Archive | June, 2013

Opportunity knocks

21 Jun

My mom has a dog, Belle,  who is an eternal optimist. If you enter into the area of the kitchen where food is prepared, she will be right there ‘just in case’. She doesn’t whimper or put her paws on you, she just is very present. If you happen to fling a bit of cheese (or lettuce, peppers, cucumber, apple, banana, etc.) her way, it doesn’t get within 2 feet of the floor. She’s ready to receive her good.

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Belle the optimist

That’s the way it is with so much, you gotta show up and pay attention.

My sister and I are in Oregon helping mom out on the farm for a while. We’ve been very busy, but Wednesday we had a chance to go exploring. So of course we went to say hello to the ocean. We went to Cape Arago, there is a lookout and then trails to other lookouts. (there is no beach, just rock and cliff.) On our way back from one of the lookouts, there was a partly overgrown path going the opposite way from the ocean. It was paved the same as the other paths, and there were no signs saying we couldn’t, so since we have a sense of adventure (and were wearing long pants) we decided to follow the untaken path. This is what we could see at the top.
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Once we’d gone down the trail a bit, we saw this:
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Now I’m starting to think that this might take us all the way down to the cove, not just another lookout. Ooo how exciting. There were some big steps, but together little sister and I made it, and we were rewared with this:

Our own little cove. No people, only the sounds of the birds and the waves, and the sea lions on the distant Simpson Reef. (The island jutting out in the middle of the picture.) It was lovely, serene, I dare say holy.

We wouldn’t have found it if we had stayed on the easy to find trail or if the route seemed too difficult. (This is the height of the hill we hiked down and then of course back up.)
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We had to say yes. We had to say I’m willing to go someplace new, I don’t know what I’ll find, and maybe I’ll find nothing, which is okay too. Of all the places we stopped and things we looked at, this is my favorite, it’s pretty sure, but it’s special because we dared to find it. Because we had to work together to get there and back safely. Because on that day, maybe no other humans set foot there.

On many topics it might not be wise to take advice from the dog, (I’m a cat person after all) but on this, I think Belle has it figured out.

Show up, expect blessings, take the adventure. If it doesn’t work out how you hoped, show up next time.

Wishing you a great adventure,
Ra

The prosperity of giving away

15 Jun

Last week I graduated from seminary and was ordained as a Unity minister. That in itself is enough fodder for several blogs, but today I’m thinking about prosperity.

During the interview process that is a part of achieving ordination,  I was asked what is prosperity.  I said that while it includes money, that’s not the whole picture. To me it’s about being in the flow of giving and receiving in many ways. I share and give as I feel led, and receive gratefully the blessings that come my way. I have always had what I needed even in precarious moments.

This week was move out week. I have been blessed to live in student housing at Unity Village for over 2 years, but since I graduated, it was time to move out. As we don’t know where our church destination is yet, most everything is going in
storage for the interim. What does this have to do with prosperity? We gave (most) everything away.

See, as many many people in their 20’s do, I had accumulated most of my furniture in a hand me down fashion. Which is very helpful when one is on a budget, and it’s neat to look a round a room and think, oh so and so gave me that. Actually, I’d accumulated some pretty good stuff, but not necessarily our style, or having any cohesive design connection.  It’s been 10 years since I got my undergraduate degree, and now as we’re heading to a whole new world as a minister and her family, it seemed to be a good time to release some things to the next person who needs them. I didn’t see the use in storing and moving anything I don’t totally love for an undetermined time period. I mean really, sure the pink easy chair was comfy, but it was pink, and I’d hauled it around since my first apartment in Chicago, almost 10 years ago,
and did I mention it was pink? So off it went to the next 20 something college grad looking to find her place in the world (and she likes pink).

But there is something more there, because I have to believe that the resources to replace what was given will emerge. That something better is awaiting around the bend. I will find a perfect comfy chair for me that is even better than the one I gave away, and I’ll be able to buy it in whatever color I want! I think it’s ok to have a sparse home for a while as we find what is right for us.

Now I’m not saying that one needs to throw everything out and buy new, not at all. But I also don’t believe I need to hold on to the things that served me once but don’t any longer. How cool to say, here take my sofa, and take this crate of food I can’t store too. It is exciting to see the joy of the people receiving and it feels freeing to let go of the
items. While I was sorting clothes I held an item and though, if I’m not sure I want this, would it give joy to someone else? That was enough to drop many items in the goodwill pile.

In short, I gave away anything that wasn’t me.

We’re starting our new chapter lighter, more authentic, assured that our needs are abundantly met. What a prosperous life!

PS, I wrote much of this on the plane to my mom’s in Oregon. I took a very serious pic for your viewing pleasure.

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excuse me your ism is showing

3 Jun

I haven’t posted in a long time. I’ve been planning to make my comeback, but there’s something up that just won’t wait.

Several times in the last few months I have been in the presence of someone who was about to tell a blonde joke. The joke teller looked around checking for blondes before telling the joke and I was quite clear both times that I would be offended even if there were no blondes within 100 miles. (I have brown and teal (and gray) hair). I told one of the people that it would be the same as someone making a joke about them simply because they were tall, a genetic trait they have no control over.

But I knew there was more to that. This morning this whole thing was on my mind, why does it matter so much to me? Well there are several elements to a blonde joke, the joke is typically about how the blonde is dumb and there’s another part, the blonde is typically a female. Oh oh, I said it out loud.

I grew up in a utopian world where men and women were equal and as a girl growing up I knew I could do and be whatever I wanted. Gay friends were normal, friends of other racial and cultural background were included, and people with disabilities were part of the family as well. Maybe because of this, I still am shocked when I come across this type of degradation from people who would not otherwise say such things about people.

I have a friend who has a daughter. She just finished 5th grade the top in her school and with national honors. She also is a talented tumbler and cheerleader. She happens to have long blonde hair. Should she give up academics and just be a cheerleader because as a blonde that’s all she’s qualified to do? Your blonde joke suggests that.

Another friend has a granddaughter who has been accepted into the accelerated program in her school. This kid could spell restaurant in first grade, along with many other big words. She is sweet and playful, but she also has long blonde hair. I suppose she should just stick to being a sweet young thing, after all, your joke says that’s all she can comprehend.

I mean REALLY!!!!! Either of these girls could be a future Hillary Clinton (who has been Secretary of State and Governor of New York), Meg Whitman (who is CEO of Hewlett Packard), or Ginni Rometty (who is CEO of IBM). These three examples of highly successful and smart women also happen to be blonde. They could write a book that inspires millions to take a spiritual journey like Elizabeth Gilbert, or anchor the nightly news with poise and grace like Diane Sawyer.

I hope these brilliant little girls look to women like these and many more as an inspiration, instead of believing in some dumb blonde joke.

I hope that as a society we can learn that a person’s beauty and worth have little to do with what one sees on the outside. I hope that as a society we can realize that when we put someone down, because they look different, act different, talk different, think different, we’re putting everyone down.

Could we learn to ask ourselves why we feel the desire to degrade someone? Why does it make us feel better? Does it?

Our words create our world, maybe you say it’s just one little joke. But it’s not, it’s magnified every time you speak it, every time it is repeated, and by every ear who hears it.

Come on, be a part of a world that is safe and possible for everyone.