Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meditation Guide: Station 3
All around Jesus are those who delight in seeing human misery.  It is hot and sticky in the crowded street.  He fell to the ground.  Jesus, weakened by all his suffering, stumbles and falls on his way to Calvary.  He slumps to the ground and the soldiers quickly drag him to his feet again. He fell under the weight of the cross and people spit on him and mocked him but he rose to his feet and persevered.

Jesus falls for the first time
  1. Do I build up others or do I sometimes put them down for their mistakes?
  2. DO I give up when things do not go right?
  3. Do I quit something because it is too hard?
  4. What are some of the things that cause me to stumble and fall?
  5. Do I strive to be a humble person?
Take a moment now in the silence of your heart to think of all those times that you have given up or failed to do something because it was too much effort.  Name that and offer it up to God.


Friday, July 15, 2011

FREE music and Ballet in Assiniboine Park; breakfast with my babies

Last night (totally spur-of-the-moment) we went to Assiniboine Park for Music in the Park. Ron Paley and his big band were playing.  He leads the iconic Winnipeg band Ron Paley and his Orchestra.  I remembered going to a New Year's Eve party in the late 70's and liking the music but I think I was a bit too young to enjoy all of it.

Last night I sure did.  We took our lawn chairs and sat in front of the outdoor stage and soaked up the beautiful sounds of the band.  There were some beautiful songs - Moonlight Serenade (from the 1940's I think) and songs from Neil Diamond (Sweet Caroline), James Brown (I Feel Good), Louis Armstrong (What a Wonderful World), Queen (Bohemian Rhapsody) and more that I can't remember or know the name of.  It was lovely to enjoy a Manitoba summer evening with no mosquitoes and just a nice overcast sky (slightly cool and no rain) and just and just listen to some great music where it was appreciated - in the open skies and clean air. 

The park has concerts every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings from 7-9pm for the rest of the summer.  They also have a Smooth Jazz every Sunday afternoon from 3-4pm in the Leo Mol Gardens.  And for several weeks, they have Friday night movies - two per night for the next few weeks.  On July 27-29, they have Ballet in the Park  Assiniboine Park Summer Events (check out the PDF on July 27 for more ballet information).

The best part of all this?  It's FREE!!!  All of it - music, movies, jazz, and Ballet!!  I think that's great! So go out with your family and enjoy the summer!  I plan to do that (and will  try not to think about my dissertation that I am ploughing through ever so slowly).  

Breakfast with my babies
Today my two babies - Sahana and Sabreena (and Sharm of course) came to have breakfast with me at the Hard Drive Cafe at the college.  They liked the diner style of the restaurant.  The breakfast is so huge that we ordered two for the four of us. They ate quite well and I brought them back to my office to see where I work.  Sabreena asked how come I have to work during the summer.  That's a good question.  How come I have to work during the summer?  Well I did the retirement thing and that was utterly mindless so I am back to doing what I like to do so is that working?  If it is, then I'll keeping on doing what I love to do and the bonus is that someone pays me to do it.  Anyway next month, we are taking Izabel and Sahana on an Alaskan Cruise.  I am really looking forward to being with the two girls - sans parents!  I am sure the parents will miss them but it will be a good break for them too.

Will have to tell you what the girls have included so far in their daily schedules.  It's too cute.

Have a great weekend everyone.  I am going to the Guyanese Association's Annual Picnic tomorrow.  It's been going on for many years and they even have a duck curry competition (never participated but I probably should sometime).  On Sunday I may go to the Jazz in the Park concert. Walle Larson another notable jazz musician is supposed to be playing.  I quite like his music. That's my plan.  What's yours?

Meditation Guide:  Station 2

Jesus is given a heavy cross to carry on his bleeding and bruised shoulders. He takes the cross and carries it down a hard, steep road... carrying a burden He did not earn - without a word and in silence.

Jesus accepts his cross

  1. Do I accept the burdens in my life the way you accepted your cross?
  2. Have I avoided love and patience and chosen crosses and hatred, selfishness and impatience?
  3. Do I complain or lay blame on someone for my troubles?
  4. Do I admit my mistakes?
  5. Do I accept the rules, chores and discipline my parents gave me?
  6. Do I talk back or think negatively? 

Take a moment now in the silence of your heart to think of the burdens in your life that is the heaviest right now and offer it up to God.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Meditation exercises

I did this meditation exercise when I attended the Passion Play in La Riviere, Manitoba.  The guide provided a picture at each of 15 stations along the way and offered questions to think about when walking on the trail.  Here are the pictures of the stations and the questions that go along with each picture of Christ. Like I mentioned previously, you do not have to be a Christian to appreciate this meditation exercise.

The Meditation Guide was prepared by Roger and Belita Sanders c/o the Oak Valley Productions.  They have given me permission to post the content on this blog.  The pictures are as they appeared on the meditaion path but I have taken the liberty of modifying some of the questions for those of you who are not Christian - only because I think we can all benefit from this meditative guide. 

