One of my favorite stories is of the Native American grandfather who was sitting with his grandson. The old man said, "I have two wolves in me. A good one and a bad one." The boy said, "Which one is going to win?" The old man said, "The one I feed."
Pope Francis named the truth behind this beautifully today as he spoke to Congress:
"We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place."
He went on to call the voice of faith the voice of love "which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society." That starts with each of us seeking to bring forth the best from within ourselves. That begins with truly valuing our desire to love and be loved. Being made in the image of God, that is our core, for God is Love.
More power to you in feeding the great in you and going after life from there!
Thanks for journeying together!
This is Ginger. The 10 year-old mutant guinea pig that’s impersonating a dog at our house.
The significance of the picture is the time; about 3 AM during a storm. I took it years ago but we went through the same routine this week. She will not sleep in our bedroom during a storm. She might sleep in the basement (50/50 chance if the thunder is quiet enough). Just when we think we have a technique that is working (herbs, lights, noisemakers, drugs!) a new night, a new storm and a newly terrified Ginger can throw a wrench in the best laid plans. So now, after years of trying to figure out what will get her to sleep, I focus on loving her when it's my turn for Ginger babysitting. I still hope for sleep, but I've learned that expectations tend to undermine my ability to love -- and I never want to fail to love her. Expressing anger toward her makes me feel bad inside, and I know she doesn't like it either. Her heart is pure even though it is easily terrified. So when anger comes as hopes and expectations aren't met I practice the rest that works, seeking to settle back into my desire to love her unconditionally. It always feels better to get there even if I don't get much sleep. Thanks Ginger, you're a great teacher.
More power to you in moving past barriers to your best self and getting to loving.
The goal of religion and spirituality in general should be working on our part of God’s Web of Love. Each of us is working a strand. In fact, we are strands. Claiming that helps me a lot. It helps me take that all-important step of resting in my deeper identity, ultimately not drawn from me or my abilities, but Our Creator's Love. I have found that being true to the Love in me – the Breath of the Living God in each of us – is my most wonderful and ultimately light-hearted work. Thanks for the ways we are working and playing together – like encouraging each other through blogs and on Facebook.
Have a great day!
Our greatness lies in our capacity to love. It comes from God - the Being of Pre-conditional Love Undergirding Everything. The purpose of religion is to improve and expand our connection with God and others in love. Unfortunately, judgments often create walls where religion should be opening doors.
The word "religion" comes from "religare" which means to connect or tie together. It doesn't mean to tie up in bondage, but to connect through freely chosen, strong bonds of love.
Whether you participate in a religion or not, more power to you in connecting with the Living God and others in love. That's what makes life great and it's what the rest that works is all about.
I was in the bathroom at Menards the other day when a man came up to the sink, waved his hands underneath and was clearly frustrated when it didn’t come on. Realizing it was an old faucet without a sensor, he flipped the handle, washed his hands and left – water still running, handle up in conscious or unconscious protest.
I laughed to myself after washing my hands and turning the water off. I often probably act in a similar fashion. I like things the way I like them, old or new, and protest when people mess with my comfort zones and expectations. My first inclinations tend to be pretty judgmental, especially now as things are changing so quickly.
Social structures and norms are changing like technology. What’s a faithful, loving person to do? The answer may be simpler than we tend to think: Maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to get caught up in debates on structure. Structure is much like plumbing. If God is Love (which the Living God is), the Holy, Healing Spirit will show up through focusing on what helps the flow of life-giving love, starting with the well-spring within us.
Jesus was a master at getting to loving. He knew that things always start with the heart. He also knew that each person must take responsibility for what is happening in theirs. It’s why he spoke of his way and truth as a lifestyle of developing a well-spring of “living water” from within (John 4:7-26). It’s no coincidence that his description of that was at a well with a Samaritan woman – someone Jews would have pre-judged as unworthy in every way. He came to rest with her in honest but compassionate love first and worked creatively from there, redeeming her and changing the context social judgments had created.
The measure we give is the measure we get within as well as without. Getting to loving on the inside precedes really getting to loving on the outside. Whenever we sense that love isn’t flowing within us, let’s move past that first inclination to judge ourselves and others, dig deeper, come to rest at the well-spring of God’s Love giving us life and get to loving as an active movement of spirit. The steps of the rest that works help us do that (blog from 8/26/2015 Making a Home with the Living God).
Some correction in plumbing may be needed here and there, but always with goal of helping and not hindering the flow of God’s life-giving Love. Testing the flow of love tells us what is working and what is not (as do our feelings). We always feel better deep down inside when we know we are truly being about love.
More power to you with your well-spring and thanks for journeying together!
There’s an old saying: “Success is the best deodorant.” In like fashion, when there is a deep current of love moving through us we don’t get hung up on the stinky little things of life. The current gives us the energy, wisdom and desire to deal creatively with the things that need attention and dismiss those that don’t.
The rest that works is a way to let God lead you back into the current of Divine Love undergirding you. It is a way to settle into unconditional love like a branch in a vine. Life is so much better when we do that. It brings out the best fragrances of life because it nurtures the gardens in our hearts.
More power to you in your adventure with God. Thanks for journeying together.
Another way of thinking about unconditional love is pre-conditional love -- love and respect that is offered to people and all beings before conditions. Conditions don't have to be met before the love is offered. This is the kind of love God offers us. It's the love that created and sustains us. As we face some complex issues, let's first try to make sure that we are receiving and offering God's pre-conditional love. That's what makes the most difference inside us and around us.
Paul outlined how to bring our attempts to love into alignment with God's Love:
13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13).
More power to you in loving with God. Thanks for journeying together.