06
Mar
15

3.6.15 … The road to hell is paved with good intentions … Mind Reset … “Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” – Mother Teresa …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Lenten Labyrinth Walks 15/40, Chartres Hand Held Pewter Labyrinth a @ home – Charlotte NC

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That was the thought as I began my labyrinth meditation using a gift from one of my wonderful Wasabi Family (thank you, Betsy).  Why was I having such negative thoughts?  For the second day in a row I had cheated and used a hand-held or finger labyrinth.
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But that is not where my mind wanted to be because I spent my day pondering something much more wonderful when I was not writing demand letters on behalf of my mom or descriptions for projects for a committee I chair.
So let me tell you what my day was really about: JOY.

Step 8: We are joyful

We came to see that, despite at times feeling the burden of the world upon our shoulders, expressing joy and approaching our lives and those in it with the innocent wonder and curiosity of a child is essential to our well-being and the well-being of those around us.

We are joyful.

via Step 8: We are joyful / The Red Boot Coalition.

Our discussions jumped all around, but included these ideas: community, children and being childlike, mobius strips, Parker J. Palmer, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, favorite authors as children, curling up with a good book, Madeleine L’Engle on joy, Doctors using ACE scores,  God in the Wilderness: Rediscovering the Spirituality of the Great Outdoors with the Adventure Rabbi by Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold,  Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle
So here’s a little more thoughts on a few of these topics …

Here’s a brief meditation on “Life on the Mobius Strip”—a curious concept to be sure, but no more curious than life itself!

via Parker J. Palmer.

10959968_10152667325172078_5596560342796011586_o
Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, a favorite of 3 of the women at the table (all born in the early 1960’s) … Although I did not share, I laughed to myself because the title of yesterday’s post,3.5.15 … It was a dark and stormy night … , which  is the first line of A Wrinkle in Time and often considered the worst opening line in literature (there is an award to that effect.)

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” — Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

via The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

Writer’s Digest described this sentence as “the literary posterchild for bad story starters”.[3] On the other hand, the American Book Review ranked it as #22 on its “Best first lines from novels list.”[4]

via It was a dark and stormy night – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Doctors using ACE scores to determine adult health and well-being and does that correlate to lack of joy in adults (note my source for this info is a Facebook post by one of my favorites, Brené Brown)

Brené Brown

Most powerful part of NPR interview: Just speaking shame can help reduce it and increase well being.

Is this a shame or vulnerability issue with doctors? I’ve worked many who are advocating for more training on the relational aspect of care. I’m not sure how the ACE is helpful without professionals in place to support and offer resources (social workers, nurses etc.). And, what about resiliency factors? I think we do need more integrative mind-body-spirit options. What do y’all think?

 

Answering those questions would give you an “adverse childhood experiences” score (or ACE score, for short). The test’s proponents say that it provides a rough measure of a tough childhood, and some of the experiences — death of a parent, childhood abuse or neglect — that can have long-term effects on your health.

That’s the point, Felitti believes: Asking patients about ACEs helps patients understand their health more deeply, and helps doctors understand how to help.

There are no randomized controlled trials that show that applying these screening tools to a large population changes any outcomes that a patient cares about. Someone’s got to show me that it’s going to actually make a difference in my patients’ lives.

– Dr. Richard Young, Family Medicine, Fort Worth

According to Dr. Jeff Brenner, a family doctor and MacArthur Fellows award-winner in Camden, N.J., getting these rough measures of adversity from patients potentially could help the whole health care system understand patients better.

The ACE score, Brenner says, is “still really the best predictor we’ve found for health spending, health utilization; for smoking, alcoholism, substance abuse. It’s a pretty remarkable set of activities that health care talks about all the time.”

Felitti agrees that there is no research tracking how asking for ACE scores affects patients in the long term, but says that from his experience with many thousands of patients, the benefits of getting an ACE score come down to something more spiritual than medical: alleviating shame.

Felitti says that many of his patients never had told anyone that they’d been abused as a kid — ever — until he asked them. Disclosing their secrets, they told him afterward, brought them tremendous relief.

He likens that unburdening to a lay version of a Catholic church confession.

“They leave with the understanding that they’re still an acceptable human being, they’re still part of the group,” Felitti says.

Instead of treating a specific medical problem, talking about an ACE score with a patient is a process of listening and accepting, Felitti says. But for busy doctors eager to diagnose and cure, that’s harder than it sounds.

That’s the point, Felitti believes: Asking patients about ACEs helps patients understand their health more deeply, and helps doctors understand how to help.

There are no randomized controlled trials that show that applying these screening tools to a large population changes any outcomes that a patient cares about. Someone’s got to show me that it’s going to actually make a difference in my patients’ lives.

