Friday, April 29, 2016


I'll give you a pass but you must figure out how to learn from it.

   I love the zoo near my home. I provide a yearly pass to my grandchildren. It allows three families free access anytime they want to go. For some of my grandchildren a trip happens once a year but others go every week. The animals are always the same. Those that go once a year feel like they see everything and truly enjoy the day with amazing, exotic creatures. The family that goes every week learns details missed by the less frequent visitors. They learn about animal habits, how the seasons affect behavior, who the trainers are, and how the babies grow from week to week.

  I feel that way about my life. I have a free pass. Days pass one by one and I choose whether I learn and grow or whether I let time go by, unconsciously. I'd like to know my fellow travelers. What they do, how they think, and how they respond to this amazing mortal life, really interests me. 

My pass will expire some time soon. I hope to be alive every day.

  I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mindful Monday- Great Expectations

The expectations kill me. 


    Yesterday we attended our grandson's baptism. As I arrived I noticed gifts on a table and on people's chairs. Gasp! Was I expected to provide another gift? I felt the pressure and immediately afterward the resistance. My boy had already been gifted and even though I knew it, I felt that I should look like a generous grandmother. What are the rules of proper grandmothering? Am I doing a good enough job? If there were rules would I still feel resistance to keeping all THE RULES?
    My mother sent her grandchildren a card and money year after year. Then one year she forgot my daughter. She was getting older and well, it slipped her mind. I feel badly that we remember her slip up more than we remember the years of sweet cards signed in her broken English.
   I choose to be kind to myself and believe that I am doing the best that I can. I gifted a perfect present to my grandson and we had time together to enjoy it. Giving another one at his event would not provide a nurturing experience; it would only satisfy my need to have other's approval.
   The key learnings from this month of self-compassion are:

  1. I make mistakes. I disappoint. 
  2. I am a generous person and try to meet the needs I see around me.
  3. I would like to believe that people are doing the best they can with what they have.
  4. If I believe others are doing the best they can then I can except that I am doing the best that I can with what I have.
               If you want to learn more about self-compassion Kristen Neff has a wonderful website.

April was a month to explore self-compassion. You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.

Friday, April 22, 2016


  You can walk smoothly together only if you synchronize your steps. If your brother has a long stride you may have to do two or more steps to keep up. But, once you find the number of extra steps to take, the rough becomes smooth and a unity is discovered.  

 My brothers were all twelve years old and older. It felt like being raised alone. These brothers, two of which have passed away, were bright, adventuresome, and super hard working. I admired them but felt unconnected. When I hit thirty they started to change their perspective of me as a little sister. 

    My last surviving brother and I spent some days together this week. Our relationship seemed to have a unity which satisfied my "little sister" feelings. We worked on a piano teaching broadcast together, we talked for hours, we sang together and found a new song that strengthened our spirit, and I found in his nature a gentle vulnerability which  I had never fully appreciated. 

    Because of his age we were out of step for much of our life. On this visit we found a sychroncity which made it possible to understand one another.

  I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Writing For Others

                    "We are wired for telling stories."

   There are writers out there in Blog Land who draw me in and hold me captive. They speak with a voice that rings true and clear. Helen is such a writer. I met her while writing with the Five Minute Friday crowd. She has a Wednesday series on Contentment. I was a guest contributor yesterday. Check out I Will Bloom.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mindful Monday- Sending Loving Kindness

"So, the atonement of Jesus Christ
applies to sins but doesn't apply to putting yourself down? How could there be a worse sin than that?"
M. Catherine Thomas

Mistakenly, I grew up feeling that I had to be my own worst critic. It was vanity to think well of myself and certainly I could be self-deceived if I thought I was gifted or talented. In a way there was evil in considering the good in myself. Turning outwards was more righteous. With all this lifting of others, I was still judgmental of my friends and comparison robbed me of joy. My daughter introduced me to the concept of self-compassion. Sending lovingkindness to myself seemed silly and simplistic at first.
Yet, as I sat the morning, the words, "May I be safe.", "May I be healthy", May I be peaceful", warmed and comforted me. It was natural to extend myself to those in my family, and community, and then to those who I felt separated from when I started by addressing my own needs first.  

There is nothing darker than speaking evil of yourself and nothing more bitter than feeling worthless

1- We have to become aware of all the subtle and overt ways we judge ourself and others (both of these coming from the same faulty thinking);
2- We have to replace the tired old tapes with a new kind of thinking and energy, a truer kind-a thinking we listen and listen and listen to while we let all the old falsehoods fall away, as we unveil our true self and discover the life we will be led to live.

If you want to learn more about self-compassion Kristen Neff has a wonderful website.

April is a month to explore self-compassion. You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Easy Way

Sometimes the easy way is just letting my emotions walk all over my sensitive spirit

I feel scared, I feel rejected, I feel lonely, I feel small, I feel unmotivated, I feel despair. I feel and feel and feel.

Sitting with these oversized emotions is not easy. How easy would it be to off-load them onto another human being. 
You made me do it. You are to blame. You need to change. You need to help me.

    The harder path is to sit with them, quietly. Let the emotions play out on the stage of my mind without attachment. I am not my emotions. They come and, blessedly, they go.  My spirit can be spacious enough to hold these walking boots until they melt into the soft moccasins which carry me through this mortal life. 

I feel Him whisper that I have been so wrong. The easeful way is through Him. Let him abide in me.

  I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Map Of Spiritual Development

"Even "grown-ups" can continue to evolve more complex mental systems, analogous to the transformation from childhood to adolescence, enabling a more responsible, less egocentric grasp of reality."
Robert Keagan

Could it be true? Could I become more spiritually grown up? This map is very general but it encourages me. I see that these stages are fluid and we move in and out of them as we experience life.

