Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Fences Make What?

Good tomatoes? "Boundary," it's a dirty word, I know. It is also something that I don't know how to make or keep, especially in intimate relationships. I either push people away, or attach myself so completely that I smother them, thus pushing them away. I know that I have a hard time being in a healthy relationship, it is a daily struggle to remain open to love and acceptance. I have been swinging to the extremes lately, I either set someone up to fall short of my high standards or expectations so I can say, "see, they don't love me, here they forgot I existed," or I base my emotional security on how they act. This way, I never truly am responsible for the way I feel. I have known friends that try to help me, yet I take their words of wisdom and somehow mutate them so that it sounds as if I am not worthy. The longer I follow this spiritual path, the trickier my character defects become and they have been sneaking in the back door recently. "Don't worry about that," doesn't mean, "I don't want you in my life." It means, "don't worry about that." I was thinking about boundaries today on my run. As it was the first mile or so I was still stewing over some perceived slight. I passed a porcupine, the expert on boundaries. Yes I can protect myself, but I also need to have an exposed side, a side that allows love in. Porcupines don't shoot quills, but if you get too close when they feel threatened you'll feel it. Creating boundaries is about having protection, but also knowing when there is an actual threat. Knowing that comes from having a little bit of trust, and the first one I should trust is God. I don't have to erect a fence, but I do need to know when I am threatened and when someone is acting out of love. And to know that I need to be vulnerable and listen to God, not build a fence or shoot (barbs) before asking.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Am I Prejudiced?

I was at the dog park this morning with the "kids," listening in on a conversation between some of the other "parents." One asked another, (both had second homes in the area) whether they had experienced any prejudice toward out of towners from the locals. Apparently this gentleman had been accused of being "one of those 212ers," another way of saying a rich New Yorker. When I think of prejudice I think of someone who hates minorities. But there are many sneaky forms of prejudice out there, many of which I have to admit to being guilty of. One just could be toward those "rich New Yorkers." Having lived in this beautiful rural area my whole life, I have been witness to the influx of second home owners, and loss of local wild spaces as "McMansions" are built, large hideous structures lived in for 3 months out of the year. But not all second homeowners buy into the sprawl that greedy companies have cashed in on (yes you Mr. begins with an 'A'). My attitude toward these people, people I know and like, is plain and simple prejudice, and the energy I create when feeling it disturbs my serenity. Not only am I blocking relationships with others, I am cutting myself off from the abundance this world has to offer. If I have a thing against rich people how is the Universe going to come in and say, "hey Laura, I think you've lived in poverty long enough, let's give you a little influx of cash." It just ain't happening. So I need to look at my attitude toward "others," including folks who drive behemoth gas-guzzling vehicles. What am I getting from this self righteous behavior? Perhaps a feeling of superiority? Am I overcompensating for a lack of self esteem, or am I just plain scared? It is probably fear, I am afraid of getting fat, smoking, single handedly destroying the environment and while we are at it, afraid of succeeding. Am I prejudiced? Maybe. Most likely though, I am just scared out of my mind. God help me with my attitude today, help me to find compassion within, so that I can spread it outside.

Monday, August 23, 2010

In Defense of my God, Round 1

I enjoy debating every once in a while, it gets the juices flowing and helps me to practice formulating my thoughts in a dignified manner. Living in Massachusetts, it is rare to come across a Republican, so I tend to discuss matters with like minded people. For the past week or so I have been having a debate with someone I respect, but with whose views I completely disagree with. It is agree to disagree time, as there is no way that I can believe the bible to be 100 percent accurate and true and evolution to be false. What I do need to explore today however, is my strong reactions to some of the debate points. Must I defend my spirituality to another being, aside from God? No. So my need to defend it must be masking an underlying emotion. My first guess would be fear. Am I playing the Mother Bear, defending her cub who was an atheist for a time, now agnostic? Probably, but what is the irrational need to answer and explain my spiritual practice? Am I scared that my God will spite me like the God in the bible does, or am I still in the fragile "first dates" time in my relationship with Divine? Am I afraid that my spirituality won't be able to evolve? I was always a little different from the rest of the children on the playground, the one who just didn't fit in. Now my understanding of the Divine and Sacred is unique, that doesn't make it wrong, and it doesn't make it right for others. Saint Francis wanted us to love rather than be loved. I can practice this with people who don't agree with my views. It doesn't make either of us wrong, it just makes us different. Is different really such a bad place to be? I think not. Today, I will cease fighting, I will allow others to have opinions and I will value my own, as being exactly the way it needs to be at this point in time. But for further reading this book was recommended by another dear friend! God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Perfect Spot

