Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Here is the schedule for the next four months. I left December off to give us a break at that busy time of year.
Wednesday, August 20th: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Susan, please come, although you haven't read the book.)
Wednesday, August 27th: no discussion because of Democratic Convention
Wednesday, September 17th: If Grace Is True:Why God Will Save Every Person by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
Wednesday, September 24th: discussion focus -- God's grace? and others that come up
Wednesday, October 15th: American Gospel by Jon Meacham
Wednesday, October 29th: discussion focus -- concept of separation of church/state and others that come up
Wednesday, November 19th: The Shack by William P. Young
Wednesday, December 3rd: discussion focus -- out of body experiences/reincarnation and others that come up NOTE: I moved to first Wednesday in December because of Thanksgiving. Hopefully, it is early enough in the month to lessen interference with activities.
Please note that this will be the last email to those of you who have not let me know you want to stay on the list. I need to whittle down the list to be workable for me.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Here are some discussion questions to consider for our August book. Feel free to bring some of your own next Wednesday, August 20, at 6:30 p.m. on the balcony at Greenlife Grocery.
Italy, the pursuit of pleasure:
1. Gilbert writes that "the appreciation of pleasure can be the anchor of humanity," making the argument that America is "an entertainment-seeking nation, not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one." Is this a fair assessment?
2. Sitting in an outdoor cafe' om Rome, Gilbert's friend declares that every city -- and every person -- has a word. Rome's is "sex," the Vatican's "power"; Gilbert declares New York's to be "achieve," but only later stumbles upon her own word, antevasin, Sanskrit for "one who live at the border." What is your word? Is it possible to choose a word that retains the truth for a lifetime?
3. Abstinence in Italy seems extreme, but necessary, for a woman who has repeatedly moved from one man's arms to another's. After all, it's only after Gilbert ha found herself that she can share herself fully in love. What does this say about her earlier relationships?
India, the pursuit of devotion:
4. Gilbert mentions her ease at making friends, regardless of where she is. At one point at the ashram, she realizes that she is too sociable and decides to embark on a period of silence, to become the Quiet Girl in the Back of the Temple. It is just after making this decision that she is assigned the role of ashram key hostess. What does this say about honing one's nature rather than trying to escape it? Do you think perceived faults can be transformed into strengths rather than merely repressed?
5. After imagining a petition to God for divorce, an exhausted Gilbert answers her phone to news that her husband has finally signed. During a moment of quietude before a Roman fountain, she opens her Louise Guick collection to a verse about a fountain, one reminiscent of the Balinese medicine man's drawing. After struggling to master a 182-verse daily prayer, she succeeds by focusing on her nephew, who suddenly is free from nightmares. Do these incidents of fortuitous timing signal fate? Cosmic unity? Coincidence? Something else?
Indonesia, the pursuit of balance:
6. When Gilbert finally returns to Bali and seeks out the medicine man who foretold her return to study with him, he doesn't recognize her. Despite her despair, she persists in her attempts to spark his memory, eventually succeeding. How much of the success of Gilbert's journey do you attribute to persistence?
7. Prayer and meditation are both things that can be learned and, importantly, improved. In India, Gilbert learns a stoic, ascetic meditation technique. In Bali, she learns an approach based on smiling. Do you think the two can be synergistic? Or is Ketut Liyer right when he describes them as "same-same"?
8. Gender roles came up repeatedly in Eat, Pray, Love, be it macho Italian men eating cream puffs after a home team's soccer loss, or a young Indian's disdain for the marriage she will be expected to embark upon at age eighteen, or the Balinese healer's sly approach to male impotence in a society where women are assumed responsible for their childlessness. How relevant is Gilbert's gender?
9. Gilbert hashes out internal debates in a notebook, a place where she can argue with her inner demons and remind herself about the constancy of self-love. When an inner monologue becomes a literal conversation between a divided self; is this a sign of last resort or of self-reliance?
10. In what ways is spiritual success similar to other forms of success? How is it different? Can they be so fundamentally different that they are not comparable?
11. Do you think people are more open to new experiences when they travel? Why or why not?
Just for Fun:
12. With which of the people Gilbert encountered on her journey would you want to spend time? Where and for how long would you commune with this person? Explain.
