Sunday, October 26, 2008
It began on October 16, with me posting my status as: "Chelsea is wondering: What is hope and why should I use my energy on "having" it?"
The next day, Kristina Wilcox commented: "Tough day?"
Sayy: "Not really. I just realized that Christ lists three things, "Faith, Hope, and Charity." Faith and Charity are really big things. But what is hope? Is it just like wishing real hard? I don't understand it. And yet I know it has to be something worthwhile or Christ would not have mentioned it, and his diciples would not have recorded it. Search for knowledge, ya know?"
KW: "Ah, I see. Pres. Monson talked a lot about faith, hope and charity in Conference and how they are all closely related... I haven't listened to the talk since... but I will definitely be studying that one myself to gain more insight.
If I might put my two-cents in, (in my limited experience and youth) I think that hope has more to do with the thought(heart) process, faith has more to do with action, and charity is a type of action (the ultimate & desired reaction) that results of hope & faith....all very connected to each other...they each strengthen the other.
If I don't have hope, I rarely act in faith. If I by chance I step out in faith before I have obtained the hope, the hope is not far behind as I look forward to the promised fruits of my actions.
Yes? No? Thoughts?"
Sayy: "Believe it or not, that makes total sense. Thank you for sharing that with me.
It takes what I thought hope was ( a weak and selfish sort of wish) and instead makes it a responsible choice. I like responsibility. I like not having my relationship with Christ be all mystical and wish-like.
So Hope is the state of mind we live in that supports faith. Like living with gratitude or a positive attitude. It is optimism with knowledge rather than optimism in ignorance or pessimissm.
Hope creates the desire to learn more, to be more, to gain more through faith and action. This is openeing my mind.What was the talk, do you remember? I suppose I could just look it up on LDS.org.
Seriously, Kristina, thank you for your help and insight. It has been very helpfull. And hopeful."
KW: "Every time I read your post I get chills.... Wow! Who knew the Lord would answer my prayers through my new-found friend and Facebook!"
Sayy: "I'm confused. I thought YOU were helping ME. Is there something else going on here? ;)"
So there it is. I now understand hope as "an attitude of gratitude", basically living the law of attraction. Christ taught the law of attraction! To have hope is to shape everyday with gratitude and thankfulness, thereby bringing more to be grateful and thankful for!
Now it doesn't feel meaningless and pointless when I express hope. Now it is an active choice. Every day I can choose to live forward or backward: with hope or shrouded in dispair. Hope will lead me on. Hope will shape my future. It is a great gift, a great tool and now I know how to use it.
Thanks, KW. Those of us who know you know you and your husband are going through a tough and hectic time. I thank you and him for working so hard for a worthy purpose. Take courage and live with hope! Thanks for taking the time to teach me what it means!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
After pictures and after walking to the end of the lane to retrieve Wildkid from the bus, Rivulet and I wandered off the beaten path. Well, there are actually many beaten paths. I guess we just strayed from the paved path. We crossed many a bridge, and Rivulet exclaimed over and over, "Rivo" (which is to say, "River") as she saw and heard water rushing past and under us. We found the pond pictured above and spent a good measure of time just throwing in rocks, dirt, leaves and sticks. Rivulet loves her water features.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Because some of these pictures were not easy to find, the shows go in no particular order. Except the last two. On we go.
Starring: Emily Deschanel and (my movie star crush) David Boreanaz.
My Rating: Must Watch. This show is superb. It is funny, dramatic, romantic and intelligent while not being over any one's head (ex: the heavy handed CSI dramas or the CBS Numb3rs).
USA Network: PSYCH
Rating: Great to Watch.
The characters are funny and strong, the relationships real and complex, while never losing their humor. And Shawn and Gus (best friends pictured below) have fantastic random pop culture banter that I greatly enjoy.
ABC Thursday Nights: LIFE ON MARS
Status: New show; remake of BBC drama same name.
My Rating: INCREDIBLE! Must watch. The premise didn't grab me at first, but did I mention a recent back injury? So I watched the premier. Holy Buckets. The writing, the filming the acting are all FIRST RATE all around. Nothing over the top or unnecessary. I was thoroughly impressed with the first and second episodes. I strongly recommend it to everyone!
NBC Thursday Nights: THE OFFICE
Returning favorite. Just love it again and again. The opening episode was good, and the proposal was brilliant!
NBC Friday Nights: LIFE
Returning favorite: Starring Damien Lewis (you may know him from Band of Brothers, in which he was also awesome.)
