Turning the Sound Down

When you feel

life is too intense,

imagine it as

a TV soap opera.

Turn the sound down

until it seems manageable

or mute the sound

and read the text.

It reads

differently

than it sounds.

What is

going on

in your life

may seem

less dramatic.

Sometimes

we can’t

eliminate

the drama

in our lives,

but we can

turn the volume down.

Do you have

ways

that help

you ?

Illusion

Why do we have

the illusion

that life

should be easy?

Until we can

embrace

the hard times,

the losses,

we will be surprised

when illness,

pain,

loss

and

disappointment

come into our lives.

Sometimes,

all

at the same time.

Centering Prayer

and 

Inner Awakening

offers

a helpful way

to “be” with

difficult

things in life,

even a

painful thought or feeling.

The Welcoming Prayer

can bring

awareness,

giving

the experience

space

to clarify

and not resist.

It may sound

counter-intuitive

but opening

up

to what

is going on,

may

help.

Cynthia Bourgeault, author of Centering Prayer

Paying Attention

Once or twice a day

it is helpful to

lie down on the floor,

stretching 

with awareness

and paying attention

to the places

that are tight,

needing more oxygen.

Breathe

into those areas

to release

the tension.

When you

stop

and pay attention

this way,

you will find

that your body

feels

different

each time.

Therefore,

each time

that  you stretch,

ask yourself,

am I centered

in my body

now?

When I let

too much time

between

following

this advice,

my awareness

of my body

changes,

sometimes

very much so.

The contrast

reminds me

to be

more diligent

in my practice

of stretching,

breathing,

and centering.

The Cloud of Unknowing*

I

no longer

make a plan

for myself

but respond

to the people

and things

in my life

which are part

of a plan

or

pattern

I

cannot

see.

*The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism in the 14th century.

Shadow Work

Trying to restore

our emotional health

can be exhausting,

particularly if

we have neglected it.

No wonder

people

sometimes choose

to numb

their pain.

It takes courage and energy

to dig deep

and let emotional

wounds heal.

We can heal

only if we know

what the wounds are.

Our bodies hold onto

emotional hurts,

sometimes for years.

There are many ways

to help

the healing process-

prayer,

meditation,

silence,

yoga,

reiki,

and therapy-

that

strengthens the body

along with the soul.

Some call this SHADOW WORK.

LivingLinesReflections

Good Enough

After decades

of trying

to be perfect,

to make things

perfect,

GOOD ENOUGH

is more comfortable

and

more realistic.

It makes me

more patient

with myself

and

with

others, too.

Perfection is

an impossible goal.

GOOD ENOUGH

isn’t

settling.

I am still

learning

that.

LivingLinesReflections

Milestones

Tomorrow

is

my birthday.

Decades declare milestones.

At certain ages

there can be

the realization

that there are fewer

years ahead

than

already lived.

Mid-life

it is called.

Demographers

and cultural observers

 now offer

more gradations than

young,

middle aged

and old.

Early middle age,

middle age

late middle age.

At what point

does your category

become early old age?

Are you in

middle old age

and when

really old age?

For some,

lifespans

extend into the ninth and

even tenth decade.

When Social Security

was made available

at 65,

people weren’t

expected to live

much beyond that.

For some,

there can be

many decades

beyond

that mark.

How to live

these years,

whatever they are called?

Wisdom

offers

the suggestion

to shed

as we age.

Things,

images of ourself,

expectations,

hopes,

dreams,

disappointments.

Shedding

seems to say

that

growth stops

at some point.

Adults

we are.

Approaching

this birthday,

I am beginning

to understand

that letting go

is a better perspective

of what no longer

serves me.

Traveling

lighter,

I

hope

I

am

Growing

Into

Older

Age.

Learning,

growing.

Shifting gears,

slows me

to follow

the Inner Light

to savor

each moment,

each friend,

loved one

and stranger.

Sometimes the

Light

offers

a clear path.

Sometimes

intuition

brings

me on the path

I cannot

see

in this moment.

Praying Together

Of all the gatherings,

prayers spoken,

during Pope Francis’s visit to Cuba and the United States,

the 9//1 Interfaith Service

lingers

as the most memorable.

Pope Francis

asked God to

“look on us,

people of all faiths and religious traditions,

who gather today

on this hallowed ground,

the scene of unspeakable

violence and pain.”

During the

interfaith service,

Iman Khalid Latif

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove

alternated words of peace.

More pairs followed

two Hindu women,

two Buddhists,

two Muslims,

a Sikh father and daughter

and a Protestant

and Orthodox Christian.

The Pope sat in the middle.

and followed in the program.

“God judges us according

to our deeds,

not the coat we wear”

were the words

in Punjabi and English

by daughter and father Sikhs.

Cantor Azi Schwartz chanted in Hebrew

a prayer to honor

the 9/11 dead.

The Eight Beatitudes

were read in the the

ancient Greek

and then in English.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,for theirs is

the kingdom of heaven.

The service was

finished with the Pope

offering a gesture of peace-

a handshake,

an embrace

or a bow.

The Young People’s Chorus of New York City

more than 60 teenage

boys and girls

wearing different colored scarves-

sang

“Let There Be Peace on Earth”.

Glancing around the room,

several members of the

interfaith audience

suggested the faith leaders

stay in the room.

“Lock the doors”, said one, “until the

group

figures out how

to achieve world peace.”

Active Awareness

Perhaps

you have heard the expression

“If you want to hear God laugh

tell him your plans!”

Lives spent

multi-tasking,

making calendars for

planning ahead,

electronic devices

tracking our whereabouts

through

satellite GPS,

may call

for some TIMEOUT.

There can be so much

to do

in a day,

a week,

a month,

I realized

I needed

to find a perspective.

This is now

my mantra:

“I no longer

make a plan

for myself,

but respond

to the things in my life

that are part of

a pattern

or a plan

I cannot see.”

On the surface,

these words may sound

passive,

but they remind me

to strive for

active awareness.

While I may not

be

in control of events,

I can be ready

to respond.

Synchroncity and Opportunity

I see

synchronicity

In

the shocking murder of

nine people

in a Bible class

at the AME Emmanuel Church

in Atlanta

by a young white supremacist ,

many retailers no longer

selling Confederate flags,

the decision in Georgia

and other states

to remove the

Confederate flag

from public display.

President Obama’s

moving eulogy,

words moving into

singing

Amazing Grace with

all joining in.

Conjecture, publicity

To Kill a Mockingbird

 Harper Lee’s beloved book and movie

told by young Scout

seeing her father Atticus

through a child’s eyes.

The much anticipated

release of the

old, discovered

first book

taking place twenty years later.

Go Set A Watchman,

portraying Atticus

in a segregated  town,

challenged by a

climate, calling, demanding

equal rights for blacks and white.

An Off Broadway show

Hamilton

moves to Broadway

full of hip hop

historical characters played by

multi-racial cast.

Another play

Amazing Grace 

opens on

Broadway,

its writer, leaving his job

compelled to write this story

and produce it.

Publisher of Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

moves up release date

so we can read

his words written to

his fifteen year old son.

Growing up in Baltimore,

he feels the same

fear for his son

as week by week

there are

unnecessary murders

by police of young black men

barely adults.

Whatever events, words, books, musicals

might stir you,

move me,

the convergence

is an opportunity.

In the words of Amazing Grace

that forgiveness and redemption

are possible

regardless of sins committed,

“Amazing grace!

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost,

but now am found,

Was blind,

but now I see.”

What can I see now

that I did not see before?

What do you see

that you did not see before?

“‘Twas grace that taught

my heart to fear,

And grace my fears

reliev’d;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!”