A JOVIAL PAUSE

A Jovial Pause

 


Today’s word is JOVIAL—a word that always inspires my smile and calls me to embrace a lifted exuberance of spirit. Jovial means joyful, playful, cheerful, friendly, jolly…. Jovial is a very agreeable description for someone enjoying a happy time. It would be really disjointed for a jovial person to be depressed. A jovial soul is in love with the moment and carries me into his attitude just by choosing to be jovial.
A jovial person brings gusto to wherever he/she is. Joyous humor and a spirit of good-fellowship characterize a jovial enthusiast. Jovialness is the noun we use to define a convivial mirth, a merriment, an agreeable, good- humor-filled occasion.
Sometimes the word, “jovial” is confused with the words “jocose”, “jocular” and “jocund”. Each word contains unique nuances. A “jocose” person is one who is promoting laughter in others, given to joking and being somewhat silly, comical. A “jocular” person is humorous, facetious, and kind of “in your face” with their presentation. “Jocund” is a literary word describing a cheerful, light-heartedly glad person. These words are somewhat the same, but oh, so different.
I’ve learned, in my love for words, that there often exists a preferred or better word for what I want to write and how I choose to speak. I can have a skip in my step as I incubate a fun plan in my head and be jocund. When I’m contagious with joy and laughter, I experience myself as jovial. Jovialness is one of my favorite modes of self-expression, because, for me, it can’t be faked. I can be a deeply unhappy soul with a jocose façade, but jovial can’t describe me unless I’m authentically experiencing jovialness. I convey humor through outrageous drama and sarcasm when I choose jocular modes of expressing myself. My favorite self, at the appropriate moments, is jovial.
Words so similar, yet with nuances that separate how I truly feel and what I show to the world outside of me.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wishing you a jovial week,

With joy and a smile,
Carol

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Inspiration

INSPIRATION

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One of my very favorite words of all time is the word, “Inspiration.” Inspiration connects me to good, love, and possibility; to creativity, imagination, intuition, and spirit; to miraculous innovation, divine guidance, and illuminated, enthusiastic thoughts and feelings. Inspiration is the word, thought, and feeling that lifts me to soaring at 30,000 feet. It gifts me invention, solution, joy and original ideology that bless my life in countless ways. Inspiration is the benison of my being—Thank you, God!


Inspiration is the way of being that connects my outside, in the world, way of being and doing, and my inside authentic way of seeing grace, beauty and possibility. My outside persona may be joyful, fun, creative, or compassionate—whatever I’m choosing to be on any given day. Inside myself there is an inner world of imagination and intuition, an authenticity that is sourced from the goodness, light and love that created all being. When I connect my outer joy to the love I am through the conduit of choosing to be inspired, I am the complete expression of who I have chosen to be. From that chosen expression of self, I create abundant vision for creation of what it is I choose to vision. I give thanks, happy dance, and sing. Amen! And, so it is.

 


Inspiration is the flame of the Holy Spirit. It fuels the wells of imagination, one of the greatest sources of spirit. Inspiration sparks me to listen to the inner voice that leads me to my best self, and to intuition, spirit’s best friend for all responsible, intentional dreaming and manifesting into being.


Inspired creation—nature, great art and literature, beautiful music, laughter of a happy baby, the excited prancing of a dog with a new toy, people praying, marching, chanting together, the stillness of beginnings and beginnings again—Inspiration knows no limits or boundaries. With leaps and bounds it infinitely moves all creation to the freedom of pure possibility, the place where miracles prevail and all is one.
Today, I choose inspiration as the magical means to live a life of miraculous possibility.


What inspires you today?

 


Love,
Carol

HONOR

CONSIDERING HONOR

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A word I highly regard and a concept I revere as a moral compass is HONOR. Honor means to respect highly,  to hold in/with great esteem.  Honor can be a code of adherence to a standard of conduct; something perceived as a rare opportunity, a privilege; or something conferred as a distinction for bravery or achievement, a high level of award for exemplary behavior or fulfillment of duty/obligation. Honor is the kind of word that inspires me to desire it at the center of my own being and doing. Honor requires honesty, diligence, character, and congruence.
In Philippians 4:8 (RSV), Paul writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I remember the Commandment, “Honor your Father and your Mother.” Many religious and spiritual writings speak highly of honor as chosen methodology for a holy life. When I am honorable, I can be authentically congruent, in integrity with what I say, do, and mean—aspiring to bring my best self for the highest expression of goodness with dedicated commitment to be diligent, honest, and aligned with my best excellence with every endeavor.

