Spiritually Speaking – Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited

George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st president of the United States.  He flew combat missions in World War II.  This is part of a letter he wrote his five children before the start of the Gulf War in which he discussed the phrase.

“CAVU was the kind of weather we Navy pilots wanted when we were to fly off our carrier in the Pacific,” he said. “We had little navigational instrumentation, so we wanted to CAVU, ceiling and visibility unlimited, and because of the five of you whose hugs I can still feel, whose own lives made me so proud, I can confidently tell my guardian angel that my life is CAVU and it will be that way until I die. All because of you.”

  • “Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech.

  • Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men.

  • Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.

  • Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts.”

“Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.”

Baha’u’llah, The Baha’i World Faith

“If you give birth to the genius within you, it will free you. If you do not give birth to the genius within you,

it will destroy you.”

Jesus, The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas

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 – Patience

“We must not only be patient with others, infinitely patient, but also with our own poor selves.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith

Judgement by Peggy, originally published on Pawsitively Tuesday

A Tidbit 

The “Founder”, Bahá’u’lláh

(1817-1892)

Bahá’u’lláh—the “Glory of God”—is the Promised One foretold by . . . all of the Divine Messengers of the past. Bahá’u’lláh delivered a new Revelation from God to humanity. Thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen. In His Writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life. For this, He endured 40 years of imprisonment, torture and exile.

http://bahaiteachings.org/

bahai-faithwww.bahai.org/

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.

FAITHfully Yours – Soul Music

We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high…

We could glean, then, that the reason music is so powerful, whether we are conscious of it or not, is that it has an effect on our soul, and that ultimately its purpose is to uplift us.

Baha’u’llah, Baha’i World Faith

A Baha’i Bit

Baha’is accept the validity of each of the founders and prophets of the major world religions, whose teachings have provided the basis for the advancement of civilization – Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.

http://bahaiteachings.org/bahai-faith

www.bahai.org/

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day (or so) something related to or inspired by Baha’i 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 #bahaiblogging

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.

FAITHfully Yours – Reflect on this

One hour’s reflection is preferable to seventy years of pious worship

Baha’u’llah, Baha’i World Faith

Refection, Woofer Sitting Pretty by judy

A Morsel of Baha’i

Baha’is follow the teachings of Baha’u’llah, (the Glory of God) who proclaimed the Baha’i Faith during the middle of the 19th Century, and who taught world peace, the oneness of all humanity and the essential unity of all religions.

http://bahaiteachings.org/bahai-faith

www.bahai.org/

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day (or so) something related to or inspired by Baha’i 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 #bahaiblogging

There is no “between the lines”

Do unto others

Do not read between the lines

It’s no mystery

Haiku Horizons - prompt BETWEEN

Haiku Horizons – prompt BETWEEN

The Golden Rule originates in a well-known Torah verse (Hebrew: “ואהבת לרעך כמוך”):

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. —Leviticus 19:18

Baha’i:  Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship . . . So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. Baha’u’llah, Teachings on Spiritual Reality

Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.  Matthew 7:12

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 31:a

Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana Varga 5:18

Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you. Analects 15:23

Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. (Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5).

Jainism: Killing a living being is killing one’s own self; showing compassion to a living being is showing compassion to oneself. He who desires his own good, should avoid causing any harm to a living being. Suman Suttam , verse 151

“L” is for the only word that matters

“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”

Gautama Buddha

“ . . . Love is greater than peace, for peace is founded upon love.”

images

Are we alone in the universe?

One septillion stars – 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.   That’s a lot of stars.

“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”  

Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i World Faith

 

 

Hooked on the Haiku BRANCH – tu haiku for yu

 Rooted in God’s love

we are all leaves of one tree

and fruits of one branch

“A fundamental teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i faith,  is the oneness of the world of humanity. Addressing mankind, He says: “Ye are all leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch.”  

“In this way His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh expressed the oneness of humankind whereas in all religious teachings of the past, the human world has been represented as divided into two parts, one known as the people of the Book of God or the pure tree and the other the people of infidelity and error or the evil tree.”

“The former were considered as belonging to the faithful and the others to the hosts of the irreligious and infidel; one part of humanity the recipients of divine mercy and the other the object of the wrath of their Creator.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh removed this by proclaiming the oneness of the world of humanity and this principle is specialized in His teachings for He has submerged all mankind in the sea of divine generosity. Some are asleep; they need to be awakened. Some are ailing; they need to be healed. Some are immature as children; they need to be trained. But all are recipients of the bounty and bestowals of God.”

Golden Snub Nose

Golden Snub Nose

When you’re stuck in mud

need to climb to higher ground

any branch will do

 

Haiku Horizons – prompt BRANCH

On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea, Becca Givens 

The Baha’i World Faith

A look into my sketch book

The Year of the Fairy Tale has been on “vacation” for a couple of months now.  It is hard for me to keep creating without an outside “container” or “reason”.  The other day  I decided to break that pattern and just DO IT on my own. (knowing that The Year of the Fairy Tale was about to start again!)

 I have always been fascinated by figure drawing, probably because I’m fascinated by people.  This pencil sketch was done fairly quickly as I was trying to capture the essence of the figure – rather than realism.  (Also, it’s easier to sketch essence!) Here’s what evolved from my DO IT.

Three “Muses”

Inspired by The Seven Valleys – a mystical book written by Baha’u’llah.  This Baha’i book doesn’t specifically focus on longing, pain or remorse – it’s just what evolved in my psyche.

Longing, Pain, Pencil Sketch

Longing, Pain & Remorse – Pencil Sketch

 

With Liberty and Justice for All

images-4One of the things I continually give thanks for is having been born in The United States of America.  Today, watching the peaceful exchange of power, the hallmark and legacy of every United States of America Presidential inauguration, was moving.  Listening to the President’s words reinforced many of my beliefs.  The following passage to me was the heart:

That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values — of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time.” President Barack Obama, Inaugural  Address, 2013,

Action for me is the heart.  And to pump blood through the heart of action, no matter our 15226939-medical-abstract-backgrounds-with-human-3d-rendered-heartcountry of birth, political persuasion, belief, color or creed, each and every human on this earth need base their actions on The Golden Rule.  It’s that simple:

“The Golden Rule”

The Golden Rule originates in a well-known Torah verse (Hebrew: “ואהבת לרעך כמוך”):

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. —Leviticus 19:18

Baha’i:  Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship . . . So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. Baha’u’llah, Teachings on Spiritual Reality

ChristianityAll things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.  Matthew 7:12

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 31:a 

Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517 

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah 

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana Varga 5:18

Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you. Analects 15:23 

Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. (Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5).


Jainism: Killing a living being is killing one’s own self; showing compassion to a living being is showing compassion to oneself. He who desires his own good, should avoid causing any harm to a living being. Suman Suttam , verse 151

 

Spirituality According to Max, Chapter 7 – LOVE Has No Bounds

“Be not content in showing friendship in words alone.
Let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who cross your path.”
Baha’u’llah, Baha’i
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 

If you missed previous chapters here are the links (they do need to be read in sequence to understand the thread):

Prologue & Epilogue
Chapter 1 – Instincts Rule
Chapter 2 – Love at First Lick
Chapter 3 – Chewsing Heaven
Chapter 4 – Unleashed
Chapter 5 – Our Little Angel
Chapter 6 – Favorite Flavors, Patience & Self Control
Chapter 7 – Love has No Bounds

Dad is grinning, despite himself, as Max licks him on any and every part of his body that is accessible. All this is happening ON the couch

My Dad never comfortable with outward displays of loving emotion, even from a dog, starts a wrestling match.  Max is more than up for the challenge.  Jumping on Dad over and over as  Dad pushes him back over and over.  With every jump and every push Max’s eyes grow bigger and bigger . . . a wild look that I can’t describe.  “Dad, Stop it!”  Max  gets wilder and wilder . . . his eyes get bigger and bigger.   “You’re riling him up”.  My sweet little angel looks possessed.  I will only see this look in Max’s eyes as long as my Dad is alive.  They have a primitive bond, a bit unnerving, but a special bond.

Dad finally stops, he’s 92 and no match for Max, “You picked a good one.”

Outwardly I smile. Inwardly I feel triumphant.

My Max loves his new family.  My brother Rick visits. Max’s very first “encounter” with Rick he jumps on the couch smothering Rick’s ear, inside and out, with licks of love.  Rick tries to dodge,  unsuccessfully, Max’s attentions  laughing so hard it brings tears . . . which of course, eggs Max on even more.

Max flagrantly disregards generations of controlled outward displays of affection.  He disregards etiquette and throws pretence away.  He licks my husband, he licks my Dad, he licks my brother, he licks me with unbridled loving passion. I’m sad that Mom, having passed on 4 years prior, didn’t get her share of all this public display of affection.  Max would have licked and loved her too.

Max’s first outing since coming home from the shelter is taking Dad to the grocery market.  Dad never spends much time shopping so this is a perfect opportunity for a short car ride.  Max is more than eager to go. When the car starts he begins squealing, and I do mean squealing, with delight. Non-stop squealing in delight.

I attempt to wait with Max in the car while Dad shops. Max has other ideas.  In self-defense, we take a little spin in the parking lot.  Max in the lead, sniffing, zig-zagging, choking  while I, hang on for dear life.  Abruptly he comes to a dead stop in front of the supermarket clerk who’s  corralling shopping carts.  “What a cute dog, what is he?”, the clerk bends down to pet Max, who without hesitation  exuberantly licks him on his face, his arms, his neck.  The clerk breaks out in delighted laughter.

My world simultaneously crashes and soars.   It not just me, not just my family . . . MAX LOVES EVERYONE.

This is a dog who now has a proper name that reflects his personality – distinct but cute, short but sweet, unique, memorable, independent,  a gourmand not a gourmet  . . .  I add indiscriminate lover to the list.

 

Spirituality According to Max, Chapter 6 – Favorite Flavors, Patience & Self Control

“God, verily, loveth those women and men who
show forth patience.”

Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 43

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23

P1010875

If you missed previous chapters here are the links (they do need to be read in order to understand the thread):

Prologue & Epilogue

Chapter 1 – Instincts Rule

Chapter 2 – Love at First Lick

Chapter 3 – Chewsing Heaven

Chapter 4 – Unleashed

Chapter 5 – Our Little Angel

My husband is examining the gouged edges of the breakfast table wicker chairs. “There are no scraps of wicker anywhere.  Can you believe he swallowed it!.  Maybe we should take him to the vet?”
“Max!  That’s what I’ve decided. Max!”  Figured I’d better find an acceptable name quickly before Homer found himself back at the animal shelter.  “Max? Are you sure you want to call him Max?” My husband is now thrown off guard by my sudden decision and appropriately distracted from the gouged wicker chairs.  Max goes over to give him a lick.

I am beginning to worry about this dog’s seemingly insatiable appetite for all things previously thought to be inedible.  Wanting to avert further “incidents” and to appease my husband before Max is dog-meat,  I buy a spray , an EXPENSIVE spray “guaranteed to stop animals from chewing . Bitter apple.  Can’t be more freshly organic than that.  Do not want to harm my sweet little angel, just protect him from indigestion.

 Since he had already developed a taste for wicker in the dog shelter I spray the wicker chairs first. Max eagerly runs over to see what I’m doing, licks the bitter apple cleanly off the wicker legs, looks up at me angelically with big brown eyes, gives me a lick or two, trots back to the couch to soften up the coverlet by sucking on the tattered edge.

I re-read the fine print on the Bitter Apple.  It says chewing, no mention of eating.  No listing of wicker chairs, throws and comforters (oh yes, forgot to mention pillow cases).  Not wanting to spend more money  I try what’s on hand – cayenne pepper . . . wasabi powder  . . . tabasco  . . .  Each flavor being more tasty than the next.  We put the chairs up on the table. Throw the throw, comforter and pillow cases to the dogs, so to speak.  And wait for signs of acid indigestion.

This is a dog who now has a proper name that reflects his personality – distinct but cute, short but sweet, unique and memorable, independent but loving and a gourmand not a gourmet.

So far, so good.  He hasn’t peed in the house once.

Spirituality According to Max – Prologue & Epilogue and a haiku

Max stormed into life!

Then silently passing on

leaf drifting in air

 *     *     *

To all my haiku friends who may not know of Max’s passing

at the bottom are the posts of Max’s story.

*   *   *

Max, Prologue & Epilogue

” . . . it is essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man. “ Bahá’í World Faith—Selected Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 

Max, 1968 – 2012

I mourn the passing from my life of this incredible lively, quirky and wonderful spirit.  Max was a love – stubborn, incredibly stubborn, but a love.

This December 2012,  he would have been 14 years old.  He was about 10 months old when he adopted us 1998. In his last week in both appearance and behaviour he wasn’t “Max”.

Before our eyes Max lost his hair, his pep, energy, stubbornness and his bearings.  He stopped greeting us at the door, giving hundreds of loving licks, he became completely disoriented, standing in space, staring at some unknowable sight, unable to move forward, backward or lie down.  Max’s body was here, his spirit was lost.

We knew without question it was time,  on November 26, 2012,  to release him

I have turned even more to the Baha’i spiritual teachings and prayer to stay as graceful and loving as possible through my tears  and  rely on Max’s loving, quirky spirit to help me keep perspective.

I began writing a series of remembrances days before we euthanized him, unconsciously knowing he had not many days to live here on earth.   I want to share a bit of Max and my journey  together.  If you choose to accompany us on this spiritual path Max & I will be honored.

Here are the links to the chapters I have posted to date.  They are a bit wacky,  just like Max!  Stay tuned for more . . .

Links (they do need to be read in order to follow the story thread):
Prologue & Epilogue
Chapter 1 – Instincts Rule
Chapter 2 – Love at First Lick
Chapter 3 – Chewsing Heaven
Chapter 4 – Unleashed
Chapter 5 – Our Little Angel
Chapter 6 – Favorite Flavors, Patience & Self Control
Chapter 7 – Love has no Bounds
 

 

 

Max, Prologue & Epilogue

” . . . it is essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man. 

Max, 1968 – 2012

I mourn the passing from my life of this incredible lively, quirky and wonderful spirit.  Max was a love – stubborn, incredibly stubborn, but a love.

December 2012,  he would have been 14 years old.  He was about 10 months old when he adopted us 1998. In his last week in both appearance and behaviour he wasn’t “Max”.

Before our eyes Max lost his hair, his pep, energy, stubbornness and his bearings.  He stopped greeting us at the door, giving hundreds of loving licks, he became completely disoriented, standing in space, starring at some unknowable sight, unable to move forward, backward or lie down.  Max’s body was here, his spirit was lost.  

We knew without question it was time,  on November 26, 2012,  to release him

I have turned even more to the Baha’i spiritual teachings and prayer to stay as graceful and loving as possible through my tears  and  rely on Max’s spirit to help me keep perspective.

I began writing this series of remembrances days before we euthanized him, unconsciously knowing he had not many days to live here on earth.   I want to share a bit of Max and my journey  together.  If you choose to accompany us on this spiritual path Max & I will be honored.

MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANIMALS

 

“It is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man The feelings are one and the same, whether ye inflict pain on man or on beast. There is no difference here whatever. And indeed ye do worse to harm an animal, for man hath a language, he can lodge a complaint, he can cry out and moan; if injured he can have recourse to the authorities and these will protect him from his aggressor. But the hapless beast is mute, able neither to express its hurt nor take its case to the authorities … Therefore it is essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man. Train your children from their earliest days to be infinitely tender and loving to animals. If an animal be sick, let them try to heal it, if it be hungry, let them feed it, if thirsty, let them quench its thirst, if weary, let them see that it rests.” 

Bahá’í World Faith—Selected Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 

Next, Chapter 1 – 

How Max picked me for adoption

 

With Love to Bernice and Len

November 14th was the anniversary of The passing of Leonard Bornstein, the husband of my dear dear friend Bernice.  Here is my original post in Len’s memory:

Among Bernice’s many, many accomplishments as a mother, wife,  grandmother, nurse, psychotherapist, Woman of the Year when she and Len lived in Eagle Lake, Texas. (Thank goodness she’s lost her drrrrrrawl since moving back to California!) she’s a writer, poet, incredible hostess but one of my dearest, long time friends.

We met in 1985 when we were psychotherapy interns together at Long Beach Family Service. (I’m not good at numbers but as I recall we were about 20 years old, give or take a decade . . . or two. . . or three or four).
Bernice and I created the annual “Birthday Season” that I wrote about on my birthday blog post.
After you read Bernice’s poem I’ll tell you why her poem and acrylic paintings reflect how  we all share a common bond with loss.
 
It came too quickly
He was too young
We never dreamed
It could happen to us.
It did
 
So we lived each day
took evey minute
To savor life
Share joys and loss
And did.
 
We gave our all
To win the battle
To keep hold of life
To conquer death
We didn’t.
 
Death came and went
Without devastation
For we shared it fully
Believing in eternity
I do.
 
by Bernice Bornstein, wife of Leonard Bornstein, M.D. who died November 14, 2008 
 
Here’s the series of pictures Bernice painted – one for each stanza.  

“It came too quickly”
One minute we are fine and the next moment, searing, burning pain. Like the black breaking through.
“So we lived each day”
We try to “be normal”.  Bits of flashes of color (hope, relief) but always against a background of grey
                      “To keep hold of life”
We attempt to hold onto who & what had been but the
background gets grayer and the color leaves our life.
Deep grief is felt over the empty loss

Bursts of life energy periodically blossom, against the gray.
“For we shared it fully
Believing in eternity
I do.”
“Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit. For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude. This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality.”


How to Make the Question: “Am I Enough?” Funny!

Important topic for EVERYONE

and a funny presentation by Brene Brown in the Ted video.  

You will enjoy!

I work with people everyday, helping them intellectually understand and emotionally integrate the truth of who they are.

I would not be able to do this if I hadn’t taken my own journey in my own therapy to learn I was “enough” :  I wasn’t a fraud and I didn’t have to be afraid that others would discover what was wrong with me if I allowed myself to be vulnerable.

I would not be able to work with others if I didn’t believe we all need to live our lives based on that which Jesus taught – LOVE and Baha’u’llah taught – WE ARE ALL ONE.

When I heard this talk by Brene Brown I was blown away to hear her say with science, with humor and with vulnerability what I had learned and struggle to live by.

In moments of shame

practice gratitude and joy

Let myself be seen

In moments of fear

love with my whole heart and soul

Know, I am enough

(P.S. This haiku was written weeks ago!  I am still haiku’d-out!)

Before you die, follow your heart with spirit

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart”.    Steve Jobs, Stanford, 2005

Liberty of Life

You are already naked

to follow your heart

Elixir of Death

 The powder that dries all wounds

return back to God

There was a time in my life when I couldn’t even hear the word death without bursting into tears,into painful, bone marrow deep fear.  My father told me over and over as a child that when we die we are nothing.  Our bodies shrivel into powder and we are nothing.  I would lie awake agonizing over that impossible thought; That one day I would perish into a blackness so profound that I would no longer exist.

He also said that energy was never lost, it only changed form.  I was too young to notice the discrepancy between his view of death and his view of life.

I no longer burst into tears.  I no longer believe that we will not exist beyond this human life.  It’s only taken about 60 years for me to embrace the scientific fact that matter never is lost, and the spiritual belief that the human spirit is never lost, that our souls simply transform as we grow spiritually, spiraling higher and higher, closer and closer to God.

Know thou that every hearing ear, if kept pure and undefiled, must, at all times and from every direction, hearken to the voice that uttereth these holy words: “Verily, we are God’s, and to Him shall we return.”
 
The mysteries of man’s physical death and of his return have not been divulged, and still remain unread. By the righteousness of God! Were they to be revealed, they would evoke such fear and sorrow that some would perish, while others would be so filled with gladness as to wish for death, and beseech, with unceasing longing, the one true God–exalted be His glory–to hasten their end. …
    http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/GWB/gwb-82.html

http://Haiku-Heights.blogspot.com

The Perfect Healing: Love, Peace & Prayer!

   My post yesterday  https://judithwesterfield.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/unrequited-love/ about how looking at art creates the same neurochemistry as love and a post several months ago about making art/crafts creates the same neurochemistry as calm merged when I read Cloe Filson’s blog. 

Cloe is an artist, a “real life artist” and a Baha’i.

When I saw how Cloe’s illustrated her Baha’i prayer-book I had a aha moment! What a perfect combination:  Love, Peace & Prayer.

Take a look at how Cloe combines all three in this tiny sample of Cloe’s two posts which you can access in the links below

reallifeartist.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/bahai-prayer-book-illustration-project-1/

reallifeartist.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/bahai-prayer-book-illustration-project-part-2/

Cloe Filson’s Baha’i Prayer Book art

“I’m a Baha’i. Every Baha’i prays at least once a day, but all are welcome to do so as much as they feel inclined, sometimes by oneself and sometimes with others. Baha’is think of prayer as conversation with God, and God as the unknowable essence.”

“Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote prayers to help His followers articulate the needs and longings of their souls, though we are also free to use our own words. Baha’is also meditate in whatever way they choose.”

“I myself pray to align and realign myself with the circumstances of my life and the general thrust of the universe. I also pray because Bahá’u’llah, Prophet-Founder of my faith, instructed His followers to do so each day.”

“One year, at camp, my friend Samuel and I came up with the idea of adding some illustration to our prayer books; we figured that, since prayer is a beautiful thing, we might benefit from using beautified prayer books. It has been an ongoing project, at least for me, ever since. Every now and then, I do another page or two.”‘ Cloe Filson, RealLifeArtist


There’s a lot more illustrations on Cloe’s blog of how she illustrated her Baha’i Prayer Book.

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