GO Figure- the Transfiguration and Prayer!

   Before my knee problems started, I would travel to different parts of the world to scale mountains because I loved to take in the spectacular views, and the sense of freedom I felt. However, these days I usually choose somewhere by water, since I find it calming and refreshing at the same time. I grew up in Australia by the sea, and as a child found myself on many occasions walking totally alone to enjoy an empty beach in the coolness of the changing seasons.

Now, in my senior years, I live by the sea once again and I just love the feeling of the deep serenity that an empty beach brings. When it is just me and the sea birds, the sand, and the vast sea, I feel alive and very close to God. Also, near where I live there is a river, and I often walk up the wooded path alongside the fresh bubbling water coming off the Welsh mountains. For me, the sound of moving water is like nature singing thanksgiving to God – beautiful! Nature is wondrously delightful, which reflects the love and nature of God. And what about you? do you feel a sense of wonder when you see a beautiful sunset, or snow-capped mountains, or even a great building? The next time you are out about, try to see God’s handiwork everywhere- even in the eyes of others, this can bring you such joy. All these wonders of nature can help to clear your head and bring peace to your soul. 

Romans 1: 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

To show his disciples something special, Jesus took them up on a mountain. That would seem remarkable enough. The view from the mountain would have been glorious. Jesus wanted to lead them forward into a brave new world, and he needed them to be willing to be led and guided. Jesus had a particular purpose in mind on this mountain visit. He took his disciples to this remote place on the mountain to pray – or that is what they thought, and they could never had imagined the wonders that awaited them.

On that mountain, Jesus wanted to give them something more than a spectacular view of the landscape- he wanted to give them a glimpse of God. So as Jesus prayed, the disciples watched his face change in appearance. His clothing changed as well, they became white and dazzling (v. 29). Then to add to the spectacle, two great men of Israel’s past Moses and Elijah, popped in to visit and joined in with the illumination. Startled, the disciples then found themselves in a mist when a cloud suddenly descended. If there was television around in those days, they would have thought that they were in the middle of a science fiction-fantasy movie. But that is not all, it got weirder by the minute.

Coming from the cloud, a voice spoke. The voice declared “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him! (v. 35). Wow, that was a real clear-cut announcement, no wriggle room there! It was then that the disciples realised that the purpose of this visit was not to simply pray. The deeper purpose, however, was that Jesus wanted to give them a memorable glimpse of his glory so they could be confident in his leading into future. Prayer prepared their hearts and focused their minds on God.

Prayer opened their minds and heart to what was to be subsequently revealed. We don’t know how long they were praying, it might have been hours or minutes, however, the point is that Jesus wanted to get through to them that he was something more than just a great leader, like King David. He was more than just like God- he in fact, wanted them to know that he was Gods’ reflective glory (Son), in other words- he is the manifestation of God on earth- this is the only one true God who would lead them in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake, then eventually, they would take that Name to the world.

However, we know from the scripture readings to follow, that it seemed that the disciples were not geared up for that task because following events were turning out quite different from what they expected. The disciples anticipated that Jesus would apply a predictable strategy, like forming an army to defeat and push the Romans out of their land. The disciples must learn that Jesus was more than a good teacher or a political figure, and their role would be pivotal in building the new kingdom. However, they would not fully grasp the meaning of Jesus’ life and death until after the resurrection (John 20: 6-9). 

Nonetheless, the experience on the mountain started to prepare them to be led, so they could lead in turn. It was a seed planted in the disciple’s hearts and would grow and blossom in due time. Have you ever had an experience like that? Some people have – I have. I have heard people talk about their dramatic experience when they were headed in the wrong direction, and suddenly without warning came face to face with God, which turned their lives around. 

How has God turned you life around. May be your seeking to have your live turned around- you wont be disappointed giving your life to Christ to put God in the driving seat.

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How to Handle Being Misunderstood and the hurt incurred.

When you put yourself out there on the world wide web, there is an inescapable chance that misunderstanding and judgment will occur. Within relationships misunderstanding happens very easily, pulling families apart. The work place is a hot bed for misunderstandings to occur, its the job of management to resolve staff conflict.

Holistic living

In his blog, Ryan Frederick points out that when misunderstood, you must Find your identity & security only in Christ. The following is a quote from his blog to help you get started with this idea…….

