Sunday, August 31, 2008

Are we more than our roles?

"In each of our lives we will have periods when it seems that we are the author, with great freedom to choose a direction. And then there will be times when more limited roles must be fulfilled: parent, breadwinner, citizen, community member, contemplative. A mature life requires an ability to enter each of the roles given to us. Freedom arises when we hold them lightly, when we see them for what they are."

Jack Kornfield, "The Wise Heart" p. 72

Saturday, August 30, 2008


All this hurrying
soon will be over.
Only when we tarry
do we touch the holy.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Planning the Day

The list grows--
sometimes on lengthy strips of paper.
How easily my life becomes a list--
a long scroll of duties.

Sometimes the lists break down
into separate memos--
A batch of yellow memory scraps
each with an injunction.
Do this! Do that!

I can't get rid of my lists.

Perhaps there is some primitive magic here,
that if I name my duties I must perform them.
But then I almost always rebel.
These lists when they aren't burdening me,
give me an oppositional determination
to disobey and to do whatever I please.

Why do I put this "have-to-do-it" burden
on myself? It only makes me righteous,
artificially safe, and soul-tired.

Help me to sit here quietly.
Help me not so much to plan as to listen.
Help me to be informed, as in
"shaped from within," by Your will.
My burden is so heavy.
Yours is always light.

Being Home by Gunilla Norris, p. 21-22

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Folding Clothes

One of my favorite book of meditations is "Being Home" by Gunilla Norris, which celebrates mindfulness in the daily rhythm of caring for our homes. Gunilla is gifted in taking a most ordinary task such as folding laundry and turning it into something profoundly sacred. Her prayers allow us to be present in the Presence.

Folding Clothes

Out of the dryer the clothes come
smelling of soap and fabric softener.
The underpants cling to the nightshirt.
The towels crackle.
Everything is mixed up with everything else.

I want to turn this heap
of electrical excitement
into some kind of order.
I want it to become
a means of prayer, a litany.

The hand towels come first.
Each day a new one goes on the hook.
Let the folding of these towels
be an invocation. I think of the hands
that have been dried on them.
Tentative, strong, confused, determined hands.
Grant that our hands will find ways
to do Your will. Keep us in Your Love.

Now the sheets.
My friends slept in them last night.
Let the folding of these sheets
be an intercession. Fold my friends
into Your tenderness. Keep us in Your Love.

Then the personal clothes.
One sock is rolled together with its mate.
One sweater sleeve goes over the other,
an image of repose.
Let the folding of these garments
be a confession. Help me to surrender,
to give up all those false excitements,
clinging attachments, static insistencies.
Help me instead to be folded into You.
Help me to be clothed by You, to dwell in You,
to make my life an obedience.
Keep us in Your Love.

Let the completed task be offered...
such a small thing...yet let it be offered
as thanksgiving. Your amazing mystery is here
even now receiving this smallness.
Keep us in Your Love.

Being Home, A Book of Meditations, p. 54

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The F.A.C.E. of Ego

I never did tell you what the F.A.C.E. of ego stood for.....It's actually from another book of David Richo's., "How to Be an Adult in Relationships". I can't recall if the Essence column is from that book or was passed on from someone else's thoughts.....Still it's good stuff....

So this is how to tell if you are acting from your Ego vs. Essence
(or your Flesh vs. Spirit)

Acting from my ego

  • Fear
  • Attachment
  • Control
  • Entitlement

Acting from my essence

  • Freedom
  • Acceptance
  • Compassion
  • Equality

When I feel fear I choose instead to love.
When I feel attachment I choose instead to let go.
When I feel controlling I choose instead to grant freedom.
When I feel entitled I choose instead to see myself as equal.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Tale of the Toilet Seat

I had an AHA moment this morning! While putting the toilet seat down yet again, I became aware of the following thought entering my mind -

"Why the hell can't he put the seat down?"........

I have been with my husband for over 30 years.....muliply 32 by 365 and you get 11,680 times that this thought has crossed my mind!

