What or Who is beautiful?

 

For too many years beauty has been identified with physical appearance and submission. Watch television or take part in life and you will be bombarded with a particular look or model of what  big business has defined as beautiful.  We are challenged to identify with fake photoshopped images that create an outward appearance, which for most people is unobtainable. Simply submit to a product or lifestyle that we never desired, probably are unable to afford, and  all the pleasures of heaven can be ours.

It is all quite ridiculous, but we still buy it! We feel ugly or ashamed if we do not fit the accepted model of what corporations define as beautiful. We spend so much time looking  in the mirror at our outward appearance that we forget about the feelings and emotions that are within us.

It has been this way for years, maybe since the beginning of time. Men and women have been programmed to fill a role; a role that someone in authority defined. Generally, it has been the women who have been suppressed. But the control is buried so deeply in our culture that it is hard to realize how firmly it is there .

It’s not easy for men or women to re-wire their brain when it has been conditioned to think a certain way from childhood. How can they over-come the paternalistic control that corporations and politicians may want to have over their thoughts and choices?

It is only when you start to look at the inside, instead of the outside, that life will become clear. What or who is beautiful? True beauty reflects those inner qualities of a person that are grounded in LOVE  and so resonate the soul.

 

I prayed to win the lottery; but It didn’t work;

It was our first class in Romantic Poetry after the Christmas break. The only thing on my mind was how good the food had been at home, compared to the university cafeteria.  So great was the memory of my mother’s gastronomic delights that I hardly noticed the anxious looks on the faces of my fellow students. The professor arrived with his usual flourish, but just as quickly, questions and answer papers circulated around the class room. Surprise to me, we were about to have an exam! Results would make up 40 percent of the year’s final mark!

Perhaps I shouldn’t have skipped the last few days of classes before the break? Perhaps I should have asked a fellow student if the professor had given any assignments? With no exam mentioned on the formal “pre-Christmas” exam schedule, I had simply discounted the course and escaped to the comforts of home. Everyone else had spent their spare Christmas moments studying Wordsworth’s Preface to Lyrical Ballads and Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. Not me…  Who was Thackeray anyway? As for the exam… it looked like I didn’t have a hope.

Here is where prayer comes to a person’s life: when it seems as though all future life, perhaps even your continued existence, is dependent on what is about to, or not about to happen.  Life can be that way, through your own fault or through no fault of your own. It may be when you are hanging over a cliff for the first time on rappel, when you are suddenly alone in deep water and you can’t swim, or when you are sitting alone in a public place with people passing by, and nobody cares. All good times for prayer.

But what is prayer? To many prayer is a direct appeal to a higher authority, like “God.” But, I didn’t know if God had read Vanity Fair or not. In any case, I didn’t think God was going to share his crib notes with me. After all, I had missed the mark and brought the problem on myself. Plus, God hadn’t really been hanging out with me or chatting.

There is nothing like that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach and a shot of adrenalin in the brain to get the mind working. I pulled myself together, blocked out all distractions, and opened myself to anything and everything that I had ever known, seen or heard about Wordsworth. (That wasn’t too hard because the only thing I had read, and memorized, was Wordsworth’s famous poem: Daffodils.) From there, I too wandered like a cloud or vales and hills, my pen danced like the daffodils beside the lake. I’ll swear my words were as continuous as the stars that shine and twinkled like the milky way! I opened my soul to the poetic force of Wordsworth… and two full exam books later, I said: “It is finished.” Here is one for Ripley’s: I passed that exam! In fact, to my own utter astonishment and to the chagrin of some of my classmates, I ended up with the highest mark in the class!

That’s what happens when you open yourself in prayer.

To pray is to get rid of the distractions and to open up, as fully as you dare, to the very force that is the ground of our being, that is the basis and driving force of evolution and all of creation. That is to open one’s heart to the power of love.

Life doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to turn out. You don’t always pass the test, heal the wound, save the day or win the lottery. Maybe that wasn’t yours to do? But, through prayer, every aspect of who you are, does come into a closer relationship with that which powers all things.

Writing from the Heart

heart

 

When we put a pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, a process takes place in our head.  Words grow into phrases and paragraphs. Thoughts or concepts grow into descriptions, statements and ideas.  Reviews and re-writes grow towards the completed project. The work may be scholarly and grammatically OK, but will it be memorable? Will it be cold, one-dimensional and bore us to death, or will it come to life?

The poet William Wordsworth  counseled writers to “fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” Writing from the heart we open ourselves to the life force that comes through the DNA that is the very ground of our being.  It is through our DNA that we connect to the past and through which we relate to all that is around us.  But what is it in the DNA? What is the essential stuff that has been there since the big bang: driven creation of the heavens, stars and planets, and evolved human life from a cellular start to self-awareness and more to come? It is the breath of life, which is more than the air we breath. It is that powerful spirit which, in human terms, comes from the heart and gives life to all evolving matter.

Could it be that our writing/blogging, anything that we do, will only truly come to life when it comes from the heart?

A Special Word for You!

Blogging 101 Task – A Blog to My Dream Reader

But who is my dream reader?                                                                                                                              I would like to think that I was writing for Generation X: people born between 1966 and 1979. Millennials can jump in on the twitter feed, …..if they want to…

Every blog that is written, every word on every page is like the sound of a tree falling in a forest devoid of life. The tree falls, did it make a sound? The blog is written, did it make a difference?

Only when the blog is read, will any feeling be conveyed, will even the minutest change take place. And he, she or other who reads the blog cannot help but grow in wisdom, feeling and understanding. If they agree with the words and sentiment, they will be thrilled with the presence of a fellow traveler on their road of life. If they disagree with the content, they will have learned that not all people have the same view as themselves.

But who is my dream reader?  Generation X

                                                               My dream reader is You!

Blogging 101 Task #1

After playing at social media, as time permitted over the past couple of years, I decided to give this basic Blogging 101 course a try. This post is my first assignment.

Who am I? I guess it requires a story?

I took a lot of time to get through university, and perhaps I never did… After three years of Chemistry I learned to read and immediately switched to Arts. The English language became my passion until I ran into Blake’s Book of Thel and, before I realized it, I was studying theology! Well what do you do with degrees in English and Theology?  You preach! The Church sent me to a lonely hilltop in rural Canada and I prepared for a lifetime of green grass and co-ops… Salvation came in the form of a military chaplain who made me an offer hard to refuse and led me into 30 years of service to Queen ( I am Canadian)  and country as a military chaplain.  Always a teller of stories, the chaplains asked me to tell their story and back I went to university to study History.  The result was a book: Peacetime Padres. You are young when you retire from the military, which led me back to my job with the United Church of Canada. Over the past 20 years, I have been part of the change that has swept the church  and now actively try to figure out where religion is headed. Along the way I learned how to make money as a writer (personal histories) and then discovered television production and social media. Throughout all, I remain a teller of stories.

So what am I doing here? Many of my peers are busy relaxing on sandy beaches and studying-up for their finals… but for me there are still roads to travel, bridges to cross and mountains to climb. This is my time to learn how to write an effective blog.