Maybe the beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts isn’t considered a global escapade, but it has its cultural rituals to observe. The natives build temporary structures on the shore, each mapping out a territory. When choosing one’s territory, careful planning must be carried out. First one must find an empty piece of beach, suitable in size and smooth in texture. Nothing is worse than sitting on a piece of driftwood or pile of rotting seaweed. But size and texture are not the only criteria to be considered. Do the neighbors have, a. screaming children, b. blasting music, c. marital problems. While listening to a couple discuss how they live separate lives now, can be great materiel for a novel one is writing, it can also be a big downer. Once the perfect spot (not near the chattering lifeguards) has been found and claimed it is time to make camp. The blanket must be smooth, the chairs placed at strategic angles, as to discourage others from moving into the two foot by two foot square left next to you. The cooler must be placed in the shade and all reading materials laid out within reach. Once this is all achieved, the day at the beach begins. On occasion you may find that the couple next to you thinks it is funny to feed the seagulls, and has attracted a huge crowd of the vultures to your neck of the shore, but for the most part, if you have planned and prepared, your day should run smoothly. In Cape Cod, as well as other beaches on the eastern coast, the view from above must be spectacular, colored umbrellas, tents, and blankets, all creating a wild pattern on the sandy shore. In comparison, the beaches in Italy were all preplanned. Beach chairs with coordinating umbrellas were lined up in rows, one section of blue, one section of red, one section of green, and on and on down the shore. Simple, form, function and comfort. You are given what you need for your stay sulla spiaggia. In the US, it is a race for the spot, planning, and a hodgepodge of contraptions, coolers and beach tents. What does this all mean? Nothing, really, just another day, ruminating and packing for the beach. As long as I don’t forget my Cosmo Italia this time.

Yes, I Am Evolving, I’m Just a Little Slow

I woke up this morning, my brain was ready to go, the committee in my head was already in session. According to certain religions, if I don’t believe in a certain human that died for my sins, then I am automatically going to hell. This doesn’t sit right with me, and today I am acting as if my entire belief system were under attack. Which is only in my head, my system is still intact. I have a unique spiritual path, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Just as DNA has dictated that my eyes are hazel, my hair is, well, who remembers, today it is brown, that I am 5 foot 5 inches tall (gave myself an extra half an inch there!), traits that are all me, I have a set of beliefs that are mine. I am a unique human, and as a unique human I have individual views and a way of seeing the world which was molded by my past as well as my present circumstances. A little genetics, a little culture, a little salt and pepper. Some people might be concerned that because I do not believe in the resurrection (along with millions of other people) that I will not be going to heaven. I believe that I am already in heaven and that the purpose of life is to live, to experience all the joys this world has to offer. So why I am I defending my spiritual beliefs? My relationship with Spirit is relatively new, the last four or five years we have been going steady, so to speak. Maybe I am overreacting because any relationship is fragile and must be treated with respect. Maybe because many people that I love are agnostic, atheist or Jewish. Maybe it is because I don’t like to be told what I should think, believe, or do, I have a mind of my own and it is in working order. Whatever the reason, this issue has been living in my head, rent free. Someone said the other day, I have to have good content to be content. I have to be loving and useful in order to be serene and content with my life. I have a feeling that if I were to love rather than be loved, to forgive rather than be forgiven, this group of folks that have been taking up space in my head might just decide to pack and leave. So yes, I believe in evolution, and yes I believe in God. Yes I believe that Jesus existed, but no, I don’t have to worship him in order to get to heaven. Heaven exists here on earth. Look around, herons flying overhead, butterflies, flowers, and the beach on which I sat today. Maybe God did create all of this, but maybe just maybe she created the ball of volcanoes, which happened to produce a water molecule. I think that God could have had a great time, just sitting back to see what that volcano produced, and voila, water and life. A little algae here, a little coral there and eventually us. That is called thinking ahead, 2.4 billion years ahead. And when I get out of my own head, my day will go smoother. So here’s to algae, trilobites, God and red, I mean brown hair. What a long strange trip it’s been.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Practicing Acceptance

