A warm bath or cold shower?

Esther...loving comfort with no apology! (pillow was a gift from Maria Wulf at http://www.fullmoonfiberart.com

A friend of mine, who just happens to be a monk, told me a story several years ago of some guests who came to the monastery over the Lenten season (a time of looking inward for some, and of deprivation for others). At the conclusion of their retreat time, one of the monks asked them how the guest quarters were. The people responded  in a tone of apology and contrition, “Very nice, but next time, I don’t think we will come during Lent. The cold showers were difficult.” At which point the monk said in alarm, “The water heater in the guest house must have broken. I am so sorry!”

There is a old, old belief system that silent suffering and toughing it out, makes us “pure” or helps us get closer to God/Spirit. It has its root in the belief that we are imperfect, unclean, impure people trying to be worthy of God. Some of us have been taught not to ask for things that might make our lives easier, because it would show others that we were selfish….sometimes we don’t even dare dream about what we desire, much less ask for it. We are not unworthy, lowly creatures needing to grovel before a punishing God. We are temples of the living Spirit, magnificent co-creators of our lives. We could not be more worthy of all good.

Asking for what we need is not the same as complaining. It is not the same as finding fault when every little detail is not to our liking.  If I am disturbed by something in my life, my first obligation is to myself, and I honor myself by going inside and getting quiet and calm before I act or before I ask. I see the “problem” as I would like it to be, and that energy then flows before me paving the road, and the situation is made easier for all.

41 thoughts on “A warm bath or cold shower?

  1. Purrfect (sorry, couldn’t resist) photo for this post. I’ve always felt that cats are the ultimate master teachers, on this topic, and on so many others.

  2. Ah, Mary, once again you have started my morning with a big laugh~ and a terrific lesson. As a Catholic, I can relate to the Lenten cold shower episode (those poor people!). What a perfect reminder… and Eleanor’s facial expression is adorable.

    PS: Speaking of living in comfort/being spoiled rotten, Skeeter says hello to all of her WFF friends: she had a checkup yesterday that went very well. More kennel rest and back to the vet in 3 weeks for a final blood analysis. Thanks again for all of your prayers! 🙂

  3. “Asking for what we need is not the same as complaining. It is not the same as finding fault when every little detail is not to our liking.” – So well put, Mary. I plan to quote that thought to the patients I encounter who ‘felt so bad about bothering the nurses’ to say they were in pain.

    I really love the vision of us and God together as magnificent co-creators of our lives! I want to imagine how if would be If enough people could have that vision and bond as co-creators of a kinder and more compassionate world.

  4. Very true….I remember growing up Catholic that when we suffered we should “offer it up”. I was never really sure what that was supposed to accomplish. For the nuns and parents I guess it accomplished not having to listen to us kids complain. lol

    Your cat has very good taste…I see s/he picked one of Maria’s excellent pillows to lay on.

    Have a great day Mary.

  5. Mary, your words today ring so true to me, and its about water as well. When I am heading to the hot tub and its really cold outside, and I am naked, I can tolerate enormous cold and be comfortable with the promise of being submerged in hot water thereafter. Years ago I actually walked in 8″ of snow to get to a tub, and it was 12F outside. I was fine the whole trip and this amazed me. I didn’t make an association with my spiritual world, tho I thought about Tibetian monks and their sitting in wet robes on tall mountains and meditating themselves dry and warm. We have great power when we find the will inside.

  6. What timing – I was about to email my son, who is awaiting news after a job interview two weeks ago. With the holidays intervening, they told him upfront he wouldn’t hear back until after the holidays – so naturally he is a bit anxious by now. Today’s post is perfect. Before reading it, I had found in an old purse (not sure why I was looking for this purse) a page of four handwritten quotes – I can’t even say from where, but look at the synchronicity, perfect timing Mary! Thank you so much. Yesterday’s post on calm expectation I also shared with him.

    “All energy follows thought – Where we put our thoughts, that is where the energy flows.”

    “What we focus on is what we set in motion around us. Our minds create the good and bad within our life.”

    “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find it. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7

    “Where there is no demand there is no supply. So build for yourself the awareness that there is an infinite supply for you within the universe, but you must ask for it.”

    If I may ask for good thoughts from the flock for my son’s desire that this job opening manifest. His name is Rafa (for Rafael.) Thank you!

  7. How well I remember being told by the nuns to “offer it up for the souls in Purgatory.” Always wondered why, if God was all powerful, he didn’t just take pity on these souls, realize that what they did wasn’t that bad, and free them right then and there. Well, I guess you can tell I was a handful for the nuns.

    It has taken me a lot of decades to finally start to see that “mind is the builder,” as Edgar Cayce always stated. I was beginning to despair that I would ever ‘get’ it. How nice to have our spiritual worth celebrated in this post, Mary.

    And now, I will start learning how to perfect Esther’s look on my own face…..

    • thank you Suzanne…”the mind is the builder” are powerful words to live by

    • Sending positive energy and positive thoughts and love for a most positive outcome tomorrow! I believe you will soon have Esther’s look of calm, worry-free comfort and relief on your beautiful face Suzanne! And then you can send us a picture of you on your pillow from Maria! How about that!

      • Thank you so much, Kathye. As for the picture, I am still trying to learn how to upload pics from my cell phone; so you may have to use all the excellent advice that Mary has given us, and use your mind power to imagine how I look on Maria’s pillow. Here’s a hint…….;)

    • Hmmm…I’m still working on your hint Suzanne! But I can clearly imagine you relaxing on Maria’s pillow!

  8. Ester exudes her royal lineage. She reminds us that we are ALL deserving of treatment reserved for a queen!

    • Thank you Cheryl…by the way, the name of that pillow is “Queen of my own heart!”…

      • Oh my dear friends! I amtyping on my tiny phone screen as my internet has been down for 2 days! Mary, you and wff are my crack! I finally remembered I could read on my phone. I love what u said about being temples of the holy spirit. It is so comforting to know God not only loves us but is within us.
        Kelly, so glad for u and skeeter!
        Susan, good thoughts for Rafa(love his name)
        Loving energy to all.

      • Thank you Terri!…sending the good energy back your way and hoping your internet is up and running soon!

  9. Mary, i am so happy i found your blog. I just love everything you have to say. I also got the package with your salve in it today and i love the scent and feel of the salve. It smells like the woods to me,,,my favorite place to be. Thank you…

  10. I love this post…especially the last paragraph. “Getting quiet and calm before I act or before I ask”…and “seeing the problem as I would like it to be”…such wonderful advice! Thanks to you and thanks to Esther!

    • Kathye, in reading again “getting quiet and calm before I act or before I ask”, that you especially liked as well, a vision came into my head of the serene and yet focused and calm look of intention that comes into the faces of the (this is what I saw) Olympic figure skaters – that short time between when their name is announced, and the music begins, the pregnant pause, that last final moment of drawing in, setting the mental stage for the stage of living performance. Energy follows thought once again.

      And thank you one and all for your thoughts and prayers for my Rafa!

      • Ahhh…yes Susan, you nailed it! Exactly! You have me flashing to the zen like Kristi Yamaguchi before she skated…

  11. What a sweet face on Esther. She knows the drill! Maria’s works have a magical energy to them. One of my quilts (“Rita”) is actually able to calm and allow worries to sail away! It’s in the little living room just waiting to do it’s job. Reminds me of Temple Grandin and her calming box she built.
    Thanks for your wonderful words Mary.I look forward to them each evening. 🙂

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