Who can receive the Anointing of the Sick? How often? Where is it done?
These questions and more are answered in this edition of “Sacraments 101,” a web video series geared for those who’d like an introduction or refresher course on these important, tangible Catholic experiences of God.
To download this video go here and click the download arrow or choose save or download.
In response to a Massachusetts ballot question that would legalize physician-assisted suicide, Boston’s Cardinal Seán O’Malley has encouraged the Catholic legal community to uphold a “gospel of life.” In the past month, Cardinal O’Malley’s remarks have sparked discussion of this issue among laypeople. Some of this discussion has caught my attention, and it’s pretty clear that there are some serious widespread misconceptions — some of which I once held myself — both about physician-assisted suicide and about the nuances of the Catholic Church’s position.
In the minds of lay people, physician-assisted suicide often becomes conflated with “pulling the plug.” Because the Church is misrepresented as being opposed to “pulling the plug,” many people perceive it as heartless and unreasonable, and are needlessly and tragically alienated from her.
Make no mistake; the Church does oppose physician-assisted suicide — that is, any act “which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated.” (National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1984). Guidelines for Legislation on Life-Sustaining Treatment, 2.) Examples of this would be the administration of a lethal drug with the intended effect of ending a life, or the withholding of food or water with the intended effect of ending a life. As with all moral issues, this one comes down to intention.
But the Church, the champion of Natural Law, does not expect individuals to go to extraordinary or disproportionate measures to preserve life. Even though we’re expected to take reasonable measures to care for ourselves (like taking medicine that will aid in recovery) we’re not obliged to rely on medical procedures that will prolong life with no hope of recovery or that cause extreme suffering. The woman unable to breathe her own need not subsist on an artificial respirator; the man with Stage IV cancer can choose to refuse chemotherapy.
Of course, such decisions should be made with the help of a doctor. Artificial respirators are sometimes necessary as a temporary treatment; cancer caught early enough is often curable.
We are told it is natural to thirst for fulfillment in aligning our life with God’s plan for us and to thirst for the kingdom of heaven on earth to be made manifest around us. So how is this compatible with the idea of accepting everything exactly as it is? This tension is expressed in the Serenity Prayer, which I’ve written about here before. In one line we ask for the courage to change what we can; in another the serenity to accept what we can’t. The prayer’s author then adds a request for the wisdom to know the difference. Well, that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?
Usually in this column, I at least take a stab at giving some advice. But here all I can do is acknowledge the tension. For myself, I focus on acceptance. Because that’s what I need to emphasize. Whether it’s my maleness, my intellectual temperament, my upbringing, the culture I live in, or something less easily label-able, I was primed in life to want to figure things out, fix them, have answers. So, balance is restored when I lean towards acceptance — when I stop trying to control things and just let them be — when I accept reality in the present moment exactly as it is.
Most of us, most of the time, need this side of the scale emphasized as a counterbalance to the modern world. Someone whose M.O. has always been inaction may need to emphasize willingness to change, though, to restore their balance.
I was primed in life to want to figure things out, fix them, have answers. So, balance is restored when I lean towards acceptance… But it’s not that simple, because I also have a history of standing at the crossroads of big life decisions and being frozen in fear, resulting in the “choice” of no action.
When working to embrace acceptance, it’s also useful to limit exposure to things we are powerless to change. This is why I have always advocated avoiding the news except
I’ve been church shopping for more than three years now. I’m not much of a shopper so it’s getting tiring, but I’m not about to give up. I’m choosey: I want good music, a diverse and accepting community, a priest who consistently gives relevant and challenging homilies, and a church culture that embraces social justice. I’ve found churches that have some of the things on my list, but finding all of them in one place has proven to be a challenge.
