Category Archives: Spirituality

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

Fighting Cancer

That’s the phrase: Fighting Cancer. We call ourselves “warriors.” But is it really the cancer we fight? Sure, there’s an element of that, and I can’t speak to the whole range of waging war from first diagnosis to final dying breath. I’ve been lucky. But I’ve had cancer twice now, and I can speak to the war that I wage.

I fight fear.

I don’t want to live my life in fear. I want to live in love and light and joy. I don’t want melanoma to rob me of that. It may, sometime in the future, but not now. Now I am only Stage 1, for the second time, and still the fears begin to collect in the wee hours of the morning. And believe me, there is enough to fear.

With each thing I read, with each conversation I have with those who have only the finest of intentions, with every glance at the tumor on my shoulder, and soon the scar where the tumor used to be, the fear nibbles at my consciousness. People who love me say all the right things, but even “Good that you caught it so early,” sparks fears that I didn’t catch it early enough. “You’ll be fine,” translates to a slow, steady march toward an ugly black death.

It’s nothing to make a doctor’s appointment, to get an injection, an excision, an infusion. It’s nothing to get a scan and wait for the results. That is medicine battling cancer. My war is much different.

A wise person said to me not long ago: “The only struggles you will ever have are with yourself.” I have found that to be true then, and true every day since then. And so it is with fighting cancer. This is a struggle between me and me. Between my heart and my soul. What cancer does to my body I can do little about except hope to make the all the proper decisions at the appropriate moments.

Meanwhile, I wait for my surgery appointment and work hard not to torture myself or others. I try to educate people about sunscreen and sun protection and checking their moles regularly for changes. I want people to be screened regularly by their dermatologists. The problem is, the best way to get the attention of others is by revving up their fears. I show them the scar on my ankle (a 3” diameter skin graft), and catch myself saying, “Aren’t you glad that’s not on your face?” And I’m ashamed of myself for working so hard to keep the fear from my own mind while pouring it onto others.

Be kind to those who are fighting cancer, for their enemies are legion. For me, for today, I’ll let the doctors fight my cancer, and I’ll concentrate on fighting my fears.

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Filed under Cancer, Death, Spirituality

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

Dear Mr. President:

Dear Mr. President:

As the leader of the greatest nation in the world, I implore you to set politics aside and do the right thing on a variety of issues. Forget Congress. Introduce legislation and let the angels and other celestial planetary advisers do the heavy lifting with regards to encouraging congressional members to do the right thing. Take your case to the American people. They will recognize sustainable changes when they see them.

  1. No more war. Our Department of Defense is for the defense of the citizens. It is not a department of offense. Bring our soldiers home, close foreign bases and spend that money here. War is not sustainable. It is stupid, wasteful and against every spiritual principle there is. We can take a stand of non-engagement.
  2. No more casual, haphazard and wasteful use of finite resources such as fossil fuels. This is irresponsible for our future. Put a harsh progressive tax on these resources and let that inspire and provide incentive for the great minds of American entrepreneurs to come up with inventive ways to create nonpolluting energy sources.
  3. Pollution is ruining our planet and sickening our people. Be bold in legislative regulation of pollutants, regardless of what other countries are doing. We must lead in this regard.
  4. Outlaw cigarettes. It’s crazy that we spend so much money on health care for sick smokers while subsidizing the tobacco industry.
  5. Introduce legislation that allows for term limits in congress. Your office has a term limit; so should each seat in the House and the Senate. The gridlock we are currently experiencing would never happen if there were term limits in congress.

I know that you know that this list could go on and on. We need common sense leadership with an eye not for this term or the next term or for our grandchildren, but we need a visionary who can look 500 years into the future and make plans for our planet that are sustainable. We can’t just keep kicking these cans down the road because it is politically expedient.

Be bold, Mr. President. Be brave. Lead the world.

God Bless.

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Filed under politics, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Gross National Happiness

This YouTube video will take sixteen minutes of your life but could have enormous repercussions, particularly if you repost it vigorously.

A better way is possible. It’s being done right now.

We have much to learn.

Make a difference today.

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