Sunday, August 22, 2010

God as Being Itself - Creating Heaven or Hell on Earth

As a result of reading Karen Armstrong's A Case For God, I am coming to envision God more and more, not so much as A Being, but as Being Itself. In my previous post, I examined some of the differences in envisioning God as A Being and envisioning God as Being, and I noted that envisioning God as Being has these three consequences.

  • God cannot be contained, described, or defined, because Being lies beyond the capacity of logical language.
  • Our ideas about God cannot be said to be right or wrong, because seemingly different ideas about God often point to a deeper truth.
  • We experience God, not through correct belief (which cannot be determined anyway), but through the practice of compassion and through ritual.

In this post, I will examine an additional - and very important - consequence of envisioning God as Being:

As particular beings - created in the image and likeness of God, or Being - we participate in Being Itself. This means that we have a vast capacity to create. God, or Being, will not dictate or limit how we use this vast creative capacity. Therefore, we do truly have the capacity to create Heaven or Hell on Earth.

People sometimes use horrific human creations, such as the concentration camps of Hitler's Third Reich, as evidence that there is no God. In the face of such horror, God seems to make no sense. God is said to be all-powerful and all-loving. But if God is all-powerful, then the fact that God did not prevent Hitler's cruelty shows that God is not all-loving, for an all-loving God would most certainly have used God's infinite power to prevent such suffering. If God is all-loving, then the fact that God did not prevent Hitler's cruelty shows that God is not all-powerful, for an all-powerful God would most certainly have shown God's infinite love for Hitler's victims by preventing their excruciating pain. Conclusion: There is no God.

However, if we understand God as Being Itself, I think we can see this differently.

First, I think it is important to understand that Being is vastly creative and that, as particular beings, we share in this vast capacity to create. Second, I think it is important to understand that this vastness encompasses good and evil. We can create vastly for good as well as vastly for evil - as we choose.

Now - why would God, or Being, not limit our capacity to create for evil? Evil is so destructive and causes such terrible suffering. Why wouldn't God, or Being, simply prevent this?

I believe that God, or Being, does not limit our capacity to create for evil because any limitation of our creativity would diminish our creative capacity as a whole. You cannot limit the capacity to create for evil without diminishing the capacity to create period.

Observing the way the world works, I see that God, or Being, is not about limiting but about choosing and expanding. It is clear that we have choice - people can and do choose to act for good, and people can and do choose to act for evil. It is clear that acting expands our capacity to act - the more we exercise a particular capacity, the more we expand that capacity. We expand our creative capacity by using it, and we choose in which direction to use it, for good or for evil. We simply HAVE this capacity - and God, or Being, is not going to limit us.

We really can, if we choose to, create Hell on Earth. We have the vast creative capacity to do so. Hitler and his Gestapo did. Karen Armstrong points out the similarities between our common depiction of Hell and the concentration camps of the Third Reich. People packed like sardines into railroad cars without food, water, or sanitation for their long trip to the equally-packed concentration camp. Brutal and meaningless labor under the all-seeing eyes of the wrathful guards. Extreme deprivation. Cruel and dehumanizing medical experiments. Fiery ovens igniting gas chambers of death. Rageful yelling of overseers and terrified screaming of victims. Hopelessness and despair. Human beings created a heartless machinery that would destroy all misfits (Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the physically disabled, the mentally impaired) and support only productive and efficient Aryans.

On the other hand, we really can, if we choose to, create Heaven on Earth. We have the vast creative capacity to do so.

Now - let us consider this question: Why is it that we want God to limit our capacity to create for evil?

I think I know at least part of the answer. First, we see ourselves as separate from each other to a greater extent than is probably true. We see Hitler and his cronies making decisions and acting in ways that caused horrible suffering to others. Second - as we see the individual, Hitler, aided by his individual henchmen, hurting innocent people - we believe that an all-powerful, all-loving, and all-parental God should never allow this.

First, let us consider the question of individuality. I think we have a paradox here, and perhaps a deeper truth that underlies the paradox. On the one hand, Hitler is an individual and is responsible for his choices. So is each of Hitler's henchmen. Each of these individuals did make choices that inflicted terrible suffering on millions of other individuals. On the other hand, Hitler would never have risen to power if the wider society had not permitted it and if the collective mindset had not in some way supported Hitler's ideas. Hitler and his henchmen acted as individuals AND as members of a society that allowed them to do what they did. Both points are true. Perhaps we can say that the fact that Hitler and his henchmen could create what they did points to something that deeply needs to be healed in our collective soul.

