The Beauty in Instinct

“I went with my gut.”

Perilous words for some. For others, it more likely means a wise decision. It depends in many ways just how informed your gut is about a given situation, and how finely tuned your sense of intuition might be.

I’ve read articles by renowned thinkers that tell us intuition is nothing more than a response to how much we know. I believe intuition can kick in when there are tiny details in our lives that don’t add up, or perhaps do add up to something dangerous. Things we aren’t consciously aware of but our brain registers them nonetheless.

Still, there is something to be said for the unknowable. The renowned thinkers I just referred to were all men, and while I have great respect for their credentials, I think they are missing something. I think there is a sixth sense some people have about the world around them. There is something to the phenomenon of woman’s intuition.

Now it could be that this so-called sixth sense is an awareness of a dimension of existence not everyone sees, hears or feels. It could be a gift from God. Don’t get me wrong–I have a great respect for science. I just believe there is a side of our existence that can only be explained in part by the physical. The rest is a mystery.

I don’t want to limit myself to what the human brain can understand. I believe in God, and I believe that by definition he can’t be fully understand by mere mortals. That’s not to say he hasn’t put things in motion, giving scientists something to discover. Without science, we would be living in chaos.

And going with our gut doesn’t mean there isn’t perfectly logical reasons for doing so. We may not be able to articulate those feelings, but they’re valid. Still, there is the unknown. I’ve said it before in a different context: You don’t know what you don’t know. Time will reveal more scientific discoveries, but there will always be that which cannot be explained.

That’s the beauty of it.


Photo Credit: ©julia_arda – stock.adobe.com

Cloud Talk

Today I was early for work, so I leaned back in my car and watched the clouds float by. It was a windy day and they were moving quickly.

Like Charlie Brown and friends, I sought images in the sky. First face I saw was a cameo-like profile of s woman. It morphed into the Grinch of Dr. Seuss fame, and then became nothing more than abstract poofs.

I moved on to the image of a mountain lion, and began to wonder if some legends of old found their start in cloud formations. I know the stars inspired some stories, but what about clouds?

What inspires stories, the tall tales or myths of today? We hear sometimes of odd prompts that influenced an author, songwriter or other artist. We don’t see the connection, but it’s there in the mind of the creator.

As for me, I watch the clouds float by and listen to hear what they might be saying.

Photo Credit: © Pakhnyushchyy – Fotolia

A Time to Plant

Can’t see the forest for the trees.

I think that’s human nature, getting so caught up in the details of an issue that we don’t see the bigger picture. And sometimes that bigger picture is beyond the scope of our understanding. It might take years before we fully comprehend all that there is to know about a particular situation.

When multiple parties are involved, each with their own stake in what’s going on, it can be hard to understand the bigger picture. You know there’s a forest out there — heck, you’re smack dab in the middle of it — but all you can see are the trees, the facts that don’t necessarily seem to tie together.

But somehow they do.  Not necessarily in an orderly fashion, and at times the meaning remains obscure long after we leave those trees behind. That doesn’t mean there isn’t good in that forest.

It also doesn’t mean there isn’t bad. Sometimes the hard cold truth is people did things they simply shouldn’t have done, and their actions have an unfortunate impact in your life, or the life of someone you love. Sorting through that remains a challenge.

Those are the times you have to bring the good to the forest. Plant your own trees, and watch them grow. Take charge of the world around you. It doesn’t mean everything will suddenly be good and the pain will disappear, but it’s good to take control.

I know some of you are facing situations where you have little control — illness or injury, for example, that may or may not be treatable — and these words may sound trite. For that I apologize.

But few of us are 100 percent victims of our circumstances. There is a time for mourning, and a time for giving thanks. And a time for planting trees.


Image Credit: ©sara_winter – stock.adobe.com

 

Forest

Never-Ending Wonder

There is something about endless skies and rolling fields that bring out the dreamer in me.

Perhaps it is the seeming unlimited nature of the view, the what-is-just-beyond wonder that this vista presents. It is vast, yet it is contained in our world, it is out of reach yet somehow attainable. It is our dreams spilling out before us.

Dreams for ourselves, our children, our country, our world. The belief more is possible.

Dreams are salvation for some, drive and determination for others. Dreams grab us and hold tight, tell us what we ought to do.

Never-ending wonder, unlimited possibility.


Photo Credit: © Andrushko Galyna — Bigstockphoto.com

 

Let it Shine

Cartoon drawing of two happy kids holding the globe. Copyrighted image.

In the past week, several women I work with were facing illnesses, some serious, some not. They all had their concerns and found it difficult to work, but plugged away, at least one to her detriment.

She was frightened of losing her job because she’d taken too much time off. It’s not that she doesn’t believe she could find another; she knows she could. But she likes her job, is content with the environment and culture, and most particularly, really likes her supervisor. She knows that doesn’t always happen and she doesn’t want to lose it.

I listened to her, and I listened to another woman with serious back problems who is optimistic there are viable options to relieve her pain. While in the ladies’ room, I talked to a woman who spoke little English, but understood it well, about her family in Mexico, some of whom were hit by the earthquake last month.  They are all alive, with only minor injuries, but are facing challenges.

