A Little Learning Goes a Long Way

What we thought we knew . . .

Evolution of our planet seems to be happening at warp speed, and in a sense, it very likely is.

I was thinking back on my own life and the values people held vs. the values we hold today. People, families especially, seemed to be one of the most important values any of us had. We had just come out of one war, and would soon enter another one, and then still another one through my own lifetime.

I have been mourning the loss of what once seemed it would last forever. Those long summer nights when we children could play safely out in the neighborhood streets and parents never had to worry about where we were, or whether we might perhaps become victims of human trafficking. The thing we played with first and foremost was using our minds to create fantasies such pretend forts or capture of the enemies, or “Red Rover.” Then we had boxes, which played a multitude of roles. Bicycles and skates and going swimming in the summer were big thrilling activities. And at Christmas, we got such simple but yet such beloved gifts – a B B gun for boys, or perhaps a new collectible doll for a girl.

TV was new and it was a thing that was already changing the family sitting down together for dinnertime. Instead, people sat around with TV trays, ate TV dinners, and no one was sharing the events of the day. I remember the family sitting around the TV, entranced by the amazing wonder of the Test Pattern. Families had only black and white, and I think it was later in my life when color TV came into being.- It was the age of “things.”

Young people called Marijuana “Mary Jane,” and in our youth we avoided those people as bad people. Getting high meant taking an aspirin and swallowing it with Coca Cola, and then spinning around until we fell down. We went to school and had really healthy lunches, and no one had to be shamed if they did not have one. They just got in line with everyone else and got a filling lunch. Teachers could make us write something on the board 100 times if we were bad, or have us sit in the corner with a Dunce Hat, or chewing gum on our noses. And they could even hit our hands if we did something wrong (or use paddles on our bums). And if we did something unthinkable like throwing spitballs, we might get sent to the dreaded office. That meant our parents would be notified, and we might even get “grounded.”

But things were changing. Parents didn’t talk about marital problems such as domestic violence or abuse of children. No one went to a psychologist; it was the psychiatrists who dealt with problems based on strange theories that not many understood. Only society’s very well-to-do went to them. Women really did not talk to each other about things that were private to their families. Perhaps some families went to their priests or their pastors, but we never heard or read about those things.

Suddenly, people were going to Space, and just as suddenly, we were frightened of nuclear power. Families everywhere were building bomb shelters, and we endlessly practiced in school how to duck under our desks in the event of a bomb. Suddenly your next door neighbors you had known for years were suspicious of you and not open to having you see the insides of their bomb shelters. There were these people called Communists, and we did not exactly know who they were, but they were people to be feared. More and more people were identified as those horrible Communists, and then they had to face having hearings on TV, that place we had once thought something so simple and so fun. Now it was full of things no one really understood, and they spoke of those people in whispers within a family, but not shared outside. We really did not know WHO to trust anymore.

And today, here we sit, almost with the same amount of fear of things not seen, but believed. Things we cannot understand, so we fear those things. And suddenly we are grasping to hold onto things that make about as much sense as ducking under our desks or building bomb shelters.

Life is moving way too fast with way too many things going on all at once, bombarding our senses as they did before, but now with warp speed unseen in our lifetimes. One day we hear a scary word that none of us understand and the next day it is killing people all over the world. Should we hide under our desks, fear everyone anywhere near us, or perhaps even kill them because they have more of something they believe will save them than we do?

Will we ever see life as it once was again, or was it simply that we we never really learned anything of lasting value in the time we have been here? How far will a little learning take us?

As the World Turns

I think this speaks for itself.

Driving across the Arizona desert, I became aware of how immense our universe (outside of ourselves) really is. As I looked out across the immense open space, I saw all manner of mountains, and all colors of land rising up out of the earth. It was strange to imagine how one mountain arose from the earth, smooth and slowly rising, while one practically next to it seemed to have blown up right out of the earth, forming strange shapes and sometimes very sharp features. I can imagine the earth, as it was turning, bubbling and erupting and spinning wildly, but in such a way that various forms of life began to also come forth, or perhaps they came from somewhere else, finally finding a planet that was life friendly, and so cells of living creatures fell upon the earth like a form of rain, taking hold wherever they fell. Perhaps we will never really know the big story in this lifetime, but whatever it was, or however it was formed, was nothing short of a miracle.