Second, let us consider the idea of the all-parental God. Perhaps God isn't the all-encompassing parent we often envision. What if God shares Being with us and expects us to participate actively in Being? What if we are the ones to prevent the cruelty of Hitler and his henchmen? What if we are responsible for the way our creative capacity gets exercised on Earth? What if it is up to us to say and enact a resounding NO to Hitler?

We would like to see God do this or that to limit our capacity for evil, yet we ourselves have the capacity for self-limitation through our choices. We can choose to avoid and to stop evil (creating suffering) and choose to enact good (creating beauty). Observing the way the world works, it seems clear to me that God, or Being, isn't going to do what we have the capacity to do ourselves through our own participation in Being.

God as Being Itself - Overview

I have recently read Karen Armstrong's A Case For God. Karen takes us through the whole sweep of human pre-history and history and the ways humans have envisioned and related to God over the millennia. One of Karen's main points is the difference between seeing God as A BEING and seeing God as BEING ITSELF. In this post, I will examine the difference between these two ways of seeing God.


As an elementary Catholic school child, I learned in my Catechism class (as did Karen Armstrong) that God is A BEING. God is, in fact, THE SUPREME BEING. In its trademark question-and-answer format, the Baltimore Catechism states:

QUESTION: Who is God?
ANSWER: God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, who made all things and keeps them in existence.

This invites us to see God as A Being (just as we are each a being), but as A Being much greater, much wiser, much more powerful than we are. We are lesser, finite, imperfect beings. God is The Supreme Being, infinitely perfect. Each of us is a being created by God. God is The Supreme Being who has always existed and who has created all other beings.

Here are two consequences of viewing God as A Being.

  • We can contain, describe, and define God: Envisioning God as A Being suggests that God is someTHING out there which (though incorporeal) can nonetheless be contained, described, and defined. God exists (as we do) and possesses characteristics (as we do). God's existence (unlike our physical existence on earth) is immortal and eternal. God's characteristics (unlike ours) are perfect and infinite: God is infinitely and perfectly knowing, infinitely and perfectly wise, infinitely and perfectly powerful, infinitely and perfectly loving, infinitely and perfectly just.
  • Our ideas about God are either right or wrong: Envisioning God as A Being also suggests that any given idea about God is either right or wrong. Since God is A Being who exists and possesses characteristics, I can be right in my ideas about This Being, and if your ideas differ from my right ideas about This Being, then your ideas about This Being are wrong. I may feel that I need to convert you to my right ideas about God, or worse, that I need to destroy you because you are a source of heresy or even blasphemy.

Karen Armstrong points out that this view of God as A Being - who can be contained, described, and defined and about whom our ideas are either right or wrong - is a relatively recent one that coincides with the flowering of modern science during the Enlightenment. Karen explains that, as science came into its own and improved people's lives so extensively, the thought patterns upon which science is based were exalted more and more until they became the only legitimate type of thought. This type of thought is called logos. Logos is logical, thrives on analysis and differentiation, insists on rational proof, sees time as linear.

Karen Armstrong explains that logos is proper for science but not for religion, where different thought patterns are needed - the thought patterns of mythos. Mythos sees deeper truth within logical contradictions, teaches wisdom through story, thrives on art, feels comfortable with paradox, sees time as spiral.

Logos sees God as A Being who can be contained,described, and defined and about whom our ideas are either right or wrong. Mythos sees God as Being Itself.


For millennia before the scientific age and the exclusive focus on logos - stretching back into the reaches of pre-history and surviving here and there through the Enlightenment and into the twenty-first century - we find people who see God as Being Itself. In other words, God is seen not as A Being but as Being. What does this mean? As it turns out, language begins to fail us when we try to talk about God who is not A Being but Being.

To see God as Being Itself is to see God as completely beyond anything in our experience. Everything in our experience is a being. We know what a being is (which may be why we feel comfortable envisioning God as The Supreme Being), but what is Being? We don't know.

As I think about this, I am not sure if we don't know what Being is because Being is not within our experience - or if we don't know what Being is because Being is so intimate a part of our world that we can't see it, or in other words, because we are so enmeshed in Being that we can't step back from Being enough to get a view of it.

Examining the previous sentence makes me see that the two possibilities - Being as not part of our experience and Being as something we are too enmeshed in to see - may really be the same thing. That is, something can be so intimate a part of our experience that we don't experience it! We can't separate from it enough to experience it consciously.

