Does God hate kittens?

Hobbs aged 6 weeks: fearless kittenHow can someone who worships God so devoutly not have respect and concern for all life? I know a woman – who is far from unique in this – who is a passionate and reverent Christian, yet treats animals and the natural world with only as much care as is needed to make them grow and be useful. She does not recognise their sentience or intelligence, and of course she denies that they have anything like a spirit or a soul. Along with that goes the conviction that they are worth only their value to humans as food or tools. So she treats animals as assets, like the carrot and onion seeds she buys to grow for food each year, only more troublesome and much more expensive. She is bemused and critical of my feeding carrots to her horse, or giving the chickens names, or letting the cats into the house and feeding them meat. She finds nothing sweet or attractive about kittens and didn’t understand why I rescued two abandoned kittens instead of letting them die.

Do I sound negative and angry? Yes? Well, yeah, I am a bit. Not with her, not even with her two sons who hit the horse because they think they have to, and cut the ear off the dog to stop it running away (local folklore); I’m angry with the hypocrisy of being super-religious and yet so disdainful of one’s fellow creatures. I’m angry with a system that teaches this, at church, at school and at home.

So… if you’re of a religious turn of mind, whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic, do the Abrahamic faiths believe that animals have value only as assets? Buddhism obviously has a very different view, but although brought up in the Anglican Christian tradition, I don’t know the Bible well enough to know the official view on this.

A bit of a diversion from the main topic of this blog, but since I don’t feel lonely because I feel connected to all life, be it a dandelion, a beetle or another human, it does have some relevance. Why do humans (some of them) think they’re the only creature worth talking about on the planet? Because God told them so? Surely not.

Please educate me on this. I’d really like to hear your views, and the rationale behind them.

Blogger hoping4astory has made a good response to the 50 questions post, and I wanted to be sure it was read, so I’m posting it rather than leaving as a reply.

Sometimes I get tired of all this “happy talk.” Life isn’t about being happy 24/7. It’s about other things like reaching goals, overcoming obstacles, etc. Sometimes all the Happy stuff on facebook makes me want to gag. Seriously.

my response: 

Good point, and to some extent I agree. I can’t take the sentimental hearts-and-angels stuff that has sprouted all over the place. I like the unsentimental stuff that I see much more, stuff that makes me challenge my prejudices and think about what’s what. Not to mention that ‘happiness’ is not my goal. Happiness can mask all sorts of stuff and (to my mind) is a transient emotion that doesn’t always go very deep. What I’m after is joy. Semantics? Maybe, but to me joy is deep and not easily lost, once discovered. Joy isn’t the result of an event or winning or having a good time.
Joy is something more like the spirit of life and the sheer energy that washes through the world Joy doesn’t mean you’re always happy – it can be masked by sadness or frustration or anger at times, but it’s there underneath.
It’s the opposite of fear, which underlies most negative emotions, most of the time, for most people. Sounds like I’ve got the answers, doesn’t it? I wish. But I think I know what I’m after, and I think it’s joy.

Does that make sense to you?

Answers to the 50 questions

Amaryllis Turman has posted her answers here to the thought-provoking questions I posed earlier.

Here’s one I particularly like:

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? <Amaryllis> Sometimes people don’t take the time to appreciate the small things but an accumulation of small joys can create a large mound of happiness.

How about you? Care to add some of your answers?

Lonely at the top? Not this way

Heinz Landau, writing in The Nation, says the concept of ‘it’s lonely at the top’ is all too common. But there is a style of leadership that avoids the lonely boss syndrome, he explains.

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John Maxwell, the American leadership guru, states: “If you feel lonely at the top, you are not doing something right. Loneliness comes from personality, not from position.”

My own leadership experience confirms Maxwell’s statement. If you find yourself a lonely, isolated leader, then you have a personality issue and poor people skills.

Let me share with you how you can avoid being lonely at the top:

Connect with people on all levels across the organisation. The ability to connect with people is a critical attribute of great leaders. You need to invest time and energy to do so. It will give you a great amount of influence. Connect with people on all hierarchical levels in order to overcome the distance. Some call this MBWA: management by walking around. Make sure you don’t apply positional thinking, since it will cause you to disconnect with your people. And isolated leaders are not effective.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. In my previous company, we created regular monthly events like “Coffee talk with the MD and “Lunch with the MD”, in which five staff members were randomly selected to have coffee or lunch with me, as the MD. Any topics could be raised, any questions could be asked. Every two months we held a “Leadership team meets staff” event, where all staff members could participate. After the leadership team gave a brief overview about the progress we made towards our company’s main goals, employees could ask any questions that were of interest to them.

Build intentional relationships. Effective leaders take… Read more..

Decide to be well

Loneliness can take a hold of you if you’re not on tip-top form and don’t have the energy to connect with other people and life in general. If you’re stuck at home or in hospital for any length of time it’s easy to fall into a cycle of bad feelings, which sap your energy even further and make it ever harder to break out of it. If you are taking drugs for illness or trauma, they can make you feel worse than ever, since lots of medicines attack your body to kill off the bits doing the damage. So before you get better, you feel horrible. But there are options! 

