March 15, 2006
Lenten Week 3 Reflections
Discipline is a word that hearkens back to our childhood, or to the machinations of those in our lives who want us to conform to certain behaviors or to the needed requirement for developing ‘character.’ Actually, the word is grounded in the word disciple, which means a ‘learner.’ Discipline can become for us a way to encounter new learnings about ourselves and to actively engage in extracting from those learnings insights that can deepen our understanding of life and spirit. Lent invites us to re-enter the school of life and be discipled in the endless possibilities for growth. Take time this week to try out discipline with a new intention, and find the world opening up to you.
What is life trying to teach me and how open am I to learning?
Wow come to think of it in terms of discipline, I don’t know how open I am to learning anything. I never thought of disciple in as some who learned through discipline. I think I’m the most undisciplined person on earth. My daily non- structure is starting to sicken me and yet I feel less and less compelled to do anything about it. My workouts have dropped almost to nil. I’m ashamed to share it with my mom, she’s working out every day and she’s 76 this year! I feel bad today, my sweetie’s really having a rough time and it’s hard to raise his spirits when he feels so discouraged. I don’t have enough money to take the spiritual class I want to take and I don’t want to ask for money. I hate asking for money. I have applied and keep applying for jobs to no avail. Maybe I’ll re-adjust my resume. I should be taking this time to write instead of worrying about work and money, but I feel uncomfortable writing as if nothing’s critical in my life. I suppose that’s the way all of us have to work most times so maybe I’d better get myself accustomed to it.
I’m praying but not as intensely as I had planned, because I just feel tired this week like I did with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, only now I can sleep and this week I’ve been doing a lot of that. I know it’s only Wednesday. For me sleeping more than 6 hours a day is a lot and I’ve been sleeping probably 10 hours or more in the last couple days. Almost all my activities lately are surrounding things that keep me from dealing with my life and myself, which is why writing is harder to do because it causes so danged much self-reflection even when you’re unaware of it!
March 13, 2006
Week 2 of Lenten reflections
In a culture focused on results, we can find ourselves regularly alienated from reflection. We come to believe that reflection is akin to laziness or that it is only within the purview of philosophers, artists, and poets. So we avoid reflection, thinking it is little more than a form of luxurious leisure that we indulge in at our peril. The truth is that we are at peril when we avoid reflection, not when we engage in it. Lent invites us to reclaim reflection as a part of our life, and to find in reflection the possibility of renewal. Take time this week to stop your activity, your need to produce results, and let your mind descend into your soul to see what is growing there.
How is life massaging me and calling me to respond?
· In my work? I don’t have any official work right now. My life is telling me to “make some” to help me feel more structured. When I reflect I believe that writing is my job and I want to spiritually connect for it, but there’s something so terrifyingly naked about writing from your spirit!
· In my family? I’m on a good path with my family. I can’t say they are necessarily on a good path with me. My father wants nothing to do with me, because of an old hatred in his heart, a legacy my grandmother fostered. I just choose not to buy into that. I’m okay with his choosing not to be in my life. Most of the time I was working on keeping the relationship going and I used to allow him to affect me in a severe manner. Now his junk really is his so it doesn’t bother me. That’s just how he chooses to live his life. Most important, I am good with my behavior with my dad. I’m proud that he can’t throw me into a tailspin with his nasty attitude. Eventually we all come to the understanding that hatred solves nothing!
· In my community? In my community I’m constantly in reflection, and mostly absent really. I don’t see a place for myself in the community at this time, but that has a lot to do with the limbo of where I’m living and soon to be living and not feeling a great desire to be a part of the “Community” at this point in my life.
· In my soul? I feel that in my soul I’ve got lots of work to do on how I think about those that have severely wronged me. I haven’t retaliated for the most part, but because I haven’t resolved most of that I still get fleeting thoughts of “how I could get them back or force them to do the right thing” I’m truly ashamed of this aspect of my heart. It doesn’t fit me. It doesn’t fit my soul. I want to release these kinds of thoughts and feelings forever. I do have a main question for myself that I’m truly terrified of answering and searching my heart for the answer to:
Am I enough?
