Friday, October 29, 2010

Let a double portion of her spirit be on me*

Spiritual resource to share:  fixed influence

In the last six months, I have been to three memorial services -- each of women who were my mentors in different aspects of my life.  One was my mother, my life mentor, another a designer, and another a Christian Science nurse.

Each time I attended one of the memorial services, I was hit by a concentrated dose of what was best about these three women:  the unconditional love of my mother, the spiritual approach to design resulting in enduring expressions of home and comfort of my designer friend and the universal and open welcome of my Christian Science nurse friend.

Their enduring spiritual qualities I realized were forever.  I could take these qualities with me and more than appreciate them and see them all around me, I could be these qualities of love, comfort and welcome.
I have heard and will share that once you know someone spiritually, you will never lose them.  This is true.  This has healed me of grief and inspired me to carry on what I have learned from these women and to build on the foundation that they have given me.

I have written a few blogs about my mother (click here) and a couple about my designer friend ( click here), but my Christian Science nurse friend, I have yet to write about.

Her service was memorable in that it was given in Arabic and English, and readings were from the Christian Science textbooks and the Koran.  The theme that continued to play out as we talked among ourselves was her humble mothering and, over a lifetime, she and her American husband took in many international students who found a home away from home in their house. She and her husband took in many many people who were needing a place to stay.  I was one of them who, when I was hurting and feeling lost, she and her husband gave me a place to stay and compassionate companionship.

Her first marriage did not last.  It was to a Muslim and they had two beautiful sons.  In a story of forgiveness and redemption that has yet to be fully told, she became stepmother to her ex-husband's three sons when their mother died, giving her a total of five sons. 

The people coming to the service showed the breadth and depth of my friend's love.  Muslim and Christian, Christian Scientist and Catholic, all generations were sharing memories of her, her cooking, her help, her love.  She must have nursed hundreds of patients and friends and mentored dozens of nurses in her lifetime.

What was so amazing to me - and still is - was her humility and generosity and her capacity for unselfishness and forgiveness.  She was so easy to be around, so welcoming.  Could I ever be like that?  I hope so.  Like the story of Elisha, who asked that a double portion of Elijah's spirit be given to him when Elijah passed on, (see II Kings 2: 9), I was imagining if I could have even a tenth of her spirit, I would be doing well!

Grief has turned into commitment to carry on the love and comfort and welcome of these remarkable women.  And in carrying that commitment out, I can never lose them.

* See the story of Elijah and Elisha from II Kings chapter 2

Friday, October 15, 2010

a band of rowdy angels

Spiritual resource to share: victory

We are never alone when overcoming challenges.

I’ve written a number of times about my experiences with whitewater kayaking and stories with my kayaking buddies. One time, in particular, stands out. There was a big rapid under the bridge and we were all trying to surf the wave. The river was such that you could stand on the shores as well as be up by the bridge and watch all of the action. So when my friend's turn came to surf the wave, we were all cheering and encouraging her as loudly as we could. And once she caught the wave and surfed it, we all whooped and hollered!

When my turn came, it was the same thing. It was like we had our own crowd of rowdy angels cheering us on. Any trepidation I felt, any doubt as to my ability to actually have enough skill and balance to do this – and in front of all my friends - just vanished in the raucous joy of it all. The blatant denial of fear and anxiety, the blending with the awesome power of the river, the shared experience and triumphant satisfaction of accomplishment was just heady stuff.

It made me realize that anytime we are facing a challenge, we go through some sort of maze of doubt and fear that we learn to overcome by blending our thought with the power of God, Truth and Love. We are emboldened by the cheers, prayers (and testimonies of healing!) of others until finally, the limitation is broken and some supposed law of impossibility is shattered.  Then we stand as God’s own image and likeness – free, whole, and satisfied.

Whether it is a wave, or a rescue or a healing….. every challenge we undertake puts us on stage to demonstrate that all good is possible. Every challenge we overcome is met with joy and adds to the great momentum that good is possible, that imprisoning sorrow’s days are numbered and that a restoration to home and health is inevitable. We hasten on that day when we are no longer afraid that we can ever be separated from God, Love.

And this band of rowdy angels keeps cheering us on to greater demonstrations of God’s goodness and peace and provision.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

" repente soy libre."


El mundo celebra con alegría el rescate de los mineros chilenos. Uno de los artículos del periódico “Christian Science Monitor” empieza así: ¡el rescate de mineros une un mundo fracturado!”, y me doy cuenta de que estoy lista para participar en la alegría.

