The Word God

I find these days that I have a very strange reaction when people write or talk about God.  When I stumble upon religious blogs and read about a God that is very “human,” I feel somewhat assaulted.  I was reading through some old comments on this blog yesterday and found one in which the person mentioned that we should let God be the judge.  That person had commented in my defense, yet reading the comment still urked me.  I was thinking about this recently and I had this “click.”  What if I don’t actually believe in God? WHOA!  I’ve been chatting back and forth with a blog friend who is an atheist.  We have A LOT in common.  So I’ve spent some time over the last couple of weeks with this question and of course the answers have come to me.

The first answer I received came to me by way of that assaulted feeling, only this time I was reading my atheist friend’s blog.  He is an excellent writer and so often when reading his stuff I find myself shaking my head in agreement.  But in one particular post he emphasized his belief that there is no God and I couldn’t stomach it.  My heart ached as much as it does when someone talks about that judging, vengeful God.  So maybe I do believe in God.  WHEW!

So if I do believe in God, but my God is not that father figure waiting to reward or punish me, who or what is God to me?  During the week that this question was in my head I was reading the book “The Field” by Lynne McTaggart. The book was a bit over my head at first, but as luck would have it I began to really understand it and find my answers in its pages.  Basically the book discusses the scientific research being done that proves our connectedness and the power of consciousness (which I would define as our perceptions, beliefs, and ideals about our lives and environment).  “The Field” is, as I understand it, an energetic plane which contains all the memories of the past and the future.  Within it are all the discoveries that ever have and ever will be.  And we all have a connection to it and can go within to find that connection.  This book provided me with my definition of God.  God is this “field” and it isn’t subject to time, it knows all that ever was and all that will ever be.  It is always present and all powerful (particularly if you tap into to it).

God is not a father, a mother, or a son.  God is just a word.  Which brings me to one more piece of my answer.   I read this post over at Owning Pink and really got a lot from the discussion in response to it.  Like Dana (in the article), I believe that God is neutral.  I don’t think there is a being judging us, but I also don’t think there is something smiling on us when we do something good.  When our intentions are in line with what is best for our lives, we feel it, we KNOW it.  It’s not a reward or a punishment, it’s simply going with or against the flow.

I’m not quite sure how or if I’ll continue to use the word God.  It seems that how I define God is very different from the way most others define the word.  To me, there are many words that could be used instead.  There is spirit, energy, the Universe, flow, power, love, higher self, or “the field.”  The important piece of information here is that we are all connected and there is something that holds us together.  If we can use God as an excuse to go to war and to discriminate, then it doesn’t seem logical to me that THAT is actually God.

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You’re the Star!

This month at church, Rev. Jean is doing a series on the new book “The Fifth Agreement.” The book and the series include a review of “The Four Agreements,” so that’s what the talks of the last two weeks have been.  Last Sunday she discussed agreement two: Don’t Take Anything Personally.  I particularly enjoyed the way she presented the idea.  She had us all imagine a scene from our life and watch it in our mind like a movie.  Then she pointed out that the way we view the scene is only our perspective and if we watched the same movie through someone else’s eyes it would be totally different.

The reality is we are the stars of our own movies, but for everyone else we are merely supporting characters in theirs.  As I write blog posts, I often wonder what people are going to think.  Thanks to Facebook, I’ve reconnected with a lot of people who knew me at different phases of my life.  Everybody has a different version of me in their minds.  I question how my version…the real me…measures up to theirs.  Are they disappointed, pleased, shocked, or attracted?  Sometimes when I am retelling events as I remember them I worry.  I worry because A.)I have a terrible memory and B.)what if my memory doesn’t match up with those involved.  I’ve read a couple of comments on other blogs where the writers have more or less been accused of lying.  The thing is, I don’t believe they were lying at all, but rather recording the memory how it played out in their movie.  When I was in 6th grade I was best friends with a girl named, Brandi.  I remember so much about our friendship.  I remember listening to Bon Jovi, playing with my hamster, jumping on the trampoline, interviewing each other on cassette tape, and climbing out her bedroom window late one night at the end of the summer (don’t worry we didn’t go any further than the driveway).  When we got back in touch on Facebook she sent me a message saying that whenever she drives by my old neighborhood she remembers swimming at my house and eating frozen Milky Ways.  We had carried with us completely different memories of the same exact friendship.

