Spirituality and Sunflowers is moving

I decided that since I have been doing this for something like five years now, it was time to move it to my own domain.

I’ll be leaving this up, but all new posts will be over at:

http://blog.spiritualityandsunflowers.com/

The RSS feed, for those who like that kind of thing, http://blog.spiritualityandsunflowers.com/?feed=rss2

I’ll be putting up new posts over there from now on.  I’m still tinkering with it slightly, but I’ve already moved all the posts from here over there.

Joy can strike you at the oddest times.

As I tweeted last night at 2am, You never know when and where you might find joy. Keep your heart open, and it’ll eventually be filled.

Over the weekend I was jamming along with a song from a couple weeks ago on Glee, Dog Days are Over.  And last night I found the original version by Florence + The Machine.  Listening to it was just moving me, and then I found the video which just blew me away.

I got up and eventually started dancing around my apartment to it.  At 1am.  I was just…filled with joy.  I don’t know what about the song, the beat, the video, did it, but something there did it.  It was just a…really moving (no pun intended) experience.  Something about that moment made me feel more connected to the divine than anything else I did that day (from Congregational Meeting to leading Youth Group to the One Love Atlanta worship service.)

No one can really predict when you’re going to be filled with those moments of joy.  Happiness, maybe, but joy, I don’t think so.  They just come on at the most inexplicable times (what about 1am on a Monday morning screams Joy?)  My heart was open though, I was willing to take part in a joyful experience.  I wanted to get up and dance like a maniac, so I did.  I didn’t take a step back and think “dude, it’s 1am, go to bed, you don’t need to dance around your apartment.”  I just let it happen.

How often does ego keep us in the way of joy?  Thinking about what others might think, thinking that you’re someone “above” it?  How often does that ego keep us out?  I heard Wayne Dyer say ego stood for “edging God out.”  Which is one of those statements the first time I heard it rang true.  But ego can also keep us from experiencing that true joy that we so long for.

Keep an open heart and joy will find its way in.  Let that open heart trump that ego.  Act like a fool, dance around the apartment at 1am, if that’s what it takes to express that joy.

Amen.

Holy Crap. I *can’t* do it all.

So.  I think I just realized I can’t really do it all.

And I need to, like, pick what I choose to do with my time.

Work is work, so that can’t do away.  But with my non-work time, I just have more things I want to do and I don’t have the time to do it all.

This might not sound round breaking to you, but to me, this is pretty revolutionary stuff.

Ok.  In no particular order, these are some of the things I want to spend that free time on.

  • Personal Development – getting deeper with my personal faith, reading, thinking, etc.
  • UU Organization, UU development – finishing organizing manual for 20/30s groups, more on the building up young adult programming side, our youth program, etc. etc.  Doing more with our congregation.
  • Politics – ramping up the political blog and the political twitter stuff I did during October.  There’s now a severe dearth of progressive voices in Georgia.
  • Writing – getting NaNoWriMo:Atlanta, NaNoLanta, uber organized and a well oiled machine.  Further the NaNoWriMo cause in Atlanta, etc.  Be an ML all year round.  And also personal writing, finishing the story, editing, etc.

But I probably can’t do *all* of them like I want to.  Because each of these in its own right is time intensive.  Holy crap.  What am I going to pick?  Politics would be probably the easiest to drop, although I’d feel, well, guilty about it, but then again I will end up feeling guilt no matter which I withdraw from.  And I know I shouldn’t feel bad about it, but y’all clearly don’t know me if you think telling me that will work.

There’s only so much time we have alive.  What should I do with it.  Make the biggest difference I can, or deepen myself while having fun.  AHH!  I don’t KNOW.  I *hate* not knowing sometimes.

Great.  Another existential mini melt down.  Do these EVER go away as you get out of your 20s?

#Chalica Day 4 – A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

So its the fourth day of Chalica, and in an attempt to get closer to my UU Faith, I’m following along with my own examination of the 7 UU Principles.  Today is Day 4, so it’s all about a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Free means more than just financially free of course.  We are free to find our own answers, free of dogma to search for our own truth and meaning.

Responsible though adds a new level to it.  Responsible in the eyes of whom exactly?  Responsible in our own eyes?  Responsible in the eyes of our congregations?  And what would qualify as responsible?  There’s some judgment implied in this principle – who deems it responsible.  Responsible implies, to me, that someone has to deem it ok.  Now who is that someone – is it the individual who is doing the searching, or is it society or is it some mysterious panel out there in the wilderness.

