Hieroglyphs and The Reflection in the Lake

(©Glowimages/stock photo)

(©Glowimages/stock photo)

Hieroglyphs, those pictorial characters that the Egyptians used for language, were the way Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century pioneer in spirituality and health, described flowers. She said, “The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity.”

What an interesting connection. Flowers communicate – or picture – to us something about Deity. In their beauty, color and symmetry we see something of Deity’s expertise as Creator. In the tenderness of their petals, each in its place, we may see Deity’s tender care for creation.

Similarly, other pictures found in nature or portrayed in artwork may draw thought to the nature of Deity and His creation.

And it turns out that this is beneficial to our health.

Eddy explains, “…the right understanding of Him restores harmony.” And the Bible puts it this way: “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.”

Now picture this. Years ago, I was visiting my childhood home to help care for my mother who was ill and immobile. Once, while others cared for her, I walked down to the nearby lake, walked out on the dock and sat down on a bench there. Winter was yielding to spring. I was alone. It was mid-day but the water was perfectly still with a stillness usually reserved for the early morning or evening hours.

Looking around the lake, I was struck by how everything on land above the shoreline was perfectly reflected in the water. Hold on to this, and I’ll come back to it in a moment.

This summer, I visited the Healing Arts Gallery at MidMichigan Health in Midland while it was displaying artwork by Jennifer Cook of Herron, Michigan. Her abstract paintings and terracotta pots are full of bright and warm colors that encourage, inspire, and comfort.

It’s interesting to me how her artwork communicates something about Deity, as in her painting entitled, “God Heals and is the God of Restoration.”

Also interesting is how the very process of painting the artwork involved learning more of spiritual things. According to the Gallery’s flyer, Cook found that as she allowed God “to guide each stroke and choose each color” she gained “insight to greater freedom and spirituality.”

Painting #001 in the Gallery especially piqued my interest. It is entitled, “God loves you! He made you. You have a purpose!!! Embrace it!” It is a painting of a person standing on the shore of a small lake out in the woods, surrounded by trees, with sunshine coming through, and the trees – and the clouds above them – reflected in the lake.

Naturally, it reminded me of my earlier experience. The reflection I saw in the lake moved me to ponder the connection that I have – that we all have – with the Divine, with Deity. I thought of the Biblical statement that God made man in His own image and likeness – or, in other words, as His reflection. All around the lake, with each house and each tree, I could see the exact likeness that the reflection in the lake had to its original on land.

It was clear to me that there is a similar relationship between Deity and all of His reflection – all of us. Each of us is really an individual exact likeness expressing His qualities, such as beauty, tenderness, goodness, life, and health.

This reflection in the lake acted as a hieroglyph that conveyed to me a deeper understanding of Deity. This reduced stress and anxiety, enabling me to better care for my mother. And my mother, who was receiving prayer-based spiritual treatment and learning more of Deity herself, improved and was able to get about on her own again.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If hieroglyphs such as these lead to better health, then perhaps they warrant our attention.

Note: this article was first published in print in The Midland Daily News August 3, 2014.

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When Unconditional Love Reaches a Soldier Suffering PTSD

(@Glowimages/Stock photo)

(@Glowimages/Stock photo)

There’s a reason they’re called man’s best friend.

If you’ve ever had a dog, then you already know something about dogs’ unconditional love. This warrants considering more deeply the divine source and nature of love and its healing power.

Linda Ross C.S. (Picture courtesy of Linda Ross)

Linda Ross C.S. (Picture courtesy of Linda Ross)

Health blogger Linda Ross in Connecticut shares a touching account on LinkedIn of a dog’s unconditional love reaching a soldier suffering with PTSD. It gives a glimpse into unconditional love’s ability to reach below the surface and melt away “difficult memories”. We might also consider how we all have a “divine friendship” with divine Love.

A touching article: Has unconditional love gone to the dogs?

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Need a Ben Bosinger moment?

