Back From A Hiatus

In August, I made the decision to take a little break from both of my blogs during the middle of September.  I’ve been writing my blogs for over seven years, first every day when I started then I slowly decreased the frequency to once a week.  I normally take my hiatus in December.  That will likely still happen as it is a holiday month for many people.

Image from:
Flickr

I may take more frequent breaks throughout the year, so I don’t burn out.  I kinda found myself in May contemplating shutting Wisdom and Life down. That quickly faded as I realized how many people have come to enjoy reading my thoughts on life and how my positive attitude and my faith has caused changes in how I live my life.  The fact that I took September off also helped me regroup.  

 

We all need time to regroup.  Otherwise, the likelihood of burning out rises.  I’m not going anywhere.  I still enjoy writing.  I just think I needed a break from the weekly responsibility of producing two columns.  My next hiatus will come  December.  In the meantime, you can expect to hear from me on a weekly basis.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

Taking a Brief Haitus

Good Morning fellow Wisdom and Lifers:

I’m taking a brief hiatus from my two blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will return in October.

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

Signs, The Divine, and Spiritual Evolution

Have you ever thought that you wanted something so badly and you looked for signs that pointed in the direction of “the rightness,” of the choice but every time you turned around there were opposite signs pointing you in a different direction?

 

Image from:
Wikipedia
Caodaist_eye

Did you see these signs or did you choose to ignore them?  What do you suppose would happen if you chose to ignore them?  On a soul level we ALL know what feels right.  We ALL know when something is NOT supposed to happen and when we ignore the RIGHTNESS of something, the Divine will continue pushing you toward the right path.

 

Maybe it is a conversation you have with someone.

Maybe you overhear someone else and ONE word or a series of words get magnified and you ONLY hear THOSE words.  These are the things we MUST pay attention to.  It is the Divine directing us but unless we are aware, unless we are awake, unless our “spiritual blinders” are off we won’t understand, we won’t see, we won’t hear where Spirit is guiding us.

 

It’s important for our spiritual evolution to move forward.  And the only way we can develop beyond our current capacity is to listen our intuition, listen to our gut.  And when a choice is to be made, follow your intuition.  Your intuition is the direct pipeline to the divine.  If you receive a message in the form of an overheard conversation and the message appears to be telling you NOT to do something, then for heaven’s sake, heed the message.  For if you don’t and you stumble forward choosing to ignore THAT message then something stronger will come down the pike and knock you on your ass.

 

The first message you receive from the Divine can sometimes be VERY subtle, which is why it take practice to hear that message.  If you are indeed awake and you understand the messages that are filtering through the first time and you STILL choose to ignore them, then the NEXT time you hear from Spirit, the next message won’t be so subtle  I SINCERELY believe we get that next communication that is more brazen to wake us up, to shake the lethargy from our inner being.

 

There is no bad.
There is no negative.

 

Everything that happens in our lives, from blessings to challenges are simply the Divine’s attempt to move us forward, to help us grow, to help us evolve.  To move forward, however we have to start paying attention to the communications we receive.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

 

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

 

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

End of Summer/Labor Day

Time slips by too quickly, We are already at the unofficial end of summer. I say this every year, that spring and summer seem to go too quickly. The biggest reason this distresses me has more to do with the fact that after the Summer Solstice, the amount of daylight decreases. It’s why as I’ve said at Wisdom and Life previously that I’d rather see January then the end of summer. I have a long build up of increasing daylight in January. I don’t have that in September.

Image from:
Pixabay

Labor Day has significance beyond the unofficial end of summer, but as with most holidays, Labor Day has been hijacked, by mostly good intentioned people into the end of summer holiday that it has become.

 

And it’s why I’ve maintained for some time that I’d rather be cold and have it be light until after 8pm then be warm and have it be dark before five. The reason for this is that I dislike driving after dark. It has little to do with Seasonal Affective Disorder on the whole, although there IS some merit to that in relation to myself.

 

Nothing makes me happier than to be able to spend time outside after I arrive home from work and once October rolls around the hours of daylight diminish and I find myself trapped inside after work.

