Me in the Middle of Order, Disorder and Reorder

 

I had a Cancer Scare!

…….. And I need to write about that this week.

It all began a little over two months ago …….. out of the blue …… when life was going smoothly and all was well.  I’ve very few medical problems aside from some inevitable aging issues passed down the line among family members.

Order

ORDER

And then …….. there it was.  A sign that something was wrong and things were about to change.  What was going on!?!

stock-photo-uterus-or-uterine-cancer-medical-concept-as-cancerous-cells-in-a-female-body-attacking-the-218163580

Appointments were made and, one by one, tests began to return negative biopsies and hope started to settle in.  I was on the threshold of life where the outcome was uncertain ~ 75% chance of cancer in a woman my age.   Slowing down and getting myself prepared for any possibility was a process that took me deeper into the letting go of where I might be holding onto the past.  What did I most want to experience in my life at this time?  What have I not done that I still want to put into my life?  I recognized this process from times before when life threw me a curve ball and I was given a choice to stay stuck or take a leap.

““Order” must be deconstructed by the trials and vagaries of life. We must go through a period of “disorder” to grow up.”

Contemplation #2

DISORDER

The day of my surgery finally arrived last week.  Everything went well and then it was a time of waiting.  I would know in about a week what the results were.  I found myself ready to be in whatever place life put me.  I’d survived many things in this amazing life and I’d get through this too …….. even if it were cancer leading to death.  I would see this through.

“Only in the final “reorder” stage can darkness and light coexist, can paradox be okay. We are finally at home in the only world that ever existed. This is true and contemplative knowing. Here death is a part of life, failure is a part of victory, and imperfection is included in perfection. Opposites collide and unite; everything belongs.”

Change

REORDER

While I was going through the uncertainty and disorder of that waiting and not knowing, there was a openness to what’s next in my life once I know for sure what is going on.  Waiting was difficult!  When I returned home from the hospital I checked my messages and there was an email from someone who wanted to buy a print of one of my watercolor sketches that I did while in Ireland.  My thoughts right away shifted to this new possibility going forward.  No more procrastinating and letting opportunities slip away.  Who knows where this might lead?

01 Song of ireland Blog #1 #2

Watercolor Sketch by mlq

Then I read this daily meditation by Richard Rohr OFM which seemed perfectly timed for the long wait for the biopsy results, which by the way were NEGATIVE ……. BENIGN ……. NO CANCER!

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Order, Disorder, Reorder
Friday, July 14, 2017

First the fall, and then the recovery from the fall, and both are the mercy of God. —Julian of Norwich [1]

Whenever we’re led out of normalcy into sacred, open space, it’s going to feel like suffering, because it is letting go of what we’re used to. This is always painful at some level. But part of us has to die if we are ever to grow larger (John 12:24). If we’re not willing to let go and die to our small, false self, we won’t enter into any new or sacred space.

The role of the prophet is to lead us into sacred space by deconstructing the old space; the role of the priest is to teach us how to live fruitfully inside of sacred space. The prophet disconnects us from the false, and the priest reconnects us to The Real at ever larger and deeper levels. Unfortunately, most ministers might talk of new realms but rarely lead us out of the old realm where we are still largely trapped and addicted. So not much genuinely new happens.

I see transformation and change occurring in three stages: order > disorder > reorder.

A sense of order is the easiest and most natural way to begin; it is a needed first “container.” But this structure is dangerous if we stay in its safe confines too long. It is small and self-serving. It doesn’t know the full picture, but it thinks it does. “Order” must be deconstructed by the trials and vagaries of life. We must go through a period of “disorder” to grow up.

Only in the final “reorder” stage can darkness and light coexist, can paradox be okay. We are finally at home in the only world that ever existed. This is true and contemplative knowing. Here death is a part of life, failure is a part of victory, and imperfection is included in perfection. Opposites collide and unite; everything belongs.

