Conquering fear, healing, humanity, Love

Curiosity – good or bad?

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

As Shakespeare so eloquently put it… and so it is with curiosity.

As a professor and abroad director, I hoped to instill a sense of curiosity in my students…Cape of Good Hope (14) what I hoped for was to see a sincere desire to learn more about the world, other people and cultures and ways of life.  I think the more we turn outward and learn about others, the more we can cultivate a culture of compassion and empathy… where we can see our common humanity.

However, I’ve recently noticed that curiosity can also have a negative purpose… and I’ve see this popping up over and over lately.  This seems to happen when the motive behind the desire to know something isn’t inspired and then it seems to gravitate from curiosity to fascination or even obsession… This would be cast as voyeurism… or even “morbid curiosity” which an online dictionary defines as a curiosity which is so compelling that the curious person is driven to satisfy it, even though he or she knows or strongly suspects that they probably won’t like what they find, or otherwise find something which is irrelevant or unsatisfying…

I first noticed this notion of curiosity being possibly a negative in some cases from a story book I was reading my nephew called My Father’s Dragon.  In the second book in the series the main characters a boy and a dragon end up on an island filled with canaries that were all “dying of curiosity” because the king canary was so sick with curiosity about an ancient secret passed down over generations… anyway, it got me wondering if there are situations where curiosity could be a bad thing…

I heard it once said, “never ask a question if you don’t really want to hear the answer”… and this may be some good advice in a way… or perhaps allow us a moment to check our motive… why do we want to know?  What purpose does knowing X serve?  Will it help the situation?

You may be wondering what I’m getting at, and thinking that it is always good to know more information than less… but let me give you some examples that may help illustrate my point…

Sometimes I hear friends say they want to know more about their partner’s history with past relationships.  I get it, I’ve been there… but at these times, I’ve had to ask myself.  Do I really want to know?  Probably not… but if so, why?  Will it lead me to feel better or worse about myself, about my partner, about the other person?  Will it lead me to compare myself to others… and does that ever go very well?  (Not usually… either we put someone else down and puff ourselves up, or put ourselves down… and either way the entire premise is off because we are often basing our view of ourselves and others not as the image of Love, a perfect, whole and complete creation of the Divine … but as a faulty human)…

In another situation, someone told me that they had gotten more details than they wanted about someone’s passing and couldn’t get the images out of their head.  They said they should have stopped the flow of information, but were just so curious about it, they just let happen and now they couldn’t seem to undo it.  This is tough stuff… when someone passes, it’s tempting to want what some may call the “gory details”… but do you really want that in your thought?   And related to that, it’s easy to get caught up in the trauma and drama of a tragic event… we want to know why it happened? Who’s to blame?  What were they thinking? What are others thinking?  Why now?  Why this way?

These are all examples of what I am talking about when I say that curiosity can have a negative side…  I’m not saying it’s wrong… and some may say “human nature” to wonder about these things… and I am not saying that it is not good to be informed to learn from and prevent tragic events from happening in the future… that’s different.

It’s the bit where fear generally gets us spun up asking these questions… and we become consumed with fear in the asking… but in all of that… aren’t the real questions deeper than all that… aren’t we really wanting to know — am I safe?  Is he/she safe?  Am I loved?  Are they loved?  Am I worthy enough?  Am I good enough?  Are they?  Will I be ok?  Will they be ok?

I find that it is helpful when wondering “what if” it is good to pause and this about “what is”… What is true about me and my fellow man from a spiritual vantage point right now and always…Well for me that always starts with God, with Good, with Love… which I know to be all-powerful, ever-present and eternal.  It begins with knowing that I (and everyone else) am created by God, Good… that I am whole and complete… that Life is truly eternal and that Love is truly ever-present… and that not one of us can ever be separated from Love or Life for a single moment.  When I get present to that fact, then the questions fall away… and I feel more at peace.