There are a lot of things that people hide or change about themselves depending on who they are in the company of.  We do this because we are afraid of what others will think of us.  We are afraid of rejection.  A positive thing we can learn to do for our own peace of mind is to not take anything personally.  Everyone is the center of their own Universe.  Whatever statements they may make to you or about you doesn’t really have anything to do with you.  It’s just a role you’re playing in their movie and that role most certainly does not define you.  For me, I am learning not to let the criticism or praise from others become a master over me.  I have an array of ideas in my head and people of all walks of life could read my blog and find stuff they love and hate about me. If I tried to please them all (which I have spent a lot of energy in my life wanting to), I would not be living my own truth.

@WhyisDaddycryin’s Click

I have mentioned @whyisdaddycryin on this blog before.  Like so many of my cyber-friends and “click story” contributors, I stumbled into him on Twitter.  Like Nicole, he is one of those tweeters that makes the extra effort to connect with people.  He is also an incredible writer and I’ve been telling him since the first time I read his blog that he must write a novel.  You can read his blog here and in the following click story you can read how it all started!  You can also now become a fan on Facebook as well!

My “click moment?”

In high school I journaled….mostly about all the hot young ladies who I loved, yet would never give me the time of day. Mostly about how much I wanted a piano to fall from the sky and land on my father. Mostly about how I couldn’t wait to get the hell out and go to college.

In college I majored in journalism and minored in professional writing. Taking tests was like asking me to slam my head in a door for hours on end. Writing pages and pages of fiction and non-fiction was like asking me to take the hottest lady in college on a free trip to Vegas for the weekend. Well….maybe NOT so much like that, but you get my drift.

I wrote…some….in college—enough to get a taste. Enough to get a reaction from professors and other students that were somewhat warm and encouraging.

I graduated…served as an editor for a newspaper….got into marketing and public relations….started a family with the wifey—writing took a backseat. But it was always there…lurking…nagging….and categorized low amongst many other priorities.

This past summer we became friends with @momomatic . A hilarious blogger, amazing jewelry maker, and damn good friend. Our sons went to the same school and the wifey came home one day, “so one of Grayson’s friend’s mom is a blogger and on Twitter, you should check her out.”

So I looked her up, read her tweets, checked out her blog and immediately dug her humor. It’s unfiltered, unadulterated and honest humor about the stuff most people won’t talk about.

A month or so later after we’d met, started hanging out, and talking – she says, “I know you’re saying you wanna blog….you should write something as a guest blog and I’ll post it!”

Within a day I’d knocked out a post about how I’d recently learned my wife loves afternoon sex, but how unbelievably inconvenient that is for our lives with two kids. The feedback I got from that post was unbelievable. It was like being handed my first hit of crack, taking it, and knowing I was hooked.

The proverbial “click” was defining. Humbling. Exciting. Overwhelming. In August I launched www.WhyIsDaddyCrying.com and immediately started ramping up my Twitter relationships by just engaging with those following me. It’s been an experience ever since. But I can say, the relationships, the lessons learned, the support, the feedback….it’s all been an amazing whirlwind.

I can’t thank @momomatic enough for breaking down that wall I’d placed in front of my writing. Her encouragement, friendship and motivating prose have thrown me into the realm of my brain I’d always been hesitant to enter. And, I thank her dearly and promise to never pee in her rose bushes again.

I’ve enjoyed being real, being open, being honest, being true to putting my life out there. I have tons of ideas where it will all go, no clear direction and so I just continue to sway down this crazy road and digging every minute.

Resolutions?

I don’t really believe in making resolutions.  I’ve only ever been successful at keeping a resolution once and that was about 9 years ago.  But if I was going to make them, here are some of the things I’d like to do/be/achieve this year.

1.  Lose 20 pounds by eating healthy and exercising every day.  (Even if I don’t lose the 20, I still want to eat healthy and exercise daily because I just feel better and my body works better when I do.)

2.  Meditate twice a day totalling at least 40 minutes every day no matter what!

3.  Read from the Bible (thanks Heather), A Course in Miracles, or Joel S. Goldsmith for at least 10 or 20 minutes a day.

