Sacred Work of the Soul

FullSizeRender (4)

 

“Looking into the heart releases the good and the bad into the light where awareness, acceptance and attention can be given.  This is sacred work of the soul.” And they Were Not Ashamed, Laura M. Brotherson, CFLE

Are we not all on a quest seeking after wholeness.  Are we not intimate beings hungering after emotional, physical and spiritual fulfillment: “mind, body and spirit” Alma 17:5? “Complete intimacy is sharing thoughts, feelings, and energies-both positive and negative-creating an emotional, spiritual, and physical connection.  If we look closely at the word intimacy we can almost see the phrase, “in-to-me-see” suggesting that couples allow each other to see into their inner selves.  Intimacy is the key.  We seek it from the moment we are conscious that we are alive and continue until the moment we have our last conscious thought on this planet. Only when we live in an intimate relationship with another person and an intimate relationship with God, do we have the very treasure we live our lives to find.  God made us that way.” (Laura M. Brotherson) 

If we measured our level of wholeness with a bucket, how many of us can say theirs is full?  If our marital bucket is lacking or springs a leak, do we have the right tools to fix it? How can we keep them from becoming empty or from springing leaks and if they are filled with holes, can they become whole?

I just spent a wonderful week at Lake Powell sharing precious time with my family.  I especially enjoyed reading the above mentioned book because it is, in my opinion, a manual for a successful marriage and a fulfilling and happy life.  I was able to look deep inside my soul to see truth about myself like I’ve never seen before.  I found answers to many of my soul’s greatest questions and struggles and realized my bucket has the need for repair.  Life throws at us many perplexities about ourselves that give us cause for running away from experiencing a whole bucket.  After reading this book, I can now address these issues with confidence by working out solutions called “homework” at the end of each chapter.  All of the topics in this book clarifies the confusion that seems to incircle me.

The world is filled with solutions that confuse our true purpose on earth. God created us in his image, male and female to become one with him. Moses said, “Let us make man (not a separate man, but a complete man, which is husband and wife) in our image, after our likeness; and it was so (Moses 2:26).”  Marriage is the bond that was instituted from the beginning of time to accomplish these divine purposes on earth of procreation and a continuation of life. President Joseph Smith said, “Unity is power”.  Unity in marriage is not optional.  Elder Spencer J. Condie shared his conviction, “Unity-emotional and spiritual, as well as physical-is absolutely essential to a happy marriage, one in which the partners symbolically become one in all things.”  Elder Condie also identifies becoming one as a three-dimensional endeavor: physical. emotional, and spiritual.”(Laura M. Brotherson)

Satan is distorting our identities so that God’s goals cannot be reached and couples loose their power.  “Being emotionally disconnected causes feeling of emptiness.  Filling that void is necessary to avoid living disconnected, parallel lives as husband and wives.” (Laura M. Brotherson)  Many hearts are broken each day as we look to the world to find answers for our loneliness, sorrows and longing for intimacy.  If we understand our divine inheritance, we can look into our hearts, accepting in each other, both the good and bad, while knowing the potential God sees within us in accomplishing his mission for us on earth. Within the actual marital bond is the solution for all of man’s problems so long as God is a part of that union. Healing can and will happen through each person’s love for spouse, self and God.   Helaman 15: 7-8

There are four steps to help us:  1.  Reprioritize and remove and heal intimacy barriers.  2.  Develop a testimony that marriage is of God so our faith in His commandment for husband and wife to “be one”-then we can exert the necessary effort and make the crucial changes in our lives to experience God’s divine design of marriage. 3. Believe “Intimacy is one of the highest ideals of the human heart and, as such, deserves the most exceptional efforts.” 4.  With a stewardship for each other, couples can follow the Savior’s example to be each other’s keeper, to “learn the healer’s art” and to “show a gentle heart” to one another who are wounded and weary.  In Marriage, husbands and wives can begin the cycle of loving and healing each other into wholeness.  It is our search for intimacy and oneness in marriage that we become whole and become one-fulfilling all the longings of the heart and soul.” (Laura M. Brotherson)

As we understand our roles as fathers and mothers, our families will be blessed as our buckets are made whole through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Remember, we’re both on the same team.  “With God’s help, couples can find solutions that both feel good about. Emotional intimacy is a feeling of understanding and acceptance, To be known intimately and be accepted by another is a vulnerable, yet freeing, state of being.  To share your innermost worries and weaknesses, and still be accepted by your spouse, can contribute enormously to emotional fulfillment and oneness.” (Laura M. Brotherson)

