Friday, September 30, 2011

Who Died and Made YOU Judge?

I read a story this morning about a couple in Oregon who were just convicted of manslaughter because they had a child born two months prematurely and died when they failed to call for medical help. They did not seek medical help because the attend a church that believes in faith healing instead of using standard medical care. (To view full story, click here.)

The story struck a real nerve with me. While I do use the American medical system, I use it very sparingly. I'm not one who believes America has the best medical care in the world--just the most expensive. I'm very skeptical of the cut and poison practice currently in use. I will use alternative solutions first. Still if I were to go into labor two months early, I would have the baby in the hospital where they do have some procedures to increase the odds of survival. The question I had to ask myself was, is it okay to judge someone for their personal beliefs using your personal standards (or the standards of the majority)?

My next question becomes, do we really have religious freedom? Are we truly free to practice a religion that does not believe in the same standard of medical care as the majority? Can the government force us into medical treatment that we do not want and do not believe in? Children have been taken away from their parents because their parents sought alternative treatment for their child's cancer instead of the poisoning that occurs with chemotherapy. Is this truly in the child's best interest?

What about a religion that practices polygamy? Who gets to decide if this practice is okay? Not all polygamists force their underage daughters into polygamist marriages. Why is polygamy not okay? They aren't hurting you or anybody else.

Who gets to decide how you live your life? By whose standards are we judged? Man's? God's? Who died and made YOU judge?   

Thursday, September 29, 2011

If You Really Knew Me...

If you really knew me
It would not matter that my skin was white
Or black
Or brown
Or yellow
Or red
Or pink
Or blue with green polka dots.

If you really knew me
It would not matter that I drive a Mercedes-Benz
Or a beat up pickup truck with no air conditioning or radio.
You wouldn’t care if my home was a mansion
Or the alley behind the post office.
You would not care about the tattoos all over my body
Or the crew cut haircut I love to wear.

If you really knew me
It would not matter that I spoke English
Or Japanese
Or Hindi
Or Spanish
Or Swahili.

If you really knew me
You would not care that I was lazy,
Or an atheist,
Slept around,
Cheated on my taxes,
Stripped for a living,
Or shot up heroin.
You would not even care if I was a fundamentalist Christian
Or a radical Muslim. 

If you really knew me
You would understand that the anger and rage I take out on you
Is not about you.
It’s about me—my experiences,
My traumas,
My pains,
Being expressed in the only way I know how.

If you really knew me
You would acknowledge me for who I am—
A being full of light,
And love,
And joy!
You would see my perfection
And would not seek to change me
Or control me.
You would know my life journey is about
My own personal growth and evolution.

You would honor me,
Just as I honor you,
If you really knew me.

~Cindy Shippy Evans

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Coming Destruction

Destruction is coming. It's inevitable. The signs are all there--failing economies, shifting power, civil unrest. Religious leaders are proclaiming it from the rooftops. (Of course, they are also predicting an apocalypse of some magnitude where the "righteous" will be raised up and the "sinners" will be subjected to endless torment.) Society as it exists today--the life we have always depended upon--is no longer working. Breakdown is nature's way of rebalancing herself. Still, the prospect of destruction is scary. How will we cope when all those things we have come to rely on have collapsed on themselves? The unknown is often accompanied by some fear.

The thing to keep in mind about destruction is the fact that it is all part of the growth process. Destruction is what clears the space to make room for something new--hopefully something much better. Creation cannot occur without it.

Picture a giant redwood forest. The beauty of these magnificent trees takes your breath away. When you think about the possibility of them being destroyed by the fires that often sweep through their native California you cringe. However, the truth is redwood trees actually need fire. They have a built-in natural fire retardant. Fire burns away the undergrowth, allowing sunlight to reach lower parts of the trees as well as new seedlings. The destruction a fire brings to these old growth forest keeps those majestic giants alive and thriving. From the ashes, new life!

Destruction is a natural part of the life process. It is our choice to allow it to destroy us or to use it to clear out what is not working so that we have space to create something new and wonderful. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Believe In the Magic!

I remember being taken to see the movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" when I was a kid (yes, the original version) and being in total awe and delight of the fantastic imagery of Wonka's chocolate factory. It truly did seem like a place of fantasy where all your wildest dreams could suddenly come true. When we are kids, such things enthrall us because something deep inside speaks to us that magic is real. We know it with every fiber of our being. Then one day, we grow up and wonder how we could ever have been that simple and naive to believe in things so fantastic and unrealistic. We go on with our lives in the "real" world--very often lives of boredom and drudgery and unfulfilled dreams.

What if I were to tell you that the magic is real? That you could wave your wand over anything and everything in your life and it could be changed in an instant? Would you think I was crazy? Would you lock me away in the mental hospital?

The truth of the matter is, magic IS real! You can live a life of miraculous wonder and infinite abundance! The key to living such a life is to let go of all the limits you have placed on it about how the world is "supposed' to work and believe that anything is possible. Yes, you must believe in the magic! You must believe in the miraculous! You must trust the dreams in your heart so much that you are willing to see only them and not what the world tells you is true.

In religious terms, the concept is called faith. According to the Bible, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." (Heb. 11:1 KJV) Simply put, faith is that knowing in your heart that something exists, even when you have no physical evidence to support that claim at present.

Miracles happen every day. The miracles that present themselves in our lives occur because we believe--we have faith--that they can happen. When we limit our knowing, we limit the miracles that are allowed to occur in our lives. It's that simple. It's your choice.

So get over yourself and your limited belief system! Believe in miracles! Be willing to wave your magic wand and allow the magic to enter your life! Your life can change in an instant. All you have to do is believe!