My church shopping began in August of 2008 when I moved from Maine to North Carolina to transfer to Salem College. At first I rode with friends to a Mass on another college campus. I liked the priest, but student Masses have always seemed to be missing something for me. For one thing: They’re almost always without families. Maybe I like being distracted by the antics of children, but I also enjoy seeing families celebrating Mass together. Another complaint I have about student Masses is that sometimes — though definitely not always — the priest tries too hard to connect with college students in his homily and fails to challenge students on anything outside college life.
I didn’t have a car my first year at Salem, so I looked up churches I could walk to. There was only one, and Mass was at 8:30 a.m., which any college student knows is almost impossible to go to (I only managed it twice). Sometimes I went to the Moravian church on campus and occasionally I got rides to other Catholic churches, but never consistently enough to get used to one.
Growing in faith
At one point when I wasn’t able to get a ride to church for more than two months I realized something: If I didn’t have a church to go to or a church that was “home,” I had to put more conscious effort into my relationship with God outside of the structured Mass I was so used to. I started going to the chapel on campus a few times
Therapy dogs that visit and attend to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other places offer comfort and support to people.
What these dogs provide is as varied as each patient, according to Deanna Klingel, who lives in Sapphire, North Carolina, and has therapy dogs named Lily and Jessie.
“For many patients, seeing the dog, petting the dog, awakens memories,” she said. “For patients who lack motivation, ‘walking’ the dog, exercising with the dog, is needed motivation for mobility.”
Klingel, who suffered from Lyme disease, was assisted in her own healing by her golden retriever and wanted to share her experience with others.
“I decided if I ever got well enough to do so, we would train, and I’d share her with others who could benefit from the warmth of her presence,” she said.
Klingel is a member St. Jude Parish in Sapphire and said her faith played a role in her ministry.
“I initially took communion to the housebound, hospitalized, and people in nursing homes. My dog came with me,” she said. “I went directly following weekday morning Mass and she attended Mass with me for years.”
It’s a Therapy Dog’s Life
6:00 a.m. Get up and wake owner
6:15 a.m. Try again to wake owner by jumping on the bed
6:30 a.m. Go outside for morning stroll
6:45 a.m. Eat breakfast
7:00 a.m. Stretch out and lay by the door in the warm sun
Noon: Eat lunch
1:00 p.m. Go for a car ride to the nursing home
1:30 p.m. Be greeted by a mob of residents patting my head!
1:45 p.m. Visit their individual rooms — more head patting and treats!
2:15 p.m. Play fetch with nursing home residents. It helps them with mobility and keeps me young and fit!
Every year, at the beginning of warm weather, I encourage everyone to get out in the sun and experience nature, but it’s important to respect the rhythms of nature and our body in cold weather too. This weekend, in the wee hours of Sunday November 6, daylight-saving time (DST) ends for the year. Though winter doesn’t technically begin for another month and a half, this always feels to me like the point where things change.
So I want to talk to you about two things: SAD and DST.
First, let’s clear up one thing about “seasonal affective disorder,” or SAD. Everyone is affected by the seasons. That’s not a disorder. That’s being human.
Unless you live near the equator, the length of days changes drastically during the year. In my hometown of New York, they peak at around 15 hours in June and shorten to 9+ hours in December. (In LA, it only ranges from 14-1/2 to 10, while in northern Scotland, the source of my genetic stock, the swing is from 18 to 6-1/2.)
Some people, without question, are debilitated by seasonal affective disorder; the reduced sunlight triggers their predisposition to depression in an extreme way and they suffer. For them, it’s entirely appropriate to look to mitigate the issue with light therapy and other focused treatments.
Dealing with the end of DST
For each of the three nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, set your sleep routine back 20 minutes, so that when you wake up on Sunday morning after the time shift it will be at your normal time.
Make an extra effort those days to eat healthy food that won’t affect your sleep
Attend to any other health routines you have so that you are as fit as possible to absorb the impact of the change
Dealing with the shorter days of winter
Get outdoors at lunchtime, so you see at least some sunlight. I suggested going out for lunch in my column on getting
As Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests continue across the country, Busted Halo® went to visit the protest in Zuccotti Park in New York City to see what role people of faith are playing in the movement. While some say the OWS movement lacks a clear message, the message Christians standing with the movement share is straight from the Bible: God wants all of God’s children to have enough.