Sharon Frey McElroy (Picture courtesy of Sharon Frey McElroy)

Sharon Frey McElroy (Picture courtesy of Sharon Frey McElroy)

Writing in the Huffington Post ‘Healthy Living’ Blog, Sharon Frey McElroy examines how abuse victim Ben Bosinger learned to let go of years of resentment toward his father. And she shares how she was able to forgive a couple of fellows at a cafe that upset her by talking about women in a derogatory way.

McElroy then shares some ideas that can help anyone find peace through forgiveness. She writes, “…heading down the path of forgiveness can be as simple as knowing we each have this spiritual sense that can identify the good that’s present even where it seems far from obvious.”

Want a more peaceful day? Need a “Ben Bosinger moment”?

I heartily recommend this Huffington Post article, originally published in PlainViews, a publication of the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network: Want Peace? Try Forgiveness.

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A Spiritual Answer to Drug Addiction

Ingrid Peschke (Photo courtesy of Ingrid Peschke)

Ingrid Peschke (Photo courtesy of Ingrid Peschke)

Have you noticed that there have been quite a few news stories in the local media lately about drug addiction?

For example, a search for articles using the word “heroin” in The Oakland Press in the past 90 days yields 21 results, including an article in April entitled, Heroin use, deaths are on the rise in Michigan.

The Oakland Press reports that Michigan ranks 7th in most heroin deaths by state for the period from 1999 to 2010, at over 1,500.

Health Writer Ingrid Peschke in Massachusetts tackles this difficult subject in a recent MetroWest Daily News article, identifying ways a focus on spirituality can help. She quotes Charles Faupel, a professor emeritus at Auburn University in Alabama and coauthor of “The Sociology of American Drug Use,” who told The Christian Science Monitor that he feels part of the solution begins with “more spiritual grounding among young people.” She discusses the need to go from “E” for empty to “F” for fulfilled and that “lasting fulfillment begins with glimpsing something of our spiritual nature.”

Peschke’s MetroWest Daily News article is definitely recommended reading:
A Spiritual Antidote for Addiction to Prescription Painkillers and Heroin.

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Do You Think Of Achieving Health As A Battle?

Anna Bowness-Park (picture courtesy of Anna Bowness-Park)

Anna Bowness-Park (picture courtesy of Anna Bowness-Park)

“Make love, not war.”

Remember that one? I was around when it was a popular saying.

Do these sound familiar:

    • Fighting the flu
    • Battling cancer
    • Struggling with pain?

“Moving away from images of war or seeing our bodies as a battlefield can open up a new narrative for health.” This from Health Writer Anna Bowness-Park in The Vancouver Sun, discussing reframing how we talk about – and think about – health.

Bowness-Park shares a wonderful story of a woman who was “fighting” chronic back pain and found that the “back pain diminished and ultimately vanished” after she learned to feel loved.

Here’s a wonderful article that will get you thinking about having the upper hand when it comes to health: Owning our Health: The search for a new narrative on health.

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Are you willing to be free from allergies?

Here is a guest post by Debby Kowit, a colleague of mine in Pennsylvania. She explores spirituality and wellbeing in her Keystone Health Connections blog carried by The Times Herald in Pennsylvania (under the LIFE heading).

Are you willing to be free from allergies?

Debby Kowit (Picture courtesy of Debby Kowit)

Debby Kowit (Picture courtesy of Debby Kowit)

The experience of looking a tiger in the eye is one that most of us would rather avoid. However, when we are forced to face our worst fear, we are sometimes driven out of our conventional ways to seek something that will neutralize it. Such may often be the case for those who battle with allergies.

55% of the US population tests positive for one or more allergens according to WebMD while FARE states that food allergies alone plague more than 15 million Americans. The angst associated with any allergic episode produces a memory that is not so easily forgotten. Many simply live with the anxiety which can persist even after an allergy management plan is employed.

But, how about banishing that fear rather than living with it?

Replacing fearful thoughts rather than dwelling on them can be as simple as choosing a food you like over one you don’t. As we focus on the good around us, we begin to see more of it and eventually experience it. Allowing ourselves to feel loved, safe, and cared for goes a long way toward neutralizing fear.

