Love

Introducing: Mindful Monday

I’m pretty excited to offer, beginning today, a weekly Mindful Monday blog post for my BHT readers.

MM is an inspirational writing and photo to help you open a channel for love, peace and joy to flow throughout your week.  I know you usually have a ton of stuff to do on Monday mornings, but please take a moment to ground yourself.  I promise Mindful Monday will be a short read so think of it as setting the tone for your week.  Let me know what you think and . . . Enjoy! (note: this was scheduled to depart my cloud early Monday morning, but thanks to operator error, is leaving mid-day–room for improvement is always good!)

I’m still thinking about the principle of Intention. Regular readers will recall that Intention is one of my power words for 2011. (see my January 11 post: http://www.bheretoday.com/2011/01/11/while-most-peoples-resolutions-wane-three-words-live/)

It occurs to me that setting a deliberate spiritual intention accomplishes little if not followed by a belief that a path will be provided.  In fact, the path offers the perfect melding of Intention with my other two words for 2011:  Source and Order.

Source is the way of orderly direction, or “demonstration,” to use an old-fashioned term.  A demonstration cannot not work so long as the focus stays squarely on the intention.

What we think about we bring about, or as within, so without.The Rev. Ed Townley, who writes Spirit Expressing  (http://www.spiritexpressing.org/), says he thanks God and acknowledges the joyful good in his life.  The critical follow-up step, however, is to allow the good to express, and to believe it is good.

Are you demonstrating your good today and do you believe it IS good?

Baseball and Joplin

You can thank the 1985 World Series, known as the I-70 Series, for this post.

Baseball aficionados will remember that the Kansas City Royals bested the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh and final game of the match-up.  For those unfamiliar with God’s game, having two teams from the same state play each other for the penultimate title in major league baseball is hysterically cool. 

For anyone unfamiliar with Missouri geography, a ribbon of interstate connects the two cities from west to east with roughly 200 miles in between.  It’s a sibling rivalry made more contentious because these two metropolitan areas are decidedly different in just about every way. 

Anyway, I went to Game Six that year, and watched as the World Series win not only cemented the Royals as the best team for that year, but also saw the birth of the annual mid-June tradition of recreating the I-70 Series during interleague play.

This year’s heated battle is more special than usual.  

You see, both ball clubs, along with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are united for a cause bigger than baseball:  helping in relief efforts for the victims and survivors of the May 22 EF5 (the deadliest) tornado that slammed through Joplin, MO.

The EF5 tornado numbers for this southwestern Missouri city of less than 43,000 are staggering:

  • 200 MPH winds, difficult to survive without the protection of an underground basement.
  • 6,953 homes and 800 businesses were completely destroyed.
  • 6 schools were destroyed – 2 High Schools, 2 Middle Schools and 2 Elementary Schools.
  • 141 people were killed; 1,300 were injured; 750 hospitalized; and 500 in shelters.
  • The estimated cost to rebuild Joplin is $1.9-$3 billion.

The Joplin tornado is considered to be the most deadly in modern record-keeping dating back to 1950 by the National Weather Service.

It is second only in the service’s records of an 1840 tornado in Natchez, Miss., when 317 people died on May 6. 

Dire health-related conditions

Now there are reports surfacing of additional deaths as tornado victims succumb to a nasty fungus called Zygomycosis which develops when soil or vegetative material becomes embedded under the skin.

“This fungus invades the underlying tissue and actually invades the underlying blood vessels and cuts off the circulation to the skin,” Dr. Uwe Schmidt, an infectious disease specialist at Freeman Health System in Joplin, told the Huffington Post.

So, please, keep praying for the good folks of Joplin, as well as for the hundreds of clean-up workers.

So much more than baseball

More than my love for baseball is love for my home state of Missouri.  I lived there 48 years of my life and there are two very special people living in Joplin who have not only been a part of my life for 44 of those 48 years, they played a significant role in my getting sober 20 years ago.

To say I love them is a grand understatement, as is saying I’m intensely relieved that they are, at least physically and materially, unharmed.  I can’t begin to imagine the everlasting damage to their psyches, however.

In the passing of our days, when we find ourselves taking what is right in front of us for granted, please pause, really look, really feel a connection with what you’re doing and with where you are because when we forget to be where we are today, we may just feel a sense of regret should it be quickly be ripped from us.

If a Teacher Appears, Will the Student Be Ready?