Faith Leaders at Multi-Faith Service
Each Sunday afternoon at 3:30 in Zuccotti Park, New York City faith leaders come together to bring a worship service to OWS. Speakers use a “human microphone” to share their message, shouting “Mic check,” and speaking in short sentences that are repeated by the crowd. On a particular Sunday, one United Methodist pastor shared a short homily:
“There’s just one occupation, according to the Bible. What should occupy your heart? What should occupy your soul? What should occupy your mind? Nothing by love!
“Next time someone asks me to write ‘occupation above,’ I’ll know what to write, I’m gonna write love! Gonna love my God by loving my neighbors. When it comes down to it, that’s what we’re here for!
“So we’re standing here with the 99% whose money’s all spent, who can’t pay the rent, whose spirits are bent, whose last check got sent, who don’t know where it went. But they don’t have a cent. So we’re at this event to raise our voices in dissent, to tell the people in charge that it’s time to repent. We join this occupation because we care about this nation. We want a transformation for this whole situation.”
Peter Lenz, Brooklyn, New York
Peter lives in Brooklyn, moving back to New York City after losing his job with the National Park Service seven months ago. He is still looking for a job. “I could spend my time at home looking for work but come here in the morning and leave in the evening. It’s my job now.” Peter volunteers at the OWS Comfort Station, which collects (except food) for OWS — primarily
Growing up, I always knew Dad’s side of the family was Polish. I knew we had a special affinity for sausages and cabbage, that we called my grandma Busha and that we had thrown a party bigger than any Arrowhead Road had ever seen when I made my First Communion.
But I never knew much more than that until we lost her.
Memories from the day of Busha’s funeral resound so powerfully in my memory. Images of my towering dad and four uncles, some of the toughest men I know, sitting in wooden pews with clasped hands, bent heads, and red-rimmed eyes flash through my mind. A Polish priest crossing the air above her body, sounds of a Polish prayer that none of us but Busha could understand.
I felt something in our family change that day. Gone was not only my grandma but also the living link to our family’s past. I suddenly cared so much, felt so deeply the heavy weight of unanswered questions and untold stories.
I wanted to know why Busha’s mom had come to the United States from Poland. I wondered what it was like knowing that half of the family was trapped in a war-torn country; the other half doing their best just to scrape by in the new world. My heritage suddenly mattered like it never had before.
My freshman year at Stanford I lived in an African-American ethnic theme dorm where it seemed like everyone but me had such a tight grip on their ethnic identity. I remember feeling left out, caged into an ambiguous ethnic category of “White” where I felt I didn’t belong.
I wasn’t just White, I remember thinking defensively. I come from a strong family, from a land of proud people. Realizing that at one of the top academic institutions in the country random interests were mine for the studying, later that day I signed up for Polish language classes.
I’ll never forget that first day of Polish class. …
Lately, I’ve been considering teaching my son Matthew about the saints. At the big-boy age of 5, he’s surely old enough to become captivated by their stories. But then I realized that when you talk about the lives of the saints, you also have to talk about their deaths.
Therein lies the problem.
Not every saint had a gruesome death, of course, but quite a few of them did. And for a kid whose imaginative diet consists of nothing more sinister than the dragon that Harold draws with his magic purple crayon, I can hardly fathom telling him about St. Agnes, whose head was cut off, or St. Lawrence, who was literally grilled alive. My child already has an innate fear of the dark; I don’t need to tell him stories that will encourage it.
From my high school students this time of year I often get a lot of questions like this:
“Mr. H., why are we celebrating Halloween? I mean, isn’t it a pagan/demonic/commercial holiday anyway?”
