On the Side of the Good

Celebrating and seeking all things on the Side of the Good. Humanity at its Best.


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Stand Still

Here it comes! The Longest Night of the Year is upon us. The darkest and quite often the coldest night is coming! The night when Legend tells us that ancient gods and goddesses were born. The Egyptian goddess, Isis, delivered Horus, the winged Sun, during the Winter Solstice. The Japanese Goddess of the Sun, Amatersu was also born on the Winter Solstice. As was Saturn, the Father of Time. The Hindu goddess of Knowledge, Sarasvati was born, you guessed it, on the Winter Solstice.

Solstice is Latin for “Sun standing still.” The Ancients believed it was a time for Visions. The word Yule is derived from a word meaning birth or rebirth of the god of Light in fire’s form. Ancient and modern Yogis practice 108 Sun Salutations on the Solstice to acknowledge the changing world around us, and to set an intention. 108 is a mystical number—there are 108 names for Shiva, a Hindu god and there are also 108 names for Buddha. There are 108 prayer beads on both a Tibetan Mala and on a Catholic Rosary. 108 is the Chinese character for “man’. There are 108 Vedic texts. The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. (And my little boy will tell you THE most important 108—are the 108 stitches on a baseball.)

So why is there all of this mystical fascination with the Sun Standing Still, this Winter Solstice? Is it because we, like the Ancients, need to stop and ignite more love and warmth inside of ourselves? Is it because we all seek balance? Do we need a beacon of Hope when Life is Darkest?

Perhaps it’s a reminder to enkindle what brings us Life, Joy, and Light. Perhaps it’s the cosmos reminding us that if the Sun can stand still, so can we. During the Darkest Night, we have an excuse to draw closer to those we love and just Be Still. We can snuggle close to that which brings us enlightenment and appreciate its warmth. In the darkest times, we learn the most about ourselves. At the tender age of 87—the winter of his life—Michelangelo proclaimed, “Ancora Imparo!” which means, “I am still learning.” As we stand still for the Solstice we can set an intention to draw closer to those we love, to those we treasure, to those who teach us about ourselves--to those who bring the Light.

Mom Life 8: Teaching vs. Indoctrinating

On Waiting for My Owl

Every parent can attest to the occasional exhaustion that comes with their children's ability to constantly question the world around them. Repeating answers becomes absurdly redundant, simple facts seem impossible to explain, and words tend to evade us when we attempt to bring abstract thoughts into the understanding of a young child's mind. (Long car rides are made to seem never ending for Kevin and I when we fail to help our 4 year old son, Noah, understand the concept of how long an hour is.) As much as we may love how curious and observant our kids are, at times of low patience and a loss of words, it's tempting to answer questions with this famous line:

It happens. But used too often, and in the wrong situations, "because I said so" just doesn't cut it. One of the arenas I try never to use this answer is with faith, and since faith encompasses pretty much every part of our lives, I'm trying to get rid of that answer all together. "Because I said so", "Because God says so", "Because the Bible says so" may be sufficient enough answers for my two and four year old, but eventually, that reasoning is going to be fruitless. When Noah and Hope turn into teenagers and young adults, if all we have given them is "because I said so's", then what reasons do they have for holding on to any of it? Unless they see evidence of good fruit coming out of the trees of faith their parents have planted, why would they want to put in the work to plant and cultivate those same trees for themselves?

I recently listened to an interview podcast with an agnostic Professor (former pastor) who taught a Religion 101 class at a college in Oklahoma. He talked about how simple questions and ideas of faith completely rocked some of the young men and women that came into his class because of the way in which their faith had been handed down. Not just Christians, but in Oklahoma, mostly so. Instead of being TAUGHT in the way of their faith, they had been INDOCTRINATED in it. There's a difference. Here's how one website put it:

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