If we’re honest, the answer to the headline question is, “Yes. Uh, no. Well, I don’t know, maybe.”

How can we know when a teacher will appear?  I’m learning that teachers pop up all around me every day.  I tend to know I’m ready by the response I give to teachable moments like these:

  • You head out the door–late–to a job interview or an important meeting.  The car batter is dead.
  • You travel out of town for business only to discover when you arrive at your hotel that you forgot the shoes that go with your suit.
  • The dog whizzes on the carpet right before company arrives.
  • You have all the fixings for a favorite cake recipe and realize you’re out of eggs.

How long did it take you to realize that a teacher had appeared and you weren’t ready?

Can you relate to any or even all of these examples?  The list could go on forever but there is a common theme:  How do you respond?

Do you tend to think “why are all these crappy things happening to me?”

Do you search the heavens looking for ways to figure out how to fix the circumstance?

Do you sit around squawking about how you’ve been wronged?

I used to to a lot of all three, and truth be known, still do from time to time.  But I’ve found a much easier to deal with life on life’s terms.

I slow down.  I appreciate.  I notice.  I contemplate how good my life is.

Let me tell you a true story, about my friend Shannon.

Shannon is a single mom to three adorable children.  She’s an elementary school teacher, and one of the most loving and giving souls you would ever meet. 

Shannon is in her mid-forties.  Right before Christmas last year, after more than a year of steadily increasing back pain and having a hysterectomy, gall bladder removed and an abnormal mammogram.  After many, many tests and many, many doctors, she was diagnosed with metastasis to her thoracic vertebrae.

With the untold friends, her entire family (mom and dad, sister and brother plus their families), Shannon was ready.  She stood tall in front of perhaps one of the greatest teachers we humans can face:  cancer.

Shannon is slowly, but steadily recovering from a stem cell transplant and her prognosis is good.  She wrote in her most recent post from the CaringBridge.org journal site “Just tucked the kids in for the first time in nearly 50 days.”  Can you imagine?  She was quarantined from her children for nearly two months.

My God, what an incredible display of readiness. 

Obviously we know which story we would like to emulate. 

While Shannon’s is far more complicated that the fictional story, and in the range of life occurrences, one of the most glaringly difficult to stand to, in many ways it is just as difficult to face the teacher’s lessons contained within the fictional story.  

Life’s big deals force us to slow down and deal.  But the day-to-day alterations to our routines that create speed bumps in our 24-hour racetrack? How do we stand to those?

We’d like to think we’re spiritually fit enough to be ready when the massive occurs but what about the minimal?  Trust me, it can take you out just as quickly if you’re not spiritually ready.

I invite you to spend tomorrow and the next day and the rest of June observing how you, the student responds when teachers–great and small–appear.  Try not to judge your responses, but use them as exercises in preparedness.

Are you up for the challenge? Send me an email to bheretoday.bethw@gmail.com and let me know how you do. 

In honor of National Cancer Survivors Day, here’s my friend Shannon.  Let’s continue to pray for cures, and the will to STAND.  Shannon, you’re an inspiration and my hero. May God continue to bless you.

A Little of This and That

Writing sustains me. 

Sitting down with paper and pen to journal or opening my net book to string together a few sentences and paragraphs brings me joy and smooths out the rough patches that I’ve created in my life path.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I have created and/or invited every single pebble, stone and boulder that occupies space along my otherwise powder-sand trek through my days.

I know that when I focus on writing, my mental beach is pristine and free of debris. So why has it been more than two weeks since I’ve posted here?  Because–and this will shock those of you with a predilection for the 12 steps–I don’t always do what’s best for me.  In fact, there are times when I dig my feet in the sand–and get stuck.

Sticky-stuck times

Here’s the really cool part:  It doesn’t matter because I’m learning to love those quicksand times.

Huh?

At the core of all purpose work–my purpose being to create–is love.  Mindy Audlin believes–and I agree–that every step, even the ones that take us to failure, must be approached lovingly in order to fulfill my purpose. (for more about Mindy, go to http://whatifup.com/)

That sure eliminates the need for resentment, fear and anger.  But if they come up, I hit ’em with love.

I gotta love it all?

Yes!  Loving the wrong turns, the slipping into quicksand thinking, the actions of others that cause me pain, the circumstances that are circumtances that are way less than desirable–really loving them, not merely accepting or tolerating them–is the one surefire way to live on purpose.

