This week: Reframing the PictureEdited by: Sophy
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Hi, I'm Sophy ~ your editor for this edition of the Spiritual Newsletter.
The Rev. Scotty McLennan, author of the book Finding Your Religion, compares humanity's innate need for spiritual searching to climbing a mountain. In his view, we are all endeavoring to climb the same figurative mountain in our search for the divine, we just may take different ways to get there. In other words, there is one "God," but many paths. I honor whatever path or paths you have chosen to climb that mountain in your quest for the Sacred.
Reframing the Picture
In one of my favorite scenes from the movie, "Saving Mr. Banks," Tom Hanks (as Walt Disney) has a conversation with P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, trying to convince her to let him create a movie from her work ...
"Ever been to Kansas City, Mrs. Travers? Do you know Missouri at all? It’s mighty cold there in the winters. Bitter. My dad, Elias Disney, he owned a newspaper delivery route in Kansas City. Thousand papers. Twice daily. Morning and evening edition. Elias, he was a tough businessman. A save-a-penny anywhere you can type of fella so he wouldn’t employ any delivery boys, he just used me and my big brother Roy. I was eight then – eight years old. Like I said, those winters were harsh and old Elias didn’t believe in new shoes until the old ones were worn right through so – honestly, Mrs. Travers, the snow would be up to here – you’d push through it like wading through molasses. And the cold and the wet would be seeping through the shoes and the skin would be raw and peeling from our faces – and sometimes I’d find myself sunk down in the snow, waking up, cuz I must’ve passed out for a moment – I dunno. Then school, too cold to figure out an equation. And back into the snow so by the time we got home it’d be just getting dark, and every part of you would sting like crazy as it slowly came back to life in the warmth. My mother would feed us dinner and then it’d be time to go out again for the evening edition. Best be quick Walt, best be quick or poppa’s gonna show you the buckle end again boy. Now, I don’t tell you all this to make you sad, Mrs. Travers, I don’t. I love my life – it’s a miracle. And I loved my daddy, boy I loved him. But, there isn’t a day goes by where I don’t think of that little boy in the snow and old Elias with his fist and strap and I’m just so tired – I’m tired of remembering it that way. Aren’t you tired Mrs. Travers? We all have our tales but don’t you want to find a way to finish the story? Let it all go and have a life that isn’t dictated by a past?"
The scene touched me powerfully when I first saw the movie, and continues to impact me as I consider the next chapter of my life. Like anyone, I experienced challenges in my past. While I was blessed with a wonderful family and did not have to deliver newspapers through giant snow drifts - I've had my share of pain and trauma. Being diagnosed with a painful chronic illness as a teen certainly had an impact on my life, as did unhealthy relationships, and painful losses. But at each point along the way, I had a decision to make - would I allow those experiences to inform/shape my life, or would I allow them to take over and define me?
For instance - it is a factual part of my existence that I've had a chronic illness for almost 40 years. I've had to make adaptations in my life because of it, of course, and have at times been in terrible pain. But I am much more than a medical diagnosis, and while my condition has certainly impacted my life, at a certain point I had to make a conscious decision not to let it control me, dictate my life, be the only part of my story. I am much more than my body or illness.
The same with unhealthy relationships - it's always been up to me whether or not I learn from them and move on, or continue to make the same mistakes. The death of loved ones was a paralyzing loss at times - and yet as I moved through my grief, and continue to carry them in my heart always, I don't let their loss define who I am. They help make up who I am, but I am more than any broken heart or lost relationship; I am more than the pains in my body.
I’m tired of remembering it that way ... We all have our tales but don’t you want to find a way to finish the story? Let it all go and have a life that isn’t dictated by a past?
Letting it all go - grudges, regrets, people who harmed or wronged me - has been one of the most freeing moments of my life. I am and can be anyone, each day brings new possibilities, new ways of seeing things. And if I get sucked back in to the past today, I can start again tomorrow. Imagine, just imagine, if we could live our lives in a way that was not dictated, controlled, defined by our past - what an amazing new chapter we could write!
Below you'll find some wonderful spiritual offerings based on a prompt for "The Writer's Cramp" during WDC's 21st Birthday Celebration. Here is the prompt -
The 21st Card in the Tarot Deck is "The World" - which represents an ending to a cycle of life, a pause in life before the next big cycle. It is an indicator of a major change. Write a STORY or POEM about an ending to a cycle of life, a pause in life before the next big thing, and/or a major life change.
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Here are the responses to my last newsletter "Spiritual Newsletter (August 18, 2021)" about "The Spirituality of Aging:"
As I cross my mid eighties I have found one of the greatest gifts of aging is the collection of wonderful memories and people.
A subject close to my heart - I seem to be writing more about the experience of old age with every passing year. Thanks very much for including my poem, "The Beauty of Use," in your Editor's Picks.
You are very welcome - and glad the newsletter resonated with you.
From G. B. Williams
As always, I am humbled when I am posted in any of the newsletters, and today, the opening poem by Bernadette Noll is just awesome. Not sure of the title, but I would call it "Sea Glass" or "Aging like Sea Glass."
Thank you so much for sharing it with me.
I can write, LOL, but you take your time to write and share with WDC members often. I think that is wonderful. Do you need writers to contribute to the newsletter? What are some topics that might make for a good read?
I really just wanted to say thank you!
So glad you liked the sea glass poem - I am not sure of the title, I like your suggestions. And thank you for writing in to share your appreciation for the newsletter.
Our newsletter editors rotate on a monthly basis, including their own thoughts on a topic, and sharing spiritual writings from other members. You are welcome to submit items from your portfolio to be featured in future newsletter. Just as you provided a comment for this one, you can include a bitem link of a spiritual item you'd like to share, and one of our editors will see it and use it when they are able to do so.
What a beautiful outlook. This September I'll be 46, so I'm a bit younger than you. Still, I find myself relating to this poem. When I was younger, I fought against the tides, often feeling like I was stuck in the undertow. Now, I don't stress over things as much. Life happens, but there is always joy to be found, no matter what stressors are abound.
Since I care for the elderly and see various realities in aging, as a younger soul mingling with them, I see a great spiritual significance in their aging. There is so much history and stories to learn from them. I always find it an honor to have the opportunity to hear their stories.
Like you, I am not afraid of death. I've seen plenty of it and held the hand of the dying many a time. It just is. Without the existence of death we would not appreciate life.
Thank you so much for your response and sharing - I wish I had your wisdom at 46! Your work is sacred and it's a blessing for you and the people you care for that you have such a lovely perspective about life and aging - what a wonderful gift.
From Mia - in motion
It’s been a while since I’ve been on site, and therefore am reading this Spiritual Newsletter a considerable time after you’ve written it. Again, your writing is inspirational, not just sharing your insights, but calling us to draw on ours too, and to share them. Thank You. Much appreciated.
You are very welcome - it's so nice to hear from you!
Please keep your comments and suggestions coming! Until next time! Sophy
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