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 Without the baggage of prejudice (prejudging), outdated information, and yesterday’s advice, we live in gratitude for each other and the resources we have.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!
Judging vs. discerning; rejecting the person vs. employing wisdom for daily-living
There seems to be a common theme here in the blog-o-sphere, around which humanity has obstacles of communication for developing a unifying understanding. And yet, perhaps we are growing closer.
I found article on the website TheOverwhelmedBrain.com that beautifully illustrates how a form of judgment can destroy relationships. (Click or tap the link above for access to the article. The website itself is linked here, inside the “Daily Balance” of my Starfish Mission.)
Sometimes my forays into cautionary tales about being judgmental are met with vehement cries of derision–especially when one’s work hinges upon the ability to make informed and wise decisions. As a teacher, I remember frequent reminders that teachers make upwards of 1,500 critical decisions each day affecting students, parents, schools, communities—well, you get the picture. Teachers are hardly alone in their circles of influence.
My new growth mindset of possibility:
I have come to the place where my most solid assurance is that there is no end: that the conversations go on between all the souls who love each other, living and dead. I have no certifiable proof of this–only that this understanding gives me peace and allows me to maintain open conversations with basically anyone. From a mindset of no end, nothing seems catastrophic anymore; we just continue learning how to love better. That also allows me to allow others’ their own interpretations of end vs. no end. And yet, when I see others in pain, knowing that there can be life here on the terra firma without emotional pain, I suppose that I cannot, in good conscience, stop myself from putting these thoughts out there. (Most solid assurance, after all, is not without doubt.)
Each person comes to their working core truth in their own way and at their own time. When you get to that place, I don’t think that you never want to leave that solid foundation. You just build from there. I would love to know what you think: have you reached a meaning-of-life that works for you? If so, how has it affected your interpretation of judgement?
Decisions, words-meanings, and relationships
So, the building: we humans have our gargantuan task of working out the fabric of meanings that fashion our relationships. Our life-raft relationships that we build despite the raging oceans of our many languages, cultures, contexts, values–all of it, might be secured or destroyed upon the interpretation of a single word: judgement. To me, judgement can mean allowing a relationship or dismissing it.
In my opinion, our interpretation and application of the difference between judgment and discernment is worth mindful consideration.
Value of souls vs. value of physical matters
Claim: Judgment addresses the value of a person. If we can accept that we are all differently-gifted for our own unique life’s purpose, every individual would have equal value. We each contribute to the whole in our own way. I see it as the value of one’s soul and worthiness to take up space, to be heard, and to be loved.
Claim: Discernment, according to conventional interpretation, is based upon what can be observed: objective matters. (Granted, there is also a Biblical application of the word discernment, which may or may not integrate well. This would probably also make for a good discussion!) I discovered an article published a few years ago (2011) in Psychology Today. It was written by Dr. Raj Raghunathan, who explains it much more eloquently than I. Here it is again:
In my hemisphere, days are growing cooler and shorter, but there is a new part of me that feels like spring has arrived.
Wrenching oneself away from the world of the concrete, absolute, and scientifically proven can be a little unsettling at first–like flying solo for the first time.
Whether you have caught a glimpse of this dramatically different life through a church, your personal research, a coach–it doesn’t matter. Once here, you don’t want to leave. And, there is an unspeakable joy in the immersion and connection with others who have allowed themselves access to authenticity. In authenticity, we are daring to live greatly in a community of higher consciousness. Here, together, we begin to sense the vibrations of the universe itself. Here, we begin to grasp the personification of passion.
Even though I was raised in a traditional church, thinking this openly is new for me, too. As long as I am able, I will continue to join with others–maybe even you–as we connect deeper and more richly than ever. Jesus did his level-best to help us understand his Kingdom. Let us never attempt to limit our openness to the wonder of creation.
Extricating oneself from a negative past of bullying, abuse, neglect, and/or trauma is cause for celebrating every moment that feels like spring. If you’re still trying to find a reason to celebrate, I’m doing my best to help you start on StarfishMission.
The website from above ( 21 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening – LauraMarie ) is the result of a simple Internet search of “what happens when you open your mind to possibility”. I’d love to hear if you have or are experiencing any of the “21”.
FYI – the linked page is in English, most of the rest of the WordPress website for its 5 million followers is French. 🙂
I am probably taking a big risk with this post, but I am just going to say it. Parents have thepower to eliminate bullying. Furthermore, it must be accomplished before children even set foot in a school.
Studies dance around the issue, because empirical scientific methods are geared for testing a limited sample and a single variable at a time. It will always be a limited sample, even if it is a meta-analysis. Researchers must always leave the door open for further studies to be conducted. That is the scientific method, and science will continue to gather evidence interminably.
Not everyone is going to agree, but, on this, I’m taking a stand.
People who end up making life-choices based on someone else’s ideals and values tend to burn out and become depressed much faster than those who follow their heart. We come into this world fully equipped for our purpose, and if we are allowed to follow that purpose–leading from our natural source of energy within us–we have a perpetual-motion machine that can feel like heaven on Earth. Although sleep is still required! If we are constantly trying to live up to others’ expectations, we smash together our frustrations, anxiety, and anger inside until it becomes a giant, knotty problem–and exceedingly difficult to unravel. (My Starfish Mission page explains.)
The Russian ballerina pressed on relentlessly, honing every move, gritting through pain, powering through fear, and achieving her evening as prima ballerina. After the performance, the ordinary returned. Walking out through the back door into the dark rain and back to her tiny apartment, she knew that tomorrow would be more of the same old shtick. She would need to prove herself time and time again. This documentary from- Continue reading “More rocks”→