Category Archives: Uncategorized

In Need of Prayer

This morning, while walking this sweet hymn, “I am standing in the need of prayer” came to mind. As soon as I got home, I found it on YouTube and played it a few times to let the words sink in.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyd1M3U5VsQLately, I long a to be in a prayerful community. I pray as I walk, pray before meals and read prayers. I meditate daily but it is in private. Sensing this inward urge to connect with others seeking a sacred space to pray and meditate together, I decided to set a day and time for like hearted folks to come together. Though I do not have all the details worked out I have set aside Fridays at 1:30 pm. Tentatively, the first prayer group will be July 26, though the place is yet uncertain.

Have you wondered what prayer and meditation have in common? Me too. Several years ago, my prayers morphed into meditation. For the past several years, I practice meditation and continue to pray. According to Merriam-Webster:

1a(1): an address (such as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought said a prayer for the success of the voyage(2): a set order of words used in praying b: an earnest request or wish2: the act or practice of praying to God or a god kneeling in prayer3: a religious service consisting chiefly of prayers —often used in plural. Meditations defined by Merriam-Webster:

1: to engage in contemplation or reflection He meditated long and hard before announcing his decision.2: to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. These definition urged me to compare these activities ad the benefits each offers. In this and many other articles, benefits are linked to prayer and meditation.

“Prayer and meditation are often seen as something specific for people who are religious. However, even non-religious people have said that prayer can bring on a strong sense of inner strength or power.” Yet, this article continues emphasizing

Group in meditation

“Prayer and meditation are often seen as something specific for people who are religious. However, even non-religious people have said that prayer can bring on a strong sense of inner strength or power.”that prayer can be useful when used alongside treatment, but a physician should always be when it is used. Meditation helps individuals focus their attention and become aware of their thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. This usually results in a state of calmness, physical relaxation, and psychological balance. Although beneficial, prayer and meditation should not be used in place of medicine to treat illnesses; but used in conjunction with a with therapy and support groups as a complete approach to recovery.” Reflecting on how prayer and meditation helps me in my grief journey even more than that I am becoming more grateful, forgiving and compassionate in my daily life. 

Like meditation practices, there are many forms of prayer. Here are the most well known: 1; Blessing and adoration or worship, 2; Petition, most familiar is asking for something from God 3; Intercession: is another form of prayers of petition, but more nuanced such as praying ro our children. In such prayers we’re not concerned with our needs but with the needs of others. 4; Thanksgiving prayers, perhaps most neglected. While Grace Before Meals is a good example of a prayer of thanksgiving, we should get into the habit of thanking God throughout the day for the good things that happen to us and others. I learned to say Grace before meals an it has been my habit since childhood. 5; Praise is a form of worship prayer, giving credit to God and acknowleging Him/Her to be the source of all power the Holy One, the Creator the Source of Alpha and Omega.

Here the major Types of meditation: Loving-kindness, Body scan, Mindfulness, Breath Awareness, Kundalini yoga, Zen meditation and Transcendental meditation. With the many types of meditation to try, there should be one to suit most individuals. …  Each meditation category has many subtypes. For further information explore: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320392.php. I lead and practice several forms of meditation and found many of the benefits listed in this scientific research article:

12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditationhttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation

  • Reduces Stress. Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. … 
  • Controls Anxiety. Less stress translates to less anxiety. … 
  • Promotes Emotional Health. … 
  • Enhances Self-Awareness. … 
  • Lengthens Attention Span. … 
  • May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss. … 
  • Can Generate Kindness. … 
  • May Help Fight Addictions.

Getting back to what began my inward longing to begin a meditation prayer group. While I pray, and meditate daily, it is a community in sacred space that I long for. Come if you feel the nudge. Respond in the reply section for information about the location. 

Praying togther is powerful.

Mourning

In this short Life that only lasts an hour

How much – how little – is within our power

Emily Dickenson

Psychology Today article “Grieving the Death of an Adult Child” struck a familiar chord in me. I am mourning the death of my oldest son who died at age 50. My son was estranged from us for many years but never absent from my loving prayers. My family tried in many ways to find him but never succeeded. We received notification of his death from our local police department on a fateful Wednesday night. Learning from the officers that he was found unresponsive in his apartment was a shock. Everything about that night is etched sharply in my mind.