 

Autumn in New England is gorgeous as can be seen from my photography at CJP Photos. However that is still a harbinger of the cold dark nights that are around the corner.

 

I know!
I know!

 

This doesn’t sound like the usual up and joyful Chris you are used to reading about here. Grant me this time to wallow. And I promise next week, you’ll see me return to form.

 

Having to go anywhere after work also causes me distress after October as night falls early until the middle to end of February. Two days I look forward to EVERY year the Winter Solstice and the Daylight Saving Time Day in March.

 

I understand I should be practicing what I preach here at Wisdom and Life:
Living in the moment.
Staying in the present moment.

 

It’s not always easy to do when I see the hours of daylight shrinking every day. I look so forward to spring and summer each year and each year those two seasons seem to be gone before I have the opportunity to enjoy them. At least we are not the children in Ray Bradbury’s story:
All Summer in a Day.

That would just be too much for me to endure.

 

The lack of adequate daylight disturbs me more than the lack of warm weather in the fall and winter. Am I the only one?

 

 

Be Happy! Be Well! Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris
Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying. For there truly is no end.

Worrying is Using your Imagination

Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.

 

Abraham-Hicks

Yesterday at Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society  one of the things the service touched on was how important it is to stay in the present moment.  For it is in the present moment where worry and anxiety can not enter.

Image from:
Pixabay

Why is it that when something is occurring in our lives, generally only focus on the negative:
Why haven’t your friends reached out?
Where is my life headed?  

Round and round you go until you are circling the proverbial drain.  You think the worst:
Your friends no longer want to be part of your life.
You see no way out of your life’s current challenges
You wrack your mind attempting to discover something you may have done.

When in actuality, life just caught up with your friends at the moment.
It was nothing you did.  And they do indeed want to still be in your life.

Life is all about challenges and how we all cope with them.

Sometimes all this worrying won’t create the idea from propagating but all that worrying does is create anxiety in you.  So in a way you have created something you don’t want:
Anxiety
Stress
A pit in your stomach.

 

The same concept can be stretched to any part of your life it doesn’t just have to be a personal relationship.  That worry can be used to create financial turmoil where none is present.
Are your bills paid?
Do you have money left over after?
Do you have a place to go home to?

 

Worrying about some distant future is not good for your present health either.  It’s why I do my best to stay in the present moment.  When you are in the “NOW,” so to speak, there is never any danger.  It’s only when we forecast, that events spiral out of control.  What worrying REALLY is is forecasting, looking into your crystal ball, attempting to discover what will happen in the future.  Have you noticed THAT is when you are under the MOST stress?  THAT is what causes the pit in your stomach?  There is only one who can properly forecast.

 

Leave the future to HIM.
Give HIM your worries.
Unburden the shackles of worry and walk gratefully into the present moment.
Nothing can harm you in the present moment; so do your best to stay there.

That is really the only way to live a joyful life.

 

Stop worrying and confidently move forward, placing one foot in front of the other.
You can do it!

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

Ferdinand the Bull

My newest category at Wisdom and Life:
INFP is another topic I’ve started to discuss  INFP is on the Myers Briggs testing spectrum.  If you haven’t taken the test, it will reveal your personality as long as you are honest about the responses.  You can take the test here:
16 Personalities

 

I’ve mentioned Ferdinand The Bull at Wisdom and Life previously.

I’ve always loved the book and didn’t realize it until I recently understood my personality type connects on a completely different level with Ferdinand.  Ferdinand is definitely an INFP on the Myers Briggs spectrum. I now read Ferdinand in a completely different way.  I discovered that Ferdinand is an INFP after reading the book again in the last week.  Apparently, others feel the same way as can be seen from this Google search:
Ferdinand The Bull and INFP

 

After taking the Myers Briggs test and getting my results, I clearly see that I am an INFP.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

God’s Mysterious Ways

We do not always understand the things that God is doing in our life but His way is perfect. I would rather do it His way and end right with His blessings and favor than to do it the way that seemed right in my own eyes and suffer the consequences the rest of my days. #obedience better than sacrifice!

