Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
One of the quotes I come back to repeatedly in my own journey are the words of Iyanla Vanzant who taught me to give thanks for those who get on my last nerve. Each of them in their own way is helping me to learn something about myself. So often, when we find someone difficult to deal with, we focus our energy on how difficult they are.
One of the things I have come to realize is that it often times it is those people who are here to teach me a lesson. Sometimes they are challenging me to look at when in my life I have been that way. As much as I would like to say I have never been a pain in someone’s life, I am sure I have and will be, albeit intentionally or not. Being able to look at what it is I find so difficult helps me to see how I have done something in my own life. When I work on my own forgiveness for ever having been difficult to interact with, I come to realize the person I am interacting with now is not quite as difficult as I had originally imagined.Read More
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Friday, May 19, 2017
Thursday, May 18, 2017
This 1969 song tempers optimism with reality. If you look hard enough you can find something redeeming in even the worst of situations.
Best words of wisdom from the song:
You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometime, you find
You get what you need.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
It's Sharing Time! Movie Time http://inspiritual.biz/spiritual-discussion/2017/5/16/movie-time
Monday, May 15, 2017
So often we think about teachers as people, sometimes experiences, even animals. However, sometimes our teachers can be films. It is one of the reasons that several times I have offered a film and spirituality group. It is amazing the spiritual lessons we can learn from a film. Sometimes what we learn is from the storyline, sometimes it is the setting, sometimes the lighting, sometimes the music, sometimes a character.
When I offered this group it was interesting to be sitting in a room full of people who had all just watched the same film, but we all walked away with different things or characters that spoke to us. It is like going to a restaurant and everybody eats the same meal, but different people like different things about it. What you see and take from it is for you and I see and take from it is for me.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Friday, May 12, 2017
Sometimes you have a conversation that takes you back in time. Wednesday night, during the Spiritual Discussion on teaching and teachers, a participant talked to me about all I had taught her since she has met me. It was a truly humbling moment. She said there are times there are not words in my heart to express what I am feeling so I do not say anything. She said she thought there were others for whom this was true as well.
I am not sure why, but this brought me back to a powerful lesson one of my students taught me decades ago when I first started teaching. I had a student whose mother had intentionally enrolled in my class. Her mother was a faculty member at our college and said she knew if anyone could help her daughter pass a class it would be me. I was not able to do so. However, it was not for lack of my trying.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Today is National Liver & Onions day. To be perfectly honest liver and onions is not my favorite dish. However, whenever I think about liver and onions, I think about Grandma Kamin, my mother’s mother. It was one of those things that she used to enjoy making.
When I was growing up she would invite my mother and I over for a girl’s afternoon and we would drive from Nutley to Jersey City to spend the afternoon with her. We would always start by baking something awesome like rugelach, bobka cake or some other delicious baked good. Then she would begin cooking lunch and all too often it was something she and my mom loved – liver and onions. Honestly, it wasn’t then and isn’t now one of my favorites.
I think my grandmother knew this because she would always have a side dish to go with it that was on my top ten list like pasta. Had she not been keeping kosher, I am sure it would have been macaroni and cheese, but since she did, it was pasta and sauce. She never once said anything to me about the liver and onions. I could eat it with the spaghetti or I could leave it, but I always found myself eating it because it seemed like it was a part of the tradition, besides which I loved my grandmother
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Monday, May 8, 2017
Recently in Why the Chicken Crossed the Road, I was reading this story about a student who wanted to be taught the Iron Shirt Exercises. There are a series of exercises used to allow the body’s natural energy to support its structural strength. Dean Sluyter wrote, "There's a story in Chinese martial-arts tradition about a young man who begs a great Kung-fu master to teach him the Iron Shirt exercises, an esoteric system reputed to make the muscles and organs so strong that they are impervious to blows. The master at first refuses, but finally sets him a kung (a formidable challenge). Pointing to a thick tree, he says, "Pull up that tree and bring it to me; then I'll teach you Iron Shirt." After months of futile tugging, the student notices that he can get better leverage if he keeps his back straight. With further experimentation he finds the optimal way to plant his feet. He works on, incrementally adjusting the way he hugs the tree, the way he breathes, the way he visualizes the task. After four years the tree starts to give. Finally he uproots it and lays it at the master's feet, demanding, 'Now teach me Iron Shirt!' 'Now I don't have to,' the master replies. 'You've just learned it.' "
There are lessons we learn in life which we learn quickly. There are also lessons that cannot be learned quickly, they are lessons like learning to pull up this tree, that are learned over the long haul. One of the lessons I have learned in life is that there is always more to a job then is written in the job description. The job description can tell you what you are supposed to be doing, but what you actually wind up doing is far more complex then that. I have been working as an adjunct professor for 20 years now and my job description is simple. I teach the two classes assigned to me each semester and offer office hours to my students where they can access me.
