Counting on joy

December 12, 2021

Sometimes in social media there are posts on finding joy in your life. Often we are asked to list every day what constitutes a joyful experience for us. I never lasted more than a day or two of keeping track. Today, I did think about it because… it’s Sunday.

Recommended watching: This past Thursday, the last season of The Expanse (on Prime) premiered. It’s based on James S A Corey’s novels The Expanse. In all my considerable years, this is the most amazing and thoughtful sci-fi show ever.

Humanity is out in space. Unfortunately, we still haven’t learned to get along. There are the inners (Earthers), Mars (who want to be free from Earth), and the Belters (Beltalowdas) those who live on the outer moons and asteroids. Before the premier, fans from all over the globe did get along thru a ZOOM meeting to discuss aspects of the show. It brought me much joy to see and hear the ‘expanse’ of the show’s fandom.

Rocinante is the name of the spaceship the heroes fly in all their missions

Recommended reading: Amor Towles’ Lincoln Highway. A tale of travel, discovery, heartfelt characters and a quite emotional ending. At first, I didn’t think he could outdo his A Gentleman in Moscow. And, while this book is different, it is that same irresistible unfolding of a good story.

Recommended human contact: Man, these past almost two years have been rough as far as in person contact. As more folks are vaccinated, lately I had the total joy of visiting with several friends in person. A few of these folks are long-time friends and catching up was glorious. Thru the Messenger App we saw our grandchildren look for candy canes and an elf in their Christmas tree. Also, a group of volunteers I work with met for a small party and White Elephant gift giving. I got this!

Recommended outdoor exercise: I try to walk everyday along the city trails near my home. I see the season changing finally to Fall. And, there are deer! All sizes from little guys to big bucks. They are so domesticated they will amble right in front of you–expecting you to wait till mom and her kids cross the trail. Yesterday, the squirrels were fussing at me as they seemed to be chasing each other perhaps in some squirrelly mating ritual.

Recommended: Find your joy and share it!


Where’s your church?

November 21, 2021

Early this Sunday morning, after I let the cat out, I went back to sleep for a while. I dreamed I was in a church. It was a large, crowded church and I couldn’t find a seat. The choir was singing, the preacher preaching and everyone was swaying and raising their hands. I went to the back of the church and visited with the others left out in the lobby.

I am a firm believer that church can be anywhere. It’s not a building, although most denominations seem to have buildings. Church doesn’t belong to one certain denomination. It’s more like that faith lives inside you. You can abide faith as well.

When our kids were elementary school age, we took them hiking every Sunday to a trail on what was then the outskirts of town. We’d stop at the very top, sit on bench in the small covered shelter with all the Daddy Longlegs spiders. Looking out at the trees, birds, and sky, we proclaimed to now be in church. This picture of Colorado looks like church to me as well.

As many, many peoples do, I have a ‘little altar’ in my room. It helps me focus and quiet my mind. I think, give thanks for my life and my parents. I pray for all those who are sick or having troubles. I pray for peace.

According to 1st Thessalonians 5, Jesus said to pray without ceasing. Questions: Do you believe prayer works? To whom do you pray? Is it just a universal plea or to God? What or who do you pray for? When do you pray? Let me know

Also read my previous post “Going to church in my mind


It’s the time of the season

October 31, 2021

In the past few months, I lost my sweet, lovely hairstylist–she was only 43 and I had been her client for 15+ years. Several friends and extended family have lost loved ones to Covid-19 and other illnesses. It’s still a hard time for so many of us. My Sunday sermon is short: Love your friends and family while you can, be kind to others–even if they are annoying–and take care of yourself.

A few years ago, I went to an Austin City Limits concert “The British Invasion.” One of the groups who performed, with all the original members, was the Zombies. This song Time of the Season struck such a chord with me, it became one of my favorites again.

Tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos This can be the season of being sad or rejoicing. Remember there is balance in the universe.

Photos from around San Antonio by B Kay Richter Dia de los Muertos

My frozen tangerine trees are coming back.
I got an EXPANSE hat and shirt.

Could things get any more weird?

October 15, 2021

Every week I get an e-newsletter from Jason Stanford. He always has something pithy and inspiring to say. This week he spares us no false hope that things could return to ‘normal.’ “The end of this pandemic will not mean that whatever follows will be the raw, unfiltered honey of good times.” As my Bulgarian friend George used to say “You should know this!”

