Category: What a girl believes

Intentionality

I had a sloppy day yesterday. By the time that it got to 11 am, and I hadn’t yet done my spiritual practice or anything else on my todo list or my bed side pile of books, I had more or less accepted this fact and yesterday turned into a rest day. It was filled with a game on my iPad that will ultimately means nothing and thinking. The study I still have to do by the end of today still needs to happen. I need to get back on the horse in terms of my spiritual stuff.

But at some point yesterday I was okay with letting yesterday go. In rest. Not like the day was stolen from me in laziness like others have felt before but because  I chose to let it be my sabbath. Without any scheduling, or ritual. Without the promise of a routine. Fully aware in my own mind at least that I far from deserve a day off at this point.

There was no great crash out on Friday. I’ve had it lot on my mind lately and I do need to reboot some major stuff; like my integrity. But it wasn’t one of those.

I also needed  to lie down earlier I was planning on last night so I didn’t get to write about it. But between Friday night and now a few things have come into focus. This is nice as I have felt like a study in contradictions lately.

  • I realised that there are a lot of books that I want to read but my library doesn’t have and I don’t want to buy a lot of books.
  • I realised again that I want to write more, speak less, think more.
  • I want to live minimally but be well informed and have just what I need when I need it.
  • Silence doesn’t scare me. Judgement does. My own stings more than anything another can do.
  • I realise that I fall to easily into trying to be someone that I am not. That needs to stop now even though it’s going to be very uncomfortable for a while.

I have always thought that when I was being really me, I lived very consciously. Things like; Think carefully through what you are going to do, say, wear, eat. Not just once but each time. Make your choices consciously and be aware that the act of not making a choice is in fact a choice. That even when a situation doesn’t seem to have a choice, your response to that situation is your choice. That there will be hard choices, but being adult means accepting that even those are choices.

This lifestyle felt right but very hard and very unpopular. It seems out of kilter with the way I was “supposed” to be. It was not easy or fun. It was hard to be unpopular again. But I think that I need to go back to that. A life of intentionality and conscious living and see what happens. I am older now so maybe that will help.

It will require radical honesty. First with myself and then with others. About who I am, and what I really want. That will take time, but after my Sabbath i feel quietly ready. Not in a zealous let’s run and have a packing party and I’ll move to India. But in a confidence and courage that I haven’t felt in over 10 years. I feel more myself today.

I can now see some intersections between what I think my values are and actions I can take.

I was listening to a podcast on YouTube interviewing Colin Wright who moves intentionally every 4 months. Watching a TEDx talk of his gave me a word for it all. The seemingly endless contradictory goals.

Intentionality.

Coming into another birthday my word of choice will be intentionality for the next phase. His talk was not just looking at stuff; the minimialism piece but intentionality in relationships. Contextual friendships. Draining relationships. Being “on purpose” here too. This is an area I need to address, both in the repair (if possible) of some that I have abused and or neglected and in the clearing of others which do not serve now in the way that I have been trying to make them work.

But first to me. I’m not going to make radical commitments to myself right now. That hasn’t been healthy for me. I’m just going to start by trying a little harder to pay attention and use my hypersensitivity to my advantage. To think more.

Start from there.

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The rainbow elephant

I might be a little late in coming to this conversation. At least in the written form. But I’m here now and I’ve had a bit of time to think and listen and observe and try to absorb too.

It’s been personal. I’ve felt attacked and rejected by some of my dearest people. For me in a different way to others. But yes for me too. Less than others I’m sure. But I was surprised. It’s about love after all, not about me.

I might be more used to the personal is political mindset than some. There has been an undercurrent that the Question is a referendum on the very value of a whole segment of society. From that segment too has been a sense that “its us against the rest of you”, and “either your with us or you are against us”. All the nastiness and extremism of trying to generalise a few bad examples or rogue statistics as representing the whole. All the judgement and all the fear that goes along with being a minority, through no fault of one’s own. It hurts. Keeping all these segmentation up hurts too. Individually and collectively. It may have become political but Questions like this don’t have to stay like that. But that’s a tough balance.

The background

Within Australia at the moment we are having an ongoing debate regarding same-sex marriage or marriage equality as it has been dubbed. It’s been a warm and getting hotter topic for years. The Question: should same-sex attracted couples be included in the Marriage Act (which currently defines marriage as being between a man and a woman), and more recently, if there is to be a change in the law, how do we go about doing it.

