Who Will Stop the Rain?

Rain Rain Go Away Come Again Another Day…

I think anyone with  an environmental bent would object to this childrens’ rhyme. Yes, I think it has magical power. Does it stop the rain? Well, if you believe that your words, your wishes, your desires: Yes, teaching your children this chant, this rhyme, this song — well it just might stop the rain.

“Long as I remember the rain been comin’ down
Clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun.
And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.”

– “Who’ll Stop the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Shall we stop people from teaching this rhyme to children? Perhaps we should. Children, obviously, do not wish it to rain. They must stay indoors. Or…is this true?

I TOTALLY understand not wanting it to rain. Having to stay inside sounds terrible to me, but of course I grew up in the pre-computer, pre-internet, pre-computer game era. When I grew up, rain was a terrible thing for children! We had to stay inside and who the heck wanted to do that???? Getting outside sounds like the most fabulous thing ever to me.  Who the heck wants to stay inside?

My son does. He could care less about the weather. It means nothing to him. Inside is what matters because that is where the internet is, it’s where the TV is, it’s where his computer can be hooked.

How sad….

But as adults, yes we want the rain because we know what rain does for us globally, economically, and nutritionally. Let the rain come. Do not ask for it to stop. Keep it coming. And when the nourishing rain stops, I will be grateful for both its presence and its ending. I love both the rain and the cloud, and the dry days and the blue skies. I love them They are the Earth’s way of providing for us.

I think we forget that in a big way. We forget the weather is what allows us to survive and thrive — not just us, but everything else. We need it — oh how desperately we need it.

Beloved weather — beloved rain — beloved Earth — beloved world.

Spirituality and Religion: How Do They Overlap?

Oh, such huge questions! I wonder if they are truly answerable? The image comes from this web page.  I consider this a challenge to try to answer these questions, at least in a partial way.  And, of course, experience tells me that once I’ve settled on a answer, life changes and therefore the answer changes.

Three Questions that Spirituality asks: Where do I find meaning? How do I feel connected? How should I live?

Three Questions that Religion asks: What practices or rituals should I follow? What is right and  wrong? What is true  and false?

The Intersection of Spirituality and Religion: Belief. Comfort. Reflection. Ethics. Awe.

We are all Spirit by Nature

We are all spirit by nature; therefore all that we do is spiritual. However, being spiritual is a lifestyle that we create while we experience the physical world. Our spirituality influences our actions and our actions become our lifestyle.  It is by this that people may see who we truly are.

Some of the questions people ask themselves about their spirituality are:

• Why am I here?

• What do I value?

• What brings me joy?

• What’s my purpose on earth?

• What am I passionate about?

• What do I believe in?

• Is there really a higher power?

How do YOU answer these questions? I know I am still working on answering these questions. Perhaps I’ll tackle them, one at a time, here on this blog.

Being spiritual is being the way you are now; being natural. Loving is a PRACTICE and RESPONSIBILITY that you have towards yourself, others, and the world.

Spirituality is everyday life. It is kindness. It is acceptance. It is practice and it is enlightenment, as well as the opposite of all these. It is important, in my mind, to embrace your goodness and your darkness…they are each other’s twin.

Things to remember:

We Already Are Spiritual. (All of us)

Living In the World Blocks Spiritual Experience (Because we get caught up in the mundane, in possessions, money, the pursuit of material things)

Consciously, We Create Our Own Reality. (Our thoughts guide us and influence our behavior)

A Fulfilled Person Has Spiritual Awareness. (Because when your basic needs are taken care of, you can concentrate on developing yourself)

Life as Prayer. (Every moment can be mindful, every act can be a work of goodness, a devotion to the Universe)

Diversity of Spiritual Experience. (One of the things I love best about being UU is that we encourage diverse and varied spiritual paths; this gives us opportunities to explore what path interests us; it’s also okay to pick and choose your own unique spiritual path from the variety of religions that are out there).

Religion may be compared

To a great river that feeds the land.

The river winds its way as a mighty force

And smaller tributaries are formed

To serve the distant regions.

Some travelers are satisfied

To drink of the smaller stream

And forget they must travel

The river to its Source.

Beyond the river’s gate,

The Ocean is waiting.