The most sacred duty we can perform for ourselves is to examine our souls, to be made aware of  where we are emotionally, spiritually and physically and to improve. Marriage provides us with the tools to repair and fill our buckets.    “A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare, to nurture and to strengthen all her children.  She teaches children to obey, to pray, to love and serve in the family.  A father’s place is to preside, provide, to love and teach the gospel to his children.  A father leads in family prayer to share their love for Father in Heaven.  God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—This is how He shares His love, for the family is of God.” The Family is of God, Matthew Neeley

Online Marriage Resource

Strengthening Marriage.com

http:..www.strengtheningmarriage.com

Laura M. Brotherson

Email:  Laura@StrengtheningMarriage.com

Bibliography

And they Were Not Ashamed, Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment

*Laura M. Brotherson, CFLE

 

An Eternal “La La Land”

IMG951153

A watch representing man’s time is used as a profound metaphor in the latest Marvel movie, “Wonder Woman”.   We never know when the people or things we love most will expire, but what we do know is this: We have the present time to make a difference for each other that can last eternally.  I have a story of a friend who is an exceptionally gifted artist who didn’t miss a beat in responding with her gift of love at a very sad time for someone else.  It is with permission from both artist and the recipient of this drawing I will tell you the following story about an experience that happened while creating this portrait.

Upon hearing the sad and tragic news of our mutual friend’s husband passing, I phoned my artist friend to tell her the grave news.  Her immediate reply was, “I am going to draw a picture of him to give to her.”  She felt it pertinent to give her gift as soon as possible, but when she was nearly finished with her drawing, she became stuck on his left eye.  After pleading with the Lord by telling Him that she was nearly out of time and that she needed His guidance to finish it, she felt inspired to audibly address the young deceased man because, after all, it was him she needed to portray.

Immediately after her plea, she was prompted to begin again from scratch, only this time, “It went super fast and I was surprised that I was already done. Of course, I don’t know if it was him who helped me or Heavenly Father, or if He sent a heavenly being.  I just know without a doubt that I received heavenly help because I know what I am physically capable of doing by myself”, said my artist friend.   She finished her drawing in just over 10+ hours, (usually would have taken 40+), a remarkable speed.  She told me how fast her hands were guided as if they were laser beams of light.  Her sense of time had been altered from man’s time, to God’s time because the accuracy in her gifting the portrait was nothing short of a miracle.   After our friend had spent a very difficult but sacred time at the funeral home (due to the nature of his accident), our friend was greeted at her doorstep with this portrait, offering her much needed comfort and solace.  In what other way would the timing of this occurrence been possible had it not been for divine intervention.

Have you ever had a time in your life when it seemed as if time stood still? I think we can all agree that the best description of this place is like “la la land”- “a euphoric dreamlike mental state detached from the harsher realities of life” Webster Dictionary.   Perhaps you felt it on your wedding day, the birth of a child or when you reached a milestone in your life.  These are moments in our lives when time stands still, and yet, logically we know it hasn’t because time is the same. What is it that makes time seem different to us during certain moments in our lives?   The exploration of this phenomenon can be seen through two mediums of thought:  Man’s time and God’s time or perhaps when we are doing “the right thing at the right time, at the right place”.

Having just returned from”La La Land”, ahem, the Griffith observatory, I learned that man’s time is debatable, but “la la land” time isn’t and neither is God’s time.  Man’s time is defined as a fundamental structure of the Universe, independent of events where things happen in sequence-a realists view.  It’s opposing view is that time cannot be contained-it is an intellectual structure together with space and number where humans compare events.  Then there is the idea that time is neither an event nor thing and cannot be measured or travelled.  I believe in a universal truth that time equals mortality and therefore, like the watch metaphor in “Wonder Woman”, man is given this life as a probationary time to be tested whether he will follow the forces of evil, or the forces of love and good; living under God’s time and framework which is obedience to His laws and commandments.

 What is God’s time? Elder Neal A. Maxwell observed, “Time is clearly not our natural dimension. Thus it is that we are never really at home in time. Alternately, we find ourselves impatiently wishing to hasten the passage of time or to hold back the dawn. We can do neither, of course. Whereas the bird is at home in the air, we are clearly not at home in time—because we belong to eternity.”

