Again, this week I am excited to say I have some great news to share with you. Of the many ways in which COVID-19 has affected us, a couple stand out for me. One is missing personal connection with folks I love and care about. I know the importance of physical distancing and have been very diligent in safely sheltering at home except when necessary to go out. The other place where I have been affected is in cooking everyday… that does not sound like a big deal and for some it isn’t, but for me it is. I find I fall into a pattern of having the same meals every week and quite honestly it is boring. So therefore I am so excited to share with you that one meal a week can be prepared by one of our chef Extraordinaires, Dee Capoldo.
Here is the deal… Dee is directly connected to an organization in Biddeford that receives food for distribution to low-income individuals and nonprofits. They have been getting more food than they can distribute. They have asked if churches could make use of some of the food. Dee contacted me and it was agreed this would be a blessing for our community. Every Friday, until further notice, Dee will prepare a tasty vegetarian, gluten-free meal that will include a starch, protein, and vegetables. This will be ready for you at 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday. You will be responsible to email or text Dee no later than Wednesday evening (so do it right now) if you want a meal.
Here are the requirements to maintain safe distancing. You will stay in your vehicle and the meal will be brought to you. Should you want to eat on the grounds, bring a lawn chair, utensils to eat with, and napkins. You can sit outside your vehicle or somewhere on the grounds, again maintaining safe distancing and wearing a mask before and after you eat. This meal is being offered on a love-offering basis. If you wish to donate, place your donation in an envelope and hand it to Dee (he will wear gloves.)
As we continue with the talk series based on the book What is in the Way IS the Way by Mary O’Malley, again the material is so timely. This week the title of the chapter is Directly Experiencing Life. The author says:
Life is set up
To bring up
What has been bound up,
So it can open up
To be freed up,
So you can show up
In other words, Life is for us. All it brings to us is for us. She invites us to become “tightness detectives”. Here is what she says: “Whenever you identify with the spells that make up your clouds of struggle, your body, heart and mind tighten. This dims the free-flowing aliveness that you are. Tightness signals you to become curious about what you are experiencing. Whenever you are tightening, it is guaranteed that you are resisting something…”
It is a gigantic leap in your awakening when you realize that your suffering does not come from what is happening in your life… suffering comes from believing your stories about what is happening. To be empowered in any situation is to notice when you are getting tight and don’t get hooked into the stories of victimhood. Instead, show up for what life is giving you!
Mary says: “When you are noticing you are tightening, it can be very helpful to smile. There is increasing scientific evidence that shows how smiling can literally change the neural pathways in your brain, especially when you allow the smile to fill your body. Many of your reactions will let go in the presence of a smile.”
Your homework this week is: When you feel yourself tightening up, ask yourself, “What story am I listening to right now?”
By not tightening around discomfort, you allow the clouds of struggle to pass through you.
And lastly ask yourself this from Pema Chodron: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to Life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
I am enjoying this series so much and I hope you are as well… this coming week is “All Is Welcome Here.”
Just a reminder: There is still time to register for the class on Spiritual Exploration of Privilege, Racism and Allyship.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey