Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Will We Say About You When You're Gone?

          Have you ever noticed how a person is talked about while they're alive compared to what is said about them after they've passed away? It's usually very different.

          While they're alive, we speak glowingly of people by acknowledging their successes:  "Jim has risen to the level of  president of the company only 10 years after entering the corporation at the mail-room level," or "Janice has been able to bring in to her non-profit organization nearly triple the funds of her predecessor."

It changes

          Once that person is gone, however, what are considered noteworthy successes changes. It becomes:  "Jim generously opened his home every year to at-risk youth and provided mentoring opportunities to help inner city kids get ahead in school," and "Janice was known for her compassion and enthusiasm. She gave her time, money, and talents so local senior groups could participate in the arts that might not otherwise be available to them."

          Doesn't it look like one might be part of a resume and the other a part of a eulogy? Which one is more important? I'm not sure one is more important than another, but I am sure, when it's all said and done, I'd prefer the eulogy dialogue to linger after any mention of my name. Knowing this now, while we're above deck, so to speak, can be very valuable information.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On Searching for the Magic Bullet - Guest Blog Post by Margaret Stortz

          I am a believer, and being a retired minister, I have had many years of prayer, meditation and working with thoughts.  My particular belief system practices the life-affirming idea of Oneness with God, so it stands to reason that, once one with God, one is never not one with God.  I’m always mixing it up with the Infinite mentally and physically as well since I believe that the Divine Energies, left alone to do what is natural to them, continually renew and refresh the body.  My cohorts and I expect to feel more vital, younger and more able, and so we do…except for one thing…wrinkles.
                I have tried every prayer practice and every moisturizing, wrinkle-deleting cream known to man, and still I seem to be losing an inexorable battle with gravity inch by inch, year by year.  Yes, I could get a face lift, but then I feel I would be erasing some of my history.  After all, I may not be thrilled with wrinkles, but I did earn them.  I can remember some personal losses that popped out a new, facial crevasse or two.  Worry and grief are costly, and they remind us that we may be spiritual beings but we are also subject to our humanity as well.  This, too, is an unavoidable life progression.
                Is there a magic bullet, something that will smooth out my smiling face and make me a girly-girl again?  Maybe the search for magic is the problem.  There is nothing magic about living a full and honest life.  There is nothing magic about growing into ourselves either.  Some wag once said that growing older is not for sissies, and that wise one was right.  Enough looking for the magic bullet already!  I’ll just keep laying on the lead-lined sunscreen, appreciate where I find myself and remember that I have more life to share than ever.

Find more about Margaret at:
     www.margaretstortz.com   or http://margaretstortz.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

All is Well

All is well for Sue as she meditates
        When I meditate, I use the phrase “all is well” as my mantra. It isn’t the mantra I was given when I received formal training in meditation in Berkeley years ago, but it’s a phrase that carries significant power in calming me and helping me focus. I often say these three words at other times during my day, not just when I’m meditating.

          When I am afraid and unsure about an outcome, I remember: all is well. When life swirls around me, and I feel out of control, I remember, all is well. When I worry about nothing and everything, I remember, all is well. When I am discouraged and inconsolable, I remember, all is well.

          Each time I’m successful in replacing a negative concern or attitude with one that is more positive, such as “all is well,” I’m taking a step off the emotional roller coaster that spins my life through ups and downs. Staying positive doesn’t solve the problem. It does, however, reinforce that a negative attitude does nothing to solve anything. Plus, faking it until I make it has worked for me in the past. Sometimes you have to think it before you live it.

          In addition, I am reminded that I can quit trying to fix everything and everyone. Saying “All is well” lets me let go. I am reminded to live my best life and let others have theirs. I trust and believe in a universe that provides for me. Now when something unpleasant happens, I look for the opportunity that is created in its wake. Getting laid off can provide for a better job. A divorce or breakup can open a space in your heart for a greater love. Trying financial times can bring a huge sense of gratitude for the simple things in life. At the very least, an opportunity to learn from the experience is created.

                              Let 'a
ll is well' provide comfort in your life.
All is well in Bali

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Lenten Sacrifice - guest post by Randall Friesen

Randall Friesen
          What will you give up for Lent this year? What will you deny yourself?

          It has become almost trendy to give up something for Lent. "What are you giving up for Lent this year?" we ask each other. Then we proudly proclaim our sacrifice. "I'm giving up chocolate." "I'm giving up being constantly late." "I'm giving up CNN."

          Jesus, though, told his disciples, "When you fast…don't do it publicly, as the hypocrites do…but put on festive clothing, so that no one will suspect you are hungry" (Matthew 6:16-18, Living Bible). His message made clear that fasting is a transaction in mind, not in public displays. As we deny in our bodies, our minds are filled with thoughts of God.

Increasing Spiritual Power

          Fasting, giving up something, teaches us not to worry about the material world. When we give up a luxury for Lent, we do more than show piety; we increase our spiritual power. We deepen our communion with God. In essence, we create within ourselves space to be filled with the presence of the One that created us.

          Denial can be the first step toward understanding what we want to affirm in our lives. Thus, affirmation is its natural