¿Qué es aquello que resuena en lo profundo de cada uno de nosotros?

Ser liberado de cualquier esclavitud – estar en una prisión apretada de roca o de miedo; de duda o de vergüenza; de carencia, de manipulación política o de dolor. ¡Podemos ser todos liberados!

¡Qué esperanza existe!, ¡Qué poder esto revela! ¡Tenemos la posibilidad de aspirar inspiración fresca y tener acceso a un cielo infinito de posibilidades!

¡El poema de Virginia Thesiger “la Curación” * describe perfecto esa libertad!

Después de mucho tiempo, mucho tiempo
en mi apretada prisión,
con mis grilletes familiares
pesado en cabeza y corazón;
después de mucho tiempo, mucho, mucho tiempo,
de repente veo las barras
con los ojos Dios me dio,
toco las cadenas
con la mano que Dios me hizo,
y de repente, de repente,
(¡Ah! pero mi corazón vuela del sueño
¡como una ave que canta!)
de repente soy libre.

Poema del libro "Ideas on Wings" (c) The Christian Science Publishing Society
Gracias a Yamile para ayuda en la traducción.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

".....suddenly, I am free."

Spiritual resource to share:  freedom from imprisonment


The world is celebrating with relief the rescue of the Chilean mine workers.  One of The Christian Science Monitor's headlines on this story reads: Chile mine rescue unites a fractured world, and I find I am all to ready to join in on the joy!

What is it about this story that so profoundly resonates with each of us?

Being freed from any bondage – be it in a tight prison of rock or of fear; of doubt or of shame; of lack, of political manipulation or of pain. We can all be freed!

What hope this unleashes, what power it reveals! We all have the possibility of breathing in fresh new insights and having accessible to us once again – an infinite sky of possibilities!

Virginia Thesiger’s poem “The Healing”* sings this freedom perfectly!

After so long, so long
in my tight prison,
with my familiar shackles
heavy on head and heart;
after so long, so long, suddenly I see the bars
with the eyes God gave me,
touch the chains
with the hand God made me,
and suddenly, suddenly
(Oh but my heart flies out of the dream
like a singing bird!)
suddenly I am free.

*Ideas on Wings © The Christian Science Publishing Society

Thursday, October 07, 2010

There is a God - revisited

Spiritual resource to share: a response to atheism

Omnipresent by Sonja Maneri

This post was first written about a year and a half ago. The ideas and the articles included  still offer fresh thought today.  Enjoy!

I've read that there is a group who is now sponsoring bus ads in certain parts of the country that say “There is no God.” I obviously disagree. And this bit of news gave me pause to consider why I disagree.

I understand God to be, not a changeable benevolent uber person, but a force, a power. I understand that we are made in the image and likeness of God, not that God is made in the image and likeness of man. God is Love. God is Truth. God is intelligence. So to say that there is no God is like saying there is no Love. There is no Truth. There is no intelligence. Sorry. Can't go there.

I see mankind's yearning for Truth and Love every day. And I see individuals' responses to Truth and Love result in bodily systems improving, relationships mending and anxiety melting. A natural sense of balance, of harmony – expressed physically, mentally, socially and even financially! – is restored.

And the irony of it is that people who make these claims probably are intelligent loving individuals who feel a need to share some sense of their Truth, which in this case is that they feel that there is no God.

There is a fascinating article from The Times Online in which an atheist describes why he believes Africa needs God. (Read As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God by Matthew Parris.) As I was reading, I found myself agreeing with a number of points.

The article did a brilliant job of defining one’s own consciousness as a belief system, a philosophical/spiritual framework and a structure of thought. He explained the structure of the rural African thought and how the Christian thought powers through “the crushing passivity of the people’s mindset” a mind-numbing type of group–think. He recognized what I also recognize to be the effects of Christianity:

It brings spiritual transformation, it unifies us and makes us less selfish. Christianity feeds hope and enlivens and energizes our work. It gives us that holy curiosity that Albert Einstein cautioned us never to lose. It liberates the individual from hierarchy and group think by giving direct access to a source of unconditional Love, of Truth and intelligence.

Others may argue that the Christian thought is made up of fairy tales and satisfies those who are childish and simple. To me, I see that Christianity, as explained in Christian Science, brings out what is inherently natural to all of mankind. It explains the science of being. The very practice of Christianity operates out of a belief system that uncovers the most primitive and root forms of who we all are – the very image and likeness of Love. It is what keeps life going.