If you don’t already know about this approach to healing, don’t scoff before you read and think about it. These principles apply to mental as well as physical illness – all states where you are below par. Try it – it costs you nothing, it loses you nothing, you might surprise yourself and get really well without drugs or surgery! [And there’s still the expensive, toxic and invasive methods of clinical medicine to fall back on if you feel the need – she says, without bias, obviously   ; )) ]

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The Secret Language of Your Body: A Choice to Heal

by Inna Segal, Contributor to Energy Medicine on Allthingshealing.com

Editor’s Note from Bruce Dickson: Therapeutic Metaphor is a huge part of Energy Medicine and healers like Inna have taken this up when psychosomatic medicine, as a speciality, was abandoned by the AMA. It’s true, The Meaning of Illness Is Now an Open Book.

Every disease or disorder a person experiences feeds on negative thoughts, feelings or energies. The more density there is in your mind the more fuel your body has to degenerate.

The first step towards healing is making a decision you are ready to get better.

The next step is learning to understand your blocks and limitations.

Often, recognizing the thoughts, emotions and attitudes which have contributed to the problem can begin the healing process. This is because when you have awareness of the cause, you have choice. Choice gives you an opportunity to reflect on your life, become aware of what does not work; and then, do something different.

Healing encompasses every aspect of your being, including your physical health and fitness, emotional wellbeing, mental attitude, energetic welfare and spiritual strength.

It is important to recognize your body is not your enemy; it is a messenger helping you to know yourself more fully.

Healing always means transformation

Healing always means transformation. To heal, you need to change your thoughts, feelings and actions, from what does not work, to what can, and does work for you.

Whatever part or system of your body is experiencing a problem needs to be looked at as a metaphorical representation of the challenges you are dealing with in your life.

As an intuitive healer I see a lot of clients who change their lives and let go of problems when they begin to understand the interconnection between their ways of living and the problem they are experiencing.

Zelda, a woman in her mid-forties, came to see me because she had problems with her heart and wanted to find out what was the cause of her pain. When we looked at what was happening in Zelda’s life, she became aware of several patterns. Zelda held onto buried pain from the past, she was constantly stressed about her work and worried about people in her life. She lived on her own and felt isolated and lonely. Zelda was also extremely self-critical even towards to little mistakes she made.

Once Zelda became truly aware of what she was doing to herself and how it was causing her heart disease, she began forgiving the people who had hurt her in the past and letting go of her buried pain. Zelda realized her job was causing her a lot of unhappiness and she quit. She also began to socialize more, to relax, and to do creative things which opened her heart. Instead of being so harsh with herself, she started using humor and laughing rather then beating herself up. Incredibly her heart condition, which doctors had said was incurable, healed.

Your body is your teacher

Your body is your teacher. It gives you opportunities to learn and expand. Once you have learnt your lessons, it heals because there is no need to keep holding onto the pain any longer.

Your body systems teach you lessons of empowerment, confidence, love, compassion, forgiveness and much more.

The more you understand your body and its specific components the more tools you have to bring it back to health and balance.

Healing takes you through many different stages and layers of discovering who you are. Sometimes change happens quickly, at other times you can experience, stuckness, frustration, and chaos.

Healing occurs on many levels; physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically. So please be patient with your transformation, and take time to discover and empower all the different aspects of yourself.

Our immune system identifies viruses, bacteria and any foreign bodies and tells the brain to activate the immune processes. It helps us to stay strong, healthy and clear. The immune system begins to breakdown when we feel insecure, experience inner conflict, feel pressured, or threatened.

To strengthen the immune system we need to focus within and allow the innate wisdom of our body to guide us. We need to focus on staying true to ourselves and have the courage to stand up for what we believe in.

Love, understand and listen

The key to having a healthy body is to understand, love and listen to the wisdom it has to share with you.

© 2012 Inna Segal

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-secret-language-of-your-body-a-choice-to-heal.html#ixzz23yLmwUDG

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Does this make sense to you? Have you any experience of this kind of healing?

50 vital questions

From Occupy Ottawa’s Facebook page, here are some questions for you. They might be easy to answer if you feel strongly, but some of them will be tough, and more will make you think very hard. Perfect Sunday musing.

These 50 questions have no right or wrong answers because sometimes, asking the right questions is the answer.

1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

take what you can use and let the rest go by

take what you can use and let the rest go by (Photo credit: harold.lloyd)

4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
22. Why are you, you?
23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
25. What are you most grateful for?
26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
32. If not now, then when?
33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
How did you do? Have any of these questions prompted you to make even a small change today?
What questions would you ask your family, your friends… and the people you dislike or who make you angry?

Might As Well Be Me

Dion Burn writes on his blog Crystal Delusion succinctly and powerfully about his life. Almost every post is worth reposting here, but this one in particular asked to be reblogged:

“As long as I can’t live with myself, I will be lonely. My own company is more than tolerable, but impatience craves others, to either fill that gap between me or mask it like a tiger trap. The craving demands more effort than I am willing to put out for it. Or I’d rather just hang out with myself. I wouldn’t mind you coming over, but it will take an invitation to get me out. I have more fun in my own habitat. Lonely is not something I have to be anymore than unhappy. Easily said. Who doesn’t know that? Knowing is worth very little to the heart. The dumbest thing I did was to think when I was in love. Nothing could have confused me more thoroughly. I didn’t trust thought, but I had no instinct in love, so I couldn’t trust that, either. I don’t doubt that I was in love, though I’d never known love, but it was motivated by loneliness. I wanted to be not-alone before I wanted love. As long as I don’t love myself I’ll be looking for someone to do it for me. It might as well be me.”

via Might As Well Be Me.