March 8, 2006
Water Fast 36 day count down
I’ll be full blown into the Lenten Fast on Saturday the 11th of March. I’m not sure if my sweetie is going to be full blown into his fast but he’s pretty heavily wrapped up in work. Not working makes it somewhat easier because if you get really tired you can lay down when you want. I’ve decided to make each of those last 36 days till Easter a specific prayer day for something specific. For instance one day I’ll make the theme my sister and all the other soldiers in Iraq. Another day I’ll pray for the homeless etc. I think having a theme each day during the Fast will make it easier to focus for me. The one thing about not eating is food plays so many roles in human beings’ lives.
People eat for so many different reasons:
To combat boredom
To comfort you when you’re lonely
To calm your fears
To satisfy that pernicious emptiness
To stop headaches
To feed a fever and starve a cold or is it feed a cold starve a fever (I can’t ever remember how that works!)
To lose more weight by speeding up your metabolism
To quell those “perceived” hunger pangs
To make yourself feel “in control” when nothing else in your life is
The reasons are beyond me, there’s just too many to mention, but food becomes one formidable temptation. There’s so much at stake when you fast. Your self esteem, your spiritual obedience, your will power, your incredible growth from the whole experience and your health.
So for the next 2 days I’ve got to get most of the perishables taken care of and clean the kitchen spic and span. I actually might enjoy an Easter meal after this fast. We’ll see. After extended fasts it’s hard on your body to just go back to eating like normal right away. I’ll probably have to re feed like they mentioned in Allan Cott’s Fasting book. After longer fasts when I eat fatty things or extra strong Fibrous items too early. It feels like a big box is shoving it’s way through your small tuberous intestines, it’s quite uncomfortable and that’s putting it mildly!
I was thinking about what I could do with my kitchen space to negate it as a place to eat. I know after the last fast I eat more in the kitchen and less in front of the TV or on the couch. I associate my eating with the TV much less than I used to. The food advertisements affect me even less than before the Daniel Fast. It might be a good idea to keep track of those adds when I watch TV just so I can get a more realistic view of the enemy!
For those 36 days I have a few things I wouldn’t mind getting started or done.
1. A Knitting project
2. A rough draft of a screenplay
3. Organize the pantry and kitchen
4. Pack up items not used anymore
5. Shampoo carpet
6. Bathe the dogs
7. Detail the car
8. Clean all the window sills and windows
9. Read a couple books.
It’ll be like a working vacation, but one that strengthens my spirit and resolve! I can’t wait to start. The opportunity will be incredible and for 36 days my prayers will carry so much more power to them!
March 5, 2006
Routines...coming and going!
We become so habituated to the routines of our lives, that we can find ourselves shut off from what is new, what is challenging, what takes us to the edge, what causes our heart to thump and our breath to shorten. Lent invites us to clear the channels – open the gates – unbar the doors that keep us safe and stuck in the comfortable patterns that are so familiar. Take time this week to consider how you are closed off to new experiences and begin to crack the walls that hold you enclosed.
What patterns are keeping me bound in routines that are shutting me off from the wonder and dynamism of life?
The main pattern that keeps me locked up is feeling somewhat agoraphobic. I still leave the apartment for the occasional meeting with family or to get something for the dogs etc., but mainly I don’t feel comfortable in the world like I used to before the beatings.
I started weekly drives to the Condominium I Know I will own soon on Alki.
It’s exactly where I want to live while I’m in Seattle and I want to stay there until the day I move on to another realm. Anyways, The dogs and I pack into the car drive there sit outside the building while I envision ourselves going and coming from our home. It’s the first time I’ve done something weekly outside of counseling in several years. The best thing about breaking this routine somewhat is the fact that I took it a little bit further and signed up for a weekly spiritual study “A Course in Miracles.” Every week I’ll attend 1-1/2 hours of study in a small group at Unity. I’m excited and apprehensive, but the fact I’m going to do it impresses me about myself beyond belief! If I were still in therapy, my counselor would probably fall on the floor clutching her heart in disbelief!
The most important thing is getting out side my sequestered routine.
· In my work? N/A
· In my family? Well I used to ignore my feelings with them and resented myself for not speaking up before, but now, I say what I’m feeling and realize that how they think or live is not really my business. I don’t take they’re words or actions personally anymore. I don’t think I’m shutting myself out this way anymore.
· In my community? Definitely not interacting with it the way I used to. I used to do lots of volunteer work, but now there are too many variables to deal with all at once. I think this class will help me move further out into the community. Who knows I might actually get back to school or get a temporary job while I’m waiting for the big move.