But it is also true that there are things beyond our experience. As a simple example, color is beyond the experience of a person who has always been blind. No matter what words we use to describe blue to such a blind person, we will not be able to convey the experience of blue. Lacking physical vision, the blind person does not have the capacity to experience blue. Just so, it may be that we lack the capacity to experience Being Itself.

Whether because we are too enmeshed in Being to experience it or because Being is truly beyond our capacity to experience, we simply do not have language to describe Being. Everything we know in our world is a being. Nothing we know in our world is Being. Yet, from the dawn of time, humans have recognized that Something Beyond - let us call this God - is there. The sages have recognized that we in our finite, mortal, human state do not have the capacity to contain, describe, define God. But we do have the capacity to experience God.

Karen Armstrong points out the difficulty we have with language about God. For instance, can God be said to exist? We know that a being exists, but can Being be said to exist? We sense that Being is there, but we also sense that Being does not exist in the way that a being exists. A being may exist one day and cease to exist the next day. Being seems to be that which makes possible the existence of any particular being. So Being is there, but Being is not there in the same sense in which any particular being is there, even an incorporeal being. Being is not there even in the same sense, for instance, as an angel is there.

Here is what I would say about Being. Being is the Beyond-Description in which we all participate and which is there in a sense far beyond that in which any particular being is there. And I'm going to go out on a limb here - basing this on what humans consider their highest aspirations and making the assumption that our highest aspirations over the ages tell us something about the nature of Reality - and say that Being is somehow the source of compassion, beauty, joy - all that gives our lives the deepest fulfillment.

But what is Being? We don't know.

Here are three consequences of seeing God as Being.

  • God is beyond our capacity to contain, describe, and define: I have spoken about this above.
  • None of us is "right" about God and none of us is "wrong": Different ways of envisioning God can be right. Mythos holds that deeper truth underlies apparent paradox. Buddhism, Christianity, Druidry, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Voodoo, Wicca, and all other faith traditions hold truth about Being. The Pagan religions have much to teach us about integration of truth. As far as I know, Pagans have never tried to set themselves up as holding THE truth and have never tried to "make wrong" or destroy other religions. Instead, Pagans have taken it for granted that other peoples would envision God, or Being, in other ways - ways that might add to their own understanding.
  • God is experienced in the practice of compassion and in ritual: Holding correct beliefs about God is not important and not even considered possible. Since Being cannot be contained, described, or defined, it is not possible to determine correct beliefs anyway. What is important, first, is correct practice - what we think, say, and do. Correct practice is rooted in compassion. Throughout the ages, people have recognized that the practice of compassion draws us into the Heart of Being. What is important, second, is the enactment of deep truth about Being in artistic expression - through myth, story, poetry, music, song, dance, drama, mime, visual art - and through ritual, which has been described as poetry in act. All of this allows the soul to experience Being at a level beyond the reach of logical language.

My next post will consider more of what it means to envision God as Being Itself.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Zebra - In The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

My recent posts about Moons (those things I deeply desire to bring into my life and live into) have been inspired by Garth Stein's novel The Art of Racing in the Rain. This post will explore an additional piece of the novel - the zebra.

Before getting into the zebra, I will recall that The Art of Racing in the Rain has an interesting first-person narrator - the dog Enzo, who belongs to Denny Swift, a semi-professional race car driver. Enzo understands human speech. He believes that he is living his last lifetime as a dog and that he will be ready to reincarnate in his next lifetime as a human.

At the point in the novel where the zebra appears, Enzo has been left alone in the Swift house for three days. Denny's wife, Eve, has become suddenly and seriously ill while Denny is out of town. Feeling frightened and not thinking clearly, Eve gathers her belongings and daughter, Zoe, and goes to stay at her parents' home until Denny returns. She doesn't stop to think that she has locked Enzo in the house with no one to care for him.

Enzo knows that Denny will return in three days and that he can survive on his own until then by not eating, slowing his metabolism, and drinking sparingly from the toilet bowl. But on the second evening, Enzo begins to hallucinate, and this is where the zebra appears. Although it is a long quote from pages 52-54, I want to give the full quote of what happened with the zebra.

During the second night, approximately forty hours into my solitude, I think I began to hallucinate. Licking at the legs of Zoe's high chair where I had discovered some remnants of yogurt spilled long ago, I inadvertently sparked my stomach's digestive juices to life with an unpleasant groan, and I heard a sound coming from her bedroom. When I investigated, I saw something terrible and frightening. One of her stuffed animal toys was moving about on its own.

