Beliefnet
Everyday Spirituality

Vowing not to be those parents who hang onto the family farm with the hope that the children return to continue the tradition, my husband and I put our farm up for sale after our girls were out of college and told us they had no interest in farming. The property sold in five days. Stunned, my husband and I stared at one another and said at the same time, “Now what do we do?”

I believe that question was the beginning of a premature midlife crisis. It led to a year of colossal upheaval. The disruption in our life, however, bashed the typical definition of midlife crisis referred to by the public.

Boston psychologist, Lynn Margolies, PhD, wrote, “A sure sign you may be in a midlife crisis is if you are feeling trapped and very tempted to act out in ways that will blow up your life.” Margolies likened this phenomenon to a rebellious teenager and warned against jolting loved ones or pursuing unrealistic, hurtful goals.

A midlife crisis can be boiled down to a person discovering or rediscovering their identity and self-confidence.

Discovery is not a bad thing when taken by the horns and wrangled to our benefit rather than bane. Four fundamentals to motivating a positive crisis comes to mind when recalling my midlife predicament:

Family can be separated from the job. Family and farming were my identity or so I believed. We raised our children on the farm and fostered children, all of whom thrived, surrounded by nature, animals, and fresh fruits and vegetables. When the day came in which welled up inside me a storm infused wave of desire to escape the farm, I was able to see that I could escape the farm without leaving family.

Realistic goals are priority. My husband and I were unable to retire, financially and mentally. We needed to remember when making decisions that we were unemployed empty-nesters who needed to be practical. To start a new career meant starting at the bottom.

Stuff had to go, but not good memories. With no children in the house, there were less material demands. We also no longer needed a lot of the stuff we had. Getting rid of stuff made it easier to start at the bottom. Because my good memories are not attached to the stuff, I still have them today. This freedom made it easier to discover. It also made it easier to move across the United States, for the fun of it.

Take on a challenge. We decided to move to a whole different community. Mapping out a strategy, we met fears head on and it left me with a feeling of accomplishment. Piling it on, my husband said to me, “Let’s ride our motorcycles from Washington State to New York.” My brain could barely process his comment, but it did sound motivating. I agreed only to almost back out at the last minute. The idea of riding my motorcycle 3,000 miles was daunting, until I realized if I only made it to Montana, fine, I’ll sell the bike and fly in an airplane the rest of the way.

The motorcycle trip across America is indelibly marked in my mental databank as the best two-weeks in the history of trips and vacations. We rode Highway 2, a northern route that took us through Glacier National Park, over the Bitterroot Mountains where Lewis and Clark traversed 200 years previous, on foot.

I learned that I could ride in rain, wind, over snowy roads, and under blasted hot sunshine. I spent $9 to fill my gas tank at the station, while a camper owner at the nearby gas pump spent $232 to fill his tank.

I watched terrain change from desert to woodland. I felt a spiritual parallel as I changed from wishy-washy to “I can do this.” We rode into our new upstate New York hometown on our 25th wedding anniversary. We’ll be celebrating our thirty-third anniversary in a few weeks.

Bio: Cheryl Petersen’s book is, from science & religion to God: A briefer narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health. Her website is www.HealingScienceToday.com and you can follow on Twitter @CherylPetersen

More than 30,000 Christian denominations exist worldwide, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia.

Thirty thousand. That’s an enormous number.

A 2018 Barna Research study reports that, “Churches of all stripes practice their own flavor of ministry in cities across the United States, all based on particular interpretations of scripture and style.”

Arguably, there is no lack of interpretations and style, although it’s unfortunate when they provoke confusion or havoc. However, the surplus of understandings and style can promote spirituality and peace of mind.

In my memoir, I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter, I talk about the mental confusion experienced as a child when I was sexually abused. I talk about learning to say no to someone using me for their own self-satisfaction.

I also talk about the power to say yes to life instead of to death.

Saying yes to life stirred me to survive a fiery terrible accident. Moreover, it eventually helped me prioritize divine rules before church rules, probably because my church was dying.

The church was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century and grew like wildflowers until mid-20th century. In Binghamton, a branch church was located at 17 Front Street from 1939 until 2006.

A unique feature of these churches is the idea of an objective Pastor, communicated during services by lay-readers reading from the Bible and Eddy’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. But, what worked in the past wasn’t working in the future.

Multiple reasons are found for the demise of my church and its pastor, however, I discovered that even if church was gone, I still have the religion, Christian Science, simply defined as the law of divine Spirit interpreting harmony to the universe.

It was curious to learn that my religion wasn’t dependent on church.

If I learned anything else through my religion, it is the value of not acting as if other people solve my problems for me. Sure, I can watch and follow quality examples, but I need to be accountable to the divine.

Pew Research reported that about half of United States adults switch churches sometime in their lives. The Pew study found that, “Fully 83% of Americans who have looked for a new place of worship say the quality of preaching played an important role in their choice of congregation.”