Every day the good, bad and the ugly on social media get weirder and weirder. I’d like to quit scrolling, but I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. A flame it seems that is setting our tempers on fire and tempts us to indulge in stating our opinions ad infinitum. Today, Lindsay Graham, you know Lindsay, the old guy that’s continues to fawn over the former guy, said ‘40,000 Brazilian immigrants are headed to Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci.’ If that were true it would mean they are more affluent than most of the citizens of this floundering nation.

Gucci Bag only $1K. I want this one!!

Also, “a school administrator in Southlake, Texas has advised teachers that if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also have a book with an “opposing” perspective.” (per @NBCNews) WTF is an opposing perspective but and out and out lies!

It’s hard for me to understand how families, especially with school aged kiddos at home are coping with the flip-flop mask mandates, the crazy anti-vaxxers and zoom, no zoom, zoom again school policies. Not to mention the teachers!

Post Office backlog from the LA Times

Oh, and now we’re back to the Democrats are trying to screw up Christmas. Will the Post Office deliver our presents on time? Fox–not really the news–mentions ‘Christmas’ 106 times in it’s broadcasts on Thursday. In their bubble of bullshit they never acknowledge many families in America are facing homelessness, hunger and unemployment.

Climate change is also a bugaboo subject. There are several views out there, many of them are doomsday projections. Here is a good article from ‘Wired Magazine’ on why companies may come around. Even the Queen is an advocate of actions to fully address the issues of climate change.

Antivaxxers, flat-earthers, members of Congress who can’t spell, parents against masking in schools… As my friend George also said many times “some people are stupid like chickens.”

I think about so many things every day and sometimes in the middle of the night. What will happen to us when our $$ runs out before we do? What will become of our country if the states are able to keep hobbling our voting rights? What of all my family and friends who are facing loss of loved ones and other obstacles? I know we are not guaranteed happiness in this life. But there is much happiness and joy amid the sorrow. And, I am grateful for that joy. It’s just the way life is. God loves us, but sometimes shit happens.

I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
(Maybe nothing)
But my trip is mad
I ain’t finished, I got loads
(from ‘The Experiment’)


Easter Basket Brain Candy

April 4, 2021

Patti Smith begins singing her amazing “Gloria” with “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” Quite a thought on Easter morning, I guess.

I do believe Jesus lived and died for forgiveness. This week is a testament to forgiveness as we celebrate a reunion of my husband and his daughter who had been ‘estranged’ for somebody’s sins, but not mine. Her husband and our beautiful granddaughter are met with a feeling of increasing love as our family grows. Between the hubs and I, we now have seven grandchildren–I did not see that coming.

The last time we saw Linda was about 20 years ago, though we have been very close with her sister. The total soap opera storyline of how this all came about was based on perceptions. Forgive me for not giving details.

A forgiveness for all of us for not doing better. A forgiveness for hurting each other.

Easter brings forgiveness and hope going forward. That’s the message.


Caring for our Earth is a soulful expression

February 27, 2021

As Psalm 24 tells us, “the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.” We are called by God to treasure and care for the earth as a sacred trust. A friend of mine asked me yesterday why I was so worried about what the recent Texas Snowmageddon did to plants and animals–as opposed to the people. I told her just because I was concerned for plants and animals didn’t mean I was ranking them higher than my concern for the humans in our community. We all live together on this planet. This is part of the story.

If you know the signs to look for, it becomes clear that the Earth itself is breathing.

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University, where she is director of the Climate Science Center. She her husband, Andrew Farley, co-authored a book called A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, which addresses the ways in which climate science reflects conservative Christian beliefs. Read more,

Though I am not attached to any specific religion–I was raised in a Christian family, I do consider myself spiritual. The following quote is close to the way I feel.

“Spirituality does not come from religion. It comes from our soul. We must stop confusing religion with spirituality. Religion is a set of rules, regulations, and rituals created by humans, which were supposed to help people spiritually. Due to human imperfection religion has become corrupt, political, divisive and a tool for power struggle. Spirituality is not theology or ideology. It is simply a way of life, pure and original as given by the Most High. Spirituality is a network linking us to the Most High, the universe and each other.” Haile Selassie I

How would you explain your human soul if you can’t include the environment in which your human body lives? It sustains us and supports us, and we as humans were tasked by the ‘Most High’ with caring for our planet. When we do, we express a soulful caring for all living things.