……………” Christ understands you. He sees you from afar (Psalm 138:6), he designed and crafted you from within (Psalm 139:13-14), and he knows what it’s like to be human and to be tested (Hebrews 4:15). I hope this doesn’t roll off your back as a cliche. You are KNOWN. This is the first point because the rest will flow from this. If you know who you are in Christ, you can proceed with that knowledge and his perspective in mind. For example, maybe “being right” isn’t important at this moment. Maybe you just need to extend grace because your spouse hurting or not in a place to be corrected.” From <https://fiercemarriage.com/4-things-consider-next-time-feel-misunderstood

Although Ryan refers his idea to marriage, it is also relevant across the broad spectrum of relationships, and we can learn from this. As you know, I hold to the fact that holistic living is the way to bring wholeness to your everyday life. To make Christ the centre of your life feeds and frees your spirit. Your mind is calmed and brought hope and peace, then your body responds positivity. 

There have been times that I have shrunk away from God, sort of blaming him when in times of turmoil. Until a wake-up call thought entered my head! And it went something like this….

 ……….you are rejecting me when things go wrong. This shows you are laying the blame squarely on me- isn’t that what others have done to you? So, why play the blame game- it gets you nowhere and will estrange you from me….

 Well, I have to say that it certainly was woke me up! I realised I was feeling sorry for myself and had to snap out of it. 

So, What did I do next?

Forgiving (the holistic spirit)

 I knelt in prayer asking God in Christ to forgive me for withdrawing from his presence. I asked for forgiveness for any part that I played in the problem. I asked for wisdom (which I need tons of!) to work through the situation with grace and love and kindness. I asked the person for forgiveness and offered to talk it through, they refused to accept it and wanted to keep the drama playing. I was powerless to change that, so I prayed again- this time it was a blessing on those who misunderstood me, thus rejecting me. I asked God for the strength to let go and let God have his way.

I know I have written extensively about forgiveness in the past, but I think we all need a reminder to ensure that we do apply forgiveness. It’s far too easy to be so emotionally involved in our hurt feelings, that our hard heart will not reach out to forgive. Forgiveness applies to everybody. Forgive yourself. Forgive others.

Pay it no mind (the holistic mind)

In 1 Corinthians 13, the “love chapter,” we have a list of love’s attributes. Included in the description of love, however there are some things that love is not. Verse 5 says that ‘love keeps no record of wrongs.’ Or, as the Amplified Bible translates it, “It takes no account of the evil done to it, in other words – it pays no attention to a suffered wrong.”

The bottom line is that If you say you forgive, but keep the offence at the forefront, throwing back details into the person’s face, keeping the drama going– let’s get real here- You have not forgiven! True forgiveness pays no mind, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

Stop digging holes (the holistic body)

This is what I am guilty of and the situation is always made worse. I try to rescue the situation, and the more I try the deeper the darn hole gets! Soon I have dug so deep that I can’t see over the rim. I have buried myself in all the turmoil and hurt! look familiar?

 Well, I think if you are a rescuer or fixer, you can relate.

We must learn when it’s time to quit – then quit. This is the best thing to do or even the right thing. Surrender the situation to God. To leave the person who says you have offended them its best to leave them to their own emotions and choices. If  the other person is not happy with your explanation, it’s their problem not yours. You cannot satisfy someone who is adamant about having an argument. Do yourself a big favour and don’t engage in further discussion – stop digging!

It is time to stop digging and to cement that hole over and don’t go there again. It’s time, to take a breath of fresh air and start again. Accept when the situation cannot be rescued by you. If you wish to, leave the door open for the person who has misunderstood you. If they truly love you, they will want reconciliation as much as you.

Concentrate on those who truly care for you!

People get sacked from work due to misunderstandings and end up suing their employer for unfair dismissal. When misunderstandings cause family estrangement it is heart rendering indeed. Families who fall out forever is more common than you think. For many people, family is the centrepiece of their life. It’s where we gain a huge aspect of our identity, find comfort and support, unconditional acceptance, and a sense of belonging. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have raised the issue of estrangement to a world wide level. On the internet their is a plethora of websites dedicated to helping parents of estranged from their children. One web site community group that I visited had over 40,000 membership! This shows how common this problem really is. For those who are estranged from their families, the family unit may become threatening as and not feel safe or nurturing. I have readers and followers from all over the world so I will outline some recent research from a few different countries.

Social worker and academic, Dr Kylie Agllias, has been researching family estrangements and how they impact us. Her research has revealed that about one in 25 Australian adults has been estranged from their family at some point in their lives. She says that family estrangements occur when there is a breakdown of trust, emotional intimacy and there are strong contrasting values. 

