Tag Archives: spiritual health

Got Laughter?

I have a new high: the joyful spontaneous laughter of a two-year old that roles up and out uncontrollably.

Yesterday, I was playing legos with him and his cousin. I made a truck that looked perfectly normal to me, and he thought it was the funniest thing he’d ever seen. His cousin (22 mo.) either agreed, or just got set off by him and they laughed till I was sure they would fall over. It was so funny I was in awe.

When the moment had passed I took my truck out to my daughter to see if my reality was that far off, and she didn’t see anything funny about it either.

Tonight he was in the bathtub and again that laughter got set off. I called him a silly goose and he thought that was hilarious and again that completely natural, unaffected, outrageous laughter rolled out of him. It was great. He loves to laugh, and once it gets going, it lasts a while.

I’ve been asking God for joy and humor (among other things) every morning. There it was in the eyes and voice of a two-year old.

It has made me think of one of my favorite hurmorists, who always said, “Laughter is a holy sound to God.”

Tim Hansel is dead now and I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful to hear someone died–because he was in so much pain. His body had been so broken up by two different accidents. And  still he continued to write and travel speaking before large and small audiences. I happened to be one of those privileged to hear him–a man so full of joy and humor it flowed out. Humor was certainly his gift, and one he used to cope with pain.

I remember hearing another man who cured himself by laughing. Norman Cousins came down with Collagens Disease in which your insides dissolve, to put it simply. He decided to use it as an opportunity to test a hunch of his–that laughter is healing. He did and it was. He got well and founded the Immunology Department at one of the California universities.

Humor and joy are not my gift; I’m made of much grittier stuff, but I love true stories like these because I love laughter and have always appreciated good humor. I love to laugh.

I love thinking of God laughing. I know all Three of Them have a great sense of humor–all you have to do is look at creation…especially baby anythings. And I love the fact that They never laugh at anyone’s expense, never make fun of anyone, never even shame anyone.

I’ve been spending lots of hours early in the a.m. just listening this vacation. And one of the things He told me is He never makes anyone do anything. I swung around that concept for a while. I knew it theoretically, but have never felt it before. Now that carries some awe! And it makes me laugh, just because it is so incongruous to me.

The juxtaposition of incongruity is the basis of humor, and to me the knowledge that the All-powerful Ones in the universe don’t make anyone do anything is so contrary to the way I think, it’s funny! It opposes my very makeup.

And looking at the world, I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks and feels like that. I think there are a whole lot of religious people who won’t believe that–especially a lot of Christians! And that is not funny.

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Awareness

Yesterday was beautiful. I woke up happy, and had energy and motivation. I thanked God and thought our new supplement is working. But somewhere mid-morning my husband and I disagreed amiably about something and it hit him in a vulnerable place. I didn’t even know it until hours later. I was so surprised that he would go to a dark place over it! I tried unsuccessfully to help, and I determined not to get pulled into it.

And I didn’t for most of the day. Then late afternoon I came in from outside and realized something in me had shifted from the positive. I hadn’t even realized it had happened! But I noticed I didn’t speak to him, and I heard thoughts I had allowed to come in, just little tiny negative things that I didn’t even recognize as negative. They seemed a normal part of my thought life–truths I live with. But without my awareness they had become a bridge to the low of negativity.

Thank God I recognized the energy shift, and chose to go back to the positive. I spoke to him and discovered he was caught in darkness, so I unhooked. I didn’t blame myself, or worry, but recognized that he had been assaulted by one of our enemies, and I couldn’t get drawn in. The next day my group would be praying for a special healing for someone and I couldn’t risk going dark myself. So I prayed for him and let it go.

Thank God for His perspective, and the ability to see the difference. “My feet had almost slipped…” said David. I had almost gotten taken out by that short slippery slope into the pit of negativity. But we can choose. Sometimes we may have to choose again and again to stop the cascade of hormones that negative thoughts start. But if you catch them early one choice will turn you around again.

The next day I had to choose and choose again because the person we were praying for couldn’t make it. I had been praying she wouldn’t sabotage it, but an electrical pole fell across the road and closed it. Since she lives out of town she had to take a route that was over an hour longer, and missed the meeting. (She took pictures so we would believe her!)

I was fine in the meeting, but afterwards was so disappointed and deflated that it took me 30 minutes to get to choosing. And then between my husband who was still “out there” and that disappointment I struggled to get back to a positive peace.

I’m there again, thank God. But it really is true that choice is the most powerful thing in the universe–even more powerful than God. Think about it, He is respectful, leaving us free to choose.

Many times I’ve told Him, “I think You gave us too much freedom.” He just smiles that understanding smile. Our choice accesses His power, but he won’t violate our freedom.

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Experiencing Beauty

I truly enjoy beauty, but experiencing it is different. The last three weeks have been a roller coaster of good and bad, but mostly good. And one experience was pure beauty. The night before last I spent at the beach–our church is having its annual camp out, and as head elder I didn’t feel I could skip the elders’ retreat at the beginning, and I didn’t want to.