Well, let’s look at a tiny bit of the history of this ghoulish night of witches and goblins. Or is it a gleeful night for saints and angels? Let’s go way back to the 8th century, when a chapel dedicated to the memory of all the holy martyrs in Rome was declared. This feast, which happened to coincide with other pagan festivals — such as the Irish samhain (pronounced “souwain”) celebrating the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter with a touch of playful remembrance of the dead — ultimately became a universal Catholic celebration. The evening before a holy day is typically referred to as the “eve” of that day. In Catholic liturgy, solemnities or major feasts are considered to begin at sundown on the night before. Since the evening of October 31 would therefore be All Saints Evening or All Hallows Eve this has been shortened to Hallow e’en or Halloween. So there’s the simplest explanation of the “why” of Halloween. You take a noble cause — celebrating all the saints and martyrs — place it near a pagan holiday and extend the celebration to the night before and certain elements of that pagan day are bound to crossover to the religious day.
Our modern practice of sending the little ones begging for candy has a connection to the celebration of the saints. There was, in the Middle Ages, a custom of “souling” in which the poor would go through neighborhoods begging for food in exchange for prayers for the dead. This souling took place November 1, and the prayers would be offered on the following day, All Souls Day, which is a day of remembrance and prayers for all the faithful departed. For some customs, there seems to be no general consensus as to when or how the practice of dressing in
The Way, written and directed by Emilio Estevez (Bobby) and starring his father, Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The West Wing, The Departed), is rather obviously about the spiritual journey. The Camino de Santiago, called “The Way,” is a literal spiritual journey, a 1,000-year-old 500-mile pilgrimage route across the Pyrenees. The lead character Tom (Sheen) takes a physical journey to Spain and eventually on the Camino while also taking a spiritual journey starting with word that his son (Estevez) has died. Many of the other characters Tom meets along the way are on their own spiritual journeys, whether they are Camino pilgrims or not.
Despite being built around a religious pilgrimage, however, The Way is not a “faith-based” film; rather, it is a movie about a human story, and the human story. There is no preaching; there are no soppy scenes meant to tug at the spiritual heartstrings. Estevez’s writing reveals a sophisticated understanding of the beautiful brokenness of people, the glorious absurdity of it all. One of the overarching themes is how Tom gets thrown together with other pilgrims. Not only was it his intent to travel alone, but if he were to travel with others, these are definitely not the others he would choose. But it is precisely through struggling with each other’s imperfections that we are challenged, pushed outside our comfort zone, and, sometimes, forced to grow spiritually whether we like it or not.
Last week, I paused to look out the front window of my apartment just long enough to see a middle-aged woman briskly get in her car, make the Sign of the Cross, and turn over the engine.
I felt somewhat comforted knowing someone else prays before driving. I never used to pray in the car, until I came to Chicago. Something about driving here reminds me daily of my mortality. I sometimes wonder how I arrive back home without an insurance claim. This all occurs in a car that is adorned by religious medals that my very-Catholic mother sneaks into it in the same manner she tries to hide $20 in my purse.
As much as I could talk at length about Chicago drivers, what stayed with me about that morning is that someone else prayed the same way I did. You see, I’ve been on a life-long quest to get prayer right.
It wasn’t until college when I was told that there is no right way to pray. Sr. Margaret Ann, my first grade teacher who I was deeply afraid of, would not like this at all.
For the majority of my life, I was almost compulsive and superstitious about prayer. I made lists upon lists of what to say and in what order. Ten Hail Mary’s, three Our Father’s, a Glory Be…I truly thought that if I slacked off or didn’t choose the right combination, something terrible would happen. If I didn’t pray, Catholic guilt would overcome me, and I was subsequently sure that something terrible would happen. Notice a pattern?