It was the zebra. The stuffed zebra that had been sent to her by her paternal grandparents, who may have been stuffed animals themselves for all that we saw them in Seattle. I never cared for that zebra, as it was something of my rival for Zoe's affection. Frankly, I was surprised to see it in the house, since it was one of Zoe's favorites and she carted it around at length and even slept with it, wearing little grooves in its coat just below the animal's velveteen head. I found it hard to believe Eve hadn't grabbed it when she threw together their bag, but I guess she was so freaked out or in such pain that she overlooked the zebra.

The now-living zebra said nothing to me at all, but when it saw me it began a dance, a twisting, jerky ballet, which culminated with the zebra repeatedly thrusting its gelded groin into the face of an innocent Barbie doll. That made me quite angry, and I growled at the molester zebra, but it simply smiled and continued its assault, this time picking on a stuffed frog, which it mounted from behind and rode bareback, its hoof in the air like a bronco rider, yelling out, "Yee-haw! Yee-haw!"

I stalked the bastard as it abused and humiliated each of Zoe's toys with great malice. Finally, I could take no more and I moved in, teeth bared for attack, to end the brutal burlesque once and for all. But before I could get the demented zebra in my fangs, it stopped dancing and stood on its hind legs before me. then it reached down with its forelegs and tore at the seam that ran down its belly. Its own seam! It ripped the seam open until it was able to reach in and tear out its own stuffing. It continued dismantling itself, seam by seam, handful by handful, until it expelled whatever demon's blood had brought it to life and was nothing more than a pile of fabric and stuffing that undulated on the floor, beating like a heart ripped from a chest, slowly, slower, and then nothing.

Traumatized, I left Zoe's room, hoping that what I had seen was in my mind, a vision driven by the lack of glucose in my blood, but knowing, somehow, that it wasn't a vision; it was true. Something terrible had happened.

When Denny, Eve, and Zoe finally come home, Zoe goes into her room and discovers, to her horror and the horror of her parents, that all her stuffed animal toys have been torn to shreds. As Denny sees it, this is Enzo's doing. Enzo describes how Denny angrily drags him into Zoe's room and what he sees there.

He dragged me through the kitchen and down the hall, into Zoe's room where she sat, stunned, on the floor in the middle of a huge mess. Her dolls, her animals, all torn to shreds, eviscerated, a complete disaster. Total carnage. I could only assume that the evil demon zebra had reassembled itself and destroyed the other animals after I had left. I should have eliminated the zebra when I had my chance. I should have eaten it, even if it had killed me.

Denny is so angry that, in a completely uncharacteristic move, he hits Enzo hard on the side of the head. Eve cries out and runs to protect Enzo. Enzo describes his reaction to Denny's blow.

Denny stopped. He wouldn't hit her [Eve]. No matter what. Just as he wouldn't hit me. He hadn't hit me, I know, even though I could feel the pain of the blow. He had hit the demon, the evil zebra, the dark creature that came into the house and possessed the stuffed animal. Denny believed the evil demon was in me, but it wasn't. I saw it. The demon had possessed the zebra and left me at the bloody scene with no voice to defend myself - I had been framed.

So what is going on with the zebra? Here is how I see it. Enzo loves his human family - Denny and Eve and Zoe. He understands Eve's abrupt departure and the fear and pain that result in her inadvertently locking him alone in the house - in fact, Enzo's keen nose has told him for some time that Eve is seriously ill, but being a dog, he can't communicate this to the family.

Enzo is aware that the Swift family members love him, that Eve is very ill, that she didn't mean to lock him alone in the house, and that he has the means to survive until the family returns. But Enzo is not aware - he cannot acknowledge - that he is also very angry at being left, so angry that he himself tears all of Zoe's stuffed animals to shreds. He cannot acknowledge or own this behavior or the accompanying feelings. The destruction must have been caused by the evil zebra.

Later, Enzo learns that the zebra is not outside us but within us. He learns this as he watches Denny struggle with accepting an easy settlement in an important lawsuit. Exhausted, Denny is about to sign the easy settlement, when Enzo notices that Denny's pen has a zebra on it! Enzo grabs Denny's document in his mouth, dives through the window with it, and finally pees on it - all to show Denny how important it is not to accept an easy settlement but to go for the Moon, since Denny knows that he is in the right.

At this point, Enzo understands that the zebra is within. On page 264, Enzo says: "The zebra is the worst part of us when we are face-to-face with our worst times."

I like this: The zebra is the worst part of us when we are face-to-face with our worst times.