Maybe the following statement combines the two types of time when John Anson Ford said the following about Griffith J. Griffith’s vision of the creation of his observatory: “The experience moved him profoundly – a distant, heavenly body suddenly being brought so close and made so real!” Ford quotes Griffith as saying “Man’s sense of values ought to be revised. If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world!”.   Like in the movie “Wonder Woman”, we must see time and why we are on this earth like a God sees it; with an all-seeing eternal eye.  This means we have a specific purpose in this life, but how can we find it with all the confusion “Aries” or Satan puts in our way and into our hearts? What must we have to see like a God? Perhaps Griffith’s entire purpose in creating his observatory was to help man gain a sense of God’s vision that would invoke a sense of values within mankind?

Man’s sense of values!!!  This is a key component in understanding God’s time which is structured not through man’s time but rather through obedience to His laws and commandments.  Think of eternity as a series of acts in obedience/disobedience and the consequences that follow based upon the first and great commandment to love thy God and the second is likened unto it to love our neighbor.  Once we get a handle on this concept, we are able to see through the powerful telescope of God’s eye which is charity and the pure love of Christ, or, an eternal “la la land”. “Hopefully we will know more one day about how scientific theories fit together with God’s eternal laws. But though there are still many things we don’t know, what we can say for sure is that time is relative—both from a scientific perspective and a scriptural perspective. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith addresses this concept: “In answer to the question—Is not the reckoning of God’s time, angel’s time, prophet’s time, and man’s time, according to the planet on which they reside? I answer, Yes.” (D&C130:4–5). C. Robert Line, How Does God’s Time Really Work? 

After much prayer and fasting, God said the following through the prophet Alma about man’s time:  Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.”Alma 40:8  “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: “A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; … “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;“… A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …“… A time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:1–2, 4–5, 7).  “The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.  Doctrine and Covenants 88:13   Time is the sun or the Son.

Man’s clock began as soon as death was introduced into the equation.   This concept is beautifully illustrated in Genisus “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2: 15-17   As soon as Adam and Eve partook of the fruit in the garden of Eden, they fell from God’s presence and His time.  Soon thereafter, Adam and Eve covenanted with God to obey His laws and keep His commandments and He promised to send them a Savior to redeem them from the fall. 

 C. S. Lewis observed: “God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world.”   The fall was not only spiritual, it was literal and that is when “man’s time” began.  God placed Cherubim and a flaming sword to protect the tree of life so that Adam and Eve could not partake of the fruit of the tree of life and live forever in their sins.   “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:  Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.   So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life”. Genesis 3: 22-24  

God’s clock isn’t relative to us and the closest thing to it is the Law of God.   This refers to self governance and management.  Man’s ability to overcome his natural man’s tendencies in this life is essential in his eternal “la la land”.  “And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God.”  Alma 42:4  We are here on earth for a “time” to learn how to master our appetites, passions and desires, thus evolving from our beastly nature to a form of Godliness. However, because there is no beginning nor end for God, he patiently awaits for us to learn and develop our relationship with Him through our agency, and when we figure this out by seeing with His eyes, our relationship with Him takes care of all other things we naturally struggle with because of Christ’s atonement (who is like our Marvel hero, “Wonder Woman”).  Things begin to fall into place, or at least become easier and time will stand still as we live in harmony with His laws.  Sweet becomes sweeter, speed and efficacy to do hard things in the face of adversity are less complicated and time will seem like an illusion, just as it was for my artist friend.

“Wise are those who make this commitment: I will put the Lord first in my life, and I will keep His commandments. The performance of that commitment is within everyone’s control. We can fulfill that commitment without regard to what others decide to do, and that commitment will anchor us no matter what timing the Lord directs for the most important events in our lives.

The most important principle of timing is to take the long view. Mortality is just a small slice of eternity, but how we conduct ourselves here—what we become by our actions and desires, confirmed by our covenants and the ordinances administered to us by proper authority—will shape our destiny for all eternity. As the prophet Amulek taught, “This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32). That reality should help us take the long view—the timing of eternity”.  Timing, Elder Dallin H. Oaks Ensign 2003 

How are we using this precious probationary time? Have we set our “watches” on eternal time while seeking for those “la la land” moments?  Is the world around us changing into a profound expansion of a heavenly and holier sphere?  What REALLY matters most in life? Why else are we here?  When our friend looks at this loving and beautiful portrait of her husband everyday, I feel she will be transported into another time and space as she looks into her husbands eyes and sees him looking indefinitely back into hers as if time stands still for them; an eternal “la la land”.

