26 February 2010

I'm in Manhattan!

I'll be blogging exlusively at unstatusofwomen.blogspot.com for the next couple weeks, my personal blog on UN adventures with the Episcopal Church Young Adult Delegate.  See you over there!

17 February 2010

Moving Meditations

I'm moving this week.

Moving can make your bowl feel a little empty.
But then your mom comes over and reminds you to stop eating weird vegan food and eat really good Korean food instead.  Instead of spaghetti squash (which my mom politely declined to have another serving of).  Or gluten-free vegan cupcake (which she ate only before I told her what it was).  As she puts it, rice, kimchi, and seaweed soup was "OH this is good" food.  Not weird food.

She was so nice.  She helped me pack for 2 days.

Doesn't she look young here?  She also stared at me and told me to do a face massage exercise everyday which will take care of my double chin.  Thanks mom, for letting me know I have one.


I went to the Sisters of St. Joseph center to meet with my spiritual director.  Jan lent me her camera so I took a walk through the desert garden and took advantage of the late afternoon light.

I saw this plant.  It was a mess of thorns with beautiful red flowers scattered throughout it.  Life can really be a bitch and give you way too many thorns to deal with.


I like these guys.  They're like the friendly brontosauruses of the group.

I love this little one.  She's so tender.

14 February 2010

UN Updates have moved

Hello all, due to demand and the need for dedicated space, updates on the UN will be moving to http://unstatusofwomen.blogspot.com/.  You'll find old posts, more info on what this UN trip is all about, as well as live blogging from the UN coming soon in less than 2 weeks!  See you there.

10 February 2010

Ignatian Retreat: Beau Dans Sa Peau

I'm in the 6th month of the Ignatian Retreat, and it's really hard to believe I'm in the last stretch of the 9 month retreat.

The theme for my current place in the retreat is encountering Jesus.  And you know what, that has actually been profound and good.  I've learned to differentiate Jesus from religion, and that has made me feel so much happier.

The biggest theme for this entire retreat has been freedom.  I'm sure everyone has their own personal themes but that is mine without a doubt.  I have felt so oppressed by Christianity yet drawn and it's made me feel a bit mental until recently.  Now I know that I'm drawn to Jesus and turned off by religion.  And I am A-ok with that.

The thing I love about my spiritual director is how much she respects my space and personal integrity.  Today, I met with her and talked with her about my concerns regarding the concept of "call."    I'm always paranoid that I'll be called to something that will absolutely gut me and that leaves me liking God not very much at all.  Really, it's enough to want me to abandon ship and become a great free floating agnostic or simply a "spiritual" person with no ties to any religion.

So when she told me that this whole process is about learning to be more alive, to have more interior freedom so that the we experience freedom instead of a narrow choice, I had to point out that in the exercise I had just completed, it said that I should willingly follow Jesus and suffer for his glory.

I said, "See here, this word?  It says suffer.  That sounds like the complete opposite of feeling alive."

So Mary expanded.  She said, "Suffering can actually bring you joy if it's done with honesty and integrity."

Something clicked.  She went on, "There's a rightness to it--that you're doing something that is truly who you are and you're freely doing it.  It's very concrete--God takes into consideration everything about you, your life experiences, the things that have shaped you since childhood.  Calling, even if there's suffering in it, will be about who you are.  It won't be disjointed.  You will have integrity, honesty, and a sense of rightness."

"Ahhh," I said.  "So, the time when I was doing that inner city ministry and told to "suffer like Christ did" but in my head I was thinking, this is absolutely nuts and I do not agree with this in any way--that was suffering that was disjointed, had no honesty, no sense of integrity, and no sense of rightness."

"Exactly," said Mary.

I love that phrase: There's a rightness.  Mary says that one a lot.  Along with the words freedom and alive.

Right now, I feel complete freedom to be whoever, do whatever, but also just be.  Be who I am.  I've been reading a lot of Mireille Giuliano lately and she has this phrase she loves to repeat:
"beau dans sa peau"
It means, being comfortable in your own skin.  That, Mireille says, is the key to the French woman's success in life and business (she's the former CEO of Veuve Cliquot).  I really really love that phrase too.

To you reader, I wish for you what Mary said God wants for us.  I believe it when I say it.  Be alive.  Be fully alive.  Act with honesty and integrity.  Be who you are.  Respect that feeling of rightness.  Listen to your body.  Be grounded.  Accept your self.  Experience complete interior freedom.  Beau dans sa peau.

09 February 2010

UN: Funding Update

I've raised $810 of my $830 budgeted outlook for my upcoming Feb. 25-March 6 trip to the UN for the Commission on the Status of Women Meetings.  Having gone through some pretty lame fundraising experiences in the past where I did everything a girl could possibly do (including the kidnapping of her pastor, held for ransom until reluctant church members coughed up more dough), I am proud to announce that this time, I'm only $20 short and it all happened in one week (and let's be honest, without the help of my very generous outreach minded parents who usually swoop in to save the day with the last thousand bucks or so).

I do feel as if a) the stars have aligned for me this trip b) God answered my prayers or c) there's something divine about this whole thing.  Pick your choice of words.

I feel incredibly grateful and honored to have the support of new friends and old, as well as certain organizations--especially in this time of great economic need locally and globally.

I'd like to thank everyone who's encouraged me with their responses to my updates and make a special mention for the following folks for their donations:

Jim Lee & Julie Cho
Episcopal Diocese of L.A.
Rev. Carolyn Estrada
Rev. Martha Korienek
Jan Keyuranggul
Lori Sexton
Anonymous Donor

Now that I look at that list, I see that most of them are clergy or soon to be clergy.  Thank you thank you thank you.  It's ironic and humbling to be supported by my underpaid spiritual leaders!

Next up: Preparing for the UN meetings

08 February 2010


"When we are just the vehicle, the storyteller and not the point of the story, we often write very well-we certainly write more easily." -- Julia Cameron

Forget Yourself

“Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music--the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls, and interesting people.  Forget yourself.” --Henry Miller