Talking to these ladies makes my job better.

We talk about small acts of kindness, and each of us has our own personality and ways of reaching out to others. In the area I live, drivers are respectful of each other, paying attention when someone signals they want to change lanes and allowing drivers to pull into traffic from side roads and parking lots.

I’ve never seen this anywhere else. It’s not as if I live in a small town. Traffic can be heavy. It’s courtesy, small acts of kindness. Unique to my corner of the world in many ways, part of the personality of this area.

I’m lucky to have a dedicated group of blog followers who, I sense, are prone to giving, each in their own way. I’ve gotten to know some of you fairly well through your writing, and I know many of you have distinctly different personalities than mine. Your kindness is perhaps shown in a way I couldn’t fathom doing myself.

I’m inviting you to share the ways you spread kindness on your blog, and I will happily re-blog anyone who lets me know of a post inspired by what I’ve written here. And since writing and blogging are also unique to the individual, anything you write that you tell me was inspired by this post, I will re-blog (okay, there are limits, but I will let you know if you’ve reached one, and I don’t think it’s likely to happen).

Some of you have things to say I believe some of my followers might relate to, so I’m going to re-blog some posts I see during the week or have seen recently that I found inspiring.

I look forward, as always, to seeing what you’ll  write.


Image (children holding globe) © lavitrei — Bigstockphoto.com (background) © aerial3 — Bigstockphoto.com

 

Pages of the World Book

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo

Travel, or otherwise explore the world.

It is easy to dismiss the decisions of others, particularly those of people in other cultures, if one has never traveled more than 100 miles from their place of birth. Brief trips to a large city for business travel are often sheltered, and the annual visit to the family cabin, albeit more than 100 miles away, isn’t truly traveling in the sense I’m speaking of here.

At the age of 19, my brother loaded his backpack and headed for Europe, Australia and New Zealand, hiking and taking odd jobs for about a year, as I recall. I believe that trip shaped him, helped him focus his priorities and exposed him to thinking different from that which he heard while growing up. He has always been a kind and thoughtful person, but traveling alone gave him a perspective he couldn’t get any other way.

He shared with me some of the conversations he had with complete strangers during his trip, and those words have changed me, so I know they changed him. I wouldn’t have survived the last few years without him, and I believe that foundational, transformational experience is part of the reason he has so much to offer me.

Over the years I’ve talked to parents who are agonizing over their son’s or daughter’s choice to travel for a time, giving up their dreams of a college education (or so it seems to mom and dad) for a hobo lifestyle. I tell them not to worry, and inevitably those children have gone on to greater things, some back to school, some not, but they knew that that time away from all that comforted them would be healthy.

The Whole World Kids

Even Prince William took off for ten weeks to volunteer in Chile, where he faced ribbing by other volunteers, such as less-than-complimentary nicknames, among other things, I’m sure. At the time he said, “I’m with a group of people I wouldn’t normally be with and getting along with them is great fun and educational. There are some real characters in the group who don’t hold back any words at all.”1

I imagine.

Several friends of mine graduated with honors from high school, went to a nearby college and moved on to career success in the same city they were raised in. Their standards and norms are measured by the world immediately around them, and they mock others whose lifestyle and thinking is foreign to them, even if those people vote for the same president they do. They are experts in their own world with no grasp of what motivates people outside the walls of their great city.

Not everyone can backpack through foreign countries, or even distant parts of their own country. It isn’t suitable for some to travel extensively. But the world we live in today gives us exposure through traditional and modern methods to pages of the World Book. It’s not the same as travel, but it still is an opportunity to grow.

Take the time to grow.


1 The Telegraph, December 10, 2000, “Hard work and high adventure for William in Chile.”

Image Credits: (World Map) © asantosg — Bigstock; (World Kids) © lenm — Bigstock

The Simple Truth

My high school French teacher challenged us one day to “write about why you believe — or don’t believe — in God.”

We were cautioned not to recite our church’s theological platform, but to give our own heartfelt reasons for our belief. All in French, of course.

Well, easier for me to translate a simple thought from the heart than any complex theological belief to French, so that part wasn’t difficult for me. And I would no doubt offend my French-speaking friends today if I tried to repeat what I wrote then, but here’s a short portion of it, in English:

“I believe in God because the sun rises and sets each day. The mountains speak loudly to me of his presence, the rivers and the valleys, more quietly…”

I struggled with that essay, because I wanted it to flow smoothly in French, and since my teacher was a native speaker, I think eventually it did. I regret I no longer have it.

My life, like most, has been a series of sunny days and stormy ones, of peaks and valleys, of mountains I couldn’t scale and oceans I couldn’t swim, along with unexpected and glorious triumphs. Perhaps small, but glorious nonetheless.

I’m grateful to Mr. Keplinger for giving us that assignment, for early on forcing us to think in two languages of our deepest-held beliefs, for whether he knew it or not, it formed a foundation for my faith over the years.

It’s simple, yes, and there are much more complex issues that crowd my mind every day. The details of my faith change year to year, but the core remains the same.

And part of the core is this:

I believe in God because the sun rises and sets every day.


Photo Credit :© Kotenko Oleksandr — Adobe Stock