Category Archives: peace

2014: My Year of Good Cheer

2014 marks the sixth year I have named my years. It provides an interesting focus for me throughout the year as I remind myself (via a post it note on my desktop) my name for the year and gives me something to live up to. To strive for.

2009 was The Year of Hesed (lovingkindness)

2010: The Year of the Tao

2011: The Year of Living Simply

2012: The Year of Forgiveness

2013: The Year of Living Sustainably

2014: The Year of Good Cheer

Have I achieved any goals with these years? I don’t set out any goals, per se, it is just a reminder of ways in which I can adjust my thinking.

In The Urantia Book (a spiritual endeavor that I have studied since the early 1970s), whenever Jesus encountered one of his disciples, the first words out of his mouth were: “Be of good cheer!” This is in the Bible, too, John 16:33.

Words to live by, those. What good does it do us to be critical, to add negative thought-energy into the world, to hate, hold resentments, argue, and live our lives in cynicism?

Why not be happy? Happiness is a choice. Only we can choose whether or not to be happy. No one on earth can make us happy if we do not want to be. Conversely, nobody can make us feel bad if happiness is our chosen state of being.

Only we can choose to put cynicism aside. Only we can choose to focus on the right side, the light side, the good side of things instead of the ugly. Only we can choose to see the successes in apparent failures, to view the future with excitement instead of dread, to banish depression and decide to be of good cheer.

I was privileged to deliver a sermon last summer, the topic of which was how we can change the world with our thoughts.

It starts with a single decision to lighten the world with positive thoughts, thoughts of happiness and gratitude and love and light. There are enough people who add the darkness to fabric of planetary thought with their thoughts of greed and anger and me-first-ness.

It is a mighty challenge to change the balance from dark to light, but we can do it, one day at a time, one person at a time, just by being of good cheer.

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Filed under Discipline, goals, Goodness, Joy, peace, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, The Urantia Book, Uncategorized, years

How to Change the World

On Facebook every day I see little messages like “Be the change you want to see.” and “Save the Rainforests” and “Give Peace a Chance.” Well, yes. Of course.  But let’s get real. What can we actually do to change the world? It isn’t enough to write a check or post a clever saying or read a book or love the sea lion pups. We have to be pro-active, steady and consistent.

Imagine for a moment that there is actually a fabric of planetary consciousness that floats above our heads in the near atmosphere.  This fabric is invisible to our eyes, but perhaps not to the celestial helpers who oversee our planet. They can tell at a glance the sorry state of our planet.

This fabric holds and reflects the thoughts and attitudes and mind-action of every person on the planet. When you or I have a fearful, negative, angry or resentful thought, our thoughts stain this fabric, help to turn it dark. When we have a spiritual thought, a loving experience, commit a selfless act, we add a tiny portion of light to the fabric.

I believe in this fabric. And I believe that darkness begets darkness, and that the light banishes shadows.

What color do you suppose the fabric of planetary consciousness currently is?

If we want to change the world, we need to be in control of our thoughts. I believe our thoughts are far more powerful than we can imagine. And when we are cruisin’ in the zone of light, we’re spreading the benign virus of love, which is a powerful way to lighten the fabric of planetary consciousness.

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Filed under Beauty, peace, Possibilities, Prayer, relationships, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Sustainability

The Tao of Yarn

Anyone who knows me knows that I knit. In fact, I’m kind of a knitting maniac. Not a day goes by without yarn handling of some sort. I make yarn, spinning it out of beautiful, silky fibers. I knit garments and things. Warm things for children and old people, fashionable things, utilitarian things, things of beauty, filled with the peace that I feel when I’m knitting.

For the last two years I’ve been knitting and/or spinning twice a week at a yarn shop in town, Textiles A Mano, run by Laura Macagno-Shang, a delightful woman of amazing expertise and artistic talents.  Inspired by her and the other spinners and knitters, my knitting has gone from mundane, meat-and-potatoes knitting to creating incredible laces, intricate cable networks and dozens of warm things for the Relief Nursery, a local charity that helps out parents and their children from newborn to six years old.