I have nagged, pleaded, demanded, cajoled, joked, begged and sulked about this issue. All to no avail. And today was the first time that i actually stopped to think about it. And then I started laughing.....out was so simple.....why have I wasted so much energy on this? It was time to do "The Work" on my toilet seat issue! And here is what I discovered. And if you are not familiar with Byron Katie's "The Work" you can click here and learn how to use this remarkable tool of asking 4 questions and turning it around.

The belief I've been clinging to for all these years is "He should put the toilet seat down."

Question # 1 - Is that true?
Answer #1 -Of course it's true! All men should be courteous enough to put the lid down after using the toilet!

Question #2 - Can you absolutely know that it's true?
Answer #2 - Well,'s not true because he does not put the toilet seat down.

Question #3 - How do you feel or react when you think the thought 'he should put the toilet seat down?'
Answer #3 - I feel angry, frustrated, hurt, unappreciated, tense, marginalized, annoyed, etc.

Question #4 - Who would you be without the thought 'he should put the toilet seat down?'
Answer #4 - I would just put the seat down when I entered the bathroom w/o any of these negative emotions invading my mind.

What would a good turnaround be? (In order to see what you and the person you've judged have in common.)

1)He shouldn't put the toilet seat down.
Is that equally true?
OK....think of another one....
2) I should put the toilet seat down.
Is that true?
Can you think of a third one?
3) and here is where i had my AHA moment - I SHOULD PUT THE TOILET SEAT DOWN ON MY THOUGHTS!

The more i considered this possibility the more i realized that i'm the one that has a problem with this - not my husband! And so the negative thoughts were flushed from my mind.....and I thought - what can i replace this with?

There are 3 churches in the vicinity of my home whose bells ring hourly. One day I told my 6 year old granddaughter (who lives behind me) that whenever the bells ring it's a reminder that Jesus is with us. In the same way the raised toilet lid will be my reminder that my husband is with me. Some day he may not be and I might not have to put the lid down anymore & I would miss him terribly. So what a perfect time to lift up a prayer for him as I once again lower that lid.
The End.

Monday, August 25, 2008

We worry because....

"Worry is directly related to control. It seems that we worry about the future, finances, relationships, jobs, and all the other unpredictables in our lives. Actually, there is only one worry: that of not being in full control of what will happen. We worry because we do not trust ourselves to handle what happens to us. We worry because we do not trust that the way the chips fall will work out for the best."
- from "The Five Things We Cannot Change" p. 10

So my questions remain. What will it take for us to learn to live more fully in the present & to question our thoughts? When will we realize that we are not God? When will we learn to trust God for the future?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Am I a C.I.A. Agent?

Today I picked up "The 5 Things We Cannot Change" by David Richo from my bookshelf as I wanted to refresh my memory on his thoughts on the F.A.C.E. of ego. I came across a couple of other great thoughts worth considering. Here's one for today:

"I am now more careful.... with everyone not to become the
CIA - Critic, Interpreter, and Advisor. We can make it a spirtual practice
- not to criticize others' behavior,
- not to interpret what they do according to our worldview, and
- not to advise unless we are invited to do so.
Eliminating these three behaviors from our repertory, especially with partners and family members, makes our communication much more loving and respectful." p. 11

This will be my spiritual practice for this week (and perhaps for the rest of my life, but for right now I'm just starting with this week). As I enter into conversations I will keep these questions in mind. Am I criticizing them? Interpreting their actions against my own worldview? Or advising them when they haven't asked for any? Or course I do all three of those things every single day, but this week I am going to focus on this, with God's help....I'll let ya know how it goes :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

How to Pinpoint the Will of God

Did that title peak your curiousity? Isn't there something in all of us that wishes that we knew exactly what it is God is calling us to? As if our "real" life will begin someday down the road? But we only have today. We are always in the process of discernment - especially for the moment at hand..... Here is a quote from the anonymous author of the Under the Overpasses blog that I recently discovered that speaks well to this longing we all share.

