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Pro Choice & Pro Life???

Pro-Choice & Pro-Life Is it possible to be Pro-Choice and Pro-Life at the same time? I’ve been pondering this dilemma ever since I returned to the Roman Catholic Church.

For years I’ve been uncomfortable with the way most pro-lifer’s addressed abortion. For one thing it was shaming and lacked mercy. Thank you God that’s not happening as much. I feel strongly that we need to spend more time developing ways not only to help women with unplanned pregnancy but we need to find ways to promote the help that is available. I also think it’s a waste of time, energy and money fighting Roe versus Wade. It’s not going to go away and I think that’s a good thing.

Even Pope Francis said we shouldn’t be talking about abortion so much. Everyone knows what the church teaches.

Let’s stop fighting, form a united front and go to work on this challenge with a positive and loving attitude. Having said that here are more of my thoughts on the subject Pro-Choice.

Pro-choice for me is about bodily integrity which as defined by Wikipedia is the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy and the self-determination of human beings over their own bodies. It considers the violation of bodily integrity as an unethical infringement, intrusive, and possibly criminal.

Another way it’s defined is: “Being able to move freely from place to place; being able to be secure against violent assault, including sexual assault … having opportunities for sexual satisfaction and for choice in matters of reproduction”

Until 1993 (that’s just 22 years ago) in all fifty states, marital rape was not criminalized. Women could not refuse sex to her husband and could not sue for sexual harassment of any kind.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 94 years ago: Women did not have the right to vote or serve on a jury in the United States. I just saw the preview of a new movie coming out in October called “Suffragette!” It’s based on a true story about women in England in the early 20th Century fighting for their rights. They are called foot soldiers of the early feminist movement. They were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. It’s heartbreaking and inspirational. I must to see when it comes out in October.

Although we are still fighting for equal rights with men in the work place in the early days discrimination in the workplace was rampant. If women were able to get the job they wanted they were given clothing and weight requirements to adhere to and they could be fired if they broke these rules. Also they could be fired if they were pregnant. I remember when air line stewardess had to be certain height, weight and age in order to work for an airline. 1956 I was a clerk for Metropolitan Life Insurance and they forced me to leave when I was 5 month pregnant.

For many years women were not allowed in the military. But…. women served as nurses without the benefits of the GI Bill. And for many years very bright women were denied Ivy League Education. And single woman were denied credit cards.

So why do I want to support Pro-Choice? Although we have a long way to go, we have worked very hard to achieve the rights we have today. So I think no matter what a woman chooses to do with her body is between her and her God.

Stealing, killing, defrauding and misrepresenting all reflect “moral” values and we have laws that punish people who break these laws. However, there’s that whole other category of morality that can’t be legislated. We all have a different sense of ethical responsibility related to our own personal moral values and we have the right to live our lives and make choices directed by our informed conscience in these matters.

We need to have mercy on the women that choose abortion and more importantly put our mercy into action. Our work is to find creative, loving, supportive ways to educate women so they are better able to make wise choices. And…..more importantly when they don’t make wise choices or are victims of their circumstances, it’s our job to love them through the difficult situations they find themselves in. Although we do have organizations like Birthright and Planned Parenthood that provide support for women with unplanned pregnancies, most people don’t know the kind of support they offer.

Although their are several differances between Birthright and Planned Parenhood the main difference between Birthright and Planned Parenthood is that Birthright does not do abortions. However what most people don’t realize is that Planned Parenthood does a lot more for the general health and well being of women and sometimes men… than they do abortions. Three percent of their clients have abortions. Hundreds of thousand of women are helped with other health issues. Go to their web-sites, you will be amazed. Birthright is available to help women with unplanned pregnancies 24/7 with a hotline handled by trained volunteer personnel on the phone. 1-800-550-4900. They offer many services….check them out on the web at Birthright.org

I am strongly led to write about this because I have a gut feeling that if pro-choice is taken away it will spill into other areas of women’s rights and for me that’s unthinkable. Let’s stop fighting and come together to help each other. We need less anti approaches to this dilemma and more promotion for alternatives to abortion. More help for women who find themselves with unplanned pregnancies. Letting them choose no matter what.