I’ve tried meditation, Taizé, praying the Rosary, singing, and reading the Bible (I’ve committed to reading the entire Bible at least four times in my life — no comment on the end result). And my favorite, numerous crying and arguing scenes in vacant churches or chapels. I’ve experienced many episodes of what I like to call Prayer Block, a close relative of Writer’s Block. Many people tell me to just “listen” to God and “He’ll speak …
I remember the first time I met Fr. Frank Sabatté. It was my junior year at the School Of Visual Arts and I was participating in a group show with two other artists. Me (the photographer) and two painters. The one thing we three had in common was that our work “explored the complexities of the erotic.” So imagine my surprise when a man walked up to me and announced he’s a priest. I found myself struggling to articulate that I was exploring the notion of sexual attraction. Fr. Frank listened with consideration, and before he left we exchanged cards. I thought for sure that was that.
A few weeks later I received an e-mail from Fr. Frank, a Paulist priest, inviting me to a group discussion on art and spirituality. To say I was apprehensive about this invitation is putting it mildly. I mean, in all honestly, I just didn’t see myself being that involved with a church. Don’t get me wrong. I was raised Catholic and though I’m not from a family who went to church every Sunday, I did make my first holy communion. In addition, as an adult there have been moments where I’ve felt I’ve needed to go to mass as a way to find peace from the chaos in my life. But this was taking it to a new level. This wasn’t about me being anonymous at church, which is what I’ve often preferred. This was meeting people in a church setting and having a dialogue. I don’t recall how many polite excuses I made for not attending the discussions, and though I was hesitant I was also curious. After all, if priests were making an effort to engage the community in dialogue I felt compelled to keep an open mind.
Art and faith
Looking back, I realize it took nearly three years before I agreed to submit a proposal to
After graduation, mascara barely dry from losing the remaining ties to my old life, I joined my former professor’s weekly networking group. I had been working a freelance job designing a website for the summer, but that had ended, and I’d just had my first job interview since graduation. They offered and I accepted without thinking. Before I knew it, I was sitting at a desk in an office caked with dust, repeating the copy/paste function for nine hours a day.
I sat in a local café, beer in hand, and explained the first days of work to the group. I tried so hard to sound excited. “How much are they paying you?” everyone asked. My answer left them cold. I tried to tell myself that they didn’t know how bad it really was out there. I had tried for months just to get this one interview. I didn’t know what to do. The next morning I stood in the shower asking God why I was there and if I should stay. Like the Grinch, I felt hardened somehow. I couldn’t think of one reason to go back. I stood in my towel, still dripping, and wrote my first-ever letter of resignation.
By the end of the month, I had lived with two different sets of friends. By October I was working retail, the one thing I had promised myself not to do, and was living with a church parishioner. I did everything to stay in touch with my support networks, now making a habit of buying groceries on credit. I went to our weekly design chats knowing someone would buy me a drink and for a few hours I would feel like a person, not just a piece of paper. I lost my retail job the same day I was offered another short-term contract doing design work for a local ad agency. I took it as a sign that things were picking up and called my mom to tell her.
“That’s so great!” she trilled, by now practiced …
Somehow — don’t ask me how — the conversation turned to Catholic iconography. Seven or eight of us denizens of graduate school were gathered around a long wooden table in the seminar room. I sat in tense silence next to the window while the others commented on what they considered grisly religious emblems: the Sacred Heart wound with thorns and dripping blood, the body of Jesus hanging limp and emaciated upon the crucifix. One person started to laugh.
“My mother wouldn’t let me in a Catholic church when I was little,” she said, “because she thought it was so primitive.”
I said nothing; I could think of nothing to say to this little crowd of non- or ex-Catholics. But small knots of discomfort twisted in my chest and stomach. Although I had never really considered the question before, I knew instinctively that the crucifix was not to be dismissed as some relic of barbarity.
Pleasure leads to gratitude and God
It’s a cultural commonplace that the Church saddles its adherents with an inhibiting guilt for every time they feel good. Maybe the Gulf Coast brand of Catholicism I grew up with is different from the Catholicism practiced in other places, but I’ve never thought that I should feel guilty for having experienced pleasure. Quite the opposite, in fact. One of the things I like most about Catholicism is the affirmation it grants to pleasure and sensory experience, its recognition that the everyday joys we encounter via sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste can be not only morally permissible, but also active spiritual goods: conduits to God.