 

The Hourglass

As if we were in an hourglass, the swirling sands of time spin our head and mind upward to the beginning where blue meets coral.

What is it that caries us on a rapid and winding channel, sapping the life force from us and spits us out at the bottom? Don’t we all feel like this at times?  We get so caught up in the whirlwind of life, that we forget to pause,  look up, and think back to the beginning of how we got in this predicament in the first place.  Often times, it’s during these moments after we’ve beaten ourselves up that we stop, reflect and examine ourselves and ask, “what the heck is the meaning of life anyway and why do I waste so much of my precious time?”.    “If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most.” Of Things That Matter Most” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

This week I learned about time management and what matters most to me.  I was presented with that moment in time when time stood still as I paused, looked up and did a quick self inspection.  The result?  An experienced change of heart and of being (I actually have those moments often either after a good read, a great time in nature like these pictures depict from my rappel in a slot canyon near my home, or as I am being taught by God).  It is through his holy prophets who have left His words in written form known as the scriptures both ancient and modern such as scriptures like Luke 18: 22 and 2 Nephi 25:26. But this time, my moment came through the means of another individual during a conference I was attending in Provo, Utah.

“Increase your capacity for Action” was the title of the lecture.  The speaker, Jim Stephens, taught the need to identify the difference between the things I can’t control in my life vs. the things I can control.  The things I can’t control are: The weather, what other’s choices are or how they perceive me, my chemical personality like my DNA make-up or if others place their own selves or jobs before me.  What I can control is how I react to others through patience and love.  How I prioritize my time so I can make time for me, God, my family, my community and my friends.

Leonardo da Vinci says that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” The Book of Positive Quotations, by John Cook, 2nd ed. (1993), 262..  Wise men like our prophets, apostles and successful businessmen all understand the lessons of running faster than we have strength and the need for simplicity.  “They resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life.  They follow the advice of Gandhi, {“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”}  In short, they focus on the things that matter most.” Of Things That Matter Most” Dieter F. Uchtdorf  This is the time when “We have to forgo some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families”.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks “Good, Better, Best

Often when I find myself rappelling down through life’s paths, I know I need to harness up by eliminating so much slack in the rope at my command.  I know I need to simplify my life and make necessary changes so that I can refocus on what I can control.  The most important part of my life begins at the top with God before I begin my decent down my daily path through prayer, meditation and scriptures.  When I begin at the top, no matter what obstacles get in my way, I begin to recognize what my purpose in this life is: “the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship-the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace.”  Of Things That Matter Most” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

 

Eloped

 

It was love at first sight!  It all began with a legal procedure.  Upon seeing this gorgeous bombshell legal secretary sitting behind a typewriter at his Attorney’s firm in Ogden, Utah, this recently divorced man’s only thoughts were, “how can I win this Marilyn Monroe look-alike over?”  His only logical approach was to turn his monthly child support visits into weekly ones just to get another chance with her; and never mind the engagement ring on her finger.  He was not taking “no” for an answer, and luckily for him, his tenacity paid off.  He was finally afforded a soda pop date that lead to another date with a huge question.

His best friend was soon to be married down in Southern Utah, and the thought of spending the entire weekend with her was tantalizing and so he invited her to go for the wedding by persuading her that riding down with his mom would help her feel less awkward.  She really thought it was a crazy thing to do, but this boy was so persistent. She realized it would be difficult to go away for that long without her fiancé finding out, and so she made up an alibi and gave her mother strict instructions about what to tell him if he asked her whereabouts:  She would be in Idaho visiting one of her BYU roommates for the weekend.

She was now off to his best friend’s wedding at the St. George temple and his reception in Logandale, Nevada.  Little did she know what events would follow on that fateful weekend 55 years ago last September.  Taking precedence over his honeymoon, the boy’s best friend stopped he and his date after the reception to give him some spiritual advice that would change his life forever.  He said, “why don’t we all knell down together in prayer and ask Heavenly Father if you two should get married?”.  After that prayer, the spirit didn’t only whisper, it sang in four-part harmony to the affirmative.  Soon, one marriage turned into two after a quick drive to Las Vegas…(the Justice of the Peace, Myron Leavitt, was off at the time, but because he happened to be a mutual cousin to both the boy and his best friend’s bride, he made an exception).   The story ended with another, very different legal procedure in the Clark County court house; the marriage of my parents!  Several years later, my parents were sealed in the Logan, Utah temple.  It was the beginning of my parent’s eventual 35 years together before his untimely passing at age 56, but not the end of their eternal marital bond made possible through the power of the Melchizedek priesthood.

