I have just listened to this half hour Podcast on All in the Mind:
"Imagine being in your 40s and having a diagnosis of dementia—at the prime of your life. Twenty years ago this happened to Christine Bryden. Despite having difficulty remembering what she’s doing—often from one minute to the next—she’s applied her extraordinary insight into the disease for the benefit of others. This diagnosis doesn’t automatically mean you are an empty shell, she says, and she’s discovered the joy of truly living in the moment."
I was particularly interested in Christine's comments about three levels of being and communication: cognitive, emotional and spiritual. She makes the point that the cognitive dimension is the first to decline for people with dementia, then the emotional level becomes more difficult. But even to the end the spirit of the person is still real and connection can be made on a spirit to spirit level without the need for words and cognition.
This is an excellent interview for all of us to listen to! It has great wisdom for those suffering from any stage of dementia and for those who care for and support them. Both the audio and the transcript are available here.
Some quotes from a longer Blog by Rachel Held Evans which you can find here.
"The stark reality is that most white Christians, including more than 80 percent of white evangelical Christians, supported Donald Trump for president, despite his evident immorality, bigotry, and disregard for the dignity of women, (not to mention complete lack of qualification or competency)."
"The good news is that Jesus is already on the margins. Jesus is already present among the very people and places our president-elect despises as weak. When we stand in solidarity with the despised and the suffering, Jesus stands with us. We don't have to abandon Jesus to abandon the unholy marriage between Donald Trump and the white American Church. In these troubled times, a prophetic resistance will certainly emerge, made up of clergy, activists, artists, humorists, liturgists, parents, teachers, and volunteers committed to partnering with and defending "the least of these." "
The result of the American Presidential election is a wake up call to all of us. There is no point in continuing to wring our hands and say "How could this happen?" It has happened.
I recently posted about the Welcoming Prayer. Let's be clear - this practice does not invite us to welcome injustice, discrimination or hate. It invites us to know that the reality in front of us can be welcomed into the presence and resources of God. The Serenity prayer makes very clear the difference between accepting (ie welcoming) the things we cannot change and changing the things we can. Here lies the wake up call.
We may think that here in New Zealand, far from the epicentre, there's nothing we can do. Wrong! We live in a global village. These are our brothers and sisters. This our world. I am as shocked as anyone about the thought of Donald Trump as President of the USA. But I am very grateful that I am already part of many organisations that stand for justice, equality, human rights, care for the environment... People joining together in non-violent ways does have an impact. This is especially true in this age of digital communication. History has plenty of examples. It has examples of what happens when "good people do nothing". It has examples of "good people who did something" even at great cost to themselves. You can fill in the names.
Let's meaningfully pray the Welcoming Prayer and the Serenity Prayer and listen for the wisdom to know what contribution we can make to a world of love, peace and security for all. It always starts right where we are!
If you've got three minutes watch this amazing YouTube of a triple spiral of 15,000 dominoes.
You can watch it just for fun... or for a modern mandala meditation... or for the sheer amazement of the skill in creating it!
If your everyday practice is to open to all your emotions,
to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter,
without closing down, trusting that you can do that —
then that will take you as far as you can go.
And then you’ll understand all the teachings that anyone has ever taught.
– Pema Chodron
This says more briefly the same thing as the following Welcoming Prayer which was our call to worship in Church yesterday. The Welcoming Practice is a deeply powerful (and challenging) way to pray which has been made more well known by Cynthia Bourgeault at the end of her book Centering Prayer. I find it helpful the way it is worded here as an actual prayer.
The Welcoming Prayer
What we are “welcoming” is the Indwelling Spirit’s
Presence amongst the ALL of life.
Gently become aware of your body and your interior
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment
because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions,
persons, situations and conditions.
I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.
I let go of my desire to change any
person, or myself.
I open to
the love and presence of God
and the healing action and grace within.
––– Mary Mrozowski 1925-1993 The
creator and spiritual mother of the welcoming prayer practice