As a child, I was afflicted with a food allergy. But, as I aged, the symptoms went away and the family pediatrician said I “outgrew” it. However, as a young adult, a variety of environmental allergies began to appear. It was as if I was experiencing that food allergy all over again. The more I delved into the cause and possible treatments, the more frightened I became. Finally, I began searching beyond simply managing the symptoms and feelings of trepidation to seeking freedom from the stress of it all.

In a sense, I looked the tiger right in the eye. I shook off the fear by remembering the love, care and reassurance my mother had expressed during those childhood incidents. I reacquainted myself with stories and teachings from the Bible that I had once embraced and increasingly felt could help me find freedom and health. Joy and confidence returned. Stress vanished, and increasingly so did the allergies.

“What happened?” you may ask. To me it now seems simple. I was willing to try something outside of the bio-medical solution; to consider a spiritual approach. And, in my exploration of spiritual ideas that might be of use, I ran across this promise from the Bible in John: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:” Stressful feelings about what we are eating or what allergen may be floating around in our environment can be replaced with this sense of divine love, and this can aid us in averting unhealthy thinking and reliving negative experiences.

That mental shift opened my thought to new ideas. Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea”.

When I just glimpsed this advanced idea, I experienced better health.

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Patient choice in healthcare

Joel Magnes (picture courtesy of Joel Magnes)

Joel Magnes (picture courtesy of Joel Magnes)

Health blogger Joel Magnes, writing in The Eden Prairie News in Minnesota, draws lessons from the documentary, “Escape Fire – the fight to rescue American healthcare” in discussing patient choice.

He shares how he once made a choice that at the time was a very different one for him – a spiritual approach involving prayer. It helped, and he says he still makes that choice today.

He concludes: “My hope is that patients will speak out, be heard, and be able to choose what works best for them.”

Read his article here: The future of healthcare: Patient Choice.

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Ridiculously small steps

Keith Wommack (picture courtesy of Keith Wommack)

Keith Wommack (picture courtesy of Keith Wommack)

Remember in the movie, “What About Bob?” how Bob’s Psychiatrist recommended “baby steps”?

Writing in his regular health column on Chron.com (Houston Chronicle), Keith Wommack took a look recently at how “ridiculously small steps” can be utilized to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

He writes:

  • “Motivation and willpower fail us…”
  •  “Frustration and discouragement set in.”
  • “Spirituality is the power that directs thought patterns that are mentally and physically beneficial.”

Recommended reading: Ridiculously small steps lead to a healthier lifestyle.

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Unplug to connect?

Picture I took in Venice, Italy

Picture I took in Venice, Italy

Sounds almost a little counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But read on.

As one who has been to Venice and also one who enjoys Rick Steves’ travel programs, the lead paragraph in a recent Vancouver Sun article by Health Writer Anna Bowness-Park drew a vivid word picture for me:

“On a recent Rick Steves travel program, Steves made the comment that taking a gondola ride in Venice has changed. No longer are couples likely to be romantically basking in each others arms as the gondolier navigates them through the narrow canals. Instead, they are on their cellphones taking photos, texting and communicating the moment to others half a world away. Shortly after hearing that I travelled to Venice on vacation and saw firsthand how accurate Steves was.”

She discusses the “spiritual ability within each of us” to connect with the Divine and to one another, and the benefit to health of using it.

See how she applies the idea of a Sabbath to the use of technology. An interesting read:
Owning our Health: Tech Sabbath shows benefits of unplugging. 

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Instead of losing your temper, lose your temper

Bob Clark (picture courtesy of Bob Clark)

Bob Clark (picture courtesy of Bob Clark)

That’s right. Or, as Health Writer Bob Clark in Florida puts it, in a recent Tampa Bay Times article, “Don’t manage anger — get rid of it”.

Clark points out: “studies show that somewhere between 75 and 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians result from stress-related disorders.” And doesn’t it make sense that less anger means less stress? And that then means better health?

So, if you have a temper, lose it – drop it – for good. Clark shares five great tips to help with this, including using humor and love.

See all five helpful tips in: Don’t manage anger — get rid of it.

___________________
(See more on Clark’s blog.)
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