The Autumnal Equinox, which marked the movement from the long days of summer to the shorter days of the coming winter, has passed. Now is the time to be thankful for the bounty that Mother Earth has provided and to rejoice in our freedom to practice our spirituality without fear. However, Mother Earth is responding to our neglect and the shirking of our responsibility to care for Her.
We were made caretakers of the earth and have not lived up to that duty with disastrous results. Climate change/global warming are producing rebellious actions by the planet…the elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth are showing us that if we do not stop our destructive habits, Mother will stop providing the bounty that sustains us and all life.
We need to do several things. Look at our own lives and see what we can change to make things better. Meditate to look deeply into our spiritual lives and discover how we can grow our beliefs to let the dimming light of the changing seasons not diminish the light within us. Help others see that there is hope for our planet if we change our lives just as the seasons change. Remember that we need to respect one another and most of all respect our Mother.
—The Rev Tanya Trzeciak
Contributed by the Rev. Edward M. Cardoza
Ah yes, the New Year is upon us. Many people will do a year in review. Others will set resolutions. I always like to set an intentional practice around New Year’s Day. I usually like to find some quiet time during the day itself. It may be near my fireplace, or in my favorite comfortable chair or—if the outdoors beckons—along my favorite wooded path. I settle in with some breathing, focus and silence—and I ask myself: what were the things I really enjoyed in 2016. Sometimes these come easily. I suspect this year—it may take a little more focus. As each of those moments comes up—just take a moment to savor them and be thankful for them. You can also write them down on a piece of paper or place them in your journal.
Can you make a resolution to commit to doing some of these things again in 2017?
Next, I like to ask what were the issues or situations that caused the most stress, anxiety or disappointment over the year? Again, it might be good to list them down. As you review the list—allow them to be taken in by you. What was out of your control? What could you have taken more responsibility for within yourself? What remains unresolved? What needs healing?
For those situations out of control—can you let them go and cast them away? For those needing you to take responsibility—can you make a commitment to do that in 2017? For those needing resolution or healing—are you able to commit to that in 2017? Write down an action plan—of things you want to let go of and things you want to do in the New Year.
Breath! Delight! Take a look at your lists—New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t just be wish list of things you know your probably won’t do—they ought to be about repeating places of joy, fulfillment and happiness. And, they ought to also be about letting go of what we can’t control and taking responsibility for things we can do something about.
I find when I do this practice—it leaves me with a commitment to live life more abundantly by committing to do those things that went well and to repair those areas that are disconnected or in need of healing.
Best wishes to you in the New Year!
Contributed by board member, The Rev. Dr. Richard Bardusch
We are now entering what many people refer to as “the dog days of Summer.” If you ask people what that phrase means, generally they say it means it is really hot, or “it’s so hot dogs just lie around” or something similar. While it is usually true it is hot in the Summer, that is not the original meaning for the phrase. In the picture you can see an outline of the constellation Canis Major “chasing” the constellation Lepus (the hare).In the night sky somewhere in mid-July to early August depending on your location, the star Sirius rises from the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere. This year Sirius rises on the night of August 11. Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major (big dog). If you connect the stars in the constellation Canis Major, Sirius becomes the nose of a big dog (see picture). As a result in ancient literature and among sailors even today, Sirius is often called the Dog Star.
Among the ancients, the dog days of Summer refer to an astronomical event, not the temperature. Overtime, people paid less attention to astronomy or navigation by stars and lost the phrases’ original meaning. The phrase continued, however, to be part of many languages, and still is today. Like other phrases, which are still part of our language, but whose meaning is not well known, most people just make up a meaning for the phrase.
That is the gift. Human beings have to ability to create meaning. God has built it into our brains for us to find meaning where there is none, or where we have forgotten. A piece of what Christians call the Imago Dei, or Image of God is our ability to make meaning. In the sense that God is the source of all meaning, human beings are co-creators with God in meaning, our own and the world’s.
Of course, with ability comes responsibility. The meaning we create can build up or tear down. It can be for the common good or not. The kind of meaning we create whether it is a phrase, goal, or way of life is also a reflection of who we are and whose we are. What meaning do you give to the phrase of your life?
Dog Days of Summer Blessings.