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CATS: AND THE LESSONS THEY TEACH US

We have two cats. Both adopted us in 2001.

 

My husband and I were traveling in a motor home from Arizona to Florida.

 

MinkaAt a KOA in Texas, as we pulled onto our site, a homeless Tortie kitten raced across the campground, sat, and meowed outside our door. We let her in and named her Minka.

 

Three days later, a handsome grey shorthair did the same thing at a campground in Orlando. We named him Bailey.

 

Over the years, Minka and Bailey have given us many gifts and life lessons. They’ve shown us how to play, be silly, stretch, be flexible and graceful, cuddle, snuggle, nap, be present, savor scents and all our senses, stay nicely groomed, and more.

 

Last week, Bailey was diagnosed with widespread carcinomatosis. Our vet saidBailey that our sweet boy cat has perhaps two months to live. Probably less. Among the hard things: we are going to have to decide when to say when.

 

We’ve never had to put a pet down. We aim to preserve life. In fact, in our home we’ve had a catch-and-release program (for spiders, mice, and other unwelcomed house guests) in place since the 1980s.

 

But we must consider Bailey’s comfort and quality of life.

 

Among the good things: facing death hurts, and yet it can lead us toward greater love and compassion.  Continue reading

SPRING CLEAN

 

Clean heart“Create in me a clean heart, O God…”  

                                     ~ Psalm 51:10

I love this psalm.
Long ago I had a vinyl record of a song inspired by this passage. I can still play it in my mind. 

 

As winter ends and spring draws near, let’s make way for heart cleanings and clearings.

 

 

Intend to release judgments, regrets, and resentments. Consider using, today and every day, a song, a prayer, a ritual, an affirmation, some activity that helps you open to the grace of letting go, with love and compassion. 

                                                      

WHO SAYS THE WORLD IS GETTING BETTER?

Who says the world is getting better?Hope for the World

 

Well, the Dalai Lama for one.

 

Every day we are bombarded with news of gloom and doom. If we focus on that, we’re likely to conclude that the state of the world is worsening.

 

Please don’t despair.

 

According to His Holiness, humankind is maturing. We are also becoming more compassionate. Of course we still have a ways to go, but we are moving toward greater awareness of our connectedness and into a higher state of consciousness and love.

 

In several presentations, the Dalai Lama recalls discussing with the late Queen Mother this question about the world improving or worsening.

 

“The world is definitely getting better,” said Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. As an example, she pointed out that, when she was a child, there was no awareness in England around the issue of human rights. But in the course of the last century, human rights as a concept has become part of our world-wide universal consciousness.  While equal rights for all has certainly not yet been fully manifested, it is being realized a bit more day-by-day.

 

Please don’t give up. Become a conscious part of “the becoming better.” Focus on good news. Share it. Join the growing numbers of people practicing at least one random act of kindness every day. Be kind to you.

 

You matter. Your love. Your hope. Your caring. Your dreams. Your talent. You becoming more and more authentically you, with courage and compassion, is one of the ways the world is getting better.

ROCK MY SOUL

 

Isn’t it amazing how wisdom speaks to us in so many ways?

 

Have you ever had a song suddenly start playing in your mind? I’m pretty sure we’ve all had this experience sometime. It happened to me this morning with Peter, Paul, and Mary’s folk version of Rock My Soul.

 

Rock My SoulRock my soul in the bosom of Abraham…

Oh rock my soul… 

So high can’t get over it

So low can’t get under it

So wide can’t get round it

Oh rock my soul…

 

I hadn’t heard this song since 1969, when a hundred or so other St. Bonaventure students and I sang along with The Wooden Nickel performances on Saturday nights at the O.H. in Olean, New York. 

 

Back then, I didn’t know what the “it” was in

“can’t get over it…under it…or round it.”

And I still don’t know for sure.

 

But this morning I got a clue–at least about what “it” meant to me in the moment.

 

I was feeling a deep hurt.  

 

When the song started “playing,”
it felt like wisdom, gently guiding.

 

“Don’t try to ignore, deny, or stifle the hurting,” it said.

“You can’t climb over it, sneak under it, or run around it.

And it’s best not to.”

 

Upon hearing the inner music, I got it.

 

It is what it is and I need to let it be… as another song goes, speaking words of wisdom.

 

Let it be. Let it be, sang the Beatles.

 

Yes. Let it be.

When hurt fills you, what do you do?

Perhaps these songs sound true for you too.

 

Instead of trying to escape or suppress pain,

we can breathe, let it be,

and let ourselves be cradled in compassion

and rocked by Love Itself.

Wishing you all of life’s gifts and wonders, today and every day.

And, may your soul be gently rocked.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

Mothers Day

 

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Looks for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ” – Fred Rogers

 

Mindful of hope, let’s look for the helpers.
Mindful of beauty, let’s be the helpers.
Mindful of wisdom, let’s nurture others with this perspective.

 

 

With love and gratitude for my mom and all moms, Happy Mother’s Day!

THINKING OF YOU: CARING AS A FORM OF PRAYER

 

birthday flowers

“If, instead of a gem or even a flower,
we should cast a gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend,
that would be giving as the angels give.” – George Macdonald

 

 

Coming across this quote today stirred in me a memory of a study on prayer that I heard about many years ago.

 

 

In 1969 in Salem, Oregon, an organization known as Spindrift conducted a series of experiments involving seeds and prayer. First, two groups of rye seeds were planted in identical conditions. One group was prayed for and one was not. The prayed-for group grew better, with taller seedlings and more shoots. In further experiments, the researchers applied prayer to “seeds in crisis.” Salt was added to the watering can to stress the seeds as they tried to grow. The seeds that were watered with salt water and were prayed for grew higher then the healthy seeds that were not prayed for. They also grew taller than the prayed for seeds that received fresh water. The experiments were repeated with various types of seeds, and the results were consistent: Seedlings facing adversity and receiving prayer thrived.

 

Since I first heard about The Spindrift Study, I’ve often thought about how we are like those little seedlings with salt water poured upon them. In some form, we all have adversity rained upon us. We can grow greater Continue reading

CONSCIOUS PARENTING (AND GRANDPARENTING): WAYS TO NURTURE THE GIFTS IN ALL CHILDREN

Reading to NewbornAll children are born “gifted and talented.” While every child may not excel in athletic skill, artistic expression, or academic performance, every child does possess the resources of inner strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith.

 

 

 

Poets, prophets, and philosophers have, for centuries, been pointing the way to true prosperity and successful living by using our inner gifts. We hear this wisdom in all of the world’s religions. We can even find guidance in fables and folk tales.

 

 

 

Consider the classic Sleeping Beauty story, for example. The princess, named Beauty, pricks her finger on a poisoned Continue reading

THE INGREDIENT OF LOVE: YOU CAN’T SEE IT BUT IT’S THERE

bread 3A few days ago, my twin grandchildren made bread with me for the first time. At age two, they’re eager to help with everything.

 

 

I delighted in watching them add spoonfuls and scoopfuls of the ingredients. After the sugar, salt, yeast, water, milk, butter, and flour were mixed and kneaded, I said, “Oh, Alexis and Anthony. I almost forgot to add the love.”

 

 

Although lots of loving had been part of the process, I wanted to add love consciously. So I took a deep breath, smiled broadly, and kneaded a minute longer, while reciting, “Love, love, love…”

 

“I don’t see the love, Nana,” said Anthony. “Where is it? I want to see it.”  Continue reading