I find the “what ifs” keep us in the past or the future… and to find a sense of peace and the answer to those deeper questions… it’s helpful to stay in the present… in the eternal now… and declare that Love is present and powerful and wrapping us up and keeping us safe and whole.  Paul states in Second Corinthians “For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.[1]

[1] 2 Cor 6:2 – New International Version Bible

blessings, humanity, understanding

Words and their meaning…

To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.

I love digging into words and pulling apart sentences with definitions to get at a deeper meaning.  I set about to start rereading and studying one of my favorite books by revolutionary feminist author, Mary Baker Eddy – Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.  But because of my love of words, etymology and looking for the deeper meaning, I literally have not gotten past the first sentence of the Preface… “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.”  (It’s going to be a long read if I do this with every sentence!!!)… This is an amazingly packed sentence, and really draws you into the book… and my findings were helpful to my study, so I thought I’d share.

I will also note that I almost didn’t look up the word “big”… because of course I know what it means, as I generally know what all these words mean… but that is what I love, is finding all the variety of ways to define a word and applying them to the other words in the sentence to see all the implications, applications and meanings that are possible…

Here are the words I’m working with …

  • LEAN –
    • to rest against or on
    • to rely or depend on/upon
  • SUSTAINING –
    • to support, hold or bear up
    • to keep, to keep up or keep going
    • to supply with food, drink and other necessities of life
    • to provide for
    • to support or uphold (as valid, just or correct)
    • to confirm or corroborate
  • INFINITE –
    • immeasurably, indefinitely, or exceedingly great
    • unlimited, unbounded, boundless, endless
  • TODAY –
    • this present day
    • this present time, age or era
  • BIG –
    • large as in height, width, amount
    • of major concern, importance, gravity
    • outstanding for a specified quality
    • important, as in influence, standing or wealth
    • grown up, mature
    • magnanimous, generous, kindly
    • filled, brimming
    • having more than average flavor, body
    • loud, orotund (characterized by strength, fullness, richness and clearness)
    • with great success
  • BLESSINGS –
    • the acts or words of a person who blesses
    • a special favor, mercy or benefit
    • a favor or gift bestowed by God
    • praise, devotion, worship
    • approval or good wishes

So we could say…

To those who are willing to rest upon, rely and depend upon the boundless, unlimited, endless supply, support and provision of all that is needed, all that validates and confirms our who we are as our true, perfect selves… they will find that this present moment, this time and age, this day… is filled, brimming with large amounts of mercy, goodness, approval, kindly and generously bestowed…

What a great thought …  what are you leaning on today?

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Love

Lessons from a dog walk…

I was out walking my dog, Tillie, by the lake yesterday morning, as I often do.  And one thing we are working on is her reaction and response to other dogs. Sometimes she walks by perfectly fine – keeping quiet and carrying on… other times she barks loudly at them while wagging her tail like she wants to play… and then there those times that she barks aggressively and pulls at her leash…  As a human, it is often difficult to discern which reaction we’ll get when… or why… but from what I have read, it seems dogs primarily respond aggressively out of fear.

This particular morning, we started out our walk and already the barking and pullingTillie by the lake started.  It made me frustrated and not want to continue the walk. But after pausing at a bench looking out at the lake for a little while and enjoying the stillness of the water, I decided to carry on with the walk.  I was praying about this issue as we walked… and trying to think about it from a spiritual perspective. I realized that for one, I need to forgive Tillie for just being a dog, and not harbor frustration or fear about the situation…but I also have to affirm that Tillie IS a good dog, inherently good and that that is her true nature to be good and live harmoniously with others.

I quietly declared to myself, and sometimes aloud to sweet Tillie, that harmony is a law … it is a law of Divine Love and that it is governing us and all our actions and everyone (and every dog) around us.

Often when we are coming up to another dog, I will give the command to stay quiet.  Sometimes, if it seems necessary, I will ask Tillie to sit and be still, and to stay quiet… and I remind her that she is a good girl.