My Rating: Must Watch. It's clever, it's smart, it's surprisingly funny and suspenseful. The long story arc that is in the background of every procedural episode really adds depth to the experience. I am not a fan of the new chief, but hopefully someone at NBC will pull their head out and let him get a real person hair cut and stop him from acting like a stereotype. The guy they have cast is a great actor. Just look past that for now and enjoy Damien Lewis and his partner. And Adam Arkin. They are all great!
CBS Tuesday Nights: How I Met Your Mother
Returning for third season.
Great ensemble cast, very funny, rarely crude and each character is a joy to watch. Although I feel like I MUST WATCH it, since it is in the third season, I will just recommend getting it on Netflix and catching up.
ABC Tuesday Nights: ELI STONE
Returning favorite starring Victor Garber (from Alias, Annie -the remake - and First Wives Club) who I love, and many other actors I recognize by face if not by name.
My Rating: Love to Watch. There is talk of faith, right and wrong, responsibility, family issues, God, relationships . . . all mixed in with humor, singing and dancing. This is a gem and I highly recommend it to you all!
ABC Wendsday Night: PUSHING DAISIES
Returning favorite starring Lee Pace and Kristen Chenoweth (from Wicked) along with many other stars of Broadway and T.V.
My Rating: Must Watch. This last week was a lollapolooza of eccentric joy! The show is a little fantasy, and so fun. The cast is ALL strong, following problems that I am seriously excited about watching unfold. It's clever and funny, as well as visually and mentally stimulating. Also, it's romantic.
NBC Monday Nights: CHUCK
Returning Favorite starring Adam Baldwin (recognize him from Firefly/Serenity?!)
Rating: Must Watch. Funny, well cast, well written. I love it. Simply.
ABC Wednesday Nights (after "Daisies") PRIVATE PRACTICE
Returning Favorite starring Audra McDonald, Taye Diggs, Amy Brenneman, and Tim Dayle. Spinnoff from Greys Anatomy. Written and produced by MARTI NOXON, who wrote and worked on the Buffy and Angel Series.
My Rating: Very Favorable. It, along with Desperate Housewives, is my dirty-little-secret show. It's a little more adult, while also being more childish. But the writing is clever and I am interested in seeing where the relationships (friendships and otherwise) go from where they are now.
And now: The most important reviews.
FOX Tuesdays FRINGE
NEW SHOW written and created by J.J Abrams (of Lost and Alias fame). The first episode seemed to be along the X-Files genre. BUT I am happy to report that it pulled out of that niche with FABULOUS casting, witty, humorous writing and very, very interesting plot lines.
My Rating: MUST WATCH Also, it doesn't waste any time trying to introduce us and invest us in people before revealing a "villainous larger plan" like X-Files or Lost. It's obvious from the get go that everything is part of a pattern. This show is worth watching. It's clean, it's to the point. For anyone who appreciates good acting, good writing and a good mystery, this show will fit the bill.
And on the other hand: Eleventh Hour. CBS
Rufus Sewell is very good (and so is his accent). I like him as an actor and he does a good job with what he's given. Sadly, what he's given has already been done by David Duchoveny. And the blond he's cast with: Watching her is painful compared to what you can see on Fringe or on the reruns of X-Files.
The story lines are weak. The last one I saw could have been easily cut down to a half hour and not lost any power. Of course, you can't lose what you don't have to start with. I advise all to NOT watch this show, unless you distrust me. But really: Distrust me at your own risk.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
On Tuesday, I attempted to lift my daughter onto my shoulders. The resulting pain in my lower back taught me what a 10 was "on a scale from one to ten." Ten is when it hurts so much you are screaming and/or crying.
The past few days have been a drug induced fog. I know I had help from Muad'Dib and his mother, Dreampacker. I know that my children even picked up the slack. Rivulet took care of me as though she were the mother and I were the daughter, not the other way around. Lemur got in on the game, playing with my hair and scratching my back. One one such occasion I said, "Lemur, you are such a good helper."
He looked confused at the praise, "It's what you would do, mom."
The few people I have told about this inevitably ask, "What did you do?" or "What happened?"
I don't know.
Even if I was lifting with my back rather than my legs, such a movement should not have resulted in nearly a week of pain and immobility. I have taken such good care of my body over the last four weeks . . . my mind is boggled trying to comprehend it. Isn't one rewarded for doing good?
What am I going to do now? One doctor said that if I didn't feel better in five days, I should come back and they would do an x-ray. Another doctor recommended an expensive two to four month program of chiropractic care.
And here is when I admit to feeling helpless, powerless and - up until this afternoon - hopeless.
