Archive for January, 2011

The Promise

 One of the reasons I started my spiritual journey was because I have seen that people with faith handle adversity better. 

I have the second bad cold of the season.  I don’t even usually get colds.  And last time, like every time I’ve been sick, I made a promise to myself to take better care of myself.  I bought a bunch of fruit and vegetable juices and swore I would develop better health habits.  Obviously, that did not happen.

My mother used to tell me I should be a nurse, because I could always find a job.  She was right, but she forgot I had a traumatic experience in a hospital when I was 5 years old (plus I’m squeamish at the sight of blood).  I had my appendix taken out after having great pain.  The naval hospital was about 2 hours away from the small Nike Army base where we lived, so they couldn’t visit me every day.  My sisters weren’t allowed to come to my room, so I had to wave at them behind a barrier.  One day a nurse was trying to untangle my hair in the playroom.  She said I looked like a witch, which really upset me.

I have had more operations and several trips to the ER which have made me want to avoid hospitals.  Both my parents died of complications in the hospital, not from the condition they were brought there for.

So I tend to baby myself when I am sick.  You would think it would make me more committed to taking care of myself.  But I get lazy.

This time I am going to try harder, and I will report my progress back here.  I have been studying Buddhist meditation practices to reduce anxiety and stress so I can sleep better.

Here is an interesting article I read today on whether prayer can heal by a doctor.


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“Ask of the beasts and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.” ~St. Francis of Assisi

This morning on our weekly walk we saw a little girl and her mother we have seen at least twice before.  They remembered us, too.  The little girl told her mother she loved puppies and kittens, too.  Then she said she loved animals.  She told her mother there was a show on Nickleodean that showed all the dogs and cats who didn’t have homes.

Her mother told her some people couldn’t have dogs or cats because they lived in an apartment or couldn’t afford them.  I wondered if that was true in their case, which made me sad.  But it was good to hear children’s programming isn’t all noise and flash.

Although I usually prefer solitude on our walks, Cubbie is the opposite.  He has taught me to be more open to people because he loves everyone, especially children.

 A few weeks ago an elderly couple came walking toward us, and the man’s eyes lit up when he saw Cubbie.  He came over to pet him.  His wife, who walked with a cane, was reluctant but petted him also.  Cubbie was so gentle, as if he sensed he needed to be.

I  also think he was brought into my life to teach me patience (I wasn’t looking for another dog at the time).  That is something I have been trying to learn my whole life.  Nature is a great teacher of patience, too.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.”  Job 12:7-8

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Bringing In the Light

I wanted to write something wonderful and wise for the New Year.  But the words didn’t come.  I thought about showing what wise words other people said, but that was easy enough for everyone to find.

There was a shadow upon me, a feeling I couldn’t define.  Sting’s song “Fields of Gold” kept playing in my mind.  The writer of the song died of cancer.

Then, on Saturday, January 8th, the massacre in Tucson happened.  Six people dead, our Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot in the head and clinging to life, and 13 more people injured.  In some ways it was like 9/11 again, with the same scenes played over and over on the television news.  I kept thinking to myself, “This doesn’t happen in this country.”

I really don’t like politics, and quite honestly I only voted for Ms. Giffords because her opponent was so unacceptable.  I have written her several letters concerning the Bureau of Land Management’s mismanagement of wild horses (“Management to Extinction” it has been called) and have never received a response.  But I certainly didn’t wish her dead.

As the reporters said, Tucson is a city of over a million people, but people know and care about each other.  This was certainly shown by those who risked their lives to stop the gunman and care for other people.  Although we are 75 miles away, we shop and eat there, and fly from Tucson, so it’s almost like we are part of the neighborhood.

I’m not psychic, nor would I want to be.  A very selfish part of me feels grateful that my feelings of dread did not result in any harm to my family or me.  But I hope that everyone can learn something from this tragedy, especially as it seems it could have been prevented, although the blame is being thrown everywhere.

even if it's not possible
to start completely over,
there is still this:
the day, opening into itself
and you, parting the curtains,
seeing all that light come in.
Maya Stein


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