In the UK statics show that family estrangement has been defined as distancing and loss of affection that occurs over years or even decades within a family. It isn’t clear if such estrangement is on the rise since it is a relatively young field of research, but it is common. However, Research by Stand Alone, a UK charity that supports people who are estranged from relatives, suggests that estrangement affects at least one in five British families. Stand Alone founder Becca Bland, who has personal experience of estrangement as she has no contact with her parents, has also noticed that the topic is much more discussed than in the past. This is borne out by Google Trends data showing steady growth in people searching for estrangement-related terms, primarily in Canada, Australia and Singapore.

One United States of America study of more than 2,000 mother-child pairs found that 10% of mothers were currently estranged from at least one adult child. And one US study found that more than 40% of participants had experienced family estrangement at some point – suggesting that in certain groups, such as US college students, estrangement may be almost as common as divorce. Sound like an epidemic doesn’t it? 

I am sure the statics are similar across the world. It is a sad situation but one that is very real, and common. If you have been misunderstood and estranged from your family, be assured that you are not alone and there is a lot of help out there if you research and look for it. 

Those who truly love and care for you may not be your family. Friends are great because there is no history of offence with them. Unless you have grown up with them, you have a clean slate upon which to build a relationship. Appreciate them and keep in contact with those people. I have lots of lovely friends. I have found a unique relationship with each of my friends. With each one, we talk about different things and enjoy together various activities which are quite different from another. The friendship develops around the common ground which must be nurtured to grow.

Care for your Body

Being misunderstood causes your inner gut to twist and turn to make you feel sick. This is your body reacting to your emotional mind. You must care for your body. Don’t pummel it with alcohol or overload it with sugar, or late nights out. Nurture and care for your body with good food and passive exercise. Your body is the house your live in. In a time of turmoil, we forget about our bodily needs. 

When upset, I tend to stop eating and work from Dawn to Dusk. However, I am learning to do things differently. I look at my body like I look upon my two dogs. They are helpless without me. Whether I feel like it or not I must feed them, walk them, and stroke and groom them. I must provide a safe and enjoyable environment for them. Do the same for your body. 

Whether you feel like it or not, provide a safe and enjoyable environment for yourself. Feed your body well with natural foods, exercise it, groom it, care for it whether you feel like it or not – this is the only one you have! Your emotions can make you sick if you do not righty care for your body. I use many tools to help me with this and in posts to come, I will share them with you. 

 But in the meantime, you will find about how to care for your body mindfully, which is laid out in my new course and will be made available to you in summer 2021. If you want some ideas and tools to how to self-care, making it a priority or do not know how to start your holistic journey, check out the course, – subscribe free to this blog to get updates on this!

Thank you for visiting me here, I hope this post was helpful, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me and share any thoughts you have. And if you enjoy reading this blog, please support it by subscribing or sharing, bookmarking and visiting the site.

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Paula Rose Parish

How to Grow, and Improve Self Awareness with Mindfulness and Meditation

Change of circumstance and then learning new ways of doing things is terrifying and leave me feeling vulnerable. Due to the pandemic, I had to move my work and my whole life online to survive. I don’t really want to do it as I am a face-to-face kind of girl. I avoided it for the longest time, but when push came to shove, I had to bite the bullet and learn new things about the online world, which up to them, was an enigma to me. Now nine months in the adventure, I still get the jitters from time to time because I am still not wholly comfortable. However, if I keep going consistently, I know I will begin to enjoy the process and grow as a person.

And you dear Reader, in what ways can you learn, grow, and improve? What choices can you make to push past your comfort zone, act, and strive towards your best self while practising self-care?

In this post I want to share with you how you can grow and improve self awareness. This is not the whole story but a snippet from my new book about Holistic Living which features mindfulness and issues around mental health. I am in process of writing it. It will be published and made available to you later in the year – so keep a look out for that!

To help me to work through the’ scariness’ of learning things new, I found that I care for myself through living holistically, which is basically listening to my body, asking for God’s wisdom, and doing things to serve my growth, wins hands down every time. 

Sometimes though, we must push ourselves to leave our comfort zone, take that new job position, travel someplace new, or speak in front of a crowd. Take opportunities for personal growth and development.

Why mindfulness & meditation?

One of the most important aspects of holistic living is being present in the ‘here and now. To be focused and aware in the moment is of utmost benefit to mind, body, and spirit. That’s something I struggle with, and I often find myself looking towards the future or allowing my mind to pick up unnecessarily signals instead of being present in the moment. Despite the struggles, learning the practice of mindfulness and Christian meditation have made such a huge difference in my life. In another post, I will outline ‘how’ I practise mediation in my daily life, so keep watching out for that.

Mindfulness helps to bring awareness to my body, my emotions, and my thoughts. It helps me feel grounded, connected to the universe, and calm. I know it can be intimidating and challenging to start a mindfulness practice, but I encourage you to try out some guided meditations to start out.

