Thanks Be To God

Life is filled with tension. What to do, not to do? What is too much, not enough? Knowing, not knowing, not caring. Emotional highs and lows and joys and disappointments – all at the same time.

Thank be to God for this Holy Easter Holiday that teaches us to die to live.

At the risk of being self-righteous, I share my Lenten sacrifice. This is a first for me. I am sad to say it had never seemed that important in preparation for Easter. How blind I have been. We must choose to be awake to receive the Son-rise.

At the risk of being petty, I choose to forgo the 2PM-4PM-half-price-drinks-run to Sonic. This is a habit I have fallen into that has taken on a life of its own. At 1:30 in the afternoon – I don’t want to miss it - my attention is drawn to the senses.

Everything is spiritual. How is it that denying the self can be as fulfilling as satisfying the self? Lent is not about the ego-self (edging God out) but the true-self (centering God in). Self-control is an essential part of the spiritual life. As the appetite is tamed the soul flourishes.

This iota of surrender is making an enormous shift in my thinking. My afternoon attention is being refocused from Dr. Pepper to the Great Physician. My thirst is being translated from soda pop to Living Waters. And in the process every sense is becoming sharper. God’s silence speaks volumes and my stillness listens and my wisdom heart hears.

How many times does God speak and we do not hear for our spiritual ear is dulled by the illusionary pleasures and pains of life? In The Liturgical Year, Sister Joan Chittister relates the story of a disciple who heard a voice calling, “Who is there?” Sensing a holy moment, she replied, “It is I, Lord.” But there was only silence.

Years later she again heard the voice and again she answered, “It is I, Lord. It is I.” But there was only silence.

In later years, the voice called a third time, “Who is there?”

This time she answered, “It is You, Lord, only You.”

Apostle Paul expressed it as decreasing so that God might increase. Diane Bardwell sings, “Ever dying into You am I, until there is only You.”

Living, dying; growing, overcoming, it's all, "Thanks be to God." 



Real Age - Chronology or Biology


Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz are on a campaign to help Americans determine their Real Age. Not chronological years, but health years. Improved health results in the very real reality of extended chronological years. Or at least better quality of life for the remaining number of years we are on planet earth. I had the opportunity to come face-to-face with my internal health issues.

Dr. Richard Couey is a cellular biologist with Baylor University in Waco, TX. He has a unique way of counseling clients. A tiny drop of one’s blood is put under a microscope that projects the image to a computer screen. On the wall are pictures of healthy blood cells and also of blood cells in various degrees of maladies. The individual is allowed to make his/her own diagnosis as to the health of one’s cells.

My husband and I were allowed to see for our self the decay of our cells. Reality of what was hidden to our eyes. My cells were thick (matches my heavy body) and clumped together. My husband saw rampant arthritis flecks and decaying cells. Both blood systems had puffs of stress.

For three months we followed Dr. Couey’s suggestions for eating and moving. Very simple things like fresh fruits and vegetables. Baked chicken and fish and reduced amount of red meat. Walk around the block twice a day. When sitting, lift your legs up and down and roll your shoulders and ankles for improved range of motion. We also took enzymes and vitamins.

On my own, I recommitted to daily quiet time and meditation. At the end of ninety days, the blood tests were re-administered. I was amazed. I had lost six pounds and had more energy.

But the proof was in the blood. The cell walls were appreciably thinner and the clumping was reduced, with a few flowing freely. And no puffs of stress.

It’s all about movement. When my last HDL cholesterol was not optimal, the nurse said the most effective way to increase those numbers was through exercise. Walking speaks to the body in powerful ways. So I am choosing to not make exercise into a four-letter word and have retitled it "energizing". Quality calories in and quality movement out.

We need community. We need movement. Seems our bodies are hard wired for exercise and to care. The caring part comes easy for me. Not so the physical fitness. But that is all changing and I eagerly anticipate the daily transformation. As my chronological age increases, with a positive change in activity and eating habits, my biological age can stay consistent – or reverse.

How about you?

Let's start a conversation: mona@monadunkin.com


Perspectives on Time

Seems we all want "more time".  So, does daylight savings time give the false impression that we actually do have more time?  Regardless of the season, we must be awake to see the sunrise or to witness awakening. 

