Sunday Everyday

Prayer, Contemplation and Solitude

Old pier landscape

Yesterday I read back on some notes that I took a few years ago on ‘Rhythm, Solitude and Creation’.  I was in a break out session listening to a dear dear man Ray Simpson.  Reading over these notes again gave me such a sense of peace and rest.  I realise that that peace is only a step away and can be found in silence, solitude and rhythm with creation.  Read these thoughts and be blessed.  Continue to meditate on solitude and creation.  We become too busy and too disconnected and then wonder why we struggle.  Well at least I do.

Ray Head shot

Ray Simpson

Ray Simpson is the founding guardian of the community of Aidan and Hilda.

He is an ordained Anglican Priest who lives on the Holy Island of Lindisfarm in England, the cradle Island of Christianity.

He has been there for nearly 20 years where he runs retreats for pilgrims, and consults on church renewal strategies.  He is the author of number of best-selling books on Celtic Spirituality, new monasticism and patterns of prayer.

Rhythm, Solitude and Creation

Deep in every human heart is a longing, most people don’t have a name for this longing, so they look for substitutes.  The problem is that the substitutes don’t work.

“Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you’

_Augustine

How does our heart become one with God?  We connect to the heart of God, creation and the contemporary world through the rhythms of prayer, contemplation and solitude.  These are the three things that unite us with God.

Rhythm 

The garden of Eden is a parable that we can use to model Rhythm.  We are supposed to walk and talk with God in rhythm with creation.  It is the default programme that the creator built into us and we have taken it out.

Rhythm has been built into the universe and we are now disconnected from it.  We are disconnected because of: business, ego, work, screens, disconnection from land and country, 24 hour working conditions and many more.

Many religions like the Jews and Muslims are disciplined to pray  in rhythm and at set times.  We can also do this.  It doesn’t have to be difficult.  We can use the rhythms that we already have like: getting out of bed, having lunch, going to bed at nights.

In the morning when we get out of bed we can pray mindfully.

As I wake today

As I get up today

I rise in peace

I rise in hope

I rise in love

As the sun rises we can also let the awareness of God rise in our hearts.

Personally, every morning when I wake I say something like this:

“Good morning Lord, I love you.  I commit this day into your hands.  Will you help me today?  Im not sure that I can do this day without you.  Will you lead and guide me?”

Sense God, acknowledge him in the morning.

Pause at sometime in the middle of the day.  

You may be  in the bathroom at work.  “Lord be with me in the middle of the day, I trust you”.

At night as you lie down.

“I lie down this night with God.  And God will lie down with me”.

The bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down  on your wrath” Eph 4:26.  This also means don’t let the sun go down on your unprocessed material. Don’t let it build up.   Reflect on the day, be mindful of what happened in the day and reconcile it.  Make it right before God. Go to bed in peace rather than unresolved.

This is called ‘intentional Rhythm’.

We also need time to be cut off from distraction and awareness.  Most of us are over-connected, overstimulated.  We need rhythms, times and seasons where we withdraw.  Jesus often withdrew to the mountain, to the desert, to the boat.

In Hebrew, the word ‘shalom’ is holistic.  It encompasses peace, wholeness of both mind and body.  In our western society we have separated mind and body through dualism.  We need to allow Jesus to heal the split between our mind and body.  So that we are healthy  and whole.

Tree reflection in the book

Solitude

The journey into solitude is very important.  God is deep within us. We have this Gold in each one of us.  The deepest thing within us is the light of God.  Silence is like God. Yet silence can disturb us in the very un-silent world.  Modern society is so terrified of silence that it drowns itself in noise.  It is in solitude that we reach God.  Become one with God.  Become one with heaven.

Go into your room alone, write out all your thoughts , park them.  Face your inner demons.  Test your thoughts.  Test them by the beatitudes.

Is it loving?

Is it merciful?

Is it kind?

Creation

“For since the creation of the world, god’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse”.  Romans 1:20

Gods invisible qualities are seen and understood in creation.  Jesus urges us to be watchers of creation.  He uses parables of seed, weeds, wheat, fish, birds, trees, sheep , etc.  He uses creation to point the way to God.

