Tag Archive | Religion and Spirituality

Some Mornings

 

IMG_1996Some mornings

I have to drag my eyes open

With sheer force of will.

Stay asleep please

In the land of dreams.

The world is too full

Of nightmares.

But like a dried

Lily leaf

I rise

Looking for moisture

For hope.

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Daily Bread (Week 10)

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Whew!  Our regular facilitator was back this week and we greeted her warmly.  I flashed on the old TV show, “Welcome Back, Kotter.”  We did behave rather like the “sweat-hogs” while she was gone, but who cares?  (And no, I don’t want a Melania Trump jacket.  I care about families and children, Muslims, black and brown people, people with disabilities, fat people, and my GLBT siblings.  I don’t, however, care much about decorum).  Johanna got us back on focus really quickly and all was well.  Well that is except for her use of the phrase “New Normal.”   She meant our permanent lifestyle changes, but I flashed on the “This is not normal” refrain of the resistance.

I was also very heartened with the warmth that the group welcomed me back after my week away.  I love these people.  We have grown so close in these few weeks as we try to live into this challenging lifestyle change. Our individual lives are very different, but whether they are crying or laughing, my heart is with them.

My week away at General Assembly was, as always, a way to reaffirm my faith in Unitarian Universalism as a tradition of justice and hope.  This year was particularly moving as we confronted white supremacy both within our movement and in the wider world.  Listen to the Ware Lecture with Brittany Packet, Sunday Morning Worship, or the Service of the Living Tradition, all of which were particularly moving, inspiring, and challenging.  Ours is not a casual faith.

It was also wonderful to see so many old friends.  And it was a little awkward mixing up my shakes in the plenary hall or a workshop.  I did a lot of explaining of the program, and although virtually everyone I spoke to about it was supportive, I still felt self conscious at times. The plane rides were stressful, and it was hard to drink enough water on the travel days.  My CPAP machine didn’t work (I stupidly did not bring the humidifier  attachment and this new machine doesn’t work without it) so I did not sleep at all well.  I attended a buffet luncheon/meeting, sat in the hotel bar sipping a sparkling water, and I stayed completely on plan.  Hurray for me!

So hard to focus on myself, on my own health, when our country and our world is slipping into so much horror.  I wonder if my marriage will stay valid, and I wonder if my friends will even survive. I weep for the parents and children who have been cruelly separated.  Saturday, I will go to the Richmond Detention Center for a protest rally.  Since it isn’t a march, I can bring a chair and sit while bearing witness.  I must do what I can, but I also need to stay strong in my focus on my own body and health.  It will be good practice for working to bring our country into a healthier place.

L’Chaim

 

 

(My stats for the last 2 weeks – down 5.3 pounds, drank I am not sure how much water and exercised for only a total of 280 minutes.  My total weight loss so far is 29.5 pounds.  I am now under 300 pounds, a milestone for me in this journey. Huzzah!)

New Day

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There are days

When the effort

To rise from my bed

Is almost too much

The warm sheets

The blankets

Wrap me in dreams

Too sweet to leave

But the sun

Shines through

My window now.

And a bird sings

A familiar melody.

So I drag my bones

Up to greet

A new day.

Bones

Sometimes the images from old poems come to me.  Changed over time of course. dry bones

Dry Bones – Images from Ezekiel 37 (written in April 2004)

My bones know,
Underneath it all,
Within.
I have lived
In the valley of the dry bones,
Waiting for the four winds to blow,
For the holy breath.
Dry bones
Fragile and hard
Spin through the dance
As the rain falls.
Bones rattling to life
Spring is coming.
Praise God.
The Bones Now (June 2018)

These bones are old now

Dry as the desert again
Cracked with wear
The joints creak
From lack of youth
But they have danced
Rattling with laugher
While the rain washed over us
Spring and summer
Fall and winter
These bones
Have seen it all.
They will carry on
As long as the Spirit
Shall dwell within

Of the Earth

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In my years on this planet

I have found a few

Things that are true.

We are of the earth.

Our bodies are one

With the seas and the mountains.

If we could stand as straight

As the tallest redwoods

Still our roots would bind us

Close to the ground.

 

Like the earth itself,

Our bodies alter

With the seasons,

Eroded by time

Challenged by change.