— quoted from “Beyond the River’s Gate” by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

Kitten Video Cuteness

Warning! Warning! Kitten cuteness! If you cannot handle awesome kitten cuteness, do not watch this video! smile emoticon My new kittens are getting bigger and braver. They are playing (finally) outside of my bedroom, where their litterbox and food are. When I first got them, they hid in the chimney of my bedroom (I have a small fireplace in my bedroom) For 10 days they were either in the bedroom chimney or in my room playing. A few days ago they finally ventured out of my bedroom and started playing in my living room. The tuxedo is still very skittish and reserved (is picky about when he gets petted and still startles very easily). The grey kitten is much more extroverted and braver. They have both met the older cat in the house. It’s a cautious relationship. Older kitty has hissed and growled, but otherwise non-aggressive. Kittens are curious about him, but cautious and hang back.

why this seems to be upside down I have no idea!!!


The Austin Shrine Project

I have this nutty idea that people in Austin should build random shrines in nature. Help me if you wish to. These are the ceramics I want to use. They would be placed in trails in nature with flowers. Or whatever we feel earth should be honored with. Contact me if you are interested. http://myteacup.com/shrine/index.html. The page has some photos of my first attempts to hand build plates, cups and bowls.  Obviously, I’m terrible at it. But I don’t know what to do with the stuff — it’s not good enough to sell.  I need a way to give the pieces a home and a purpose. Otherwise….they will just sit there….they deserve more….so I keep thinking “Nature Shrines!”

I just googled art in Austin parks and came up with with link which looks totally cool http://www.facebook.com/AustinAIPP.  So does this really need Druid Fairy Garden… http://druidgarden.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/fairy_shrine_beltane.jpg

An example of the hand built items. Now you see what I mean when I say it looks like a 5th grader made them…

Hand built pottery and ceramics
Hand built pottery and ceramics

Losing My Cat Today

About to do the hard thing. The mobile vet is coming soon to put down my cat Lou. She is 14 years old. She has an open sore on her hip along with something that looks like a tumor. She’s had the tumor for about 6 weeks or more. The open sore for maybe a week or two. She has stopped eating and doesn’t look good though she does manage to creep around.

She’s my son’s first pet. I gave him to her right before his 4th birthday. He named her. So I know putting her down is the right thing to do and frankly she’s been one of the meanest cats ever for the past few years but we have loved her, warts and all. I feel sad in these last minutes while waiting for the vet van to pull up my driveway.

I got him a cat for two reasons. One, I love cats. Is there a better reason that that? No, I do not think so LOL.  Loving cats is a good reason to have a cat!

The other reason is I wanted him to learn compassion for beings who are helpless and dependent.  Kittens are certainly that.  They NEED you.  You’re the one with cans of cat food after all! And let’s not forget the ever lovin’ pervasively stinky litter box…..You MUST love a cat to put up with a litter box!!!!!

Okay, so back to compassion. The earliest, easiest way to learn compassion is to learn ow to care for another being. I think it needs to be taught early as well.  I don’t think it comes automatically. In getting a cat, I wanted my son to know what compassion, kindness, and caretaking looked like. I taught him to pet her gently.  I taught him how to play with her — how cats like to play. I taught him to feed her. I taught him not to strike  her when she scratched him (that was difficult for him) He went with her to the vet.

Losing her was very hard, even though for the past few years she’s been an extremely cranky cat.  She’s been hard to love. Loving a being even when they are almost impossible to love…well that has to be the greatest lesson of all.

RIP Louie.  We have loved you and will miss you always.

UPDATE: May 25th, 2015

Today I inadvertently looked for my elderly cranky cat for where she was sleeping today..meaning I looked over at one of the places I used to see her sleeping on a regular bases. She was not there. So I thought oh, yeah she is not here anymore. And I was sad…even if she WAS the meanest cat ever to live on this earth…Yeah I can still miss her.

I posted that on my FB page today and a friend wrote back: “If you looked for her expecting to find her, she was there in spirit letting you know she was still with you. I dont think she was mean. She was just aloof. She wanted a relationship on her terms.

Comparisons & Competitions

Something to strive for.

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
― Lao Tzu

We all quietly or maybe not so quietly compete and compare! After all, everybody else has got it better, right? They are better looking, have a better job, better children, their marriage is perfect, their house is better.

One thing I am a sucker for comparing myself to is other families. I always think other families “have it all” or are more functional or are special in some way. I think they always get along, have special gifts and talents, are always succeeding at something….and then, there’s me….

Once someone told me they were jealous of ME. That just floored me. It never occurred to me that someone could be jealous of me and my life.