Yvonne Wilson

 

The above quote is from my friend Yvonne Wilson who I became acquainted with during my time on Google+.  I was so happy to discover so many of my G+ friends on Facebook.  As can be seen from the quote, Yvonne and I share a belief in God.

 

Image from:
Flickr
God does indeed work in mysterious ways.  There are several examples I’ve written about here at Wisdom And Life.  Take a look at:
Life’s Questions then tell me, you don’t see God’s hands all over our lives

You Can’t Always Get What You Want is another example of God’s hands all over my life.

 

Knowing God is control has always helped my understand that I have nothing to worry about.  My faith has been strong for as long as I can recall.  We may not know why something has happened in our lives b understanding that God is pulling the strings, makes it easier for me to accept a perceived challenge.  I’m sure many of you have THOUGHT something negative happened in your life.  But then saw a gift come out of that said negative.  In other words, a door closed and a window opened.

Phone Call to the Future is a perfect example of a gift that came of a very negative time in my life as is Fairy Godmother.

 

These are just a few examples of God working in mysterious ways in my own life and also examples of not understanding why God does what he does, but as Yvonne so eloquently states:
I would rather do it His way and end right with His blessings and favor than to do it the way that seemed right in my own eyes and suffer the consequences the rest of my days.

 

In the end there is always light.  We may have to travel in darkness to get to the light.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I also wouldn’t want to change a thing in my life.  God is my light.

 

Is he yours?

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

Rob Bell

I discovered Rob Bell several years ago through reading his book:
Love Wins.  

This book spoke volumes to me as it clearly identified the challenges I’ve experienced with organized religion.  Bell ruffled many feathers in the religious field with his thoughts.  He is still unsettling some in organized religion.  I feel like he is only stating the truth as he sees it.  One of the features of Love Wins that Bell writes about is:
If God is truly love, how and why would he forsake ANYONE?

 

Image from:
Wikipedia

I couldn’t agree more.  In a July 28, 2017 CNN article written by John Blake:
Outlaw pastor Rob Bell shakes up the Bible Belt Rob Bell continues to push for radical changes in the church.  Let me just say, that I don’t find the changes, he is calling for radical at all.  In fact, I embrace them.  One of the changes, Bell calls for is accepting women as priests or pastors.  He says:
Do you belong to a church that says women cannot be priests or pastors?
Bad move, Bell said.

Any church that does so betrays the example of Jesus, who treated women as equals. Women in Jesus’ times couldn’t even testify as witnesses in court.

“Yet all the gospels have women as the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection,” he said.

Makes sense?  Doesn’t it?  This is one of the many challenges I have with religion.  And I’m well aware that I may take flak for it.  However, Rob Bell brings up an interesting perspective:
–Any church that does so betrays the example of Jesus, who treated women as equals.
–Yet all the gospels have women as the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection.

 

Rob Bell has stirred something in many people.  Controversy can be a good thing as it brings people together who want to facilitate a change.  I give Bell credit for bringing his thoughts to a conservative area of the United States.  The Bible belt as some of the Southern States are called could be a “danger zone” for Bell as he has antagonized some in that area.  He didn’t let that stop him however.  I like that.  That he stands up doesn’t let controversy scare him away.  I have a lot of respect for Rob Bell.  I like that we are on the same page when it comes to our worldviews.  If you haven’t yet been introduced his books, I highly recommend starting with:
Love Wins

 

Bell certainly still has a following even after his ouster from his own megachurch.  You can see that following in the crowds he still amasses when he speaks.  It was with Rob Bell, that I realized my belief system had changed.  Bell voiced in Love Wins, what I always knew about myself but hadn’t been able to see in myself that as I stated in My Spirituality:
I believe God LOVES EVERYONE.

I believe God created us and he won’t forsake ANY of us.

I recently discovered Rob Bell’s Book Love Wins and after reading it I realized Mr Bell and I believe the same things.

Why is it so difficult to embrace this worldview?
Isn’t religion supposed to be inclusive?  I understand these are rhetorical questions.  They shouldn’t be, however.