Any revision could have been done by a revision of an act by Parliament which at least until recent dramas would have probably been simpler and cheaper. It is also outside a Constitutional change so falls exactly within the role we commission our elected representatives to do. They are charged to lead and govern our country, We “trust” them for a term to debate and decide the difficult and the easy; not deflect difficult ones to opinion polls which are not binding.

Whatever my view of the Question Let me say that I think Australia has lost its sense of statesmanship and become all too reactionary to opinion polls and the deflecting of responsibility for leadership. The decision was taken to elect our current Prime Minister and his view was clear. His job was to listen and lead the government and parliament to a consensus.

So we are having a plebiscite which is a cop out in my view. All the opinion poll will do is take a snapshot view of a politically jaded country. The Act will still need to be debated and drafted adding delay and drama whichever way the plebiscite goes.

The debate has been hard and cruel in both directions. Given my situations I have been attacked quite viciously from vocal, fundamentalist members of both main camps. The misinformation and generalisations coming from both directions has been hard to watch and has affected my thinking.

Part 1
I have a faith in God. My faith which feels more alien to what is being touted as Christian than ever informs my take on social justice. I’m less judgemental and more liberal as regards many issues precisely because of my faith. I also believe that it is not for people who are not privy to my understanding of God to represent their views as mine or are tell me how I or anyone should interpret scripture. A brother or elder is allowed to offer correction and instruction , but no one speaking in this debate has that role in my life. So stop telling me how to decide Rev/Fr never met you just because I have a faith. Jesus is my middle man to God, if I need one, not you, and his approach to love (and a whole lot of other stuff) was quite radical. Y’know stuff like Judge not let Ye be judged, love your neighbor as yourself. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. *I don’t think love can ever be a sin, but even if even if it is, by fundamentalist theology we all have to face our Maker and our reckoning will be between that person and God. It is not up to me to judge. Or you.

We don’t sit in harsh judgement of whether a straight marriage will work to anywhere near the extent that some of you do with a same-sex relationships. The stats are not good for straight couples, leaving plenty of couples missing the Good birth influence of one gender. The same-sex stats put us to shame. Families are built based around who loves who, not who sleeps in what bed. Common sense says that divorces of all types will happen, and when they do, they do. We are all human beings. The sky will not fall. Many kids of straight couples have had a rough upbringing. There will be some kids of same-sex marriages if it comes to that who feel the same. But if we mainstream it, the stigma will go and that will help all kids be kinder. Growing up I would fantasize that everyone had a crappy left arm and a head tilt…… just so I felt normal

There are the full range of people in all communities. Pedaphilia is in the straight world as it is in the gay, just as much if not more. Both sorts are in all the Churches and outside. The good the bad and yes the ugly are across the board. We are commanded to love and not to judge. By our fruit will we know each other, and knowing is different to judging which is in God’s hands. My suggestion is that we are generally built with two ears and one mouth. Let’s try and use them proportionally?

To quote @frbower Fr Rod Bower

“For the religiously inclined to participate productively in the public discourse of a secular democracy, there is required of them the ability (and willingness– JN) to translate theological specifics into universal values, accessible to all people regardless of their faith or lack thereof”

Part 2
My only request ok, two requests of those fighting for marriage equality: just as you don’t like to be tarred with the paedophile brush on the basis that some of you have been, please don’t judge all of those who claim a faith as being homophobic or for that matter are or condone child abusers. We come in all shapes and sizes too. Some of us are saints and some are down right bastards. Some are loud. Most are not. We are all individuals. Generalisation is dangerous and insulting. Some churches are preaching their view, but you are also using the venues open to you to advertise (as you should). Passion for an issue can be lovingly expressed, by all of us.

My second request is simple I hope. Talk to us all, don’t yell at us. We didn’t choose the plebersite. Issues don’t have to stay political even if they start there. We have had to recognise minorities before in less than ideal ways. We will have to again no doubt. Alienating won’t help your cause or Australia . We are all humans. We have had struggles, which may be different to this or not. You are not alone. I for one am not the enemy. Please talk to me like you are my neighbour, my sibling, best friend, my doctor, my accountant or my barista; about your love and fear and hope and plans. I’ll be listening and so will others.

All in all right now I’m simply ashamed of being a human being in Australia …..We need to behave better . I’m confused, and sad that it came to this.. This has hurt my faith and my faith in people tremendously and that’s not a good place to be if we are discussing love. Is it?

just my 5 cents.

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Maybe not just faiths but denominations too?

