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My first day off in 19 days. I could sleep until noon and have breakfast in bed. Oh, goodness. I am also wearing my Thai fisherman's pants for the first time. Was hoping to do more chores today and some exercise. Ended up being a blob on the couch and eating biscuits. Feeling a bit blah now, but I reckon this day full of nothing will be exactly what I needed to be firing again tomorrow. Goodness me, it is nice to stop.

Yesterday was Holy Trinity Sunday.
Had to think long and hard about how I might teach the children about the trinity without falling into bad analogies.
(If you ahev 4 minutes, see this youtube video for an amusing explanation of bad analogies, from Lutheran Satire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQLfgaUoQCw No, really, it's great).
It was a good exercise for me, because its a concept that challenges me a lot.
The idea that God is one in three...
Seems much more acceptable to my mind that God is one, is one, is one.

I have had to take it slowly with myself, and open my mind to the Trinity as a metaphor in order to crack my heart open to this doctrine.
As a metaphor, it can be very useful, from which a lot of insights can come -
like the significance of community, com-unity.
God being a God of relationship, and of love, not isolation,
and of the two aspects we find of a personal yet also transcendant God.

I can work with that, and learn from that.
But to me it only works if it is not taken to seriously, not assumed that we know some fact about God.
I personally find the idea of absolute oneness much more convincing...
but then again....
I do see myself, and every living being included in that 'oneness' -
God not as A being, but as BEING itself, the ground of all being.
So... I could say God is one, yet many, in that sense...

So... in a way 'God the Son', the second person of the Trinity, could stand for humanity.
Or perhaps it's 'God the Holy Spirit'?
I don't know.
But while I am uncomfortable with a literal understanding of even the Trinity, at least wrestling this Trinity thing keeps me from falling into thinking God is a simple thing that I in my wisdom can understand.

I did like one version I heard while at Taize:
God beyond,
God beside
and God within.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit...
Transcendant, Personal, Our Deepest Self...
How can a transcendant God who is beyond anything want to be a friend to us, and know our hearts individually?
And how can a friend who consoles us and hears us, also be our very own self?
Three distinct persons,
yet always one.

I like the idea of One.
Of all of life being One.
This is a theological idea I subscribe to.
But sometimes, when I am in prayer...
just sometimes...
it hits me again.
And I am blown away by the magnitude of the meaning of this.
And all I want to do it grab a pen and inscribe it all over my body.
One. One. One.
Write it on my skin.
One. One. One.
Walk around with this truth emblazoned on my being.
One...

And then it passes. And I think 'that's a neat idea'.
And life goes on...

Housing dreams again

Oh dear, I did indeed watch another episode of Grand Designs.  Now I am trawling the internet for my housing dreams - as though if I get my head around it enough then it is as good as done.

I am pretty keen on straw bale or other eco-housing ideas, constructed with volunteer labour force as an act of community. However, size and cost are a serious consideration - my dream is to live in a place suitable for community life: large, accommodating common living space, a kitchen that can accommodate at least a couple of people working in it together, a separate prayer space (chapel), plus multiple decent-sized bedrooms (big enough to accommodate two people each, plus personal belongings) that offer some privacy (i.e. not all in one section of the house with only a wall to separate - I want to share life with other people, but not quite that closely), not to mention adequate bathroom facilities.

To built that upfront in a straw-bale build could get pricey. Adding on as required would be a possibility, but I would want to start with at least 3 bedrooms for those living there plus at least one room for a guest/retreatant... It's already looking kind of large for a straw bale house if the idea is that it be cheap. Straw bale builds (in Australia at least) can cost between $800-$1800 a square metre.  That may be a cheaper house than usual, although through my research I undertsand that most of the savings would come from volunteer labour. To hire people to do it would make the upfront cost almost as much as a standard house (although after that it should be cheaper to "run" - heating, cooling, etc).

But I have come across the idea of "tiny houses" on the internet, and tonight they are speaking to me.

What if we started with a cheap common living space - perhaps for just a big rectangle, straw bale would be cheap enough, otherwise perhaps a steel kit home... Or, the next thing I have to look into is earth bag builds. There was another episode of Grand Designs that used earth-packed old car tyres, covered in render. That looked good too, but I'd want to reseach any toxins the rubber could release over time, and whether that would escape through the render.

So, figure out a way to make a simple rectangle to accommodate a common living space, a dining table, a kitchen (of some sort), laundy, and toilet. Clearly it would need to be connected to water and elecricity.