I don’t think I need “respect” — but it should would be nice not to compare myself to others and feel like I don’t measure up or could do better.

Spiritual Tolls….

You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate this article: The Spiritual Toll of Constant Entertainment: How has binge-watching culture affected our relationship with God?

I’m a binge watcher of TV. I deliberately wait until either a TV show has quite a number of seasons to watch or even better, the series has ENDED and I can binge watch the whole series. And if a show has a lot of seasons (instead of just one or two because of poor ratings cancellation), why that’s even better.

Some series that I have binge watched and cried when they ended…
The 4400
Star Trek The Next Generation
Babylon 5
Supernatural (ongoing bingeing!)
and more…just can’t think of them right now. But that should give you a good indication of what I like.

I think the author’s saving grace, though, is that he does wish to be spiritual and wants to devote more time to it. He knows the value of it. I am spiritual and know the value of it as well. I tend to worry, though, most about people who aren’t spiritual at all and are simple imbibers of media (social and broadcast). They don’t contemplate anything else. It’s just unthinking consumerism.

However, the author of the article is right that drinking TV whole by binge watching takes up an inordinate amount of time that could be devoted to something else more meaningful. I am in that category. In the evening, knitting and TV are my detoxes. I turn off my brain and heart. I could be doing something else more important. I’m not saying giving up my love of TV binge watching entirely…but I could certainly manage it better.

I guess I should start having some serious thoughts with myself about what I could be doing or should be doing instead!!!

Open Roads: Clearing Your Life, Clearing Your Path

Doing this kind of thing takes work and patience. It is not an instant solution, nothing is an instant solution and oftentimes true work involves transforming yourself.  This is the source of working on yourself. Opening your roads means opening yourself to all kinds of possibilities, including the possibility that you done wrong and need to make amends and change.

Improve Your Relationships by Working On Yourself First

Ask for feedback! (WARNING: SCARY THING TO DO!!!) As much as we all attempt to improve, we will always have blind spots. Asking for feedback gives us what I think of as being “nuanced perspective.” Each person you ask will have their own take on things, their one perspective that might be similar to other perspective but nuanced according to their experience and perspective of you. Some people to approach will be TRUSTED friends, family, colleagues, boss, or even acquaintances. I think that when you ask a particular person, you will know what kind of nuance they will have. If you don’t — well, I guess DON’T ASK THEM — or  FIGURE OUT THEIR NUANCE (that might be a prerequisite for getting to know them better)

“It’s not just about finding the right person — it is about being the right person.”  Oh, truer words never spoken! This is the hardest of all.  How do you be the right person? And I am not talking about romantic “rightness.” That actually might  be the last thing I would talk about.

How about rightness for a job, for being a friend, for being a wife/husband, for being a parent, for -fill in the blank here.-  Being the right person….such a journey….such an evolvement. How do I be a “right person”?  And there are so many ways of being a “right person.” I.e. being a right person for me, a right person for a family member, a right person for a friend, a right person for society.

First, Work on Yourself

I am slowly discovering that  loving friendship and finding connection depends on me taking good care of myself.  When I keep myself in order, when I care about my health, when I care about my emotional state, when I care about my ethics and philosophy…people notice.  They see me as being grounded and reliable, two qualities I value most….well I value them most right after I value HUMOR — which perhaps I value most of all.

Laughter is, after all, the  best medicine!

To be called earthy or grounded might be the highest compliment you could make to me.  I want to be that. I strive for it.  Please — not saying at all that I am 100% successful. (Next time you and I have lunch together….ask me about my emotional meltdowns, hahahahahaha) ***Hint, ask me out to lunch, I would love that.***

Posted from Austin, Texas

Speaking Up for What is Right?

Do you think it’s hard to speak up for what is right regardless of whether you are a member of a privileged group or not? Meaning, there might be other reasons why it’s hard to speak up — fear comes to mind. What I’m thinking is that this difficulty might have a lot to do with being a character trait in humanity — depending on the personality of the person. Some people seem more able to speak up, some people don’t. All things being equal, what makes the difference? My guess is personality differences…some people are more blunt, some people more cautious.

“We have to stand up for what we believe in, even when we might not be popular for it. Honesty starts with being ourselves, authentic and true to who we are and what we believe in, and that may not always be popular, but it will always let you follow your dreams and your heart.”
— Tabatha Coffey