My husband says he’s over camping, so I was going alone. I was excited, actually, about doing something like that by myself. It’s only 45 minutes away, I was going to sleep in the back of our forerunner, and it’s our hot time of year, so I didn’t think it would be too cold. (We have frozen camping at the beach or in the mountains.) I don’t sleep well camping, but it was only for one night…

My time with the elders was wonderful, and I was tired, and very hopeful about a good sleep. The night was warm and beautiful. So warm I had to crack the back window, but didn’t want it down because of mosquitoes. (There were a few–nothing like Minnesota.) And before long I fell asleep.

But two hours later I woke up, the half inch of foam and the zero bag underneath me weren’t quite enough for comfort. So I got the sheep-skins out of the two front seats and positioned them under the sleeping bag I was on top of. Ah-h, that was nice. It still wasn’t cold. So I laid there talking and listening to God. Very aware of His presence.

I’ve been writing Genesis 34 for my new series, and it’s so difficult. I’ve never even liked to read it, let alone expand it. So I got my phone and read a few more versions of it, sensitive to every little nuance, every tiny detail to get the “back story” as my friend calls it.

After a couple of hours, I still wasn’t back to sleep, and it was clear I was going to have to get up and walk across the campground to the bathroom. I got my shoes on and opened the car door to a lovely surprise, it was warm out there too, and a symphony of sound greeted me. The night throbbed with it. Frogs and crickets had a rhythm going with the waves crashing behind it for percussion. It was so loud I could feel it, and the leaves of all the giant sycamores were lit up by the full moon.

That three minute walk was amazing. Beautiful beyond description, and gratifying because I felt absolutely no fear. I am not generally fearful anymore, but it has taken years for me to be comfortable outside at night, after being “attacked” walking home alone one night when I was 12. This was glorious! The temperature, the sounds, the freedom, the beauty–I could have walked all night–except I was tired.

Then when I got back in the truck, I had to open the back window enough so I could hear it all! I couldn’t get enough. And God’s presence felt even stronger and sweeter. It was another two hours before I fell asleep, not wanting the magical night with Him to end.

And in another two hours I woke up and went and walked on the beach with two friends. The sun was just coming up–beautiful–as we walked and talked to God.

Three hours later I was out there again alone. I was leaving, but was pulled out again to the beach and it was all a new beauty. I sat on a rock watching my pastor and his two kids body surf and play in the water–delightful. How blessed they are to have a dad like that, I thought. One who truly knows God and values true priorities.

I wish every child had that. Not a perfect dad, but a real one. And I wish for all of you an experience of Beauty.

 

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ABC’s for Mental and Spiritual Health

I didn’t get a chance to write a blog this weekend because I was writing a magazine article. So here are my ABC’s to a happier life.

Enjoy!

A  Accept what is — your reality won’t get better until you accept it–what you resist persists

B  Breathe–breathing meditation can change your life.

C  Choose to change your thoughts — Brain can only hold one conscious thought at a time

D  Vitamin D from sunshine makes everything feel better — 15 minutes of sun on a large area ( your hammock) will give you what you need.

E  Exercise is so important for circulation. Moving blood makes you healthy. Doing something you like is best, 20-30 minutes 5 days a week will make a difference.

F  Fun — especially if it’s active — is necessary and bonding. Maybe you think gardening is fun, maybe walking or tennis or running. But even if it’s sedentary, do something you like to do.

G  God is all about feeling good, but not cheap pretend feel-goods that make you feel worse afterward.

H  Health is happiness because when your body is happy, you are.

I   Interrupt negative habits and thought patterns.

J  Joy has been found to be the single best healer for trauma. What is it? Mostly it comes from God or acceptance–doing something for someone else–knowing you are loved.

K  Kindness makes you feel better. And if you give it, you are more likely to get it.

L  Love is of course one of the happy makers.  Focus on all the forms of love that are available to you. Don’t settle for counterfeits.

M  Meditation can be time with God just breathing, it calms and soothes, and the busier you are, the more you need it.

N  New–try new things, especially if they don’t cost money.

O  Openness — let people know who you are.

P  Play and pray  are both important activities for happiness.

Q  Quit things that hurt you and make your body feel bad.

R  Rest! Be sure you get at LEAST 6 hours of sleep at night–7.5 is better :).

S  Smile because it makes you feel better, and everyone around you. It communicates love and acceptance.

T  Trust people who are trustworthy. If you don’t have any in your life, get your trust issues healed, and then trust God until you can find some.

U  Use what you have.

V  Velcro your brain to hold good. It takes 10-30 seconds to anchor a thought. Notice and savor the good in your life–breezes, flavors, beauty, smells, sights, sounds…

W  Welcome God’s Spirit into your life every morning.

X  is for canceling negative thoughts.  One negative thought activates CRH which then activates ACTH. The first causes worry, the last causes fear.

Y  Yell on paper instead of at your kids or spouse etc.

Z  Zip your mouth shut when you want to be negative.

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