Is That All There Is? A Sunday Reflection………..

Sunday Prayers

Sunday Prayers (Photo credit: Steven Leith)

 I was brought up to go to church. First I went to Sunday school—then I graduated to actually going to church and “listening” to the sermon. I became a Sunday School teacher. The President of Mission Circle Girls. A member of the choir (though to this day I cannot carry a tune in a tin pail—but they needed warm bodies). Then I went off to university and went to a few masses with my Catholic friends even though I was not Catholic. It was rather exotic for a girl who had attended a Protestant country church. But I liked the rituals, the incense, the kneeling–even though they were foreign to me.

                After I turned twenty I did not go to church for about 25 years. I still prayed but mostly for good stuff to happen and for someone who was sick. I still believed though I was not sure what it was I believed. In fact, during those years I was perfectly happy. I was in a sort of vacuum. I was a constant seeker, but with a more intellectual bent than with my heart and soul.

                I went back to my country church for a while and was received with open arms and open hearts. I loved the feeling of community—I liked the Minister’s message, and I liked being a part of something. But I became too big a part—I joined too many things and tried to do too much, and I burned out. I stopped going to church because I was no longer able to just go and hear the message—I was too busy being a Sunday School teacher, a youth leader, a member of the Church’s women’s group…………..and on and on.

                I returned to my vacuum, but I returned as a more faithful believer in something bigger than myself. I am still a seeker. I went back to church one more time—but it was no longer for me–and though I love the people at that church, I quit again.

                I call myself a seeker as I guess I am not totally satisfied with the answers. But some of the answers I have sought out make sense to me. Sometimes I think it is easier to not believe than to believe. But I am just stubborn enough to believe in something I cannot touch, taste, smell, or see. But I can feel it. And I know there is something bigger than me. And I believe. It seems to come naturally.

                 I believe in a good God—not a violent, jealous, or vengeful God. And I believe that Jesus did walk the earth, and he did have a message, and the simple message is: *“this is not all there is but keep dancing anyway”.

 *in answer to Peggy Lee’s ballad “Is That All There Is?

                Have you come to some conclusion about your beliefs? Are you an unquestioning believer, a seeker, or an abstainer? Or something else? How do you define yourself?

Advertisements

Do You Say Grace?

English: Saying grace before carving the turke...

English: Saying grace before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my family’s grace

For health and strength

And daily food

We give thee thanks O Lord

Amen

 

This was the grace I said when I was a little girl:

God is great, God is Good

Let us thank him for our food

Amen

Short and sweet and to the point and something even a little kid could remember.

 

Since this is Canadian Thanksgiving and saying grace seems to be the grateful thing to do—do you have a grace you can share?

Published in: on October 13, 2013 at 11:49 am  Comments (27)  
Tags: , , , ,

Sunday Musings

Prayers

Prayers (Photo credit: Xerones)

On Sundays I always feel a little bit of nostalgia for my church-going days. To say I have had a crisis of faith may be an overstatement, but many a minister, pastor, priest, rabbi, and faith leader are said to have had crises of faith in order to come to grips with their faith. Unquestioned faith comes from the Sunday School of thought and many of us are past that. In
fact I miss it ~ but maturity brings sober second thought that deepens how one views life and spirituality.

As of late, I have been questioning my faith—yet again. But in questioning it, I think I keep it alive. I have a book called “Create Your Own Personal Sacred Text” by aptly named Bobbie L. Parish.  In the Introduction to the book is this statement, which hit home for me: “….the quest is your own.” And the quest she speaks of is a deeper relationship with Spirit, and the advice given is: “Start where you are and move in whatever direction you feel led.”

I have faith because I want to have faith. It is questioned sometimes. Rattled. Verified. And a constant, even if examined.

Here is an explanation of  prayer that makes sense to me by Pamela Brode from “The Power of Prayer – Make a Joyful Noise”:

“Through prayer we are able to draw power from the Holy Spirit, which fortifies our spiritual being and assists us in coping with whatever situation life hands us with a degree of strength, endurance, and calm.

Through the power of prayer we are motivated to take affirmative steps to help remedy our difficulties. Through prayer we receive protection from behaving irrationally or recklessly and from making decisions that can lead to harmful consequences.

In essence, prayer helps us to take control of our lives. We may not always be in control of what happens in the world around us, but prayer enables us to take control of the way we respond to any given situation—and that is truly empowering. Prayer gives us direction and motivation to take a positive and productive course of action that benefits us as well as those around us.”

You may be like me and question why certain things happen. And wonder why.  Sometimes I cannot determine when to “Let go and let God” because I think God wants us to help ourselves and not just throw our hands up in the air and leave the hard work to him/her.

Does faith give you bliss?

 

Bliss is Being up to the Adventure

Heaven

(Photo credit: irunandshoot)

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”  ~ Joseph Campbell.