Thus, I can see this worst part both as myself and as the zebra. I can acknowledge this worst part as part of me: I feel angry, vengeful, resentful - I would relish doing something mean and hateful. I can also see this worst part as the zebra. This allows me to put my anger outside myself where I can look at my anger more objectively, where I need not inhabit my anger, where I can choose to inhabit compassion instead. The zebra helps me to see anger as part of me, not as me. Even if I feel consumed by anger, I am not my anger. The anger is part of me, yes, but I do not need to inhabit it. I can say, "Ah, that's the zebra. I do not need to be the zebra. I can be compassion instead."

To acknowledge one's feelings and to be able to separate oneself from them is very helpful. It allows one to say, "I feel angry, and I do not need to act from anger." The anger is within me, and I do not need to act it out. I acknowledge the zebra within, and I choose not to be the zebra.

I am thinking of the zebra as related to anger (and often it is), but it can also be related to giving up, as Denny was about to do with the lawsuit, when I should really stand up for myself. In that case, I need to have compassion for myself and to stand firm without acting vengefully.

Martha Beck in Steering by Starlight goes through a similar process with unwarranted fear. She personifies her fear as a lizard. Whenever fear tries to stop her from going for the Moon, she recognizes that this is the lizard, she speaks kindly to the lizard, and then she turns her attention to the Moon. When I read Steering by Starlight, I decided to name my lizard Jerome and to feed Jerome some blueberries and speak kindly to him when he became agitated and fearful. (Based on my recent posts about my Moons and my fears, I can tell that I need to remember Jerome!)

As for the zebra, I think I shall name my zebra Cassidy, speak firmly and kindly to calm him, feed him some hay (do zebras enjoy hay?), and turn my attention to compassion - compassion both for myself and for others.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Soul Work - Deeper Moons Focused on Self

In a previous post, I identified deeper Moons focused on God, others, and self. By Moons, I mean things that I deeply want to bring into my life and live into. This post will explore deeper Moons - Moons that involve important soul work - focused on self.

The Moons focusing on self are SHOW, BE, and RELAX. Each involves a deeply ingrained attitude toward life, an attitude that I imbibed in the family where I grew up, along with needed family soul healing. Here they are:

  • SHOW: To heal secretiveness by being honest in appropriate ways, especially in taking responsibility for my actions and feelings
  • BE: To heal excessive busyness by spending time being rather than constantly doing
  • RELAX: To heal excessive anger by acting from a place of calm centeredness


I've written about this in previous posts, especially my Hospital Experience posts of June 2010, where I describe growing up in a family with lots of secrets, the main secrets being that my mother was an alcoholic and that my father was a rage-aholic. We did not discuss this, inside or outside the family.

In addition, unacceptable feelings were not discussed as I was growing up. Unacceptable feelings were kept secret. I see this suppression of feelings as the result of the Catholic Church's teachings, especially as modeled by my mother. I also see this suppression of feelings as a major cause of my mother's need to drink.

Here is how I believe it worked. The Catholic Church lays out norms for the ideal Christian woman. Women, pontificates the Catholic Church, find their fulfillment in sacrificial self-giving. A true woman sacrifices herself unceasingly for the benefit of her husband and family. It is in this constant self-sacrifice that a woman finds her greatest happiness.

Can you imagine the conflict for a Catholic woman who believes this? This woman gives herself sacrificially for her husband and family. Her needs do not matter - it only matters that she give herself for her family's needs and benefit. So she does. She gives and gives and gives and gives and gives and gives and gives and gives - but she is not happy. She is exhausted and depleted. She knows that a real woman finds her greatest happiness and fulfillment in sacrificial self-giving, and she knows that she is constantly giving herself sacrificially - so why isn't she happy? It must be that something is wrong with her - that she has a shameful defect that makes her less than a real woman. Since this is shameful, she decides to hide her unhappiness and to do her best to pretend to be happy. After all, the other Catholic wives and mothers she knows appear to be happy - or at least not as utterly depleted as she feels. There is no one she can talk to about this, because admitting her feelings would be to admit something deeply shameful. Her feelings must be kept secret. I believe that this is a description of my mother. I believe that my mother's drinking was largely an attempt to escape from this painful conflict.

Added to this conflict, in the case of my mother, was a critical and rageful husband and six needy and demanding children, all born within one decade - the 1950s. And of course, the Catholic Church forbids divorce and forbids birth control. So my mother was trapped in her marriage and trapped into having "as many children as God sends us" and trapped by the need to be happy in all her sacrificial self-giving. And the fact that she felt trapped - that her true feelings were ones of rage at never getting her own needs met - had to be kept secret.