We dare not get rid of our pain before we have learned what it has to teach us. Most of religion gives answers too quickly, dismisses pain too easily, and seeks to be distracted—to maintain some ideal order. So we must resist the instant fix and acknowledge ourselves as beginners to be open to true transformation. In the great spiritual traditions, the wounds to our ego are our teachers and are to be welcomed. They should be paid attention to, not denied or even perfectly resolved. How can a Christian look at the Crucified One and not understand this essential point?
The Resurrected Christ is the icon of reorder. Once we can learn to live in this third spacious place, neither fighting nor fleeing reality but holding the creative tension, we are in the spacious place of grace out of which all newness comes. God is now in charge, not us.

There is no direct flight from order to reorder. You must go through disorder, which is surely why Jesus dramatically and shockingly endured it on the cross. He knew we would all want to deny necessary suffering unless he made it overwhelmingly clear.

Gateway to Silence:
Build on the positive; build on love.

Images from Pixabay 

Me in the Middle of School Lunches

One-Inch Picture Frame (1)

School Lunches

While looking for a new inspiration in my posts.  I picked up Anne Lamott’s book ~ Bird by Bird ~ “Some Instructions on Writing and Life”.  One idea she had was to write short assignments ~ about as much as you can see through a One-Inch Picture Frame

My first short assignment was writing for five minutes about as much as I can see looking through a one-inch picture frame of school lunches at my parochial school during the early fifties:

School lunch #2

The first five minutes of writing got me started ……………………

As I look into the one-inch picture frame of my memory of parochial school lunches in the early fifties, there isn’t much to see.  Just me …. sitting at a long lunch table in the old auditorium.  I can’t see who the classmates are that I’m sitting with.  My table is the first one near the door and I’m facing 3 or 4 more rows of tables filled with noisy kids eating their lunch.

We kept our coats and lunches in the cloakroom near the auditorium…. no lockers …. just hooks for our coats and a shelf above for our lunches.  I didn’t have a lunch box and my mother packed our sandwich in a brown paper bag.

(That’s about five minutes of writing …… 😀 ……… so I kept going for a half hour as my memory prodded me.)

There were no refrigerators so usually we carried cream cheese and jelly,  PB&J,  cheese slices w/ mustard, sliced tomato with  one leaf of lettuce and mayo, liverwurst or bologna sandwiches.  Everyone’s sandwich was made with white Wonder bread and you were weird if you had whole grain wheat, pumpernickel or rye.   My sandwich was usually flattened and mushed by the time I got to eat it.  Saran Wrap was just becoming popular in the early 50’s so my mother was still using waxed paper to wrap our sandwiches and without the cling factor they didn’t always travel well from home to school. There were a few kids that brought soup in a thermos.  Ugh!  😦  Snacks were an apple, banana or hard-boiled egg.  The auditorium kitchen sold us 1/2 pint cartons of milk.

The Mother’s Guild (mine included) would help out with supervising the kids .  We didn’t have cafeteria style lunches back then when I was around 10 years old.  The auditorium still had an old stage where they used to have class plays and events.  It was no longer used and all events were held in the church hall which was next door to the parochial school.  One of the nuns told us that the old stage in our auditorium had a pit behind the curtain where all the bad kids were thrown into.  I think even back then I was a bit of a skeptic and I didn’t really believe her.  😉

After lunch we were filed out into the schoolyard for recess time.  A few lucky kids were chosen to sell snacks to the rest of us.  They carried them around in a flat cardboard container that looked like the cover of a box.   I remember wanting to be chosen to do that and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to give change correctly.  The rest of us would bring our jump ropes, rubber balls, yoyos and trading cards outside with us until the lunch hour was over.

One of the nuns would then signal that it was time to line up again to go inside to the classroom.  Everyone would get in line and became real quiet.  Then we’d wait for the sound of the clicker to begin the march inside.

Clicker

 

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“………. tell me about school lunches …… at parochial schools, private schools, twenty years earlier than mine, or ten years later, in Southern California or New York.  And they always turn out to be similar to my middle-class Northern California public school lunches.  But in important ways they are different, too, and this is even more interesting, for the obvious reason that when we study the differences, we see in bolder relief what we have in common”  ~ Anne Lamott ~

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~ Any thoughts on your school lunch experience?  I’d love to read them in the comments below! ~

 

 

*Images from Pixabay*

Me in the Middle of a One-Inch Picture Frame

One-Inch Picture Frame (1)

I have an idea!

