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The Bible TV Miniseries: This Is It!

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When you read this post, the first night of the epic television docudrama and miniseries, The Bible, is history.

I’m eager to hear your thoughts and impressions.  Maybe you watched it and plan to tune in for the next four Sunday nights.  Maybe you didn’t see it because you didn’t know it was scheduled to air (on the History channel, reportedly the only network interested in the project).  Maybe you don’t care–and that’s okay with me.

Hollywood couple Mark Burnett (producer of Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice and The Voice) and Roma Downey (Touched By An Angel), created The Bible and see its story as a love story between God and mankind, according to an article in Charisma News.  

What’s not to love about a good love story?  No doubt there will be diverse interpretations of the series, from evangelical to mystical.  I hope that love and tolerance are at the heart of all the conversations.

Mega-church leaders like Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes and Rick Warren, plus many community-based churches have built curriculums around The Bible.  It’s getting a secular push too from movie theater trailers (that’s where I first learned of it) and Facebook.

Let the conversation be inclusive

The airing of The Bible has the potential to be the modern-day Ten Commandments; in fact, with electronic and social media, interest will probably surpass the Charlton Heston classic.  I know it holds my fascination as both an entertaining movie and as a storytelling portrayal of the best book ever written.

Here’s my hope for the conversation around The Bible:  that no one–from the Bible’s literal interpretation believers to New Thought followers–claim an exclusive view.  Please, let’s be inclusive.

Joel Osteen says The Bible will “impact believers and non-believers alike,” according to Urban Christian News.  From my vantage point, about seven hours prior to its airing, I’d like to take it a step further.  I think the show’s impact will reach far beyond traditional church ideas.

While churches discuss its significance, perhaps the miniseries will kick-off a pre-Easter tide of community conversation as well.

Let love be the keystone

In the end, The Bible is entertainment.  Its special effects are eye-popping, reason enough for watching.

The real significance of its entertainment, however, is the impact it has on its viewer.  Many people simply want to be entertained–the “watch and walk away ” crowd.  Nothing wrong with that.

Many others–myself included–want the movie’s entertainment to leave us thinking.  What is the show’s meaning?  What is it’s purpose?

Could it be love?  Is The Bible the ultimate love story?  If so–and I’m going out on a limb since I’m writing this pre-airing–then let’s let love be the focal point of any conversation we have.

Tolerate those with whom you’re discussing the movie.  Accept their right to their beliefs without trying to change their minds.

Most of all, in any conversation you have, let love set the tone, let love be the keystone.

I predict amazing results and I can’t wait to hear yours.  Will you post them in the comments section below?

Thank you, Inspiration Showers, for the photo.

Love the Life You Live

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Whatever the circumstances of your life, I hope you never stop loving and that you never stop reaching for love.

When the drama of life takes a downturn, it’s really okay to take some time to feel a little sorry for yourself.   Heck, I spent a few days doing just that this past week after being laid off from my job.

Any more time than that can be dangerous and we end up “sitting in our own s&^t because it feels warm,” as my dear friend John famously says.

Yes, dark clouds do appear on your horizon from time to time.  But how long will you let them block you from that which creates the ultimate sunshine:  love?

Stay in love with life

“Where there is love, there is life.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Yes, it’s hard to keep on loving when you feel like you’ve been shat upon.  I know, I felt that too this past week.  But ask yourself how victimhood will help you in the end.

This is where being present to what’s right in front of you is really beneficial.

What are the things you love to do the most?  Do those things and do them with vigor.

We have the gift of blindness in that we can’t see the details of the future.  So why not assume that what is coming for you is good and that you’re worthy?

In the meantime, keep on lovin’ life.

Remember you can write the next chapter however you choose.

“I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Would you like to read a short fairy tale?

There once was a little girl who had a dream.  She wanted to write, to help others with her words.

She set off to learn her trade and discovered that much of it came naturally.

She took a job, then took a turn, then another, then one more.

She moved further and further from her dream until one day she woke up in a foggy cloud familiar to many.  The fog was so thick and she could only see about three feet in front of her eyes.

One step, then two, and a huge boulder loomed in front of her.  Oh, how she grew angry.  She pounded fists against rock, crying, “I hate you for blocking my path!”

Suddenly, the fog lifted enough for the girl to see two grassy tracks, one on each side of the boulder.

One led to loss and fear and hate.

The other led to relief, excitement and unknown opportunities, fun and adventure.

Yes, she thought.  That one is the path for me.  The latter path is the way to go.

Wait . . . what is that I see now?  Could it be?  Yes, yes it is!  It’s my dream!

The little girl–now grown into a middle-aged woman, was so happy.

And so grateful for the boulder.

“Do all things with love.” ~ Og Mandino

Photo courtesy of kconnors

Phrases of Fear

I couldn’t go to sleep after the U.S. presidential election was called on Tuesday night.  My heart felt so weighed down by the sadness emanating from my Romney supporter friends.

Let me say right off that this isn’t a political post.

It’s a post about fear and I’m sharing it with you because fear seemed to be the one common denominator weaving between both parties during the election season (which seemed to stretch on ad nauseum).

Each side did its best to promote fear:  Obama’s camp stirred up images of women socially regressing 50 years.  Romney’s people stoked the fires of financial ruin for our country.

Valid as each fear may be, the sheer repetition of the messages was hypnotic and spell-casting.

Simple phrases of fear

As I write this piece on the morning after the late-night news coverage, I’m thinking of another kind of fear:  self-prophesied fear.

We say things like, “I’m afraid I will . . . ” or some variation of the phrase.

Here’s another:  “Well, I don’t know, because what if . . . ”

Check yourself to see how often today these phrases of fear (or others) cross your mind or your lips.

