This I Believe

The West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (WHUUF,
Portland, OR) established a forty year tradition of Sunday
services titled This I Believe. Members take the time and
opportunity to share beliefs, inspiring animated response
and exchange like, “I had no idea this Is who you are, what
you have done, who you have been!” This unique opportunity
invariably brings deeper understanding and friendship with
one another.

I recently presented a This I Believe I am weaving into So I See,
suggesting you consider your beliefs, write them, sharing them
and please send So I See brief responses I can quote…

This I Believe

According to my dictionaries, Belief is something one accepts as true
Truth: a fact or belief.

This is my fourth This I Believe. The privilege of presenting is the growing awareness that life and time changes my beliefs and helps keep me up to speed on who I believe I truly am.

Since 1991, WHUUF has been my University of choice because of my belief in it’s Motto, The Seven UU Principles:
• justice, equity and compassion in human relations • acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth • the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.• the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process .• the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.• respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. I believe the seven UU principles are a great topic for on going conversation.

My inner laboratory, located inside my Self, is a place where I study and work on a hypothesis devoted to the importance of equalizing my body, mind and spirit in all matters inside and outside. Inside is where I find my truth when I give equality to my thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

I believe the good I can do for others is to let go of my projected judgments of what is right and wrong for another person. I believe knowing as much as possible about humanness and human diversity helps me understand suffering and joy. I believe, as I study myself, I am also studying others and I learn by listening talking and trusting the moment.

As a parent, I believed my job was to “grow” my children into something, at least resembling myself or their father. It wasn’t a good idea because it was not possible and could cause unhealthy discomfort. I choose now to recognize my discomfort by admitting it, naming it, taking responsibility for it and changing the conditions causing it. My offspring have been my best teachers in this area.

Today’s This I Believe cohort and friend, Carole Price, gave me The Force of Character by James Hillman last year for my birthday. James is literate, scientific, theological, intellectual, philosophic, and creative, making his book a hard read for me. However, it has embedded a new belief–I’m not sure if it is his or intrinsically mine. This is how I read and understand it.

I was born with a cellular birth-imprint of natural, innate, character. No two people are born with the same imprint–unless we are cloned which is a possibility from now on. I am uncovering my birth characteristics–three of which are curiosity, humor and abstraction all of which distort my communication. I can be misunderstood when making assumptions from curiosity, humor or abstraction. The trouble is those characteristics can be, more fun than factually dependable.

Jame’s message to me, is that birth-print characteristics insist on taking a major role in our elderhood-80s, 90s,100s if we are lucky enough to be here. Natural character is is altered in life by childhood, parenting, education, social structure. However, It can show up, later, frustrated, emerging as cantankerous, irascible, unacceptable behavior. Among those, I am noticing, impatience and intolerance, I tend to welcome because I believe they support the beliefs I’ve needlessly subdued for a long long time.

Sometimes curiosity makes me ask you who you are, how you feel or what you want and think. You may consider it none of my business. I will consider your honest disclosure about that, kind, just and compassionate. I believe in honest self disclosure coming from the natural, human trinity of thought, feeling and belief.

My current passion is writing. It talks to me, tells me who I am. It’s the harbinger of my Self. If I were to use the pronoun, She, as I describe me, it would help detach my Self from her dreaded Ego. However, what I write and read is relentlessly all about me and the Ego I have hosted for 86 years, and own unequivocally–almost, unapologetically.

I think about death more often now. My image is a dried leaf falling from the tree and becoming dust. I’d rather not be pushed around by an air blower and put in somebody’s truck–of course I have no control. The best thing about aging is noticing I like myself now–that’s a surprise. Here’s the song I sing to myself sometimes changing the word “you” to “I”. “S’wonderful by George and Ira Gershwin…

‘S wonderful, ‘s marvelous You [I] should care for me!
‘S awful nice, ‘s paradise, ‘s what I love to see.
You’ve [I’ve] made my life so glamorous,
You [I)]can’t blame me for feeling amorous!
Oh ‘s wonderful, ‘s marvelous,
That you [I] should care for me!

I hope you will all come to this podium for your This I Believe. Take this opportunity to express and enlighten us with the wonderful, unique, intrinsic Self Life is giving you.

Normas singing to their Selves…

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