If you struggle to make self-care a priority, check out my courses which will be available in Summer of 2021.

 Where do you spend your energy?

Your time and energy are precious, and you shouldn’t waste it on things that don’t matter. Are you spending hours watching TV or scrolling on social media every day? Are you allowing minor inconveniences to ruin your entire day? Are you getting stressed out about things you can’t control? Be aware of where you place your energy and where and what you give your attention to. 

So, do what to do? To start with, do what feels most important to you, and focus on those things. The ‘feeling’ part of you is your spirit- your inner core being. Allow that to guide you as you begin to learn to care for yourself. 

Practising self-care by way of a holistic lifestyle might mean different things to different people. There is no one “right” way to live a holistic lifestyle, as long you are caring for your entire self; mind, body, and spirit (soul).

Try to be mindful of how the different parts of your life interact. Be intentional about your choices every day, having your well-being in the uppermost part of your thoughts.

I hope this short article has helped to get you started on the journey of a lifetime. It’s a journey on which your life may depend as you practice self-care.  

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Paula Rose Parish

Psalm 23 Unwrapped – Taster 3

Hello Again! Below is another snippet from Psalm 23 Unwrapped

Hello, I am editing my new book Psalm 23 Unwrapped which will be published on Amazon in December, ready to order for a Christmas gift. This book will be a wonderful lift to someone spirits, giving them hope in difficult times. Watch out for it in mid- December on Amazon.

TASTER THREE

Psalm 23 Unwrapped

We have explored the God is our Shepherd in the first part of verse one. Now we will examine the second part and ask the question, why do we have no need. Needs are a part of our human existence. From the time we draw in our first breath to our last, we have need. Humanity has one main thing in common, and that is to fulfil our needs so we can survive and thrive. When David says “I shall not want” he is acknowledging how completely reliant he is on God as his Shepherd. “I shall not want” because God, as a good shepherd, will ensure I have everything I need. “I shall not want,” not because of what I have done or can do, but because God loves me. “I shall not want” because I know God personally as Shepherd. This is comforting indeed and makes sense in the light of the first part of this verse. However, how might this look like in the highs and lows of everyday life? 

Social scientists, Medics, philosophers, and theologians alike, tell us that the fundamental human needs are not individual needs but categories of needs. It is generally recognised that there are seven categories of basic human needs, as shown below. These needs are interrelated and form a system that may look slightly different for each individual, and yet these needs are the same in all humans across all cultures and all times. People in different periods of life will fall at various places on the scale of needs. This is the reason why there is no set order, which is why I have not numbered them. The categories of requirements are represented by S.U.C.C.E.S.S,

Subsistence

Understanding and growth

Connection and love

Contribution

Esteem and Identity

Self-governance (Autonomy)

Significance and Purpose

We will take these points individually to decipher their meaning, determine the relevance to us, and where verse 1b fits into this.

Subsistence is the need for survival, safety, security, self-care, structure, and control. Generally, it incorporates everything needed to sustain life. This includes physiological needs like food, water, air, breathing, excretion, reproduction, warmth, shelter, rest, and sleep. Personal security, work, resources, property, and health are the to thrive. It also covers self-care needs, like leisure, entertainment, and healthcare, etc. During the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide have significantly increased across the world. To survive and thrive, we have the need to control the structure of our lives because that makes us feel safe and secure. During this pandemic, we have experienced imposed locked downs and social restrictions. The control and structure of our daily life have mainly been taken away, increasing vulnerability to negative influences and not all of us can establish those structures for ourselves. Therefore, to find help of some kind is especially important. It has been said that people search for meaning in religion at the most vulnerable times in their lives. This is true. 

Our need for control and certainty is always unsettled because we live in an ever-changing world. The only thing we can guarantee is that change will happen. The people around us and our environment are always changing, and we can become exhausted with it all. Change can be of benefit, it is not until we run out of our own resources do, we then search for something outside of ourselves, and many people look to God. Jesus taught the eight beatitudes, which are in essence, about beautiful attitudes. We find these in the gospel of Matthew:1-12. Beatitude 1 v 3 says this… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “The poor in spirit are those who feel a deep sense of spiritual destitution and need before God. Another word for this is ‘humble’. It is an intentional approach to gaining meaning and purpose. The kingdom of heaven is theirs, because they seek it, and therefore find and abide in it. There must be the emptiness of self (ego) before there can be fullness, and so poverty of spirit precedes riches and grace in the kingdom of God. In a sense, we have no need. The Lord, who is our Shepherd, becomes and provides all we need. This is because the supply emanates from our relationship with him, we have put God in control of our lives. We have placed our subsistence issues in God’s hands. We are following the Shepherd despite the dark valleys of life. Consequently, we feel secure and safe. We adopt the conviction of needing nothing because the Lord is the Shepherd taking care of things, gives us a personal sense of life meaning and a greater sense of individual agency. Pause and think about your life and experiences to find a unique sense of life purpose and significance. Give it some thought to how your Shepherd is providing for you.