Do innocent words like, “I could do that, but . . . ” turn into fear-based phrases?

Perhaps (I hope!) not all the time.  But those “yeah, but” phrases can wallop the hell out of your moment-to-moment serenity.

You cannot live your present moment in mindfulness and fear.

Can’t be done.

Right Now Meditation

There’s a choice to make, thank God.  I use a tool called Right Now Meditation.  It’s a simple and easy way to quickly center yourself when your mind threatens to throw you into a potentially disastrous area.

Right now, I’m safe and warm.

Right now, I’m focused on scribing these words from my thoughts to paper.

Right now, I’m grateful for the morning beverage beside me and the hot shower that awaits me.

Right now, I feel the support of this quiet, peaceful room.

Right now, in this moment, I have everything I need to make this moment complete.  Thank you, God.

I am always filled with gratitude when I practice the Right Now Meditation.  It’s portable, so you can take it with you wherever you go!

One place I’m not going to take it today, at least right now, is the land of fearful phrases!

Why Brené Brown Grabs Your Attention

“Knowledge is important, but only if we’re being kind and gentle with ourselves as we work to discover who we are.”

Goodbye shame, blame and guilt!  Hello compassion, courage and worthiness.

Finally!  Someone is telling me that I don’t have to read every self-help book, attend the latest guru’s seminars (with or without hot-coal walking) or dig through the rubbish in my inner trash can to become fully present to the beauty of who I am.

The answers to some of the most important questions you’ll ever ask yourself don’t have to be gained by a rigorous and intense self fact-finding mission.

As an over-analyzing, look-at-all-the-angles kind of gal, I tend to wear out before I get my answer.  If you’ve ever secretly (or not-so-secretly) hoped and prayed for a simpler, softer truth process, then Brené Brown’s work will get your attention too.

It’s a gentler option than brow-beating.  Full disclosure, however:  the core work is still necessary.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy–the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Brené writes at length about the stories we tell ourselves.  One of my sponsors is also fond of asking me if what I’m describing to her is factual or a story I’ve created loosely based on the facts.
Translated, that means, “Beth, are you letting your emotions blow things WAY out of proportion?”
It takes greasy, grimy gopher guts to really own our stuff.

If you’re ready to brave some of the darker corners of your story, check out Brene’s work on vulnerability and shame.  She has inciteful–and entertaining–TED talks and is popping up everywhere these days.

If I were inclined to travel to the University of Houston in the summertime (which I’m not) to sit in on one of her classes, she probably wouldn’t be there.  Dr. Brown is bending a lot of ears with her Wholehearted Living concept; I think she’s even heading to an Oprah taping later this month.

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.  It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in  the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.  It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

Her way of combining story-telling about her personal self-love journey–peppered with no-nonsense sentences like, “I am so pissed off!”–with wise counsel focused heavily on authenticity, is what appeals to me.

Brené Brown is a self-identified shame researcher who also teaches shame resilience.  By the way, we all possess shame.  ALL of us. She believes–and will convince you too–that embracing resilience techniques will change the world.

Change starts with conversations that reveal our vulnerability, by sharing your experiences so that someone else has hope for change.

“We can talk about courage and love and compassion until we sound like a greeting card store, but unless we’re willing to have an honest conversation about what gets in the way of putting these into practice in our daily lives, we will never change.  Never, ever.”

Is there an experience in your life that brought you face-to-face with your imperfections?  How did it change you?

The referenced quotes are from Brené’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection.

 

How Do You Avoid the Void?

(It’s relocation week for me and the B Here Today home office! While I’m packing and cleaning and moving, please enjoy this archived, slightly updated post originally published on May 27, 2010.)

How does one grow in spiritual understanding?

My sponsor pointed out to me last night that even after the alcoholic obsession is lifted, we still try to fill a so-called void with temporary fixes.  Food is the big one for me right now.

Then I justify and rationalize that I somehow deserve this one thing–ice cream, cake, M&Ms, whatever–as a payoff for all the emotional garbage I’m dealing with.

So here’s the question:  If I acknowledge that I’m behaving destructively to mask feelings about my stuff, then why can’t I, just as easily, make a decision not to behave destructively?

And just what does that decision look like?

There is only one decision that trumps all the self-destructive ones.

One word answer:  God.  Let God fill the void.

Is it that simple, a mere invitation?  That is what I’m told by tons of men and women far wiser than I.

I think the invitation is a meditative practice, a quiet focusing on God as I breathe, letting Spirit fill me, expanding into that void so that there is no room for anything else.  In truth, nothing else is needed, contrary to the b.s. my ego feeds me.

Where am I now?  I’m in that murky area of wishing and wanting things to be different, struggling to think that I can’t–CAN’T–take any more stress in my life.  As always, trying to make things too hard.  That’s my history, afterall, anything worth having has to be gained through hard work, sweat and dogged determination.

Break a decision into mini-D’s

How difficult can a decision be?  Especially if THE decision can be broken down into Mini-D’s (just couldn’t bring myself to write mini-bites).  Maybe the first Mini-D is done.  I can change the way I approach the consumption of food.

Second Mini-D:  I’ll ask for help.

Third Mini-D:  Breathe God in.  Nothing formal.  No big “ohm” moment.  Just relax and breathe God in.

Fourth Mini-D:  Try to keep my God awareness centered; each time I think about my breathing, I think of God.

Fifth Mini-D:  Imagine God smiling.  The omnipresent spirit knows I am worthy and good and it seems as if the me in this exercise has a glimmer of belief too.

What do you use to fill the void that we used to plug with alcohol, drugs or other destructive behavior?  How can you do things differently to get yourself to a better place?