It is now nearly 2 months after his death. Most paper-work related to his death is completed, we received his papers, remains and the death certificates. The Remembrance service was last week. Creating the service program for our family, was a labor of love. Family from out of state came to offer us support. Having my son’s step brothers here with us filled me with a sense of gratitude. A week later, I find myself at a loss. Nothing left to do, no more preparations. My work is done but the sadness is ever-present. I never got to say, “Good by”, and “I love you” to my son. It is difficult to share about my son’s death. As a hospice chaplain, I have been at the bedside of many dear patients during their last hours in this physical existence. I officiated at funerals for the very old and for younger people and counseled families during their bereavement, yet in no way have these experiences lessened my own grief. I am not surprised by the shock I felt receiving the medical examiner’s report that my son died in a diabetic coma. Like many people whose loved one died in unusual circumstances I am embarrassed, an unexplainable shame comes over me, and I feel edgy talking about my son’s death. Most of the time I avoid talking about my son’s death. Although these are typical responses to the unexpected and unusual circumstances of the death of a loved one; now I recognize them in myself.

Several years ago, I became a widow back then and now, my younger son, daughter and her husband are my immediate sources of solace and comfort; together we have been initiated into the great mystery of birth and death. That someone we loved is now gone but lives in in our hearts. The greatest gifts in life are loving and being loved in return. I recommend to all who are coping with the death of a loved one, Love Knows No Death, a powerful and innovative Grief Transformation Self- help Workbook and Visual Program developed by Dr. Piero Calvi-developed by Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti.

Joy in the spring

Deffodils
Deffodils planted around an Athens GA Chick-File.

Daffodils
by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed’and gazed’but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Lately as wintry days were draggiging on, I listened to my son’s suggestions to drive to Athens GA, about 40 mies away from our home to see the deffodils he noticed while buying lunch there on a work day. “It’s worth the drive”, he said. He was right, I left around 10 in the morning, still chilly and cloudy to arrive as lunch crowds were arriving at the busy Chick-file. I bought a chicken sandwich and coffee to keep my hands warm while I walked around the glowing deffodils fields all around the Chick-file. The golden flowers filled my eyes and my heart leaped in joy. I walked around and filled up on spring’s delight.

January 2016

Walking the trail at Bethesda Park, Lawrenceville, GA

Walking the trail at Bethesda Park, Lawrenceville, GA

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. ~Seneca

Ne beginnings have so much promise. That is why we love celebrating New Years. I officiated two New Year’s Eve weddings. Bringing two people together to celebrate their commitments gives me joy. One wedding was private in the home of the couple but the other wedding was at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.

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It was exciting to be there with all the events going on downtown but in that historic place throbbing with New Year’s Eve excitement marrying two people n love was most delightful.

“The beginning is the most important part of any work,” said, Plato . Though I do not disagree with the wise philosopher Plato, endings hold the seeds of the beginning. So if a marriage starts out with love and continues to be nourished with tears and joy, it will thrive and grow into a beautiful relationship. The love that binds two people in the beginning does not die or dissipate but flourishes and thrives in their innermost beings because it is life itself. God with us, the source of love.

God created us for love, for union, for forgiveness and compassion and, yet, that has not been our storyline. That has not been our history.
Richard Rohr

We have a new chance every day, to be loving, forgiving and compassionate.

I am not much for new year’s resolutions but I believe in following one rule. Doing the things that give me joy. I will continue to officiate  weddings, offer spiritual direction, teach swimming and offer grief counseling.

Blessings,

Rev. Gabriella Cahaley

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February Birthdays and Valentines day

Pastor from Hungary (2)

 

The Gabos family working in the flower shop before Valentine’s Day.

My father was born February, 22 1907 in Budapest Hungary. Fifty plus years later, the day the newspaper reporter came to interview my family remains etched on my memory. I recall feeling  apprehensive as the reported talked to us. My parents’ English communication was still very poor. We had been in America only a few years. Both my parents attended night school for English and Citizenship. I answered the reporter’s questions. The reporter arrived only minutes after I got home from swim practice, my hair was still wet. My mother directed me to put on my nicest sweater. It was turquoise and it was my favorite. Reading the story today, I notice misquotes and details that were incorrectly reported. But the story is essentially true.

