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Showing posts from November, 2009

I'll Take the Alternative Health--Hold the Dogma

There's a lot going on in the health care cafeteria these days.  The usual lunch ladies are upping their game.  The school population is in an uproar over the same old dishes being served day in and day out, as the quality fails to improve with the soaring prices.  Sadly for us kids, the drug pushers are becoming increasingly obnoxious and intimidating.  It seems there are dealers peddling at least three new drugs at every table.  Not surprisingly, the antidepressants and anxiety meds are going fast over at the geek table.  "Anybody paranoid over here?  Step right up, kid!" 

Luckily for some of us, cool alternative health dudes and well-intentioned shaman are joining us after the lunch bell and setting up their own stands.  "Don't want the corn dogs and goulash today?  Wanna get those pushers off your back?  We've got better products at a price you might like!"  Lately I'm lining up at these guys' stands more often than not.  I'm sick of th…

Honoring the Matron of Thanksgiving

In a prior post on the spiritual practice of gratitude, I described my formative Thanksgiving holidays spent at the home of my paternal grandmother, Geneva Garrison, nicknamed "G.G."  She attended college and worked as a teacher.  At one point in her career, she taught in a one room school house.  She lived to the age of 101 before, as she would say, "going home to be with the Lord" this past winter.  I share two important qualities with G.G.:  1) I am very spiritual by nature, and 2) I love to write.  I would like to honor G.G. through sharing an excerpt from her personal journal.  If you would like to learn about making your own sorghum or riding in a covered wagon, this is for you.  Reading about the living conditions of our ancestors 100 years ago can make us thankful for what we have, and at the same time wistful for a more concrete experience with nature, the land, and even with God. 

Here is what G.G. had to say about the origins of her life:

"In the b…

That's When You Find Yourself

So I've seen the Disney Pixar Cars movie about 100 times.  I mean, not all the way through or anything!  I haven't actually sat in one place and watched Cars in its entirety more than twice.  Here is what usually happens: my son Alec wakes up at 5:45 a.m. and starts asking for Lightning McQueen.  That is when my husband will go and start up the Cars DVD for 20 more minutes in bed.  As our morning progresses, I hear bits and pieces of the film over breakfast, potty training, then washing and dressing everyone.  Once things have quieted down a bit the film ends and as the credits role, I hear the song "Find Yourself."  Here is the chorus:

When you go through life
So sure of where you're heading
And you wind up lost
And it's the best thing that could've happened
Cause sometimes when you lose your way
It's really just as well
Because you find yourself
Yeah, that's when you find yourself

You may find these lyrics to be any of the following: trite, sapp…

Finding Presents in the Past

Keeping our focus on the here and the now is an excellent spiritual practice that improves our relationships with loved ones.  If we can be fully present with our children, our spouses, our friends... that is the greatest gift.  However, I find my thoughts drifting to my grandparents lately.  None of them are "with us" in the physical sense.  Can I still be with them in the present moment? 

I also think of how quickly time is passing, as we all cannot help but do at least occasionally.  We are all aging.  In the spirit of my former post on gratitude, I am feeling like I need to spend more time speaking with my parents and collecting their memories of their own parents. 

Whenever I look at old photographs of my grandparents and my Mom and Dad, I try to appreciate the unique qualities that they possessed at that moment in time.  For some reason, I particularly like to see photos of all of them at my current age.  As an inspiration for connecting with older family members, wh…

Expressing Gratitude

Last week I received a letter from a church proclaiming that miracles can only happen in an atmosphere of gratitude. 

I belong to a group on Facebook called Thanks a Million!- A Daily Gratitude Group.  The purpose of the group is to provide a public forum for each of us to state our gratitude for the blessings we receive.  The group administrator believes that everyone should have a daily gratitude practice for spiritual health. 

In my Meditation Handbook, beginners are encouraged to commence practice through contemplation of "our precious human life."  In Buddhist meditation, practitioners begin with gratitude as a cornerstone. 

Gratitude supposedly has its own unique holiday: Thanksgiving!  When I was growing up, I spent Thanksgiving at my paternal grandmother's home.  She had four children, eleven grandchildren, and a number of great-grandchildren that I am unable to count with accuracy.  She instituted a tradition of standing in a family circle while holding hands…

Experiencing Setbacks and Frustration

Intention is important and sometimes given short shrift.  Actions frequently fall short of good intentions.  This is especially true when we are reacting, rather than acting from a pure motivation.  I find that my best behaviors and actions result from a good intention carried through to completion.  In opposition, I find that my worst behaviors result from reacting to a situation or the actions of another person. 

I write what I wish to learn.  I wish to learn the art of acting from pure motivation.  I do not mean this in a theatrical sense, though I was a thespian in high school.  If I could rub the belly of a genie and be granted three wishes, here is what I would request: 1) pure thoughts, 2) pure speech, 3) pure actions.  According to the Christ, the Buddha, and undoubtedly countless rabbis, these three can flow only from a pure heart.  Here are some universally wise words from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 6, verse 45: "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart p…