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Living a life of honor means I don’t compromise or take short cuts to make life easier. I remain true to my vision of being and honor all intentions that create that vision of the best me I can be.
When I was a young girl, I was very achievement oriented. I sought to accumulate honors—whether it be good grades, prestigious awards, winning talent shows, speech contests, lead roles in plays, or scholarships—I was driven to garner awards because I wanted recognition. Achievements and Awards gathered me attention and praise from my parents, which for me equaled knowing that I was loved, worthy, and succeeding in pleasing my most esteemed, beloved people, those I sought to honor and in turn, be recognized by. Everything else was accoutrement. This kind of attention achieving is not honorable or honor producing. In my youth, it was my translation and misinterpretation that produced my constant search for love and acceptance as outside begotten “honors”.
As I matured, I realized honor was more than excelling to please my parents or to create the illusive feeling that I was “enough”. To truly live an honorable life requires purity of heart, intention, and vision. Honor isn’t  an ego-driven limousine; rather, it is like a bulky wagon I pull to wherever I choose to go because I know it is a congruent means to carry the burdens, gifts, and belongings of a life well-lived. Humility, vulnerability, and unknowing strengthen my endeavor to maneuver with this heavy, laborious vehicle I drag with me everywhere. Sometimes, I abandon my load in a ditch by the roadside as I propel my unburdened self forward in high gear. A few blocks down the street, I pause, turn around, and retreat to the muddy mire in which it is stuck to retrieve it and continue on my journey.

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matthew5:8). For me, living in honor brings me closer to oneness with God. Although I falter and fall from my lofty perch of aspiration, I pick myself out of the ditches of defeat, pile my worries, failings, and faults into the muddy wagon to recycle, and move forward toward God, all the while visioning good, love, and possibility surrounding, supporting, and gracing my journey.


To be a person of honor, for me, means seeking truth, goodness, and light in all experience. It means looking for “God” in every situation, and choosing ways of being and doing in my life that are congruent with who God is for me, in alignment with my moral compass, and reflective of my choices of integrity, grace, and compassion as navigators for experience.  When I honor another, I see honorable qualities in another, admiring and celebrating how another’s honor inspires and blesses me and our world.

 


Honor can be subjective for each of us. When life is viewed as black and white, someone may judge one person as honorable, and another as not. To be true to our more or less justifiable beliefs and to be truly honorable requires scrutiny, study, and self-examination before judgment and rigid right and wrong defenses. As I wrote last week, “gray” is often the way to combat the competing wars of good or bad, wrong or right—all of which are illusions keeping honor hidden within the fears and worries of the wagon we pull.


What could our world be like if we could honor ourselves and each other?

What if we aligned our moral compass to love, peace, bless and honor, traveling together to a true north of being and creating?
How exciting if our greeting to each other at every meeting was “Namaste”…

 


Namaste,
Carol

The gifts of GRAY

 

 

 

This week’s Pause is for GRAY—the “G” word that jumps off the page and into my heart, mind, and soul with grace and gratitude for what the word conjures for my reflection and imagination. Gray is the space between two contrasting hues, poised in the middle between black and white. Gray, like black and white, is composed of all the colors; remaining neutral, connecting the extremes; holding the in-between. Currently, in paint colors, gray is one of the more popular colors for choices of décor for home and office. There are numerous colors of gray to choose, some light, some dark, some with tinges of every color in the rainbow, and some “simply gray”.

Our world is so black and white, it becomes refreshing to view the world in gray scope: Looking at the world through lenses that see all the colors, and yet stay grounded in the middle. “Middle ground”, “middle way”, “fair to middling”—The gift of gray keeps me centered. I can explore the far corners of the extreme black and the white, and I can always go home to the middle consolations of gray. Gray space is calming, soothing, relieving, and peaceful—the color itself, and all of my associations with the word, GRAY.

In Great Britain, GRAY is spelled, GREY. Neither is incorrect, just peculiar verbiage for each locale and transferred between both cultures. I write about the word, Gray/Grey. What kind of feelings come up for me in association with that word? I find things I love about gray: the colors we chose to paint the walls of our Indianapolis homes; my experience of dealing with the diversity of race, creed, politics, and division in our world; the sky and the weather manifesting as gray this time of year, and my very dear forever friend, Gray, who makes life on this planet gracious, lovely, fun, thoughtful, and wonderful.

Our world needs colorful souls who can be gray in acceptance, action, and relationship. Middle-makers are gray perceivers who bring all the colors together for peaceful, harmonic amalgamation. Two sides to every story meet in the middle with the mediation of gray. We get to celebrate diversity like we celebrate contrasting paint colors, meeting in the middle to appreciate the meeting ground for each “different, yet the same” discourse.

