Friday, December 31, 2010

A Christian Journey: Part 6

I wanted to share with all of you a new and exciting spiritual development in my life--I have found a church where I can finally "belong". I thought I'd share it with you over Christmas in several short posts instead of one big long one. I can't wait to hear what you think. I'm hoping you'll be excited for me, and perhaps encouraged about finding spiritual community for yourself, if you've not found somewhere yet. 

Part 6 of 6:

(...continued from Part 5)

One belief in particular will cause many (mostly my family members, but that's okay) concern, but I love this belief: 

Invitation to Intimate Commitment: The experiences and insights of laypersons are nowhere more needed than in the area of intimate human relationships. We believe that the gift of sexual union is a source and celebration of love for couples, which allows for the special and safe sharing of intimacy. We consider it a danger to marriage and other intimate relationships to be denied sexual sharing. This has significant implications for Catholic practice, particularly as it applies to divorce and remarriage.

I am not sure of all of the implications of this, but I know that one thing it implies is that sexual unions between people are holy, and are to be respected. Another type of holy sexual union (and more) is marriage. These are two different things, both to be honored, both very holy. I have acted upon this belief, which I have held for others and even for myself at times, while “officially” believing something else. But deep down in my heart, I believe this. 

I know that there is something very, very holy about sex. It is the act itself that is so holy, and so abused in our culture. But not by all--some people do honor and respect their union--and oftentimes before marriage have sexual intercourse or even live together and share their lives in a way that eventually leads to marriage. I believe that this is much more sincere than serial marriage. Or the game that many Christian couples play of engaging in sex while purporting not to, feeling guilty, thinking that no one knows, and doing it all over again. Everyone knows and we all pretend not to. At least in the Christian cultures I’ve been in, this is what we do. 

So I've been going to this little church for the last few weeks. There is a male priest and a female priest and a very small congregation. It was intimate and lovely and very welcoming. I got to receive communion. I participated in the service. I felt good about being a Christian for the first time in a long time.

I feel like I've found a spiritual home, at last.  

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Christian Journey: Part 5

I wanted to share with all of you a new and exciting spiritual development in my life--I have found a church where I can finally "belong". I thought I'd share it with you over Christmas in several short posts instead of one big long one. I can't wait to hear what you think. I'm hoping you'll be excited for me, and perhaps encouraged about finding spiritual community for yourself, if you've not found somewhere yet. 

Part 5 of 6:

(...continued from Part 4)

So that means that I also believe in an open communion table. This means that I believe that all Christians should be able to come and receive communion, whether or not they belong to the particular church. This is quite controversial in some faiths. 
I don’t belief in original sin. I believe that people are just born. Not born good or bad, just born. I learned this from my wise nephew. So that means all kind of unorthodox spiritual things to some people. It leads many to call me “not a Christian”, which is okay, I suppose. There is nothing much I can do about that. I know that many people don’t believe in original sin and don’t let it bother them if their church believes in it and derives its theology from it. This is too hard for me to do, and it leads to many other beliefs I cannot accept. 
I have a love for liturgy and for mystery, and I love communion especially. I sound like a Roman Catholic; however, I object strongly to aspects of the Catholic Church, like papal infallability, strong demarcations between religious orders and laity, and annulments. I also object to women not being allowed to be priests, to the taboo on most methods of contraception, and many other things. So I wouldn’t make a very good conventional Roman Catholic. 

However, recently I came across some information about a "renegade" Catholic denomination called the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC), which they say is  “an alternate way to celebrate your Catholic faith”. I know that the term "renegade" is pejorative, but to me in this case, being renegade is delightful. The ECC is gay-welcoming. It does not accept the authority of the pope, but of a local bishop. It allows congregations to choose priests, not be assigned them, and the priests work with the people together in the congregation.  And the priest can be a woman, too, married or single, gay or lesbian. It does not require annulments for divorce and remarriage, although it grieves the breakup of any marriage. It allows contraception to be decided privately by the couple involved. It is concerned with justice issues. It has an open table for communion.
It accepts the orthodox Catholic creeds, and the orthodox Catholic faith, even if not the ways the faith is lived out today. 

I'm guessing you can tell how much I like this church :)

(To be continued...)

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Christian Journey: Part 4

I wanted to share with all of you a new and exciting spiritual development in my life--I have found a church where I can finally "belong". I thought I'd share it with you over Christmas in several short posts instead of one big long one. I can't wait to hear what you think. I'm hoping you'll be excited for me, and perhaps encouraged about finding spiritual community for yourself, if you've not found somewhere yet. 

