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Friday, August 16, 2013

I'm quite sure that everyone in society is capable of making some small contribution to their community. Most however lose sight of the original importance and their actions eventually become self-serving. I've seen this in all the volunteer organizations I've belonged to, I've even seen it in myself. Hopefully though, the original motivation continues in some small way and our actions might even have spurred others to selflessly serve their community.

This world we live in can be a harsh place. As society grows it seems that making a worthwhile contribution to those around us becomes an unattainable goal. Consumerism, self-importance and accumulation of goods seem to be the motivators of the day. Self-worth is measured in commodities and property, not personal growth, experience or selfless acts of grace. Spirituality has been replaced by egotism. A pious or meek attitude is now regarded as a sign of weakness.

It now seems as if our society is simply made up of hosts and parasites; no reciprocity, and very few symbiotic relationships. The vast majority believe society owes them. Privileges have become rights and that which was once earned is taken for granted.  And yes, we're all guilty of it.

Why is it that the more we have the less thankful we are, and the more we want? Those with less seem more thankful for what they have; being thankful for small mercies, appreciating each waking moment, being grateful for the sun setting on a peaceful day. When we have little, the small things, the important things, those things of little worldly value are appreciated for what they really are. Waking each morning, a job that pays the bills, a meal at the end of the day and the comfort of a loved one are riches to be counted.

Here's what prompted today's thoughts, and it was a posting on Facebook!

Normally I don't talk of religious matters on a personal level. Most confuse my "religion" with politics and dogma. I view it as spirituality. My religion, or spirituality, stripped down, is belief, faith and hope. And on occasion, reason.  But I'm not one with a propensity to preach. I prefer to express my faith through a pastoral mission. I hope that my actions and reactions express my faith and spiritual values. If those around me express an interest in my motivations I'll share my thoughts. If not, I can at least hope I've had some positive impact on their day.

But these "12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening" have prompted me to share a few verses from the Bible. I'm not sure I agree with or adhere to all points, but there are scriptural references that support most. 

Matthew 6:26
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Father in heaven feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Matthew 6:31
Therefore take no thought, saying,What shall we eat? or,
What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithall shall we be clothed?

Psalms 37:11
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Luke 10:36
Which now of these three (Priest, Levite or Samaritan),
thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves, Jesus asks?

Matthew 7:1
Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Matthew 6:34
Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then came Peter to Jesus, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.  
Jesus Christ was, of course, the most spiritually awakened person to have ever existed. Even if you don't believe Jesus to be our saviour, to be the son of God, but only a man with great insight into human nature, the words he spoke, if followed, would be a great place to start in making this world a better place to live in. His contribution was great, especially if those with ulterior motives would have not twisted his words to suit their own profitability. 
A moment of thought for those around us, and small selfless acts of mercy, these would be the first steps in bettering our communities and making a positive contribution to this world we live in.

Luke 6:27-28 & 31
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
And as ye would that others should do to you, do ye also to them likewise...


Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Adventure Continues

The adventure continues...

I must admit, there are many things I miss about the GTA. Family and friends are the most important of course, but the phone is always near by and the Internet probably keeps me as well updated with many whether near or  far. The detail may not be as precise but the message is there. Even a smiling, distant face is but a few keystrokes away.

Other than missing “People” though, the big hurdle has been, plainly put, variety! But I guess that’s the tradeoff for simplicity! 

When the best cup of coffee within hundreds of miles is the one from your own kitchen, or getting a national paper is a week or two past its publication date, you truly come to realize that tradeoff. When your fresh herb selection is limited to basil one week, oregano the next and nothing the third, the dried variety is no longer a convenience, it’s a staple. A gas station with a “Supreme blend” (the Jeep prefers it) is well over fifty clicks from here; and they don’t sell a national newspaper either! 

I haven’t seen a set of stoplights in almost four months. The stars shine brighter than can be imagined (if you’re willing to stay up late enough). The air is fresh. I always get a great parking space and never wait in a queue. Not all the roads are paved, but they’re all edged by wild flowers. Slowing down has never been so easy!

Yes, slowing down has never been so easy... But, is that because there’s less to contend with, or less to choose from?

Less to choose from means you make your decision between two and not a dozen. Less to contend with means you deal with what needs dealing with, right away, and get on with everything else. Getting on with everything else is what makes the difference.

And that’s where the adventure continues! 

My “everything else” is the landscape! The boreal forests and the clear, deep waters that carve their way through them! And the bounty they have to offer!

Now that summer is fully upon us, the spruce forests are offering us their fruits. For those willing to take the time there are berries to harvest and fish to be caught. The rewards? Some fine foods and a small sense of self-sustainability. 

It may not be the St. Lawrence Market, but when the "produce" is harvested by one's own hand, the flavour, the satisfaction, and the sense of accomplishment is intense!