This season is our first experience of snow birding in Florida, “The Sunshine State.” I can count on one hand the days of sunshine we’ve experienced since late January when we arrived at our Perdido Key home. I’ve learned to be grateful for the warmth and sunshine when we experience them. My happy dances are incredible on those days. I’ve learned to love the gray days as opportunities to go inward, forgo sunscreen, and be grateful for the magnificence that we call weather: volatile, uncontrollable, and as real as it gets. Gray days allow me to appreciate blue ones with sunny skies and clouds of white. Actually, because gray skies have been gracing my Florida winter, I’ve learned to value them as gifts to my yoga practice, stillness, and writing.


A very special friend I love is a guy named Gray. For almost 40 years we’ve been friends, and he’s been Gerry’s friend even longer than those almost four decades. Gray is a person who lives from his heart. He is authentic, loyal, loving, sincere, and true. A perfect friend definition was probably created with him in mind. In urban dictionary, a person named Gray is a rarity. So, too, is my friend Gray. He meets whomever he is with in the middle: compassion and grace personified. I thank God for R. Gray Tweedy!

Color, conversation, meeting ground, perfect friend, changeable sky—all Gray.

Thank you, God, for the gifts of GRAY.

Namaste,
Carol

FORBEARANCE

 

 

 

FORBEARANCE is this week’s F-word. It was in competition with the most horrible four- letter F word I know: FEAR. I chose the word forbearance because of the inspiration I received from today’s political situation. Forbearance encourages patience and self-restraint as preferable to declarations of national emergencies when politics takes precedence over tolerance. My favorite expressions of the gifts of forbearance come from the Bible (Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament) and one of my favorite classical philosophies, Stoicism. This blog will introduce forbearance’s gifts and challenges, historically and for today and the future.
Patient self-control, restraint, tolerance, fortitude, endurance, clemency, long-suffering, stoicism, leniency…these are the words that constitute forbearance. There are legal and financial definitions for the word forbearance as in regard to a mortgage, loan, or legal consideration; however, those material aspects of this word belong to another writer. The qualities of forbearance that I especially value are patience and forgiveness.

Forbearance can mean “waiting it out”, observing the unfolding of situation and expression. It can mean, “No matter what happens, I am here. I am committed to being present through anything, no matter how long it takes or how difficult things become.” Forbearance can mean I suffer long and I choose to wait because it is the right, constant, and forbearing course of being and action. Forbearance requires trust and fortitude.
Patience and self-control. Tolerance. I don’t observe a plethora of these attributes in the drama manifesting as our national and world leadership. How to respond in the course of what I experience? I respond in the manner I want to experience (Gandhi’s “Be the Change.”). The only viable choice for me—short of desperation desertion or aggressive againstness—is forbearance and prayer.
In the Bible, forbearance refers to a godly character trait: To forgive, abstain from revenge, vengeance, and wrong-doing; to control anger, disharmonious emotion, unkindness, the pursuit of discord and violence: the mantle of forbearance is a gracious cloak to wear and carry through life. Manifesting as endurance, tolerance, moderation, gentleness…Forbearance is a desirable trait according to Hebrew scripture and New Testament alike. In the great commandment, we are called to love God—heart, mind, body, and soul. Forbearance is one of the qualities empowering us to give from our best for the greater glory of all that God commands, inspires, and blesses into our becoming beloved servants of and for the highest good.
I recently read a story about Confucius. He was once asked by a student if there were a single word to live by in his life’s quest for truth and spiritual guidance. Confucius replied, “chu”, which translates as ‘forbearance’. The stoic philosopher, Epictetus was asked which words would help a person lead a good, peaceful life. His answers were translated as “bear” and “forbear.” His words could also be translated as “persist” and “resist”.
If I “keep on keeping on”, think, act, and feel righteously, choose to be positive, avoid negativity, temptation, flagellation, and attack, I am living into the forbearance that brings grace and healing to my world.

I’ve always felt that my two scriptures to live by were the Great Commandment (Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 22:36-40) and Philippians 4: What is the most important thing in my life? (Great Commandment) How do I best live this most important thing? (Philippians 4). Forbearance is a big piece in the puzzle of learning how to be who I am called to be. Not always easy, and definitely worth it for yours truly.

