Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday Aug 26th, at Angel's Camp Touched by Taize

What a day the Lord has made! I have spent delicious hours today, perched on our deck, with a view of the rolling hils and oaks, surfing through the net, uncovering insightful spiritual inspirations! I'm doing the early prep work for my doctorate papers due next Spring. Googling "spiritual mentoring", wealths of information surfaces. In this state of mind, open to God's direction, it's no wonder that almost everything seems connected and related to my life and studies, right now, right here.

During the past month or so I've been studying the Bhagavad Gita, page by page, always amazed at the correlations between the ancient Vedic scripture and the relatively new 12-step Big Book teachings. Always going within, always connecting with our brothers/fellows.

So, today I came upon the community of Taize... a little village in the heart of the Burgundy region of France. It seems that year by year, more and more people come there to join in the life of the community for a short retreat or to seek the journey in the Christian vocation.

Here is what I've learned: On visiting Taize, one is immediately struck by its cosmopolitan nature. The members of the community and those who are visiting come from different parts of the world. The variety of language and race is immediately obvious; yet the oneness and unity of all is almost tangible. One becomes very much aware of the vastness of the human family and of the links that exist between us. In the community of the peoples of the world, God has chosen to dwell.

and...We belong to each other because we are members of the same body. If part of that body is hurting, we are all hurting; if part of that body is oppressed or downtrodden then we are all oppressed and down-troddened. Our calling is to be present to each other in all the realities of living, just as God is present to us in our humanity.

Roger, the founding brother, teaches his brothers in the Rule to "keep inner silence always, and you will dwell in Christ." He see inner silence as a prerequisite for prayer. In the world of tension and anxiety, where conflict is often the order of the day, he encourages us all to strive after inner silence. Inner silence "makes possible our conversation with God."

"In every person lies a zone of solitude that no human intimacy can fill: and there God encounters us. There, in that depth, is set the intimate festival of the risen Christ. So henceforth, in the hollow of our being, we discover the risen Christ: he is our festival."

"Perfect joy is self-giving. Whoever knows it seeks neither gratitude nor kindness. It is sheer wonder renewed by the sight of the generosity of the Giver of all gifts, material and spiritual. It is thankfulness. It is thanksgiving." The joy which the brothers of Taize seek is the joy that comes from living in the precious present. It is to live in the 'now,' for it is in the present moment that God is loving and saving us. This true joy comes from within and is born out of simplicity of life. To experience this joy the brothers of Taize constantly strive to simplify their model of living.

So, digesting and assimilating this powerful information, reaffirms the power of our "fellowship" and community and the need for going within to the silence of the Divine Principle, God, the Unified Field of Bliss and Love.

As always, I am so grateful!

Monday, August 24 Angel's Camp

Oh, we are so lucky to have our TimeShares! The drive down to Angels Camp is just three hours from the high county of Yosemite. We were going to just stay here at Angels camp and drive in each day... but I'm so glad that we actually camped right there in the valley. Now we have the amenities of a full kitchen, two bathrooms, etc.... plus a lovely deck that looks out on the golf course. I've been in the pool allot, doing my water aerobics.

Didn't mention in my Yosemite posts about how difficult it was to get out of the low beach chair I just had to have! Plus, riding my bike really stressed my knees. I was just feeling so owie, old and out of condition... of which I am! Swimming on the other hand, allows me great exercise and stretching. I have great plans though, of biking, hiking, and really moving my body with comfort and ease. That is a goal I keep my internal eyes upon!

I'm still struggling with the darned food plan... weighing and measuring and all of that. I've stayed away from flour and sugar... but their is a pouty me that is pissed off and feels sorry for her self. I should at least be able to have a glass of wine. Then, I remember how it used to be.... I'd have good intentions of just one class of wine, or just a normal serving of crackers and cheese... but then, I'd end up wanting and consuming more.... finishing the bottle of wine and the cheese and crackers.... feeling bloated, not sleeping well, and once again, vowing that I would practice moderation the next day.

Whew.... I'm glad I wrote that down.... I feel GREAT RELIEF that I don't have to put myself though that anymore! So, the minor struggles I'm having, trying to weigh and measure, to eat the prescribed foods, is so worth NOT having the stuggles of out-of-control eating and drinking..

Another great happening for me today, was the start of my research for my two doctorate papers! Actually, I spent several hours researching. It was a fabulous break from the self centered thinking I've been doing. I'm excited to research and write my papers. More about that in future posts.
For today, I am thankful for my struggles.... I think by accepting them and allowing them just to be, it is letting go and letting God take over. It's just information, not my identity. Thank you God/Goddess, for the blessings in my life!