I'll post book schedule in the morning!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Again I apologize for the lull between posts. Work is very busy because inventory is next Wednesday. We finally have the garden center ready. How many of you are reading or have read Eat, Pray, Love? I have just now finished my visit to India and am about to begin my journey to Indonesia. As you read please not which of the "beads" speak most to you. How many of you will be ready next Wednesday to discuss the book? I will post questions tomorrow if enough of us are ready for questions to be posted. Please advise!
I also will post a list of books tomorrow to read through December, so please get any more recommendations to me this evening or tomorrow morning.
Got to travel to Indonesia now. I look forward to hearing from each of you ASAP.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
As you know we had two meetings this month to reorganize. On July 16th, three of us (the old reliables) met and decided to read Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, and Love for our meeting on August 2oth at the Greenlife Grocery balcony. We will meet at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the book. We decided to meet the third Wednesday of each month for a book discussion. I have several recommendations from that meeting for future books but would like more before I put out a list for the next six months.
Last night, two oldies and one newbie met and had a good talk. Two book recommendations came from this meeting, one about our founding fathers and how the concept of separation of church and state came about. I am very interesting, as you know, about this subject, so expect that book to be on the list for September or October. : )
I am designating the 2nd Wednesday of the month for discussion of spiritual/religious issues and the 3rd Wednesday for book discussions. If you send me ideas to discuss as well as books to discuss, I will put out a schedule for both within the next three or four days.
I want to update my mailing list, so please send me email if you want to continue to receive my email or if you want to be removed from my list.
I am anxious to hear from each of you.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I apologize for too many days of no posts. As you can see from the picture here, I have been adopted by a sweet little dickens of a kitten. I have been trying to find a good home for her, since the elderly, both feline and human, in the household cannot keep up with her curiosity. I took her to the McKamey Center but could not get an appointment until August 5th. I hope poor Kiki and Sammy "survive" until then.
Anyway, I look forward to meeting with all who can make it this evening. REMINDER: Greenlife Grocery on Manufacturers RD at 6:00 pm. to discuss books and faith and spirituality and whatever comes up. We will be on the balcony.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
First order of business is another apology from me. I cannot meet this Sunday because I am staying with Wal-Mart -- story too long to relate now -- and the schedule has been set through April 18th. We will meet on the last two Sundays of the month, April 2oth and 27th, to finish our discussion of A New Earth. We will meet at 6:30 at the church, unless someone has an offer to meet at a better location. Ashland Terrace's chaotic construction has made it to the church and how to get there is confusing to many. Please let me know if you have an alternative. Bonnie has suggested the balcony at Greenlife Grocery where she has met with groups. She says it is quiet and would not prevent anyone from expressing viewpoints.
Bonnie and I met a new group member last night and had an enjoyable and meaningful chat and sharing of a meal. Thank you to Susana and Bonnie for both.
Susan has forwarded the following to me to post and I would love to read your comments on this address and email:
I am sending this to your because I have had my head in the sand and did not realize what was going on around me. I had no idea about Oprah's Church and the power she has to influence. As a Christian I believe we need to pray that people's eyes are opened.
Peace Be with You
Please go to the site below. This is scarey. Those of us who know Who our belief & faith rests on, should be putting on our armor and begin to fight against this. Please pray with me that we won't just accept this as another looney idea, because Oprah has alot of power and influence, unfortunately. Please pray with me that God will handle this and guide us to do what He wills to defeat the enemy.
Please watch this video about a church that is growing by the millions.
Peace today as we remember Dr. King,
Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
*I am -- not I am teacher or guilty or a good/bad parent -- simply, I am.
*Awareness leads to acceptance, acceptance leads to action.
*We are one with ALL in the universe.
*Those of us who are ready for awareness and apply it, are helped when challenges are present; therefore, strong presence works.
*Ego is present in the shy as well as the arrogant; it is inferior as well as superior.
*The main focus must be in doing NOW; that's where the passion and deep joy is.