The heavens declare the Glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of HIs hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1,2

Patterns, rhythms, cycles, seasons, tides, life and death.  The cycles and rhythms of life are all found in creation yet we have become so disconnected from creation that we fail to see the therapeutic value and healing that creation has to offer.  We also forget that we can glean understanding  about who God is and what He is like by looking at creation.  His creativity, His wonder, His magnificence, His infinite care, His precise and miraculous balance and harmony in all of these cycles and rhythms.

When we spend time in nature, on the land, outside, on a beach, on a moor, in a field on a mountain,  we are connected to the bigger picture and are invigorated and enlivened by the source of life.  When I walk on a beach I find myself bursting into spontaneous praise and worship I get so excited and invigorated.  I am refreshed and revitalised immediately.

  • Why don’t you practise a simple intentional daily rhythm so that you take God with you all through the day.
  • Learn to put time aside to spend in solitude so that you can sort through the deep things of the heart.
  • Make sure that you spend time in creation.  If you don’t like to attend a church, attend the cathedral of creation and learn about the creator there.

Love Lisa

I took these notes in a class that Ray Simpson took at the Surrender 15 conference on Saturday the 21st March 2015 at 4.00pm.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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What is Creativity?

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A whole new year stretches out before us.  Will we walk with creativity, that force that has the ability to change lives, or will we tread the same old familiar paths?   Creatives live with the desire to change lives, to create experiences, to transform the mundane into moments of wonder and to shout to the world about injustice and inequality.

What is Creativity?

What is creativity?  It is the ability to take fresh and new ideas and make them happen.  Most importantly to ‘create something’.  The Disney group call this ‘imagineering’.  To imagine and then to engineer.  To make it happen.  Without the action or creation it is just a good idea. The creative process  is the use of imagination, or original ideas, to create something. Creativity is directly connected to the ability to focus and find inspiration. Creativity has the ability to innovate change.

If you have ideas but don’t act on them you are imaginative but not creative.  It is creativity that puts ideas into action.

the great ideas

Creativity is a human trait.  We are actively creating all the time. God is a creative being who creates and we are made as creative beings who create,  People often confuse creativity with artistic ability.   ‘Artistic ability’ however is different, it is a skill, it is a gift, it is a discipline.  Like painting or singing or dancing.

Creativity requires courage:  it requires the courage to ask questions and not be worried if you are wrong.  New questions create space for life.

“To life a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong”.

by Joseph Chilton Pearce

How is creativity linked to Justice?

God’s purpose for creation fits with his creative energy in creation. Likewise, his ongoing purpose in this world and for our lives—as a part of his creation—guides and gives import to the creative energy we have as creatures made in his image. Whether you’re starting from a focus of justice work or whether you’re laden with artistic talent and creative energy, understanding God’s plan for creation and the ultimate aim of creativity will fire up your imagination and give direction to your passions.

This thought comes from the creators of ‘SPARC Justice’ which was  launched in Sydney last year and is co-hosted by TEAR , The Justice Conference and SPARC.

The world is changing at lightening speed and it can make us feel like we are falling behind.  In the middle of such change how do feel like we can thrive and succeed.  One answer is creativity.  

Creativity is our natural God-given ability that helps us to flourish instead of just survive.  Imagination and innovation are desperately needed today in life and in leadership (Ken Wytsma).

As a follower of Christ, social justice issue are a high priority to me.  I truly believe that it is the arts, it is creativity which makes a platform for social justice because artists thrive on the margins.  They are the misfits, the ones who see what no-one else sees and who can create order and beauty out of chaos and darkness.  Art brings things back into order.  Divine Art is redemptive to the entire community.

Recently a friend of mine became a local vigilante.  He is an artist.  He is a metal sculptor.  He lives in the Warrandyte/Eltham area.  Recently in Eltham there has been a lot of social uproar and push back about the Baptist Unions plan to house refugees out of detention and into a community living arrangement in Eltham.  There have been the haters and the demonstrators and there have been the creatives.  Those who have made a silent and subversive statement.

These creative souls decided to make a statement of affirmation to the wider community about their acceptance of the idea of refugees finding homes in Eltham.  So they wielded their paint brushes and scissors and began to cover Eltham in butterflies.  The Melbourne Age headline read: 

Battle for Eltham: Welcoming butterflies a background to anti-refugee protests.