Part 4 of 6:

(...continued from Part 3)

LoveHubbie and I have always tried to attend church together, no matter how hard it was for one of us to compromise with the other. But recently, events have changed so that I’ve decided to venture out on my own. My first criterion in a church, the most important one, other than that it is Christian, is that it is gay-welcoming. Not gay-accepting, but gay-welcoming. I want a church that is really excited about having gay people there. And having other people there who are also marginalized in our culture. A church where all are welcome. But especially gays. Because when a group welcomes gay people, they tend to have a lot of other values that are the same as mine. 
Jesus welcomed everyone. He wanted everybody there. He did criticize the Pharisees--the righteously religious people of his time, and didn’t seem to like them too much. But I’ll bet if they had dropped their self-righteous stance he would have liked them too. He was attacked up one side and down the other for hanging out with tax collectors, prostitutes, Samaritans, women, the poor, the downtrodden, and others...and he himself was homeless. 

I have many, many reasons for believing this, but overall, I figure that it’s good to be like Jesus and just accept everybody. It’s what feels right to me. Some faiths are exclusive but Christianity wasn’t one of them. 

(To be continued...)

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christian Journey: Part 3

I wanted to share with all of you a new and exciting spiritual development in my life--I have found a church where I can finally "belong". I thought I'd share it with you over Christmas in several short posts instead of one big long one. I can't wait to hear what you think. I'm hoping you'll be excited for me, and perhaps encouraged about finding spiritual community for yourself, if you've not found somewhere yet. 

Part 3 of 6:

(...continued from Part 2)

Now that I have thought about this for a few months, I realize why. I’d have to change myself too much to be accepted and approved of, and I just can’t do that anymore. I am who I am and I believe what I believe. And I just don't enjoy being around people who don’t think I’m a good or decent person or who don't think that my opinions or beliefs are valid. I don’t want to waste my time or theirs. 

It has taken me a long time to give myself permission to accept what I truly believed deep in my heart. The Bible can be interpreted in so many ways. For me it's important to take the Bible as a whole, then select the interpretation that seems to us to resonates most with who Jesus was and who God and the Holy Spirit are. It is always a gamble as to which interpretation is correct, but we gamble with our lives then, don’t we--all of us--and with our eternal salvation too. I know I’m gambling, but so is each and every person, when they choose what they believe. So this year I allowed myself to figure out and then accept  what I really believed in--first--and then tried to find a church that was enough like that set of beliefs that I might find some community there. 

(To be continued...)

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

I wish each and every one of you a lovely holiday and a wonderful New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christian Journey: Part 2

I wanted to share with all of you a new and exciting spiritual development in my life--I have found a church where I can finally "belong". I thought I'd share it with you over Christmas in several short posts instead of one big long one. I'll be traveling unplugged (as in without my computer--yippee!) for part of the holidays, so I'll be auto-posting and responding to your comments later when I return. I can't wait to hear what you think. I'm hoping you'll be excited for me, and perhaps encouraged about finding spiritual community for yourself, if you've not found somewhere yet. 

Part 2 of 6:

(...continued from Part 1)

Then I went to Maui in March. I heard a sermon on the beach. I remembered something...I knew deep down inside that I did want Christ, even if I didn’t want to belong to the group called “Christians”. So I rededicated my life to Jesus and enjoyed the very loving church in Lahaina. That was great. But then I had to leave Lahaina eventually, since my vacation ended. I found a nice church here at home, had a hard time adjusting to it, and joined a Life Group (a subset of the main church--small group of up to 15 people in which everyone can get to be more like community to each other than in a huge church). I kept trying to fit in. 
Eventually I had that extreme withdrawal reaction I get in many different social situations. I just could not force myself to go to Life Group, and eventually, to church. I didn’t want to go at all, even though I longed for spiritual community. I really wanted to fit in, but I could not. I wanted to belong. To me, “fitting in” is when you twist and contort yourself to meld with a group. Belonging is when you discover a tribe that thinks like you and values what you value. I couldn’t "belong" to this Life Group, as nice as they are, and as much as a part of me wanted to. 

(To be continued...)