There was a question about one of Tolle's statements:
After a while, you lose the joy of life. If you spend five years of stress and finally you achieve what you wanted, is that worth it?
So I am going to make this our next blog discussion question. Please post your comments here.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I find that because of my work schedule (I am the designated closer at work now), I need to cancel my commitment to weekend discussions, starting with Sunday, March 30th. If anyone in the group can provide space and leadership, by all means continue to meet.
For the weekday meetings, I am going to schedule one a week (scheduling two weeks in advance) to meet. I also am changing the format to include an hour of book discussion and an hour of current events talk about meaning to our lives. Next week, we will meet Thursday, March 27th at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm for A New Earth through Chapter 5. Thursday, April 3rd, we will discuss any ideas we have found in A New Earth.
Finally, I am going to post a weekly question here about current events and welcome each of your responses on this blog. This week's question has to do with the current controversy surrounding Barack Obama and Reverend Wright: Since this is Holy Week for Christians, the focus has been on Jesus's entrance into the Jerusalem and his confrontation with the domination political system of the Roman Empire. It strikes me that Reverend Wright's statements, although I in no way condone them, were denouncing the perceived empirialism in America. Should we be held accountable for our spiritual advisors' viewpoints or only for our own? I will post my comments this evening when I return from work.
Have a lovely weekend,
Monday, March 17, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I apologize to all of you for not getting this summary out earlier, but it really has been a hectic time for me. I will do better from now on.
Nine of us met for the first meeting and the deep thoughts and willingness to share with strangers and friends alike was quite impressive. Through our sharing of spiritual journeys, we found similarities and differences. The following are the highlights of the meeting through my eyes. If I have missed highlights, please feel free to add. Again, I was not able to access the webcast on Oprah.com, so I printed the transcript and have many new ideas we can discuss on March 30th.
1) Why we decided to read this book
2) Is there a difference between spirituality and religion, and do we consider ourselves either or both?
3) Is humanity faced with the "evolve or die" dilemma and is it ready to undergo a transformation of consciousness?
4) How do we perceive heaven?
5) Are we resisters or yielders when faced with a tragic loss?
6) What roles do we play in life, and how does that affect our daily living?
7) What does it mean to be "in the present"?
8) What part does labeling play in our lives?
9) "Man made God in his own image, the eternal, the infinite, and unnamable was reduced to a mental idol that you had to believein and worship as my god or our god."
10) Awareness is that deep place you go that has no place for ego (the past or future) but only the place to ". . . be still and know that I am God."
I also asked for future books to discuss once we finish (in April) with A New Earth. Please email those to me so I may compile a list for March 30th. I would like to make schedule for the rest of this year. I will post the list of books on Monday, March 17th and update it until March 30th. We can plan the other books then.
Look forward to reading your comments and posts.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
5-A. On page 141, Tolle says, "Any negative emotion that is not fully faced and seen for what it is in the moment it arises does not completely dissolve. It leaves behind a remnant of pain." Tolle goes on to describe how children are particularly vulnerable to these negative emotions and shut down their emotions, and this defense mechanism tends to remain in the adult. What experience have you had with this phenomenon?
5-B. Pages 154-160 cover the female pain-body, the national pain-body, and the racial pain-body as important collective pain-bodies to acknowledge. Why should we pay particular attention to collective pain-bodies?
5-C. Discuss the following from the chapter's end: ". . . For what you do to others, you do to yourself.
"It doesn't really matter what proportion of your pain-body belongs to your nation or race and what proportion is personal. In either case, you can only go beyond it by taking responsibility for your inner state now. Even if blame seems more justified, as long as you blame others, you keep feeding the pain-body with your thoughts and remain trapped in your ego. There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, our victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges -- the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light."
Good evening, my friends,
Those of you who are able to meet Thursday evening, please bring with you a list of book suggestions for our meetings after our April discussions of A New Earth. Also bring a brief description of your spiritual background, your present spiritual self, and what you would like to get from our group talks. I would also like to know if you are willing to be a group leader as our group grows.
I have not yet received my email confirmation and instructions from the Oprah website. I hope I am able to log on tomorrow evening since I work until 7pm EST.