“The number of pro and anti-refugee protesters who converged on the leafy outer suburb numbered in the hundreds. But trees and footpaths around Eltham were home to almost 8000 butterflies, made by local residents as a welcome symbol for the 120 Syrian refugees who will soon take up residence at a local aged care facility” (Age November 5 2016).

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Butterflies and protesters rally for refugees in Eltham. Photo: Craig Sillitoe

My friend Tim Read put a large metal sculpture of a butterfly in the middle of an Eltham round-a-bout.  Under cover of early morning darkness he made an artistic statement of support for the refugees and also for the creative vigilantes of Eltham.  

They had an idea, they activated it, and they have made a huge difference.  

Everyone has the capability to be creative.  It takes courage and the conviction of what you believe in.

“120 Syrian refugees are moving into our lovely suburb hosted by St Vincent’s and Catholic Care. They will be families…..mainly women and children. A small number of people have protested against their arrival, however the majority of our wonderful community have been overwhelmingly positive in their support. Linda MacAulay Artist and myself made this sculpture to welcome the refugees to Eltham and placed it on the roundabout where it was seen by thousands of people daily to help spread the word of peace and hope. It was removed today but will permanently installed at the St Vincent’s Care Facility in a few weeks time. Thanks to Welcome to Eltham for all the good works”. (Tim Read)

Social justice occurs where everyone has the capability to fulfil their potential. ‘Acquiring capabilities is a creative process that is best acquired through collaboration’ as demonstrated simply and effectively by Tim, Linda and the creatives of Eltham.

Walter Bruggerman says that we need prophetic imagination.  We desperately need the creatives the prophets.  Why?   Because they can think outside the box.  They can see past the road blocks,  they can see the way forward and they can walk toward it.  
Ken Wystma founder of the Justice Conference says that the pastors and innovators of the next century will be the artists and creatives.  We need creative initiative to problem solve, to face the hard issues and to make changes.

We might not be able to fix the world but we can change the world.  We are not powerless.  We can create and work toward that end.

 

God The Creator – The Creator Song

Before the beginning there was silence.

There was no song. No whisper.

There were no hues of blues and greens, no blends of color, no child’s laughter and no aromas, no yellow flowers, no buzzing black bumble bees, not even red sky at dawn. There was no fire and there were no rhythms. There was no work, no ice cold drink on a hot day, no flow to the center, no far and no near, for there was nothing to be measured.

There was no structure, no system, no birth and no moonlight dancing on the evening tide. There was no bitter and no sweet and there was no breeze on the face. There was no texture, no form and no early morning fog. The darkness was not black for there was no color. 

But there was hope. Hovering there in the silence was the One.

(Does God Really Exist May 31, 2009)

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on-line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Where did New Years Resolutions Come From?

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Where did New Years Resolutions Come From?  by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Have you made any New Years Resolutions this year?

Are you going to get fitter, eat better,  quit smoking, be more spiritual?

These are the top 10 New Years Resolutions from the Statistic Brain Research Institute  that nearly all of us will fail to keep.

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1:  Lose Weight/Healthier Eating 21.4%

2:  Life/Self Improvement 12.3%

3:  Better Financial Decisions 8.5%

4.  Quit Smoking 7.1%

5.  Do more exciting things 6.3%

6.  Spend more time with family and friends 6.3%

7.  Work out more often 5.5%

8.  Learn something new 5.3%

9.  Do good deeds 5.2%

10.  Fall in love 4.3%

At some time or another all of you would have made some New Years Resolutions.  Many of us use this opportunity to self improve in some way.  The New Year spreads out before us like a clean slate so we feel empowered to start  a fresh.  We are resolved to make some changes in our lives.  Unfortunately only 8% of us will succeed in following through with those resolutions.

A resolution is a firm resolve to do or not to do something.

I have made my fair share of New Years Resolutions and  every year  I attend some kind of New Years Eve event with friends and family.  Usually wondering when I can please go to bed and can we trick the kids and turn the clock forward.  (I am showing my age).

Have you ever thought about where these customs originated?  Do you realise that these customs of resolutions and celebrating a New Year are actually based on pagan rituals celebrating pagan Gods?