So is God only needed in Africa? I think that wherever there is a belief system that includes limitation, elitism, oppression, or fear - that God is needed there. And sometimes these systems exist in our very own churches, sometimes whole cultures are awash in these systems. These exist in the US as much as in Malawi.

The author writes: “When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds - at the very moment of passing into the new - that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old.” Sometimes I feel the same way when explaining my Christian Science perspective to one who feels that God doesn’t exist. We may not have a common language. But I believe we have a common spirit and a common need to make sense of the world we live in and a common need for Truth and Love and intelligence. This need goes deeper than language or affiliation with a group.

And the answer to this need is a felt presence of peace and joy. And no doubt the atheist, the African, the Christian, and all of mankind have felt this and recognize this presence at some time. To me, this presence is God.  It is the very life-force that nourishes and sustains us all.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A spiritual response to bullies and being bullied

Spiritual resource to share: other's articles!

I have been praying about the recent reports of suicides, most recently of the suicides of a number of young men who had been bullied.

A spiritual healing response is demanded here.  I had planned to write a blog about this, but found Evan Mehlenbacher's interview on "A spiritual approach to bullying"

Evan's article is so thorough, it is well worth while to read it through.  He approaches the topic from the point of view of those who have been bullied and those who have bullied others; bullying when it happens with young kids, in organizations, in workplaces, in the military, or even in nightmares; how to protect and pray about bullying, and more.

Throughout the article, the power of love is explained and shown as an effective way to rid ourselves of any bullying tendency, and to strengthen our efforts in healing bullying.

Here is an excerpt:

...some of the different forms that bullying can take—for example, name calling, spreading gossip, or rumors about people. It could be making faces, it could be obscene gestures. A little more aggressive—on the level of verbal abuse, malicious teasing, or threats.

It could be physical in the form of hitting, kicking, pushing, choking, to get our way or to get someone to submit to our will. It could be less obvious, such as excluding someone from a group that they would otherwise be a member of.

In the workplace, it could be sexual harassment or just workplace harassment. In relationships, it could be a form of date or marital violence, child abuse. On a larger scale it could be the use of physical force in the form of war, terrorism. In the community, it could be gang attacks.

And they even have what’s called cyber bullying now, where, through the use of e-mail, slandering people, spreading malicious rumors, or just spamming you with a huge amount of overload e-mails. It takes many different forms.

But the bottom line is the bully is striving for power and control over a situation, and they work through fear and manipulation. They usually have no remorse about what they’re doing and show little sympathy.

The good thing is, it’s not normal behavior. This is not the way God created any of us. No one was born a bully. And that’s what we need to remember today. That’s why we can be healed of bullying and its effects, because it’s not ingrained into anyone’s behavior to be that way.

And so healing is possible. We can experience a transformation of character there and bring out more of the loving child of God that was put there to begin with.
... I’ve learned how to deal with bullies. I’ve learned a lot of spiritual lessons. And one of them is that love is a power that can transform an ugly situation to a better situation. It can not only protect us from being abused by the bully thought, it can also liberate the bully from the thoughts that cause them to act that way in the first place.

This is an important article.  And please continue with me and many others in healing this imposition on us all.
Again, click here to see the whole article

Friday, October 01, 2010

We're talking about a revolution

Spiritual resource to share: books

“…. Therefore, man is not material, he is spiritual.” So concludes Mary Baker Eddy’s scientific statement of being. And to me this explains the paradigm shift going on today.

There seems to be a shift going on in science (example: notes on quantum physics), in theology (example: see Phyllis Tickle’s book The Great Emergence) and in medicine (example: see Dr. Larry Dossey’s work). The number of books and studies that point to this shift can be mind-boggling. I would LOVE to hear of other books and articles that you are all reading and if you are finding this transformational shift going on as well.

Recently, I went to a professional conference on Christian Science healing ( aka Christian Science Association) which renewed and deepened my understanding of Mary Baker Eddy’s discovery of Christian Science as a “revolutionary science”.

Revolutionary science was explained in the context of yet another book on my list of must reads – Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (also see an outline and study guide for your own personal use).

A revolutionary science is a bold replacement of an old paradigm of thought with a new one – providing a new way that challenges long held assumptions. It totally changes the way a person sees the world. Is this not Christian Science?

The nature of spirit and matter, mankind’s inherent search for meaning and sustainable health and well-being are shifting to a more practical and primitive spiritual basis. And we are right in the middle of it! What a ride.