I look forward to meeting all who are able to meet on Thursday.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
1-A. When do you remember feeling an affinity with someone or something living that was not "logical" or was not connected to thought: thought being that which we now know as ego? What was your reaction to that "illogical" feeling?
1-B. How did your religious upbringing mold your perception of heaven? How do you perceive heaven now?
Chapter 2 -- Ego: The Current State of Humanity
2-A. What have you been taught about miracles? How have you experienced miracles in your life?
2-B. With what labels and roles does the "voice in your head" identify?
2-C. Are you a resister or a yielder in tragedy? If you have changed from one to the other, what was the impetus for that change?
Chapter 3 -- The Core of Ego
3-A. On page 71, Tolle writes, "When you find that Truth, your actions will be in alignment with it. Human action can reflect the Truth, or it can reflect illusion." On page 72, he writes, "When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself -- and being in touch with it in your natural state, not some miraculous achievement -- all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within. This is love. Laws, commandments, rules, and regulations are necessary for those who are cut off from who they are, the Truth within." React to these related statements.
3-B. On page 79, Tolle writes what I perceive as a key to awakening consciousness: "Can I sense my essential Beingness, the I Am, in the background of my life at all times? To be more accurate, can I sense the I Am that I Am at this moment? Can I sense my essential identity as consciousness itself? Or am I losing myself in what happens, losing myself in the mind, in the world?" What is your understanding about this quote? Do you agree?
Chapter 4 -- Role-Playing: The Many Faces of the Ego
4-A. What life problems can arise when we identify with the villain, victim, and/or lover roles?
4-B. Much of chapter four addresses the roles of parent and child. What is your experience with each of these roles? How would it have been different if your ego had been minimalized?
Monday, February 25, 2008
I hope you are getting much from A New Earth and are getting anxious to actively participate in our March discussions. I am putting together a pre-discussion guide to Chapters 1-5 for you to consider. Let me know if you prefer to have it emailed to you as well as posted here. I should have it posted by tomorrow afternoon. Remember it is just a guide and new questions are welcome for our discussions. We have 18 people who have expressed interest in the club and several who are definitely attending at least one of the March meetings. We should have great participation.
Have an awareness week! -- Donna
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Wow! This is what I have been journeying toward in my spiritual life. This is the meaning of John's gospel, of my religious upbringing, of my progressive religion, and my emerging sense of social justice. And I don't have to leave my faith to practice it. It is what my chosen savior meant with his teachings. Wow! I truly can "love" my neighbor and not feel guilty about. Wow!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I am slowly but steadily getting through Tolle's book and am still finding it compatible with my spirituality, for the most part. I am suggesting the following reading schedule for us. I see the discussion naturally divided into 2 sessions: Chapters 1-5 focusing on the ego versus awareness, Chapters 6-10 focusing on how to process this information and making the change to being less ego-oriented. Let's start with Chapters 1-5 for the March meetings and Chapters 6-10 for the April meetings which we will set. Does this sound like a workable plan?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Here is the link to our confirmed location for our March meetings. Please send me your comments and inspiring quotes as you read Tolle's book.
Have a joyful day,
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The March 30th meeting is on Sunday, so I moved the time to 5 pm, if that is okay with anyone planning to attend that meeting, same location.
I am getting much that is compatible with my spiritual/daily life from the book. Each day finds me looking forward to the discussions, especially so I can expand my understanding of human nature and the capacity to grow. Isn't life grand! Let me know if you need directions to the church and I will post a map.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Four interested, and interesting, people met this afternoon to chat and plan for our first book reading. We will read Eckhard Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. We will participate in Oprah's online classes, starting March 3rd, and meet again to talk about the book on Wednesday, March 5th. We tentatively plan to meet at Ashland Terrace Christian Church, 915 Ashland Terrace, at 7 pm., but that could change since the choir is practicing for the Easter Cantata. I will post if that changes.
Another March discussion will take place Sunday, March 30, with the location to be determined soon. Twice a month meetings will be scheduled so that those needing to meet during the week and those needing to meet on a weekend will be accommodated. All those interested have a Christian background, but we are hoping that people with other faith backgrounds join us soon.