What the world needs now…love!

These days, this year, 2020! Oh, how we the people, the created ones, we who have seemingly given so little thought to all the many, many days which preceded today. We who have been like sleeping babies, we who are living as though we have been suddenly awakened. And indeed, we have been awakened by the labor pains of our own birthing process. Yes, we are being born again into a brave, new world; a world which has been made by our own sleepwalking lives. Today, yes and every day hereafter, we are living the day as though it is our final exam. We have been tested and are even now being tested and pressed. Look around, our sanity is pulling away from us. We are pulled apart from our better selves and our communal bloodshed testifies against us. What shreds us to pieces? What dislodges us from our moorings, from the safe harbors of our former complacencies? Is it not our combined complicity and greed to blame the other one(s), the other side, those ones outside of our beliefs and traditions, which when combined with our self-righteous, impoverished, and dull thinking only births and extracts more hateful behaviors. Atrocious, stunning, inexcusable, vile. These are the outcomes which abound in today’s headlines.

When the tentacles of hate have reached their full maturity, there can be no more life as we know it. No more civility…no more peace. Hate, fully overgrown into our hearts, the one true source of all cancer, can only go stronger every day in our midst while we demand our rights to be heard and our right to be freed from our past. Hate will indeed choke, blind, and silence us all to the doom of our own making.

It is LOVE, human and divine which overcomes death in nations and generations and in all horrors of our time . Death is given power over everything finite especially in our period of history. But death is given no power over LOVE. LOVE is stronger. It creates something new out of the destruction caused by death; it bears everything and overcomes everything. It is at work where the power of death is strongest, in war and persecution and homelessness and hunger and physical death itself. It is omnipresent and here and there in the smallest and most hidden ways as in the greatest and most visible ones, it rescues life from death. It reaches each of us, for LOVE is stronger than death.

Paul Tillich – The Boundaries of Our Being

Oh, how we are being tested, pressed, and yes even pulled apart from every one of our perceived safe places; our moorings and safe harbors are nowhere to be found. There is only ONE ANTIDOTE…ONE CURE for our current sickness: REFUSE TO HATE the other! Refuse it and we shall make ourselves well. This tonic is not an easy one to take, and we will have to dose ourselves liberally, daily, moment by moment…but take our medicine we must. There can be no other remedy for our survival. We must choose to sacrifice our need to be right in order to become healthy again…otherwise we will be consumed by the monster in our midst. The monster which can and should be slain because it brings us only death and suffering.

What does it mean to be nonviolent? Coming from the Hindu/Sanskrit word ahimsa, nonviolence was defined long ago as “causing no harm, no injury, no violence to any living creature.” But Mohandas Gandhi insisted that it means much more than that. He said nonviolence was the active, unconditional LOVE toward others, the persistent pursuit of truth, the radical forgiveness toward those who hurt us, the steadfast resistance to every form of evil, and even the loving willingness to accept suffering in the struggle for justice without the desire for retaliation.

The battlefield in which we currently inhabit our struggle for well-being is waged in one venue only. Lest we think it is someone else’s fault and not our own. Lest we think and believe this fallacy, then we are without remedy. But if we were to realize that our battlefield engages only one solitary combatant, then perhaps we have found hope for a peaceful future. Our hope may be rescued when each one of us, lay down our weapon of right and privilege. Because our survival (individual and collective) is dependent upon the battle being waged for each of our singular hearts and minds. Wake up we must to the war set before us. The war we wage is fought against and within the confines of our own thinking and believing. On this battleground we must refute the desire and the need to be right whereby we give hate for another any purchase in our thoughts, words or deeds! Check yourself today…check the pulse of your thinking and feeling…of your posts on social media and in your conversations with your close others. Check yourself please, I implore you! There can be no higher nationalism, no better self-indulgence than to love…one another…the good…the bad…the ugly…the undeserving…and yes, even the enemy. How far we have wandered from our homeland…LOVE!

We think fear, anger, divine intimidation, threat, and punishment are going to lead people to LOVE. Show me where that has worked. You cannot lead people to the highest level of motivation by teaching them the lowest. The sacred scriptures of all faiths call us to LOVE as we have never loved before. This requires effort, vigilance, and radical humility. Violence is easier than nonviolence, yet hate only perpetuates hate. The wisdom teachings remind us that LOVE—active, engaged, fearless LOVE— is the only way to save ourselves and each other from the firestorm of war that rages around us. There is a renewed urgency to this task now. We are asked not only to tolerate the other, but also to actively engage the LOVE that transmutes the lead of ignorance and hatred into the gold of authentic connection. This is the narrow gate Christ speaks of in the gospels (Matthew 7:13). Don’t come this way unless you’re willing to stretch, bend, and transform for the sake of LOVE.

Fr. Richard Rohr
What the World Needs Now


The Cure For Our Sickness?

Kindness: First, Last, Always!
What if each one human, would decide each one and every moment, with each and every thought, word, or deed, to first cause no harm…to oneself or to another? Would not all creation resound with music round the sphere?