Here, in no particular order are some of my personal observations regarding time interspersed with thought provoking quotes.

Either you choose to control your own time, or someone else will control it for you.
“Lives are made up of millions of choices.  Some are made for you, but
it’s the choices you make that counts the most.”  Fish! Tale 
The one who complains the most about lack of time is the one who mismanages it most. 
“I love having ten times as much stuff to do as I can possibly find time to do. 
That way, I can pick the one-tenth that I want to do most. 
But if I only have enough to just occupy all my time, I’m stuck doing all of
whatever stuff it happens to be.”    Marilyn VosSavant
When I feel the time crunch, I realize my priorities may be out of order.
“Those who force time are pushed back by time;
those who yield to time find time on their side.” The Talmud
Busy-ness does not mean business.  Activity does not mean productivity. 
“Indeed, rest and work may involve similar activities done in a different spirit. 
The question is not about the activity itself but about the orientation of our hearts.”
Paul Marshall 
When you don’t have time for a few minutes relaxation, that is when you need it most.
“If you don’t know the important, you become enslaved in the urgent.”  Don Schwieters
The pressures of the time crunch is a spiritual indication that we are eternal beings.
“We were not made for time… We were made for eternity, and even death
in its intrusive horror, merely functions as a transit point to
our ultimate destination,”  Dr. Ramesh Richard
The more in touch I am with the vastness of the universe, the more content I am to minister in my
       little corner of the world. 
“No, my child.  All our work is like a drop of water in the ocean.”  Mother Theresa
An ounce of pre-planning (organization) is worth a pound of extension time.  What gets scheduled, gets done.                      
“For every minute you spend planning, you can save from four to
ten times that amount of time in execution.”  My-Tyme 
Act on the wise words of Benjamin Franklin and make today count: “One today is worth two tomorrows.” 


Be Your Best Self

Can you believe it is March already, and spring?  So, how are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?  Not to worry, any month, any day is a good time for fresh starts - to begin something new or to make changes.  

In a past issue of Waco Today, Kat Nelson asked prominent community leaders to give hope for the coming year.  Rosemary Mayes of Scott & White Health Plans shared a poignant insight: “Every New Year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves they believe are negative. A majority of people reverts back to how they were before and feels like failures. This year I challenge you to a new resolution: I challenge you to just be yourself!”
Which begs the question: Do you know how to be yourself?
I suggest that most of us only know who we are by hearsay. What they want for us, who they want us to be, where they want us to go, how they want us to behave. Having heard other’s dreams for our lives (that does not match our passion) or pronouncement of our character flaws (that seems so innate) or being prodded to action (that is not in keeping with our temperament), we peg ourselves a loser.
You were not born that way.  Family, friends and peers did not see you that way either. You were bragged about as being the smartest and cutest kid ever. Siblings were jealous of your awesomeness. Everyone saw so much potential in you – and maybe hung their star on your ascending stairway.
Needing to be loved and to belong, we went along with the charade. Allowing others to define you causes one to lose his/her true identity. It also thwarts growth and discovery. So accept Rosemary’s challenge and “be yourself”. 

Or, go back a few centuries and accept Shakespeare’s challenge: 
This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day,
thou canst not then be false to any man.” Shakespeare – Hamlet
Do not misunderstand; there is much room for improvement. Accepting truth about oneself can be quite difficult. But truth really does set one free. Truth gives you the humility to come to terms with weaknesses (those pesky negatives). Speak the truth in love – to yourself (without condemnation) and – when need be - to others (without accusation).
Truth recognizes strengths - and you do have strengths or you would have never resolved to bring them into reality in the first place. Truth gives boldness to set boundaries and courage to be empowered to manifest those strengths. 
“This above all…” Being you is an imperative. Unless we can be true to ourselves first, we cannot be true to others.  It is impossible to be honest when hiding secrets.
How surely does night follow day?  Seems as though daylight and darkness have faithfully occurred every twenty-four hours since the beginning of time.

When we are true to ourselves first, we cannot be false with others. We become real. Genuine. Authentic. Lovely. The best you ever. 
Need a trainer or speaker?  Call me 254-749-6594; you’ll be glad you did.