"We are too quick to limit God and too slow to see God's open and exuberant grace. God's will is not a role we play. It is being who God made us to be in whatever vocation we find oursleves in. The "will of God" is that we each uniquely reflect the glory of God wherever we happen to be. That is the fixed point in a fluid world of variable situations. Saying yes to one thing will mean saying no to a thousand other things. The important thing is to make sure that the "yes" is also a "yes" to the kingdom of God here on earth. That is the "yes" that I am confronted with every day, no matter where I am or what I am doing."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Demo Derby 2008

Last Sunday Chris Wilhelm, my daughter's fiancee, once again drove in the Demolition Derby at the Clallam County Fair. He came in 2nd this year. I believe the pictures below tell the story much better than I ever could.
In the beginning was the car...And it was very good...

It entered the First Heat of the derby in this condition. And it was still very good.

But the vehicle left that heat in the following condition. That's my son Colin leaning on the car. Chris and David (husband) are checking to see what needs fixing before the final heat.

It then entered the Final Heat and after gallantly carrying out what it was created to do it left in this condition. A fine lesson in how to make your own compact car.
And here is the proud creator and driver in excellent condition (i.e. still in one piece) holding his trophies. And he was very good indeed.

Good Job Christopher!

A Broken Heart

A rabbi always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts.

One of them asked, "Why 'on' our hearts, and not 'in' them?"

The rabbi answered, "Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your hearts, and then when the heart breaks, the holy words will fall inside." - Tales of the Hasidim

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
To accept the people
I cannot change,
Courage to change the one I can,
And the wisdom to know it's me.

If only I could gather up a portion of the time I've spent
on trying to change those around me -
I would indeed be rich in years.
And in my quest to control
I was unsuccessful only 100% of the time...
The tattoo is the chinese symbol for "courage to change"

HT to Ellie

Monday, August 18, 2008

Unburdening Ourselves....

"There are probably things
in our lives
from which
we could
- Matthiew Ricard

So why don't we let go of that which holds us back?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Got a Light?

"Seeking perfect total enlightenment
is like looking for a flashlight
when all you need the flashlight for
is to find your flashlight."
- Lew Welch

do you think these people are looking for enlightenment?

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Noisy World

"A Noisy World" from the following website:

If only for once
It would be really quiet.
If all this haphazard and imprecise noise
Would be quieted
And all that laughter of my neighbors
And above all if the noise that my own
thoughts and feelings make
Would not hinder me from being really attentive
Then I could, in a thousand-fold thought
Think you.
I could think you to your very edge
I could think myself to your very edge
And I could hold you at least as long as a smile
And then I could give you as a gfit to all that lives,
in thanksgiving.


as translated by D. Steindl-Rast, OSB
"Presence", an International Journal of Spiritual Direction,
Vol. 14, No. 3, Sept. 2008 p. 25

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Salal Cafe

What places are sacred to you? Are there localities that feed your soul? Where are the areas that just make your spirit soar? Do they include stretches of beach or the tops of mountains? Perhaps they are as simple as driving alone in your car, enjoying the silence or sitting in a favorite chair with a book that you never want to end. (When my children were very young it was the bathroom.....I know - not very poetic but oh so quiet!)

For myself they certainly include bookstores and libraries, the sanctuary at St. Paul's Episcopal church in Port Townsend, and the chair in the corner of my bedroom where I read.

But there are also very populated places that I feel a strong connection to and the Salal Cafe in Port Townsend is one of them. I have been a patron of this restaurant for many many years. It's definitely not pretentious or elaborate, with it's simple wooden tables adorned with small vases of fresh flowers but it does have a surprisingly light-filled sunroom in the back where you can soak up what little sunshine we get on the Olympic Peninsula while enjoying a fabulous breakfast or lunch.

I can't begin to tell you what it is about this place that envelops me in the sense of being somewhere holy - but it is palpable - when I am there I can almost reach out and touch it.

The last time I entered the cafe it was bustling with activity. There was only one small table left and I was escorted there by the hostess. I'm not one for dining out alone very often but I prefer to be alone in this particular place. That day I felt both energized and serene as I was overcome with the desire to be very quiet just close my eyes and listen to the sounds of life around me. And this is what I heard....