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christian Journey: Part 1

I wanted to share with all of you a new and exciting spiritual development in my life--I have found a church where I can finally "belong". I thought I'd share it with you over Christmas in several short posts instead of one big long one. I'll be traveling unplugged (as in without my computer--yippee!) for part of the holidays, so I'll be auto-posting and responding to your comments later when I return. I can't wait to hear what you think. I'm hoping you'll be excited for me, and perhaps encouraged about finding spiritual community for yourself, if you've not found somewhere yet. 

Part 1 of 6:

For a long time, I’d wanted to return to Christianity, but the attitude of many Christians stopped me. I knew that I had done a lot of personal work since I’d been away from any formal Christian group (about five years), including discovering a peaceful lifestyle and beliefs, and coming to cherish the values of kindness, tolerance, and love. I had no desire to affiliate with anyone who promoted hatred in any way. 
Most people I’m related to one way or another are Christians of various types. There are nominal Catholics, Pentecostals, mainline Christians, non-denominational Christians, etc. Not all of them, but to be honest, quite a few of them, are some of the most backward-thinking, emotionally repressed, uneducated (no matter how many years of formal education they have), bigoted, and just plain nasty people I know. I would never want to be lumped in with them. I would never want someone I cared about to assume things about me that were inaccurate, and especially things that were hateful, simply because they discovered I was a Christian. 
I don’t think that these family-type folks are accurate representations of Christ or of Christianity in it’s normal form. I think that our American culture distorts many things, plus lots of hurting people find Jesus (yay!) but never grow up (boo!), and in addition my family is also unusually dysfunctional. I think these people are caricatures of Christianity that have been twisted and tweaked and I’m not quite sure who or what they are. But you know that you have met people like this, right? Haters. And then they say they are Christians and you just know you never want to be that. 

I definitely never wanted to be that. 

(To be continued...)

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark

Saturday, December 18, 2010

To Companies That Trust, To Companies That Care--Scottevest!

I rarely if ever return anything, thinking that I can either find some use for it or donate it. I also rarely buy anything that doesn't work or that has anything wrong with it. This year I bought two nice things ($65-$100) that were defective. The way the companies each handled it were so different.

The first thing that I bought was from Scottevest. It was two of their travel vests for $200 total. We took these to Brazil with us to carry our valuables on our person because of the high crime in Brazil. They were great! Mine was fine, but LoveHubbie's ripped out the ID pocket on the first day. I "knew" that everything would be okay because I trusted Scottevest, a company I found out about from word of mouth (from Patti Digh). I follow the founder of Scottevest's--Scott Jordan--YouTube videos and know that he cares about his company. No worries.

As soon as I arrived home from Brazil, I called Scottevest. I got a cheerful customer service person immediately who told me she'd send a new one out right away, along with an envelope for the defective vest so that I could send it back. No worries. Easy-peasy. A couple of days later, the new vest was here, the old dirty one went out (so that they could see how it failed). They trusted me, and now they have a customer for life. For life.

I will gladly pay for a product that is backed up and handled this way.

I never told Scottevest how happy I was with them. So this is to remedy my oversight. I am thrilled with you, Scottevest, and with how you stand behind your excellent products. I will buy from you for the rest of my life, and recommend you to everyone I know!

Then I had a customer service nightmare. I bought a hyped-up product from a company that is US-owned, higher priced, and touted in professional videos and with claims of artisan-level workmanship. The owner is a young entrepreneur who uses social media to distribute their products. His company is very successful--like Scottevest. Trendy. Very well-respected. It is a very, very cool product also endorsed by celebrities, but intellectual, socially-aware celebrities. I ordered their product for $65 to go with a Christmas present I was taking on an upcoming trip. The product was defective, grossly so. It was like something made overseas, of inferior workmanship right out of the box. No worries, I thought.

First bad sign: no phone number to call. This is a bad sign, people. Email only. I looked everywhere. Searched the web. Nothing. So I emailed them. A really long email describing the problem in great detail. After a bit they responded, writing me that I needed to send pictures to back up what I had written. They didn't seem to have read the email, or else were ignoring key parts of it. It seemed to be a template response. They needed pictures, although the problem didn't lend itself well to that.

I didn't have a camera available at the time, so I made a video. After a while, when there was no response, I made the YouTube video public. After several days I emailed them again, since it was getting closer to the trip. They said that they would refer the whole issue to what sounded like a committee who would evaluate it to decide if I should get a replacement, and if so, what I should pay. I send back an angry (but nice) email telling them that I was tired of jumping through hoops and that they should stand behind their product; they had my money and I had no usable product.