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

-The Dalai Lama

If we no have peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
-Mother Teresa

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.
-Louis L’Amour

What the world needs now…love!

There can be no higher nationalism, no better self-indulgence than to love…one another…the good…the bad…the ugly…the undeserving…and yes, even the enemy.

The Cure For Our Sickness?

Kindness: First, Last, Always! What if each one human, would decide each one and every moment, with each and every thought, word, or deed, to first cause no harm…to oneself or to another? Would not all creation resound with music round the sphere? “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no … Read More

For Nothing

“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the … Read More


“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”  — James Baldwin

Blowin in the Wind

Pack Up Your Sorrows

For Nothing


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – May 11

Romanian Dead Lift (for core, back, glutes, hamstrings)

dumbbell_dead-lift.jpg        romainian dead lift_m

Perform wearing flat training shoes or in stocking feet.
(2-legged: use either dumbbells or barbell; any weight you can comfortably hold for all repetitions).

  1. Use an overhand grip to hold the weights at hip level.
  2. Draw your shoulders back and keep your spine straight throughout the exercise.
  3. Push your hips back (hip hinge) as you slowly lower the weight toward the floor and below your knees.
  4. Press your hips forward to come into a standing position with the weights in front of your thighs.
  5. Repeat repetitions (as noted above) with single leg hip hinge (pictured below).
    Note: keep hips level.

(1-legged; improves lower leg & foot strength, stability, and balance).
                       Single-Leg-Romanian-Deadlift-1    1 legged dead lift

  


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – April 27

Wall Sit and Stay (for core, back, shoulders, and leg muscles)

Wall Sit 3

Wall sits: Perform 1-3 repetitions of 30 seconds per sit, every day.

  1. Stand with your back pressing against a wall, arms along the sides of your torso with hands flat against the wall. Your feet are about 2-ft away from the wall, legs hip-width apart or a little wider. Toes may be pointed slightly outward.
  2. Slide your back and arms down the wall until your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle. Your shoulders, upper back, lower back and back of your head should all be flat against the wall. Distribute your weight evenly between both feet.
  3. Engage your abdominals, relax your shoulders and breathe evenly while counting to thirty. Recover for 15-seconds by standing up, shaking legs out, walking around.
    Then, repeat the remaining repetitions.

For progression: Hold arms out in front of your chest. Keep shoulders and lower back pressed against the wall.                 wall sit2


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – April 20

Bird Dog Slides (for upper body strength, core stability)Note: Perform Bird Dog Slides on tile, concrete or wood floor surface, use a small towel, rag or other item that will slide across your floor surface. If this exercise is new to you, perform all repetitions by extending one limb at a time (i.e. you will have three points of contact with the floor rather than two).

bird dog slides

Source: RedefiningStrength.com

Bird Dog Slides (in bare or stocking feet); practice your walk out maneuver from last week to get yourself into position. Perform 10 – 15 repetitions, 1-2 sets every other day. Do all repetitions on one side  then switch to the other.

  1. Place a slider (or towel) under the ball of one foot and set up on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Drive your foot down into the slider and slide out, extending your leg while reaching your opposite hand toward the wall in front of you. Keep your hips square to the ground and brace your abs as you extend out. Feel your glute working to extend your leg as you drive down into the slider. Then slide back in, bringing your knee back under your hip as you touch your hand down to the ground. Feel your abs working as you bring your knee back in. Then again extend back out.
  3. Really press down into the slider as you extend and tuck. Move slowly and control the movement, bracing your abs and even pausing to feel your glutes when fully extended. Complete all reps on one side before switching.

Alternative exercise: Perform a traditional bird dog maneuver without a slide under your forefoot. From the quadruped position, extend the opposite arm/leg while keeping the hips level. Do all repetions on one side, then switch to lifting/extending the opposite limbs.


Not-Knowing Is Knowing

Rambling thoughts have rattled around in my head today, however, I have to admit I prefer this disposition over the roiling emotions I was experiencing last week. It has been a month of living with the ‘stay at home’ order and there does not yet appear any soon relief from our social separations. Honestly, these days of pandemic provide a full spectrum of emotion for the unsuspecting, home-bound furloughed working person.

And in all of this, I want to know something. Don’t you? I mean I think I really want to know! I want to know WHY? I want to know HOW MANY will live or die? I want to know WHEN will this end? I want to know WHO started this insanity? Most of all it seems we all want to know WHO is TO BLAME? WHO is IN CHARGE? And last but not least, WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR ALL OF THIS? I think we all feel like naughty children banished to the corner. HOW LONG must we stay in our rooms?

Must we go on in this dungeon of not-knowing? I want to KNOW why…why must we? Must we, ALL OF US, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US…go through this great disturbance? And then I wonder, would knowing those things I don’t know really help me right now? My next thought is this: Could I actually handle knowing the truth(s) of my recent, mad-raving questionings? Could any of us handle such knowing? Because when I think about this for any amount of minutes, it seems that once we gain a knowledge of what we don’t know, the unveiling truth becomes like a death to us. Our innocence dies; our peace of mind dies; our hope dies…everything we think we have a right to know about something, anything really, actually brings us to a point of living death.