Sounds of Salal
- the scraping of chairs against the hardwood floors
- murmuring, talking and laughter
- the ticking of the register as the keys were pressed
- the front door squeaking as patrons came and left
- thank you's and goodbye's
- plates touching plates as they made their descent into the bus trays
- the latch being closed on the bathroom door
- more coffee ma'am?
- the clanking of spoons against glass
- the ever present call of the seagulls outside the entrance
- the relaxed tone of the voices of the tourists
- water being sprayed against pots and pans in the kitchen
- and my breathing as I seemingly melted into these sounds of life, taking it all in, expressing my gratitude for all that God had created and blessed me with in that particular moment.....

Joseph Campbell says it best - "Your sacred space is where you find yourself again and again".......Thank you Lord, for all of our Sacred Spaces, wherever we may find them....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Talk to me....

I am not a huge fan of cats but I am a huge fan of humor and everyday I receive the latest posts from this site which make me laugh.

People submit photos of their cats & various other pets doing odd things and then add witty captions from the animal's point of view in a unique language which you can actually learn by taking the tutorial offered on the website- I am not kidding! (That part freaks me out a bit - especially in the comment section where people are talking in what they refer to as LOLspeak).

I have always spoken (in English) for all the animals in my household so I am quite drawn to talking pets. I talk to my dog. We have conversations. I believe we have an understanding of sorts. But I'd love to hear her talk to me. Don't we all want to know what our animals are trying to tell us? So I encourage you all to check out ICANHASCHEEZBURGER.COM and listen to the animals......

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Wheel of LIfe

Here is some excellent advice for the next time you are feeling exhausted. Just ask yourself where you are in the wheel of life....
Sometimes I think of life as a big wagon wheel with many spokes. In the middle is the hub. Often in ministry, it looks like we are running around the rim trying to reach everybody. But God says, "Start in the hub; live in the hub. Then you will be connected with all the spokes, and you won't have to run so fast." -Henri J. M. Nouwen

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Got that Sinking Feeling?

Today's gospel lectionary reading for Pentecost +13 is from Mt. 14: 22-33. This is the story of Peter leaving the boat and the icon tells us the rest of the story. What the text doesn't tell is what the other disciples who remained in the boat were thinking. In this depiction they appear quite calm as if this was something that they could expect from that wild and crazy Peter. I like to think that they are praying...

Below is a prayer that I blatantly copied from the RevGalBlogPals website. Have a great Sunday.

Lord, Sometimes it seems like the boat we are in is too small and is being tossed to and fro in the storms of life. Lord calm our storms, calm us. Sometimes our fear is so great that even though we might want to walk on water we sink, reach out your hand to us Lord. Reach out your hand to those who are trying to walk faithfully in the midst of the storms of their lives. Lord help us when we have little faith, Help those around us who have little or no faith. Amen

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sacred Space?

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it's not all mixed up."--A.A. Milne

Someone once said that clutter begins in the mind and ends up on the floor - or the desk as the case may be! From this picture I can see that the owner does seem to have a system of piling items - I'm assuming that the important items are near the top? And I bet s/he could find what s/he needed at a moment's notice! ok....maybe a week's notice :)

Some of you may know that I engage in some decluttering counseling which is similar to professional organizing but with more emphasis on the spiritual side of getting rid of what holds us back from spiritual growth. Does their surrounding space draw the person closer to the Divine? Or does it somehow serve as a barrier to relationship? An ancient Hasidic saying expresses this much better than I can - "Where there is too much, something is missing."

When I see a picture like this one my heart skips a beat with anticipation for I know that in the process of getting to the bottom of this pile I will discover how the owner functions, thinks, and feels about themselves and their relationship with God and others and that is always exciting territory to explore! The only question for me would be, when do we begin?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Prayer for a threshold

O God, make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship, and narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride, and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the tempter’s power. God make the door of this house the gateway to thine eternal kingdom. -Bishop Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Moby Dick

"Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air." Herman Melville - Moby Dick

& from moi....."Methinks that what you see in the following picture is how i got through Mr. Melville's classic in high school!" - Roberta
P.S. I do find the line about the oyster to be rather delicious!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What if?