I was thinking about how these commands we give our pets (and the ones we hear, if we listen, from God)… are firm commands, demonstrating the control and governance of omnipotent Principle… and yet reflect the tender and pure nature of omnipresent Love…  This is what is governing or ruling us and our actions… and our loved ones and everyone…

This particular morning, I was overjoyed that in the second part of our walk after the quiet moment on the bench, she did not bark at a single dog (and there were several on our path)… it was great to see the law of harmony in action… and this joy led to a breakthrough with another situation… which I started to see more clearly from a spiritual perspective.

This past weekend, I acted out of fear and “barked” aggressively and unkindly at someone… and I have been regretting it and feeling terrible about it ever since.  It seemed so much like the unpredictable nature of my dog, who will pass by several dogs calmly and then seemingly out of nowhere will bark aggressively at one coming along…  That was kind of what this was like… I was going along my day with this friend calmly and then seemingly out of nowhere got really upset and said some unkind, and actually untrue things… and by untrue I mean that I accused of them of things that I know in my heart they would never think or do… instead of assuming the best, I assume not just the worst but something so false and out of character of this person, it is rather ridiculous…

Since then I have been in a funk of guilt and shame, regret and remorse… replaying the incident and the various events before and after and trying to figure out how I could have gotten so upset… and envisioning the scenario a thousand different ways that would have turned out so much better if I had acted and spoken differently…

So as I was walking along with Tillie, I started to think about this again… and I so wish I had listened to the angel messages that were likely speaking to me all along but I missed them…  the message that would have been telling me to me to “sit“… or to be still and calm… to “be still and know that I am God”, as it says in Psalms 46:10…  and to get some perspective on the situation to see it for what it was… and knowing that my friend’s intentions are always good and pure and that there is no reason to assume anything less…

Because if I were still, I probably would have had heard the angel message that was likely there telling me to “stay quiet“…  or as the Bible says “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (James 1: 19)… for “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”  (Prov 17:28)… and “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (Prov 18:13)… well, I was the fool here and have been filled with shame at my folly ever since…

I also wish I had heard the angel message to “be good“…  and to know that I am inherently good…and so is my friend…  that is our true nature, because we are created in the image and likeness of God as it states in Gen 1… and God is all and only good…  as the Bible says “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:48)… which I take to mean not that you must (or should) be this way, or else… but that you must be that way because God is that way… you couldn’t actually be any other way… because you reflect God, your maker who is perfect and good…   I was also thinking about that command… or that angel message that I missed, to “be good” … to mean it’s all good… it will be fine… don’t worry… but I missed that message and as a result I acted in ways that were less than my best self.

One of my favorite hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal came to mind as I was walking, “Speak gently, it is better far To rule by love than fear”…  and thought about it this way — when we are ruled by Love rather than fear, we do speak gently… we don’t bark aggressively or say unkind things we don’t really mean (and instantly regret)…  it goes on to say “Speak gently, let no harsh word mar The good we may do here.” (Hymn 315)….

I have heard it said that every action or word spoken is either done from love or is a cry for love … or put another way – out of a fear of the loss of love or a sense of lack of love…  With my harsh words, I was acting out of fear, not love, (as apparently my dog does too sometimes)… because of the situation we were in, I became afraid of a potential loss of love or the potential for lack and became overwhelmed by that fear so much that I no longer heard the angel messages that were undoubtedly being sent my way… but this fear is never true or real  because we live in Love… we are never for a moment separated from Love… we are always encircled in ever-present Love… and that is true for every single one of us… And when we are ruled and governed by Love… by Divine Love…so there is no room for fear. “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18)… And when ruled and governed by love, we can speak gently… and be patient and kind with one another… as it says in 1 Cor 13: 4-8

“Love is patient, love is kind. … It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

So, with this lesson, I began to feel uplifted and break out of my seeming funk of regret … knowing that I am governed by Love, not fear… and that I cannot fear a lack or loss of love… because Love, Divine Love, our true source of love is eternal and ever-present… and with that unfailing love we can all abide by the law of harmony that is always at work, and hear those angels messages when they are speaking to us with words of wisdom and tender words reminding us to love and that we are loved… and this love brings healing to any situation.