The ancient Babylonians were the ones first thought to observe New Years resolutions and celebrations over 4’000 years ago, although their new year began in March with the planting of the spring crops. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox.  Thousands of years ago the new year was linked to agriculture, mythology and astronomical events.

“During a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. These promises could be considered the forerunners of our New Year’s resolutions. If the Babylonians kept to their word, their (pagan) gods would bestow favour on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor—a place no one wanted to be” (Source).

“In Egypt, for instance, the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius. The Phoenicians and Persians began their new year with the spring equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice.  The first day of the Chinese New Year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice” (Source).

It was Julius Caesar changed the calendar to the Julian or Roman calendar which was used in some countries up until the early 1900’s.  Consulting astronomers Caesar introduced a solar calendar based entirely on Earth’s revolutions around the Sun, also called a tropical year.

January is actually named after the Roman God ‘Janus’.  Janus is the Roman god of gates and doorways, depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions.  He is the Roman god of new beginnings and transitions.   His festival month is January.  Caesar decided that it would be appropriate for Janus to be made the first month of the calendar year as it symbolised the leaving behind of the old year and looking forward into the new year and the changes that it would bring.

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It was John Wesley in 1740 who started the New Years Eve night watch services.  I attended these for many years growing up in a Christian fundamental church community. John Wesley called them the ‘Covenant Renewal Service’, they included readings from Scriptures and hymn singing, and served as a spiritual alternative to the secular celebrations normally held to celebrate the coming of the new year.

I find it interesting that all of these practices are about survival.  The celebration of feasts and food and spring planting.  Resolutions of health, and fitness and wellbeing.  Reaffirming relationships and community.  Praying more or being more spiritual.  All of these things are about staying alive and doing well.  These customs have been common throughout  millennia and all around the world in every nation.  Humans are social creatures and they want to assure themselves of a good and flourishing future.  This is a way that we can face a new year with hope and promise when in reality we have no control of what the year will bring and where we will be at the end of it.

It is good to reflect, it is good to be grateful, it is good to show justice and it is good to live in hope.  If  we use January the 1st as a time to pause and celebrate family and friends; if we take time to consider how we are conducting our lives then it is a good thing.  However, maybe we should consider doing it more often than just once a year.  Maybe we should consider reflection, transparency,  good health, gratefulness, justice and hope to be a part of every day life.  But now it is starting to look like a resolution.  Lol…

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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A Thrill of Hope

santa

A Thrill of Hope 

Written by my good friend Nicole Conner.  You can follow her on her blog Reflections of a Mugwump.
A particularly love this article.  We get so pushed out of shape when our version of reality is threatened.  Never for one minute digging deeper to realise that the rituals and celebrations that we hold dear, like marriage and Christmas, are not actually based on what we think they are.  They are a complex compilation of historic and ancient practices that have morphed and developed into what we know of them today.  Yet we take them as gospel, never for one minute looking at context or history.
You will love this piece on the origins of Christmas by Nicole.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
– Adolphe Adam – 

It’s that time of year again. While some folks claim there is a ‘war on Christmas’, it takes very little research to discover that this apocalyptic, deluded conspiracy theory holds little truth. Christmas, or at least the capitalist, indulgent, endless carol jingles, deck-the-halls-with-boughs-of-holly version is alive and well. The joy can be felt in shopping centre carparks and on the faces of folks standing in long queues as they spend their last dollars on items that will decorate an Op Shop next year. Christmas is going strong.

Christmas as we know it today has a most interesting history. Early Christianity never celebrated the birth of Jesus – only his death and resurrection at Easter. It was in the fourth century that some bright, ecclesiastical persona decided it would be rather jolly to also celebrate his birth – but when? Pope Julius I chose December 25, the same time as the winter solstice festivals, in the hope that this new ‘Feast of the Nativity’ would be popular … and by the amount of tinsel on my balcony several hundred years later, he was absolutely right.

Some religious folks have a real problem with Christmas. So if there’s a ‘war on Christmas’, a lot of it is coming from a counter conspiracy theory that sees Christmas as pagan worship. Oh, and don’t mention a Christmas tree, or Santa, or elves, or tinsel to these fervent, anti-Christmas believers. So the ‘war on Christmas’ is rather awkward as it seems to be a civil Christian war (maybe that’s where the whole silly idea of ‘just’ war came from??). Someone should let dear Peter Dutton know, who is appalled at the resistance to Christmas … I am for democracy and free speech and I totally agree that Mr. Dutton should be allowed to sing about a refugee family desperately looking for shelter. Sing away, Mr. Dutton, sing away!