 

 


How can I live with forbearance today?
Namaste,
Carol

Philippians 4:5-7:  “Let all men know your forbearance.  The Lord is at hand.  Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds…”

“Method” ( as in “Methodist”)

 

 

A PAUSE TO CONSIDER METHOD
Earlier this month I chose the word “method” for the letter “M”‘s pause. This week I jump ahead of myself in the alphabet (You’re getting “M” before “F”!) as I struggle with what my word choice brings to my world. Why? Because I have strong feelings about what is going on in the (United)Methodist Church: The Methodist church that generations of my family have supported, loved, and served for as long as I can remember. My experience of that church this day is discordant. The current conditions of the UMC have inspired in my soul a longing for transformation, a new method of looking at organized religion, especially within the Methodist paradigm. United, I might add, is merely a label—Individual churches remain affiliated with the edicts of the “Mother Church”; however, individually they negate the methods dictated by asserting, “We’re welcoming, but we’re not leaving the UMC (because our salaries and buildings will go away without them). We’ll (slide under the radar and) figure out a way for same sex marriage and ordination for all—someday. Just not this year.” A church, probably not hopeless or faithless; however, bound tightly in tradition, incongruent and out of integrity with today’s attitudes, acceptances, and actions that I hold dear. Today (which is the day before this essay is published) I let go of what no longer serves the methodology in which I choose to operate. I choose spirituality over religion. Thank you, God.

This week’s focus is on the word, “Method.” Method is defined as a procedure, technique or way of doing something, especially when its way is in accordance with a definite plan. A method is a manner or mode of operating, usually in an orderly, logical, systematic instruction, inquiry, investigation, etc. A method is an order or system by which someone arranges, does, or organizes anything—their way of being and doing sequenced in a planned agenda.
The word “Method” is used in “the Method”, a theorized technique of acting in which the performer identifies with the character to be portrayed in an individual, natural manner, becoming the character. In Earth school, we share different methods of being, becoming, and doing—infinite methodologies, all of them chosen, bestowed, adapted, or inculcated to grow our longings into visions. The methods we choose work for us when they do. When they don’t, we usually choose another mode of operation for our methodology. Methods come and go—working when they do, transforming even when they don’t. All structure and organization emanate in some form from a chosen method, varying in how methodical or how attached to method the program/concept/structure is.

I can operate in excellence with methods that serve my creation of the highest good. When a chosen method gifts me joy and blessing, my heart sings with praise and thanksgiving. I walk in grace and I live with gratitude.
One of the things I’ve loved most about being part of the Methodist Church for 60 years is the music. Honestly, our hymnal is filled with the songs that have colored and consoled my life, many written by Charles Wesley.   After sampling other faiths’ songs and different denominations’ music within the Christian Church, my faith history is best expressed through the wonderful Methodist hymns. I have loved pieces of John Wesley’s theology, especially his strangely warmed heart, his focus on love, his coined expression, “agree to disagree,” his concern for care of the physical body as well as the spiritual body, and the way he questioned and struggled with his faith in God. Methodism was first called, “the holy club”—a name I love because holy means sacred, belonging to God—All/Everything is sacred and holy, and whether we’re Methodist, Hindu, or Agnostic—We are holy.

 


Wesley taught that we know our faith by scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Methodists are taught to use logic and reason in all matters of faith. In the early days, they did so in a very methodical manner and became known as the “Methodists”. Evangelism and mission, charity and service within community are ideals with emphasis on serving the poor and average persons. Annual covenant services and an original covenant prayer used by John Wesley are still traditions in many if not most Methodist Churches.
The INCLUSIVENESS OF GOD’S LOVE is a hallmark of Methodism. In the Methodist theology book, EVERYONE is entitled to God’s grace and protection. And, the music!!! Thank you, God, for the great music of the United Methodist Church! Thank you, God, for the intention to include everyone, blessing all creation, in every variety of the rainbow, all shapes, sizes, and presentations, with the freedom to heed God’s calling to and for him or her—no matter what!