 

joy

“The joy that none can take away”

camp2I just returned from two weeks at a summer camp, where I served as a Christian Science Practitioner to a group of 34 teenage junior leaders, and nine staff members.  This means I had the privilege of supporting the spiritual growth and development of the group as well as supporting Christian healing… and healings were abundant during this two weeks.  What is it about the atmosphere at camp that supports rapid and even instantaneous healing?  This morning I listened to a Daily Lift podcast entitled The healing power of humor by Joel Magnes, CS, from Vancouver, Washington, USA – in which Joel quotes the Common English Bible as saying

“A joyful heart helps healing.”[1]

Well, joy was something we talked about a lot during this session at camp.  We reflected on how it is an inherent quality within each and every one of us, because it is a quality of Spirit.  It isn’t dependent on external factors, but comes from within and from our Creator… and therefore it cannot be taken away when circumstances in our lives or our environment change.  Joy is often associated with child-likeness…  not childishness which is different.  Child-likeness is that quality that Jesus talked about:

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”[2]

I love this idea that we all must be as a little child, and express that child-like innocence, purity, goodness, whole-hearted trust in our Father-Mother… and joy, exuberant joy that is natural to each of us!!

Just today I saw a post on social media that talked of the joy in the little things, showing a small child playing in the rain and puddles in a duck jacket/umbrella…  and shortly thereafter, a clip from a TED talk about joy and the need for color in our lives, in our schools and work places.  The world is crying out to be more joyful and yet it is right there within each of us to express.

It was fun embracing my own child-likeness at camp trying new things like zip-lining and wake-boarding for the first time… and riding roller coasters at an amusement park for the first time since I was a teenager.  At summer camp, the joy spreads and catches and carries us with it but we have to remember that it is not our surroundings that are the cause of joy… it is our reflection of Spirit, of Life, of Love that allows us to express joy no matter where we are or who we are with.  We can all be that radiant light of love and laughter, anywhere and everywhere!

When a camper was down I often referenced the bold lines of this favorite hymn, knowing that there is nothing that can take away our joy, when we walk with Love!! 

I walk with Love along the way,

And O, it is a holy day;

No more I suffer cruel fear,

I feel God’s presence with me here;

The joy that none can take away

Is mine; I walk with Love today.

 

Who walks with Love along the way,

Shall talk with Love and Love obey;

God’s healing truth is free to all,

Our Father answers every call;

’Tis He dispels the clouds of gray

That all may walk with Love today.

 

Come, walk with Love along the way,

Let childlike trust be yours today;

Uplift your thought, with courage go,

Give of your heart’s rich overflow,

And peace shall crown your joy-filled day.

Come, walk with Love along the way.[3]

 

 

[1] Proverbs 17:22 (CEB)

[2] Matthew 18:2-4 (NIV)

[3] Christian Science Hymnal 139:1-3

 

healing

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me in an exploration spirituality and how it relates to harmony and healing, as I launch my full-time practice of Christian Science healing!!  I am so excited for this step in my journey and would love to talk to you about how healing works and how your spiritual practice supports you in your life… how you find a sense of peace in the busyness of our hectic lives… how you feel the presence of love that expels fear and loneliness… and how you connect spirituality to health and wholeness.

Since I was young, I’ve loved learning about different religioIMG_7172ns, theologies, spiritual practices, cultures and people.  I also love being of service and helping those in need.  It is my love of the Divine and my love of humanity that drives me to serve in this way.   And I have found in my own journey that it is love… a deep, profound, Divine Love… that heals all discord – mentally and physically.

In all the work I’ve done around the world,* I can’t imagine a better way to serve at this point, than in the healing ministry…. Supporting others through prayer and the exploration of spiritual ideas to find healing the presence of Love in their lives.

The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love.[1]

When I shared this news with a cousin recently, she remarked that I had wanted to help others through the healing practice of Christian Science since I was a child and that we would talk about it on camping trips… and so here we are… finally!!  🙂

*(You can read more about some of that work in the “About me” section.)

[1] Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 113