Rev. Arlene’s Blog

Rev. Arlene Meyer, our Minister, posts mid-week messages on this blog. Come back often to read her inspiring and thought-provoking posts. Learn more about her.

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Living life well

Today many of us lead lives that are hectic, stressful and filled with challenges. There are others however, who seem to live a life that is calm, peaceful, and filled with blessings. Why is it that some people seem to live such a gifted life while others seem to struggle so much?

In her book, Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach, compares life to a tapestry. When we look closely at it, it may seem to be a mess, just a bunch of threads that make no sense at all. When we look at the tapestry from a distance, we can however see the pattern and the beauty that is not visible close up. What we see is based on our outlook.

Life is what it is, our experience of it is made up of what we do with that which we are given. Do we practice gratitude, do we take time to see the beauty all around us, are our relationships harmonious, and do we feel a natural joy not because of our circumstances but because we cannot help but feel joy?

If our life is not working, maybe it is time to stop looking ‘out there”, blaming “them”, or feeling sorry for ourselves because life is not what we thought it should be. Maybe it is time to begin asking ourselves how we can live well. We can create a wonderful life if we just begin to realize what a gift it is and to appreciate it.

Quote of the Week

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”
Voltaire

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Ohana

Ohana is a Hawaiian word that is part of its culture. The word means family in an extended sense; not limited to blood related but adoptive or intentional families as well. But even more so, for Hawaiians it means “nobody gets left behind or is forgotten”.

We are born into our blood families and for many this is a blessing because they have family that is always there for them and on whom they can depend. But what about those who are less fortunate – who do not have a close family that they can count on?

Thankfully, the word in Hawaiian is not limited to people related by blood. Sometimes the family we choose fits the word Ohana more than the family we are given.

Everyone needs people in their lives they can turn to in difficult times. People they can call when they are scared, overwhelmed, or just need to talk. About a week ago I was faced with a situation which brought up some unhappy past memories. I picked up my phone and called my best friend who although lives across the country from me, is a person I know has and will always be there for me.

Do you have people who are Ohana for you, people who will not forget you or leave you behind? People that you can depend on through the good and not such good times? My prayer for you is that you do and if you do not, that you find some people to support you, love you, and comfort you. Life has challenges enough without having to go it alone. May you find your Ohana.

Quote of the Week

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”
Anonymous

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Emotional vs Physical Pain

I was talking to someone the other day and we both agreed, that as difficult as it is to walk through a challenge physically, i.e., physical discomfort, zip line, sky diving, running a marathon, etc.; it is even more difficult to walk through a challenging emotional situation, especially when it involves placing ourselves in a position of humility, openness, and vulnerable.

It made me wonder why fear of emotional and mental pain is often greater than fear of physical pain? There is much written about this topic (so obviously this idea of mine was not new or original).

For me, emotional pain is so upsetting that I will use physical pain as a distraction. For example, when my life was unraveling I realized that running helped me. However, it was not just running, but running till every cell of my body ached with pain. I, also, saw it when I was working with someone, years ago, who had the habit of cutting herself as a way to not have to deal with her emotional upset.

Therefore, I try to do things that force me to stretch past my comfort zone; do something new that is an emotional stretch – like reaching out to others, such as a dirty, homeless person, even when I don’t want to.

We cannot grow in our development without taking the leap. Try it. Do something you do not want to do, especially if it involves other people. You might be amazed at the results!

Quote of the Week

“I’d rather be physically hurt than emotionally. Because you can put a Band-Aid on your finger, but you can’t put one on your heart.”
Anonymous

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Spring

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Whether you celebrate one or the other, or maybe you celebrated the Spring Equinox, Spring is a time when new life is breathed into the plants, trees, flowers, and most people.

Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is. It’s a time of hope – the weather becomes more pleasant, the days begin to get longer and it is hard to be outside and not notice the wonderful colors and aromas of all that is around us.

So often we are so focused on ourselves – our challenges and our difficulties that we miss spring if we do not look around and see how amazing our earth truly is. When we see trees that appeared dead sprouting new life, we are reminded that no matter how much we may want to control our lives – there is a Higher Power, so Perfect, that It created a world that works for all.

This Spring, take some time to look around, to be grateful, and allow your spirit to soar!

Quote of the Week

“Despite the forecast, live like it’s Spring,”
Lilly Pulitzer

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Values

Folk and fairy tales are filled with lessons about the values of generosity, love, compassion, and caring for family, friends, the sick, and the elderly. These values are also evident in all the world religions. These are the virtues that matter in life and beyond. They are also the ones we are required to develop and refine on our spiritual journey.

In these stories, we are told that we must walk the path to spiritual maturity alone. However, that does not mean that we will be alone. On our journey we meet many people – all of whom matter in our spiritual path. The person who does something to upset you and the homeless person you pass on the street, are both angels in disguise to help you on your spiritual journey.

Quote of the Week
“All men are responsible for each other.”
The Talmud

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