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Spiritual Focus Sunday

Spirit On The Outside

Yes, exactly, Spirit On The Outside.  We know when we feel the movement of Spirit within us.  They are normally some of our greatest moments of insight and clarity.  While I have no doubt, the same type of personality is present in all organized religious belief systems, the phrase “Sunday Morning Christians” comes to the fore.  However, to ensure we don’t single out one religion, we’ll be calling them Sunday Morners.  Whether it is synagogue, church, mosque or temple, if you don’t live what you feel on the inside, you won’t be honoring your path or your belief system.

Spirit on the outside means taking what you have learned in your religious services (or your own study) and incorporating it into a real thing in your life.  It takes time…we have to remind ourselves that there are things we need to change, we have to do the work of changing them, and then we have to look back and see what the changes created.

Wearing Spirit on the outside means lending a hand when you can see what is needed – if you never see a situation where someone needs a hand you frankly just aren’t looking enough!  Spirit is like a muscle – if you exercise it and work with it your connection gets stronger.  Wear your Spirit on the outside where others can see the best of you!

Tuesdays – Connecting In the Car

With the Labor Day holiday behind us, we start looking forward to the arriving Fall and the change in activities that brings for many of us.  Students young or old return to school, organizations and businesses that have scaled back for the summer months are now gearing back for full days again, and the mornings are beginning to have more than a little chill to them.

Growing up I can’t remember a time when my Mother wasn’t going, always going.  She drove us to the skating rink, the ski hill, the footballs games, bastketball games, friend’s houses, movie theater, and anywhere else it was too far to ride our bikes to go.  Mom always found a way to make the ride interactive.  Normally it was singing along with the radio or playing one of any number of riding in the car games such as alphabet signs, license plate geography, name that tune and so many more.  There are many fond memories of car rides.

Car rides are a great time for one-on-one connection!  Whether it’s your spouse, children, parents, or a friend, use the time in the car to deepen your relationship.   When our daughter was growing up the car was the perfect place to play the “what if” game.  The “what if” game was our way of hopefully preparing her for situations when we wouldn’t be there to protect her.  It must have helped somewhere because she’s good in a pinch and can hold her own in an emergency.  It may take effort to come up with scenarios to talk about with your child, but it really isn’t that difficult.

Of course there are the obvious situations.  First, the “what if” needs to be age appropriate.  If you child is young – start with the basics, don’t talk to strangers, don’t take gifts from people you don’t know, how do you share, etc.  If you’ve got a pre-teen, the questions need to dig deeper.  The whole point is to get your child to think – and express their thoughts to you.  The interaction can make for a much stronger parent/child relationship – and may just help give your child tools to work with when you aren’t around.

Don’t forget to use this time wisely with adults in your life as well.  Some great conversation starters to learn more about someone are the “dreaming” questions.  Things like:  If you could eat at any restaurant in the world, where would it be?  What would you eat?  If you could design the perfect (insert whatever here), what would it be?  If money was no object what would you want for a house?  If you could spend a week anywhere you wanted where would it be?  Interact with each other in the car or truck.  Talk about dreams and schemes.  It’s not only fun, but you’ll find it helps to deepen that feeling of togetherness and bonding.

This week is also a good week to set the family schedule.  Just as counselors recommend that couples schedule and conduct “date nights” to help keep the relationship strong, the family needs the same type of attention.  Schedule a game night or family night.  Set aside the time for a family dinner followed by an interactive family activity.  Take a bike ride together.  Dust off the board games and play a game together.  Get a deck of cards and play a game of cards.  Whatever the activity make sure it involves everyone.  (By the way…game night, like date night, needs to have rules:  no telephone calls during game night; no getting out of game night because homework isn’t done – they can get up early in the morning and finish it; parents need to be as diligent.  But before the family calendar becomes nearly unreadable from all the entries – fill up a night a week to dedicate to … being a family together.

Saturdays Are For Succor

Succor can be a simple hug.

Succor can be as simple as a hug.

Unemployment is at9.1% and the month of August showed exactly zero percent jobs created with the .  And those are the government’s numbers.  If you listen to the pundits who are looking for the real number it’s closer to 20%, talk to business people and ask them – it’s closer to 20%.  That means that one in five people don’t have a job.  That is a terrifying figure and it shows just how much succor is needed.  The definition of succor is to provide help or relief for somebody or something in a difficult or unpleasant situation; somebody or something that provides help or relief.

The east coast is still digging out from the soaking it received from Irene.  The gulf coast is getting a soaking from Tropical Storm Lee.  Out in the Atlantic we are watching Katia spin herself our way.   And that’s just the main big storms going on right now.  It doesn’t include any of the other disasters that have befallen many.  There are plenty of ways to provide succor at this time.  For those who don’t have time, energy, or physical capability, there is always the option of donating funds to organizations such as the Red Cross, United way, or the local homeless shelter.

Another way to help is to volunteer.  Go down to the local shelter and see what you can do to help.  Check in with a veterans’ organization and see if you can help there.  Want to make the choices yourself?  Go to the store and buy a week’s worth of groceries and then drive them to the local food bank and leave it there.  Check out websites like http://www.volunteermatch.org/ where they match what you can do with what people need volunteers for.  Call your church, talk to a pastor and ask if there is a family that needs help.

Reaching out to help others is one of the best ways to make ourselves feel better!  You get a lot of positive back when you go out with the intention of just helping.  When you help someone else you tend to see how fortunate you are.  When you help others you are creating a positive energy flow that can circle around the world.  Even a kind word can do much to provide a certain amount of succor.  Know your co-worker is having a bad day?  Find something to compliment him or her on…his tie, her hair, the report he did, the prospectus she just finished, etc.   Many times it only takes a small positive to turn a bad day around for someone.

The flooding left by Irene has destroyed or damaged hundreds of miles of roads alone.  But when a friend reported her experience about driving around and seeing what the storm had done in northern New Hampshire was happy to report that on every turn she saw folks helping each other dig out, clear roads, provide food, find lost pets, sift through rubble and essentially just helping each other out any way they can.

In Texas where homes are being lost to wildfires you see the same.  Neighbors helping neighbors get out with what is important!  The lives of loved ones and the lives of those animals within their care.  Working together they saved what they could, making sure to watch each others’ backs and helping out wherever they can.

Succor is providing aid and assistance to those is need.  It’s rather plain and simple.  There are a lot of people in need…reach out and take a hand…reach out and lend a hand…as Diana Ross sang “reach out and touch somebody’s hand, make this world a better place, if you can.”