4.  Start volunteering once a month with a friend from church at The Shelter feeding a meal to the homeless.

5.  Write a novel!

6.  Continue to post on the blog daily.

7.  Journal each day especially about all that I am grateful for.

8.  Keep in touch with people.

9.  Keep the house clean and clutter-free.

10.  Practice yoga at least 3 times a week.

11.  Set a schedule for internet “checks” and stick with it!

12.  Last but absolutely MOST IMPORTANT is to spend more quality time with the girls and Mark!!!!

So now that I’ve made the list, I am surrendering it!  Some of it will happen because it is meant to and some of it will not.  As long as I am aware enough to hear the still small voice and to pay attention to the signals my body sends me, I should be just fine.  I have a good feeling about 2010, that is for sure.  2009 was a year for change and rebirth, 2010 will be the year for me to discover who I am and what I’m capable of now!

2009 in Review

Today I got home from my trip to NC.  I didn’t do as much as I’d planned to on the trip (sorry if I flaked on you and you’re reading), but did get to spend time with my family, my best friends,  Amy’s mom and the baby boys.  We arrived home this evening two hours later than planned, thanks to some terrible traffic in SC and GA.  Mark just brought in the mail and something very special was in it.  Every 1st Sunday of the year at Unity Eastside, we write a letter to God describing the vision that we hope to create in our life for the year.  So I thought I’d share last year’s letter dated 1-4-09.

Dear God,

I set aside the little I and now focus on the big I.  I keep my mind on you, with you, and in you.  My life shows forth that which you have planned for me.  I am an instrument and I am fulfilling your purpose for me.  I am propelled to do that which is of service to others and is directed by you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I am aware and awake.  My life is in you.

Leslee

I was a bit surprised to read the letter.  I remembered it being more of a “surrendering to the plan” rather than setting goals for myself, but it was still interesting to read almost a year after writing it.  I don’t think I’ve been successful at setting aside the little I (the ego) as much as I’d hoped.  This year has certainly had it’s share of drama and I’ve let myself get caught up in it at times.  I do think that so much of what has happened this year has been a part of the plan and I feel like I am following an inner guidance that, despite how it feels at times, has everything in control.

I plan to write a similar letter this year (despite lots of “resolutions” that I may write about tomorrow).  The best thing I can do for myself is to just let go of the wheel.

A lot has happened this year.  I’ve healed and made stronger some relationships, while others have experienced blows.  I’ve dealt with the death of one of my oldest and dearest friends, but was able to hold her baby boys just two days ago.  I started this blog and have exposed my inner thoughts, gone out on a limb, and stepped on a few toes along the way.  I’ve learned both easy and hard lessons here.  I’ve met some amazing writers and bloggers who inspire me daily.  I’ve continued to ask questions and take notice when the answers present themselves to me.  I have been incredibly human and also had beautiful moments in communion with God.  I’ve reminded myself far too often to “be present” and stop thinking about the past and the future!  Mostly I’ve tried to be the instrument as often as I can.  If even one person received something from my words or my deeds this year than I succeeded in that!

Happy New Year everyone!  Have fun tonight and be safe…

Wounds…

While on vacation I read the book “Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live” by Martha Beck.  I randomly picked this book off the $5 shelf at my church bookstore and took it with me on the trip because I knew it would be easy to tote to and from the beach and wasn’t worried if it got sandy or wet.   This book turned out to be a gem!  It has made me think so much and has given me a lot of ideas for blog posts (that I may or may not remember to write).

There was a chapter in the book about emotional wounds.  In the chapter, there was a quiz with about 8 questions with 1 point and 2 point answers.  At the end of the quiz you were supposed to add up your 2 point answers and if you had more than 3 of them, you probably have some emotional wounds that you have buried deep down.  I almost didn’t take the quiz, thinking about people I know who’ve got real wounds…wounds that run deep and hurt in a way I can’t understand, but I decided to take it and surprisingly ended up with about 5 of those 2 point answers.  I started thinking about what it is I could possibly be sitting on.  I came up with 2 situations immediately, both of which happened during junior high school.  One I will definitely blog about another day and the other will probably go unmentioned.  I was also able to associate one of my “issues” with some childhood stuff.  But beyond those, I was unable to think of a real emotional wound….until today.