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Whether we choose to celebrate Christmas or not, is a personal  decision. For me, the fanfare around this time of year is not that convincing or enticing. For many, Christmas is a difficult season as it can highlight a strained relationship, loneliness, as well as grief or loss, amidst the explosion of ‘happiness’ from the media marketing machine. I also reflect on the reason we celebrate Christmas: to remember a child born in poverty and harsh oppression. The real Christmas had no jingle bells or red nosed reindeers. The real Christmas brought hope in the very fact that it was so messy and controversial.

The thrill of hope which marked that holy night so long ago was not because superman had been born. It did not lie in the religious institutions that would lay claim to the little baby and brand their ideas of ‘orthodoxy’ in his name. It is not the act of belief itself, or a belief in sacred text. The thrill of hope is the child: Emmanuel – God Incarnate, God with us. The messy, scandalous and difficult birth, life and death of Christ reminds everyone that God takes on human form, with all the complexities of what it means to be human.

The thrill of hope is not a list of rules. It is not a group of exclusive, privileged people arguing who is more holy or right than the other. The thrill of hope is that the child born to Mary, is the Saviour of the world, who also identifies with our frailty, our sorrow, our disappointments, our questions, our joys and all our longings. His very life served as a signpost to a different tomorrow and a different kingdom. A kingdom not built on power, pride, patriotism, nationalism, racism, exclusivism, religion, sexism or all the other silly human notions we construct to make us feel more safe and stem a little bit of our existential angst. The kingdom that this child ushered in was one of hope, love, joy, serving, kindness, inclusion and equality. It is a counter-cultural, subversive way that the sacred text calls the ‘narrow way’.

We see the whispers of this hope both now and not yet. We see it when love conquers fear, when kindness conquers prejudice, when faith conquers superstition, when hope conquers despair, when generosity conquers the need to consume and protect. So whatever you think of Christmas or the claims of Christ, my wish for you, dear friend, is that the atmosphere and virtues of that subversive kingdom may be yours. To contemplate humanity embracing these ideals truly brings a thrill of hope … it is, after all, still a beautiful world.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
– Adolphe Adam –
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Not Everyone Loves Christmas

toddler Santa Claus resting on the sea in summer

Not everyone loves Christmas by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Sometimes Christmas can bring more Pain than Peace

Christmas should be a time for love, for joy and peace.  It’s the designated season when we celebrate the birth of love, the promise of peace, the hope for a better life.  The birth of the Prince of Peace, the messianic promise of freedom and life, the birth of Jesus.

Yet for many of us Christmas is a time of dislocation, stress, grief and loneliness.

I would like for us to meditate, think a little deeper, on how some people feel at Christmas.

If we truly want to be bearers of hope, peace and love, then we need to firstly be those who walk with understanding  and compassion.

For me, Christmas has been a struggle since the death of my first husband and the loss of my family.   It is a time that highlights that loss and deepens the grief.

For many people, Christmas is a tug of war with children.  When relationships have fractured and broken, Christmas becomes all about what time the affidavit says that you can pick up the children and what time they need to be back.  Who had them last year and who has them now.

For others Christmas is a lonely time when they find themselves on their own.  Dislocated from family and friends for whatever reason.   They don’t have a big Christmas planned,  they are not busy, they don’t have anyone to buy for and they won’t receive any gifts, in fact, they will sit in front of the TV with a boiled egg on Christmas Day.

Christmas can also be a time that highlights financial stress.

The media and society stuff our minds full of consumerism and false expectations.  The  decorations, the food, and alcohol, the perfect turkey, the perfect pudding, the perfect present, the perfect party.  The perfect debt that we can never seem to get over.  The financial pressure at this time of year can be crippling.  You may have lost your job or be out of work and have no idea how you will pay the rent let alone ‘DO’ Christmas.