Station 1

Pilate was going to have Jesus flogged then he would release him but the cries of "crucify him, crucify him: were so great that Pilate gave into the crowd's demands and sentenced Jesus to be crucified.

Jesus is condemned to death

  1. Do I often go along with the crowd instead of standing up for what I believe? Perhaps I do this because it is an easy way. 
  2. How often have I believed things that I have heard about others?  Do I feel like I have the right to pass judgement?
  3. How often have I dismissed someone as a loser and unworthy of my care?
  4. What if that person was you God?  Would I have joined the crowd in condemning you?
In the silence of your heart, think of all the ones you have hurt by throwing rocks or insulting words and offer them up to God.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Passion Play in La Riviere, MB

Yesterday we went to La Riviere, Manitoba (about 2 hours drive from Winnipeg) to see the Passion Play which is the story of the life of Christ, focusing mainly on the last days of his life - his betrayal, death on the cross and his resurrection.  The play is only offered for three days each summer for the last 12 years so I was lucky to have seen it advertised in time to go.  This year it was July 8-10.  It starts at 7:30pm and is supposed to finish at 9:50pm but it was actually 10:20pm when it was done.  All the actors are volunteers from the surrounding communities including Winnipeg.  

I am familiar with the story from growing up in Guyana and going to Sunday school every Sunday.  Easter was an especially important time because this was the story that was told.  Having not gone to a church in years - at least not to pray - I had forgotten just how powerful the story used to be to me.  Last night, seeing Jesus' life enacted by all volunteers was pretty amazing all together. 

We left home about 1:45pm yesterday to take Mom to the airport.  She was heading for Calgary for 2 weeks and then Edmonton for another 2.  We left the city about 2:30pm and arrived at Holiday Mountain Resort about 4:30pm.  We decided that since the drive was a long one, it wouldn't be wise to leave there at 10pm for a 2 hour drive home so we stayed over the night.  It's a quaint but nice facility - updated recently I think. Anyway, we got a special deal through Wagjag for $32 for dinner and the play.  Apparently it's worth about $78 but I don't think I would have paid that much for a buffet dinner (about $61) and a $17 ticket to the play (regular price). Nevertheless, it was quite nice.

If you've never been out that way, the site of the play is quite beautifully set in a valley with a walking trail (about 10 minutes) that goes along the gravel road and another meditation trail that is a bit more windy that we didn't discover until we arrived at the stage area. We walked the first trail and thought we had done the mediation trail but we decided last night that we would go back today to walk the mediation trail.  That was such a wonderful experience that took us almost an hour, but what a very spiritual hour.
Valley of the play

Stage area set in the hills

Sound booth

Angels coming to tell about the birth of Christ

The tomb

Actors on stage
  We had dinner at the resort and arrived at the site of the play put on by Oak Valley Productions.  I don't know if the area around there is Okay Valley but it sure is beautiful.  I have to preface the write-up about the play by saying that in 1990, we were in Austria where the same play is done in a town called  Oberammergau in the Tyrolian Mountains. It's performed once every 10 years since the 1600's and in 1990, I wanted to see it but it was too prohibitive for all 5 of us to see it and it was 7 hours long. I promised myself that I would see the play one day, not realizing until about 3 years ago that it was right here in Manitoba - set in the stunning hills between the prairies.

The play started at 7:35pm and this year, they added a piece about the life of Christ from when he was born and how he apprenticed as a carpenter before going on to minister to the sick and destitute.  I think everyone was mesmerized by the outdoor setting for the theatre and the actors used the surrounding hillside for maximum effect.  The scenery was breathtaking and the props were built so beautifully, that it was easy to imagine that we were back more than 2000 years ago.
Christ on the cross

I planned to take my camera but forgot so I am appending the website that has some great pictures.  The actor that played Jesus last night (Bill Tiessen) is the same as in the pictures on the website and he was pretty convincing in his role. 

The picture gallery shows one picture of Jesus on the cross and it's the real actor being placed there and having to stay in that position for about 15 minutes until the scene is done.  It was pretty amazing all together and even if you are not Christian, the play would have been moving.  I left there feeling like I had witnessed something important and I was reminded about the goodness of people in general and some in specific. 

Growing up in a home where we embraced three religions from our immediate families, I think I was privileged to be able to accept that we are all God's children in different ways.  That was the message I took away.  If you ever get a chance to see such a play or to share in someone else's beliefs, you should do so.  It makes you realize that in trying to find the differences in each other, we are more similar than we would like to admit. 

I'll write about the mediation trail in my next post. Hope you had a great weekend.  I saw some spectacular fields of mustard, corn and wheat and big open and blue skies with puffy and very white clouds that made the world look like it went on forever.

Weed or flower?

Beautiful mustard field

Wonderful puffy prairie clouds!
Have a good start to your week.  Mine is going to be good for sure!