I have had a handful of times in my life where things are - by all accounts - going well. Then something crappy happens. In over half of these situations, the bad is SO far out from left field, that my mind and emotional center scrambles to make sense of it.
I was running. I was doing yoga. I was eating well. I was doing good things, living principles and watching them come to fruition as they are promised to. And then this. Where I can't do much besides a few exercises, take pain drugs, watch T.V. and either sit or stand for short periods of time.
I received a blessing today that spoke of hope: hope to be healed and to know what to do to recover quickly. And honestly, more than anything, hope is what I need, for it is what I lack.
How many of us accept a state of being for so long believing that we cannot change it - that even IF we were given the power to change it, we would not because we no longer hope?
I just realized that I don't even know what hope is. I mean, besides the Sunday school answers. I don't know what hope means to me. At this moment, I cannot call to mind a time when I employed hope over another process like knowledge or trust. Is hope different than these? Even when I say things - true things like "Take time out of the equation and success is inevitable" - I don't lack the faith in that truth or that it could apply to me.
I lack the hope that it will.
I have the faith that if God or one of his prophets commanded a mountain to move, it would. I have the faith that if God saw fit to remove my stumbling blocks (or 70lbs for that matter), he could. I have the faith that if God wanted to heal my spine and erase my pain, he could - and easily. I lack the hope that he would. There is a difference. And I'm beginning to feel the pain of the void.
Can one have faith without hope?
Maybe this is why I hurt my back. So that Rivulet can know where I am at any given time. So my children can have a dose of caring for me. So I can be reminded how good it feels to be productive serving my family. So I can sleep (yay drugs). And most of all, maybe I hurt my back to learn about hope.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I have been unimpressed.
So far, I had gotten the feeling that I was reading words and expressions of Christ through a thick filter, receiving only a slight amount of truth mixed in with all the interpretations. It was an uncomfortable thought. I have had people tell me that it gets better with each book. I guess that's something to look forward to.
And then, last night when I should have been going to bed, I read Matthew 25: The Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Parable of the Talents. An though I was a little confused by the Parable of the Ten Virgins, I was pleased to feel my brain and heart come alive while reading.
I noticed that the difference between the fives weren't "smart and dumb" or "prideful and humble" or "loud and meek", the difference was that five were WISE and five were FOOLISH. As I have learned, Wisdom is Doing while foolishness is "exhibiting a lack of good sense or judgement."
Neither is a difference in KNOWING. Knowing is Knowing. They all knew the bridegroom was coming, they all knew that the wait would be long. They all knew the rate at which their oil burned. They all knew that if they ran out of oil, they ran the chance of being left in the dark. The difference was that five ACTED on the knowledge, and the other five did not.
I was confused by the wise telling the foolish to go buy some when they ran out instead of sharing. Though now I see that if the wise shared, then they simply enabled the foolish to continue to be foolish, in which case the wise could no longer be considered wise.
So, as the kingdom of heaven is likened to the actions of the wise vs the unwise, I learn that it is my duty to be wise, acting upon my knowledge. And when the time comes it is not my job or my responsibility to sacrifice myself in order to save those who had the same knowledge that I did and still chose not to act in accordance with that knowledge.
And then came the Parable of the Talents!
The man gave money to his servants "according to his several ability." (a testimony that he knew his men, as our Father knows each of us) Two of the three who had received stewardship multiplied that stewardship when he "traded." In other words, they used the money as money was meant to be used. Money, and in the broader sense, all trade-able commodities, be they talents or grain (I hope you catch my drift), is not meant to be buried. It can be buried- Go ahead! The master gave you a stewardship and you can do whatever you want with it. Just see what happens. ;)
When the master returned, he saw that the one with five had doubled. The man with three had doubled. They both were awarded these words, "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler of many things."
The last man, when confronted answered with, " I knew thee that thou art an hard man. I was afraid." (It was here that I wrote in the margin the Dune litany against fear: "Fear is the mind killer.") His defense was met with "Thou wicked and slothful servant . . .thou oughtest to have put my money to the exchangers. therefore I might have received mine own with usury."
And I thought, "If the master gives us what he has, and we do not multiply it, what has he to give us when he returns that need not be returned?"
Then the master said this: "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."
I'm not going to lie: I had a problem with that statement. I thought it was mean. I didn't understand what the master was saying.
Until I realized that he was referring to a state of mind.
Those who think in the world of "having" (having joy, having love, having trade-ability, having family, having relationship with God) will HAVE. They cannot help but have, if they live in a world of having. And those who think in the world of "have not" (not enough money, not enough friends, not enough family, not enough things, not enough revelation) will have even what they DO HAVE taken from them, because they live in fear of it and in that way, breed lack of abundance.