Our son Daniel was born February 21 in Palm Bay Florida  in our home and my

Patrick, my father, Danny in his arms and Ili

Patrick, my father, Danny in his arms and Ili

husband John delivered him. It was a beautiful warm sunny day. Danny was born in the afternoon. John and I had an incredible experience seeing our last child born.It was a day full wonder and joy. We counted those days in February as miraculous. My mother was recovering from surgery. Ili and Patrick spent time with my mother and father in their home on the Indian River. There they played happily in the shade of palm trees. My mother was healing after surgery. Dark days were ahead of us, but those February days were magical.

February holds a special place in my heart. I met my husband in 1967 February. I received my first Valentine’s Day card from that year.

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I spend birthday celebrations  and Valentine’s Day in sweet revere. The first year without receiving a Valentine’s Day card from my sweetheart.

We want to the lake in Reid Park last February.

JC-02-2014

 

A New Year

 

January 16 and 17 I attended a Prayer Bead Retreat at Camp MInnescah. It could not have been a more beautiful weekend. Twenty women gathered to learn about the history of prayer beads in many different religious traditions. Amazing, we Protestants are discovering their unique properties to aid in prayer. Learning about prayer bead lead us to to selecting clay of wonderful colors and to creating the beads. The creative work was enhanced by our prayers as we formed the beads.

In the brisk Kansas wind, the dry grasses rustled. I felt alive and exhilarated. Path along the Ninnescah River

Path along the Ninnescah River

 

I was among a group of women gathered to create our own prayer beads. We worked in prayerful atmosphere. We prayed, sang and worshiped but most of all we formed bonds of friendship, A new year, just beginning was beginning to fill with hope.

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Camping

My enthusiasm for Camp Mennoscah has deep roots.  Roots that go back to my childhood. The very word camp brings back memories of my years as a Hungarian Girl Scout in Cleveland Ohio. You might be thinking, “you must have meant to say American Girl Scout,” but no, Hungarians formed Scout troops patterned after the Hungarian Scouting movement that was disbanded by the Communist regime and replaced by the Pioneers. Thankfully I was not forced to become a Pioneer in Hungary, I was excused because we lived too far from school. I joined one of the four Scout troops in in Cleveland. There were boys’ and girls’ troops on the East and the West side of town. We did lots of activities most of which were oriented toward folk traditions art, folk song, music, dancing and celebrating Christmas and Easter in traditional Hungarian folk ways. Though I have wonderful memories most have faded over the years except for camping. Annual camping remains vivid in my memories. I loved everything about camping. We did not sleep in cabins, have running water or toilets, it was primitive camping. For one week, we created a camp lasting bonds, respect for each other and our environment in the woods. I loved it from my first time in 1957 to my last camp in 1965.

Hungarian Scouting Folk Art Camp 19645

 

I often longed to go camping as the years went by, but the experience never repeated.  Until now as I bask in reveres of past camping experiences and planning for Camp Mennoscah.

My excitement and anticipation for the 39th annual camping event for Pretty Prairie and Pawnee Rock churches grows stronger as the beginning of  camp, October 17 approaches.

The weather will be cooler than it has been in the past two months. By then the trees bushes will be in their autumn splendor. Over the 38 years the Camp traditions have evolved. The activities involve fellowship, exploring nature, scripture study, creating fantastic community meals and worship. The grand finale on Sunday, after a Communion worship is a turkey dinner.

The Ninnescah River is nearby for nature walks.

Ninnescah River

Ninnescah River

All are invited.  All of us will contribute and help prepare the food served at each meal. We bring our own bedding. There are lots of beds in the men’s and women’s “dorm” rooms. However, some people choose to go home during the two nights of camp.  No need for reservation.

Camp Minoscah is located in Murdock, KS

9458 SE 40 St, Murdock, KS 67111

See Google maps:

Map of Camp Mennoscah in Murdock, KS

Biophilia

The chaos of purging, sorting, packing and moving across 4 states to Kansas is a memory. It seems a life time ago. that I was walking in the desert. Only a little over 2 years ago my partner and I returned from Florida to Tucson. I was convinced then hat I was called back to the desert. I felt that call most while I was at the Redemtorist Renewal CenterHosea 2:14 spoke to me and I listened, “So now I am going to draw her back to me. I will lead her into the desert. There I will speak tenderly to her. ”  While taking a course in Spiritual Direction at the Hesychia School for Spiritual Direction, I came to love the desert even more.

