Monday, August 21, 2017

Once to Every Man and Nation

This hymn popped into my mind recently. I used to love singing this hymn when I used to go to church - a lot for the music, but also for the thought. A time comes to choose, although I'm not sure the it comes only once in the life of a person, a generation or a nation. 

James R. Lowell, the author of the hymn lyrics, wrote a 90 line poem in 1845 as a protest against the Mexican American War. A part of the poem was put to music as a hymn. But, whatever Lowell's reason for writing these words, I think we really are at the cusp of choosing which direction to go - for the good or evil side. I don't think that you have to be a follower of Christ, or even believe in God, to appreciate the meaning of this hymn. The lyrics are: 

Once to every man and nation,
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision,
Offering each the bloom or blight, 
And the choice goes by forever, 
’Twixt that darkness and that light. 

Then to side with truth is noble,
When we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
And ’tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses
While the coward stands aside, 
Till the multitude make virtue 
Of the faith they had denied. 

By the light of burning martyrs,
Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calv’ries ever
With the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth, 
They must upward still and onward, 
Who would keep abreast of truth. 

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet the truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown, 
Standeth God within the shadow, 
Keeping watch above His own. 

You can hear the hymn here.

As I said above, I truly believe that we, each and everyone of us, are at a time to choose. But I also think that the choosing does not necessarily mean that the action we take is necessarily the same for everyone. I don't expect the deeply introverted to be in the front lines of protest marches. Not everyone can write blog posts. I do hope that as many as possible of us, including myself, will speak up in when people are shamed, ridiculed or treated badly wherever that takes place. We can sign petitions, call our legislators, give money to causes as we can. I believe that it all has to happen at the local, state and federal levels. 


Choosing can be letting our light shine in anyway that is meaningful to us. It can be reaching out a hand. It can be standing up and saying no. It can be camping out at the next Standing Rock. It can be signing up for a Muslim registry, god forbid it ever comes to be, whether or not you are Muslim. (I read that all the Danes showed up wearing the Jewish Star during WWII) It can be following the steps of Martin Luther King, Jr. I know someone who is on her second water blessing journey. For some it can be many things at once. 


My thought is that, if we all let our lights shine in our own ways, we will create, finally, a new way of being. A way of being where we have a theology/philosophy of personhood rather than a religion of materialism. We will have a way of being where everything we do comes from a place of heart, love, compassion, kindness, and mercy rather than hate, fear and greed. 


Now I just need the courage and discipline to follow through. 

The first photo is by Yaoqi LAI.
The second photo is by Mike Labrum
The third photo is meditation image number 53 from Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be (here)

Monday, August 14, 2017

And Marley's Ghost Said



Scrooge comments to Marley's ghost that he had been a good businessman. Marley then says: "Business! Humanity was my business! Common welfare was my business. Mercy. Kindness. These were all my business...."

I'm not sure why Scrooge and Marley popped into my head this morning. I did ask for my angels and guides to help me come up with an idea for my weekly blog post, so possibly that is where this idea came from. 

Possibly because mercy and kindness seem to be in short supply, at least if all you pay attention to is the news. Because, well the news tends not to report on mercy and kindness as a counter balance to the stuff the news regularly reports. And, maybe because the idea of mercy and kindness doesn't seem to be occurring to the current US administration or whatever governmental body you might think of. Or in groups such as ISIS or Boko Haram.


Yet, I know deep in my heart that mercy and kindness are an everyday occurrence. 

Maybe we should all have t-shirts that say: "Business? Humanity is my business. Kindness and Mercy are my business." 


Monday, August 7, 2017

The Other Side of Impossible

I was inspired by the title of a book again, The Other Side of Impossible: Ordinary People Who Faced Daunting Medical Challenges and Refused to Give Up by Susannah Meadows.  Reminds me of Kelly Turner's book, Radical Remissions, and Anna Parkinson's Change Your Mind, Heal Your Body

Meadows interviews a number of people, one a psychologist (whose name frankly escapes me at the moment). This psychologist talks about the grit to get through things. Grit is made up, psychologically, of persistence, hard work, and possibly the most important element, hope. It could also be characterized as believing that you have control over something that allows you to keep hopeful and keep working. Also, so that you don't despair. Despair, I think leads to giving up.

It occurs to me that the concept of refusing to give up, believing that we have control and that there is hope can get us through many things. It might be a medical challenge. It might be keeping the dream of becoming a writer or actor alive. It might be working to clean up the local river. It might be running for political office because you don't like the direction things are taking. It might be working towards a particular degree or certification to be able to have a particular career. 

A friend asked me in the middle of bringing my book into being whether I believed it would actually be published. I told her that I had to or there was no point in continuing to work on it. Well, yes, it's self-published, but it is published. It was daunting at times (although not as daunting as facing the medical challenges written about in these 3 books), but I kept at with my book designer's help. 

What is your other side of impossible? What keeps you going?