Examine these thoughts, because they are fears about outcomes. But this worry is based on your need to know. Break the cycle of those thoughts by being aware of the now. Savor the quest, not the finish. The Cool Impossible ~ Christopher McDougall and Eric Orton

There are only a few certainties in this life, namely, we are born, we live, we die…of these things we may all agree upon…we all know these three to be truth. So how does knowing these things help us or make the hard things of not-knowing easier? Is it better to know or not know? Do we want to know to ease our discomfort? Or should we consider our not-knowing is given for the purpose of expanding our character and humanity.

We cannot feel good about an imaginary future when we are busy feeling bad about an actual present. When we try to overlook, ignore, or set aside our current gloomy state and make a forecast about how we will feel tomorrow, we find that it’s a lot like trying to imagine the taste of marshmallow while chewing liver. Daniel Gilbert – Stumbling on Happiness

Perhaps we might do ourselves a favor and acquiesce our need-to-know so we may apprehend how to exist meaningfully…in what each moment reality reveals to us. Perhaps then we might grasp the real reason we have been given a life to live…perhaps our being and doing is for the sole purpose of living from Source…which is LOVE!

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
~ Eckhart Tolle ~

Lest you think me daft, may I remind you these thoughts of mine are simply the rambling, house-bound webs of perception which have rattled around in my head today. Thank you for reading them…I hope you may find some comfort from my sharing them with you. It does seem, especially in these days, that life is pure mystery, and yet I am okay believing that for truth. Really, I do believe that reality, life as we know and experience it, is actually very kind to us. When I consider how I may live comfortably with not-knowing, I make peace with what IS. Yes, the need to know is the beginning of death.

Cast your cares for stones they are,
Cast away, cast away, near and far,
Throw away, far away, small or large,
Worry not to see where stones land, for
The power of casting comes from the hand;
So cast away, cast away, cast away all,
Throw stones hard, throw stones fast,
Watch feet trample over stones cast; now
Trod across, trod across, yes, trod across brave,
Across the stone path trusting heart has paved.
Brave heart, true heart, pure heart behold,
Yes! Mystery perceive, embrace, and imbue,
Life lived not-knowing is knowing life true.
~DEBreen


The Space Between

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

As I sit here this morning in quiet contemplation, I wonder what it is that the Lord would have me know and do today; I am thinking several things at once. First, today is Friday and it lays open and bare without the structure of work or requirement of appointments. That at first puts me at some dis-ease as I am so used to having my days booked and scheduled to the full. The other strand that is floating by my awareness is that I should be heading out the door for my morning run. But it’s still a little too cool for my liking, and truth be told, I feel less than motivated to go out when I have no ‘race’ on my calendar.

There are no idle thoughts. All thinking produces form at some level.
~A Course in Miracles~

So I am sitting here tapping away on my keyboard trying to be quiet and not…

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Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – April 13

Walk Out to Beast Plank (for upper body strength and core mobility, hip, knee, ankle flexibility). Note: If the walk out is a new maneuver for you, perform and perfect by walking your hands on the floor a short distance away from your body and then walk them back and shift (push) your lower body backwards to finish the movement with your standing posture. Bending your knees throughout the walk out will make this move easier.

Walk out (in bare or stocking feet) to Beast Plank
Perform 3 – 5 repetitions, holding each beast plank for 5-30 seconds. Repeat 1-2 sets every other day.

  1. Stand tall, reach for the ceiling, then bend at the hips to touch fingertips to the floor. Continue walking hands out in front of your body until your hands are underneath your shoulders.
  2. If your knees are not yet bent, bend them now, and hover them an inch or two above the ground. Your back should be flat, and your hips and knees form 90-degree angles. Your feet are flexed (a nice stretch)!
  3. Hold this posture, core engaged, neck neutral for 5 to 30 seconds. Then shift your body weight behind you by walking your hands back toward your feet. Stand up. You have completed one repetition.

 


Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – April 6

Reverse Lunge (for balance, posture, glute/hamstring/calf strength and flexibility, core stability) Note: If the reverse lunge is a new move for you, perform this exercise without adding weight. For balance, have a chair nearby or hold a wood dowel or walking stick. If you are an advanced exerciser, add weights by holding kettlebells, dumbbells, or a medicine ball to increase exercise intensity.

reverselunge-e1586183602768.jpg

Reverse Lunge (in bare or stocking feet)
Perform 10 – 15 repetitions, 1-2 sets every other day. Repetitions can be completed all on one leg then switch to the other; or alternate legs for each reverse lunge.

  1. Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Look straight ahead and keep your torso (and chest) as upright as possible for the entire exercise maintaining a natural arch in your lower back.
  2. Keeping your abs engaged, take a step backward about 2-3 feet straight behind you. Raise your back heel to be on your toes while making sure your weight is on the front heel.
  3. Lower your body by bending your back knee until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and either perform all repetitions on one side or alternate backward lunge steps.

Tips:
(1) Your front knee should not pass your toes.
(2) Back knee should be close to a 90-degree angle.