The view from the Chapel courtyard

The desert spoke to me in gentle comforting sounds, through bunnies standing still for me to take their Bunny posingpicture, quails, calling to each other, coyotes sauntering across the road, brilliant bird of paradise plants swaying in the breeze and stunning sunsets and sunrises gave endless delight on my walks. The last week before my move, I experienced the most enchanting sights. I was dazzled by the Century plant on a very rare misty morning on a sunrise walk.

Leaning Century plant in the morning mist

 

Those of you living in this area of Tucson, know that the mountains are nearly always visible. But on this amazing morning, they were whited out not by dust but a mist.

During my last week of working at a night job, I beheld this amazing sunset.

Sauaro in the sunsetg

Frank Rose on the trail

Gabriella by an uproted tree

I  bid farewell with Rev. Frank Rose who lead me on a nature hike to the beloved Mount Lemmon,  where I first fell in love with Tucson.

Rainbows have always delighted me but in Tucson we see them rarely except during the monsoon. A soft gentle rain was falling on one of my last sunrise walks. I went walking anyway looking towards the cloudy eastern horizon breathing in the scent familiar to desert dwellers exhaled by mesquites trees. I rounded a corner and saw it, a bright beautiful rainbow. Then, as I walked along taking pictures, there was another bow in the sky.

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I was comforted by the sight of the rainbow and by these amazing sights during my last days in Tucson. Good wishes and hugs from friends and family gave me comfort but leaving familiar sights, places and friends behind is sad. New beginnings are exciting and full of promise but a sense of loss caught me many times.

The trip to Kansas was tiring for both Danny and I, though he did the driving. I watched the scenes unroll before me. New sights delighted me. Driving through a NM shower, we saw a patch of bright rainbow ahead of us. A sign of hope and restoration. We saw magnificent view of mountains and cattle grazing in green fields, occasionally, deer alongside of the road. Thankfully, they stayed on the grassy side.

Poet Kathleen Raine perfectly describes the way I felt.  “Meaning moods the whole scale of our inner experience, finds in nature “the correspondences” through which we may know our boundless selves.” For Swedenborgians  everywhere this strikes a familiar tone.  As spiritual beings we’re always moving from one state to another. We may be moved in our spirit by the changes we experience with our physical senses.  I was undergoing an internal shift, as we drove through the countryside. I was called to another place, to freshly plowed fields, wheat and corn fields.

My attraction to natural phenomena is not at all unique. Recently, I found the word, biophilia describing a deeply rooted biological instinct for loving living things.

I am in a new environment, marveling at the natural beauty of the fields,  the sky, the trees on my sunset walks. I am content and at feel peace around me. My first Kansas sunset:

Kansas sunset

I am settling into a new life new patterns and work that engages my body mind and spirit. I The congregation of Pretty Prairie and Pawnee Rock Kansas i have made me feel welcome. I embracing my new experiences in Kansas. Look for these in the coming months,

Kindness as a Spiritual Practice

I am very sensitive these days to the way people speak to me. I sense kindness in mannerisms the phrasing of a condolence, tone of voice and especially in facial expressions. Recently widowed, I move in uncharted territory. In spite of studying the grieving process and accompanying clients in their grieving, I could not know while my husband was with me what my particular journey into mourning would be like. I did not try to anticipate. I tried to stay in the present. We watched the birds every morning coming to the feeder. My husband was on the lookout for cardinals and humming birds. He called me to e window

Mourning Doves

to watch them. Together we watched the morning doves come to the little dish I filled early in the morning.  I wondered how mourning doves got their name. They come to my bird cafeteria throughout the day but I watch them most during the early morning hours. Their cooing sound mournful, yet sweet and comforting. Cooing mourning doves

The Spiritual Practice of Kindness  encompasses a range of small acts and habits that we know as old-fashioned good manners — saying “please” and “thank you,” waiting your turn, lending a helping hand, or cheering someone up with a smile. It applies not just to your relationships with other people. Etiquette in the spiritual life extends to things, animals, plants, and the Earth. These days I am most sensitive to the sound of people’s voices. A colleague I called yesterday sounded like she answered the phone with a sweet smile. It felt like a gentle hug sending coming through the wires with her simple “Hello”.

In spite of the sorrow I often feel, I smile easily. On my daily walks, I encounter people walking their dogs. An exchange of smiles and simple “hello” renews my spirit. Some of the pooches see me coming and strain their leashes to come to me. Some owners know I love dogs and they gladly permit me to pet their dog. These sweet encounters delight me.  I walk on happy and content. Little acts of kindnesses nourish my aching heart.