I am a control freak (except when it comes to my house!) and the practice of acceptance is one of the more difficult spiritual goals I have set for myself. To accept the things I cannot change is fine as long as I am oblivious to what cannot be changed. The other day I was heading toward Boston and passed an anti-evolution billboard that screamed at me (or maybe that was my imagination). The 20-foot structure made of metal and paper was telling me that what I believe is false, what I have spent years studying, what I find fascinating, is just not true. I reacted with anger. How dare they tell me how to think? I spent an excessive period of time arguing with the billboard, with the people who paid for it and shoved it down my throat, or my eyes. I still feel self righteous indignation over this trampling, this invasion. I know I am overreacting. That is obvious. The question is why would that one billboard evoke such a strong feeling while others, informing all that one phone company is superior to another, doesn't even grab my attention? Maybe because I can choose which company to use, while I cannot change others. There will be a group of people out there that believe that man and dinosaurs co-existed, that believe that there is no way that we could be related to chimpanzees (they are so much hairier and definitely far more intelligent than man). Was I upset over the ego that was jumping out at me, or was I feeling a lack of control? I cannot change anyone's mind or belief system, just as I wish my own belief system to be left alone. I do not want anyone telling me what or who to believe in, my spirituality is sacred and unique to me. Maybe I felt threatened, that I was accused of being "wrong" or somehow defective because of my beliefs. What I do know today, is that acceptance is the answer, I am disturbed and it is up to me to pinpoint what part of me feels threatened. When I find that area I take back control. I have the ability to shift my feelings at any moment of the day. I have the choice to remain in the negativity and anger or to send love and light to the people I may not agree with as well as myself for my strong reaction. Life would be boring if everyone thought the same way, if everyone was a Red Sox fan or everyone a Democrat. There would be no dynamic, no change, and no evolution. So I will pass my sedimentary rock formations and smile and know that my loving God has been creating for billions of years, that snowballs and slushballs are just theories, that Pangy Day does have special meaning, and that yes, I, egotistical human that I am, did come from a speck of algae that the Universe created, and that millions of years from now, if I cannot reign in my anger over a billboard, I just might return to one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Birthday to my beautiful partner, 8/10/10, and no, it's not Herbert Hoover...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lessons From the Wheel Part 2: Centering

Have we skipped a step, gathering clay perhaps, and preparing it to make a vessel? Is that what the Creator does when we are born? Free will is then given to us and we are then in turn responsible for our own lives. Nevertheless, centering is hard, both on the wheel and off. The clay is placed firmly within a carved circle on the wheel, but still can be off centered so it has to be worked into the center with a forward motion of the hands. Moving forward to center. So often I find myself out of balance, either spiritually, physically or emotionally. Sitting still will not allow centering to occur, there has to be a forward motion, in pottery, it is with the hands pushing the clay. In life, I have to make the effort to either pray, eat a healthier lunch, take a run, connect with friends or send out a few emails. There has to be movement though. I just woke from a three hour nap, although refreshing it has to be followed with movement. So I chose to sit here at the computer and write, because every word that comes through my fingers brings me a step closer to my truth and my God. Once centered I can return to my day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Am

Today I felt the fear infiltrating as I rifled through my change jar for gas money. I found seven dollars in quarters, landed at pump seven and the fear dissipated. Intellectually I know that my god carries me through day by day. But sometimes, or maybe often, the fear just seeps back in. I am heading toward my senior year at a top notch university, one that doesn't allow me time for a job, so I have been relying on god and Sallie Mae for the past two years for support. And when the funds trickle down and I have a few months until my next visit from Sallie, I get scared. And when I get scared my attitude changes. I am no longer a strong independent woman, I am a failure who just can't seem to support her family. But I have been catching myself when the fear based voice creeps in. I need to conquer the voice, and writing a daily gratitude list is one way. I was thinking that as a writer I might like to write out the life I wish to have as well, in a story format, and begin this daily practice of physical visualization (see any of Wayne Dyer's books for more on this topic,such as: You'll See It When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation)with I am statements.
Today I am:
Healthy, wealthy, wise, independent, strong and loving.
Even when I don't feel that way, even when I want to quit before the miracle happens. Because I am enough, I know it as a child of god.