The Wisdom of the Wise

This morning when I sat down to close my eyes and rest in the quiet stillness of my soul for a while, my peaceful moment was rudely interrupted by the wayward contents of my mind.  That’s the ego for you—jump right in there to disturb the peace.  It can be quite disconcerting in my head sometimes.  

The mental assault stopped when I heeded the call to take a little vacation break from the ego-produced beliefs, assumptions, ideas, opinions, and perceptions that clutter up my mind.  It is a blessed relief to allow space for the truth to seep in, to make inroads into the density of a mind that thinks it knows it all and has all the answers.  Turn on the lights, open the floodgates, and voila—there it is—the naked truth.    

Oh but wait!  The truth might be my enemy.  What if I see something that I don’t want to see?  Something that I’ve been hiding from, running from, afraid of?  Oh no.  Not me.  I’m not willing to turn on the light.  Not just yet.  Maybe later.  Later is safe.  Later protects me from the naked unadulterated truth that might creep me out and scare the living bejeepers out of me.  

I’ll be the first to admit that staring in the eyeball of the bare naked truth can be frightening, like catching an unexpected glimpse of myself as I emerge dripping wet from a shower and see that my mother’s aged body has replaced my own.  I can hide it beneath layers of clothing, and I can disguise my flaws beneath a smiling face that belies the truth of who I think I am.   But at my core, I am not a body, any more than I am just a mind.  As I recently heard it said, I am not a body with a soul.  I am a soul with a body.

For those brave souls willing to dig deep enough to discern what is true, there is a conundrum. We won’t know the truth until we know what is false, and we won’t know what is false until we know what is true.  Truth will only become known when we are able to answer the call to drop the obstacles that stand in the way of our knowing: the ideas, opinions, perceptions and beliefs that lock us into a false reality of who we think we are, and what we believe to be true.  

One of the greatest roadblocks to peace of mind is our belief in the story that we were told as children about being guilty of having committed some vague, undefinable, heinous sin or other against God or ourselves or some unknown someone, and that punishment is a certain consequence of our wickedness.  Call it blasphemous, but I do not believe that a loving creator would jump start our lives with the word sinner stamped across our foreheads.  

Mistakes?  Sure, you bet!  Guilty as charged!  Sin?  No thank you. I claim my innocence.  God doesn’t make mistakes, but humans do, and we made a whopper when we decided to believe the story we were told that identifies us as sinners.   The day I gave up the idea that I am a sinner was the day that my world turned right side up.  Any creation of God is perfect exactly as created.  We aren’t broken.  We don’t need to be fixed.  Praise the Lord!

Where, when, and how do we gather the courage to turn on the light and begin the search for light when the dark is such a scary place?  With one inch and one toe at a time, perhaps?  Or by sky diving and bungee jumping into the wilds of the unknown?  Or by seeking to find a comfortable space somewhere in the middle?  Or waiting until life in the dark becomes so suffocating that a willingness to open the mind to a sliver of light creeps into consciousness?  It’s different for each one of us.  For me, it was a trickle of awareness sneaking into my consciousness quietly, like a gentle snowfall growing by millimeters of an inch, hour by hour, changing the landscape of life one day at a time, slowly, changing my life forever.

We’re all parked on the planet for a reason.  We each come equipped with an ingenious curriculum specifically tailored to our individual, specific need, designed to move us from one life lesson to another.  We are given carefully selected teachers and guidance counselors to help us through our life experiences and lead the way home.  They are infinitely patient, kind, wise, loving, and take our hand as we navigate the scary patches of the self-realization process.  If we are wise, we follow the carefully planned curriculum and listen carefully to their wise counsel.  

When the time is right and the student is ready, the light will go on and the journey toward home will begin, gently guided by wise teachers who know how to help us find the best within ourselves, the heart and soul of our being. In this, the adventure of a lifetime, the reward is the gift of an infinite supply of unbounding joy. Let the journey begin.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

The Star of the Show

Yay!  I finally got it—I think.

This morning I was kicked out of bed at 4:00 a.m. by an intense need to write it down before I forgot what I got. Wait—write what down?  I already forgot what I forgot!  Rats—there I go again.  I forget a lot.  Not just the little things, like where I put the butter, but the big things too, like who the heck I think I am.  I’m gonna have to blame it all on the weird cosmic energy that’s bombarding the planet at the moment.  

Oh, right!  This morning what I finally got is that who I am isn’t who I think I am.  Right.  I knew that.  The message finally became clear as I was pondering the blogs that I’ve written, their general overall content, message, tone, and theme.  It’s hard to see one’s self through the eyes of another, because others perceive in ways that may or may not match the truth of the one being perceived.  So writing a blog as self-revealing and personal as this one can sometimes be—how do you say—scary because vulnerability begets vulnerability and heaven forbid, somebody should see me in a way that would be embarrassing if I were to be found out.  

Does a playwright or novelist ever wonder how an audience might perceive the characters that she has written into a play or a book?  How would I see myself if I were the audience watching myself act out the part of the main character in the story?  

Oh but wait!  I am the character and the script writer.  I’m the one in the starring role of my own one-woman show, standing on stage front and center playing the part of Julia, the character of many faces: the strong, weak-willed, self-confident, insecure, disorganized, confident, befuddled, self-serving, generous, strong willed, stubborn, indecisive, character who is apt to be both lovable and fearsome all in the same breath.  

