Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Non-Religious Prayer

*2 Day Diet Report at end

I was musing (isn’t that the promise of this blog?), about how I ended up so incredibly busy working the last couple months, even though I’m now fully retired. Somehow my musing led me down the rabbit hole of religion and my beliefs (or lack of). Because the way that I have approached the creation of the project that has consumed so many waking (and dreaming) hours, AWARE: Artists Working in Alliance to Restore the Environment (www.awarewv.org), is not very different from the way “true believers” approach their lives.

Though I don’t attribute my mission to an outside force, or God, I do feel an inner compulsion that is probably very much like the feeling religious people express when they say they were “meant” to do something or any of the many ways that idea is expressed.

When I consider the compulsion that drives most of the human population to attribute their success or failure, their purpose in life to an outside force, who are willing to give money and time to create organizations, buildings, cities, and even whole countries (and dreams of all humanity) dedicated to worshiping or celebrating that force, I can’t help but believe that there are, at the very least, biological and physical properties that these ideas derive from.

What I mean by that is that the practice of religion or the practices of religion have real benefits for people whether the beliefs of religion are scientifically observable or confirmable or not. For instance, we know that prayer, or meditation, has value whether the mind is focused on a supreme being or on clearing the mind of clutter. Singing and dancing in large groups or chanting has benefits and can result in states of euphoria whether this occurs among groups of worshipers or attendees of rock concerts or dance events.

So, to me, it’s no big surprise that soon after retiring in the months following the chemical spill into the Elk River which tainted the water of Charleston, WV and 9 surrounding counties, after attending meetings and rallies and lobbying on Earth Day, I began to feel as if there was something important I could contribute. In retrospect, my dreams and fantasies about how I would accomplish this were wildly optimistic. Like someone who reports having received a “vision from above,” it was very difficult for people I talked to about this to convince me that success would be difficult, slow, or unlikely.

Stories abound in all human endeavors of people who believe: in their religious visions, their business endeavors, their scientific pursuits. Rarely is it smooth sailing from vision to reality.

On Thursday, July 3rd, a scaled down version of AWARE’s first event (my first idea for helping raise money for environmental organizations involved a stadium or the Civic Center) will take place at the Woman’s Club of Charleston. There will be some popular local bands, singer-songwriters, and a few artists selling work. There will be snack food and a cash bar with wine and beer. How many people will show up? Hopefully advance ticket sales do not tell that story, because that number is small. How much money will actually make its way to the groups I hope to help? It’s all in the hands of….no, not a magical power. It’s in the hands of a small group of people who are dedicated to the idea that it’s important to be ACTIVE in environmental issues, and the many other people who have heard of this event, seen the posters, handbills, e-mails or Facebook invites, and are balancing the possibility of going out on a Thursday evening before a holiday for a good cause.

Yes, it’s in their hands…your hands. I hope to see you there if you’re in the area! And, I offer this blessing, as blessings and prayers, I believe, need not be solely for the religious to dispense or benefit from: May your life be enriched through generous giving of your thoughts, time, and resources to finding ways to help make our planet a cleaner, healthier, and more beautiful place for all life.

*My 2-Day Diet Progress Week 34, June 30, 2014

I took a week off from blogging last week, but maintained 177 at weigh in both last week and this week. I seem to have reached a plateau for the past month or so, and will now stop posting weekly, but I will continue posting once at the beginning of each month for at least the next 6 months. I'm still hoping to reach my goal of 165 pounds and maintain that weight, but for now I am very satisfied with my weight and as long as I remain below 180 will remain so.

Beginning weight 11/3/13: 209 lbs.
Height 5'8" Age: 62
Goal weight: 165 lbs.
Total loss goal: 44 lbs.
Beginning waist size: 43 in.
Current waist size: 37.5 in.
Weight end of this week:  177 lbs.
Gain/Loss this week:  no change
Total Gain/Loss:  -32 lbs.

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