So now the other side of my dilemma and the main reason I’m Pro-Life is because I know in my heart of hearts that when that sperm fertilizes that egg, infused with the spirit of God, it is instantly a person. Within in the first few weeks the baby’s nervous system, brain, digestive system, ears, and arms begin to form. At 21 days the baby’s heart takes shape and begins to beat. By the time the mother is in her fifth month of pregnancy, the baby’s limbs are achieving their final proportions, eyelashes and eyebrows appear and the baby has grown to about 6.5 inches,

By the sixth month the baby is about 13 inches long. Abortions in California are allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, which is close to six months. Tell me that’s not a human being!!! I don’t buy it.

I wonder if the women, who are considering an abortion would read this progression of growth or even better watched a movie of the progression, would think twice about going ahead and destroying this life. Especially if she knew there was support for her through the pregnancy and after.

And I feel strongly that if after being educated about the progress of the fetus and doing our best to encourage her to have her baby, she still decides she wants to have an abortion then it’s up to us to make sure she gets the counseling she needs, and believe me she will need counseling at some point in her life. I have family members who have suffered immensely from the repercussions of having had abortions. Of course at the same time I would want this women to know that there’s a lot of help available and other choices rather than abortion.

But of course before all this could happen we have a lot of work to do to making sure that there is a lot of help available. My dream is that organizations like Planned Parenthood and Birthright will one day have a dialogue and merge their resources to benefit these women with unplanned pregnancies. I pray that together they can be a source of hope and healing. That’s the kind of world I see for the future.

P.S. In August I will be trained by Birthright to counsel women with unplanned pregnancy. I’m walking the walk not just talking the talk.

Remember to feed your soul!!!

Love, Anne

 

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2015 in Pro Choice & Pro Life

 

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The Light and Dark of Silence

May 18, 2015

I wrote the following essay a few years ago. In a way I’m stalling because what I really want to write about next is challenging and I’m trusting that when the time is write I’ll be able to find the courage to reveal my thoughts on a very delicate subject. So until then, in order to keep my commitment to myself to write at least once a month here’s my piece for May…

Mom’s life was filled with more pain than the average person endures in a life time. Mom being number seven in a family of nine children, probably left her emotionally starved in many ways. Then her mother and father died before she reached adolescence.

She was raised by her older siblings that married her off at a very young age. Five years later she ran away with my father pregnant with me. She divorced her husband, married my father, only to be faced with fear and confusion because she was being sexually harassed by her father in law and when she did not respond favorably he threaten to kill her and her children.

Ultimately the threats became a reality. In her arms she held her blood drenched 18 mo old, baby daughter, watching her fighting for life after being critically injured, which ended in death. My grandfather who went gun crazy wounded my mother, her sister and killed a friend, as well. All of this story I written in my essay about my grandfather called Block 152 Grave 19.

The reason I’m telling this story again is because of the following thoughts I’ve had about my relationship to my mother. You see, I often wonder if these are the things Mom was thinking about as she moved into her later years?

Often when I was with her, sometimes even while watching TV, I watched her staring off into space and would ask, “What are you thinking about Mom?” and her reply was always, “Oh nothing.” Her inability to share her inner most thoughts with me kept us apart even when we were together. I loved her very much and always wanted to hear her stories. I yearned to have intimate conversations with her, but “Oh nothing,” is all I got.

But her silence was filled with words…. unspoken words that screamed at me about the pain of her life. The untold stories all haunted me and still do when I remember those times I spent with her. Silence with her was not sweet and did not feel holy. This silence for me was dark. It was cold and distant, out of reach, untouchable and stiff like the ironing board that she used to iron everything. This silence filled with unanswered questions, questions I didn’t think to ask, or maybe, on some level, I knew better than to ask, makes me sad.

Her silence went deep within her mind but it touched my heart and haunts me to this day. For years this pain came between me and who I wanted to be. For years and at times even now, there is a hangover of painful silence that is difficult to heal, as I struggle to sit and write when I don’t know what to say—knowing that to sit is to remember the silence, her silence, my silence, like a pact we made from the same place that her mind touched my heart.