SO - I learned that unacceptable feelings were secrets. I learned that parental failings (my mother's drinking and my father's rages) were secrets.

It also strikes me that my reluctance to give and to serve, as described in my previous post, may very well have to do with seeing the devastating effect of my mother's extreme giving and serving. Of course, the corrective to extreme giving and serving is not refusal to give and serve but balanced giving and serving, that is, giving and serving balanced with self-care.

My Show Moons have to do with healing the harmful secretiveness that I learned in my family by showing the truth.

  • Show the truth to myself about my thoughts and feelings.
  • Show responsibility for myself - my thoughts and feelings and actions.
  • Show the truth about myself to others in appropriate ways. The words "in appropriate ways" are important when it comes to others, as there are thoughts and feelings that should not be shared with everyone.

This blog is a forum for me to practice all three aspects of that honesty.

  1. Be honest with myself: The act of writing brings insights about myself to my awareness. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings and makes them real to me. This helps me to be honest with myself.
  2. Take responsibility for myself: Writing also places my thoughts and feelings outside myself - on a page or a screen in black and white - where I can consider them more objectively. This helps me to take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings and actions.
  3. Be appropriately honest with others: Writing publicly, as in a blog, allows me to be honest with others. I believe that honest writing encourages others: when I read someone else's honest writing, I am often led to my own truth - whether I see myself in the writer's words or whether I see my own truth as very different from the writer's.


My father was excessively busy. He was always "spinning," as he put it. He always had somewhere to go, something to do, someone to see. His body never seemed to rest - if nothing else, he was always tapping his fingers.

With my father, everything was a chore - even "fun," which wasn't really fun because it was a chore. We had to work to set up the necessary equipment to have fun, and then we had to work to take it down afterwards. And because my father was a rage-aholic, he often raged at us kids about how incompetent we were in loading the car for a trip to the playground, or in cleaning the plastic swimming pool in the backyard, or in clearing up after a bar-be-cue.

My father liked it best when he and everyone in the family was busy, and he tended to make any busyness unpleasant with criticisms of our work - criticisms often expressed ragefully.

In my family, I learned that it was important to do (and to do busily), not to be.

I find it difficult to take time to be, although it feels very good when I do. I also sense that this is a really, really important area of soul work - perhaps the most important. What I do - my enjoying, thanking, giving, loving, serving, showing, and relaxing - need to come from being, from the still centered place within.

I find myself feeling agitated when I think of all the things I want to incorporate into my life. How will I find time to exercise (getting in aerobics, strength training, and stretching), to write, to draw, to read, to study the Bardic materials, to teach and interact with my students, to spend time with friends, to go to concerts and plays and movies and operas, to attend Lyceum events, not to mention eating and sleeping - and also to get in time for just being.

Well, okay, how can I make time for just being? Here are some things that come to mind.

  • Yoga: Attend yoga class two (or more) times a week. It is easy to BE in community with other people who have set aside this special time for just being.
  • Centering Prayer: Practice centering prayer twice daily. This could be difficult to keep up, since this would be a solitary practice. Would I stick with this?
  • Angel Day; Moments of Grace: Pause for moments of grace throughout the day, especially before each activity. Actually, this could be done by having Angel Days. An Angel Day is a day spent with your angel. You pause at certain moments throughout the day to connect with your angel and with God, perhaps by expressing gratitude, or by praying for someone or something, or by simply being still and receptive to God.

I'll stop with these ideas. Angel Days really attract me because I have the help of my angel - I'm not alone with my practice of being.


My father was a very angry person. I would say that anger was his default emotion, and he often seemed to lose control of how to change the default and choose a different emotion and different behavior. When something pushed his trigger, anger would erupt. You could count on it. For someone who loved the word "control" - as in the expression "Is everything under control?" - my father certainly did not have his anger under control at all. On the contrary, his anger controlled him.

I find that I, too, am prone to anger. I'm speaking of getting angry at the inevitable irritations of life, where anger serves no purpose. This, too, is an important area of soul work. It strikes me that a good way to proceed is to consciously use irritating situations as opportunities to change the default and choose a different emotion and different behavior - something my father simply could not or would not do. When stuck in traffic, one might relax and sing, for instance.

So here is the Relax Moon.

  • Use situations that push the anger trigger as opportunities to relax and choose different behavior.