Every time I read or hear about another violent multi-victim crime, I hold my breath, and I wait. How is this crime going to be described? Who are the victims? How are they painted? Do we hold up the most seemingly innocent first, as a way to make the crime seem that much more obscene in the eyes of those watching from afar?
It seems like the signals are all pointing me back to church. I had a conversation with someone the other day and it brought up again how much I miss it. Maybe part of my self-care in the new year will be to find my way back to a community of faith. I can have spirituality on my own, but I miss community…
Advent is always a time of seeking for me…and today’s reading was about the messenger…perhaps right now I am my own messenger, and my thoughts are the message to find my way back…
The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night's Presidential debate.
Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?
One of the many beautiful versions of the possibilities of creation and the cycle of the seasons…
I was tooling around behind the scenes at the Ask Mormon Girl site this week, and I learned something that surprised me. What are the top five Google queries that lead people to this site?
what do mormons believe about black people
mormons and blacks
mormon beliefs about black people
mormon beliefs on blacks
mormons beliefs about black people…
I spent a lot of time over a few days thinking about and participating in a conversation recently, on Facebook, about abortion rights. Normally, this is a high stress, heated issue. And while it did dominate my thoughts, it was not in an angry way – because neither of us wanted to fight. We just wanted to speak, openly and honestly, about why we believe what we do. Even though we knew that we would not convince the other person to change sides. And maybe that’s the reason it worked – because we weren’t trying to convince someone else, we were simply speaking for ourselves, and witnessing our own beliefs.
Political debate will always be a part of who I am. I have strong feelings about rights and equality and freedom, and not allowing an elite small group to make decisions for those who they can’t possibly represent or understand. In a lot of ways, I do think our democracy has evolved into elected oligarchy. Politicians claim to speak for the majority, or for their constituents, but really, they are speaking for themselves and those who agree with them. Everyone is shouting into a vacuum, and no one can win, because they are spending so much time trying to convince others to follow their beliefs that they have forgotten to explain why they believe them in the first place.
So here is my challenge to you: take some time to explain, in a journal, or on Facebook, or to another person, some belief that really matters to you. Explain why it matters, how it affects your belief system, and what its roots are. Don’t worry about convincing them that you’re right, or that they should do things your way, just explain why you feel the way that you do. And see how it makes you feel. And tell me about it in the comments.
As I’ve said in a previous post, for me, having an ego is to be human, and to be human is have a sense of self, or a self-concept as psychologists would tell you. Within that bubble of “self” lie all our all beliefs, attitudes, fears, primal needs, as well our perceptions and how we make sense of the world. It is what makes us human.
Last week I took an expressive therapies class. I am studying to be a psychotherapist, so this class was an elective that I could take, because we can cross-register in any expressive therapies course with no prerequisites. I could have taken drama therapy, music therapy, even dance therapy…things that I know…I have been with drama and music and dance for most of my life. But in this class, I had to draw.
I don’t like to draw. I have made approximately three drawings in my entire life that I have liked. One was a groundhog when I was six. One was an iris at some point in my early twenties. And I’m assuming there was a third, because there’s always that one thing you forget when you’re listing these sorts of things. But each day, at least once in the seven hours of class time, there was drawing. Most days, there were several periods of drawing.
We could use words, symbols, images. We didn’t have to be artists. But still, it was drawing. And I don’t draw. I’ve avoided other multimodal arts retreats and workshops simply because they would make me draw or paint in them. And here I was, five days in a row, colored pencils and oil pastels and markers in my hands, and blank pieces of paper staring at me, making me fill them with something, and then share it with at least one other person, and often the whole group.
And out of this…I’m writing again. I’ve had spiritual and energetic growth. I’m moving more freely. I feel healthier, happier, more rested. It was hard, and I didn’t enjoy it…but it sparked something. By doing this thing that I don’t enjoy doing, that challenges me, but that engages the creative part of my brain, I’m more awake now.
But don’t expect me to start posting sketches on here…
“When the existence and marvelous power of the deeper self is recognized, the “Know Thyself” of the Delphic Oracle acquires a new and profounder meaning. It no longer means only “analyse your thoughts and feelings and actions”; it means study your most intimate self, discover the real being hidden in the depths of your soul, learn its marvelous potency.” ~Roberto Assagioli
Assagioli goes on to say that this is not about deifying the Self, but about finding that place in the Self that is in touch with God or a Higher Power of some kind. There is something about this idea that is both eminently satisfying and eminently frustrating. If we all have within us this potent, amazing being, yet we only see it in brief, transcendent moments, it can be challenging. It seems almost painful to know that this beautiful, powerful calling is within us, yet only sometimes can we hear it.
But isn’t that what we’re here for? To listen for the calling, and follow where it leads us?