At The Seashore

At the seashore we ingest a sense of eternity—

the primeval rhythms of the sea against the shore,

the sea as the chaos from which all life came,

the depths of the sea as the mystery of whatever cannot be grasped or

comprehended,

the sea as the mystical power of God.

 

The sea-shore activates our  senses and reminds us afresh of our humanity.

We marvel at the sight of the sea, which has looked the same

to countless generations who have witnessed it before us.

We hear the unrelenting pounding of the waves against the shore, booming

yet calming.

 

We touch the water, the seaweed, the driftwood, and the shells the sea brings

to shore.

We smell the sea, its breeze unlike any other.

We taste its saltiness, full of flavor, full of life, of living creatures.

 

As  our senses sharpen we become aware of the action of the sea:

a constant movement in the ebb and flow of the waves,

a surface that belies an undertow,

the  movement of shells and creatures,

the movement that forces the shells to wear down and break,

the movement that causes friction, shell against shell,

the movement that smooths and polishes,

the movement that makes beautiful

even the fragments.

 

We, too, are worn down by the sands of time and the waves of adversity.

We have been broken by the action of circumstance.

We have become fragmented by the sea of life.

 

As we finger shell fragments, let us be reminded that we are precious to our Creator,

who wants to smooth and polish our rough edges, our painful places,

not to erase our scars but to heal us in a way that gives our scars a

special beauty

and our lives a kind of loveliness that makes others want the healing

we’ve received.

 

Let us submit ourselves to the caress of the sea,

the powerful sea of the Spirit of God,

allowing it to wash away what needs to be washed away,

allowing it to make us fresh and new,

allowing it to smooth and polish and broken fragments of our

lives and make us beautiful again.

 

October 1995

Ann Glover O’Dell

 

ANGER

Surely God does not intend for us to be angry. Simply because anger overpowers and imprisons the joy that God has planted deep inside us.

Anger seems to be on the increase as God’s children are killing each other everywhere. And increasing in individual amassing of weapons for the purpose of killing.

Anger seems to arise when there is a feeling of loss of power, of control. It can be something as detailed as a TV set not working properly or can be a general feeling of more than hatred toward a group of people—perhaps coming from a fear that they might become more powerful, might try even to kill us.

What God wants is to eliminate the anger in us—one by one—through a personal transformation experience. Elimination of anger is the only means to our living in harmony with each other, whether in marriage, families, communities, nations.

Anger comes from wanting power, no matter how much we already have. Anger may be a sibling of greed—or surely plays into it. No matter how much power we have, we want more. We want people to behave the way we want them to behave. We want events and outcomes to follow our agenda. We want to be in control.

The drive for power does something peculiar to our insides—both physically and psychologically. It causes negative consequences that actually reduces our power and thus increases our anger.

Anger occupies the space where creativity and authentic excitement for life is intended to live.

We would do well to identify our angry spots and ask ourselves if we really do want to be rid of them. If we do, our Inner Wisdom can destroy what is keeping us from experiencing abundant life. It waits for our permission.

13 August 2014
Ann Glover O’Dell

(Note: my personal transformation story, where anger was destroyed in me and hasn’t returned in 30 years, is contained in the book,  Humpty Dumpty Hatched, which is available on this website.)

COMPASSION

We must die to our agenda for compassionateness before we can be transformed into truly compassionable individuals. Whatever goodness and compassion our conscious will has chosen as a worthy goal and has attempted to achieve must be sacrificed in order that God’s agenda may take precedence—i.e., take complete charge in us. What that means—how God’s agenda is made manifest—is that we participate fully in the consent to, the receiving of, and the putting into action God’s desire.

Having been washed of our own agenda—no matter how good and godly it was—there is space in our conscious will for the Spirit, which now has been welcomed more fully in to our soul, to feed God’s agenda into our consciousness, which, through our continued free will, participates with this agenda through its own creativity, energy, and with its own peculiar talents of organization and execution.

Though the conscious will continues to make decisions, flowing in and through those decisions is the compassionate, creative, renewing, transforming power of the Spirit from our soul space that is continually enlarging ever since we gave the Spirit permission to clean house—not a case of suggesting to consciousness what needs to be discarded or helping to carry off pieces of detritus but to take charge and do the job solely on its own Spirit terms.

Ann G. O’Dell
10 March 2009

(note: The secret to giving Spirit permission to clean house is accessible to everyone in the book Humpty Dumpty Hatched, available for downloading on this website.)

 

Humility

Humility is needed. The polar opposite of the pride that is the ego’s primary characteristic. Scripture calls that pride vanity. We would do well to call it hubris.

Our ego has become so powerful that nothing short of hubris gives it proper description. We are more than proud of our accomplishments. In Shakespeare’s words we have let our “vaulting ambition…o’er-leap itself.” (Macbeth. Act. I. Scene VII)

Richard Rohr points out the three demons we must face in ourselves: success, rightness, power. All three can be distilled into hubris.

And what does God require of us? “To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8b)

Humility is not what we have been taught it is. It is not servile. It is not self-demeaning. Genuine humility has achieved a power greater than any hubris. A power that knows itself to be perfectly what it is intended to be–and is satisfied. A power that has no need to boastfully strut about. A power that can bring about good—something hubris cannot.

Ann Glover O’Dell
29 July 2014

Humpty’s Hard Shell

Humpty’s arrogance and self-confidence seem to come from his belief that his shell is durable enough to adequately protect him. And what about us? What makes our shell grow thicker and stronger? What makes us think we are adequately protected?

Life situations, where we might have felt vulnerable, might have felt hurt by someone’s penetrating criticism but where we were able to ignore or counter the attack, contribute to a thickening and strengthening of our shell. Our accomplishments help as well. Also our ability to cope and control.

Humpty convinces himself that the King will not allow harm to come to him. We, however, come to believe we don’t need a King to protect us. We have learned how to protect ourselves. We are invincible. And besides, we’ve been perched on our wall so long we’re certain we can keep ourselves from falling.

Remember, Humpty, like all eggs, if they have been fertilized, should develop into a new creature. In order to emerge from his shell, the chicken must be strong enough to force his way out. If he is not able to peck through his shell, he simply dies inside. No one comes to his aid. Another case of survival of the fittest.

And what about us? We cannot imagine wanting out of what we have worked so hard to establish. We can’t imagine destroying what we’ve worked so hard to harden. And if we did feel a yearning to peck our way out, we doubt our beaks would be strong enough to penetrate the impenetrable.

Something must happen to make us want to emerge and that same something must be the enabler as well as the catalyst. That something is found through the deep desire for something more.