Back in my early teens, long before I knew that St. Ignatius Loyola sought God “in all things,” I sought God in ordinary pleasure. God was in the aroma of black coffee, the fringed petals of the crepe myrtles I saw on the way to school, and …
In one of the opening shots of Machine Gun Preacher, a member of warlord Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) kneels a mother down before her child. He hands the child a club and screams something at him in his native language. The child, terrified, flinches every time the soldier screams at him, and keeps glancing at his mother who, with a quivering lip, nods at her child, eyes brimming with tears. The child looks back at the soldier, who lifts a gun to the child’s head and barks at him again. The child slowly lifts the club over his head, and looks for one last time into the eyes of his mother. He winds up and brings the club down with all his might. The screen goes black.
Later in the movie, viewers learn this child was ordered by the LRA soldier to either kill his mother or be killed along with his brother. I knew immediately that the child in that opening sequence faced a decision that’s unfathomable to me and my comfortable reality, where even my biggest “problem” smacks of privilege: I’m out of college and unemployed.
Machine Gun Preacher
Directed by Marc Forster
Starring Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, Madeline Carroll
In theaters now
Machine Gun Preacher is the biopic of the real-life Sam Childers, a former drug addict/violent biker gang member who, after being brought to church by his wife, experiences a religious conversion and turns his life around. Moviegoers see Childers, played by Gerard Butler of “300” fame, being inspired to visit Africa to see some of the work his church is doing in Sudan. There he witnesses firsthand the horrific plight of the Sudanese children at the hand of the LRA, and that inspires him to action: Childers builds an orphanage in Sudan that will eventually house more than 300 children.
You should go see the movie. I’d recommend it because it stirred something inside of me. Before I went, my editor gave me an indirect heads-up of what about this film caught her attention: seeing “machine gun” and “preacher” …
I probably should have had an obit for Steve Jobs ready to run. We had a dry run when he resigned as head of Apple a few months ago. But I didn’t, and many others have accurately chronicled the facts, so instead, for my regular personal spirituality column, I’m going to look at a few things we can learn from him.
Though I never had the pleasure of meeting the man, Steve Jobs’ work and influence affected my life often. At different times, I came close to working for both Apple and Pixar, the latter before he took it over. The first personal computer I ever bought was a Mac 512, no hard drive, for $2,600 (in 1984 money; that’s the equivalent of $5,400 today). Compared to my current MacBook, it had 1/800th the RAM, 1/600,000 the storage, and maybe 1/1000th the processing speed. The excitement as my wife and I brought home that machine and started exploring its revolutionary features was unlike anything I’ve experienced since with technology. Though iPods, iPhones and iPads are amazing, and the internet may be a more important shift, they are not as groundbreaking as was that moment. That was the arrival in my home of personal computing, of the home computer. All these later breakthroughs have built on that. Several years later, I was honored to write a landmark cover article for PC Magazine, at that time the nation’s tenth largest magazine, explaining the benefits of the Mac’s operating system to DOS and Windows users, and I wrote a column about the Mac for several years after that.
Follow your heart
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. — Steve Jobs
“We believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”
This summer, I spent a lot of time in a room that overlooked the graves of Sam Adams, John Hancock, and the parents of Benjamin Franklin. And also with me in that room, along with the ghosts of the American Revolution, was my new 21.5-inch iMac with the 2.5GHz Core i5 processor, the invention of another American revolutionary.
I share the processor speed because, as any Mac nerd would know, this machine is on the lowest end iMacs one can currently purchase. But even so, it cuts through the processing of HD video like Bill Clinton would a plate of pork chops. It was in this room in Boston that I was working on my first documentary film. And there was this moment in the middle of editing footage I had shot that day on the new Final Cut Pro that I realized that it would have been impossible for me to do the kind of film that I was trying to do 20 years ago in the rather minimalist way that I was trying to do it.