Most of the things I knit are given away to family, friends, or charitable organizations. I keep a few special things, of course, but it seems as though the minute I cast on a project, a person comes to mind and I begin to think about that person, meditate on his or her situation, and pretty soon that warm garment becomes first a thing of comfort for me and then a thing of comfort for the recipient. But this is not a blog post about what a great knitter I am. It’s about how we can all do little things to enrich a life.

Something as simple as a warm “chemo cap” for those going through treatment. Something as simple as a pair of baby booties for a friend’s new grandson. Something as easy as a set of felted coasters as a wedding gift. These are not items of great value, but I believe that they send good, healing heart-energy into the universe that is multiplied over and over and over again. When we give gifts from the heart, from our creativity, we affirm the recipient’s worth, we spend time in creative contemplation, we engage in constructive prayer.

And that is always a worthwhile endeavor. It adds love to the planetary consciousness.

What can you do today to make the life of a loved one — or even an acquaintance — better?

 

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Filed under Beauty, Joy, knitting, peace, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Stress

2012: The Year of Forgiveness

I’ve been naming my years for a while now. 2009 was The Year of Hesed (lovingkindness).2010 was The Year of the Tao. 2011 was The Year of Living Simply, and for 2012, I’ve chosen The Year of Forgiveness.

I’ve heard that to forgive someone means to merely allow them their path. Very simple, and my experience says that what is simple is best.

Many years ago, I hurt a lot of people who got caught up in my tsunami of self-destruction. I am soul-sorry about that, and everyone that I’m aware of has forgiven me for my actions during those dark times, for which I will be eternally grateful. I needed those times; they were a part of my path to today. Surely I can allow someone else their path.

I find that it’s easier to forgive someone the big transgressions, but what about the guy who cuts me off in traffic? I am usually outwardly calm, but in my head, I’m screaming: “You idiot!” I really don’t want to do that any more, so I’m going to stop it in 2012. I’m going to let the little things flow over me, making “allow them their path” my mantra for the year.

And I’m going to forgive myself, too, on a daily basis, for being imperfect and doing all the stupid things I do. I say the wrong thing all the time, I eat the wrong things, I still am tempted to slide into old behavior patterns. I no longer burn with resentment, but I can chew on a good one for a while before letting it go. I don’t want to do that any more, either, and so I won’t in 2012. Forgiveness is sustainable; resentment is not.

Living consciously is a decision. Each of us is faced with a million tiny decisions every day as to how to react to a million tiny situations. So in 2012, I will react with love in my heart and the perspective that while we all might be on different paths, the goal is the same.

I have a good feeling about what 2012 has to bring.

Happy New Year!

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Filed under Discipline, Learning, peace, Possibilities, relationships, Resentment, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Sustainability, years

Occupy for A Constitutional Convention

I, like most aware Americans, are quite taken with the Occupy Wall Street movement. But it is not lost on the billionaires that the movement is unorganized. “Give us jobs!” is like saying, “Give me money.” It means nothing, really. The movement needs to have one specific purpose.

I suggest calling for a Constitutional Convention.

I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I do know that the billionaires are not the problem, it’s the people who make the laws who are the problem.  We need to revamp that system.

The system by which we elect our officials is corrupt. Those with the money have the power. This is wrong. But as long as there are no term limits, the system will continue to become more and more corrupt. Do you think the current congress is going to make changes to the system and put themselves out of a job? Of course not. It’s up to us to do that.

We could get term limits if we hold a Constitutional Convention. It’s time to put career politicians out of business. We could get a balanced budget amendment. We could radically change the antiquated taxation system. Universal health care? We already have that, because whoever goes to the emergency room at the hospital has their bill paid by the rest of us. But it’s unorganized and inefficient. We could fix that with a Constitutional Convention. We could demand a decrease our dependency on imported oil. We could become energy-independent! (Other countries are.) We could mandate taxes on corporations who ship their jobs overseas. We could demand that we get something in return for all the foreign aid we send to other countries. If they can’t behave, they don’t get to cash our checks for billions of dollars.