My saving Grace is that I yearn to be in, and keep returning to the light of silence, that place where all is known, where truth lives and triumphs. That place where I let go and let writing happen. That place that trusts my inner knowing. That place that knows I’m already here, that I have arrived, that I am writing.

Silence in the light is radiant like a morning sun and bright as the evening moon at it’s fullest. It’s bright as the fluffy white cloud of unknowing full of hope and peace and joy. In this place the words fall off my fingers, on to the keyboard, and into the world, revealing all I need to know and do. I’m centered, full of joy and working, writing, knowing that I’m just an instrument, that God is my companion in this endeavor to keep telling the truth, and that “All is Possible With God.” I use to eat compulsively over all this. Today I sit, feel the pain and write.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Life Happens as we plan it….

The last time I posted was on January 1, 2015. I promised myself I would post at least once a month, give or take a week or so.  Well, life happened and my plans were altered do to a set of unfortunate and very sad circumstance.

February 17, 2015 I started running a fever had chills and a sever headache. I’d caught a virus and it was kicking the life out of me. I can not remember ever being so sick. No appetite at all, nothing tasted good and just a few bites was all I could manage…Now you know I was very sick. This is the first time in my life that I can remember losing my appetite or taste for food.

I was in bed through the end of February and two weeks into March. During all that time, by the grace of God, Bob took over. He did everything that needed to be done. He did grocery shopping, he fixed meals, he did all the dishes, he did laundry and was at my beckon call. He was truly and angel and took very good care of me.

It’s only been a week or so since I’ve slowly started back to my daily routine. I’m very cautious because I’ve been told that this virus comes back with vengeance and I’ll do anything to avoid being that sick again.

November, December and January were filled with serious concern about my brother Bob, so here’s my thoughts and feeling about what happened to him and to me.

Coming to terms with my brother Bob’s illness and ultimate death was a difficult process for me. Bob was 18 months younger than me and growing up we were best friends. Sometime late summer or early fall of 2013 Bob was diagnosed with cancer on the back of his lung and cancer on his adrenal gland. He had chemo treatments hoping to reduce the size of the tumors. That did not happen but the doctor felt confident that surgery was in order. Early November they removed one lobe of his lung and although the surgery went very well he was traumatized and ended up in a confused state for several weeks. Also what was troubling was that he still had a fast growing cancer on his adrenal gland. Finally in December there were times when his thinking and speaking were clear and he was in good spirits, so we had a couple of great visits. Thank you God. But he never recovered completely. But, by mid January he was at home with Hospice Care and on January 31st he passed away surrounded by family. I’m told that he had a peaceful passing… he simple took a breath and let go. He let go of life as we know it and passed on to a new adventure.. So now I would like to explore what was going on for me as I watched my brother going through his dying process. I think we can agree that life on planet earth is about living and about dying. Whether we know it or not we are preparing on some level for that day in our individual lives and/or the lives of our loved ones when it’s time for us to take that special journey into a new life. When someone near and dear is suffering we can not help but relate it to ourselves. I am no different than anyone else going through such a challenge. My own longevity was in question and sometimes I even wonder what my process would be like. My spiritual life is full, my relationship with God is healthy, I am peaceful most of the time. However…I have a lot of questions! Questions that I ask myself and questions and/or statements that others present to me. I personally do not ask “why,” is this happening? I ask “what” does this challenge want to teach me about my life? I had someone tell me recently that they thought God caused death and illness. Their premise was that God is all powerful and in control of life so God must cause illness and death. I do not agree. First of all I admit that illness and death are very complicated and that I do not fully understand what causes illness and or death. I do believe that during times of illness and death, our mental, emotional, physical and most importantly our spiritual lives are affected. But one thing I know for sure is that God DOES NOT CAUSE us to get sick and God does NOT CAUSE death. God allows nature to take it’s course. In my opinion not always, but quite often, we are just suffering the consequences of the choices we’ve made. As I grieved my Bob’s passing I went in and out of pain. It came in waves especially as I thought about our close relationship as children. For the first six years of our lives, Bob and I were each other’s sole playmate. From that start in life we continue to grow our friendship through high school. and for many years after that. Along with the pain in my heart, several times I experienced getting very angry and frustrated within myself. I had a battle going on inside of me because I wanted closure on this very sad situation. I wanted to celebrate my brother’s life and share with everyone what a wonderful, kind, loving, amazing human being he was. When I asked myself, “What is going on here?” “What is this anger and frustration trying to teach me?” I heard within my mind, “LET GO”!!! Oh boy that old ugly “Control Issue” was back to get me. I got it… because I did not have any control over what was happening I became very angry and frustrated. I also reminded myself that all that was going on wasn’t about me at all. Yes I needed to LET GO AGAIN!! I realized that all my pain, all my anger, all my frustration was more about what I told myself about what was going on and not what was really happening. So, I prayed and let go. How do I know I let go?…well my peace and joy was immediately restored and now I look forward to celebrating my brother life on May 5, Thank you God!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’m A Roman Catholic and Loving It!!!