Being a filmmaker was a dream that I had had ever since I was a kid. I was born at exactly the right time for Star Wars to capture my imagination, for Superman the Movie to make me believe I could fly, and for Raiders of the Lost Ark to give me my first — albeit shaky and supernatural — introduction to the Old Testament. But the concern, in those days of course, was that in order to make film, one would either need to hit the big time in Southern California — which held the possibility of ending up as a cautionary tale on the next E! True Hollywood Story — or NOT hit the big time in Southern California, which would have the same ending as the E! True Hollywood Story minus the cable television remembrance. Neither outcome seemed particularly desirable.
But if Southern California gave our generation a whole new set of visions, Northern California …
Do you have trouble forgiving? Well, I hope I don’t shatter anyone’s image of nuns, but I do, too.
Some of the sayings connected with forgiveness don’t help. You know, sayings like Alexander Pope’s “To err is human, to forgive is divine” and Jesus’ command that we forgive 77 times (or 70 times seven times) sends the subliminal message that forgiveness is impossible. Then we have the phrase “forgive and forget” — where in the world did that come from? So many people let these words glide glibly from their tongues. It makes it seem that forgiveness is easy and adds a guilt trip besides.
Well, I was in the category of believing that forgiving was next to impossible. I sat in prayer I don’t know how many times looking at Christ on the cross and asking him to show me how he could forgive the very people who nailed him there only minutes after they did it. The things I have to forgive don’t come close to that. There are minor things like angry outbursts or certain mannerisms that get on my nerves. Other things have left me devastated, like when I’m unable to talk to someone who’s made assumptions based on negative assessments of me.
The response to my prayer came in the form of a book entitled Forgive for Goodwritten by psychologist Dr. Fred Luskin. It was given to me by a young woman. She had found the book so helpful that when she gave it to me she said she didn’t need it anymore. And you know, after I read it, I came away so changed that I don’t need the book anymore either.
Trying to enforce unenforceable rules
Now that I have discovered the unconscious unenforceable rule that often led me to be angry with others, I have been able to consciously operate out of a new perspective. This new perspective is so powerful that once I came to that understanding, I have not become angry in this situation again.
We’re a nation captivated by coupons. We see them advertised everywhere: Facebook, e-mails, and magazines. Apple has several apps specifically meant for coupon-lovers, and Groupon has certainly become a house-/apartment-hold name.
All of this is nothing, though, compared to the coupon use seen on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing.” For those not familiar, “Extreme Couponing” is exactly what it sounds like: a show that features people who spend hours searching for, printing, organizing, and then using their coupons. These people take great pride in their massive amounts of coupons, their organization skills, and the amount of goods they purchase. It was amazing to see the hoards of products that filled people’s garages, basements, closets, pantries, and sometimes even their bedrooms. Yes, at least two couples had products stored in their bedrooms because they had filled up all the other rooms in the house.
So why is the coupon suddenly stylish again and in a more powerful way than ever before? I think there’s certainly a relationship to the current economy. Our generation has never been in this tough of a situation before, so we’re doing whatever we can to make life a little easier. We want to feel safe and buying things that we need, or things we don’t need, somehow makes us feel better. Knowing that we have our own personal grocery stores gives us comfort and security in today’s insecure world. It’s like our own insurance policy against the fragile economy.
“Extreme Couponing” allows us to see how others are faring in similar conditions. Somewhere out there someone is probably taking notes and learning how to clip his/her own coupons. I know because I was one of them. I may not like to admit it, but I was somewhat inspired by the people of “EC” and decided to start using coupons when I could. Unfortunately I didn’t have the dedication to hunt down coupons since I’m busy hunting down a full-time job, and New York City is not shopper-friendly. Instead I became more aware of how …