This email was not answered. I tried again. And again. Eventually the customer service person emailed me and said that a replacement was being sent out. But she ignored the other emails I'd sent. At least I'm getting a replacement, I thought. I waited for ten days. I emailed again. No response.

I then became more aggressive and tweeted about my "customer service nightmare". I was fortunate in that the company owner is also their main twitterer. In our correspondence,  he first blamed UPS. I asked him to read the ticket trail of many, many interactions so that he could see what had transpired. He told me he wanted to call me.

We talked, and he was concerned that I was a "disgruntled customer", but he was also full of excuses as to why I still didn't have a working product. He blamed the holiday season, my high expectations in ordering the first such product they'd made in "pink", communication problems, their company growth, etc. He ended up sending me a working product overnight in the pink color I'd ordered. I was satisfied, but the problem was that I'd worked way, way harder than he did in earning my product satisfaction.

I will never buy from this company again, and I will encourage everyone I know not to.

I wanted to encourage everyone to value those companies who are truly outstanding and who make a difference in our lives. Not every company is like that. Today, thank a company that delivers what they say they will...we all need to appreciate those companies who work hard to be excellent...and to care about their customers.

Is there a company that has made a difference in your life?

Divine Mercy

"There is probably no other way to understand God's nature except to daily stand under the waterfall of divine mercy and then become conduits of the same flow." ~Richard Rohr

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark taken in Kauai

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How I Really Lost the Weight

Based on the comments on my post from yesterday, I wanted to clarify a few things about my weight loss.

I do highly recommend Marianne Williamson's new book--A Course in Weight Loss--if you are metaphysically oriented. Otherwise you will not enjoy the book. I was talking to LoveHubbie about it and he thought things like "being in your body" were "mumbo jumbo..." "Where else would I be?", he wondered, and could not understand it no matter how I tried to explain it. It is a very metaphysical book from the perspective of the "A Course in Miracles" (ACIM) study path and is excellent. If you like ACIM, you'll like the book. For me, though, the book alone would have not been sufficient. I own most of the best weight loss books that exist--I'm convinced of that.

My very favorite book is "Transformational Weight Loss" by Charles Eisenstein.  See some of my TWL posts from two years ago here. Here is another book by Charles Eisenstein called "The Yoga of Eating". These are great. I had lots of insights and changed for a short time. But the net result of a "bibliotherapy alone" approach for me was no substantial change.

For me, it took more than just books.

I knew I needed support as well. I had a diet buddy--Kat--and four people who followed me and offered support on my private diet blog. I had to be accountable to post my weight every day. And blog about my progress or lack of progress. And some of my feelings, too, which was as important. Was I dealing with my feelings by eating? I knew I couldn't cheat and not have to discuss it the next day. Which I did--cheat and then discuss it. But there were people coming along with me.

In addition, the people at the chiropractor's office, including my chiropractor and his receptionist were doing the diet along with me, so I would phone my weight into them weekly as well. This was support for me.

Plus I did the new form of tapping that I am studying intensively called "faster EFT". At first I did it very little and had enormous resistance to using it. Now it is a spiritual practice for me. This has been a great side effect of the diet. It is a life skill and spiritual practice that I want to be permanent as it is a great emotional management tool and spiritual centering tool.

Using fasterEFT, I would tap for cravings. And tap late at night when I usually eat. And tap for troubling emotions during the day. So I was dealing with my feelings instead of avoiding them.

Lastly, the homeopathic drops. I needed physiological help. Most of you who are readers of my blog know that I am ardently anti-diet. At the same time, my metabolism was messed up. Plus I was hypoglycemic and couldn't eat any less than I was already eating. I was hungry most of the time anyway, and would often get hypoglycemic and sick when I would try to wait to eat. I was eating very cleanly, low glycemic, sugar-free and as little as I could anyway---that was my eating style. Still, I felt tired and starving and was filled with cravings at 220 pounds! So I needed some type of "metabolic reset", and for me, for some unknown reason, the homeopathic hcg drops worked. At least today, on the second day of maintenance, my metabolism feels healthy, I don't feel tormented by cravings, I am not obsessed by trying to hold myself back from food, and I feel good. I have felt good for weeks.

People say, "It's easy to lose weight; it's keeping it off that's hard." Well, for me, losing weight has been hard my whole life.