So listen up, those of you who are demonstrating for all the right reasons: Demonstrate for something concrete. Demonstrate for one or two specific things that can be changed. We can all unite our voices and get many things changed if focus on one thing we can all agree on: the system must be changed.

It’s time for a Constitutional Convention.

Pass the word.

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Filed under peace, politics, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Sustainability

War is Stupid

Yesterday was Memorial Day. The mainstream media (local and national) as well as social media was filled with wreaths, parades, flags and cemeteries. Lots of interviews with veterans and the widows, widowers and children of “our fallen heroes.” I’m a veteran. I know the patriotic mindset. And I know that much of what I saw yesterday was an attempt at justifying that which has no justification.

War is stupid. There’s no reason at all that those young men and women shouldn’t be living their long, productive lives with their families instad of getting blown apart and killed on foreign soil.

In WWII, the Germans were the enemy. They’re our friends now. Also, in WWII, the Japanese were the ones to kill. Now they’re our friends and allies. We waged a horrible war in Vietnam, but now, Vietnamese are very welcome here and Vietnam has now become a popular U.S. tourism destination. We take horrific delight in murdering our enemies, but then when it’s over, it’s over, and the Department of Defense (notice that this is not the Department of Offense) starts looking around for some new place to validate its existence and job security. War is stupid.

The United States could take the position that it stands for Peace and refuse to engage. For those sad countries that continue their war-like behavior, we could just pull back our aid. If they’re going to act like children, we can treat them like children. Let them know there are consequences for their actions. If they behave, they can play on the world stage. If not, they’re shunned. And if they want to retaliate: well, that’s why we have a Department of Defense.

Not only are the costs of war horrendously high for our service members, but all that cash could be redirected to support schools, our failing infrastructure, provide clean energy, economical health services and figure out a more honorable way of electing our officials.

I’m not the first one to say this. It’s been said many times before. But now, for me, it has become a spiritual issue. Are we going to actively engage the “family values” that everybody talks about? Don’t forget that the men and women who sign the papers that send our kids off to war die of old age. They, and and for the most part, their children, don’t die on battlefields. 

This election cycle, ask your candidates to itemize and explain not only the current issues, but the underlying values they hold and by which they will make decisions on your behalf.

There are no spiritual values that include war.

War is stupid.

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Filed under peace, politics, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, war

Hi, Dad.

Hi, Dad.

I understand that you’re nearing the end of your journey here. We’ll miss you when you cross the threshold, but it won’t be that many years before I’ll see you on the other side. I know you don’t think that’s in the cards for us, but to my mind, this whole earthly experience would be meaningless if relationships weren’t carried on—for eternity, if we choose.

I hope you can look back on your life with great pride in your accomplishments and very few regrets. We’re all human, subject to the vicissitudes and frailties of human existence, but your unshakeable, unwavering faith in God has always been an inspiration to me, even as we all fall prey to our baser natures now and again. Take with you all your exquisite memories of joy and peace and family and love, and just leave the other memories behind. They’re the product of a material existence, and will have no reality in the next world.

I’ve come to understand that the veil between this life and the next is very thick and impenetrable when we’re young and it thins out as we grow older. Now, I expect, you’ve got a foot in both worlds now and then, perhaps even crossing over when you’re sleeping, and stepping back into this world when you awaken. Don’t be afraid to just look over your left shoulder at the light and walk toward it. There’s no reason for you to linger in a world of pain and disease. Your angels will help you make the transition if you ask them and then listen carefully for their instructions.

I believe that what you find there will surprise you; the next step on a marvelous eternal journey of love and universe adventure in our Father’s service. Grandpa is already there, and I hope you’ll look him up, or maybe he’ll be there to greet you. I’ll certainly look for you when I arrive, and we’ll have a nice time talking over old memories of our strange earthly association from the new perspective of spirit.

I’ll love you forever.

–Liz.

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Filed under Aging, Death, family, Graduation, peace, Spirituality