My parent’s love story was guided by the hand of God and has won over many hearts with it’s humor and uniqueness. Although my parent’s marriage wasn’t perfect, I always knew they loved each other. Their devotion and love for each other was tangible and deep.  They really set such a standard to me in so many ways about what life and love is really about and how to trust in God by acting with faith in everything we do.  I learned by example from them as they remained true and faithful to their marital vows and covenants made within the holy temple of God.  They taught me that my purpose in life was to receive a healthy and beautiful body that I would learn to train as I remained true to gospel principals and my own ordinances and covenants that would eventually lead me to my future eternal spouse.

The greatest part of love is procreation and the cycle of life.   New life espoused within each of us should be treated with the greatest respect.  The Savior’s love for each of us is the greatest teacher in life of sacrifice and charity.   Thanks to my parent’s love of Jesus Christ, their sacrifices made for Him, for one another and for us, my siblings and I were better prepared for my father’s tragic death.  My earthly parents taught me the greatest lessons of these basic evolving and eternal life principals that I’ve always known forever in my soul, and now, I have faith that my children will perpetuate what my husband and I have taught them, and hopefully, each generation adds upon the strengths of the other for good.

P.S.  Sadly, my mom broke the news to her sister who then had to break the bad news to my Mom’s (x)fiancé that she had gone and eloped.

Trees- a metaphor

franchise-advise-overcoming-adversity1

One day when we were having hurricane winds like we get here at times, I looked out my window and saw my neighbor’s newly planted tree blowing completely sideways.  I noticed his anchoring system was failing because his only tie down was now flapping everywhere.   Dust was blowing in his eyes and I could see he was going to have a difficult time doing this job by himself.  Just about the time I had made up my mind to go venture outside in the storm to help him, another neighbor wearing his Sunday suit came out of nowhere, (a member of our bishopric in my church).  He held up the tree while my neighbor tried anchoring it.  A few minutes later, here came the other two suit clad members of our bishopric carring several hefty stakes and strong ropes.  Soon, between these four men, my neighbor’s tree was anchored down so tight and rigid, I believe musical notes could be played with a bow on its strings.

The metaphor I learned from this picture that replays inside my brain has an interesting tie-down-anchoring affect in both my physical and spiritual life.   All young trees need to be anchored down while they are growing in order for them to become strong.  If a tree is tied down too tightly, the necessary resistance it needs to grow a strong enough trunk to bear the weight of its future branches is minimized. Trees can grown in the oddest of circumstances and even in harsh environments, but these elements can stifle their growth. Two of my trees grew crooked at the base of the trunk because my anchors were weak and due to high winds (in time they straightened up just fine and dandy, but the base still bears the permanent c-shape scars). On the other hand, neglect in anchoring trees can cause them to break in the wind and die.  Therefore, at a minimum, trees do best with at least two or three anchors.  Once the tree has been firmly grounded and strengthened by its bending and swaying, it’s roots are able to grow deep within the ground, giving it it’s own anchor of resistance.

We all need anchoring.  Ideally, two parents hold us steady in the wind, protecting us from the dangers we are incapable of withstanding alone.  Oppositional forces are necessary for our growth and development.  They make us stand stronger on our own when the time comes for the ties to be cut off.  We are now sturdy enough to bear the weight of our own branches and life’s heavy burdens we shall carry.  The anchors gave us the support when we needed it the most.  External forces strengthened us and now we can withstand greater opposition because we are firmly rooted.  The gospel of Jesus Christ does the same thing: All mankind is saved through His grace, but the demands of justice remained even though mercy was shown in our behalf:

“But know this: Truth, glorious truth, proclaims there is such a Mediator.

“‘For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.’ (1 Tim. 2:5.)

“Through Him mercy can be fully extended to each of us without offending the eternal law of justice.

“This truth is the very root of Christian doctrine. You may know much about the gospel as it branches out from there, but if you only know the branches and those branches do not touch that root, if they have been cut free from that truth, there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them.