 I think what Mr. Campbell said was exceedingly wise: get out of the way of your life and live it.

 Reminds me of the saying: “Man plans. God laughs.” My first interpretation of this is that we are silly to plan, that we cannot make things happen according to our Type A personalities, and that life is just too random to plan for.

 But I have read an interpretation of this same saying which proves that there are at least two sides to every story. I cannot remember who it was, but they made the point that God is not laughing at our plans ~ she is laughing with us and encouraging us.

I don’t think we are supposed to throw our hands up and let what happens, happen. God likes it when we use our resources to make things happen—but we have to remember that everything does not always go according to plan.

I have made and fulfilled plans. And been disappointed at the outcome. I have done things by the seat of my pants and been rewarded.  I am now taking Campbell’s words to heart and letting go of the life I planned (but not giving up on planning) and accepting the life I have been given.

Life is a mystery. We can plan for it—but we must also plan to be surprised. Campbell has a pithy observation about this too. He said:  “The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”

Bliss is being up for the adventure—what do you think?

Published in: on June 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm  Comments (37)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Little Stream of Consciousness

Technicolor SA

Technicolor SA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Warning: No one can stop following my blog—I am at 470 and if I go down to 469 again I am going to get really upset and do something radical. Like start writing with my left hand (have you noticed a lot of leaders write with their left hand?) Or wear a hat. Or not put my mittens on when I go for my daily walk today – it is only going up to 29 degrees F here today; last year on this first day of spring it was 82 degrees. Okay, I know I am Canadian and supposed to measure the temperature in Celsius but I don’t. So there. How is that for being a rebel?

I am really trying to ignore my statistics, but some people have thousands of followers, so I would really like to keep my hundreds. My goal is to reach 500 by my birthday on April 21st—what do you think–am I dreaming in Technicolor?

I think it is a “hoot” that the people who subscribe to blogs on WordPress are dubbed “followers”. I have been thinking about starting my own religion (I would be very inclusive), so maybe this will give me a “congregation” of sorts.  Anyway, I don’t think of you as followers at all. I am grateful for each and every one of you who has subscribed to my blog.

And if you are wondering–yes, this is another one of my posts asking begging, sobbing, hoping for your help. Can you help me attain my goal of 500 before April 21st—although I really don’t know how, as most of you reading this are already subscribed. If you have any ideas, feel free to share them.

English: Flowers of Crown Daisy (Glebionis cor...

Flowers of Crown Daisy  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bliss is getting to the number 500+ before April 21st. I will keep you updated on my progress……..

Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm  Comments (74)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Is There Power in Prayer?

Prayers in the wind

Prayers in the wind (Photo credit: marco83)

I have Writing Wednesdays (when I remember – seems to be turning into Writing Thursdays of late, so I may have to rethink this), Recipe Saturdays, and now: Spiritual Sundays.

I am a constant seeker. I have found some answers but I still have questions. I imagine even those most educated in the religious/spiritual realm have questions—though their questions are probably more complex than mine.

One thing I am sure of is the power of prayer. I find though that it works better for me when I pray for others than when I pray for myself, but I believe that is just my impatient nature shining through.

I am reading what I consider a bit of an unsophisticated look at spirituality right now, but in its simplicity, it is honest. The book, “Divine Intervention” is written by SQuire Bushnell, the creator of the “God Winks phenomenon” (he has written four books on the subject). He is an ex-ABC television executive, and known as “America’s Encourager”. His calling, (among others) is to “rediscover the deep meaning and impact of personal prayer”.

I just discovered SQuire but apparently he has been writing books for well over a decade. {I have never been accused of being cutting edge and on top of things, so this is just another example.} As I read his book, I cannot help but think about my “God wink” moments or his way of describing coincidences which are not happenstance but meant to be–moments that determine the path our lives take.  He gives example upon example of “God winks” in his book, but I am really more interested in his definition of prayer.

He says that he has tried to find a euphemism for prayer—another word that is not so “unnerving” in our “hypersensitive” society. But he says that there is not one—he cannot conjure another word for Prayer. He says that prayer is a “concept integral to every faith and probably every language.”

Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you consider it talking to God? Or is it just something those who have some type of belief use to kid themselves into thinking they are not alone? Does prayer work for you? Does it give you bliss?

A Little Sunday Zen

Cover of "Chop Wood, Carry Water"

Cover of Chop Wood, Carry Water

There is a famous story in the Zen world that Dinty W. Moore (every time I write his name I think of baked beans), author of the “Mindful Writer” includes in his book. On page 118 to be exact. It goes as follows:

The student, newly arrived at the monastery, asks the master, “What work will I do as I seek enlightenment?”

The master replies. “Chop wood, carry water.”

“And what work will I do once I achieve enlightenment?”

“Chop wood, carry water,” replies the master.