  1. The Concrete Stage- Everything in life relates to "me" and "mine". We are not able to be empathetic with those outside of our own group
  2. The Abstract Operations Stage- Our conscious begins to expand. Still, we are intolerant of opinions counter to our own and we become defensive. Not able to put ourselves in another's shoes. Our self-worth is equated with achievement. We try to meet other's expectations and are untrue to our own.

3. The Content Aware Stage- We become aware of the unreliable nature of our own thoughts. We begin to get some distance from our own thoughts and the content of our mind. We start to tune into the wisdom of our body and learn to understand our emotions. We start to gather knowledge from more than just our rational mind.
4. The Construct Aware Stage- We become aware that our own perceptions and world view are only partial views of things as they really are. We value intuition and spiritual promptings more. We start to see that things are right as they are and that everything has been provided for us. 
5- The Unitive Stage- We profoundly experience the interconnectedness of all things. We feel a vaster reality. Losing the sense of being a separate self, we are in the present moment. Our perspective of the trials of life change.  

Keagan, among several other modern psychologists. reports that continual development to higher stages of human capacity is especially likely when supported by appropriate life practices.

What could those be?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mindful Monday- The Devil Made Me Do It

"What a disappointment I must be to God. I blew it again." 
   Have you heard yourself talk like this? Even if you never voiced it to another living soul, do you hear it in your head? What if we take a step back and let self-compassion speak? There are two opposing powers working for us and against us everyday. To be human means that we are called to act when we are enticed. We are enticed to do good and to do evil. Neither power can take our agency but we are enticed.

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

The powers that entice us to do good are strong and they reside in Jesus Christ and are administered by the Holy Ghost. The powers that would lead us away from Christ reside in Satan and they are equally strong and oppressive.

Nephi 2:16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

   When we are beguiled by evil, to waste time, ignore one another's needs, or by inertia, let us say to ourselves. I can do better. I will do better. Not by pulling up our bootstraps and shaming ourselves into right action, but, by turning more faithfully to that power that entices to do good. Let us calm ourselves by looking for the messages of light. Let us listen more intently to the sound of the Good Shepard calling us to repent, and return.

April is a month to explore self-compassion. You can read more about my year of Mindfulness here.

Friday, April 8, 2016


In Greek the English word "perfect" means complete, finished, fully developed, and to this I add the word whole.

Perfect, in our present culture, is a tainted word. Nobody is perfect. But, can we become whole? My feeling is that this wholeness has it's genesis in the heart. 

"And I will give them an heart to know me, That I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."
Jeremiah 24:7

More than halfway through an online course entitled Living Brave, I am finding clearer answers to the question, "How can I become more wholehearted?" Integrating my thinking, feeling, and doing is the pathway. The scriptures use different words. The words there are heart, might, mind, and strength. Feelings arise and if we choose to feel with a whole heart we can monitor our thinking and submit to the spirit of God. His spirit guides us to doing kindness and love. 

Recently, I found myself in a doctors office checking out my swollen ankle. As he asked his countless questions I felt more and more defensive. Did I do something wrong to cause this malady? My feelings were crying out for validation. My mind began a comparative suffering campaign. How many people did I know who were worse off than I was? How was I going to be limited by this problem. So jumbled were my thoughts that I stopped listening to the doctor. I felt for the Spirit to right my course. Wrong thinking and tender feelings were setting me on a course of wrong doing. Not breaking the commandments does not mean you are wholehearted. There are many more levels of wholeness than keeping the "thou shalt nots". I can feel whole when I do not react to my feelings without some thought. To that I add being mindful of what is parading through my head. If the spirit leads me out of my own disconnectedness, I can feel whole, for an hour, for a day, maybe even longer. This hope of being wholly His is ever before me even when I am weak and petty, again. 

"Worship him with your might, mind, and strength and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out."
2 Nephi 25:29

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mindful Monday- A Month Of Self Compassion

"The kind of compulsive concern with "I, me, and mine" isn't the same as loving ourselves...Loving ourselves points us to capacities of resilience, compassion, and understanding within that are simply part of being alive."
Sharon Salzberg

The month of April is set aside for me to come to grips with self-compassion. As I become more mindful I am more aware of the self-talk going on in my head. Often I talk to myself with negative, disparaging words. Do I need self-compassion in order to quiet my mind?
I would like to investigate what it is but first I will set aside what is is not.

  1. Self-compassion is not self-indulgence. It is not destructive. It seeks to find happiness and health.
  2. Self-compassion is not the same as self-esteem. You don't need to feel better than others to feel good about yourself.
  3. Self-compassion is not dependent on someone else's approval. As self-clarity emerges, personal failings can be acknowledged with kindness and do not need to be hidden.
Someone once said to me that Jesus never spoke about loving ourselves. But, I thought to myself, he did speak about loving our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps he was inferring that to love our neighbor we had to start with self-kindness, like a well in which to draw respect and love for others.
Next week more about how to practice.

                          More mindfulness Monday posts here.

Friday, April 1, 2016


                "Are you swimming in uncertainty?"

    I have friends who are unsure where they will be living in June. The houses they are renting are being sold out from under them and rental homes are almost non existent in this little community. When I feel uncertainty, I flail around inside my brain for things that are certain. It is helpful to remind myself of those things, in fact I must decide that there are things in my life that I can count on.

  1. Noticing my breath is certain. 
  2. Prayer is always available.
  3. The sun comes up every morning.
  4. Change is certain
   The list seems short this morning and number four is a little unnerving. On the other hand, if I am mired in a negative place, knowing that change is certain is comforting. 

   As short as this list is, I decide how powerful these few certainties are in my life. They can make change bearable.

  I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.