Sunday Aug 24, leaving the Valley

Whew... everyone is tired today... and just feeling lazy. But we have to pack up. The valley is soooo crowded, it's really starting to bug us. Our neighbors have had their music turned up high! I agree with Brit, that it's just too comercialized and too crowded for real peace and enjoyment. I've had to do allot of spiritual work to not let the noise bother me.... just letting go and letting God help me focus on just the beauty around me. So, we took off for higher points, driving up to above the tree line, the High Country of Lake Tenya, elevation around 8000-9000 feet! We're all tired and dirty, but relieved to get back to some quiet enjoyment of this vast country! Sadly, I'm really out of sorts because of feeling like a failure with my food plan. The ice chest is burried too deep in the car to bring out for lunch, so we're eating cereal and grapes for lunch. Wah, wah, wah.... I feel like such a crybaby. I didn't expect to have negative feelings or thoughts during this trip. Visiting Yosemite was to be a deeply profound spiritual experience. Not that it hasn't had those moments.... there has just been these occasions of yucky feelings and discouragement. I have stuck to my no sugar or flour though... even with the kids having their treats. I know on some levels and I am on the right path... I'm just not eating the required weighed and measured foods.... What's bothering me is that I am so loyal, once I decide to commit to something... and here I am, after my internal struggles, feeling like I've failed anyway. Guess this is what "feeling the feelings" is all about, rather than dumbing out or eatting my way though discontent. It feels kind of raw and very real. When I notice that I'm sliding into this kind of funk, I do some deep breathing and short mediation, calling for the God within me. While levels of this discontent is going on.... there are also divine moments of joy and bliss, when I breathe in the high mountain air and really allow myself to feel deeply, to my core, my connection to the All.

I look at granite rocks, HUGE GRANITE ROCKS, and on one level see them as solid and unmoving, yet on another level KNOW that they are in a state of constant change and movement.... and just a small part of God's Huge Universe! I drew a "zendoodle" mandala which I can't really post, but the writing that goes with it is here: "My heart is opening to deeper places within me. The womb of my life and soul as I travel deep inside me, I find the whole of the Universe that I am at One with." Thank you God for these blessings!

Sat. Aug 23, just too wonderful!

Today the kids are off on a hike to Vernal Falls, and I took a great bike ride around parts of the Valley. It's so crowded here... but the smell of Yosemite and the views are breathtaking! I'm finding it discouraging and trying to stick with this foodplan idea. This is the first get-away where I haven't had my favorite snacks or wonderful drinks to help be relax and enjoy. Watching the kids eat smores, chips, etc... has been hard. I feel like a baby, here is God's wonderland.... and here I am sad about the foods I'm not getting to eat! With all my preparations... the milk has gotten a funny taste in it, I forgot the oil and the yogurt... but I don't want to focus on the negatives.... this is truly GODS PARADISE! And I'm thankful at such a deep level for this beauty and that I have the ability to be here enjoying it! We were so lucky to get a campsite right on the river, with Glacier Point to the right and Half Dome right in front of us! The river is deep here and a great swimming hole. I'm not doing much thinking or journaling... I'm just soaking in the peace and tranquility, especially early in the morning before the other campers wake up. The steep walls of the valley seem to cradle me and give such great comfort! And I'm so grateful that Brit and David could hike to Vernal falls and jump in! They came back early, totally exhausted! Here are the pictures, first of Vernal Falls from a distance. Note the little rock at the bottom... because the next picture is of Brit jumping off, into the pool at the base of the falls. Brit has been so supportive of my food plan.... she wants me to be able to take hikes like that next year with her! Thank you God for this amazing venture!

Friday Aug 22 Yosemite here we come!

Ah... I just love Yosemite! I was so fortunate as a kid to have enjoyed years of family camping here. Our family would camp at Camp 7, right by the Stoneman Bridge. The river was great for swimming. Every night we'd go to the campfire program, sing silly songs (stand up, sit down, shake shake shake). Then the romantic story about the firefall, and the silence as everyone listened to hear the "Let the fire faaalllll" as the bright red embers cascaded off Glacier Point.... then the ooohhhs, and aahhhs. On the way back to our campsite we'd hear the voices calling out "Elmer" "ELMER!". I've forgotten what that folk tale was about. But still today, you can hear an occasional "Elmer" called out during early evening darkness. So, eating on a food plan should be too hard since I sliced and diced my veggies last evening. I'm just so excited to be sharing this with Brit and her boyfriend. And it really is a trip back to my youth, my hopes and dreams. More tomorrow!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

DAY 2!! for real!

Oh, it feels so wonderful to have done a full day, completely on the program! I still have a level of frustration, trying to get certain things done before leaving on Friday. I have lots of ebay items to list, to mail, plus the shop data to enter and checks to write and drop off, all before leaving on Friday.

But, yesterday was wonderful.... not in me being up in spirit, more about me being on track and having faith and hope. I chopped and chopped tons of veggies. As I was weighing my 12 oz for lunch, there was a huge bowl of veggies needing to be refrigerated. So I thought, why not bag them all now! Measured out my 12 oz portions into little baggies and popped them in the fridge.
What a concept!

Decided I needed, really wanted and needed, to make a Wednesday night meeting, even though it's 25 miles each way. Brit packed me veggies and chopped up 4 oz of porkchop, seasoned, and off I went. (Had to make a vital bank deposit as well.) Found the bank just before six, then found a fabulous park a few blocks from the meeting (gotta love that GPS system!!).... where I sat for almost an hour, ate my dinner while reading the big book, all to the sounds of young children playing in the park.