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Friday, May 5, 2017
So today I want to thank you for the lessons that Dr. Wally and Mr Mittens have tried to teach me. Some of them I have mastered more then others, but at least they have tried. So thank you for sending them into my life. So here goes.
Lesson #1 – Never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Mr Mittens has taught me to be willing to explore what is on the other side of my comfort zone. He always tries to get through the doors that are closed and when he senses it is not where he needs to be he leaves and if he really likes it, then he stays. He has taught me a similar message to what I am reading about now in Kyle Cease’s book I Hope I Screw This Up. It is the same message my Bubby used to tell me, “She who fails to fail, fails to succeed.”
Lesson #2 – Take a nap. Cats seem to do this so well. Whenever they are tired, they sleep, which with them is about 16 hours a day. Working at home, I have the luxury of taking a nap when I really need one. Sometimes it is the way for me to quiet my brain so I can hear your ideas and inspiration coming to me. Sometimes it is just that my brain and body need a break. Even you took a rest from creating, so I should too.Read More
Thursday, May 4, 2017
One of my Pampered Chef Team members always talks to me about the importance of her Community Group at her church. This group meets weekly and serve as a source of support for each other in good times and challenging times. This group ensures that no member of the group ever has to go through anything alone. They celebrate with each other and work with each other to create solutions or to provide support when going through the challenging times. Never does she have to go through anything feeling unsupported or alone.
My son taught me a similar lesson when he first came into my life. He wanted to bake cookies. I was so busy at the time working on my dissertation that I honestly did not want to stop working. However, my time with Nick was also rare. He both wanted me to bake with him, but also wanted to bake like a big boy and do it himself. So I moved my work near the kitchen so we could be together and I could help him when he needed it, but he could also cook like a big boy. It was his first time ever to bake cookies, something his birth mother had never allowed him to do. Each part of the experience was new and exciting. I remember feeling so grateful to be able to witness his joy, although I remember not looking forward to cleaning up the mess he was making. The best part was when he came to see me and I could see all the places he had touched his face, as there was white flour all over his chocolate skin. It is a moment I will remember forever.Read More
This optimistic 1994 song challenges you to dig deep and find out who you are. It encourages boldness, calmness, and authenticity. There are so many words of wisdom from this song, but the best are this: "Stand up and be counted." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oZXJD1NVW0
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Monday, May 1, 2017
Years ago I remember reading or hearing Iyanla Vanzant say we should give thanks for those who get on our last nerve as they have saved us hours of therapy and thousands of dollars in copays. That is not the exact quote, but the point I took from it is that those we find the most difficult to deal with often times have invaluable lessons to teach us.
This month, I am reading Mark I Rosen’s book, Thank You for Being Such a Pain. In it he provides strategies for allowing difficult people to be teachers. He tells a story that reminded me of Vanzant’s advice. He wrote:
"There is a story about the mystical teacher Gurdjieff and one of his disciples. The disciple, who lived in the ashram, was strongly disliked by the other disciples for a variety of reasons. When he left, Gurdjieff actually tracked him down and paid him to return, telling the rest of the disciples that the ostracized man was one of their most important teachers.”Read More
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Saturday, April 29, 2017
It has been a while since I silenced my brain enough to write a piece of poetry. So this morning I decided I would be intentional about turning off my non stop radio station in my brain and see what flowed out. I was inspired by a verse from Psalm 46 that says Be still and know that I am God.Read More
Friday, April 28, 2017
Thursday, April 27, 2017
This week's song of the week reminds us to listen to the sounds of silence. It is not until we shut off the non stop thinking radio in our brains that we can hear the silence we need to work things through https://youtu.be/76n_uE_W31A
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Today is National Pretzel Day. I am always amazed at how many foods have their own holidays. Growing up my father loved pretzels, just about any kind, hard or soft, sticks, twisted, large or small. My favorite are the soft ones which are twisted and look like what in my mind is a pretzel. As a child, I would hold them up to my face and think they reminded me of a face. Two holes for the eyes and one for the mouth and the nose was the space where they came together.
