Category Archives: Life

Day Forty

It begins (Genesis 2:8) and ends (John 19:41) in a garden.

Today I had a chat with my mother Sally in the Memorial Garden.  I told her how much I missed her and how much I still need her.

In the gentle breeze blowing the nascent blooming jasmine framing the bench on which I sat, in the burgeoning pedestrian pink pansy, in the swaying of the palm fronds, she whispered, “I am here.”

A little girl ran through the covered walkway surrounding the garden singing,  “BEST DAY EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”

YES.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Life, Religion

Sozo

Today, I am returning to the subject of tattoos.    Like Moses’ bronze snake on a pole, tattoos frequently serve as reminders:   memorials to loved ones, odes to heartbreak, words to live by.   I live in a museum of souvenirs, wear Catholic charms around my neck, and wear inspirational clothing.  Thus, no need for permanent ink.  I have a (mostly) excellent memory.

However, I recently met a woman who had the word SOZO tattooed on her left wrist.  I was interviewing her to sell my house in Arkansas.*  After trying to figure out what the word said, I finally asked her.  She confessed to being a little embarrassed I’d noticed but  told me the following story:

As a young woman she traveled to the leper colony Kalaupapa on Molokai as part of a Christian mission group which worked on clearing the trails.  The colony, in 1984ish, was still operational.  Indeed, as of 2015, six patients still inhabited the colony.    When she asked the priest if she could hug the residents, the priest was surprised.  No one ever asked to hug the “lepers” when they visited.  But he told her adelante.  (By then, drugs had been developed to cure what is now called Hansen’s disease so the “patients” were not in any way contagious.)  So this woman went ahead and hugged the affected people.

Later in life, she heard a sermon based on Luke 17:11-17.

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Curious, this woman wanted to know the Greek word for “well” – obviously it was different than just healed or cured.    That word is “sozo”.  It means saved, delivered, protected.  For this woman, as she approached fifty years of age, she wanted to be reminded to live a sozo life, not a so-so life.  It is notable that the man who was made well was a foreigner  who came back to find Jesus and thank him.  Gratitude, it turns out,  is the greatest component of the wholistic, holistic healing journey.

This is the kind of word I would have tattooed on my wrist.  Sozo is just another name for the truth, as long as you are willing to believe it.

*Still on the market, sadly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*still on the market

1 Comment

Filed under Life

The Blue Light & Mrs. Holier Than Thou

I do not know where I am going with this post.  There are a lot of things swimming in my murky brain.

One, my face is on fire after being Blue Lighted by Dr. Skin’s medical cohort. This, in theory, is to bring all of my pre-cancers to the surface in one fell swoop.  Sadly, champagne is not served while one’s face is cooking in the equivalent of a facial MRI machine while wearing too small swim goggles.  Get on that, Dr. Skin.  She had her face done yesterday so she should know!  While in her office, I wondered if she was aware that the abstract artwork on the wall was that of a female nude? With a pair of too small swim goggles dangling daintly off the woman’s left hand?  Now I’ve probably ruined/improved the experience for everyone.

Secondly, I am solidly in the desert with Jesus right now.  It’s arid.

Thirdly, when thinking of the blue light, I also absurdly think of Adam Curlykale (not his real name).  Adam is a young man who, after surviving cancer, decided to tattoo his entire body.  According to this article, he only has two spots left to ink in.

I have written several times about tattoos on this blog, mostly pertaining to my friend Viking Queen.  I have lost touch with Viking Queen but think of her often.  She was my entree into the world of tats.

Thing 1 also pointed out some interesting facts about tats when she briefly worked for an organ donor NGO.  In that organization (but not all) donors with tats are excluded from donating organs.  So, for that matter, are most people over the age of 50.  At that NGO, the only viable parts would be corneas and unblemished (aged) skin.  Not worth checking the box on my driver’s license for me!

Also, the Red Cross limits blood donations for those who have been recently tattooed, some forever.  Read this article here.  These are the places in America that DO NOT REGULATE tattoos: District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wyoming.   Well, no wonder.   I was precluded from donating blood in the US for five years because I had lived in a many a virulent, disease laden country.  Oh, for the expat life once again!  What if I had lived overseas AND had a tattoo?

It has also come to light that residual tattoo ink lodges in your lymph nodes, the infection clearing houses of the body.  Click here to read more about this fascinating subject.

I have spent a lot of time around a lot of yogis with lots and lots of ink displayed across their bodies.   Some of it is nonsensical, ridiculous, and ugly.  Some is artistic, sobering, and empowering.   But I guarantee, guarantee, that none of them (yogis!) thought about the health implications!  Which, frankly, stuns me.  I have an allergic reaction to henna tattoos so you know I can only imagine what cadmium would do to my skin ….

Finally, no judgment if you have a tattoo.  If you are my age, your skin is sagging already and a tattoo might perk it up!  Why not?  Live large!  No one wants your skin anyway!  I am clinging to the patches of mine that are healthy.  All my messages to the Universe are writ large on my blog and t-shirts and that’s enough for me and my truth for today.

Apologies for not editing.  It’s (TRUTHFULLY)  been one of the longest weeks of my life.  Shalom!