What if everyone rose in the morning and sat down to pray?
What if everyone asked to be aligned with your Spirit,
to carry your peace in their hearts?
How could anyone go forth and
cheat a business associate,
abuse a child,
order more weapons for war,
ignore the hungry?
How could anyone do anything that would harm
your holy creation - human or otherwise?
Wouldn’t we all want to hold each other and
marvel at the beauty of the world,
at the love in the heart of all mystery?
Barbara Schlachter

Monday, August 4, 2008


When a sense of zeal leaves our life,
it is time to begin again,
because whatever we have been doing
up to now has clearly died in us.

Joan Chittister

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pentecost +12

The miracle of the loaves and the fishes
"By the breaking of the bread, he makes it into a seedbed of food--for if the bread had been left intact and not pulled apart and broken into pieces, they would have been unable to feed the great crowds of men, women, and children....Mysteries are made manifest, so that what did not feed the multitude of people in its original whole and unbroken state now feeds them in its divided state."
Jerome, 4th century Bishop. From The Ancient Christian Devotional, Thomas C. Oden, General Editor

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ice Dancers...

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving,the most beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life;
it is life itself.
~ Henry Havelock Ellis

This is a picture of my niece Nicolette and her partner Ryan
who are currently competing
at the 2008 Ice Dancing Championships in Lake Placid NY.
They podiumed in 3rd place for compulsories yesterday!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Do Not Fear

Are you Alektorophobic?
If so then you might not appreciate these chickens speaking of Metathesiophobia!
Below is a list of 51 phobias beginning with the letter C...why that particular letter? Because it's where i found the word for "fear of making changes" add the other 25 letters of the alphabet and....well, you do the math....My, we are a fearful lot! (do you know which one of these is mine?)
Cancer- Cancerophobia, Carcinophobia.
Car or vehicle, riding in- Amaxophobia.
Cats- Aclurophobia, Ailurophobia, Elurophobia, Felinophobia, Galeophobia, or Gatophobia.
Celestial spaces- Astrophobia.
Cemeteries- Coimetrophobia.
Cemeteries or being buried alive- Taphephobia or Taphophobia.
Ceremonies, religious- Teleophobia.
Changes, making; moving- Tropophobia or Metathesiophobia.
Chickens- Alektorophobia.
Child, bearing a deformed; deformed people- Teratophobia.
Childbirth- Maleusiophobia, Tocophobia, Parturiphobia, or Lockiophobia.
Children- Pedophobia.
Chinese or Chinese culture- Sinophobia.
Chins- Geniophobia.
Choking or being smothered- Pnigophobia or Pnigerophobia.
Choking- Anginophobia.
Cholera- Cholerophobia.
Chopsticks- Consecotaleophobia.
Church- Ecclesiophobia.
Clocks- Chronomentrophobia.
Clocks or time- Chronophobia.
Clothing- Vestiphobia.Clouds- Nephophobia.
Clowns- Coulrophobia.Coitus- Coitophobia.
Cold or cold things- Frigophobia.
Cold: extreme, ice or frost- Cryophobia.
Cold- Cheimaphobia, Cheimatophobia, Psychrophobia or Psychropophobia.
Color purple- Porphyrophobia.
Color red or blushing- Erythrophobia, Erytophobia or Ereuthophobia.
Color yellow- Xanthophobia.
Color white- Leukophobia.
Colors- Chromophobia or Chromatophobia.
Comets- Cometophobia.
Computers or working on computers- Cyberphobia.
Confined spaces- Claustrophobia.
Constipation- Coprastasophobia.
Contamination, dirt or infection- Molysmophobia or Molysomophobia.
Contamination with dirt or germs- Misophobia or Mysophobia.
Cooking- Mageirocophobia.
Corpses- Necrophobia.
Cosmic Phenomenon- Kosmikophobia.
Creepy, crawly things- Herpetophobia.
Criticized severely, or beaten by rod or instrument of punishment- Rhabdophobia.
Criticism- Enissophobia.
Crosses or the crucifix- Staurophobia.
Crossing streets- Agyrophobia or Dromophobia.
Crowded public places like markets- Agoraphobia.
Crowds or mobs- Enochlophobia, Demophobia or Ochlophobia.
Crucifix, the or crosses- Staurophobia.
Crystals or glass- Crystallophobia.