– Dr. Richard Young, Family Medicine, Fort Worth

According to Dr. Jeff Brenner, a family doctor and MacArthur Fellows award-winner in Camden, N.J., getting these rough measures of adversity from patients potentially could help the whole health care system understand patients better.

The ACE score, Brenner says, is “still really the best predictor we’ve found for health spending, health utilization; for smoking, alcoholism, substance abuse. It’s a pretty remarkable set of activities that health care talks about all the time.”

Felitti agrees that there is no research tracking how asking for ACE scores affects patients in the long term, but says that from his experience with many thousands of patients, the benefits of getting an ACE score come down to something more spiritual than medical: alleviating shame.

Felitti says that many of his patients never had told anyone that they’d been abused as a kid — ever — until he asked them. Disclosing their secrets, they told him afterward, brought them tremendous relief.

He likens that unburdening to a lay version of a Catholic church confession.

“They leave with the understanding that they’re still an acceptable human being, they’re still part of the group,” Felitti says.

Instead of treating a specific medical problem, talking about an ACE score with a patient is a process of listening and accepting, Felitti says. But for busy doctors eager to diagnose and cure, that’s harder than it sounds.

via 10 Questions Some Doctors Are Afraid To Ask : Shots – Health News : NPR.

And the  two authors I mentioned today …

Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold:

But I believe we still have opportunities to meet the Divine (whatever you believe that to be), because in the wilderness, we connect with That Which Is Greater Than Ourselves (one of my favorite names for God), and we are embraced by sense of belonging, of oneness, and of peace.

I know that it’s not always possible (or even desirable) to relocate to the middle of the desert for a month. For people who live in the city, the closest you might get to the wilderness is an urban park. But even there you can cultivate the patience to see burning bushes and open yourself to spiritual opportunity. One of my favorite “tools” for slowing down, taking notice, and being fully present is a short sensory meditation that can be done anywhere.

As we hiked, Iasked the group to try to consciously slow down their minds and shift into their “Sabbath souls,” to allow themselves to experience the calmness and grace that surrounded us.

Then I introduced one of my favorite mind-focusing exercises, and the group agreed to try it. Each person would focus quietly on either listening or seeing for 10 minutes, at which time we would share what we had noticed.

God in the Wilderness: Rediscovering the Spirituality of the Great Outdoors with the Adventure Rabbi by Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold

Madeline L’Engle:

And it was joy.

Joy, Grandfather would remind me, joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.

– A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle.

And as I was looking for this joy quote, I found this in the “A Note from the Author”:

“Vicky’s questions or problems are questions and problems that most adolescents have had, whether in the Middle Ages, in distant countries, or right here and now. The big problems of our growing up are not limited by time, culture, or geography. We share our wonder and confusion: Who am I? Why am I here? Does it matter? Ultimately I hope we all answer with Vicky: Yes, it does. We do matter. What we do matters. And that is both a challenge and a joy.”

– A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle.

So I left the meeting joyful and looking for joy …
And soon after leaving the early am meeting,  I opened my daily Henri Nowen meditation … although not exactly on point to our opening discussion at the RBC meeting, it danced all around the issue of what RBC is trying to do  … community.

Every good relationship between two or more people, whether it is friendship, marriage, or community, creates space where strangers can enter and become friends. Good relationships are hospitable. When we enter into a home and feel warmly welcomed, we will soon realise that the love among those who live in that home is what makes that welcome possible.

When there is conflict in the home, the guest is soon forced to choose sides. “Are you for him or for her?” “Do you agree with them or with us?” “Do you like him more than you do me?” These questions prevent true hospitality – that is, an opportunity for the stranger to feel safe and discover his or her own gifts. Hospitality is more than an expression of love for the guest. It is also and foremost an expression of love between the hosts

via Missionary Renegade: The Henri Nouwen Society of Toronto, Ontario, Canada Daily Meditation for Friday, 6 March 2015 “True Hospitality”.

And late in the day I say this quote on the Grace Cathedral FB page:
Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. – Mother Teresa
… which I reposted with the comment … There’s that joy word again. It seems to be the theme of my day. Not a bad theme.
And of course  I had to find out why Grace Cathedral’s web page was called “Spacious Grace.”

Where are the Pews?

For the past five years, we have changed the seating arrangement in the Cathedral for a few days to celebrate Carnivale, our annual gala benefiting Cathedral life. This year, for the first time, we are exploring the Cathedral with flexible seating from February 9 until the end of Lent — a period we are calling Spacious Grace.  View a list of the events inspired by the pew removal below!

via Grace Cathedral – Spacious Grace.

And then I used the Mother Teresa quote as my labyrinth “walk” mantra …
Blessings and joy …
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