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Family, Life, yoga

Today’s Truth

Yesterday I asked God to roll out the red carpet for my family.  The truth?  He did me one better.  Hot pink wildflowers blanketing the sides of the highway to Tallahassee.  Happy  Spring, indeed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

I Am Not Sure I Am Up For This

Recently my friend (?), Dr. WooWoo gave me a book to read called The Autobiography of a Yogi.  Most of the time, I am open to reading pretty much anything someone puts in my hand.  This was a challenge.   Not only was my cerebral bandwidth at an all time low, the material was daunting.   Paramahansa Yogananda cites as much Biblical teaching (primarily New Testament)  as Hindu in his tome, so naturally this was fascinating to me.    It is pretty much a yoga classic.

My father, seeing the book on the dining room table, said, “Oh!  Paramahansa Yoganada used to live down the street from us in the Pacific Palisades.”   He said the guru’s name right.  I can’t say the name right. And indeed, PY’s Center for Self-Realization was in the immediate vicinity of his teenage home.  Grumbling, Big Mike referred to all the “weirdos” in their garb going in and out of the place.  Hmmm  …  Although my father is not enamored of yoga, he has gone to chair yoga classes  – but only if I am teaching.  He even closes his eyes in shavasana.

But I get ahead of myself.  This is not the type of yoga PY practiced.  He focused mainly on breathing and meditation as a way to get to Samadhi, bliss, union with God.  He called it Kriya yoga, based on the teachings of his own guru.  No asanas, or poses, were involved.

At the end of his autobiography, Paramahansa Yogananda references some of his favorite chants.  A few weeks ago, out of curiosity, I checked out the chants on Spotify.  DING DING DING DING DING!  There they were!  Not only that, Paramahansa Yogananda’s own chanting was recorded!  From shortly before his death in 1952!

I listened to it and was overjoyed I’d listened after reading the book.  I would NEVER have started the crazy long book  if I had.   Bottom line:  I am pretty much ensconced in Christianity.  Karma sounds terrible to me.  The truth is, I do not ever want to come back (DO YOU HEAR ME?).  Reincarnation (unless you are perhaps Jesus) sounds like a terrible idea to me – to keep fixing my mistakes of prior lives, a spiritual “catch and release” if you will.   Jesus for me = ONE AND DONE.    But there was a lot of food for thought in that book and a lot I do not disagree with.  It was worth the cultural voyage.

Finally, as I was doing some glancing research today on karma, I came across this website.   Of course, it is of the organization PY started.  When I get to Heaven, I am sure he will be on my greeting committee.  I can pretty much hear his laugh – he had a great sense of humor – as he points me to the EXIT door ….    Perhaps I will be so enlightened I will change my mind?

 

 

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under Life, Reading, yoga

Happy Spring!

Another one of my favorite spiritual authors is Brother Richard Rohr.  A Franciscan priest, he approaches the Universe in a unique way, deeply, profoundly.  Sometimes so deep and profoundly I don’t know what he is getting at.  But I persist in trying to understand him.  I do not think I understood most of what he wrote before I turned 50.

Today is his 75th birthday.  Reading his birthday memoir post was a gift to me this morning that I would like to share with you.  The truth, of course, makes an appearance.  Enjoy!

Hot music tip:  download Sarah MacLachlan’s Prayer of St. Francis and Medicine for the People (all of it).

1 Comment

Filed under Birthdays, Life, Misunderstandings, Reading, Religion

Jesus Calling

As I have noted, I lost my reading brain last year.  It is just beginning to come back.  One of my favorite books is a book some of you know of called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  Jesus Calling is a daily devotional, perfect for short nuggets of truth, Biblical uppers which remind one of important promises.   Texas Belle gave me a fancy edition which I love because it is large print.  In addition to losing my brain, I am losing my eyesight.  You can also get the Jesus Calling app for your phone.  Bea Long gave me one too that’s by my bed.   Even this easy practice evades me frequently.

But today I picked up my book and this snippet of Wisdom spoke directly to my heart:  “I speak to you from the depths of your being. ….  I speak to you in love-tones, lifting you up.  My Spirit convicts cleanly, without crushing words of shame [emphasis mine].  ….  Be transformed by the truth that I live within you.”

This morning I took my yoga class to the beach.  As it was thunder storming outside, we laid our mats down the studio floor.  Each student picked a shell from my collection.  If you can’t find God in a shell, I don’t know what to tell you.  Think about it:  The hard exterior protects our soft insides.  A pearl is born of irritation and friction from the depths of our gushy innards.  How often do you hide your true selves with a complex outer layer to shield our truest self?

Some shells are smooth, others spiny, bumpy, or rough.  Some have crusty ridges.   Some are plain and others are iridescent or colorful.  Large or small, curling or flat.  You get the idea.  God loves variety.   Within each shell there is order.  How would you describe your shell?  Do you honor it?

Johnny Nash‘s Mr. Sea made an appearance on the playlist as did Miley CyrusMalibu and the Eli Young Band‘s Saltwater Gospel.  There was a little Antonio Carlos Jobim bossa nova to boot.  When the class was over, it was a bright, sun shiney day.  When my class leaves happy and relaxed, I know I have done my job.   Inside I am mentally jumping for joy, fistpumping the Universe, giving thanks, and loving the shell that houses me just a little bit more for carrying me through another hour in the ebb and flow of life.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Life, Reading, Religion, yoga