Sunday, March 30, 2008

Where do you live?

I've been convicted lately of a need to improve communication/cohabitation/courtesy in my long-standing marriage. How do you do that after 34 years of marriage and 8 more of dating? That's the burden I've been wrestling with--where to grab hold. I woke as I do most mornings listening to MP3's and the one playing was Mary Pearl on using the traditions as a guide to marriage and relationships. Great ideas, and I'll listen to them awake and take notes, but she's too far advanced for me at this point. 

Hubby was up at 6:30 and fixing his breakfast. I went in and cleaned the kitchen, which he'd already straightened. I've thought hard about our conversation yesterday before I bought a new car. He asked if I knew the trade-in value of mine and I was looking it up, declared it in fair condition which I thought was being honest, and in the conversation told him I haven't been willing to trust it for two months to leave town in. We talked about what was wrong, agreeing it probably wasn't running on all the cylinders. I know there are other problems with the car I've dealt with silently for the last year and still haven't told him. The other things I haven't told him loom large, and I will do that today--after I do my part in the Income Tax preparation annual nightmare. It's really not the nightmare it used to be, but I still live in dread of the time. I digress. After I ate breakfast I went into the bedroom for meditation, not to break the day by day continuous string of, let's see... Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday--the fifth day. 

I don't know how to meditate. I've told you that here before. But I figure you don't learn until you start. So I've decided to read a random page from the Big Book, the daily For Today meditation, and a random page from As Bill Sees It. Wouldn't you know, the page I opened to today was the chart for the 4th step? And the devotional dealt with anger and the courage to express it, the tools of writing about it or discussing it with someone then forgiving myself. Bill clinched it with "Giving without Demand." He says our lives are made richer by giving without any expectation of return. Next, at the suggestion of a mentor, I take a prayer and use it for meditation. In this process I'll memorize more prayers, but I'm at the beginning. I've been using the serenity prayer, but yesterday and today I've used the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father, who art in heaven...." That was enough. I finished the prayer, but only after realizing the significance of heaven.

For years, when my husband told me to go to Hell, my automatic response was "I live there." But I don't. I live in Heaven. Heaven is with God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit and Jesus told us he's with us until the end of the world, as are the other two persons of the trinity. I live in Heaven. And if I treat the other denizens of Heaven like that's what they are, that's better than assuming that together we make up Hell! Thank GOD!

Where do you live? 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Consider the Birds

Read Luke 12:24.

I just returned from a busy trip to the Iberian peninsula. To see Roman ruins--and remains of even earlier times--amazes and astounds, and the fact I was there for Holy Week absolutely took my breath away. It truly was an amazing spiritual experience. Yet, as a part of a tour group, meeting deadlines, eating strange food, communicating in languages where to say I'm rusty is a major brag--I've never really been competent in Spanish and speak no Portuguese---Anyway, spiritual or not, staying on program wasn't as easy as here at home. 

One thing helped, though. The morning before I left, I was surprised to have some free time. Instead of using it for the last minute things on the endless list, I accepted the gift and went to a small lake near my home. There I watched a swan and some sandpipers and lots of other birds. I remembered a friend of mine--the one who told me a bird I had been watching and photographing was a sandpiper. She loved birds, and she stood at my kitchen window once and named something like 18 birds, lots of kinds I'd never heard of! And she was identifying them under my pear tree, eating the old pears and the seed I'd put out in her honor. Knowing her, I came to know birds, at least a little. Actually, I still don't know them, but I see them. They're everywhere. And as I sat there in the car, meditating when I had no time or energy for meditation, I realized that God is like the birds. He's always around him, though before OA I wasn't aware of him much. And I made the jump to the thought that God is like the birds, there whether I'm aware or not. 

That knowledge stood up well to the tumult of travel. In tense times, when I was tired, as we drove along, I saw the birds. And each time I thought, "God is here." His peace and serenity came with me, flew over me, pecked at the seeds and insects a few feet from my own feet. And I found myself photographing birds as well as roman ruins, earnestly seeking the storks and snapping the wren at the little cafe in Puerto Lapice. Pigeons fretted with me when the guide was late in taking us to our appointed entry into Alhambra. God was there. 

God is always with us. We just need to trigger our recognition until the recognition becomes as constant as the birds all about.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Like the birds of the air.

I had a dear friend who was a birder. She stood at my kitchen window once and named maybe 20 species of birds she saw. Some of the names I'd never heard of! She made me aware of how prevalent birds are, all around us. 

This morning I had the opportunity to sit in a natural setting and contemplate, meditate, and pray. And I realized God is like the birds. Before my friend made me aware of birds, I seldom noticed them at all. Once I realized how much they meant to her, I began to see them everywhere, to hear them when I couldn't see them. God's like that. Whether you notice him or not, he's there. And taking the time to realize he's there, to see his presence, hear his voice, makes the world a far better place.

I'm about to leave for a trip to Spain and Portugal. The last time I traveled internationally I was two weeks abstinent. Now I'll pass the one year three month mark while I'm there. I know the abstinence will work as it did that other time. Now, though, I'll take you along with me, reporting on my spiritual journey and some on the physical one. For now, good night from Texas.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Time Flies!

I came to the site today to rectify a mistake I made at the beginning in having quoted the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous without permission of the World Service Office of OA. I am very sorry for having violated the rules. I don't want to hurt OA for it has made a wonderful change in all of me. What's left of me. I weighed 190.5 on Saturday morning, down 109.5 from my personal high (or low, depending on the perspective) and down 63 since I began this wonderful program December 17, 2006.

And yet it's been three weeks since I posted here. During that time I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Portland Oregon, the 44th International Women's Conference. Awesome! I have pages of notes I started, lost the last little dab in a stupid act on my part, need to reenter those in the computer and I'll post them here. I expect that will be today, though my life is so full--to the brim, overflowing, and bountifully blessed--that time has become an issue. I got back to obsessing, not over food or stupid computer games, but on an aspect of my new life, putting out books for other people. I have one that is a real challenge, and I've been learning a rather difficult computer program to do it. The program is marvelous (QuarkXPress 7) but you don't try to learn it and put together a book too complicated for programs I'm good at in less than a month, which is precisely what I've been trying to do. And I'm close to having the book laid out! But that's what I've been obsessing over. I turned it over to God Friday night, and I'm at peace more than I have been these three weeks. It's not that I didn't spend hours on it over the weekend, but I also walked dogs for a mile both Saturday and Sunday (dogs plural the first time, but I ended up carrying the little one while the big one pulled me on Saturday, so it was just the big one and me, still pulling but not as hard on Sunday.) And a week from today I'll fly to Europe for a two week vacation, and I'll be at peace, whether I have the book ready to go to press by the first of April or not.

The dog pulling me is a metaphor. Maybe one of these days I'll write it with thought and form, but today I'll just tell you what I see in it. I get these kicks occasionally when I start walking again, and the dog is so totally gung-ho he almost kills himself on the choke-chain. After three or four days he'll calm down, and we'll walk our mile in peace and both enjoy it. But I break the chain, I fail to keep walking, and in months we start again, gung-ho, choking ourselves on trying to do it all right now, and we've lost the peace of the process as well as the progress we made while walking. The weather was pleasant over the weekend, though windy on Sunday. It's still windy, and 40 degrees outside, the expected high for the day. Winds at 25 to 35, half-and-half probability of rain and snow showers. Walking today? I'm not in the mood. Walking today? The dog's in the mood. Walking today? God willing, I'll go.