In the same way, I think about us as human beings. Two cells, or a sperm and an egg, somehow come together and begin to form the most complex living creature. Not only does this creature have a mind that directs all the parts of what is inside of it, but every single part of this human body has a specific job, and despite the unique differences of each and every part, they all manage to function together to manage this “universe” within.

My brother once told me when he was talking about his TBI from Vietnam, that the brain is another universe all of its own. He told me that when any part of the body is injured, the brain gives the command for the troops (so to speak) to get to the part and help it. But when the brain itself gets injured (and again, it is what my brother’s doctor told him, so I cannot verify that it is true), the brain cannot help itself.

So I have been thinking about the human brain and how it functions regarding how it manages to take care of the whole universe within, but at the same time, can turn against this thing and that thing outside itself. It accepts the uniqueness and the importance and sacred aspect of the universe inside, but it raises up in defiance against that which is not like it in some manner, be it skin color, culture, religious or political beliefs. And yet, at the same time it can suddenly decide to relate to and even love, something that is decidedly different from itself in one or more of the ways previously mentioned.

I used to think I knew the answers. I used to think that life was relatively simple. Just do whatever you are intended to do and everything will be fine. And perhaps, as the world turns, it will be. Perhaps that universe outside and inside changes every instant in mysterious ways as the world turns.

Cycle of Life II

Milkweed plants one week after being devoured by Monarch Caterpillars

I could not believe my eyes when a week after the Monarch Caterpillars totally ate every single leave of the two plants that have also propagated themselves in several other places in the yard, and within one week, they have all come back, bigger and fatter leaves than before.

Sometimes we just need to believe that this old world will continue as it has been doing for thousands of years. Yes, I am not so naive as to believe that we do not have things like climate and environmental changes that are affecting the world. I am sure that some of the things have been happening since the beginning. I believe most sincerely that many changes in cultures have taken place because of the inability of human beings to adjust to the changes successfully. Some of the changes I am not certain humans could have adapted to very successfully such as the ice ages that took place, or perhaps the plagues. But at the same time, mankind DID in fact exist before AND after those things, so perhaps it was an accident that they survived, and perhaps they adapted more than we think they did.

Today a lot of psychology is used to convince us of this potential thing or the other thing, much as the whole world was set to collapse with the coming of the year 2000, is about to happen to us and there are more books and talks, etc. by all kinds of people telling us what we need to do to survive. And of course it IS fully possible that this thing or that thing could cause total destruction of our world at any given time, but the truth is if that happens, I don’t think we need to worry about it anymore.

If, like the cycle of life that I witnessed in my Milkweed plants, this old world goes on, why not just continue to do what makes sense and stop worrying about destruction or the rest of the “what if’s”. When and if they happen, we will deal with them as we need to then, and we will hopefully learn from our mistakes. There is really no guarantee either way.

Enjoy the moment. Appreciate the air we breathe. Look for the beauty all around us. Find miracles in the everyday events. Remember not to always worry about tomorrow because the reality is that when tomorrow comes, it will also be today. Tomorrow is just a way to avoid being fully alive today. Trust, because trust really is something that can benefit us all. I am glad I trusted those caterpillars eating the Milkweed plants and gave the world a chance to do what it does best. Someday I know those Monarch butterflies will show up, and when they do I will be glad that I gave the world and myself this gift.

Change the Way You See Things

In this world, we tend to see things according to what we are taught, or by things we think we know because we have seen them with our eyes. But our senses are not always giving us the whole picture, or the correct picture. A lot of times we are afraid as adults of many things that don’t make any sense at all. We are afraid of others we do not know, especially if they are not the same color as we are, or they don’t speak the same language. We fail to see that they are human beings just as we are, and with the same fears and dreams and hopes, the basically same ways of relating to the earth that we do, or perhaps different, but they are still human beings as we are.