We all have an unending supply of love available to us.  The well never dries so that I can dip my cup into love whenever I want and then upturn it on the top of my head.  Can’t you just picture love flowing all the way down your body, forming a protective shield?  Don’t you LOVE that image?

We have the power.  We have the tools.  We have the choice.  I do, you do, and if we throw God into the mix, heck, we can truly accomplish anything!

To Be or Not to Be?  Why not B Here Today?  (that Billy S., he was way before his time, wasn’t he?)

6 More Reasons to Abandon Your Thinking

I want, I want, I want to give, to love, to create, to serve, says your outside voice.

Too bad.  You don’t deserve.  You’re crazy.  You may want, but you cannot have, says your inside voice.

Which voice do you listen to?  See why it’s necessary to abandon your thinking?

In my last post, we explored six reasons to let go of destructive thinking.  Those six were:

1.  What we think about, we bring about.

2.  You will no longer be plagued by those “yeah, buts.”

3.  We sit in our own sh@t because it’s warm.

4.  You’re getting bloody and bruised from beating on yourself. 

5.  Much, if not all, of our thinking is erroneous.

6.  Our thinking is based on conclusions of people who lived in another time and place.

I just know you have, like me, mastered all six reasons and are chomping at the bit for the remaining six.  Not!  I do so love being facetious!

Here goes:

Reason #7 to Abandon Your Thinking:  Old patterns of thinking block us from contemplating new possibilities.

Or more correctly, according to scientific research, continued thought patterns actually form grooves or channels in the brain and when a repetitive thought enters the brain, it gravitates to its groove.  When those repeated thoughts are destructive, it’s not groovy.

The good news is that our brains are malleable and with concerted effort, we can create new grooves with repetitive good and positive thoughts.    I think I can, I think I can . . .

Reason #8 to Abandon Your Thinking:  We can become immobilized, unable to move one way or another off the high-center point of destructive thinking.

We brood, we stew, we ruminate on a change we want to make instead of allowing a “what if?” thought to enter our thought process.  For more information on how to “what if,” visit my friend Mindy Audlin’s masterful technique called What If Up at  http://whatifup.com/.

Reason #9 to Abandon Your Thinking:  To save our planet.

When you really become aware of the energy flow around your moods and their corresponding thought patterns, can you feel how negative comments or judgmental remarks create a feeling of toxicity?  We’ve all encountered the spoiled-sport who is a “downer” in an otherwise great situation. 

Imagine that particular situation multiplied. Now you’re in a location where most everyone is grumpy and tired.  They complain about everything without appreciating anything or anyone.  You can’t wait to escape that situation, right? 

Now imagine an entire neighborhood or town behaving so destructively.  Expand the toxic circles out to your state, your country, your continent and your world.  What do you see in your mind’s eye?

Our thoughts are powerful conductors of energy that can literally cause massive shifts in our planetary health.  Pretty cool, huh?

Reason #10 to Abandon Your Thinking:  We can stop wars.

I’m of the belief that collective, focused thinking can produce the most incredible, even seemingly impossible, outcomes.  Never underestimate-NEVER, NEVER-the power of positive thinking.

Our God-given powers are meant to be used for good deeds, not destructive ones.  Believe me, I am not naiive enough to believe that violence and wars can be stopped on a dime. 

But, what if they can?  Who’s to say?  Can we try stop wars by letting go of the old, outdated and manufactured methods of being in relationship with others?  As with the principle behind #9, this #10 reason begins with one-with-me, then me-with-you, then us-with-them.

Are you with me?

Reason #11 to Abandon Your Thinking:  So we can stop relying on outward methods of stimulation.

We turn to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, whatever makes us feel good about ourselves.  We find an elusive haven in the things when in reality, they are merely a replacement, a stand-in, for the One.  Instead of telling ourselves–and believing–that we’re craving all those things, can we crave God instead? 

I invite you to take a 21-day challenge with Lisa TerKeurst, author of Made to Crave, http://madetocrave.org/21-day-challenge/.

And finally:

Reason #12 to Abandon Your Thinking:  To Win Our Personal and Collective Victories.

Need I say more?

Just this, to paraphrase Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love (http://thedailylove.com/):

Ask.  Believe.  Act.  Release.  Receive.

Namaste, my friends. 

Photo courtesy of Jen @smiling_heart