Sunday Sermon, Part IV, Two Wings of a Bird

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual … “

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

Hold up your hand for just a second.  Feel anything?

At any given second 100 trillion neutrinos are passing through your body  . . .RIGHT NOW.

The majority of neutrinos in the vicinity of the Earth are from nuclear reactions in the Sun. The solar neutrino flux for us on Earth is about 65 billion neutrinos, passing through just one square centimeter of area on earth, every second.  That’s a lot of neutrinos and we are not able to see them, sense them nor understand them.

There is so much, too much, that is not perceivable to our limited senses nor explainable by our reason.

I was a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years.  Not only did people share their fears and sorrows but unexplainable encounters with spirits, near death experiences and life altering experiences with the divine. I admit I was sometimes skeptical.  Over time it became impossible, to dismiss what intelligent, discerning people shared.  

I now think of science as one wing and religion as the other wing of a bird; a bird needs two wings for flight, one alone would be useless . . .  

 . . .  and I circled back to my study of faith and my belief we live a domino life where when one falls we all fall, where one succeeds we all succeed.   I discovered two faiths I’d not originally studied – Unitarian Universalism and Baha’i. They not only complemented each other but each offered something a bit different.  

Baha’is believe in and share all the UU principles:  

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth;
  4.  A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

. . . and most importantly the 7th UU principle –

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The Baha’i World Faith brought me full circle back to childhood and to God but it wasn’t the God of fear but of love.

When I read the three core principles which are the basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity From these stems the belief that God periodically reveals his will through divine messengers: MuhammadJesusMoses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Krishna the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh.  It was an “ah-ha moment for me that all establishers of religion. the great religions of the world, represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society. That religion is seen as orderly, unified, and progressive from age to age unexpectedly resonated.

Through decades of trials and tribulations I realize the magical thinking in my childhood, that the world revolved around me, wasn’t quite accurate . . . however,

. . .  perhaps some magical thinking persists 60+ years later.   Every morning I say a Baha’i prayer for family, friends, acquaintances,  past clients and a prayer for those who have passed.  The recitation of all the people grows longer each day and takes longer than the prayers . . . The difference between then and now is my prayers are steeped in love, not terror. 

        *          *           *

I’m attending a sermon writing workshop led by Kent Doss, the reverend at Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation – not because I plan to deliver sermons but because I’m fascinated how ministers, rabbi’s, priests and preachers write and deliver something inspiring enough to capture the imagination and stir humans to transformative right action. week after week after week which seems a daunting undertaking.  

To read Part I, The Interconnectedness of All Beings click HERE

Read Part II, Head & Heart click HERE

Read Part III – Stardusted, click HERE

 

 

FAITHfully Yours on this day of giving Thanks

“Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, colour or shade of political opinion. Heaven will support you while you work in this in-gathering of the scattered peoples of the world beneath the shadow of the almighty tent of unity.”

Baha’u’llah, The Baha’i World Faith,

“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.” 

The Dalai Lama

“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

 1 Corinthians 13:13

Sending all of you much love,

judy

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day-or-so something related to or inspired by Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and CATNIPblog Peggy & I will post our “dailies” here and Sunday “retrospectives” on CATNIPblog.com

The hashtag is #bahaiblogging.

Have a Heart, Give a Gift

Heart disease, not cancer, is the #1 killer of women.  I learned that and other invaluable information on Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters blog.

Over the years I’ve “stolen” and reposted many a wonderful post from Carolyn Thomas.  Her blog, Heart Sisters, has been one of the few I’ve followed for years.  I have forgotten what led me to her blog but once I read both her compelling stories and the up-to-date information on  women’s health, in particular heart disease, I was a Carolyn-groupie.  

Apparently Johns Hopkins was a groupie too when they asked her to write a book on Living with Heart Disease.  My guess is that her down-to-earth writing coupled with up-to-date research and information appealed to Johns Hopkins as much as it did to me.

Here’s just a sample of info found on Carolyn’s blog:

“Did you know: Women generally fare far worse than men after experiencing a cardiac event? One possible reason is that it can be confusing to make sense of warning symptoms when they do hit. Women are also less likely than our male counterparts to seek immediate help at the first sign of cardiac symptoms. Instead, we end up:”

  • toughing them out
  • waiting to see if they go away
  • blaming them on stress, muscle soreness, indigestion or other less serious non-cardiac causes

Read 12 cardiac symptoms women must never ignore

I can’t say enough good things about Carolyn – you’ll have to read her book and her blog to see for yourself what fabulous advocacy and education Carolyn has provided since her own “widow-maker” heart attack. (Full disclosure:  we are not related, I’ve never met her in person, and I don’t get a kick-back!)

Buy a copy and give the gift of life to a woman you love . . . maybe it’s even yourself

Save 20% when you use the code HTWN when you pre-order the book from Johns Hopkins

Order your copy click here:  Johns Hopkins University Press 

Johns Hopkins University Press is the publisher and here’s a fraction of what has been said about Carolyn’s Book:

[A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease] gives women the knowledge they need to become their own advocates in a health care system that continues to be weighted against them.”

“This book brings a needed focus to a leading killer of women today and is a must-read for women and their loved ones.”

“If you are a woman, or love a woman, this is a book for you! Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women. Here is a book focused on women’s cardiovascular health. It is all here—prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Read it for the people you love.”