I have tried many other diets over the years out of desperation and couldn't lose weight on them even when I was much younger and thinner. When Nutri-System first came out I was in college and tried them for a month. They ended up refunding my money because I didn't lose weight! At that time, I was playing women's ice hockey and only eating their food at a price I couldn't afford. And they had a nurse who monitored you to make sure you stayed in ketosis. I still couldn't lose weight. So this has been a lifelong problem.

I cannot imagine being successful without this multi-pronged approach. Each part was essential. All of them worked together and any one alone would have been very nice and interesting and helpful but not sufficient. 

Some more helpful components:

  • The strict protocol on the hcg diet, and my following it for the most part, even on Thanksgiving.
  • The example of LoveHubbie who is diabetic and my friend Akoni who is dying of diabetes--I saw my future, since I am pre-diabetic.
  • Getting caught in the bus turnstile in Brazil. And barely fitting in the plane seats. Knowing I was almost "too fat to fly". 
  • Not fitting into my 2X (size 20W-22W) clothes...not being willing to special order 3X clothes. 

For me (since I have so much more weight to lose--I weigh 193 but I fit into blue jeans!) this is just the start of a journey. I am doing what feels like "repatterning" (a Marianne Williamson word)--changing how I do many of the things in my life one step at a time. The challenge before me is maintaining my new weight or pretty close to it at a much higher calorie level, through the holidays and a vacation--and then later in the spring tackling the next round of the homeopathic hcg diet.

~Photo by Roderick Lee Dail 30 years ago

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wellness Wednesday: I Lost Some Weight

Well, I'm very happy to report that I have finished the diet I've been on since November 1st--the homeopathic hcg diet--which is actually more of a semi-fast and a detox than a diet. I lost 27.4 pounds in 44 days, so I'm very happy with my results. I also felt terrific once I got used to it. I've gone down several sizes and feel energetic and happy.

I used the semi-fasting and the detox as a time to work really hard on various emotional issues that have affected my being overweight. I did this by journaling, reading (including Marianne Williamson's "A Course in Weight Loss"), and especially by "tapping" using fasterEFT, a type of emotional acupressure that is a combination of regular EFT, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnosis.

If anyone is interested in finding out more, I do have a private blog that you are welcome to read if I know you, i.e., if you are one of my regular blog readers. There's not much about the diet itself on there as far as instructions and such, just extreme detail about me and my daily eating and feelings, following the diet, and various personal issues. I blogged every day I was on the diet and will continue to blog about maintenance, just not daily. Email me or comment if you're interested.

I'll now be on a maintenance plan that I've customized to fit my needs (basically a whole foods healthy lower glycemic diet) for several months. Then in the spring (probably March) I'll go on it for a second round. I won't lose as much, but since I'm still quite overweight it will make a difference. I'm hoping to be able to maintain the weight loss until then; it will be a learning process, I'm sure.

Now that I'm not blogging on my diet blog as often I hope to be more available to blog here, so you'll be seeing me around a bit more!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Delving into "The Space Below"

This is a YouTube video that I made in response to a creative challenge from Kate's ning community called  "The Queen of Creativity Castle". It is a response to this poem:

the space below

 there was a whole world inside of her filled with stars and caves and  demons and gold. she tinkered and played in that world - but it was
in the space below - in the depths of deep - that the real stuff was.
and it was there she needed to go. 

~terri st. cloud

The video is 9 minutes long.  It was somewhat challenging to make, and from now on I plan to break it up into shorter portions. I also plan to stop saying "umm!", sorry for the annoyance. I had to redo it 3X because YouTube has increased their video quality so much since the last time I did a video that you could read every word I wrote in my journal. Thus huge portions were cut out, and the editing is a bit crude. Still, I wanted to share this with everyone, and I hope you like it anyway!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

For Book Lovers

Does this blow your circuits like it does mine? Almost hard to believe. I looked around the room at all of my books and wondered what life would be like in a bookless house. Or alternatively, with just a little bookshelf. It was hard to envision. Life is changing.

I have a Kindle (I got a new Kindle 3 for Christmas and LoveHubbie got my old Kindle 1) and I really enjoy digital books. I still enjoy hardcopy books too though; I just read more. Yet this is a step beyond.

What do you think?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Life is Short, Let Go of Striving

I wanted to share with my happyluau readers something from my private homeopathic hcg diet blog, edited and enhanced here, because it relates to life in general, and some of you may find something to encourage or inspire you in it.