And then... build these:  http://www.simplesolarhomesteading.com/

Image © SimpleSolarHomesteading

That way we could each have a private space, and each have the freedom to be a bit expressive in our style, with each tailoring their space to their needs. Perhaps those who have children can build two side-by-side to get a little extra living space? Also then there is no limit to how many we can build. Well, there would be a limit, council-wise, if they were all plumbed and wired in, but if they use solar power, and have a little water tank each, and a eco-toilet of some kind (composting as in this example, or a camping toilet as you would if you were caravanning), then they wouldn't be considered "permanent dwellings" by council standards, and so should be permitted. I would like to talk with someone official about all the ins and out and allowances, restrictions, loopholes etc before any of this actually starts becoming reality, but I need to have ideas before I can seek advice.  Still definitely in the research stages (and will be until we have enough money together for a deposit and all those cost associated with buying land somewhere and starting a *very economic* build).

I must say... I never really thought of myself as someone who would want to build. I always thought I would be far more traditional and just buy a house somewhere. Bulding seems so.... skill- and knowledge-heavy. But... since getting in to this eco-conscious way of things, I am thinking more outside the box, and a traditional house just doesn't seem like me anymore. In some ways it is convenient that my interests are so neatly aligning with my Franciscan commitment, but then again, perhaps it is not a coincidence. I was attracted to Franciscan ideas to begin with, so it is no wonder that ethical, simple living attracts me too.

Another thing that really encouraged me tonight was in the episode of Grand Designs I watched, the couple were building a "modern mansion" in Brighton (Episode can be seen here).


Image © Zoopla

It had 3 floors, and one of them was taller than usual, resulting in a house that was more like 3 & 1/2 storeys high. It was massive and ambitious and expensive. During the build, a recession hit and the value of the property, and others the couple owned as investments, plummetted, resulting in the bank refusing to loan them so much money anymore, and then the man needed a quindruple heart bypass when he had a heart attack.  After that, the tone of the couple changed, and they were saying that they wouldn't be building this mansion now, and that even the cars they had seemed too much - that is was all so showy that they felt embarrassment. They talked about how, before they had started building their mansion, they already lived better than so many people, and they really didn't need more, and greed had gotten the better of them, and it all seemed a bit unnecessary now. They did mention at the end that they would finish it, since they had come so far, but they didn't know anymore if they would keep it or sell it.  (Google tells me they sold it).

It reminded me... there is no need to always be going after more, more, more. Happiness is a far more simple thing. I do not have huge ambitions materially, because I don't have tons of money - enough, but not tons - and so I don't tend to even bother with those huge pointlessly flashy ideas. But I do have to watch out that I don't feel the need to reach for my upper limits even. So much better to keep it simple and not invite that level of stress and strife into your life. I would prefer a small house and no debt (or at least little enough to be paid off comfortably within a foreseeable future).


Aaaand, there is the perfect property for sale for 150,000.... Totally within my borrowing power. Could be paid off in 10 years. But first I need the money for a deposit saved up... Doubt it will still be available in 2-3 years. Alas. Hopefully the perfect property will be there when I am ready for it. In the mean time, I'll practie "tiny house" living right here, in our little granny flat. :)

A Little Late Night Rumi

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks
http://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/Rumipoetry2.html

I saw this on scripsi's journal and thought it looked jolly interesting. So here goes...

Look at your LJ “interests” list. If you have less than 50 interests, pick every fifth one. / If you have between fifty and seventy-five interests, pick every seventh one. / If you have over seventy-five interests, pick every tenth one. / If you have fewer than ten, pick all of ‘em. List them on your LJ, and tell everyone exactly what it is about these things that interests you so much.

Now, I will admit, I picked roughly every 10th one. But sometimes the 10th one was just a really boring one, so I shuffled a tad to the nearest more interesting one.

Bridget Jones's Diary: The book and the film. I adore it. Whenever I am emotional or upset, all I want to do is watch this film, spend some time with Bridget. She is just so wonderfully disasterous and lovable, plus the film starts with her in a really rotten place, and it gets better, yet all the while awkwardly so. Gives me company, and hope.

Common life: This refers to communal life, the kind that happens when a group of people live together, have to share things and find ways to function together. I lived common life with about 50 other girls for 3 months, and with 15 other girls for a further 5 months, when I was volunteering at the french monastery of Taize. It was a steep learning curve, but oh so rich. Tough navigating getting along peacfully and honestly. But so rewarding the bonds and the sense of belonging. Incredible. I still miss it and still seek it.

