Wednesday, July 17, 2024

July 17--Family Fun

The pleasure of love is in loving. We are happier in the passion we feel than in that we inspire.  --Francois de la Rochefoucauld

    Route 70 in eastern Colorado is in terrible shape. The road is so rough, we feel battered after passing through that section. So we elected to take a detour on two lane roads through farmland and a few small towns. One of those we passed through had the no-doubt fine institution: Last Chance Community Church. LOL! Actually, I just learned that the tiny town's name IS Last Chance, which I guess makes it not so comical. 
    I had a great time playing with my grandson. I even got to read him a couple stories. Note that Dad and Mom don't want me to publish any photos of him, otherwise you could see how adorable he is! They are going to let us babysit him tonight while they go on a date. That's huge. Both have jobs and side hustles besides a 2-year-old and another arriving soon, so they need a break. We are so happy to support that!
    More fun today!
Hoping to score some Palisade peaches...

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

July 16--More Please

Love is a power which produces love.  --Erich Fromm

    WOOHOO!!! I get to see, hug, cuddle, and play with my grandson today!! He's going to be a big brother in a couple of months, so more love is being "produced" as I write. 
    I leave you with this from "Every Day Spirit" by Mary Davis:

Bless my eyes to see goodness.
Bless my words to speak kindness. 
Bless my heart to feel compassion. 
Bless my soul to radiate love. 

    Let us spread these blessings lavishly!
Bench decoration at Botanica, Wichita

Monday, July 15, 2024

July 15--We Are ALL Addicts

We live in the world when we love it.  --Rabindranath Tagore
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation of July 14:

I am convinced that, on a practical level, the gospel message of Jesus and the Twelve Step message of Bill Wilson are largely the same message. The Twelve Step Program parallels, mirrors, and makes practical the same messages that Jesus gave us, but without as much danger of spiritualizing the message and pushing its effects into a future world.

Here are four assumptions that I am making about addiction:

We are all addicts. Human beings are addictive by nature. Addiction is a modern name and honest description for what the biblical tradition called “sin” and medieval Christians called “passions” or “attachments.” They both recognized that serious measures or practices were needed to break us out of these illusions and entrapments.

“Stinking thinking” is the universal addiction. Substance addictions like alcohol and drugs are merely the most visible forms of addiction, but actually we are all addicted to our own habitual ways of doing anything, our own defenses, and most especially, our patterned way of thinking and processing reality. These attachments are at first hidden to us; by definition, we can never see or handle what we are addicted to, but we cannot heal what we do not first acknowledge.

All societies are addicted to themselves and create deep codependency. There are shared and agreed-upon addictions in every culture and every institution. These are often the hardest to heal because they do not look like addictions. We have all agreed to be compulsive about the same things and unaware of the same problems. The gospel exposes those lies in every culture.

Some form of alternative consciousness is the only freedom from the addicted self and from cultural lies. If the universal addiction is to our own pattern of thinking, which is invariably dualistic, the primary spiritual path must be some form of contemplative practice or prayer to break down this unhelpful binary system of either-or thinking and superiority thinking. Prayer is a form of non-dual resting in “what is.” Eventually, this contemplative practice changes our whole operating system! 

Let me sum up, then. These are the foundational ways that I believe Jesus and the Twelve Steps of AA are saying the same thing but with different vocabulary:
  • We suffer to get well.
  • We surrender to win.
  • We die to live.
  • We give it away to keep it.
This counterintuitive wisdom will forever be resisted, denied, and avoided, until it’s forced upon us by some reality over which we are powerless—and, if we’re honest, we are all powerless in the presence of full Reality.

We are all spiritually powerless, not just those who are physically addicted to a substance. Alcoholics simply have their powerlessness visible for all to see. The rest of us disguise it in different ways, and overcompensate for our more hidden and subtle addictions and attachments.
I am continually in awe and gratitude for the wisdom of the founders of the Twelve Step program.

On The Ledge in Chicago...
isn't that where all of life is!?!!?