“This work is an important contribution to the discussion about heart attack and misdiagnosis in women. Thomas’s personal story—alongside the stories of millions of other women—provides a needed reminder of recognizing one’s symptoms, avoiding denial, and seeking medical attention. This elegant book is a unique addition to women’s health books and a necessary read for women and the people who care about them.”

Thank you Carolyn for pushing through your own symptoms to write a book of this magnitude.  

 

Valentines NOT just from the heart

In case you’ve not gotten a valentine card for your sweetie it’s not too late to get something that’s personal, permanent and not just from your heart but from other parts of you too.

Lovey Dovey, Whenever I think of you I go crazy

Baby Boo, You are the lounge chair of my life. (Eames,no less)

Sweetie Pie, I could just eat you up!

My Love, Count on me to always watch your back.

Sweet Pea, I love you to the tips of my toes.

Baby, Take ALL of ME!

Proverbially Curious

Don’t remember how I found Susan Wojtkowski’s blog I only remember the title of her blog irreversibly moi made me laugh, her love of rescue dogs made me smile and her online classes kept calling to me.

So I signed up for Art Journaling Through Proverbs.  The price made me happy and the novelty of journaling inspired by proverbs (with which I’m not very familiar) made me interested.

My first journal page

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Proverbs 31: 20-22. Journal page, collage, paint & pastel

I’ll share what we do and the Proverb we are focusing on.  So stay tuned for some more of my heART!

P.S. There’s still time to join the online class.  Here’s Susan’s description:

“Our first class/group course of 2016 is a journey through the Book of Proverbs!  If you enjoy art journaling (or would like to start) and want to spend time in the Bible this year, this group is a great way to go.  We will enjoy artsy fellowship in a private, fun and comfortable Facebook group while learning new art journaling techniques and discussing how to apply Proverbs in our daily lives.  Read on below for more details about this great group class that kicks off on February 1st!”

 

An easy way for you to feel grateful EVERY DAY.

My brother Rick told me about The Greater Good.  Everyday I click on 6 of the sites.  With every click I remind myself to feel grateful to be living in a free country where I have access to things much of the world does not have.

It’s free and every click counts toward making this a better world.

(plus there are some cool free-trade things to buy that help people around the world)

Click on Greater Good and subscribe to get a daily e-mail reminder to be grateful.  Here are a list of the giving sites.

Research shows that feeling grateful doesn’t just make you feel good. It also helps – literally helps – the heart.

judy's journal

judy’s journal

“A positive mental attitude is good for your heart. It fends off depression, stress and anxiety, which can increase the risk of heart disease, says Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Mills specializes in disease processes and has been researching behavior and heart health for decades. He wondered if the very specific feeling of gratitude made a difference, too.”

“He recruited 186 men and women, average age 66, who already had some damage to their heart, either through years of sustained high blood pressure or as a result of heart attack or even an infection of the heart itself. They each filled out a standard questionnaire to rate how grateful they felt for the people, places or things in their lives.”

“It turned out the more grateful people were, the healthier they were. “They had less depressed mood, slept better and had more energy,” says Mills.”

“And when Mills did blood tests to measure inflammation, the body’s natural response to injury or plaque buildup in the arteries, he found lower levels among those who were grateful — an indication of better heart health.”

“So Mills did a small followup study to look even more closely at gratitude. He tested 40 patients for heart disease and noted biological indications of heart disease such as inflammation and heart rhythm. Then he asked half of the patients to keep a journal most days of the week, and write about two or three things they were grateful for. People wrote about everything, from appreciating children to being grateful for spouses, friends, pets, travel, jobs and even good food.”

“After two months, Mills retested all 40 patients and found health benefits for the patients who wrote in their journals. Inflammation levels were reduced and heart rhythm improved. And when he compared their heart disease risk before and after journal writing, there was a decrease in risk after two months of writing in their journals.”

“Mills isn’t sure exactly how gratitude helps the heart, but he thinks it’s because it reduces stress, a huge factor in heart disease.”

“Taking the time to focus on what you are thankful for,” he says, “letting that sense of gratitude wash over you — this helps us manage and cope.”

“And helps keep our hearts healthy.”

Much is required from those to whom much is given.
–Luke 12:48

He that give should never remember, he that receives should never forget. –The Talmud

The HeART of Spirituality

Too pooped to pop!  It was worth it!  I facilitated a HeART of Spirituality workshop at the Tapestry Unitarian church.  It’s my first post-retirement creative expression workshop.  Not sure if it’s the last . . .  

After so many years of having the luxury of giving workshops in my own office – with the set-up in place and all the materials on hand – I’d forgotten how much prep there is in doing a workshop off-site.  (I’ve also forgotten lots of other things . . . like what I had for breakfast).

Here’s a small sample of what we did and a few of the INCREDIBLE prayer/contemplation cards created by the participants (Unfortunately not all the photos I took “took”.)

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Take a look at a few of the Prayer/Meditation/Contemplation Cards!

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After making the cards Reverend Kent Doss led participants in a Wisdom Circle discussion of what spirituality means, how we define it and experience it in everyday life.

“Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.”  Pope John Paul  II

“If a man engages with all his power in the acquisition of a science or the perfection of an art, it is as if he has been worshiping God in the churches and temples.”  Abdu’l-Baha 

Baha’i World Faith

 “Art exists for its role of permitting men to escape their human condition, not by fleeing it,
 but by possessing it. All art is a means of taking hold of human destiny.” Andre Malraux

A special thank you to Judy Clemmer for her help cutting out HUNDREDS of pictures and providing supplies.

 

 

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