· In my soul? The pattern of immobility and fear of the “Great Outdoors” is keeping my soul from really living! When I was younger I used to camp and hike and couldn’t wait to be outside. These days I swear I’m in the Dark of a “New Moon!” Maybe, just maybe I’m in the chrysalis phase of a beautiful magnificent butterfly with a spirit, heart, and shape to amaze the world! Spiritually that thought really lifts my heart!
March 1, 2006
40 Reasons to Fast
Something to think about, 40 reasons for having a complete fast:
1. I’ll create a stronger opportunity for connecting with God on a deeper level
2. I’ll become more in tune with my own body physically and emotionally
3. It’s something I’ve wanted to do and have admired since I was a little girl following Jesus’ journey during the Passion of the Christ.
4. It will show me more about how much I’m willing to do for my lord and myself.
5. It will release the clutter in my mind as my body rids itself of toxins and unhealthy fat.
6. It will create a sense of strength and courage that I believe have and now will know I have!
7. I can replace the time I would have spent eating praying.
8. I’ll have more time to spend with my dogs physically.
9. I can get still; experience Quiet!
10. I can focus more dedicatedly on my prayer list, and those who would benefit from these prayers.
11. It will help me to see myself in a better light
12. I’ll have more time to write
13. I’ll save money
14. I can look forward to physical changes that I can see on top of the spiritual growth.
15. I will develop deeper compassion for people that are forced to sacrifice anything in their lives.
16. I will become more obedient and structured.
17. I’ll be able to release the negative thoughts that constantly seem to hover in my mind.
18. I’ll be able to see more clearly how everything in the world truly reacts with my soul and being.
19. I’ll be able to hear more than the din of the world I’ll be able to hear it’s heart sounds and whisperings.
20. I’ll connect better to my writing talents.
21. I’ll look at everyone with cleaner eyes and resolve.
22. I can focus on eradicating the nasty habit of being judgmental in any area of my thinking and life.
23. My purpose in life will be revealed to me more succinctly, not because it’s never been revealed but because this time I’ll actually be listening!
24. Physically my body will get the rest it needs from digesting things coming into it and take care of things it needs to get rid of, like a spring-cleaning.
25. I will achieve balance in all areas of my life.
26. I will be able to say I did it at least once in my life, and since tomorrow’s not promised why not try it this Lenten season.
27. My feet
28. My knees
29. My back
30. My ankles
31. My skin
32. My liver
33. My heart
34. My blood pressure
35. My wrists.
36. My equilibrium will be better and steadier.
37. To feel totally rejuvenated and euphoric!
38. I’ll feel more comfortable in my skin
39. I feel called to do this.
40. With all the assaults, therapy, lost job, lost income, lost “friends,” and total neglect of myself, I will finally feel like I’m more than every negative thing done to me or said about me even by me. I will be triumphant and ready, truly ready to start my life over and move on in all areas of my life.
Found an old journal from 20 years ago and my insecurities were stronger, nonetheless I still often feel lost in my world at times. I was so much smaller and thought that I was hideously fat. I’ve become that which I focused on and feared! Clearly I must choose to fear being 130lbs and thin and healthy! I must focus on this. If I’m not careful becoming more in tune with myself spiritually might force me to become a slimmer more balanced person. Watch out your destiny’s coming! Amen.
Thus begins the Lenten Season
Day 1, Ash Wednesday and I’ve found a couple great sites to assist with the journey. There are several sanctioned fasts according to Christian tradition. My sweetie is going to do one that involves one meal a day and Juices the rest of the time. I like the bread and water and juices one I was reading about. I’d already decided to limit my calories daily to keep myself obedient. That would give me leeway to abstain from food completely if I choose to on weekends etc. The main thing is to set a prayer schedule of Morning, night, afternoon, and during moments of “weakness.”
I’ve been thinking about how to get my routine going for some time, but didn’t want to settle on something I might possibly fail at.
One of the websites has a journaling schedule and I’ll really try to be true to that because spiritually I know it will uplift me.
P. S. Dee doing the Daniel Fast for lent I'll definitely put you on my prayer list! May God Bless you and keep you strong and uplifted!
And thank you for all the encouragement from those that have posted it, I really truly appreciate it!