Understanding and Growth

This is the need to learn, understand, develop competence, and grow to become all we can be. All human beings have a need to learn, grow, and fulfil their potential. If they do not, they feel aimless. 

Proverbs 29;18 –Where there is no vision (foresight, imagination), the people perish: but he that keeps the commandments, is happy.

We study, investigate, educate, experiment, analyse, and meditate because of this inner curiosity and need to understand the world around us. Schools, colleges, universities, on the job learning programs, mentors, apprenticeships, disciples, teachers, coaches, parents, communities, and national education programs are just a few human attempts to meet this need. An infant has an incessant curiosity and drives to understand everything around them. They feel things, put things in their mouth. Almost without trying, children are moved by this need to explore, experiment, and understand the world around them. That is how growth happens in children, and that’s how change happens in adults. This is God’s gift of supply to us. God implants in our psyche ‘vision’ so we can grow into successful adulthood. 

Connection and Love

Psalm 23is about our relationship with God. The author David knew that the Lord is his source as Shepherd and so would unconditionally supply his need. He does not want for anything because God has everything all sorted, he is the loving Shepherd, he has got David’s back. David has all he needs from the Shepherd who meets those needs, and one them is connection and love. Without good relationships, you cannot have this unconditional love. Relationships are the arteries that carry the healing balm of love because good relationships are the secret to a good life. We need good relationships to be healthy and happy. In fact, research has also shown that babies fail to thrive, and sometimes die when they are not held and loved. This need is about belonging to a group or connecting with other people deeply. It is a social need we all have. That is why, during the isolation of COVID-19 lockdown, many are struggling. We all need emotional relationships. Some of the relationships that satisfy this need include friends, workgroups, social groups, community groups, family, romantic relationships, churches, religious organisations, sports teams, book clubs. For others, they find love, connection, and sense of belonging in gangs, cults, etc. John Lennon sang- all you need in love. But we also need a deep sense of connection. Connection and love are shown through deep, enduring relationships with others. It is love from people who you know you can count on, no matter what happens, because they love you unconditionally. Good relationships are channels that carry that kind of love. God also is a source of pure love channelling it to you if you will receive it. I am not sure that God created love because love just IS. God IS the essence of love. 1 John 4:16– We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 

Like many teenagers, I looked for love and connection in all the wrong places and people. Then one day in 1976, I meet the Lord of love, and my empty, searching heart found peace. Love comes from God, who is its source, and since God is love then we, his followers who are born of God, will also love. God loves us, so we must love one another. A true Christian, one saved by love and filled with God’s love, must live in love toward God and others. The entire passage found in 1 John 4:7-21 speaks of God’s loving nature. Love is not merely an attribute of God; it is part of his very soul. God is not only loving; at his core, he is love. God alone loves in the completeness and perfection of love, fulfilling our inherent need to be loved and to love. The complete description of how we express true love towards fellow human beings is found in 1 Corinthians 13. This passage teaches us ‘how’ to Belong in the right way. We need to feel that we belong somewhere, and to be connected to a group of like-minded people. Friends and family are a platform to give and receive love. We all have needs but are they are fulfilled differently for each individual. Some people prefer one-on-one relationships. They feel stressed within groups but comfortable one-on-one. Other people are just the opposite; they like group relationships. Some people just love hanging out with people. They have a higher need for visible relationships. Part of the expression of love is empathy, approval, and acceptance. Some people have a much higher demand for these than others, and sometimes they are also more tactile. All of us need touching and physical contact. A kindly ‘hug’ from a loved one goes a long way. If a small child spontaneously hugs you, then this is a sign that the child has a need to be tactile. It is a discerning parent that will regularly fulfil that need. If that need is met within the family, the child will not look elsewhere. The need for love and connection can also be met by volunteering in a nursery or orphanage, getting a pet, getting a massage, etc. Jobs, like nursing, are good jobs for tactile people. At the level of human physiology, we are designed to need love. This is because God created us, who is love, and we are in his image. Hormones like the ‘feel good’ hormone, are released when humans connect and touch. Human touch is so vital that brain development in children can be impaired without it.

If you enjoyed this please watch out for Psalm 23 Unwrapped available on Amazon in Mid December.