854. On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it. ~Jules Renard

JoAnne:

Natalie has put together some truly beautiful posts over at Sacred Touches. Go see!

Originally posted on Sacred Touches:

When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born. You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Screen shot 2015-08-29 at 3.17.52 PM

Sense the blessings of the earth in the perfect arc of a ripe tangerine, the taste of warm, fresh bread, the circling flight of birds, the lavender color of the sky shining in a late afternoon rain puddle, the million times we pass other beings in our cars and shops and out among the trees without crashing, conflict, or harm. ~Jack Kornfield

In the beginning God created the heavens and earth. ~Genesis 1:1 ✝
Then the Lord God formed a man from…

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Four-letter Words

SOC badge with butterfly

Is is possible to not use any “four-letter” words? Linda Hill’s prompt for today is “four-letter” words. Here’s the place to see her prompt:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/08/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-2915/

I was wondering if I could get by with writing no “four-letter” words in today’s post. But as I try to do it, it’s not too Stream of Consciousnessy. So I quit! So much for that idea.

Four-letter words can be useful.

I’ve never been much of a cusser. Not out loud anyway. I cuss just fine in my head, not all the time, but when the situation warrants it. I only  cuss out loud when I stub my toe or something like that, or if I’m alone.

But I have a hard time cussing out loud in front of people. Must have something to do with my parents. I don’t remember my mom ever cussing. Or my dad. But he was a marine for 20 years, so maybe he just didn’t cuss around us kids.

When I was in my early twenties, still living at home, I was talking on the phone to a friend. Back then we only had one phone and it was attached to the wall, so there was no privacy. I told my friend that something really “p—-d me off.” See I can’t even write it.

“Watch your language,” my dad said firmly from his recliner.

So now I rarely cuss in front of people. It’s sort of fun though when I cuss out loud in my car by myself.

I’ve worked as a substance abuse counselor for about 30 years, so I’ve heard my share of four-letter words. Some people don’t even know they’re doing it.  In individual sessions, I let it go. In groups, I’ll ignore an occasional slip. But every now and then, I get people in group who have no idea how much profanity they’re using. Since some people in the group might be bothered by it, and since people might need to learn to limit their use of four-letter words, say like for job interviews, etc., what I’ll do is put little hash marks on the board, discreetly, for each time the habitual cusser says the word. I usually only do it for the “F” word, since that seems to be the most offensive one. Though the “n” word is the most offensive word to me, and that’s not a four letter word. No hash marks for that one. Just stop it.

Eventually some one in the group catches on. I’ve had clients with 7 or 8 hash marks in a half hour, and they weren’t even mad about something. When they realize they said the “F” word so many times, they say they didn’t realize they were doing it that much, and they’re usually apologetic.

My goal is not to be authoritative or condemning, but to help them realize how often they are using the word and encourage other words. Sometimes clients have a goal to stop cussing so much, maybe for employment reasons, or they don’t like hearing their kids repeat those words, or maybe saying those four-letter words so often doesn’t fit with the new lifestyle they want to create.

It takes a conscious effort to change a habit like that, but it can be done. They can ask someone to discreetly point out to them when they say certain words. It’s like me telling my husband and my daughter that it’s okay for them to tell me if I’m hunched over. I’m often unaware at how bad my posture is until I see myself in a mirror, or notice how short I’ve become. I guess cussing is like that too.

So, I’ll be standing tall and cussing quietly…..in my head.

My husband says up north they call it swearing, instead of cussing. What do they call it where you come from?

If you’d like to join the Saturday Stream of Consciousness Fun, visit Linda at the link above.

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

A Mother’s Vision

Heart above fairy face

I imagine you wise

A good mother

When the time is right

Comfortable in your own skin

Learning to laugh at yourself

It took me a lot of years to learn that

Why should I expect you

To learn it sooner?

My daughter

Your wisdom emerges

from the depths

Of your healing soul.

You will be

The mother of love

comfortable and comforting

Your sweet laughter

Lighting up the night sky.

 

Taking my own advice on positive thinking, I wrote this for my daughter who is 22 and searching for her own path.

Mind over Matter: Things I Didn’t Learn in College

SOC badge with butterfly

My psychology degree taught me a little about the mind: cognitive psychology, the study of consciousness…. mostly, it taught me about the brain and behavior. I guess it gave me a introductory framework, but most of the valuable stuff I’ve learned seems to have come after college, once I got beyond the craziness of adolescence and became more curious about the mind. Not that I wasn’t curious before, but, well, you know. The brain/mind is not fully developed, research tells us, until somewhere around the age of 24. And they say it takes longer for the male brain to develop. That’s a whole other subject, I didn’t mean to go there. I really didn’t.

Where I meant to go was how fascinating the mind/body connection is. Oh, yeah, and that stuff I’ve learned since college: about meditation and thoughts. How positive thoughts can help us feel better physically and improve our health compared to negative thoughts. The mind is powerful. There’s the placebo effect, for example, that makes some people better just by believing they are taking medicine. Well, I did learn about that in college, but I’ve seen it more in action since then. Music is like medicine for me. Meditative music, like Taize, can be and healing.

For many years, I’ve worked in a  program that uses Methadone therapy to treat heroin and opiate addiction. Addiction to pain pills is a bigger problems than heroin these days. That’s another story. Controversial, I know. It’s helped a lot of people, Methadone, I mean, and some, not as much. Some people, not all, on Methadone tend to attribute aches and pains due to aging or illness to not having enough Methadone. Their minds are used to going down that road. They risk covering up other problems that need specific treatment. What I find fascinating are the occasional accounts of clients who were arrested and couldn’t get their Methadone when in jail and said it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as they thought it would be. (For most people sudden withdrawal is horrible.). A couple of times, I’ve been told by people that he or she didn’t have hardly any withdrawal in jail, even thought they expected it to be bad. Why is that? These are people we need to study. I must add that the people who are successful in recovery, regardless of the type of treatment, get that recovery is a lot of work. I wrote about that here.

Where am I going with this? Oh, yeah. The mind is powerful. It can make us feel miserable or it can make us feel strong.  If we know something is not available, whether it’s a drug, or ice cream, we can accept it and it’s not so bad as when the thing we want is close, but just out of reach.

Twenty-nine years ago, I was going to have my first baby without any medication at all. Ha! After the first shot of Stadol started wearing off, I was asking for another. They said it was too late; it was almost time to push. I sighed and accepted it. It was not available, so I didn’t ask again, didn’t even think about medication again. About thirty minutes later, I pushed my son out and immediately felt better and ready to take care of him, fight off tigers or whatever. A total change in consciousness.

Who’s really in charge? Sometimes my mind is all over the place and all the meditation techniques I know don’t help me sleep, usually because I’ve been up on the computer to late and I got my mind busy.  But thankfully, I am usually able to get enough sleep when I have the discipline to turn the computer off at a reasonable time. Discipline. That’s a mind thing. Mind over matter.

And yet, sometimes we need help. Addiction, whether it’s to heroin, or to the internet, (not that I’m saying I’m addicted to the internet, I’m not saying that at all….but it is the next wave of addiction for our culture, I believe….)  Addiction is often too much for one mind to handle alone. When the mind is overcome by a mental illness or an addiction, we need help. I know a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. When I ask that power (for me, God) to help me turn off the lights by midnight, and I allow that power to help me click on the x and turn out the lights, it works a lot better.

I didn’t learn that in college.

Today’s prompt for Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness Post was: “mind.”

If you’d like to join the fun of Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness visit:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/08/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-2215/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

Hope for the climate

JoAnne:

“… this time, finally, there is hope, due in large measure to the diverse voices demanding or pleading for change.” Thank you, Joanne Corey, for sharing the hope!

Originally posted on Top of JC's Mind:

This week, the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change was announced, calling for Muslims around the world to phase out use of fossil fuels and switch to renewable forms of energy.

This follows on the heels of the June release of Laudato Si’, the encyclical issued by Pope Francis on the environment, climate change, and care of creation, including humanity. The encyclical draws deeply not only on climate science but also on the tenets of peace, love, mercy, caring, and justice that underlie many different world religions and philosophies. Francis intended this document for the world’s Catholics and “all people of good will” whether or not they follow a religious/spiritual practice.

Faith leaders from other spiritual and religious traditions, including the Dalai Lama, have also voiced their concerns on combatting climate change and environmental degradation.  The People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014 brought people from all corners of…

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Joel Osteen is one of the Good Guys

“You must quit looking at what you don’t have and start believing that all things are possible.”   __ Joel Osteen

A  friend posted this article criticizing Joel Osteen on my Facebook timeline. Just the title, “Grace, grace, and grace: How to Battle Osteenism in Our Time,” turned me off.

I don’t want to battle Osteenism. I really don’t want to battle anyone. I’ll battle the devil when I have to. But Joel Osteen is NOT the devil. I’ve read excerpts from his book, Your Best Life Now, and found it refreshingly positive. It was a little like reading The Secret, but from a Christian perspective. It’s an easy jump, considering, “Ask, Believe, Receive,” is right there in Matthew 21:22.

The criticisms in the article my friend shared, include Osteen not having enough scripture, and encouraging us to focus on ourselves instead of God. The author writes, “…We want to be able to look in the mirror and say, “I am good, I am holy, I have made it all on my own.”

Yes, I do want to say, I am good, I am holy, but I know darn well I have not made it on my own. God brought me to this place of Grace. I had a feeling Osteen knows that too. So I watched some of  his videos. This one is  called: “Be Positive or Be Quiet.”  (Though it starts in the middle of a joke, the actual sermon starts around 4o seconds in.) It was well worth my time.

The more I listened to Joel in this video, the more I liked him. He used plenty of scripture and biblical stories to explain how and why we need to speak positively and not speak negative thoughts. He gives God all kinds of credit.

I know we have to address things that are wrong, but we can do it by saying what we want. We can talk about our hopes, what we want for our world, nation, city, neighborhood, family, and life. Like it says on my favorite bumper sticker:

Encourage your hopes, not your fears.

I’m not completely head-over-heels for Joel Osteen.  I might not believe everything he believes.

I do believe we can disagree and still admire and respect each other for good work. 

I have no interest in going to a mega church. Being an introvert at heart, crowded stadiums are not fun for me. But if he can get over 40,000 people to come to his church every Sunday, he must be on to something powerful.

I believe those people are hungry for hope. Me too. I thrive on positive words of encouragement. There is too much negative energy being spread into the world by the mainstream media, and by some religious leaders. Negativity becomes toxic after awhile.

Joel Osteen talks a lot about hope. And he talks a lot about Jesus and God, too. I believe he’s one of the good guys. And even if I don’t agree with everything he’s ever said, we’re still on the same team.

“Take your dreams and the promises God has put in your heart, and every day declare that they will come to pass.”   ___  Joel Osteen

Reaching Out to the World

JoAnne:

Lets see how many countries we can connect!

Originally posted on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun:

Welcome. I see you’re from Earth. That’s great, because I want to have visitors from all over the world. So, here’s what I’d like to do. It’s my Reaching Out to the World Project.

CIA_WorldFactBook-Political_world.pdfI’m sure you’re from somewhere on that map. Well, I’d like you to do a few simple things for this project. It’s really easy.

First, leave a comment on this post saying which country you’re originally from.

Second, share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, and so on. Reblog if you like.

Third, and this is optional, tell your international blogger friends about this post, and ask them to leave a comment.

Easy, isn’t it?  I’ll update the countries that are represented here in a list below. I’d love to see blogs from all over the world. Everyone has a unique perspective. So, if you’re interested, then leave your comment…

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