May 31, 2011 is when I started posting this blog. I did pretty- good for a few years and then life happened and time got away from me. In May of 2014 I recommitted to writing, but again I let life’s circumstance get in the way and I did not follow through. But here I am again with a new commitment.
I am blessed to be 81 years old, in good health with lots of time and energy to do all kinds of activities that fill my life with much joy and satisfaction. I am truly blessed to be alive, growing and changing and loving all aspects of my life.
I’m grateful at this time to be back blogging and pray that my intention to write on a regular basis will be grace filled. I do not make New Year’s resolutions but do my best to set a few intentions. One of my intentions is to write on a regular basis and to post a blog at least once a month or so, give or take a few days or even a week.
I’ve learned a lot being on the planet so long and want to use blogging as a way to share what I’ve learned. I’m also willing to continue to learn, to grow and to change. Along the way I’ve discovered that writing is one way to uncover more about who I am, what I need to change, and what my purpose on earth is for the rest of my life. I hope that what I share here will speak to your hearts and motivate you to discover more about yourselves and in the process help me learn more about me. Please comment or ask questions when ever possible so I can learn from you as well.
What some of you don’t know is that I am a cradle Catholic. I went to St. Bridget’s Catholic School in San Francisco through the 8th grade. I am grateful for the education I received and for the spiritual foundation of the teachings that were embedded in me as a child. By the grace of God I benefitted in many ways. I know that my relationship with God was strongly influenced by the teachings I received at St. Bridget’s, which started me on my path of spirituality.
At about the age of 19 God took me on a spiritual side trip that took me 60 years to complete. From cradle Catholic to no church attendance to being very active in the Presbyterian Church, to no church affiliation, to Overeater’s Anonymous, to CSA. I know today, that I was led to and ordained a minister in this tradition, because God knew I could not be a Catholic Priest. CSA became CSE and I joyfully ministered in this tradition for 20 years. And now I’m back in the Catholic Church!
What’s interesting to me is that in the interfaith community of CSE, through the teachings of Ellen Grace O’Brian, Christianity came alive for me in a new and powerful way. By the grace of God and through the power and commitment of a regular meditation practice I was strongly led to narrow my path. At that time I realized that the place for me to do just that…was in the Catholic Church. In a way I did not have a choice. I yearned to go back to Mass. I believe that Mass like most rituals speaks to a part of us that we do not hear with our ears. I believe that the Mass resonates deep inside us and changes us from the inside out. Being a Catholic is in my DNA and over the years it’s there, deep inside me, that the Mass did its work on me…I did not resist the call to return at all! It was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s been quite an adventure and I would not change any of it.
Today, I still believe there is only one God known by many names. I learned as a young child that God made everything! That being true, I believe that God made all those other religions so that God could be relevant to each individual of each culture in a special way. If you look you will find golden threads of truth to be found through almost all religions.
But today, I resonate strongly with Jesus and the power of His name and His teachings. I am back in the fold of the Catholic Church, attending Mass on a regular basis and participating in a bible study/prayer group. I have a firm commitment to study scripture and to meditate daily.
St Thomas of Canterbury is the parish I attend. I’m honored to be a member of this congregation. This community is an active example of what it means to live the teachings of Jesus Christ. They truly walk the walk.
Once a month we collect clothing and non-perishable groceries for distribution to people in our neighborhood, who need extra help in meeting basic needs. We also do a recycling drive that supports various programs overseas. This current drive is for the Holy Land: It will benefit the scholar-ship programs at Bethlehem University, the only papal university in the Middle East which is doing some fine work with interfaith and ecumenical relations.
We support a woman who’s a nurse at Valley Medical who started a clothing closet of new socks and shoes and underwear for the homeless. We also have several members active in the Kairos Ministry in prisons. This is a wonderful ministry that helps inmates to experience the love of God and quite often this experience is instrumental in changing their lives forever.
St Thomas has an active youth group, and children’s program as well as opportunities for adults to learn and grow together. I’ve only mentioned a few of the programs you’ll find at St Thomas of Canterbury. I volunteer for odd jobs here and there but I know I am not to take on any long-term responsibilities at this time.
Fr. Dave Mercer, is the pastor at St. Thomas and he’s been doing a series of talks to help us better understand not only the teachings of the Catholic Church but some of what goes on that you don’t read in the paper. He’s done three talks so far. Three weeks ago he talked about Pope Francis: what’s changing. The following week he talked about – Scandals: how are we doing? The third talk was about Science/Religion.
I’m enjoyed each talk immensely and learned a lot. However I want to share what I learned about Science and Religion through the eyes of the Catholic Church. In a nutshell we are not to take the bible teachings literally. WOW!!! In fact St Augustine , in his commentary on Genesis (AD. 400): said, “No Christian dare say that the narrative of Genesis must not be taken in the figurative sense. For Saint Paul says in I Corinthians 7:10: “Now all these things that happened to them were symbolic.”
Yes the bible was and is now, inspired by God. However, the bible is full of stories, recalled and written by men for all of us to learn about life. These stories are a teaching tool and we must look beyond the words on the page and search our hearts to hear what God wants to teach us.
The Catholic Church teaches science, Yes!…even evolution, in all it’s schools, high schools, and universities. The Catholic Church and Science work together to help us understand our world. God is behind all that goes on in our world but the church warns us not to be ignorant about the truths that science has uncovered for our benefit. And…the Vatican has scientists in an observatory in Arizona. See the Wikipedia article: “List of Roman Catholic Cleric-Scientist” You’ll be surprised to see this list takes up several pages.
By the grace of God, my being an active, committed Roman Catholic is helping me take my spiritual life to a deeper level. As a result my heart is overflowing with peace, love and joy…the joy of having a personal relationship with Jesus and enjoying this relationship in all aspects of my life. I am learning a lot.
I look forward to hearing from you…comments and questions are welcome.