While looking for a new inspiration in my posts.  I picked up Anne Lamott’s book ~ Bird by Bird ~ “Some Instructions on Writing and Life”.  One idea she had was to write short assignments ~ about as much as you can see through a one-inch picture frame.

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“It reminds me that all I have to do is to write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame.  This is all I have to bite off for the time being.  All I’m going to do right now, for example, is to write that one paragraph that sets the story in my hometown, in the late fifties, when the trains were still running.  I’m going to paint a picture of it, in words ………………”

Anne Lamott

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Writing is a new past-time for me in the recent years.  In the past, I’ve sat down to write for a class assignment, create an essay here and there or send off a Letter to the Editor now and then.  Life kept me very busy and many experiences took priority over really delving into the art of writing.

Pixabay A Story

Creating this blog a few years back really got me motivated.  I set out to write my story with the main focus being my journey through a particular event that altered my life, for better and worse.  Then I got hooked on blogging and have kept up with a post every week.

My blogger friends will all agree that keeping the ideas flowing and creating a daily or weekly post isn’t always easy.  So my idea is to follow Anne’s advice.  My intent is to write short essays about my growing up years, beginning with looking through a one-inch picture frame.  It should be fun!

My first short assignment will be writing for five minutes about as much as I can see looking through a one-inch picture frame of school lunches at my parochial school during the early fifties.

~ To Be Continued Next Week ~

 

 

Me in the Middle hoping for the ‘United’ States of America: Conservative vs. Liberal Beliefs

What better day to share this!
So many of us find ourselves ‘in the middle’ of the political spectrum and frustratingly paralyzed by the polarizing, non-compromising left/right ends of the political spectrum. Somehow we need to rise above this and truly become the United States of America forming a more perfect union.

“NOTE: The terms “left” and “right” define opposite ends of the political spectrum. In the United States, liberals are referred to as the left or left-wing and conservatives are referred to as the right or right-wing. On the U.S. political map, blue represents the Democratic Party (which generally upholds liberal principles) and red represents the Republican party (which generally upholds conservative principles).”

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IVN Evolve

Image from IVN (Independent Voter)

The happy Quitter!

Image result for conservative or liberal

Much has been said during the last election and it left many confused. Who stands for WHAT and WHY is a question kids often ask and how does one explain it all?

Here it is, brilliantly explained by the StudentNewsDaily.com!

We all want the same things in life. We want freedom; we want the chance for prosperity; we want as few people suffering as possible; we want healthy children; we want to have crime-free streets. The argument is how to achieve them…

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Me in the Middle of Kindness Challenge Finale

 

Kindness is a Muscle

Over the past seven weeks of the Kindness Challenge 2017, my thoughts have turned to the power of kindness as the foundation for bringing change to our lives, our country and our world.  I’ve found that it’s true that Kindness is Contagious and that kindness grows stronger the more we focus on the goodness of people.  Kindness is a Muscle!

My Grand Finale Reflection on Kindness Challenge 2017 brought to mind each of the weekly prompts for the seven weeks.  The first three weeks were as important as the last four prompts.  Maybe even more important in that it helped us to realize that kindness towards ourselves through self-love, self-compassion and self-acceptance help us to reach out to others with love, compassion and acceptance.

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365195-Buddha-Quote-As-rain-falls-equally-on-the-just-and-the-unjust-do

These are a few of the Kindness bloggers I met over the last seven weeks.  I chose the posts randomly based on the first one I came across that inspired me about each week’s prompt.  I decided to stick with Word Press Bloggers to narrow it down more.  Reading all of the participants reflections on kindness has inspired me even more to look for the many ways kindness moves through our lives:

Dramastically Imperfect ~ Self-Love Week One

Julia ~ Self-Compassion Week Two

This Mommy is Real ~ Self-Acceptance Week Three

Positively Appealing ~ Kindness Role Models Week Four

Lulu ~ Choosing Kindness Week Five

Me Revealed ~ Kindness Without Expectation Week Six

Wanda ~ Grateful for Kindness Week Seven

Kindness Challenge Participant

Click here for all of my Kindness Challenge Reflections