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June 12, 2013


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"What is left is the spiritual obligation to accept reality so that the spiritual life can really happen to me."

What the heck does THAT mean?

Do we have a spiritual obligation to accept reality?


Here's my interpretation: sometimes we fool ourselves with spiritual beliefs that impede our spiritual growth like believing that a deity cares about us as individuals or some deity somewhere listens to and answers our prayers or it causes things to happen in our life. This external focus on that power or force or god/dess robs us of our own spiritual power to experience life as an unfolding event over which we have little or no control...and adventure of unbelievable proportion. That is spiritual reality to me.

Do we have a spiritual obligation to accept reality? Yes, if we want to grow in spirit and not remain stunted by beliefs that put the power and the experience outside of ourselves.

Am I at the crossover point? I don't know, but it feels like it most of the time.

Wow, it's too early in the morning for this subject.

I'm off to have tea and a croissant and to let life continue to unfold.


Do we have a spiritual obligation to accept reality? I believe so, if we want to be true to ourselves. This is the line that resonates for me: "Surrender does not simply mean that I quit grieving what I do not have. It means that I surrender to new meanings and new circumstances..." I also think that it's not a one-shot process, but that we continuously face what is, grieve for whatever losses we're dealing with, surrender to what that means, and move forward. I like the thought that in the process there are new meanings and new circumstances to explore.


Thanks for sassing in, half-a-sista.

It's been my experience that it's never too early in the morning -- or too late in the evening -- to wrestle with spiritual reality . . . or to have spiritual reality wrestle with us.

I'll chime in with more comments throughout the day, I know, but the ending of the first article (about happiness) said that by the time you're in your fifties, you have resolved most of the conflicts in relationships, etc.; gotten out of bad relationships/marriages and into better ones. I have to say that was true for me in my fifties.


Let me get this out of my system:

Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love, love Anne Lamott, but there is something about her article that struck me as luxurious. She's had her best sellers, she has her book proceeds and tours, son and grandkid, writing gigs, large home, etc. I find it hard to believe that none of these things didn't help to fill the "holes" inside her.

Perhaps I need to surrender my opinion.


half-a: I don't believe that believing in a deity outside of myself has impeded my spiritual growth or robbed me in any way of my spiritual power to experience life as an unfolding event over which I have no control.


treesta -- I, too, was intrigued by Chittister's idea of surrendering to "new meanings and new circumstances". For example, I NEVER thought turning 60 would look the way it did -- more on this in subsequent "60 on 60" posts.

My 60th birthday week was an example of "new meanings and new circumstances"?

Sweet Jesus.


Keep in mind that Lamott is also a recovering alcoholic. In my experience, people who survive their addictions learn a lot about surrender and also about discipline and self-care. Her life would have been so different if she hadn't found the courage to live it without mind-numbing alcohol. I believe that she is so grateful to HAVE a life that she has become sort of a cheerleader for others with her writing. Obviously, she has an audience, but maybe you do not need or want a cheerleader in yours.

What is most interesting to me is your mention of Joan Chittister. A friend recommended her book to me, "The Gift of Years" just this week. I have it on hold at the library.


PEACE -- take Chittister's book off hold at your library IMMEDIATELY! I have an extra copy and I would love to gift you with it.

More in a bit.


The other synchronicity I felt was in reading what you quoted from Lamott:

"Discipline is the path to freedom."

Currently, I am reading a book, "The Creative Habit" by dancer and choreographer, Twyla Tharp. She emphasizes that a creative life is a disciplined one and she recommends creating rituals and routines to support and sustain living a creative life.


Thank you, Flann. Have you read Chittister's book yet?


The one referenced in this post? I ordered it this morning with four other items, using two Amazon gift cards I got for my birthday. I started The Gift of Years at the beginning of the year, but then the shit storm hit, and I set it aside. As I shared with you yesterday, I stopped reading altogether in the middle of May and am just now starting up again.


