The Power to Be

We can only be what we give ourselves the power to be. “

— Native American Proverb.
Give yourself some power today. And tomorrow. And every day for the rest of your entire life. You have power whether you realize it or not. Don’t give it away. Let it fill you. Be the power and let the power be you.
If you think, “easier said than done” that’s fine. Just keep telling yourself this. Sooner or later you’ll believe it! You’ll become this power. It’s the power of your being shining through to express itself.


Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.
This is a famous quote from the novel and movieLove Story” by Erich Segal.  How do you feel about this quote? Is it true? Is it not true? It begs a discussion about what love means and the value of apologizing.
Well, you could say that it only means something in context of the novel that the quote came from. But I disagree with it. Saying sorry is very important, whether you love the person or not. The actual quote is “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” and I emphatically do not believe that that is “what love means”
Love is soooo many things — it can be tough, kind, cruel, compassionate, nurturing. It is a feeling, an attitude, an action. It is commitment in tough times. It is gratitude in easy times. It embraces a person’s gifts but more importantly in embraces a person’s faults. To love is to know the *whole* person — the good, the bad, and the ugly !!!
I had to learn more about love the hard way — that it is not about sex at all or what the guy can do for me (in my teens and 20’s I had a very skewed idea of what love meant). Thanks to age, maturity, wisdom, experience — I am changed and my definition and ability to love has accordingly changed. I hope to always live up to the best of what LOVE in the grandest sense offers. I love being better able to see the whole person and accept them as a complete individual.
Also: people who can’t or won’t or think they don’t have to apologize suffer from a personality disorder. Apologizing — showing remorse and regret — is a fundamental human trait. It shows that we connect with another person’s feelings and understand that we have wounded them. We are at our fullest as human beings when we can understand another person’s perspective and feelings.
John Lennon said: “Love means having to say sorry every 15 minutes.”
Apologizing doesn’t mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means that your relationship with the person is more important to  you than your own ego.

The Wonder of Unexpected Kindness

“I think we must surrender the despair of unexpected cruelty and extend the wonder of unexpected kindnesses to ourselves and to each other.”
– Maya Angelou

I think we all find this difficult to do. Especially people who suffer from severe depression and self-image issues. I think people find it easier to be kind to others and not so much kind to themselves.

How do we be kind to ourselves? How do we believe in ourselves? Others can tell us all they want how beautiful we are, how special we are, how wonderful we are — but if you have a severe self-image problem, no amount of words will ever make it better.

I don’t know how to make this all better — how to convince someone to feel better about themselves. Or how to feel better about myself. It’s impossible. If someone has a solution….please let me know!!!

Being Gay is No Big Deal

Anne Hathaway discusses her attitude about homosexuality, her brother, and gay marriage.

I sooooo agree with her. Why is is “brave” to come out as a decent, loving, accepting human being? It’s not “brave” to openly love one’s brother or sister, son or daughter, mother or father, friend or fellow human being.

You can make the argument that Christianity forbids engaging in homosexual love. It’s true — it does. No getting around that. The Old Testament is pretty clear about that.  BUT. It does not forbid its followers from loving, accepting or being decent to them.  God loves and accepts and asks us to do the same. It is not up to us imperfect humans to judge another’s imperfections, choices, inclinations, leanings or makeup (sexual, personality, etc or otherwise).

You might wonder why I, as a non-Christian, address this meme and issue with references to God, the Bible and Christianity. I think it’s because as a UU we do accept Christianity as a religious source. Plus, I’d prefer to discuss religious objections to homosexuality within the context of that particular religion. (And I do have an advantage of having been raised within Episcopalianism growing up) UU itself has no issue at all with a person’s sexuality.  Also, when I write the word “God” there’s always this translation in my head from “God” to “Universe” or “Spirit of Life.” When I hear a Christian/Jew/Muslim say the word “God” I do a similar translation.

Is Kim Davis brave? Yeah. I don’t agree with her at all. But I guess she is “brave” in the same way. She stood up for her beliefs, she took a lot of criticism, she has endured being the most hated woman in the US. (Currently. That could change 5 minutes from now!!!!) I’m certainly NOT crazy about her at all. I don’t despise her, I don’t have anger towards her.  I certainly DO NOT HAVE much sympathy for her. But the UU in me respects her dignity and right to conscious as a human being — even as I’ll contend she needs to step down from her job if she finds she is unable to perform the duties her job asks her to do.  I fail to understand why she does not accept our Constitution’s separation of church and state. Her religious beliefs should not interfere with her performance of her public duty.

Which calls to mind Ben Carson’s statement that he thinks a Muslim cannot or should not be the President of the United States…. which is probably another blog post!

Votives and Votive Figurines

ceramic votive figurine
Small votive figurine in the Upper Paleolithic Style. This one contains a small bowl like indentation which serves as a receptacle for a food, drink, or herbal offering. Artist: Frances Osborne

A votive  is offered, given, or dedicated in accordance with a vow. A vow is a solemn promise, an engagement solemnly entered into, an oath made to God, a promise to follow out some line of conduct or to devote yourself to some act or service.

What is the purpose of a votive figure? A votive figurine is a offering to a deity, an abstract representation. These statues embody the very essence of the worshiper so that the spirit would be present when the physical body was not. Votive figures were made as an act of worship to the gods and placed in a shrine before the image of the god.  For some people, the purpose of these votive figures was to offer constant prayers to the gods in behalf of the believer, so that the believer could go about his or her daily business and the votive figurine worked in their place.

A small earthenware votive figurine in the Upper Paleolithic Style. Artist: Frances Osborne.

For others, perhaps these figurines represented the spirit of the thing or deity. A deer figurine might house the spirit of deer and be prayed to for good hunting.  Some might be made in such a ways as to be a receptacle for a food, drink or incense offering.

A votive figure can serve as a focal point of your altar and your service to the divine spirit, the Universe or higher purpose (your ethics and morals, for example). They are reminders to you, a way of remembering to be be mindful of what is important in life.

“Potter’s Clay” by Faithbook for Him (source)

One piece at a time, the Potter uncovered the pieces of clay.
They were scattered on the ground from where He gently lifted them.
As He began to speak the designs that He would make,
The broken clay transformed into its new shape.

For more examples of little votive figurines, click here

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.

Lord of Thunder

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”
— Langston Hughes
Yes, the rain does kiss me and sings me a song —
But it is the thunder that beats my head.
The rain soothes and makes sleepy,
but the drumfire of the storm incites my heart.
Why, O Lord of Thunder, are you here?
Do not speak to me — I do not wish to hear you!
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

What in your life is calling you?

What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself
in the dark forest,
what still pulls on your soul?

In the silence between your heartbeats
hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Name it, if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it is not there?

Terma Collective

Source: “The Box” ~ Terma Collective, The Box ~