Praying in color 10-30-13

praying in color 10-30-13

I asked God, How do I know I’m on the right path? He said – as long as you are seeking me, you are on the right path.

Sometimes I’d like it if the pictures come out awesome. But it isn’t about the pictures. The drawing is a vehicle. It is a way of distracting my mind so I can get to the heart of God. It is kind of like when I take large pills. Sometimes I have a hard time swallowing them, and I’ll wiggle my hand off to the side. I do that to distract myself, so I can think about that instead of the fact that I think I’m going to choke.

Drawing distracts me, so I don’t really think about what I normally think about. It gives my hands something to do. If “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, keeping them busy means that God can get in and work, right?

There is something about drawing that just lets me know that this time isn’t like any other time, and it is time to open myself up. I set an intention and see what happens. Meanwhile, I draw whatever shapes and colors come to me to draw.

Sometimes it is about just showing up. I present myself and I try. I think God is there all the time, but I’m not always ready to receive. I find I have to make a space for God. It isn’t really a space for God, but a space for me to be available to God.


I’m trying something new. I’m trying to set aside every day as a time for God. I don’t mean that I’m trying to set aside a time for God every day. I mean that I’m trying to make the whole day a day for God.

This means that I’m trying to see everything and everyone as a messenger from God. I’m trying to welcome everything and everyone as divinely sent.

This isn’t easy. I forget a lot. And not everything and everyone is that great to meet. Some experiences are downright scary. Some are really boring.

But I’m still doing it. Every day, when I remember, I’m putting a line around the day. I’m standing inside that place, waiting for God. It is like cleaning your house, waiting for a guest to come.

I invite you to this practice. Set aside in your head every morning that today is a sacred day. Set aside the idea that this day is God’s day, and this day is special. It is like going on a retreat every day of your life. This way, everything has a special luster. Everything is a message. Everything has more meaning.

It makes you more alert, more interested. It means that you don’t take anything for granted. It means that you are waiting, lamp lit, for the Bridegroom to come.

Matthew 25:1-13.
(Jesus says) “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Strange advantages of your parents dying early.

There are some strange advantages to no longer having parents when you are an adult. There are some disadvantages, sure, but it isn’t all sad.

They can’t boss you around and tell you who you have to marry, what your wedding is going to be like, and how to raise your kids. You don’t have to hear from them about how you aren’t living up to their expectations. It is your life, to do with what you will.

You have to look out for yourself. Since you can’t move back in when you get fired or divorced, you have to plan ahead and save up. This may sound like a disadvantage but it isn’t. Nothing makes you have to be an adult like actually being on your own. If you are constantly using your parents as an ATM, you aren’t really an adult yet.

They can’t gossip about you and tell all of your embarrassing secrets to your dates and co-workers. Those terrible stories die with them.

You don’t have to divide your time between them and your children. Older parents and young children require a lot of work. They both are very dependent and at times helpless. You only have so much time and energy and money and it is hard to be in two places at once.

You don’t have to watch a formerly vibrant person decline into helplessness. There is nothing more tragic than seeing your college professor father slowly lose his mind because of Alzheimer’s. There is a certain sadness in seeing your formerly active and independent Mom reduced to spending her days in a hospital bed.

And lastly, it teaches you perspective. It teaches you that there are no guarantees in life. It teaches you that you better get it done now, because there might not be “next year” for that project. It teaches you to choose wisely and not waste your time because you realize how little of it you really have. And, it teaches you to not freak out about a lot of little things, because if you can survive on your own at a young age, then you can make it through anything.

God was with me the whole time my parents were sick. People may say “How come God let them die?” That is the wrong way to think. They died because of their choices. God didn’t kill them – they killed themselves by smoking cigarettes and eating poorly and not exercising. God sent me help and gave me the energy to take care of them and myself during that time. For some people, that experience would separate them from God. For me, it drew me closer. I came to see God as my parent. So ultimately, that too is an advantage. I switched from identifying with weak, temporal, physical parents, to a strong, eternal, spiritual parent.

Sure, I still miss my physical parents. Sure, I wish that they were able to meet my husband. I’d love if they could see how well I’m doing right now. In a way, I know that they can, because I believe in the afterlife. I believe that they are spirit now and know what is going on. I believe that they are connected with all things now and are not limited to their physical bodies. But it still hurts, and I’m still sad. But within that sadness I can see how in some ways I’ve missed a whole lot of other hurt and pain by them dying early.

Anxiety/pain – mental/physical connection

It turns out that a lot of the physical problems I have are caused by anxiety. Well, this isn’t according to regular health manuals. This is from people like Louise Hay and John Sarno. Arthritis in the neck, asthma, back pain – all are caused by anxiety, they say. This sounds a lot like blaming the victim.

I have a pretty strong suspicion that if I suddenly develop an anxiety-free life, I’ll still have asthma and arthritis in my neck and scoliosis. Of course, Louise Hay and her ilk would say my disbelief is what makes it so. It is the opposite of Jesus saying “Your faith has healed you.”

Let’s turn it all around. What if I have anxiety because I have these physical problems? What if being in pain and having a hard time breathing is a cause of anxiety? That seems to make more sense. What if my daily life being affected by my physical limitations is what causes anxiety?

I notice that none of these alternative healers have any suggestions as to how to reduce anxiety so my physical problems go away. This certainly sounds like an easy out for them. Point out how your reader has caused her own problems, and then don’t offer any solution. If they offer solutions that don’t work, then everybody will realize that they don’t know what they are talking about.

I had my own techniques to reduce anxiety when I was in college, but I had to quit. Pot is great for anxiety, but it isn’t something you can do for long. Being illegal is part of the problem. Smoking cigarettes is also relaxing, but it causes other problems that create anxiety, like cancer. Nothing like trying to alleviate anxiety with something that causes more anxiety.

Now I try to write, do yoga, and draw every day. Ideally, I’d make some jewelry too. These things help, but cramming them into my morning only seems to cause more anxiety. Sure, I could get up earlier, but then I’m shorting myself on sleep. Sleep is a critical building block of mental health.

So I think I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing and ignore these people who tell me my physical problems are all in my head but don’t tell me how to work on my mental problems. I certainly believe there is a connection. But perhaps you can fix mental problems by going at them physically. Perhaps my chiropractor adjusting my back and neck is healing me in ways I’ve never expected. Perhaps yoga and water aerobics burn off more than calories.