From LivingBuddha,LivingChrist10thAnniversaryEdition” target=”_blank” title=””>Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh

People kill and are killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies. When we believe that ours is the only faith that contains the truth, violence and suffering will surely be the result

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A cautionary tale aka: of Picolo, cake and dodos

First off, this is a rant and a very long and personal rant. I’m sorry to my new readers. But it might mean I start posting more regularly 🙂. That said

I am a woman with a personal history of faith in God dating back to my early teens and a background in the Christian Church from birth. I went through a brief but intense period where I was a bit more literal than I am now in my interpretation of the Bible and its teachings. I have had various periods of doubt and wilderness walking, more around the Church than God, though,  as the common denominator between the Church and me, and the all great “omni-everything” God has been given due responsibility and we have had many emotional “rounds in the ring”. I’ve been through rounds in the ring a range of things including over my disability and whether God would have me walking with two good arms this side of whatever the next life is. Our hard-fought for conclusion on that issue ended up being that God would give me strength to endure and; in the words of a hymn; “”Do every day, what I have to do”. I’m intentionally not evangelistic, believing each person has to find a path (plus the evangelists tend to scare me; see below.)

I’m fairly private about my faith. believing  as role models have before me in Mathew 6:1. In addition, my faith and theology have both been a bit unconventional and certainly well wrestled with so tougher (maybe) to encapsulate

As would seem logical, my disability has featured in my deliberations about faith, though it is far from the only factor that has impacted on my faith. However strangers who are Christians, have, at various points in my life, worn their religious convictions on their sleeves and sought to pray, loudly and uninvited that by their prayers (because mine are never enough?) the devil would leave my body, my “excess sin” would be removed and I would, in the middle of — insert main street here, get up and do cartwheels. Un ramped/uneven  Churches in my past have had mixed reactions when being asked about a ramp. They have either told me they don’t need access because they will pray for me and therefore I will just amble in, or they have built one, like a human rights issue!

With all this as long-winded background I invite the brave amongst you dear readers to review the following online discussion held today, two weeks after I had a batch of three such public healing “moments” in the space of 7 days. I’m reporting the first and “worst” of these to NNNNN and reproducing with minor edits and their permission here.

Me:You at your computer?

NNNNN: Yes

Me:Ok. How about I tell you the worst of the three healing events? I’ll tell you line by line to keep the flow going and will let you know when done.

NNNNN:Shoot!

Me:🙂 Head or lung or back?

NNNNN:Any.

Me:Ok, remember last time I was there and got ready for a function….?

NNNNN:Yes.

Me:As it turned out the function was a lot of fuss over nothing and only went for an hour …

So I rolled up to town hall from circular quay…

NNNNN:Yup.

Me:And decided to sit at jet cafe outside by myself have a silent fume at the event and a coffee…

NNNNN:I remember Jet Cafe.

Me:I had my headphones in and was half way through my coffee when a woman (50 year old professional traveling solo) sat facing me at the next table

We smiled at each other a couple of times

Small talk as she ate ensued.

NNNNN:Then?

Me:Jobs

Traveling

Married/not married

Coffee and shopping in Melbourne

Disability access Sydney versus Melbourne

Etc

I happened to say “goodness knows” to something she said Jesus would know

NNNNN: mmmmmh

Me:My first red flag. We agreed we were both Christians and I explained that my faith helps me cope

She asked me how I came to a relationship with Jesus

I gave her my spiel

I asked her her story – safer to get her off the subject of me and keep her talking of her

She was born again at 24

Jesus had told her she was going to marry a pastor and pointed him out to her personally.

She has brought many people to Jesus including whilst being hospitalised in Europe with a dvt by Jesus just to bring the woman in the next bed to Jesus.

Me:All this time I keep saying god gives me the strength to live with the CP

NNNNN:Yes?

Me:She goes inside to ( I thought) pay but instead orders a round for us of coffee and cake

I had prepaid my first coffee

She sits opposite me

The waiters remove the other outside tables (packing up)

We eat the cake

She talks about Jesus and how many times she has seen great healings

You have never seen me eat cake so fast but my upbringing said I couldn’t leave though I made noises and moves to do so

NNNNN: Ahhhahh!

Me:She asks if she can pray for me

NNNNN:Ouch!

Me:I say thank you that’s kind and if she wants to add me to her private prayer list I would be humbled but I don’t believe in public prayer nor in the laying on of hands

NNNNN:Yes?

Me:I quote Matthew 6 ” do in secret” at her

NNNNN:Yes?

Me:No good

She wants to cast the devil out of me and restore my body and my faith.