Sunday, July 14, 2024

July 14--How Big Is Your World?

We are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to love, be loved, and to belong.  --Brene Brown

    The word "belong" is sticking out for me in this quote. One of the things that concerns me as I get older is the idea of my world becoming smaller. What does that mean? I've seen older folks become less active, less involved, having less social interaction, and becoming more and more isolated. This may be due to physical or health issues, retirement, or even by choice. I'm an introvert by nature, so I often have to nudge (shove!) myself to participate in society. Our families are all far away--how long will we be able to travel to see them? I'm becoming less interested in playing golf--that's a whole set of folks that I could drift away from. I'm enjoying simulated patient work and pickleball, and I've met and reconnected with many folks via those efforts. Traveling is still "number 1" on my agenda, but for how long? 
    Writing this makes me realize that the fine balance of belonging vs. isolation is my choice, at least for now. I am blessed in that the only limit I have at the moment is my tendency to be a hermit. If I make the effort, my world continues to be just the right size. 
    Still showing up,
My favorite Chicago photo--
Wrigley Field from my airplane
circling to land

Saturday, July 13, 2024

July 13--Choice Words

Life must be rich and full of loving--it's no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.  --Jack Kerouac

    As a die-hard Cubs fan, I'm pleased to report that the Cubs swept a 3-game series against Baltimore in Baltimore. This is huge, as the Orioles are one of MLB's best teams and the Cubs have been sucking badly. In Thursday night's game, the Cubs 3rd baseman made a great play to get a close out at first. Jim Deshaies, Cubs TV announcer, said, "Just pick it and flick it." This made me laugh out loud because when my younger son was about five years old, he announced to me, very profoundly, "Mom, I've decided to stop eating my boogers. I just like pickin' 'em and flickin' 'em."
    Let us not take life or ourselves too seriously!
Nicholas Krushenick, "Elephant Spoons"
Art Institute of Chicago

Friday, July 12, 2024

July 12--How Much Is Too Much?

Who would live and not love?  --Rachel Russell

    I am a person who is extremely wary of the medical profession. In my opinion, they are way too ready to do tests, procedures, etc. that are often unnecessary or even harmful. As of this week, this sentiment now includes the veterinary realm. Barney had a small wound on top of his paw for a couple weeks. He was taking care of it, and it did not affect his ability to walk. He would lick it occasionally, but it was healing. For some reason, my husband panicked and took him to the vet. Given the time of year and past history, a grass awn was suspected. There was NO infection. The vet gave him a local numbing to look at his paw, and when she could find nothing, she put him under general anesthesia and cut his paw open searching and found nothing. This left him virtually comatose for over 24 hours. Our usually vibrant pup just laid around looking sad. It was about 30 hours before he would eat and drink. This cost us $364 and his paw looks worse than when he went in, and it also has a staple in it that must be removed at the vet office. I am not a happy camper. Barney is not either. Barney looks at us like we have betrayed him, and I feel like that is the case. And by the way, the staple fell out somewhere already. 
    Thank goodness, Barney is one tough boy.
Poor Barney, I'm sorry!

Thursday, July 11, 2024

July 11--Only Love Works

Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.  --Euripides

    One does not have to step very far back to see what fools we humans are. We don't even need to go out into space to see that war, violence and environmental destruction are not helpful in any way. STOP IT!
    While exploring Chicago this past weekend, we had loads of time for people-watching. Truly we saw every version of humanity--skin color, culture, ethnicity, personal hygiene, extreme wealth, wretched poverty. At one point I wondered to my niece how many different languages we heard being spoken during our time there. Alas, here is a headline from a Chicago news station: "19 killed, 84 wounded in shootings across Chicago during holiday weekend." 
    What did that violence accomplish but sorrow? 
    I saw a meme that wisely suggested: "What if we don't have a President and we all just agree to be cool?"
    Love is our best option to reunite the Divided States of America with ourselves and the world. 
Georgia O'Keefe, "Red Hills with Flowers,"
Art Institute of Chicago