May we rock gently in the winds

That blow around us.

May we keep our hearts open

To the warmth and promise

Of each new day.

 

 

Shrinking, Growing

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Am I shrinking

Or am I growing?

Both I think.

 

Outside I am changing

Slowly but surely

Reclaiming a shape

That will serve me better.

At least that’s the plan

 

The lavish blooms

Have faded

Winters have been hard.

Small seeds planted

Carefully

Might grow

To just the right size

 

Tend the ground

Tend your soul

Resurrection

Regeneration

Only takes

A miracle

Of mindfulness.

I believe

In miracles.

 

 

 

 

 

Intentions (for white people)

The road to hell may not be paved

But it is covered with the guano

Of our so-called good intentions

It’s a seagull shit so white

It covers the awareness

Of the pain we cause

By our fragility

 

If we slip and slide and blunder

And get bumps and bruises

On our egos

It is a small price to pay

So much smaller than the pain

Our ignorance has caused

 

Spirit give us the strength

To lean into the learning

May there be no rest

For the wicked

May there be healing

For the harm the “good” have done

Absolution will come later

If we can find together

A pathway to paradise

For all the hurting souls

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Bread (Week 4)

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This is a medically supervised program, which is a good thing because although I feel just fine, my lab results last week indicated my potassium level is now a bit high.  Balance is everything, right?  Potassium, one of the body’s electrolytes is problematic if it either too high or too low.  Medications can affect the level, and I am have been taking two that can cause the retention of potassium.   One is for blood pressure and the other is naproxen, which I take for knee pain.  Add that to a severely restricted calorie intake, one which contains the amount of potassium a non-medicated body needs, trouble was on its way “right here in river city.”  When I got the lab results, I did some research and stopped taking the naproxen.  I had already scheduled a cortisone shot for my knee (today) so what was a little pain for a few days if it could get my potassium level back down to the normal range?  Pain, however, can increase blood pressure, so when that was checked last night, it was way higher than my normal.  When one thing is out of balance, everything else is affected, something that is just true about life.   I’ll be checking my blood pressure more frequently and we are redoing the potassium blood test, but it was upsetting. Here I am trying to get healthier and some things are getting worse!  Is this justice?  Is this fair?

I know the answer to those questions, and the answer is, of course, “no.”

I am grateful for the doctors and the support of our weekly group, and I am trying to keep focused on the moon, not the nagging little fingers of stress at the ups and downs of this process.  If you don’t understand the moon/finger references, there is an old Buddhist story that I thought of today.  The teacher stood very still and pointed at the moon, but all of his students focused on the tip of his pointing finger.

 

Keep your gaze on the moon.

No matter the distractions

No matter how low the valleys

Or how high the mountains

We must climb

Bend your mind

Your heart your spirit

Toward the golden guide

That rises in the night

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L’Chaim!

(My stats for last week: down 4.4 pounds (total to date +12.1), drank 7 gallons of water, and exercised for 390 minutes – mainly swimming)

Daily Bread (Week 3 Day 5)

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Bread

Bread is made

From simple things

Flour, water, yeast,

A dash of salt.

Not so simple

Is the work involved

Mixing, kneading,

Forming into loaves

Adding patience

In good measure

A warm beginning

Then a trial by fire

Creating a strong crust

To keep from getting stale.

 

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I wonder at myself sometimes.  Choosing “Daily Bread” as a blogging title seems a rather strange choice at a time when I am not eating bread. Bread will also doubtless stay on the list of foods that I won’t ever eat daily, if at all.  “Give us our daily bread,” the prophet Jesus prayed, but he must have been talking about more than the bread that can feed the hungry.  He broke the bread and called us to a path that just might sustain our lives.  I don’t believe in transubstantiation, but I do believe in transformation.

Mix it up

Pound it on the table

Put it in a bowl to rise

Bake it in the oven

Create a miracle

Knowing

Miracles take work.

Trout

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A trout is at its best

Swimming upstream

The sun shining

On its rainbow scales

Around and over

Huge boulders

And the snags

Of fallen trees.

Strong trout

Brave trout

Let me swim with you

Carry me toward

The lake

Where we all

Will be reborn.