Jesus is telling her to do it and do it now

NNNNN:Ouch!

Youch!

Me:So she bounds out of her seat stands next to me with her feet positioned so if I was to reverse I would’ve hurt her- though I don’t think that was her thinking.

So there are no other tables nearby now and I couldn’t go back or forward

NNNNN:You are trapped.

Me:And she had one hand on my “evil chair” and one on the front of my head

I ask her three times again not to

NNNNN:

And she’s not listening.

Me:I say it is unwelcome and cruel

She says its the devil resisting

I quote scripture.

She says the devil quoted scripture when Jesus was tempted. She was right of course he did.

So I decide to let her get on with it and not make a scene

Well…

NNNNN:Yes?

Me:She goes on and on and on for 25 minutes

NNNNN:Ow!

Me:Casting the devil out of my body

My head

Heart

Slapping me lightly on the back of the head

Telling god that I am scum in his sight because if I was forgiven I’d walk away from the cafe

You name it …. I got it …

NNNNN:🙁

Me:It went on and on and on

The worst version I have ever got.

Seriously.

NNNNN:I see.

Me:Meanwhile. My prayer was something like. God if you want to have me walking and with a normal arm I would be grateful but if not if you’re there please move this woman’s heart away from doing this.

NNNNN:At least just to move this woman away.

Me:God didn’t do either.

She finished her prayer. She believed god would work the miracle as she slept. Or I was a devil sent to test her. It was one or the other.

Left me her business card and walked away

NNNNN:Whew!

Me:And I was left shaking but not walking

NNNNN:Shaking indeed.

Me:God let us both down that night. It started to happen two other times that week. There was no sanctuary. I’m over it. I’m over being the means by which other people get to feel better and get their heavenly brownie points.

Scared you off?

NNNNN:No. Just taking it all in.

I’m just sorry you have had to endure these unpleasant experiences.

Me:I think my faith is officially gone the way of the dodo. It happens too often and I don’t see a lot of the God I believe/d in in practise.

NNNNN:God will not intervene?

Me:I don’t expect an interventionist god. I want a sense he can and will protect me and work on people’s hearts.

NNNNN:God doesn’t act in the same way that woman wants to.

Me:What I’m left with is either he’s passive or he doesn’t give a s@@t about me.

NNNNN:An uncaring God? Could be that there are too many who don’t let God care through them? Could there not be a few, though, who do?

Me:I don’t know. Honestly. But right now I need to go to a meeting.

Love

Joanna

NNNNN:OK. Thanks for sharing the story.  May my hugs go with you. Love. NNNNN

To a selection of my Christian friends after my third such moment I sent:

Why do all the religious cocoos come out at once and try me for size? Just got caught briefly by another one. My third in a week or so. Over feeling like I’m up for everybody else to earn their brownie points just because I sit. ;-(“

The silence from some of those friends, some of whom I’ve known for over 20 years and through other really black holes was deafening. One such trusted friend quipped later (admittedly without the above event background, but with I thought a good knowledge of the value I placed on my faith) that my doubts were because the Pope had resigned.

Although I get that these stupid healing actions are the actions of some fallible Christians, not God (and I’ve had other good Christians, like NNNNN who are also fallible members of the broader Church try and help me process this since), I do blame God for this one. For not protecting me . For making me go through this largely alone. AGAIN . For not shutting these people up. For not sending a stone tablet down as an appendix to the Bible telling folks that physical illness and disability are not evil. (There would be other stone tablets of course).

I can’t shake this one. It has been devastating. Usually my admission of faith and my explaining that Jesus helps me cope are enough to prevent these full-blown attacks, not this time.

It leaves me exhausted and lonely (my non Christian friends don’t get the grief either, almost “what took you so long”), sad and feeling like I will always be suspicious of people that say they love Jesus, whether I ever believe again or not. I fear I’ve wasted 23 years of life in the boxing ring of my faith and while I know that there have been bigger things that God’s done well (apparently), my relationship with God through faith in the Christ has been my link into the mystery of it all..

I just don’t know where to go with it now, but thanks for listening

 

 

 

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The email I wrote for international day last year

Dear All,

I’m sending this out on a personal note.

In simple terms this email is a thank you. It is international Day of People with Disability. I refuse to deal with Christmas till after today every year!