I mean this in a good way, that I'm not going to be trying to figure out what my body is doing with respect to weight loss, but just doing the very best I can, letting my body do its thing and not worrying.
I wrote about something in a comment about self-beatings. I grew up being beaten up physically (and verbally) almost daily by my mother. I got used to this. As part of my personal growth journey, I've tied the way I've used food to these beatings. I would overeat and feel badly and then punish myself with my thoughts. This deeply held pattern was carrying on my mother's horrible legacy in a particularly mean way. I don't want to do this to myself! So my goal now is to either: Choose to eat, to enjoy it, and not beat myself up about it; or choose to tap*, or not eat, and not feel deprived either. Just choose. And be gentle. And enjoy.
Overeating, though, is not really enjoying. Eating what my body wants is.
At 53, I probably will only live (at most) 17-40 more years. That's not many to me! And that's if I don't get hit by a bus or have an aneurysm or something like that. I continually remember what happened to Chani--my very intimate friend who died unexpectedly at 58. I don't want to carry on my mother's legacy or do anything more to myself or to anyone else that isn't kind, gentle, and loving. I don't want to abuse myself anymore by overeating, but instead use food for what it was intended--health, delight, celebration, joy, fuel--in quantities easily handled by my body. Sometimes I won't get it right, but that's okay. I want to be a good healthy weight. So that I can move around and not hurt so much in my remaining years. 
No one will be looking at me in my coffin knowing or caring if I was 176 or 183 or 192.8 pounds. (Actually I'm going to be cremated so no one will be looking at me period.) And no one will care what I did on the hcg diet--if it was 24 pounds I lost or 28 or 34 or 40. I don't even care too much now, although I do want the hard work and missed good meals to pay off. 
I just want to be GOOD to myself. As good as I am to everyone else, better even. Gentle, kind, sweet. That's all, now.
PS. I am tapping a lot lately. Really getting into it as an almost meditation practice.
PPS. I was highly, highly inspired by Patti Digh's post yesterday on "Letting Go of Striving". What wisdom! I think/hope I am doing this with respect to my weight. Years ago...I was 24 years old...a prophet "had a word for me" (this was someone who didn't know me at all, and the only time this ever happened), and it was "Stop striving!" So it has taken me almost thirty years, but I think I am finally learning how to do this.
*"tapping" refers to "fasterEFT" the protocol and philosophy of EFT (a type of energy work combining a sort of acupressure with neurolinguistic programming and hypnosis)  I am now learning.

This "letting go of striving" that Patti writes about is probably the biggest lesson I wish I'd learned when I was younger. Knowing what really matters.

Today, let go of striving. Be gentle with yourself and with others. Accept yourself and enjoy your days. Remember Chani, who thought she had forever--she didn't and neither do you. You have today, so celebrate and be good to yourself, my dear sweet friends. Enjoy this day, which is filled with blessings.

~Photo is old photo of Chani of when she was much younger, one that she especially liked, edited by me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sacred Life Sunday: Surrender

"Surrender" was my "word" from Lori-Lyn's card pulling--she did one on Facebook on Thursday and it was so right on. Then I read this on "The Mercy Blog: Pax et bonum":

Jesus does not demand 
great actions from us 
but simply surrender 
and gratitude.

(St. Therese of Lisieux)

Words to live by.
Perfect words for this Sacred Life Sunday.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lessons From Brazil: Lesson #5: People Are the Same Everywhere

As many of you know, I got back recently from a whirlwind trip to Salvador, Brazil for the wedding of my beloved nephew and his wonderful wife. I was only there for a short time but it was life-changing. So I decided to start a short blog series called "Lessons from Brazil" to share about this trip, to help me to process it, and to inspire you.

This may be obvious to you, but it was refreshing to me to discover that I had so much in common with the Brazilian people. There were some differences, of course (like the Brazilians being far less likely to be obese people, being darker skinned, and more family oriented), but other than that, I was surprised to find that despite the language differences, communication was easier than I'd thought possible (despite my knowing no Portuguese). The Brazilians very warm and interested in us as visitors to their country. They were very proud of their country as well.

It felt as though despite the dramatic differences of distance and locale and culture, the people were exactly the same. Different bodies, different everything, yet so much the same--in a good way.

I feel that often when I travel--so much is different and so much is the same. People are kind and warm and loving and have many of the same values everywhere. It was a delightful re-discovery, and a reminder of how we are all connected.

Love is the same in every culture!