I’m assuming it’s responsible in my eyes – responsible so it doesn’t hurt anybody else or harm their own search for truth and meaning.

You know, this principle is still surprisingly nebulous in my mind – I’m not sure what it means.  Hmm.  Something to ponder over.

Any interest in a UU chat room on IRC?

Hittin’ it up old school style, but is there any interest out there in a chatroom on IRC for UUs?  If there’s enough, I can look into it.

#Chalica Day 3 – Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations

It’s day 3 of Chalica, so time for me to think about our third principle.  “Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.”

Obviously, this is two different clauses, so lets take a look at them in parts.

“Acceptance of one another” – Well, this one seems pretty self explanatory.  You need to accept people.  But going further, you need to accept people for who they are and where they are, not who and where you want them to be.  Sure, sometimes UUs have some issues truly accepting each other and other folk, Conservative Christians, Sarah Palin, etc.  But at the same time, acceptance doesn’t go far enough.  Acceptance to me implies something similar that the word tolerance implies, “well, we may not like it, but we have to accept it.”  Accepting it vs. embracing it are two vastly different concepts.

“Encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations” – Well, this has the potential to be more interesting.  Is the encouragement just in our congregations, is the spiritual growth just in our congregations?  Well, I be don’t believe it needs to be either, we can encourage people to spiritual growth outside a congregational setting.  Yes, I know UU and Congregational Polity and all and the UUA is an association of congregations.  But I also think UUs…get too hung up on that at times.  I wish there were a more unified UU ideology at times rather than just an association of congregations.   But I digress.

I think I’m doing a fairly ok job of the acceptance side in my every day life.  But I think I need to encourage myself to more spiritual growth.  I should attempt to do something on this end today.

 

Excerpt from this year’s NaNo

So I was looking back through some prior posts and saw that I had posted an excerpt from last year’s NaNo attempt.  So I ought to do the same this year.

This year I wrote about gay teen suicide.  The title is “Suicide: An Act in Three Parts.”  The first part deals with the individual gay teens, second part deals with the community reaction, and part three (if I had gotten it written) would have dealt with following the gay teens into heaven.  I actually plan on finishing this one, editing it, etc.  But here’s a raw, unedited snippet.  (I’m not posting some of the more emotional scenes.  Maybe later, but it’s still too…raw.)  This is interestingly…the only scene I wrote in 3rd person.  The rest of it is all in 1st.  Bad author, I know.  Anywho, here we go:

It was night time.  Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley was playing on his iPod stereo system over and over again, set to repeat just that one song.  It’s a cold and broken Hallelujah.  Something about that song just seemed to fit the mood of the evening.  It was cold.  The first real cold night they have had all fall down in Georgia.  Not cold enough to turn the heater on, it was only cold tonight, but cold enough to wander if summer was over and if they were in for a long cold winter.  Probably so.  This cold, this early…it would be a long winter ahead surely.
Turning to lay on his back, he heard a dog incessantly barking outside.  He hadn’t heard the dog barking before.  He assumed it was one of the neighbor’s dogs, but there was no way to tell for certain.  It was barking like it had been injured, pitifully wailing and howling into the cold dark night.  It was probably freezing after all.  It barked away, no one stopping to help or checking in on it.
On the wall, he saw the light of the street lamp outside his window shine through the cracks in his vertical blinds.  They made small vertical lines of light, but for some reason one of the parts of the blind seemed smaller than others.  The spaces of light on either side of the hidden blind were wider, and it looked like physical bars.  It was a windy night, the wind was blowing in the cold air, and he could see branches from the magnolia tree outside his window swaying in the breeze.  They would make shadowy patterns on the wall as the branches moved to block some of the light from the sole streetlamp illuminating the darkness.
The bars of light started to remind him of a prison.  They were all around his bedroom, bars of light in the darkness.  But it was like the light was keeping here in the darkness, the light was keeping him in this dark cold prison.  The light was keeping him from escaping the darkness, and he knew that couldn’t be true…could it?  Could it be the light that was keeping him here in the cold darkness?  He pulled the comforter closer to his chest.  It was so cold.  Such a darkness, such a dark time.
He quickly turned over and buried his head in his pillows.  He didn’t know what to do.  The more he thought about it, the more he looked at it, the brighter the bars seemed holding him in the darkness.  The only way to escape was to go to sleep.  He had to escape it somehow.  A solitary tear was quickly absorbed by the pillow.  Not tonight, he thought, not again.  He’s cried enough already.