Doctor Who: Only the modern series, since I haven't seen any of the original series. I never watched it (I thought it was just some geeky sci-fi thing my brother was into), but I knew David Tennant was in it, and he was also in Harry Potter, so clearly I was very happy to know in the back of my mind that there was a Harry Potter connection. When Tennant finished up and Matt Smith started, I was indigniant, even having never watched the programme, since clearly Tennant, having the Harry Potter connection, was superior. At work, however, I heard colleagues saying that Matt Smith was acutally really good, and carried on the character Tennant had built as the Doctor really well. Still, I had never watched it, but this I had to see for myself, becaue surely no one, no one, could be as good as Tennant with his Harry Potter connections.... Well... I loved Matt Smith. Only now, 5 years later, have I finished going back and watching Doctor Who from the beginning of the new series. And now I adore the Doctor. As is right.

Harry Potter: Yup, it changed my life. Harry was about my age as the books were being released, so his world of school was so incredibly close, I could almost touch it. When the movies came out, well.... that Alan Rickman and his smouldering. The Snape obesession grew and the fan fiction began. Haha! That finished sometime in uni, though. I loved writing in my fan theories though. Bit harder to do that now...

Libraries: They can be such beautiful things. Not all, of course. Many are far more pracitcal, but some are pure magic... If I lived near one like the Victoria State Library, I would be there all the time, writing and such. It is just such an inspiring place. Also, I hope to have my own home library one day. Books are my absolute weakness. They are little objects that can communicate with you and make you think and make you feel, as though they were living. If that's not magic, what is?

Photo from www.collinsstreet.com.au

Monastaries: I adore monasteries. I love the traditional looking ones, with cloisters and stone arches and all that ovely romantic stuff. But I also love the monastic life, and the rich spiritual life that exists within (assuming it is healthy). They seem mysterious and mystical, although living in one for 8 months helped demystify them for me, and made me realise life in a monastery is made up of basically very real life. And that is why the spiritual life can be so deep. So much humanity.

School: I adored school, from beginning to end. Loved learning and studying. I did well, so enjoyed all that positive feedback and approval too. And I loved the sense of community. I loved being with friends everyday. I loved feeling like I was acheiving. Seriously some of the very best years of my life, during which I was sublimely happy, equalled only by the time I spent in Taize.

Sooty: Watched this little yellow bear and his puppet pals as a child, and I still love it. I watch Sooty even now and I get all those lovely childhood feelings of safety and comfort and security and gentleness and nourishment. And Matthew Corbett, the presenter, was pretty much my favourite "celebrity" all through primary school. My favourite colour even became "cobolt blue" because "cobolt" reminded my of "Corbett". I'm still a bit of a Sooty collector, with some Annuals and Dvds and puppets in my possession...

Photo from http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2012/nov/11/childrens-tv-television

Third Order: The Third Order of the Society of St Francis is a community that "consists of any people, men or women, married or single, priests or laity; who through following the ordinary professions of life feel called to a life-long dedication under a definite discipline and vows" (http://tssf.org.au/about-us/). I am part of this dispersed community, beginning my novitiate in 2009, and being fully professed in 2012. It emphasises a Franciscan spirituality, which involves a spirit of simplicity, joy and gratitude, and a commitment to prayer, service and study.


no titleno title
My profession cross.

The blessing of emptiness

I am so grateful I made it to this week.
Last week I worked 73 hours. The week before that, 60.
I thought my heart might actually have rage-quit (like a child throwing their game controller and pulling the plug on their console when they were losing).
I could feel it was unhealthy, but there was no opportunity to stop.

I am sure I wasn't very pleasant to be around. So much was stressful, in work and in life and in the news of course. I just didn't know what to do with it all. I was carrying it all around with me, and it was festering.

So I did the thing that I am actually not very good at doing unless I am nearing the edge of not being able to manage.
I stopped, sat down, placed my head on the floor, and I prayed. I pray often, but to be honest, too often I am praying on the run. Multi-tasking. Which kind of denies prayer of its essence, but when all is chugging along smoothly, it is easy to forget that it is so important.