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Over 60 years ago, I was baptized as an infant in the Methodist Church. I was confirmed in that same church 13 years later. I was married in the church 9 years after my confirmation, and our sons were baptized 2 and 5 years after our marriage, confirmed 13 years after their baptisms. Everywhere we moved in our adult lives, I found a Methodist Church to attend/affiliate with/join and serve. When family members died, when we renewed our wedding vows, our pastors, fellow members, and friends were there, at a Methodist Church. The traditions and my experience of the Methodist Church inspired me to go to seminary in 2002. Although my Christology and Theology separated from the teachings of the United Methodist Church, I was grateful for the support and guidance I received while briefly attending seminary. We left our home church where we had shared our time, talents, and treasures to move to northern Indiana where Gerry had bought a business that needed our attention. We affiliated with a Methodist Church while we lived there. When we moved back to Indianapolis and our former church home, the church had changed, becoming much less progressive, and no longer reflective of the way I choose to worship and serve. We chose to relocate our church membership to a non-denominational church pastored by a very dear friend, someone I consider my forever pastor, no matter what. That church later became a United Methodist Church.
The Methodist General Conference meets yearly to vote on rules and regulations for the Church worldwide. Over the years, Methodism has shrunk in the United States and Great Britain, but it has grown in Africa, Korea, and South America. A membership must attain a majority vote to implement new acceptances/ practices in the church. For more than a few years, any voting for inclusiveness in regard to other than heterosexual sexuality for marriage and ordination issues has been defeated, amidst fears and cheers. A divided denomination. Wars have been fought in the name of religion throughout history. Need we war within our own denomination? A sad day for those of us teetering on the edge of the questions: Do we need organized religion? Where do we go to find open hearts, open minds, and open doors? Is our church utilizing “the method”? What would Jesus do?

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My search for a community of “like-minded people sharing a spiritual experience” is ongoing. I’ve found it at The Garden, Unity Christian, Unitarian Universalist, a Hindu Temple, in shared Buddhist meditation, hiking with friends, and on my yoga mat. I know I’ll find community for worship and service wherever I look for it with an open heart. open mind, and an open door. I will keep wondering and wandering with God, longing for peace and love, full inclusiveness and welcome intended by and for all.

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And on Easter morning this year, I will gather with all the saints, departed loved ones, and my highest and best self to greet the rising sun, singing in full voice, with all who are with me and those who came before me, the Methodist version of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.”

 

 


Prayers for us all,
Carol

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Enthusiasm

 

While pondering what “E” word to write about today, I drove by a daycare center with a large two-sided billboard. I first noticed the billboard on the way home from yoga, and the message on the eastern façade of the sign read, “Try to be the rainbow in somebody’s cloud.” When I drove to yoga the next time, I eagerly looked for the colorful rainbow message on the western facing side of the sign. Instead, the other sign of the billboard read, “Enthusiasm moves the world.” I became enthused about that message because it was the rainbow in my cloud of choosing between equanimity and equalitarianism, both of which were a bit heady and out of proportion for my word of the week selection. Enthusiasm rescued me from laborious methodology as this week’s word!
I get so excited about being alive in such an extraordinary world. When I experience intense, eager enjoyment, interest or approval, I am lifted from the doldrums to fly upon the wings of ardent inspiration with every adventure. Enthusiasm, for me, is the difference between plodding along a rutted, muddy path on a cold, windy, wet, dark day; and actually, soaring high in a pure blue sky with fluffy white patches of elephant shaped clouds, purveying the beauty of the world with imaginative creativity in flights of wonder and awe. Enthusiasm definitely rocks my world, and in turn, when I engage with enthusiastic others, my world becomes our world and we are a team in the joy and blessing process. If I meet an enthusiastic being while traversing a murky road, I am blessed by that enthusiasm; perhaps, forever changed because of a bird’s song, the wag of a dog’s tail, a tree’s bow; an infectious smile; a shared laugh; insights gleaned, inspired, and shared; eventually, my direction changed toward enthusiasm’s infinite vista of what is good, loving, and possible.
Enthusiasm produces and attracts energy. The noun comes from a Greek word, enthousiasmos, from enthous, meaning “possessed by a god, inspired.” Originally, the word was used in a manner to describe religious fervor/zeal (i.e., talking in tongues, frantic movements and body flailing), excessive enough to be judged in a derogatory manner by mainstream “normals.” Because we often “freak out” or judge what we don’t understand or feel uncomfortable experiencing, the religious definition of enthusiasm doesn’t command a high regard or respect by most enthusiasts of this word.

What I like about the origin of this word, is the thought that infused with spirit, being inspired (connected to God/good, love, and possibility), brings all kinds of miraculous vision and intention to my experience of life in this world.

Enthusiasm heals what is broken, hikes challenging mountains, wades through weeds and thorns. It inspires me to survive, even thrive, with joy and immersion in the immensity of awe, wonder, and goodness available to all of us on planet Earth when we choose to be enthusiastic. When I am congruent with who I choose to be (maybe a rainbow in somebody’s cloud?) and live in sync with spirit and inspiration, I am living my enthusiasm and moving the world in the direction of my vision for love, peace, joy and blessing for all creation.

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How are you moving the world today?

Namaste,
Carol