Gracefully weathering the tides of change

Graceful
ocean

Fact checking: real, or not?

With so many sources of information available these days, how do we determine what we allow into our lives? Who is to say what is real? Reality is a different experience for each of us. When do we walk on by, allowing tidal forces to wash and renew?

Despite the voices proclaiming fear and ruin, cities are reinventing themselves. Industrial towns like Pittsburgh and Detroit are reawakening and allowing the tides of natural decay to take their course, choosing to learn how to stay in the present, learning to live in individual realities. Churches are re-centering: the third largest denomination in the United States (per the 2010 Census) is NON-denominational. They seem to be focusing on helping us deal with our individual realities. (You can tap on the link for details.)

Enlightenment: real, or not? Nearly every self-help source, religion, healer, and wizened person recommends the practice of meditation. This is a world-wide trend, friends. It is finding our higher selves, becoming part of something much bigger: enlightenment. And it is growing. We are allowing it because “it” works.  “It” weathers all tides.

Meditation, like our very existence, can put us into a tailspin if we try to make sense of it. Some people know it as understanding grace. If we can just stop and learn how to live from a foundation of mediation (learning how to be), the puzzle of life solves itself. We, ourselves, can’t do it. Our energy, our peace, our meaning, flows from a source we can’t define. When we can accept our “nothing-ness” alongside our “something-ness” we connect with ourselves, with creation, with our Creator–even if we have no concept of what that means. We just accept.

Allowing the tides…

I love the metaphor of Jesus words (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV):

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

My father rode the changing tide of farming. By the time he retired, he was harvesting with huge machines that did all the work he remembered once doing by hand. Fortunately, he had taken time to tell me stories of farming with horses: how he and his father and brothers took care to choose compatible teams, how one horse became a leader and would nip encouragement to the other when it wasn’t pulling its own share, and how, if a horse strained to go ahead, the result could become painful and destructive.

Meditation allows us to settle into our yoke and harness for the day. If we strain beyond, our futile efforts become painful. If we ignore the gentle tug of the reins, we antagonize our driver and our team.  Jesus told his disciples to go into privacy and close the door to pray. He said words were unnecessary. When we stop and open ourselves to possibility– when we cease trying to be, we learn to be as we were intended.

As always, your views, experiences an comments are always welcome and encouraged!

Mira

 

 

 

 

 

Unless you become like little children…

Pretend

childlike

Pretend: the wonder of a child…

Embracing moments of joy and living with the eager anticipation and assurance of more joyful moments to come…

Until I had experienced enough living to equal about 120 childhoods, I hadn’t been able to understand Jesus’ famous words:

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4 NIV)

The word pretend originated from the Latin word meaning to stretch forth and claim. Personally, I would like to reclaim my childhood wonder. How about you?

I should probably attribute this next concept to someone, but I have now seen it in so many places and credited to so many philosophically-minded folks, that it has created my own confetti-like words in the wind:

For every enlightened soul who has shared what seems like plausible meaning-of-life wisdom, followers have convened to claim ownership and to construct their own air-tight rules. The result is always the same: destruction of the real grains of wisdom. (I am speaking of religions, political beliefs, cultures, traditions, work ethics…all of it.) In fact, just by writing this, I am restricting your understanding. And that is why Jesus’ parables were so brilliant: we can’t know exactly. We can only hope and trust in something that is similar to what Jesus described during his short life.

Here is my personal little childlike box of confetti that, tonight, is what my picture of the kingdom is like. I can assure you that if you asked me tomorrow, it will have even more confetti. (Apparently kingdom boxes work like that!) Furthermore, I am quite certain that we all gather our confetti differently.

The beautiful confetti of children:

(Job speaking to the Lord) Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. Job 42:3 

When I try to make sense of something or prove to myself that I have made the best decision, I tend to go a little crazy. The kingdom of heaven is like my world-within-my world. It’s the one I cannot hold onto firmly, because if I try, it disappears. It’s a little like staring at a star: if you look directly at it, you can’t quite see it anymore. When I can just pretend…when I can just accept that what is happening in each moment is simply my next opportunity to find love and goodness, each moment becomes an opportunity to learn. Without the baggage of prejudice (prejudging), outdated information, and yesterday’s advice, we live in gratitude for each other and the resources we have.

Does this mean that learning is pointless? Of course not. But learning anything is never static. Learning creates opportunity and invites childlike awe. If we grab it and wield it like a sword, it just gets old and crotchety. Relationships? New, full of wonder, looking for the next opportunity to find more love. Work? New, full of wonder, looking for more ways to care for, serve, and love each other. Backstabbing competition? Back to old, crotchety, and stinky.

What does your kingdom-box of childlike-confetti look like? It is certainly a challenge to keep it in focus, but when we can find others who are humbling themselves to the point of discovering their own gossamer confetti-threads of childlike wonder, finding the laser-like focus doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.

As always, your views, experiences, and comments make us all richer. Please share!

Mira