I went to my meeting and was warmly greeted by my 2 week sponsor, with a huge hug! Sat in the front row and raised my hand to read. This meeting was in a chapel and the seats were so comfortable! I need to leave meetings right a way to make the long trip home and try to have some down time before going to bed.

All in all, it felt like a very successful day! I am grateful for my temporary, 2 week sponsor. She told me this morning to take my sweet time to find the perfect sponsor for me. Guess this will be an issue I look into next week, after returning from Yosemite.

And I am so thankful, grateful, and glad to be healthy and alive.

Wednesday, 8/20, DAY ONE #2!

Well, I blew it yesterday.... not my fault, but I really get how being prepared is important. I was fully involved working my ebay listings, doing my online banking, etc. and about 9:45 I thought "who is working the shop today", I checked, and it was ME!!! I had totally spaced on the fact that I work the third Tuesdays.

So I quickly packed up what work I could take with me, dressed, grabbed some cottage cheese, and left. So my OA lunch was missing it's 12 oz of veggies. Plus, the frustration of having my tightly controlled schedule was thrown completely off.... enough frustration to really want me to reward myself with food. but that was the old days. I felt pouty, poor me, sorry for myself. I was a bit testy around my husband and granddaughter, so I took some extra time, just 10 minutes to sit and meditate.... calling out the God that is within me. God, God, where ever you are, deep inside me, come out, come out, make me sane, let me feel your presence.

God is great.... I ate a normal OA meal and went to bed early.

I am so grateful!

Tuesday, 9/19 DAY ONE

Well, this is the day that God has made! Day one of having a sponsor and really digging into the OA 90 program. Having FAITH and HOPE are really big things! It's a full day of work, getting ready to go to Yosemite later in the week. My food plan is written down, and a shopping trip with the best ingredients is planned.

What a fabulous day!
thank you God

Monday, August 18, 2008

Powerlessness????? the efforts of truly waking up

(note) I started this blog to journal my daily musings.... then the reality of the depth and deeply personal aspects of my journey being committed to print, open to anyone to read.... well, it truly frightened me! I'd feel exposed, vulnerable, open to criticism and judgment. opps, aren't those fears a reflection of my own criticisms and judgments of others?? lesson learned. So here I am, ready to go, to deeply be open to inner exploration and open to hearing from others, how you travel similar paths.... similar journeys.

Ah, the journey... how was it, what did I do to wake up, how is it now.... a Pandora's box of memory! Most recent memory, just a few months ago, I got together with a dear friend I hadn't seen in several months... and what a vibrant change in her. Not just a weight loss, but a shining, glowing, inner joy that I had seen only periodically from her, and never for a prolonged period. She had joined a 12-step program, Food Addicts in Recovery. And her progress was/is AMAZING! a vibrant picture of healthy body, mind and spirit.

I wanted some of that. I started attending local FA meetings, always sitting in the back, not wanting to be seen, flushing and turning beet red when I stood to introduce myself as a visitor! Hey... that's not "me"... I've led groups for years! I've spoken in front of many people.... hmmmm. Something huge was holding me back from accepting the FA program. However, the women who spoke were fabulously inspiring... but the rigors of their program just didn't feel a fit for me. So my "search" began.

I attended a sweet but small regular OA meeting and met some wonderful women. Then, unknown to me, the next OA meeting I visited was an OA-90, with almost the exact food plan as the FA group! Perhaps, God, my Higher Power, was leading be to the system that would/will best work for me. I've hung in there now for a month or so. I've been attending three very inspiring meetings a week. But I've been resistant to really digging in and accepting the program.

I have resisted finding a sponsor. I've dragged my feet. I've found a thousand or so excuses and very good reasons for not getting started. I've also resisted weighing and measuring my food. I've resisted committing my food each day.

Split down the middle, struggling. On the other side of the coin, I gave up caffeine, flour and sugar, way back on July 4th. That's pretty good. I also bought the books and several times a week have taken some time to study and journal the OA way, steps and traditions. Well, truth is, I haven't gotten past Step One... Admitting I am powerless over anything! So, I have done some of the work.... but I am stalled out here... still wanting "what they have" and resisting my own powerlessness.

I always thought I was good about letting go and letting God be God in my life. I talk a good talk.... the secret is, I walk a lie. I am still resisting letting go and admitting I am powerless over anything in my life! Like Arjuna (Bhagavad Gita) I am faced with two opposing aspects of myself.... the willingness to truly relinquish my control over anything, and my desire to "will" things into manifestation. There must be a third path?

Just for today... my THIRD PATH appears to be the inner wilderness of my own soul and psyche. Just for today... I will seek and explore the deep inner silence that I am told is at the deepest heart of my soul and life. It's not about the eating... it's about the willingness to truly let go and admit that of/by myself I am powerless over many aspects of my life. Just for today, I am willing to actually commit myself to calling a sponsor/starter OA person. I commit to figuring a food plan for the day and I commit to weighing and measuring my meals. I also commit to some forward thinking about shopping and what to keep on hand.

Ok.... whew... that wasn't so awful bad. All I have is me, now in this moment. I thank you God/Goddess for your guidance and willingness to keep on leading me on/towards Your Path.
My most humble blessings and thanksgivings!