Relating to the first article you cited, regarding frontal lobe deterioration in elders resulting in greater happiness, I witnessed this with my mother as she aged. Unfortunately, in her case, it also involved pretty severe dementia.


PEACE -- thanks for the reminder that Lamott is a recovering alcoholic.

Among the books I ordered this morning from Amazon (in addition to the Chittister book cited in this post), I ordered: The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by the poet Molly Peacock:



Surrender...Key word I think, while also bringing right action to bear. Acceptance and action. Key as we age and face the challenges and joys that accompany this human trip.

I am sitting here next to my wife's hospital bed. Two hours until her breast cancer surgery is to take place. A diagnosis that is four weeks old, a swirl of tests, biopsies, a crash course in breast cancer, and one pre-surgical drug trial. Today tumour and nodes. Tomorrow let the healing begin.

Surrender and act. Surrender and act.

Good to have Sassistas! to read today. Thank you. Would appreciate all the love you could send to my precious wife and her surgeon at 1:00pm EST. And to me too, sitting here softly.


Oh Contemplaysista, I'm so sorry to read this news. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.


Contemplaysista -- your news makes my heart ache in such a deep and profound way. I just got off the phone with Matissta who had read your comment and said, "This news hit me like a ton of bricks."

I am adding your name and your precious wife's name to my post-it prayer satin box on my altar. I will be with you in spirit at 1 pm today.

I am humbled that in the midst of these challenging unfolding events, you took the time to mail me a 60th birthday card, including copies of the poems I sent to you on your 50th birthday.

I am so sorry. I sit here softly next to you.


Sending prayers to Contemplaysista and her precious wife.

We can never post this poem too many times:

by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


I have been away from the computer, but I am with you NOW Contemplaysista and with your sweet wife. So sorry that you both had to have a crash course in breast cancer. I am relieved to hear that there are surgery and treatment options available.

This is the beginning of a new road ... one you never meant to travel. Please, know that I am traveling with you. So many blessings to you ... always.


Contemplaysista -- I can think of no better companion on your journey than PEACEsista. I will do my best to follow in her eloquent and compassionate footsteps in my own still-so-much-to-learn sneakers.

Deep love and bow to you.


Contemplaysista: I read your comment again just now. I am so sorry that you and your wife have had to surrender to breast cancer. "Surrender and act," you wrote. I am so grateful that you did only surrender and that you are taking action NOW. Let the healing begin, indeed, which is a whole 'nother process of surrender and action! So much love to you both.


oops ... last comment should have read did NOT only surrender ...

PS: the PLAY in your sista name, always jumps out to me!


Thank you all for your kindness at this news that you have received so suddenly; I don't know that there is any other way for this type of news to arrive.

Matissta, of course this would hit you like a ton of bricks at this moment in time when your heart is broken and wide open with the death of your mother, and all that entails.

Flann, thank you for your powerful prayers, ever appreciated, as you just may have a direct line! And for sitting softly next to me.

PEACE, yes, I walk next to you as well, from afar. Thank you for your grace, and I love the PLAY part of my name too, of course a great balance for silence.

Laura is out of surgery and in recovery. I haven't seen her yet, but her wonderful surgeon came to speak with me and she said that they got all the cancer and removed only three nodes. Hallelujah! It could have been so much worse. Now we wait for pathology to determine next steps...chemo and/or radiation and other adjuvant therapies.

Ottawa has the best Women's Breast Health Centre in Canada. Laura has had exceptional care, loving care, rapid response care at every step. We have been so taken care of on every level. Deeply human and technically superb.

I can't wait to see my beloved....another 2-3 hours before they will wheel her out.

Sending you all much love and always get your mammograms. That's how this cancer was found...


Hallelujah, too, ComtemPLAYsista.

We are here. We are getting our mammograms. We are with you.


Hallejujah, indeed! Please, when you are able, give Laura a group hug from all of us here at Sassistas! ... and when she is up to hugging you back, find us in that hug, too!

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