Remember To Feed Your Soul!!!
Love, Anne

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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What will it take????

May 11, 2014

I’m just wondering what will it take for me to blog more often. I’ve been busy doing a lot of writing about my life and family. That’s a good thing but I really want to stay current with who I am today and what I’ve learning. So I’m posting this note of commitment:

I will start writing at least once a month starting June 1, 2014. There I said it! Now let’s see what happens.

Anne

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

God’s Name

God’s Name – November 20, 2013

I can not remember how the concept of God was first introduced to me. Sometimes….. I think I came into the world knowing and loving God. What I do remember is a teaching from the Baltimore Catechism that says, “God is everywhere, in everyone and in everything.” This principal has driven and guided my life in ways that sometimes is beyond words.

I’ve heard some people describe themselves as recovering Roman Catholics. Many say that they developed a guilt complex from the teachings but I personally don’t feel that way. Instead I am grateful for the foundation of faith and truth that was taught to me at a very young age. Not only was I born with a deep faith in God but I also was given the ability to take what I like and leave the rest. I learned that there is always more to learn and that in this life I will never have all the answers and neither does anyone else, including the Catholic Church. 

When I was led to and chose to practice my faith in the Presbyterian Church I did not feel guilty about my decision. I trusted that God knew best and I’ve never regretted my choice. I felt that God led me every step of the way. Likewise, later in life when I was ministering in an interfaith tradition, that  looked for the common tread of truth in each religion I did so confidently and without any guilt at all and in fact it warmed my heart because at some level I always knew and believed there was a common truth. 