The past is past except when it isn’t

August 15, 2020

I’ve been asking myself lately, why, oh why, do I keeping thinking about things from my past–specifically from the 1960s and 70s? Especially, when I can’t remember what I ate for lunch or my neighbor’s last name?

I questioned does this happen to others and why? I Googled: why do older folks dream of the past?

Dreaming of the past and the world beyond

An article by Katy Waldman calls it the ‘reminiscence bump’. “The basic finding is this: We remember more events from late adolescence and early adulthood than from any other stage of our lives. This phenomenon is called the reminiscence bump.” A robust line of research shows that there really is something deeply, weirdly meaningful about this period. It plays an outsize role in how we structure our expectations, stories, and memories.”  Voile! That makes sense to me.

Kate Morton, a truly resplendent author, says this about memories in her book The Clockmaker’s Daughter. “Human beings are curators. Each polishes his or her own favored memories, arranging them in order to create a narrative that pleases. Some events are repaired and buffed for display; others are deemed unworthy and cast aside, shelved below ground in the overflowing storeroom of the mind. There, with any luck, they are promptly forgotten. The process is not dishonest: it is the only way that people can live with themselves and the weight of their experiences.”

I reached a moment of clarity when reading her comparison of sentimentality to nostalgia to “Sentimentality is mawkish and cloying, where nostalgia is acute and aching. It describes yearning of the most profound kind: an awareness that time’s passage could not be stopped and there was no going back to reclaim a moment or a person or to do things differently.” However, as I have previously stated, I have no deep regrets and I hardly ever say “if I had only…”

So out of my head and on to the stars for a moment as I embraced the cosmos with one of my favorite persons on twitter Sarafina Nance, who goes by the handle @starstrickenSF she is an Astrophysics PhD, a stargazer and an eternal optimist.  She greeted today with an out-of-this-world observation about the universe

…some stars explode, their light as bright as entire galaxies, while others collapse in on themselves, stuffing all their mass into a tiny yet supermassive blip in space-time. Some stars are so massive, and their photons so many, that the stellar surface simply floats away, forcing the star to disintegrate others are so small, barely larger than Jupiter, that they live on for trillions of years, bearing witness to the cosmos in a way nothing else can. 

She has also said all of us will be stardust someday, how cool is that?

 

 


There’s Something Happening Here

May 16, 2020

I think we can all agree there is definitely something happening here.

Today (May 16, 2020) the World Chart reads: United States

Coronavirus Cases: 1,484,579, Deaths: 88,523

Even so, there is a segment of stupids who still believe it is all a hoax, the numbers are inflated, precautions are a violation of their civil rights and on ad nauseam. When did so many people decide science was a hoax? Boggles the  mind.

Negative thoughts: Yep, I’ve got them. I bet you do too. Today a Facebook friend posted:

“I just heard about people who foolishly dismissed COVID 19 as a hoax and then died. Sad enough. But then I read about other people making comments like ” he got what was coming” and gloating. If someone disagrees with you or denies science, maybe quite stupid –it is unfortunate and tragic, but remember that they are human beings– flawed and foolish– but just as precious to those who love them as we are to our loved ones.

The people who denied COVID 19 as a hoax and died, may have been foolish and reckless, but they and more importantly, their families are human beings. If you believe as I do, that human beings–however distasteful– are as Martin Luther King reminded us are no less in the image of God than we are. Love your neighbor. Easy when you like your neighbor, but divine when you don’t.

Growing up an Army brat provided me with a flexible upbringing and open mind for which I am grateful.

But, probably nothing prepared me, or the rest of us, for what a global pandemic can mean for our health and well-being as a population.  Especially as we have a President (and I use that term loosely) who is out of his depth entirely, and quite clueless as to how to help us. Perhaps he really doesn’t care what happens to the hoi polloi–as the fewer of us there are, the more for him and his cronies.

One of the cool things happening are the virtual concerts, meetings, medical appointment etc. But again, we need to remember not everyone has good access to the internet or knows how to navigate a computer or smart phone. I hope I never outgrow my wonder of learning new stuff.

Sammy Hagar and others perform the title song

 


Serious questions and other stuff

May 7, 2020

What’s going on in your brain these days? Here are a few things that keep me up at night.

Cool tips for toilet paper roll art.

What was the deal with the run on toilet paper? Some of us have issues with tissues and were a bit concerned, and relieved when all the panic buying leveled out. I still count the squares and try to be conservative just in case.