I think the choice isn’t so much between 30,000, or more, denominations, as it is choosing the collective enormous divine Spirit as alive and well.

Bio: Cheryl Petersen is a freelance writer and author of, 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and from science & religion to God.

The element of time is being re-organized, not by anything physical, but by putting useful thoughts in key places and letting them call the shots and initiate betterment.

Relationships between our thoughts and the physical are seen every day. An improved physical condition can improve our attitude. We can even take matters into our own hands and reverse the sequence by improving our attitudes to improve our physical conditions.

The hiccup? It’s not easy to better our attitudes. Or, if we do improve our minds, the physical condition stays the same. But don’t give up before turning that next corner to visible improvement.

The next corner requires leaving behind the human ego and moving forward with what has been defined by leading thinkers as: divine consciousness, the universal Mind, the power of miracles, spirituality, or whatever other word is common to a specific culture.

Despite the multifarious words, we can turn that next corner to visible improvement. Our mental and physical evolution isn’t dependent upon a word, but upon the simplicity of yielding to an unseen force at work.

To speak to an unseen force, let’s review the teachings of genetics.

We know genes change, mutate, and can be manipulated. It’s evolution before our eyes. But we don’t see what causes the evolution. We only see the results of a force at work.

And those results are revealing.

For example, science has confirmed that genetic evolution doesn’t have to take more than a lifetime. Visible change or improvement doesn’t have to take a long time.

A 2015 Oxford study of chicken genetics overturns the popular assumption that evolution is only visible over long time scales. By using the technique of selective mating to combine genes and by studying individual chickens that were part of a long-term pedigree, scientists, led by Professor Greger Larson at Oxford University’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology, found two mutations that had occurred in the mitochondrial genomes of long-term pedigree birds in only fifty years.

For a long time, scientists have believed that the rate of change in the mitochondrial genome was never faster than about 2% per million years. The identification of these mutations shows that the rate of evolution in this pedigree is in fact fifteen times faster.

When it comes to our mental progress, we can translate this Oxford study to qualify another study. Mind study. We can use the technique of selective thinking to combine true and useful thoughts to close the gap in time and reveal visible improvement sooner rather than later.

Here is a list of useless thoughts that hold us back, followed by useful thoughts (printed in bold):

Doing something today in the hopes it will help us in the afterlife. Live for today, not for tomorrow, not for an afterlife, but live for today.

Repeating what we know because we believe it’s always been done that way. Greeting and experimenting with new ideas, to implement new intents or actions that bring more benefit to humanity.

Identifying one’s self with past hurts and grievances. Identifying one’s self with the unseen force even adapting us to survival and purpose.

Trying to satisfy physical drives. Satisfying the drive for personal improvement.

In our efforts to achieve visible progress, the obstacle of time is being removed, thought by thought.

Bio: Cheryl thrives while learning in the classroom of Mother Nature. Landscapes, plants, pets, and wildlife teach her to look deeper and consider the infinite. She also earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Colorado State University back in the day when typing was done manually and typewriters were behemoth machines. Now, Cheryl freelance writes on a range of subjects covering philosophy, principles, and policies. Her book is: from religion & science to God.

To get a taste of Christian Science today, without the rigamarole of church organization, here are  few interesting tidbits I’ve come across.

 

1.) As found in New York Post, January 28, 2019, by Author Cindy Adams

Legacy of women’s rights

#Me Too readers should note that Mary Baker Eddy’s 1875 textbook “Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures” says:

“Civil law establishes very unfair differences between the rights of the two sexes.

“Christian Science furnishes no precedent for such injustice, and civilization mitigates it in some measure. Still, it is a marvel why usage should accord women less rights than does either Christian Science or civilization.”

2.) As found online at Catapult, an excerpt by Adrian Shirk, from her book, And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy: Stories from the Byways of American Women and Religion

An article titled:We Are All Scientists: On Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science. Eddy’s lifetime of illness, and her encounters with medical therapies, poised her as an instrument of revelation.

3.) A 2018 study found online at Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, by Rebecca Steckler and John Bartskoski. Titled: “God is My First Aid Kit”: The Negotiation of Health and Illness among Christian Scientists.

Parts of the study reads:

“As the findings from this study indicate, Christian Science treatment options are more flexible and nuanced than the critical discourse would indicate. This is not to say that future research should be uncritical of Christian Science health care practices. However, it is imperative that this research include subjective experiences alongside critiques to arrive at a more even-handed understanding.”

“For Christian Scientists, the power of the Bible is found in its metaphysical truths, not its literal words.”

“Christian Scientists, then, view the Bible as inspired but not infallible.”

“Given that most adherents are somewhat receptive to conventional medicine, we observe three strategies adherents employ when aiming to treat personal health problems that arise. These strategies include: (1) seeking guidance from God, (2) assessing one’s personal metaphysical competency, and (3) managing medical indoctrination from non-Christian Scientists.”