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

There but for the Grace of God

John Bradford is attributed with the phrase:
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

 

Image from:
Pixabay

I’m reminded of this phrase this past week because I read in our local paper about a young man who recently passed from a drug overdose.  I know people hide behind drugs and alcohol to mask their emotional pain.  

 

We all have emotional pain.
We all go through turmoil.
We all think we have it worse than anyone else.

 

The fact is we don’t have it worse.  There is always someone worse off.  You only have to look around the next corner.  How do we cope with that adversity?  What happens when we slip into the pattern of masking our pain with drugs and alcohol?  That can lead us into further challenges; addiction being one of the many issues that stem from drug and alcohol use.

 

Can we recover from addiction?
Can we not even fall into that hole?

 

That’s where faith comes in and it is why twelve step programs all have a faith contingent to them.  Grace and faith are intermingled in all aspects of life.  Unless you can turn to faith when you are in turmoil, the likelihood of sinking further is greater.  Masking pain is just that.  You’re only hiding the turmoil.  Not resolving it.  You need to look into why you are having the swirling stress in your life.  It’s only then that you can move forward.  It’s only when you can admit you have a problem that you can move forward. Faith alone will not help you move forward.  I understand that.  It can however be an important aspect to getting better.  

 

You can’t deny the fact that people see faith as an important part of their lives.
You can’t deny there are mysterious actions that appear around the world:
Weeping angels are one example of this mysterious spiritual action.  There are so many more I can discuss.  I’m simply pointing out that some see faith as a real aspect of their lives and we cannot deny that these things happen.

 

We can’t intellectualize this away as some in science do To do so, delegitimizes those who have seen the mysterious.  Those who have seen things that cannot be explained need to be validated.  Emotional distress is a real issue people deal with and discounting someone’s belief surely doesn’t help. Using meds, whether it be alcohol or other drugs doesn’t help in the long term either.

 

In the short term it is one way of dealing with those said issues.  In the end masking your pain with meds never ends well or as an ad for CNN’s comedy series says:
In the end drugs and alcohol beat art.  

 

Whenever I read about someone struggling with emotional challenges and acting out, regardless of how I always think:
God, that could very well have been me.

 

Which is one reason why I believe I have such empathy for people who have no other support system.  I could very well have traveled the “poor me” path.  I chose another way.  I chose faith to help me overcome my own adversity.  I still choose faith.  So much has happened in my life, yet I didn’t fall down.  Not that choosing to mask your pain is falling down.  Sometimes it’s a gradual slide and you don’t know you’re in trouble until it’s too late.

 

That’s where turning your life over to a higher power comes in. For without that spiritual strength, without that guidance it is that much harder to come through the other side.

 

Faith has helped me overcome so much adversity that I simply cannot believe there isn’t some benevolent being, be it God, be it the Universe, be it a higher power whatever you choose to call it guiding us through the challenges that arise in each of our lives. I’ve seen it help me. I’ve experienced this very thing at moments in my own life. I’ve written about one such example at Wisdom and Life with the column called:
Been there and done that

 

We cannot dismiss someone’s belief in the supernatural simply because we don’t share the same conviction. Some in the scientific field have done just that attempting to intellectualize that faith away. This is something that cannot be intellectualized.  Faith is, well a matter of trust.  I like that there are scientists who are bucking the system.  I’ve written about Carl Sagan at Wisdom and Life previously and especially in the column Carl Sagan’s Contact.  If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, I highly recommend seeing the movie.  Mr Sagan is the first scientist I came across that melded science and spirituality.

 

Seeing the word:
Grace reminds me of the song:
Amazing Grace

 

I began today’s column discussing the word grace. I’d like to end the column on the same topic. For me, grace is another important word in my lexicon.  Grace is as important as faith. As I said above, these two words co-mingle.

 

Grace means being blessed. Knowing that we all have the opportunity to find peace and understanding that no one is beyond redemption. You only have to be willing to admit your challenges and seek forgiveness.