“The extension of mercy will not be automatic. It will be through covenant with Him. It will be on His terms, His generous terms, which include, as an absolute essential, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.

“All mankind can be protected by the law of justice, and at once each of us individually may be extended the redeeming and healing blessing of mercy.  Aaronic Priesthood manual lesson 9 Justice and Mercy

The gospel of Jesus Christ anchors me with a firm foundation of repentance for a remission of my sins through His atoning sacrifice.  Adam fell that man can be, Christ atoned that man can be remitted from the original sin.  Because all mankind is in debt for this loan to the great creditor or Creator, an intercessory person was necessary to act in our behalf and to pay our debt. This was done by Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  Where Justice, Love and Mercy Meet

My neighbor’s tree metaphor really hits a cord with me.  There is not a single one of us who can escape life without pain and suffering.  Priesthood power holds us up against the blowing winds of resistance. Ropes and anchors are found within the binding ordinances and covenants we make with God.  We cannot see all things like God sees but it is through our faith and obedience that we are made wiser and stronger for following Him.   It’s up to us how we choose to allow opposition to affect us.  If we can see it as a means for our strengthening and conditioning, our roots can grow stronger and our branches broader. Our tree will be resilient and long-suffering.  What beautiful music to be heard at the judgement bar of God, COME UNTO CHRIST!

images

Content

9be021f600fe9652ebf080325cea77b8

Are you as sick and tired of all the discord and clamor as I am? Discontentment is a huge issue with folks everywhere these days.  Many people do not seem at peace.  Loud voices are screaming in our faces, “you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re not rich enough, you don’t think like me”! People are getting mean with each other over it. The love for mankind, peace and respect has nearly disappeared among us.

On the flip side, the people in Bali, Indonesia are unadulterated and real.  Their humble and caring nature seems to present a spirit of peace and contentment within~a true namaste.  What attributes!  I was inspired to discover what it is within their lifestyle that encapsulates these qualities .  Gradually it dawned on me, it is because of their daily sacrifices and offerings. Living the Law of Sacrifice has helped these people have balance and equality among themselves and to be happy with what they have been given in this life and, for the most part, they work along side one another in harmony and fellowship.  They are a humble people who do not put themselves above one another.

I believe in the law of sacrifice and know personally how by living it, I can clearly see His gifts laid before me.  Gratitude swells within my heart as I recognize my nothingness before our Almighty God, the creator of both heaven and earth.  How blessed we are by His almighty hand to have this earth whereupon to live, with all the food and raiment flowing in abundance for our sustenance.  He has blessed us with strong and capable bodies to complete the tasks required of us for good.

Learning to be content in life with what we have and with who we are is a lifelong quest. Today we are bombarded with images of who we think we should look or be like, or who we most surely don’t want to be like to the point of being annoying.  To me, this is a sad mark of pride among us.  Instead of celebrating our unique gifts, talents and idiosyncrasies, we rush out and get some sort of surgery to change us into looking like someone else, or by our raucous behavior, we try and force others to be/think like us.   I believe God has given us differences for a reason and with that, weaknesses to make us humble.   27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27  

Beware of Pride  is the talk for this generation.  There are so many facets to pride that are nearly unfathomable for most of us comprehend; however, after reading this talk, these once enigmatic aspects of each of us become straightforward and clear.  “Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance…Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness.  All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.  The central feature of pride is enmity-enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen.   Enmity means [hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition].  It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us….The scriptures abound with evidences of the severe consequences of the sin of pride to individuals, groups, cities, and nations [Pride goeth before destruction, Proverbs 16:18] It destroyed the Nephite nation and the city of Sodom [See Moro. 8:27; Ezek. 16:49-50]”. Beware of Pride April 1989 General Conference, Ezra Taft Benson  

With all the hype about the “progressive” movement, we should be aware that “Pride is a damning sin in the true sense of the word.  It limits or stops progression,[ see Alma 12:10-11].  The proud are not easily taught [1 Ne. 15:3, 7-11]. Pride results in secret combinations, contention, arguments, fights, unrighteous dominion, divorces, spouse abuse, riots, and disturbances.  The proud are easily offended and hold grudges.  They withhold forgiveness to keep another in their debt and to justify their injured feelings.  The proud do not receive counsel or correction easily.  The are defensive.  The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not….They feel worthwhile as individuals if the numbers beneath them in achievement, talent, beauty, or intellect are large enough.  Pride is ugly.  it says, “if you succeed, I am a failure.”    The proud are not easily taught [1 Ne. 15:3, 7-11].  They won’t change their minds to accept truths, because to do so implies they have been wrong.” B.O.P. 1989, E.T.Benson  