A simple bit of Zenism, and as with all in the Zen world, it needs an explanation in order to understand it. According to Moore, “writers write”. They may do a myriad of other things: walk their dog, go to work, take meetings, care for their family—but in the end he says, “…any writer, even a writer who has published….and won two dozen awards, gets up in the morning knowing what must be done. The words must be chopped and the sentences carried.”

Woods

Woods (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I think the famous story in the Zen world has a larger meaning. It can apply to all things we do in life—we must “chop wood, carry water”—we must continue what we are doing; we must not be satisfied; we must carry on. Our job is really never done, and when we think it is, we have in essence, stopped living.

It is a story of purpose, and without purpose there is no need to “chop wood, carry water.”

My bliss today is to keep chopping wood and carrying water. What about you?

Would You Find Bliss in Reincarnation?

Hindus believe the self or soul (atman) repeat...

Hindus believe the self or soul (atman) repeatedly takes on a physical body. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s prompt from Michelle at WordPress~

Reincarnation: do you believe in it?

I don’t know.  In the last little while a fellow blogger (grosenberg Feb 7, 2013) talked about the fact that “I don’t know” is one of the most honest answers you can give. And I agree. When it comes to reincarnation, I just don’t know. I don’t discount it. I don’t not believe in it. But I also do not know if it is something that really happens.

I sometimes wonder why we are supposed to be faith based. Why do we have so many unanswered questions? If they were answered, would be sealing our fate as Adam and Eve did?

Reincarnation has a number of synonyms: rebirth, re-creation, reawakening, restoration, re-embodiment, recreation (I assume this is the same as re-creation, and not referencing activities such as baseball or beer drinking).

 Definitions generously provided by my Encarta Dictionary for reincarnation say that “in some systems of belief, the cyclic return of a soul to live another life in a new body”; “ a person or animal in whose body somebody’s soul is born again after he, she, or it has died”; or more simply “a reappearance of something in a new form”.

I like to keep an open mind. And I do not like to discount other’s beliefs unless they are harmful. Reincarnation is a religious concept as well as philosophical, and in those terms I am not prepared to reduce it to something I do not believe in.

Français : L'actrice américaine Shirley MacLai...

Shirley MacLaine 1987. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I find the concept fascinating. That we have more than one chance at life. Different chances, different experiences. If I have been reincarnated, I wonder what my other lives were—and why I don’t remember them.  Shirley MacLaine does. Maybe we should ask her.

Would you find bliss if in fact we knew there was such a thing as reincarnation?

Moment of Bliss

Hydrangia

Hydrangia (Photo credit: corsi photo)

“Don’t be bothered with the next moment, or the next life, or the next  world. Make this moment rejoicing, make this moment a moment of bliss, and the next will follow it, and the next life, and the next world.” ~ Osho

Published in: on January 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm  Comments (18)  
Tags: , , ,

UNIVERSE ~ Wakey, Wakey!

Aladdin (1992 Disney film)

Aladdin (1992 Disney film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, Universe, listen up. I am supposed to send out positive messages to you, and in response you are supposed to grant me my every wish. Like a Genie or something. A big blue Genie—like the one in the movie Aladdin with Robin William’s voice.

So what happened here? Who broke the rules? I am sending all this positive energy to you, and what am I getting back? You say I am supposed to be patient. Get in line? That there are millions of positive messages out there, and while mine is important to you, I will just have to listen to the music and wait?

Cover of "Secret of the Ages"

Cover of Secret of the Ages

I have read “The Secret”. I am currently reading “The Secret of the Ages” which claims to be “The Master Code to Abundance and Achievement” written by Robert Collier and originally published in 1925. The language is a bit stunted but the message is the same. The blurb at the front of the book says “The time you put in aimlessly dreaming and wishing would accomplish marvels if it were concentrated on one definite object.”

It is obvious to me that I must concentrate on the wrong things. Truly, I want security and peace and wonderful things in my life, and while they seem to come in dribs and drabs, I want {without seeming too greedy here} a bit more than sustenance.

Seriously, Jack Canfield, what am I doing wrong? Maybe part of my problem is that  I do not follow directions well. In Collier’s book, he says that for happiness you should use these words to affirm your right to it by saying: “The joy is brighter than the sun at noonday and Thy Ways of expressing that Joy as countless as the sunbeams that shine upon our path.”

I do not generally walk around making flowery affirmations that I do not quite get. So, if I understand what Collier is saying, joy abounds and all I have to do is capture a few sunbeams?

It is obvious from my reading of Collier’s book that he is a religious man with fervour for his beliefs. He believes in letting the Big Guy take care of us. Now, I sort of do too, though sometimes I think the Big Guy could be a Big Gal—but that is a discussion for another place and time (I am just not sure what place and time.)

Meanwhile, I am not going to give up. I will persevere and stay on “hold”. I will not hang up–I don’t want to lose my place in line.