Friday, November 28, 2008

Conversations with God

Tasmania's Mount Field National Park. I chose this photo today because it reminds me of Olympic National Park where I'm headed in a couple weeks- very similar habitat!
Copyright (c) 2006 Wendee Holtcamp

A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl."
- Stephan Hoeller

As I was sitting and waiting for Sam to work on his science fair project I got out my Atlas and started looking at Oregon and Washington and figuring out some of the places I want to visit while I'm there. I am renting a car and will be driving up from Portland to my dad's log cabin which is NW of Portland, and also up to Washington state to visit my cousin and her family. I am craving the gorgeous temperate coastal rainforests of this place, and the overall culture of the Pacific NW. When I was growing up, my dad's place had old growth temperate coastal rainforest - or very similar with maybe slightly less rainfall- though much of it is now gone, but I have many fond memories of this lush overgrown wet misty forest with old rotting logs, which I'd push over and climb over. Ah, paradise.

I watched Twilight with my kids the other day and it's filmed in Washington and it made me long for home!! It's soooo amazingly gorgeous there (if you go to the link the trailer shows some of the footage). The last time I was at Olympic National Park was about 20 years ago, when my dad and I camped and hiked there. Every time I visit I want to go back but never have. This time I'm going!! I may go alone, I'm not sure. All I know is that when I looked at those two states' maps, I wanted to just run away and spend about 6 months exploring... I miss "home" so much. The place I think I want to visit is the Quinault Rainforest. Look at how amazing this place looks!
I started exploring online where to go, and talked to my dad and apparently the place I remember is actually in Mt. Rainier National Park... Grove of the Patriarchs (the pic there doesn't do it justice). I just remember these trees SO huge that you can hardly believe that such amazing living giants actually exist.

Yesterday, thanksgiving, I spent the afternoon with my friend Georgia, her husband Brendon and their family. After eating an awesome very delicious meal, we watched the movie Conversations with God. It is a movie about the author Neale Donald Walsch and how he came to write the books by the same title. Essentially he became a homeless man and had lost everything, and then finally got a job as a radio DJ, but then lost that when the company went bankrupt, and he had just rented an apartment. So he started scribbling questions to God in a notebook, and then started hearing answers. Volumes poured out of him, as he describes it coming from somewhere outside of him. I haven’t read the books, but plan to see what they say. One thing that was in the movie that stood out to me was him giving a lecture from his book, and someone asked him if he could summarize what the books said in one paragraph, what would he say? He said, I could say it in 5 words: You have me all wrong (God).

So anyway I went to Walsch's blog today, where he asked in the Blame Game entry, “Is it unloving to observe and comment upon the unloving behaviors of others? Does love for the despot allow the despot's behavior to continue unnoticed?” Given that I’m very frustrated with my mother’s behavior towards me, which is all mixed in there with my general anger and frustration and unforgiveness (despite attempts to) for the childhood issues I dealt with and still deal with… I found the topic very relevant. He also asked:

“Are the words that follow an equally wonderful example of love...? ‘You hypocrites! You viper's brood...’”

Which are, of course, words of Jesus when he was angry at the money-changers at the Temple. Jesus even chased them out of there with a knotted rope. Walsch continues:

“I surmise from these incidents that Jesus felt there was a rightful place in human discourse for calling someone to task.”

I agree. In fact, I’ve once heard the work of ministry is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable (or something to that effect). So the last thing I’ll post is that one of Walsch’s readers, Adam, commented this, which I agree with:

“Being enlightened doesn't mean you can't get angry. It doesn't mean you can't call a spade a spade. And it is hardly critical or insulting to tell the truth.”

So the whole blog topic was also interesting to me because just the other night I read in Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward that she recommends confronting the parent(s) with the specific issues, even if you think it will never make a difference in the relationship. She says you either do it in person or by letter. I have often tried to communicate my concerns to my mom (don’t worry she doesn’t read my blog – but I wouldn’t care if she did…as Walsch says, sometimes a little chagrin never hurt anyone if it illumines the truth, or as author Anne LaMott says if you didn't want to be written about you should have behaved yourself better in the first place!). However, my attempts to communicate my feelings at how she treats me are always met with denial and blame. However I haven’t followed the specific guidelines given in the book, and I may do that. The thought completely stresses me out, though. It’s far easier to avoid, isn’t it?

The other relevant thing is that my best friend Daline recommended Byron Katie’s The Work regarding the issues with my mom. She is coming to Texas in February I think, and she couldn’t say enough positive stuff about her, and said she absolutely transforms lives and relationships. I know Alanis also has linked to Byron Katie’s work. I will definitely check it out.

Anyway I'm going to hopefully have some nice conversations with God in the coastal temperate rainforests of my youth in a couple weeks :)

Georgia's son L with a toad that I showed him yesterday when I was over there for Thanksgiving, and he then became obsessed with it for the next hour! :) He's such a cutie. See the toad is on the rock to the right, obscured slightly by grass.

Georgia in her Chicago hat!

Savie giving a piggyback ride to Georgia's daughter M.

The kids playing basketball. They also played flag football!

Brendon's dad carving the turkey.

Lots of yummy food! :)

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