What is the antidote to pride?  “Humility-meekness and submissiveness. Those of us who choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are”.  This formula will assist us in avoiding God’s compulsion in making us a humble people.  Alma 32:16The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us how to humble ourselves as we take upon us the name of Christ and become disciples of His teachings.   We learn how to listen and obey, repent and be born again with water and fire (baptism/gift of the Holy Ghost-sacrament each Sunday) and how to show our love to God as well as to our fellow travelers on earth as we follow and live the laws of tithing, sacrifice, obedience, chastity, forgiveness, long-suffering, temperance and patience.  Articles of Faith 1:13

In short, if we humble ourselves before our Almighty maker just like I witnessed by the people of Bali, we can learn how to become content like them.  If we will simplify our lifestyles, recognize we are nothing before the great power of God, give more than we receive and live to love one another, our spiritual selves will take hold over our natural man tendencies. We will celebrate our uniqueness, having oneness, peace and contentment!

20170121_201206

Bali <3

20170123_204648.jpg

Bali, Indonesia is a land of people who adhere to deep family religious traditions that weave throughout all aspects of their lives on a daily basis.  At the entrance of every home, business and each villa at the Kayumanis private villa resort and spa where I was staying (whether there were guests or not), you will find a small woven tray made from banana or some other leaf containing a small portion of their food and flowers.   The offerings are called canang sar and are performed as rituals to thank Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in prayerful praise and thanksgiving. They believe in karma in the sense that by giving up something of their time, talents and possessions and even their vices, they will receive good back from their Gods.

They believe in a trinity but worship many gods and goddesses such as Saraswati who is the goddess of knowledge, arts and music.  The traditionally worn dress and basket offerings on top of women’s heads was in honor of this special event celebrated every six months and happened to occur during the time I was there when it culminated with a huge parade beginning from one temple located at one end of Ubud, and running through the village, where I stayed, to another temple on the opposite side.

“Offerings are an essential part of worship. During puja a devotee presents gifts that, according to tradition, the particular god or goddess likes: often flowers, special foods, grains, coconuts, or oils. If the offering is made in a temple, a portion of it is kept for use by the temple, and the rest is returned, now blessed by the deity. Offerings made in the household shrine are later divided among family members. Reciprocity, the process of giving and receiving, is an essential aspect of Hinduism. Hindus are taught that by giving, they receive, and that when they receive, they should respond with gifts. When a Hindu prays for a specific favor from a deity, he or she may vow to present a special gift to the god or goddess or to perform an arduous duty if the wish is granted. Much of the apparent wealth of a temple and many of the good deeds carried out in a community are the direct results of honoring those religious commitments.”  Puja Why are offerings given to the Dieties Smithsonian 

Temples are the adorning trademark of Hinduism.  If you can see past the walled lining and into the resident’s courtyard, chances are you will not see their home but rather, you will see the top of beautiful stone carving temple spires reaching heavenward.  From the outside it is very difficult to decipher one’s wealth.  I asked someone how you can tell the rich from the poor.  He told me you can only tell once you’re on the inside of the home by the wood or stone carvings that ornate the walls…how unostentatious.

The good works of the Balinese people was demonstrated to me daily as each bowed in reverence with hands clapped together in namaste greeting me with “good morning Ibu”.  Their sweet and kind service to me was so humbling.  I truly wanted to package each one up and bring them home with me in my suitcase…didn’t think my suitcase was large enough or that my husband would approve, so I didn’t (this time) :).  However, I am a changed being because I know these beautiful people whose mile-wide white smiles and loving brown sparkling almond-shaped eyes greeted my green eyes with purity and integrity, honor and truth.  They are content with what they have and are unassuming in their purpose to serve and work.  They are a loving and content people who are unpretentious by nature.  I was very fortunate that the quaint and quiet resort where I stayed was located on the outskirts of Ubud city and right inside the village where it hires the local artisans and agriculturalists.

I loved everything about my vacation and pray that through my good Karma, sacrifice and service to others, I will be BACK!!!

(sorry about the blurry pics of these home temples….I was obviously driving by when I miraculously caught them just at the right times and at least it gives the viewer a glimpse of what my blog is about)