During those many years I thrived and my faith grew and so did my relationship with God. In fact it was in this tradition that Christianity came alive for me with a deeper understanding that there is one God known by many names. I learned that God doesn’t care what we call Her, what we call Him. I like to think of God as Mother/Father God and often pray that way. I also discovered the concept of Christ Consciousness. Christ Consciousness was released when Jesus died on the cross and resurrected on the third day. He sent the Holy Spirit to live and thrive through each and every person on earth, Jesus for me lives today in me and in you and wants to use each one of us to work together to bring the realization of heaven here and now. 

I realized that…Christ Consciousness is in every person, place, thing, situation or circumstance, no matter what it looks like and that Christ Consciousness is there waiting for us to turn within and connect and work together for the good of all. The Holy Sprit does not force itself on us. Free will is ours forever, for good or not. I believe that Christ Consciousness can also be called Buddha Consciousness, Allah Consciousness, Krishna Consciousness. Remember there is only one God known by many names. Religion for me is a cultural thing. I believe that God meets each and every person right where they live in a way that speaks to their hearts if they are willing to stop, look and listen.

Now I did not start out with a strong prayer life in place as a young person but, I do remember talking with God when I was afraid, worried or anxious. These prayers help me to adjust to whatever was going on in my life and as time went by my prayer life grew and changed.

Today I still talk to God and pray in many different ways. Sometimes I  say formal prayers, Sometimes I pray the Rosary. I’ve also memorized prayers and scriptures such as the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and the scripture from Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all ways acknowledge God and God will direct your path.” This practice helped me change my negative thinking and even kept me from acting on my food addiction. 

Over the years one of the most important disciplines, I learned and developed through my experiences in the interfaith tradition was meditation. This was not an easy discipline for me to practice. There was a time when I could not sit still for even five minutes without a lot of pain and uncomfortableness. With time, determination, a lot of support and regular practice I now crave that time alone in the quiet and do my best to practice every day. For me meditation is the highest form of prayer. In meditation I believe we are ministered to in a way that is not possible at any other time or in any other way. Learning to sit watching our thoughts go by and eventually subside and even stop briefly is what Deepak Chopra calls the gap. I believe that in this gap the Holy Spirit comes in and ministers to us. Sitting in the quiet waiting, watching and surrendering to process for me gives the Holy Spirit permission to transform me from the inside out.

I’ve learned that a spiritual life is not about keeping the rules and laws. In fact I just recently was delightfully shocked to see in I Corinthians 15:59 that St. Paul says that “The power of sin is the law.” WOW that makes sense to me. St. Paul also admits to how he has difficulty keeping the law boy I relate to that…..Here’s our challenge, Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” The law has a purpose and Jesus came to fulfill that purpose and now wants to fulfill those laws through us. These laws and truths are already within our heart of hearts… that place where we are one with God. Our work and God’s desire is for us to develop a relationship with God and let God guide us through all that we do. Prayer and Meditation is the only way I know to have a personal relationship with God. We must talk with God and we must listen for the still small voice within that is ready to guide and help us with everything we do, so that together we can fulfill Jesus’s purpose on earth. 

Today I know that without God I am nothing. Today I know that I live and breath and have my being in God. I know that God is closer to me than my breadth and I truly know that God loves me just the way I am. I’m grateful to say that I’ve experienced in all areas of my life that “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 15:26.

I ask God to help me do everything, and when I don’t ask it’s because this principal is so much a part of who I am it is a given for me that God will help me. I do my best to live my life from that place. I know today I am God’s hands and feet, God’s tongue, God’s life here on earth and I do my best to live my life in such a way that God’s purpose is fulfilled here on earth, one step at a time, one day at a time filled with grace, love and joy and I pray that all I do glorifies our Lord’s Name. Amen!!!

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Glimpses of Heaven….. 2004

November 14, 2013

I’m keeping my promise to myself to post once a week and even though what follows was written in 2004 it still applies to my life today.

I may add a postscript….