 

Grace is available to everyone. Are you willing to find it within yourself?

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.

 

Jonathan Carroll

I’ve been writing reviews a bit more recently at Wisdom and Life.  I do my best however to ensure those reviews are compatible with Wisdom and Life’s guidelines.  Today, I’m featuring my favorite author:
Jonathan Carroll.  Hiis themes touch on many of Wisdom and LIfe’s themes as well:
Death and Dying
Love and many more.


Image from:
Wikimedia

When you read Today’s column you will see how much Carroll has impresesed me.  A new Jonathan Carroll book always warms my literary heart.  Mr Carroll is one of the few authors whose books I will buy sight unseen.  A few weeks ago, on October 21st when I returned from dinner I received an email from Jonathan Carroll’s website telling me his new book  Bathing the Lion was out in stores.  On my way back to work at the Scranton Library in Madison I made a detour across the street to RJ Julia Booksellers so I could hope beyond hope that a copy of the book was in.  There were two.  I grabbed one and was so happy I floated out of the store.

 

Jonathan Carroll has a plethora of books to choose from and I’ve read many of them.  With his latest book, Bathing the Lion Chaos returns a pseudo character that first graced the pages of his books with  White Apples and its sequel Glass Soup.

 

I started with White Apples when I worked at RJ Julia Booksellers.  I was given an advanced reader copy of White Apples and I read the book in a week.  As with all of Mr Carroll’s books by 45 pages in I understood that I was in the hands of a master storyteller and I wanted to keep reading the book but I became afraid that I was reading too fast.  In other words I didn’t want the book to end.  And when I FINALLY did finish.  I wanted to read it again for the first time.  As it has been with all of his books.

 

Someone recently asked me what is style was like.  The ONLY way I could think to describe him is he is:
Alice Hoffman on LSD.

 

White Apples and Glass Soup tells the story of Vincent Ettrich and his significant other Isabelle.  Vincent has died, but Isabelle brings him back from death because he needs to teach their unborn child what he’s learned in death because it will help their child defeat Chaos.

 

There are so many amazing passages in White Apples and Glass Soup.  One in particular in Glass Soup is discussed at one of my other blogs here:
Life is Controlled Chaos  Start reading from:
“This is how it began.

 

I think another reason I connect so well with Mr Carroll is that he seems to be on the same page with me when it comes to our worldview.  In his latest, Bathing the Lion he writes:

Burnt sienna:
The colors of the greatest love humans can feel for each other. It comes only when all others have burned off or faded away and what remains is a hundred percent pure. Like the color of the earth in direct sun  on a late fall afternoon. It’s the color of the truest human passion.

Bathing the Lion
Page 217

And again:

Dogs know what comes after death. It was not bad. THIS is the primary reason why most dogs are so merry and resilient:

Death is no more frightening than traveling to a distant land where the landscape is lushly tropical or glacially polar or simply unlike anyplace you’ve ever been.  Just the smells alone…

Bathing the Lion
Page
222

 

Death and Dying is a topic I feel strongly about and the above passage is my entire belief.  There’s more. The Burnt Sienna passage above is also another strong belief.  As is the column Life is Controlled Chaos.

 

Carroll has written other books as well and each one holds something special.  You simply MUST read him to see what type of writer he is.  Don’t miss this guy.  Don’t let him pass you by because you’re afraid to try something new.  I implore you to pick up one of his books.  I’m guessing some of you will come back to me and say the same thing I say:I want to read him so badly but I don’t want the book to end and when I’ve finally reached the last page I wish I could read his books again for the first time.

The Ghost in Love, Carroll’s previous book turned out better than Glass Soup as Glass Soup turned out better than White Apples.  The Ghost in Love, about a man who goes out in the middle of winter to walk his dog, he falls and cracks his head.  The man was scheduled to die with that fall but doesn’t.  Why?  You’ll have to read the book to discover the answer.

 

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Once you realize that life is eternal,
That our souls our eternal,
That we return to light and physical over and over;

We then lose all our distress
We then lose all our fear of dying.  For there truly is no end.