It is also a time when depression and anxiety escalates.  For many of the reasons already mentioned, this time of year can trigger mental health issues.  Those suffering anxiety wish they could crawl under the bed at the very thought of having to attend family or work gatherings.  It escalates social pressures and social expectations.

Sadly, 105,0001 Australians will be homeless this Christmas. Many of them will be families with children in desperate need of your help. Who looks after them?

RNS-HOMELESS-JESUS

Jesus the Homeless by Timothy Schmalz.

Heres a few things we can do to help:

1:  It’s healthy and okay to talk about the fact that this is a tough time of year for you.  Sometimes just exhaling and expressing our grief can relieve the pressure.

2:  For those of you who adore Christmas and who don’t have any problems,  maybe you could be a little more aware of those around you who are struggling.  Keep an eye out for those who may be alone or are facing a particularly difficult time and acknowledge that.  Find a way that you could make this time of year a little easier for those who are not coping so well.

3:  Simplify your expectations.  This has really worked for me.  I had to let go of my expectations and learn to enjoy smaller, new experiences and not put so much pressure on myself.  I could not bring back those who I had lost but I could celebrate with those that I have now.

4:  Don’t let your mental health rest on one day.  As a mother, step mother and mother in law of 10 adults it is totally impossible for me to expect to have everyone together on one day.  There are other families involved now.  I am very happy to spread out the love.  As long as I can kiss and hug them at sometime over the season I am happy.  I know how much pressure is involved trying to please multiple famlies and what it’s like spending all day in the car trying to see everyone.  So spread it out.  Let go of the pressure.

5: If you have a mental health issue, be honest with family and friends about it.  Remind them that this time of year exasperates your anxiety and could they please give you some space or understand that this is difficult.

  • Be aware that the demands placed on people at this time of year are often unbearable to those with anxiety or depression.  The best gift you can give to them is compassion and understanding.  If family don’t or won’t understand, you make have to make some boundaries around expectations for your own health and well being.

6:  Be more aware of people and programmes in your community.  In Warrandyte I know that  ‘Now and Not Yet’ is hosting a free  Christmas dinner for people who don’t have anywhere to go.  25th December at 5:30pm all are welcome.

It’s an important way of building community and making sure that no one is alone over Christmas.

  • Check on neighbours and friends who may be alone.  Pop in with a card and cake or sit and have a cuppa for 30 min.
  • Teach your kids about those who are less fortunate and make sure you help them to make a gift, or purchase a gift for those who have nothing.

7:  Get involved in a charity:

  • Mission Australia;  $72.00  can help to buy groceries for a family of four for the week of Christmas.
  • Anglicare Victoria serve breakfast for the homeless over the Christmas season.
  • Give to the Salvos for Christmas.  The Salvation Army have programmes in place to help the homeless they also run The Wishing Tree at K Mart.  In 2016, The Wishing Tree Appeal aims to collect more than 500,000 gifts nationally to help the thousands of Australian’s in need this Christmas.
  • They also run The Spirit of Christmas through Myer where the proceeds of the Christmas CD go to  families experiencing domestic violence.

8:  Be grateful for what you have in your life, rather than focusing on what you don’t have;

9:  Take positive action and plan interesting and fun things, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

10:  Focus your thoughts on all the good things about Christmas–the opportunity to engage in loving kindness, generosity of spirit, and gratitude for others in your life.

 

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people.Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

https://www.patreon.com/SundayEveryday

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2016 a Rather Stressful Year

storm

You might say that 2016 has been a rather stressful year.

There were so many soccer-punches this year that it was hard to comprehend.  I was particularly rocked by the terrorist attack in Nice. Returning from a two month trip to France made it all too real having just walked along the board walk myself.  Then there was the apocalyptic American election.   As Carla Sosenko puts it,

“The most anxiety-inducing, Xanax-requiring election cycle in recent history”.

Observing Brexit and then watching  Trump get elected made me feel that the earth was off tilt somehow.   It was awful to watch American and British politics reveal such rifts and divisions in their societies.  Syria –  no words.  Just many tears as I watched horror after horror unfold in that part of the world particularly in regard to the children.  Then there was the  senseless Orlando mass shooting and the murder of British MP Jo Cox.