GLIMPSES OF HEAVEN

2004

Today I am more consciously aware of the world around me and my place in it, not because of anything I have done and because of everything I have done. When I say I’m more aware, not because of anything I’ve done I don’t mean that I passively sat back and let my life happen. Yet today, as I look back over the last 25 of my 71 years on earth, I know that one day at a time, my life unfolded.

Years of food addiction and people pleasing kept me asleep to who I was and all that I could be. During those years I unconsciously went through the motions of life, doing what I thought I should do rather than what I could do. Yes! Life happened to me while I actively participated in it. What I needed to do next was revealed to me and I acted. But I have a sense there was a Divine Plan and a purpose for all that occurred. I realize today that this process I call my awakening has been going on since the day I was born and maybe even before that, and I believe it will continue even after my body is gone. I can’t help but think about what Mohandas K. Ghandi said about his growth. “In my search after Truth, I have discarded many ideas and learned many new things. Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly, or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh. What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment.”

So…I cannot remember how the concept of God was first introduced to me. I also cannot remember a time when God, in varying degrees, has not been in my awareness. However, I do remember that as a little girl I was taught that God was everywhere, in everyone, and in everything and that there is no place, situation or circumstance where God is not. It was that basic belief that kept me searching and yearning to know God more deeply. That seed planted in my young mind was the force driving me along my spiritual path.

Over the years I have learned that “awakening” is not a destination. Awakening is a process of unveiling, of walking through one phase after another, one set of circumstances after another, trusting that what I need to know and do will be revealed. The awakening process, though simple in concept, such as “be in the present moment,” is difficult. Awakening requires courage and commitment. It also requires humility, that is, the ability to reach out for help in times of need. Most importantly, awakening takes the courage to be honest with ourselves and the people who are there to help us.  The deeper I go spiritually, the more challenging my life experiences become for me, the greater the opportunity to experience the Grace of God.

These challenges have taken many forms: being a mother of three children, the death of their father at a young age, ( he was 39 years old), a second marriage that included five children and the scary big “C” in my body to name a few. But the greatest growth for me comes from everyday living experiences with my relationships. Working on the relationships with my family of origin, my husband, children, stepchildren, friends and coworkers has provided me and will continue to provide me with many opportunities to look at myself and to change.

And that brings me to the most important relationship I’ve had to work on…the one with myself. I spent at least ten years learning how to become my own best friend. By working the 12 Steps of Overeater’s Anonymous and participating in an Al-Anon program, private counseling, prayer and meditation, I learned to tame the critic within and to love myself unconditionally as I was being transformed. The more I learned about myself, deepening my relationship with God, through working the 11th Step*, the more my relationship with others improved. My experience showed me that in order to live a life that is fully conscious and peace-filled, I had to have a good relationship with myself. Today I live a healthy lifestyle, I eat moderate amounts of healthy food most of the time, and I exercise several times a week. But most importantly I have strong, clear boundaries and am careful not to do for others what they can do for themselves. I ask for help when I need it and I am willing to look within to resolve conflict in a relationship, asking myself, “What is my part in this?” and “What can I do to make a difference?”

In recent years, experiencing the Divine has come from discovering and claiming my creative yearnings. My Soul’s sincere desire to be a public speaker and to write articles such as this has provided me with the opportunity to confront and walk through my greatest fear…the fear of failure. Public speaking is easy for me. Writing those speeches is torture. And now knowing that someone else will read them… well I’ll keep on taking one step at a time, trusting that I will grow and change while learning all I can about writing.

For years I have attempted to practice the presence of God in all that I do. I pray and meditate on a regular basis and feel close to God when I’m writing. My awakening has been a gradual one. As a result of taking responsibility for my thoughts and actions and living as best I can surrendered to the will of God, I have more peace, more joy, more satisfaction and more fulfillment in my life. This awakening was not a euphoric, one-time experience, but has been glimpses of Heaven in the here and now.

*11th Step…..Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

P.S. Yep that me and my story in a nutshell….Glimpses of heaven still show up, Grace filled experiences deepen my faith and next

time I’ll write about trust. I had someone ask me, “Anne, What is the difference between faith and trust?”……..stay tuned.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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