Regardless of how stage managed events around it need to become to raise the profile, IDPwD is intensely personal and profound for me.This year it is quite emotional for me. For me it is an opportunity to take a big breathe and acknowledge the journey, the wins, the losses and the inevitable work arounds. This starts with looking at my own life and using that reflection to look outwards. It involves giving thanks to all the powers that might be and to those in my circle who give me strength and courage and other resources to make “it” happen. You are each getting this because you have personally helped me “run that gauntlet”

Interestingly, looking out for a minute I see a big disconnect between parts of the messages that are being sent out this year. Domestically we are being told to celebrate the successes and the achievements and while fighting for the NDIS, keep it light and fluffy and a-political, This is even though there are enough people with disability to fill Victoria and we are under-utilised and more likely to be in all sorts of other not-nice minorities as a result .

On the other hand, the United Nations who proclaimed the annual observance in 1992 still tell us that:

“Persons with disabilities make up an estimated 15 per cent of the world’s population. Almost one-fifth of the estimated global total of persons living with disabilities, or between 110-190 million, encounter significant difficulties. Furthermore, a quarter of the global population is directly affected by disability, as care-givers or family members.
Persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in their societies and are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. They remain largely marginalized, disproportionately poorer, frequently unemployed and have higher rates of mortality. Furthermore, they are largely excluded from civil and political processes and are overwhelmingly voiceless in matters that affect them and their society”

I think this is a call to action if ever I heard one!

I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle and that for those of us who are “active participants” have the balancing act ongoing. It is because of people like you that I find the strength “to run the race before me”, even if we never talk about disability! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. . It takes courage to be sit on the margins. The marginalisation may have have changed but it is still present and I still feel it so thanks for the gifts of courage I am given in the big and small ways..

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Another Monday Micro: New iPhone, iPad app for tracking sins

This.might be useful especially to a new convert unsure of the process. But remember:

The (US) $1.99 “Confession: A Roman Catholic App” can’t grant forgiveness — you still need to receive the sacrament from a real, live priest like always. The app’s designers and some believers see it as a way to spur Catholics back into the habit of repenting.

Indeed — I can’t complain about the use of technology.

The news video of it is here

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WWGD — Heated table meetings

For those of you outside Australia, the entire continent is having some very hard times weatherwise at the moment. In Sydney yesterday the heat was oppressive–today is slated to be worse to the point where I can’t sit at my window (where my desk is) for very long.

In that context, this is what I wrote down yesterday at about 4 PM.

I used to be really worried about the space I take up (in my wheelchair). I still am really. I was raised to be quite conscious of it when I parked etc.

But I’m sitting at DejaBrew in the city waiting for a friend. There were no tables I could easily get to inside so I was aiming for a table in the shade outside. I’m having an ordinary coffee–table hire basically. I don’t think it’s the coffee’s fault. I think it’s just the heat.I’m trying to collect spoons and prepare for a all day meeting later in the week, when I need to set up and be intelligent.

There are two suits sitting next to me in the shade, with a table also shaded between us with the jacket and bag of one of the suits and his briefcase occupying.

Grey stripe suit is in charge (or wants to be), or pitching an idea and trying to look committed. He keeps eyeing me suspiciously. Younger blue suit is quieter, drinking water to the grey suit’s latte. He is clearly the one with the purse strings.

They are both engaged in the paper business of a meeting and taking three tables to do it. One for the grey suit and his paperwork, pushed against one for the blue suit and his papers. These tables seat four each comfortably. The coffee shop could seat 12 people in the shade in this space.

The craziest thing is that one table is for the blue suit to store his blazer and I got glared at when I parked there. They want a buffer perhaps. I should have just stayed there, but I felt shy.

Leaving me in the sun. Melting.

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Healing #reverb10

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

(Author: Leonie Allan)

Whoa — this is a tough one, depending how I was to take it.

Healing and I have a strange love hate relationship. Some of the reasons why may well be obvious. The various churches that I have been into have also increased my scepticism and nervousness about this issue.

That’s if I take a traditional response. But, I’m not going to, am I?

Healing for me this year has been very much a drip dry healing, as it always is for me. Healing of my own anxieties, a settling of my moods, hearing of relationships (and I’m including with myself) and although it might not always be evident a renewed sense of “the piece that passes all understanding”.

I still have the health challenges, but even with regards those I’m still active and involved. And I’m calmer at some level that I would not have expected.

I found a level playing field with relationships. I know my limits better, and I’m better able to respect and noticed other people’s limits without having to run into them like a brick wall first. Not that I had bad relationships mind you, but things can always be improved.

The fun thing that I’ve healed this year is my love of reading and it seems of writing.According to  my book reading log I have read something like 25 books this year which in addition to the work-related reading I do isn’t bad.

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