The Dalai Lama known for endorsing “kindness” as the human way of being. has a smile that appears to be kindness itself.

 Dalai Lama

In the Bible surprisingly, “kindness” occurs only in few passages. The most poignant passage, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”  Ephesians 4:32 is among the few direct injunctions to be kind. Of course many passages infer acting kindly as the essence of holy living. The Psalmist often implores kindness form the Lord and names him the source of kindness.  “God is like a sun and shield; the Lord gives us kindness and honor. He does not hold back anything good from those whose lives are innocent.” Psalm 84:10-12 Jesus however, commands us to “Go and learn what this means: ‘I want kindness more than I want animal sacrifices.’ I did not come to invite good people but to invite sinners.” Matthew 12:7 

We think of the Golden Rule as Christian, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 7:12 but it is widely held  concept of “the ethic of reciprocity” 

The Golden Rule  in faith traditions

a standard for ethical and moral behavior appears in a wide range of world cultures. Still, they do not convey the intention of the human heart to be kind to another person without expecting reciprocity. Jesus frequently taught about loving kindness.  According to Swedenborg, this is charity and it is the distinguishing feature between the Old and New Testament. That good ought to be done, from the spirit of goodwill, to an adversary and an enemy. Jesus taught a radical kindness, to  love your neighbor and our enemies. Now that is a radical way of acting not exactly the way act on our own. 

I have experienced many acts of kindness lately. One friend offered to gift me with her service. Several dinners invitations from friends nourished my body and soul. Another friend, knowing I love Starbucks, gifted me with a Starbucks “treat” card. Others give me consul and direction when I am confused dealing with Social Security and other agencies. I am grateful for the ways family and friends have shown loving kindnesses, with words and deeds in the past few weeks. Looking and touching the beautiful thoughtful condolence cards, flowers that continue to bloom for me, Looking at them, I smile.  Such sweet kindnesses lift my heavy heart.  

sympathy cards and flowers

 

Walking as Meditation

I do not walk for aerobic exercise, though walking as I do for 30 to 40 minutes does get my heart rate up into aerobic range. I don’t walk for the scenery, though some places provide breath taking views. I recall sweet memories walking with my friend and our dogs on the mountain in the spring time.

Mt Arabia. GA 1999Mt Arabia. GA 1999Friend Linda and our dogs, Flea & Diva

Friend Linda and our dogs, Flea & Diva

Back then I walked in our woods for the sheer pleasure of it.  In my travels to Hungary, I walked with my sister and brother. Breathtaking views delighted us. It was a time to recall childhood memories.

The view of the Danube from the Castle, 2000

The view of the Danube from the Castle, 2000

Over the years, walking has changed for me. Nearly every morning while living in Fort Myers Beach, I walked at sunrise along the beach, there, the sound of the waves lapping at the shore always comforted me. Sometimes friends would join me but most of the time, I walked alone.

Sunrise Meditation Walk December 2011

Sunrise Meditation Walk December 2011

Walking has become a meditation for me. My walking philosophy is nothing as grandiose as David Thoreau declares in his essays on Walking

 In the very first sentence he affirms, “I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil, — to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than

Walking Henry David Thoreaua member of society.”

No grand statements from me. My paths are now in the desert and on sidewalks in my neighborhood, here, I look for wild creatures along my path, I listen for the sounds of birds especially quails, I listen for the sounds of children playing and splashing in their backyard pool behind the fences and walls, families in happy conversations. I feel the breeze whip my hair and delight in the smell of flowers sweeping across my path. Bunny on the path

Although sights and sounds delight my senses, nowadays I walk to nourish my soul. I walk to restore balance to my frazzled confused spirit. Critical voices in my head fade away, heaviness disappears from my heart in the sure knowledge that where ever I am, no matter what path I take, I am not alone, God is with me.

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I love the story of the disciples “walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him. Luke 24:13-35

I often repeat a mantra as I walk. Sometimes a song comes to mind, and I begin signing it to myself.  Recently, this song came to mind as I walked,

I knew it comes from a higher source. Hearing myself sing it, a sense of gratitude fills me with joy.

One step at a time, listening and feeling the rhythm of my foot fall is strangely comforting. Strange because no matter if my mind wondered or troubles re-visited, I am brought back to the present. In that moment once again, everything is perfect.

First sign of the Saguaro blooming

First sign of the Saguaro blooming