That is a beautiful testimony to the power of gratitude, the power of attraction. And Christ taught it. It was very nice to have my testimony of the New Testament begin, and I look forward to having it grow!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
"Told that we are not gifted in certain areas, we are all too ready to believe it. Believing it, we repeat the damning words to ourselves and guarantee our own negative results. We parrot without exploring whether the lack is real or merely a part of our familial conditioning.
When I teach the concept of creative ceilings, I often talk about Chicago, a city filled with old buildings that feature wonderful high ornate pressed tin ceilings, ceilings often obscured by a lower "modern" Styrofoam ceiling. In many ways we are a lot like those buildings with artificially low ceilings. The hidden gifts we believe to be far above our creative capacities are often merely obscured from our view. A tiny whisper of the gift may remain, tapping at our consciousness. When we hear the whispered wish of that gift we say,"Oh, I could never do that! That is so far above my head."
Is it really?
Many people suffer from artificially low creative ceilings caused by what they've been told about themselves. Conditioned to believe they will fail they are either afraid to make a fledgling attempt or if they do, they judge that attempt so harshly that they abandon their efforts before they have a chance of success.
It is one of the ironies of my work that very often the phrases used to shame children actually single out the very finest parts of their creative DNA.
Gifted in many ways that our parents or teachers find threatening or disruptive, many of us have been called dreamers or other things as well.
As youngsters, when we were judged by outside authority we often take that judgement into ourselves. the choir teacher who makes fun of a quavering adolescent voice, may cause that child to lose that voice. The college professor who tells his students, "Your job is to convince me you are brilliant" (not to express yourself), may rob his students of their right to self expression.
In shamanic tradition, the loss of these parts of our self is called "soul loss." Any sever artistic shaming is sufficient to cause such self-displacement,, and the results can be catastrophic in terms of both identity and productivity. Some part of us is judged and then disowned. This disowned gift goes underground.
At best, the controlling descriptions issued to us as children are opinions. At worst, they are character assassination. "Get your head out of the clouds . . . You'll never amount to anything."
Because these negatives were often instilled before we were old enough to see through them or question the authority from which they came, we may still accept these shaming dictum's as fact.
Into the void of self-worth we insert the words we've been taught to use for ourselves. Our emotional or intellectually Achilles heel starts to throb as the old wound acts up again.
One of my favorite exercises when teaching a class is to have the class call out the words used to control them as children.
Head in the clouds
Out of your mind
Not feminine enough
Not masculine enough
Not in reality.
Please note that these are often contradictory. You may simultaneously stand accused of being too much and not enough. Unexpressed, unacknowledged, unesteemed our disowned gifts become shadow versions of themselves. Our good points become our bad points. Whatever it is that you were or are - It is wrong. You are wrong.
Wait a minute. Maybe they are wrong!"
Now this chapter hit home with me in unexpected ways. I am a rather creative person, by all accounts. It's one of the words I have heard over and over in my life cited when people say, "What do you know about Sayyadina?" Other words that have followed are "talented, loud, a reader, actress" etc.
And I realized while reading this chapter what some of my dross were. As a child, these were the things I was told, not only once, but many times in different situations. Rarely from my family, but always by someone who had the "authority" to tell me.
"You're too imaginative. You'll never be able to function in the real world."
"Being a mother is not a worthy life goal. Choose an occupation."
"You're too loud."
"You're too fat." (and this was WAY before I was fat!)
"You are not a dancer."
"You are not a soprano."
"You are not an alto."
"You don't have the attitude for a runner."
"You are not a runner."
"You read too much."
"You use over-large words. Speak like a person."
"Nothing like that could ever happen in real life."
"I can't finish a story."
"Your ending is weak."
"You have a bad memory."
Bad at sports
Inflexible (physically and time-management)
Lack of Priorities.
The list could go on. And last night, as I was writing these down I noticed one that I had always pushed aside as absolute truth and never challenged. "You don't have an attitude to be a runner." Followed by the belief that I was not a runner. I couldn't run. I was slow and clumsy.
So what did I do this morning?
Yeah, I did.
I went RUNNING!!!
I ran all up and down the cemetery above our house. Not only was the morning beautiful and fulfilling to all my senses, but I found out that I CAN run. I even like it. I really like it. I may be "bouncy", but I enjoy it. My body enjoys it. I enjoy coupling it with Yoga.
It makes me wonder what else I have a capacity for that I have not attempted in years because the thought of it was always followed by, "But I can't . . ."
What about you?