Today was Bella’s first day of school.  My friend and I walked to the elementary school with our little ones in strollers to pick up the big girls.  When we got back to our homes, my friend’s daughter and the little girl who lives behind us came inside to play.  I checked my email and started cleaning the kitchen and all the while I felt this amazing peace wash over me.  I can’t even really describe how good I felt, it was close to being wrapped up in a warm towel just out of the dryer.  All I could think was how grateful I was to be home with my girls and how I always want to be here for them when they come home from school.  I signed on to Facebook and wrote that I was feeling “wonderfully nostalgic.”  And that’s when it hit me…this had nothing to do with my work status and everything to do with one of my emotional wounds.

You see my mother stayed home with me until I was in 2nd grade.  I was completely addicted to having her around.  She was my world…everything!  But when I was 7 years old she went back to work.  During her first year of work I got off the school bus and stayed at the neighbor’s house.  They were and still are lovely people, but they didn’t fill my mommy’s shoes and what I was allowed to do while in their care wasn’t nearly as much fun as having my friends come over and play or biking through the neighborhood.  During my 3rd grade year, I became a latchkey kid (things are definitely different now-a-days) and I turned into a cookie-eating-couch-potato every afternoon as I waited for my sister to arrive home from junior high school.

So I realized today that the nostalgia I felt was for the days before 2nd grade, when I got off the school bus and found my mother home waiting for me.  I was reliving those moments from the other side and watching my daughters play with their friends in the same way I had so long ago.  At dinner I told Mark that I’d discovered one of my wounds.  I explained everything to him and he replied that I’d felt abandoned.  He was exactly right…

So who knows, maybe today is the day I start letting go of my abandonment issues.  And I also want to say for the record that I would not have wanted it to be any different!!  My mother was able to do so much for me (like pay for my college education) because she went back to work!!! There are all kinds of things that cause people’s emotional wounds.  It could be something huge like abuse or neglect, or a little something like losing your favorite teddy bear.  Just because this stuck with me doesn’t mean it would stick with someone else.  This is an issue that I was meant to work through in my life! (So if I haven’t made it clear enough, please don’t misinterpret this as a stay-at-home-mom versus working mom post.  I am totally supportive of both, I promise!!)

Rain

It has been raining a lot here lately and a few days ago, I came to my WordPress Dashboard and quickly typed “Rain” as the title of a blog post.  Today I read this quote on one of my friend’s Facebook Status updates:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass….It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

That quote made me want to revisit or rather write my post on the topic.

I’ve never much liked rain.  Rainy days make me sleepy and depressed.  No matter how “needed” it is, I’m always the one wishing it away.  When I was a teacher, rainy days were the worst because that meant that the kids had to stay indoors.  No recess for the kids, no rest for the teachers.  It was the same when I was a kid.  I’d much rather have been outdoors then inside playing “heads up, seven up” (or whatever that game was called).  I also don’t like to be in the rain.  Yuck!  There is nothing worse than getting rained on and stepping into puddles.  Squishy shoes suck!

This summer I have had to face my hatred for rain head on.  It started on the drive home from NC. (Did I mention I hate driving in the rain too?)  We had been driving for 3 or so hours and the girls needed a potty break.  It started pouring right as we found a rest stop.  The next one was 60 miles away and I didn’t want to get too far off the interstate, so we stopped, rain and all.  I unbuckled the girls, pulled them out of the car and proceeded to drag them as fast as their little legs could go to the cover.  Run, Run, Run!!  By the time we made it to the restroom we were pretty wet.  As we left the bathroom we discovered it was raining even harder.  I weighed my options, but decided staying on schedule was more important than staying dry, so we left the shelter and made a run for it.  Midway to the car, I looked at the girls and how delighted they were to be experiencing this rain and I decided to slow down.  I walked the rest of the way to the car, paying attention to the way the rain felt on my skin, and realized that it was wonderful.  Once in the car, the water dried quickly…no permanent damage was done.

Last Sunday afternoon, Mark and I took the girls for a walk to the pond at the end of our street.  I love going down there.  We sit in the gazebo and feed bread to the fish and turtles.  It’s become one of my favorite spots, a place that always calms me.  On Sunday though, it started raining.  Mark was quick to suggest we go, so we left the shelter of the gazebo and headed back towards our house.  Before long the sky fell out and Mark grabbed the girls’ hands yelling “Run, Run, Run.”  I did the opposite.  I slowed my pace, held out my arms, tilted my head back, and let nature remind me how alive I am.  I didn’t dance though…maybe next time I’ll try that!