As an adult, I was amazed when I learned that the crossing of the pieces was linked back to the ways people used to hold their arms when they were praying, crossed. Today we hold our hands together in prayer. However, in the 600’s people crossed their arms in prayer. The three holes were representative of the Holy Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Learning this gave me a new perspective on what is one of my favorite treats, the pretzel, especially the soft ones that I love to eat.Read More
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Monday, April 24, 2017
This past month I have come to realize that when I make room for silence in my life, I am creating a room of my own. It is the simplest addition to my home that I can create. There is no building permit needed, no contractors, no designers. All I need to do is sit, be still, and be. In doing so, I create a room which is my ashram. It is my place to just be in communion with the one I call the Ultimate Consciousness. I do not need anything here. I do not need candles, or pillows, or cushions, or furniture. I just need to be still and be in the presence of the Divine.
My room is not external, although it could happen in a physical room. It is a room within myself. It is one that only I and the Divine are allowed to enter. It is a room constructed by holy silence. It is here where I tap into a strength that prevents the noises of life from being heard. It is a space where the only things I can hear is my breathing, my feelings, and the whispers of the Sacred. It is as if I am in one of those soundproof booths and all I can hear is what I can hear, nothing more, nothing less.Read More
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Friday, April 21, 2017
I love God’s sense of humor. The Ultimate Consciousness know that once I get going working, I am on a roll and can easily forget to take my micro fast breaks. It never ceases to amaze me how the Infinite uses everything in my environment to keep me balanced, centered, and focused. Normally Dr Wally and Mr Mittens spend most of their human interaction time with Zoe. They only come to my side of the desk when they want treats and she is not here.
The last few days I have been going like crazy, trying to stay current with those areas I am current in while catching up with those areas I need to catch up in (still). I know I need to take micro fast breaks, but the pressure to catch up seems to want to cancel them out. Enter Mr Mittens stage right. He has developed this new habit of three to four times a day crawling up on my shoulder and not leaving until I have patted his bottom and held him for at least 15 minutes.
Being who I am, I decided this was a great time to take my micro fast and meditate. So I pat his butt as part of my meditation and we both go into a deep silence until he tells me our time is over by licking my ear and going back to his blanket to nap. I guess meditating with me wears him outRead More
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
I woke up this morning thinking not so much about food, about how we come together to share meals together and create memories. This year, I have been reminded in numerous ways that sometimes this is not possible and sometimes what has not been possible becomes possible. This past week so many people around the world celebrated traditions which brought families and people together. My Facebook feed was filled with images of families gathering, sharing meals, creating memories and reinforcing traditions.
At the same time, I have friends for whom this was not possible. Those they loved were in hospitals, incarcerated, and for others reasons were unable to be at the table. Growing up in a Jewish household every year at the Passover Seder we would pour a cup of Wine for the Prophet Elijah. As a child, I understood it as we were holding a space for him at the table. As an adult, I understand it is a reminder of a gathering of a larger family and at a larger table.Read More
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
It's Sharing Time! Silent Space http://inspiritual.biz/spiritual-discussion/2017/4/18/silent-space
Last week in my personal journal, Stirring my Spiritual Waters, I wrote about The Silent Space One of the things I wrote about was how I can sit in my dining room and gaze out into the garden and soak in the silence. Yesterday, as I was sitting in my dining room and gazing out into the garden I realized that I was watching a performance, or perhaps it was a praise and worship service being led by the various inhabitants of our garden. The windows prevented me from physically hearing anything that was really going on in the garden or the sounds which things were actually making, but I could sit, watch, and hear on a different level.
One of the first things I noticed was that I had two wind chimes hanging in one of our trees in the backyard. I had remembered having someone hang one of them for me, but had no memory of this second one. This one was different and sparkled every time the sun shone on it in just the right way, it reflected a rainbow out on to the green blades of grass. Both of them moved with the wind and even though I could not hear the sounds, I could watch the chimes move and in my mind, I could hear these beautiful sounds singing to my soul.Read More