would understand….

On our way home from her celebration  in California, I was again trying to make sense of death…her death…all of the deaths.  Why do we live?  Why do we die?  How do I make sense of this? How do I accept it?

I do know that with each death and loss, I feel a new resolve to live life more fully.   I feel my own mortality and feel even more determination to make a difference in some way.   Peace came when I realized that one reason that we live our lives is to teach others.  By how we live our lives.

At Jennifer’s service, I repeatedly heard from those who spoke, that she “showed up” – no matter what!  She was there, whether or not she felt like it.  If she had made a commitment or knew she could help, she “showed up”.   She loved to sing.  Really loved to sing.  She knew how to be a good friend.  She had a wonderful laugh – and laughed a lot.    She was full of fun and joy – even when she had reason not to be, especially during her illness.  She was courage personified.  I want to be known that way.  I’m paying closer attention….

Each person has made a very real difference in my life.    And I’m so grateful for them all.   I started thinking about those I’ve lost and what I’ve learned from each….

To hug my loves when I’m leaving.  Really connect and tell them I love them.     No matter the mood….  I was fortunate to have had that from my husband.  He was much better at it than I.  But I remember that lesson every day.

My brother-in-law was a constant support and father/brother substitute for those who needed him.  He was an artist and couldn’t help himself…he had to create.  He did it as an expression of himself, didn’t do it for anyone else.  I can learn from him…

My friends, Eloise and Marcia, were loyal, fun, excellent Moms, and taught me so much about being friends.  They still have a profound influence on my life…I’m so grateful for their lives that were much to short.  They made such a difference in my life.  I still miss them.  A lot!

My sister was very outgoing and social, maintained long close friendships over her lifetime.  She had a great sense of humor, loved to entertain, made everyone feel welcome.   She taught me to hug.

Another sister was our family historian – to the max.  She saved pictures, documents, stories, provided our family with a priceless record of our  ancestry.

Another sister was a school teacher.  She and her family lived many places during her life – Greece, Tehran, Sumatra, and other places. She was intelligent,  a teacher in all aspects of her being.  She was an amazing cook, fun and creative.  I saw her very little but she gave me some invaluable advice and encouragement during her life.  She was adventure and excitement.

My Mom was a little dynamo.  She lived a pretty unconventional life, was very creative and could get tickled over little things, especially about herself.   She was good at choosing to see something beautiful in everyone.  She was a spiritual influence in many peoples’ lives.

My Dad was a prayer warrior.  His faith and example was a huge influence to almost everyone he met and he made a solid  difference in many lives.  He was a teacher and minister.  Quietly consistent.  Corny too.

So many others, so many wonderful others.  Some were in my life from childhood and they are truly part of me.

So what difference will I make in someone’s lives?  How do I matter in this world and to my closest?   I try to do meaningful things with my days, be courageous and accepting, interested and interesting, fun to be with, have hilarious moments.  Enjoy, share, appreciate.  Do some act of kindness at least once each day.  I’m working on being “present”.  Putting my phone down and connecting in person when I’m with someone.  Listening.  Responding.  I will remember to let everyone know how much I love them by lighting up when I see them.   No matter my mood.

Dad was right…all of these people have been examples in my life.  Sometimes they’ve taught me what I don’t want to be.  I hardly remember that part.  I remember deep love, laughing til we hurt, sharing plays, concerts, love of life, courage, we were there for each other during painful times and for celebrations.

I am and will make a difference.  I’m living my life…. I’m here so I matter.   We all do.