Now meat production is in the COVID cross-hairs as workers are falling ill at an alarming rate.

Where has God been hiding thru all this–what’s the purpose–are we being punished? I get my free range faith from a number of sources including my parents and the nuns with whom I worked for 20+ years. It’s been 18 years since I set foot in a church. I’m ok with that. I go to church in my mind and I pray often. My daughter in law is a Pagan–which is a reverence for the natural world. She wrote this on her Facebook page and I concur. “I believe in the power of prayer no matter the faith. Prayer with good intentions to The Divine, by whatever name, is powerful and exponential.”

Why are there so many stupid people? A friend of mine asked me what makes some people so stupid? The question was a reference to the folks who still believe COVID-19 is a ‘fake news hoax’ and/or maybe having to wear a mask and practice social distancing is a violation of their rights. Welp! that’s a complicated question. Nature vs Nurture kind of question. Scientists and sociologists have studies and theories galore. It’s just life. Everyone is a unique mixture of their genetics, upbringing and culture.

“Life’s lessons can take many forms and present us with many challenges. There are scores of mundane lessons that help us learn to navigate with grace, poise, and tolerance in this world. And there are those once-in-a-lifetime lessons that touch us so deeply that they change the course of our lives. The latter can be heartrending, and we may wander through life as unwilling students for a time. But the quality of our lives is based almost entirely on what we derive from our experiences.” (Daily Om) “And to our ability to respond positively to change.” (me) as I ascribe  to this statement from Charles Darwin.

What would we have done without the internet and steaming entertainment? I’ve been streaming and binge watching thru several platforms for about 8 years now. We cut the cable early and never looked back. I read Netflix had 16 million new subscribers in March alone. There was marvelous and quick adaptation of online learning from school districts and teachers all over the country through technology. Too many businesses to count found out really quickly that it was either embrace the online presence or not survive.

I see on Facebook and other social media all the clever ways people have made do with alternate resources. Heck, most of the masks people are wearing come from enterprising individuals who answered a call. All of these things represent adaption to change in a good way.  Oh yeah, let’s add food and wine delivery services to the awesome adaptation list.

Adapting the cocktail hour–in the town-home alley with neighbors

Adapting well and staying healthy might just be my new motto.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sacred Space

July 28, 2019

meditation, stones, pond,prayerHey y’all, it’s Sunday and time for a little reflection regarding sacred space.

A sacred place is, first of all, a defined place, a space distinguished from other spaces… A sacred place focuses attention on the forms, objects, and actions in it and reveals them as bearers of religious meaning. Encyclopedia.com

Sacred space is any space or area that has been dedicated to a sacred (holy) purpose. An emphasis on sacred space is found in all of the world’s religions and traditions and they all have places set aside as holy, that they use for worship, prayer, and important rituals. The School of Magical Living

Many of the definitions I found on the internet tie sacred space to a specific religious meaning or place. But I like to think it’s simpler than that. A physical sacred place may allow you to reach the ethereal sacred inside yourself.  It’s not necessary to be associated with any religious ritual. It’s just spiritual in and of itself.

When I think of sacred space, I think of experiencing moments where the world seems to stand still and the cosmos aligns itself in perfect harmony.  These experiences might last for a few seconds or several minutes.  But, before the gears of chaos engage again, I always have the overwhelming feeling “Woo-hoo, life is good!”

aiea heightsWhen I was in my early teens, we lived in a house located next to a state park on top of Aiea Heights, Oahu, Hawaii.  I would hike by myself up the trail to sit on a patch of green grass beneath a big evergreen tree that overlooked Pearl Harbor and the ‘Punchbowl’ Cemetery. Even at a young age, I knew this place was a conduit to the spiritual. The view alone is enough for anyone to appreciate their innermost sacredness.

In my twenties, music was the vehicle for many a trip. I’ll never forget the time I was laying on the floor listening to Emerson, Lake and Palmer through headphones. I’m sure I was transporting somewhere groovy until I opened my eyes at the end of side one and there were two Doberman Pinchers staring me in the face.

 

As an adult, I enjoy sitting by the pool. Watching the clouds drift by, listening to the birds, I feel my body and soul warming, the tension washing away, and I experience “the eternal happiness of the spotless mind.”

Oh, I could go on, but I encourage you to find your own path to a sacred space whether it is physical or metaphysical.