We all arrived on this earth by some factor beyond any of us. Whether it was God or Gods or some ancient power we may not understand in this lifetime, we all arrived here. That means that we are all meant to be here, and each of the cultures has its own area where it has chosen to live. We fight over property perhaps because it is rich in resources that we think we need. We don’t try to invent new technologies or new products that don’t require those resources. Instead, different cultures in the world attempt to show how powerful they are and how they can destroy any other cultures in the world. But is it altogether possible that without these other cultures, the aggressor culture will not survive for long? Is it possible that each culture helps to create a balance in nature by caring for a different part of the earth? Is it possible that even the very air we breathe is affected by the different cultures and helps to create another balance that is critical to all those who live on this earth?

We fight over the earth’s properties and resources instead of working together to get to other planets to discover what resources might be available there. Are we even intended to go to other planets, or is it our responsibility to learn how to live together on this one first? Is it possible that there are cultures living on the others also trying to learn how to live together? It is so strange because there is so much uninhabited land here on earth that could well be considered and perhaps utilized for living. And there are ample resources available to feed all the people on this plane if we all worked together.

Perhaps indeed, we are not so afraid of the darkness as we are of the light.

Ingredients for Peace

Make Peace, Not War by Anne Copeland

It really isn’t a difficult recipe. In fact, it is probably easier than a recipe for making bread.

Ingredients: Respect, Dignity, Peace of Mind, Liberty for ALL, and throw in Cooperation, Understanding, Open-mindedness, Oneness, and perhaps Sharing. Can you think of any others? Why should these things be so difficult? How could we make them easier for everyone everywhere?

I would love to hear your ideas on how we could bring peace throughout the world while retaining who we all are. Is it possible or a dream that can never happen?

A New Day Dawning . . .

Our Evolving Relationship with God

I have been transforming my relationship with God or The One over the past year, and I have given this beautiful statement from Richard Rohr a lot of thought for its truth. I have become aware of how everything in the universe is sacred and it was provided for us to give us everything we could need or want for nourishment, for thirst, and for protection from the elements if we but make it our purpose to look for it and use it wisely. I have become aware of how there are many, many forms of humankind on this earth, and we were put here so that we could all learn how to get along, and to help this good earth to continue to survive.

I love this little piece of writing because it rings true for us all, and offers us a way to what spirituality or religion is intended to be. These days when I have to end the life of a bug or I cut a rose, or perhaps fail to appreciate so-called weeds of the earth, I stop myself and think about it, and suddenly I can see the beauty that surrounds us in its many forms. We have derived words that devalue even the nature of creatures and plants that were put on this earth for a reason.

Now I spend time each day meditating on all of these things and so much more that is related to my relationship with God and with the universe. Things look different for I am changed too.

The Butterfly and the Circle

Circling Butterflies by Anne

Both the butterfly and the circle carry much positive symbolism. And for me, these symbols are especially meaningful. The little caterpillar moves carefully along branches and twigs, filling itself with green leaves and perhaps flowers, and being careful not to fall or get caught in a spider’s web. Generally speaking, the caterpillar has no real defense system, and it is vulnerable to everything around it from the moment it develops from an egg.

But then it begins to build a cocoon, surrounding itself and closing out all that it has known in its brief life. And in this time, it spends in a form of meditation and growth. After a set amount of time, it begins to beat its newly formed wings (a symbol of its transformation) until it is able to slowly release itself from the cocoon. It is no longer in any sense a caterpillar. This newly transformed creature now seeks the nectar of the most beautiful flowers. Its new-found freedom enables it to travel to new locations, even those far away from where it started its life. It has no fear of going where it has never been before. Often a group of butterflies will begin to circle higher and higher into the sky.

Ancient people throughout the world recognized the circle as a symbol of infinity, and of being whole and complete. Spiritual and Religious cultures recognize the circle as a symbol of the female and the feminine energy , and especially of Mother Earth. It represents a fertile and sacred space. In the U.K. and other countries, there are many circles of stones.

The circle also represents a cycle that can be the cycle of life, death and rebirth. It can represent being complete and whole as well. For the Celtics, the circle was a sign of protection, and may be the reason that many early fortresses, temples, crosses and other sacred things were in a circular shape or contained circular motifs. The circle is found in many other cultures and countries throughout the world as well.

As I have noted, my art often contains images or symbols that are sacred to me. The cycle of life, and of completion belongs with the butterfly and its life cycle and my own life.