My Life Class Notes


There are two emotions – Love and Fear
Anger is really a manifestation of fear…
Fear of losing the love of someone – rejection
Fear of being powerless or helpless, hopeless, vulnerable (maintain control) – fear of being unsafe
Fear of losing control – of self, others, how, when and where it will happen
Fear of not being seen as valuable, necessary
Anger – never angry for the reason I think I am.  I’m not born with anger in me.  helpless, hopeless, vulnerable event happened that impressed my soul.  Stirs up anger.  When anger is triggered, the trigger is simply reminding me that there is something down there that I need to deal with.
Anger is the easy way out – when I’m angry I get the control.  Anger is the #1 addiction.  Right below the anger is a world of hurt.  It’s easier to stay in the anger than to go deeper and deal with the hurt.
You can accept or reject the way you’re treated by other people but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed.  You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life.   You must find the strength to open the wound,  you must stick your  hand inside, pull out the core of the pain, the memory, and make peace with it.
Spirituality – the most real part of me.  My connection to the knowing that no matter what happens, I will be all right.  The knowing that everything that happens in my life is bringing to my purpose, the real me.  Live in openness to what is.  With that openness, a far greater power comes into my life.  Inner stillness – out of this comes aliveness, joy, creativity.  I become rooted in the aliveness and fullness of the present moment.
Spirituality has to be practiced.  We must stop, take a breath, become still inside – the act of meditation and contemplation.  Be in nature, connect with the arts, and connect with ritual.  Moments of serenity, stillness is when we experience something much larger, transcendic than what we are.   Meditate – go into the stillness of my soul.  Breathe.  Look for the message in every problem.  Don’t fight them, ask them – what are you here to teach me?   Share my spiritual path with others.  Find others that are like-minded.  There is nothing out of order with me.  Everything is happening for a reason.  I’m growing closer to spirit.  Pay attention to my life – it’s teaching me.  Listen.  Get clear, still and listen to my soul.   Tap into my best life.  Stillness is my religion.  Stillness is when I can connect.
Meditation – sit and smile.  Smile in my organs, in my arteries and blood vessels.
I understand that everyone I meet is sent to me as a teacher.
I need a shift in the way I look at life – that’s all.  When I discover the world around me, I also discover the world within me.
My inner journey
1.  Ask myself and journal – What do I really, really, really want?  Every day.  The answer will come
2.  Write the happiest moment of the day every night.  Learn it, study it.  Keep it in a happiness journal
3.  Refine my mantra.  Whatever I’m repeating consistently in my mind is my mantra.  If it isn’t working for me – I need to
     choose another mantra.
Entrances are everywhere.  There are accesses to God in all sorts of situations – be alert.  Find a tiny corner of my life for stillness when I can connect and ask questions.
I need to stop wearing my wishbone where my backbone ought to be!
When I experience a truth, I don’t need to experience it again, I know it and I carry it with me.
When we help, we heal.  Find a way to be of service.
Selfishness – beneficial to myself.    Am I being cruel, greedy and hoarding?  If not, do it.
Happiness – the people around me, a state of mind, love, share
What makes me feel good?  Am I missing pleasure?  Am I missing devotion?
I’m the hero of my own life’s journey.  This is my life and I write my own story.  No one else gets to write it – just me.  I get to be who I am.   Does my life look like me?
“I don’t know” is a legitimate answer.  I’m allowed to ask for as much time as I need until I do know.  If they aren’t able to give that time, they’re allowed to leave.
Write to myself as though I were a best friend.  Write out my questions.  Answer myself as a friend.   Listen to it, believe and lean on it.
Newton’s Third Law – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Cause and effect.
The energy of emotions and  thoughts are frequencies of energy that always come back to us.
Every action we take creates a reaction in the world.  The sum of all those reactions is what we call our life.
The energy I generate creates my life.
Intention always determines what the effect will be.
Love changes everything.  It heals.
If I ask for courage, God doesn’t Zap me with courage.  I get the opportunity to be courageous.
Listen to the whisper.  Don’t wait for the brick to fall on our heads.
Whatever I need to be the greatest force for good…. bring it on!   If it’s a lesson I need to learn, I want the lesson.
Separate myself from negative people and negative thoughts.  Period!  I will not allow them in my life.
If this is in the best interests of me and those around me, then please let it happen.
Who do I want to BE in the world?  what kind of person do I want to be remembered as?   I want my love to effect others.
If I can’t do “it” with love, I won’t do it.  I can either decide to do it with love, or I need not do it.  Before I take any action, I need to clarify my intentions and make sure they are good.  Then good will be returned to me.
The people that I have in my life reflect who I am.
What am I doing to create and attract negativity?
Appreciate the ordinary
Acknowledging my mortality motivates me to live my life more fully.  My days are gold and I use them wisely and fully.
Do You hear me?
I see you
Do my eyes light up when I see…..?
God made me and made sure I am enough!
I no longer think that its possible for other people to hurt me. They’re just giving me their observation and I’m giving it meaning so I get to choose what that meaning is.
If I think I need it, that’s ego. I already have everything I need. The way I know I don’t need it is when I don’t get it.

Am I defined about what other people say? Does it determine how I feel?

When I receive criticism, they could be right.

Does I love you equals I’ll trade you?

Is this a business contract or do I really love you?

I’m happier when I love you – whether or not you love me. It matters not – whether or not you paricipate.

Just the fact that I’m here makes me “worthy”.

Fear is always involved in big egos – there lies our deepest fears.

Will I be sorry that I let this opportunity to pass? Even if I don’t succeed, do I want to give it my best and see? Is it the most meaningful, fulfilling direction?

What is the fullest expression of myself as a human being. What am I meant to do here on Planet Earth?

What would I do if I weren’t afraid? What does fear feel like?

As Maya Angelou explains, people know themselves much better than you do. That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are.
Feelings buried alive don’t die. They stink and re-emerge
What would I do if I had no fear? Do it anyway. That’s courage. Be it!
What is my life worth?
Is this the fullest of expession of me?
When I hear criticism – they could be right. It’s their view of me.
Give up resistent to life. Go with it.
When I think I need it from “out there” – that’s addiction.The way I know I don’t need it is when I don’t get it.
Ego is anything that I think I need that I don’t have. I already have everything I need.
Oprahs lifeclass Notes
Oprahs class
Oprahs Super Soul Sunday