There is something so freeing about prayer. To feel heard. To feel like you can give this somewhere. To feel like you can say all you want to say, all you need to say, but which you don't feel able to say to another person (complaining about work... who is really going to understand how heavy it is for you? Won't they just think you are complaining? So what do you do when it is breaking you?)

In prayer I can open my heart, and feel the deep gaze of the One who listens. And understands. Deeply understands. I can look into the eyes of God, and see (metaphorically, mind you) all my struggle reflected back at me in those eyes. God is feeling it with me.

And then, when I am empty, poured out into the prayer, and left spacious within...

Then I can hear that still small voice.

And it said to me...

Be the blessing.

Nov. 26th, 2015

Sometimes I want to pray that God change situations I don't like. But I know my prayer is useless if I am not praying insead that God actually change me.

I am loving the challenge to live sustainably.
Tomorrow the next veggie box will come home with me, and I will pick up some more popping corn kernels. This veggie box situation really is helping me eat a lot more vegetabes to try to keep up, and I am turning to rice a lot more to fill out the meal (unless is has potatoes or something already). Eating a lot more vegetarian too, and keeping up protein with eggs from our* chickens.

(*not actually our chickens, but the chickens of the parentals, who live "upstairs" from our little granny flat).

I discovered that this is a thing today...



(click image to go to the website).

I don't think I'm quite that dedicated...
I think I'll stick with my Who Gives A Crap recycled TP, thanks.

But otherwise, I am loving going to smaller shops more frequently to pick up what I need, rather than doing big shops in big supermarkets, and filling the fridge and cupboard. It may cost a bit more to buy ethically, but I am also buying less, appreciating it more, and throwing away less. It is a mental shift that I am really enjoying. I am feeling more connected, to the world, the community, the past, the future, and to my own actions. It's a study in mindfullness.

Prayer

I came across an article by Alanis Morissette (often-times spokeswoman of my soul) about the value of ritual.

In this article she talks about a morning where she wakes up, unusually, before everyone else, and spends some time alone on the balcony. She writes,
"I yearn for what ritual provides me:
— a presence in my body
— intentionality
— gratitude
— discernment"
[alanis.com/blog/the-value-of-ritual/]

I often wak up first, but usually I am waking up because I have to be somewhere, and to do something. But on those rare ocassions, I might get up, and sit with a cup of tea in the doorway of our open front door, and listen to the birds, and taste the air. It is in these moments that find myself at home with myself. So often, as I had it described to me once by a Buddhist meditation teacher, the lights are on, but nobody is home. When I sit quietly, and take the time to appreciate the space I am in, I come home. Home to right here and right now.

For me, these moments are felt as distinctly spiritual. I realise God has been waiting for me this whole time. He has let himself inside, and made himself a cup of tea while he waits. And when I return home, he looks up, his face crinkling with a tender smile. And he says, "ahh, there you are."

This is one of the ways I pray.

Tags:

I nealy forgot to pick up my veggie box today! I got home and then remembered, so turned and went back out again at 7pm. Got it though. Looks so good this week! Carrot and ginger juices? Yes please!


And this is what I still have left over from last week's box.


Also, the other day some friends of ours took us to a shop called Eumarrah. Wow. From now on, this is where I want to do my grocery shopping. Loads of unpackaged goodies, including simple, basic soaps and oils. All they are missing is macadamia milk.


[image source: http://organicwellnessnews.com/en/eumarrah-treat-for-natural-organic-consumers/retailer-eumarrah/]


[image source: http://www.yelp.com.au/biz_photos/eumarrah-hobart?select=OWXaBSULFfmim8HKlk8qOg]

We didn't buy much while we were there, but we did buy these! Ethical toothbrushes! ^_^




And today, I spilt a cup of coffee all over the carpet. "Well, this calls for paper towel" I thought. But then,.... why? So I grabbed the actual towel pieces I cut up and mopped it up with that. Worked fine. :)

Anyway. Must sleep. That is part of a healthy lifestyle, right?
Good night all.

A little 'ello

Hello,
Just a little about me...
I'm a girl in my mid-20s. I adore reading and writing and music, but most of all I love exploring the Spirit.

I have been brought up an Anglo-Catholic Christian, but I love the beauty of all forms of spiritual expression, even atheistic expression. "God" isn't the only name for that great something behind everything.

I currently am studying Tibetan Buddhism, reading heavily about Universal Sufism, and undertaking my novociate to enter the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis.

This is the path I walk. May you all be blessed on yours.

~Rhuby~

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord.

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