Closer to home there has been the rising epidemic in deaths by domestic violence, as of the 9th of December, 70 women have been violently killed by their partners.  I am still unable to come to terms with the inhumane treatment of refugees at Nauru and Manus Islands and to add to that, the way that children in youth detention have been  tortured and denied the most basic of human rights as we watched the horror at Don Dale youth detention centre unfold in the NT.

My friends ask me, has the world gone mad?  Has it always been like this and we somehow haven’t known.  Is global and social media just making these things more knowable?   On Twitter The Weird World tweeted:

‘2016 is like a montage of news footage you see in the beginning of a post-apocalyptic movie explaining how the world was ruined’.

You have to ask: Has  Quentin Tarantino been directing 2016?

Then we  have had  all the conspiracy theories,  the anti muslim rhetoric and all the end of the world doomsayers.

Sigh……

I am not writing this to make us even more depressed.  I think the trick is not becoming anaesthetised to the pain.  We cannot become apathetic, nor can we switch off.  Many of my friends just don’t want to know, they won’t even watch the news.  For some who are struggling with mental health issues or who are neck-deep in their own personal struggles I can understand this.  But I fear that if we disconnect, we lose the ability to show compassion and empathy.

I write this from the privileged position of being able to make a choice to disconnect.  I am not living in Syria, I am not seeking refuge by boat, I have not lost a sister or daughter to domestic violence.

Therefore I wonder if we, the stronger. the more able. have a greater moral duty to stand up and make a difference.  To have an opinion, to be informed to not look away.

The ancient texts talk about the importance of wisdom but it they also point out how crucial it is to get understanding.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

Knowledge is easily accessible today.  Understanding is much harder.  To have understanding means that we comprehend, we see, we get it, we perceive, we grasp it.  We are told to get understanding because this means that if we understand we can have empathy and show compassion.  For empathy is the twin to understanding.

Knowledge is about US knowing,  understanding is about empathy.  About comprehending what the OTHER is going through and to be able to share the feelings of the other.  When we do this we are more likely to stand up for justice and to protect the weak and the innocent.

If we are to be people of love, then it is our duty to understand.  We read the summary above and it is obvious that the world is contaminated with bad stuff, with evil, with corruption, with pain and hurt.

Our job is to make a difference in our patch, in our part of the world, with the people that we meet and do life with.  Our job is to infect our communities with good stuff.  With generosity, kindness, love, tolerance, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness.

The effect of feeling helpless in the face of such enormous crisis is to make us overwhelmed and to shut down and to shut off.  It’s too much, it’s too hard.  Please don’t.

We need to be switched on, we need to understand that we CAN make a difference.  Our attitudes and our treatment of those around us does and will change things.

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. Margaret Mead

This Christmas season as we come to the end of this trying year.  Please remember to act in the spirit of Christmas.  Be Kind, Be Loving, Be Generous, Be Gentle with each other.  Demonstrate goodness and tolerance around the differences that we have.

 

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. Jack Layton

Love is all that matters.  Love wins every time.  Jesus said that “The Greatest of these is Love”.

Love Lisa. xxx

 

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on-line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Why We Aren’t Better At Preventing Suicide — TIME

Robin Williams’ tragic death re-ignites long-asked questions about why it’s so challenging to identify and help those at highest risk of self-harm

via Why We Aren’t Better At Preventing Suicide — TIME

Please Be Kind

kindness

 

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

When you are kind you are not only helping another person you are also helping yourself.  When you do something good, your body rewards you by releasing endorphins. These morphine-like substances create the feel good experience, and also have the capacity to reduce or even block pain signals to the brain. People suffering from physical or psychological pain experience relief when they carry out an act of kindness (Reference).

When you are in doubt about how you have behaved or reacted.  Ask yourself – “Was that kind?”  “Was I kind in that situation?”  This will often reveal your true motives and help you understand the other side of the issue or problem.  How did I make that person feel?  You may have spoken the truth but how did you make them feel?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

So today I encourage myself and I encourage you to practice kindness.  To BE kind.  Especially at this time of the year when nerves and emotions can get a bit frazzled. 

Imagine a world where we all showed kindness in thought, word and deed.  That would be a revolution of love where every single person and  being on earth would flourish and have the capacity to reach their full potential.

So lets be less anxious and more kind, less fearful and more extravagantly generous.

You will never regret being kind.

 

 

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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