The first photo is by Nathan Dumlao. The second is by Fab Lentz. They were found on unsplash.com

Monday, July 31, 2017

Perception is Everything

Is this door opening, or is it closing? 

It all depends on how you perceive it, doesn't it. And, yes, there are things in life besides perception such as food, water, housing, work, and the like. What I mean when I say perception is everything is that it is everything in relation to how we see the world. If our perception is fear based, then we distrust, we think we will never have enough of anything. We may very well think that things must never change, and most of the people around us are out to take things away from us or to "get us." We can become greedy out of fear.

If we perceive things with an open heart, from a place of love, then most likely we will trust, we will work to create an inclusive community, and we will be open to change and transformation. We can see a way forward, we see the beauty around us. We can relax, breathe, and let go of what is holding us back. 

Someone being interviewed by Krista Tippet on her show, On Being, said that, as I recall, perception can destroy us or it can create us. This immediately resonated with me. Change your perception, change the story you tell yourself about yourself, others and the world. And, if you are having trouble changing your perception, it just might work to change the story that you tell to help you change your perception. Changing the story is something I work with clients on. I've seen it work. I've spent time doing this myself. 

I want perception to create me, not destroy me. I want this for everyone. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Embracing the Mystery

I am part of a women's circle, and in the course of our most recent meeting the phrase embracing the mystery was used. I did say that I might take the phrase to use as a blog post title (and starting point). This picture does evoke for me the idea of just embracing the mystery, because the fog obscures what is up ahead, thus one could be driving into a mystery. 

Seemingly, much of life can be driving into the fog--going forward without clearly knowing what is up ahead, yet you just keep going. A job ends, for example, and you move forward into the next one or find consulting work or start a business. You will not know, in any of these cases, with complete certainty what the end result is. You can choose to move along this path joyfully, or you can choose to move forward with fear and dread. Seems to me that I would prefer, if I can manage it, to move forward with joy as I feel that fear and dread will hamper me in my efforts. The trick, I suppose is allowing myself to feel the joy. 


I think that it is, in part at least, living in hope and from the heart. My tag line on my emails used to be this: "Live in Hope. Live from the Heart." I changed it to "Open your Heart -- Blossom in the World" to be a bit more in line with my book (here); however, I believe the sense is the same.  Meditation number 25 in the book is about the quantum universe, and how I think that contemplating the quantum allows for the mysterious to exist while holding out the possibility for miracles. We just need a different perspective sometimes. And, possible a different definition for what is mysterious and miraculous. 

Will you come along with me on the journey of embracing the mystery? I can use the company.

(Both photos were found on the website unsplash.com)



Monday, July 10, 2017

The Blessing Outside My Comfort Zone


I was listening to the radio yesterday and one of the guests on one of the shows I listened to talked about the blessing outside a comfort zone. What an interesting thought. I spent some time pondering this. 

I will say upfront that I am introvert, although I somehow stumbled into professions that required me to behave as an extorvert. I practiced law for about 27 years. I am now a life coach, an intuitive and an author. I somewhat regulary appear on radio shows and a local cable show in Manchester, NH. 

I know that I was not comfortable at the beginning stages of any of these at having to put myself "out there." Interestingly, I think my court room experience, such as it was, including 3 or 4 appearances in Appellate Court, made it a bit easier to be a guest on shows. If I could face up to other lawyers and judges, well I can look into a camera without falling apart. 

By moving physical locations and changing what I do for professions has meant moving outside my comfort zone, moving through whatever mental limitations or wall that I have built. It has meant playing at that fuzzy place where there is no edge between me and the universe, but yet where there is an edge. Sometimes running back behind the edge, sometimes dipping a toe or a whole foot through the gate in the wall. 

I would have remained miserable if I had stayed longer in the last full time job that I had. I would not know many of the people I now know and cherish if I had not moved to Massachusetts and then Vermont.

I may very well have not written my book. I most likely would not have delved as deeply into the metaphysical side of my life. I have a number of cherished clients that I would not have come in contact with and helped. 

All of this most likely would not have happened if I had not stepped outside my comfort zone. It has been scary at times, but overall has been a blessing. I hope that you can find the blessing outside your comfort zone. 



The top picture is one I took at Dun Aengus on Inis Mor, Ireland in 2004. The others are meditation images from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be (here).

Monday, July 3, 2017

Celebrate Anyway

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July here in the US, however many people may not feel like celebrating. I say celebrate anyway. Many institutions are still operating under the law and ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Many people are saying no, what the current administration wants is not what I want, and are making themselves heard. 

Yet, on an even more basic level, there are reasons to celebrate the US, for example, the shear beauty of the country. The talent of the people who live here that flourishes under many, many trying circumstances. 

We can celebrate love, community, laughter, caring, and thoughtfulness. We just need to breathe and look at things with the perspective that allows us to see through into the heart of things, into our hearts and know that a different way of being than what is being proposed exists. 

So, go out and celebrate in your own way. 

Note: the photo is by Lori M. Sousa. I found it on unsplash.com.