This confusing role could drive an actor to the brink of insanity, lost in a head-spinning morass of confusion and self-criticism all the while trying to sort out what’s real and remember to walk the dog and pick up her socks all at the same time.  Today she’s the confident, strong one.  Tomorrow she’s sniveling and insecure.  Today she’s spiritual and whoops—wait a minute—now she’s bordering on egomaniacal.  It’s the role of a lifetime.  Or two, or two hundred.  Small wonder such a character might imagine herself unworthy or deserving of anything worthwhile in life, what with all of these unexplained and unexpected variables cluttering up the inside of her psyche.  

But it’s all only a play, isn’t it?  Well, isn’t it?

When I first started my writing adventure, self-deprecation crept into the scene and became incorporated into the theme of the plot.  Along with that came the perception by others that I may have a little problem here and there that needed a bit of fixing.  Some viewed my self-deprecating humor as a sad commentary about my sense of self worth, concluding that I was somehow lacking in something that they were not.  I, on the other hand, saw self-deprecation sprinkled with a touch of humor as healing and relatable because under the skin we all share the same humanness and are therefore subject to the same self-tyranny that leads to self-sabotage.  But beneath the fear of whatever others might think, I saw writing and acting my part as simply a role I agreed to play while I’m here on planet earth.  My job is not to judge my part but to play it however best I can and let the chips fall where they may. They never said it would be easy.

What I got was that however I choose to define myself, whatever aspect of the character that I play at any given moment, I am none of these things and I am all of these things wrapped into one grand and glorious ball of humanness that looks like a body, but in truth is a spark of the divine.  While separated by bodies, we are spirit beneath the flesh and bones.

As I roll toward an end of my little one-act play here, I wonder—did I say what I meant to say?  Did I get my point across?  Will I be misunderstood?  Will someone perceive my willingness to be vulnerable as weakness?  Or will they see it as strength?  Will I be perceived as I wish to be perceived?  Does it matter how I am seen by others, or what anyone thinks of me?  Do I really care?  I guess that would depend upon which character you are asking. 

I’m not sure about the answer to that question, but it really doesn’t matter because it is what it is, and will be perceived however it is perceived. If somebody benefits, then I will rejoice because my work here is done, at least for the moment. Heaven only knows what the next assignment will be, but whatever it is, I am looking forward to it. We all appear on the stage of life with a script, a part to play, a character to embody while living our role, but a forgiving director allows for improvisation if we need a redo to get it right.  But in the end, the secret to the mystery of the plot is that we just can’t get it wrong because we are students in an acting school directed by a teacher who refuses to flunk anyone out of the class. We get to repeat, improvise, repeat, ad lib, repeat until one day we wake up, see the light, and get it right.

Speaking of the light . . .

Tomorrow is December 21st, and the curtain will rise on a new show that has been in the production stages for eons.  From what I hear, it’s going to be quite a grand light show and all I can say about that is—keep your eye focused on the light, stand steady, stand strong, relax and enjoy the show.  It’s all good.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

Stories I Tell Myself

Sometimes a day without a blog is like a day without my morning coffee fix.  This is one of them.  A couple of days ago I wrote a blog about kindness.  Today it may be about love but who knows?  If not today, then maybe tomorrow or the next day.

But no, today is about the fake news I tell myself.  This morning I caught myself asking how I would manage to check everything off my daily to-do list.  Christmas is snapping at my heels, there are letters to answer, a birthday present to deliver, a blog waiting to be written, phone calls to return, decisions to be made, business to handle, and the beat just on going.   How ever will I get it all done?  

Well I’ll just do the best I can.  Yeah, but my best could be a lot better.  Uh oh.  I can always be better but I’m not.  That’s a downer if ever there was one.  When will I ever be better?  How will I get there from here and how long will it take? Oh but wait just a minute . . .

Well, I’ll just do the best I can for now.  There may come a time when my best improves, but for today, my best is my best and I’m happy with that, because I know that I have time and room enough to grow into a better version of myself tomorrow.  Ahh.  Now I’m better!  

As a wise person once said to me, “If you could do any better, you would.”  We all would.  We just need to give ourselves the space to dream up a new and better version of ourselves, and in time we will wake up and be surprised that we have morphed into the person of our dreams.  It’s such a gradual process that we may not even recognize the change within ourselves until one day when we look back and say, “Wow!  I’ve come a long way, baby!”  Thank God for that.  And thank God for time, space, room, and a vision to grow into.

While we wait for the great morph event, it is tempting to fall into the guilty trap.  I’m a bad person.  I’m not living up to my potential.  Instead of doing what I should be doing, I’m doing what I shouldn’t.  Guilty, guilty, guilty.  Why is it that forgiveness is so much easier to give to another than to ourselves?  Why do we berate ourselves for our perceived sins and keep ourselves hanging on the guilty hook when we readily and willingly forgive others?  Isn’t God quick to forgive us as we are quick to forgive others?  And yet here we are, continuously hanging onto our perceived wrongdoings in an effort to punish ourselves for our so-called sins.  Oh, please.  

One of my favorite spiritual teachings from A Course in Miracles is that there is no need for forgiveness because we have not done anything wrong.  If we have not done anything wrong, there is nothing to be guilty about, nothing to punish ourselves for, nothing to keep us from experiencing ourselves as anything other than pure, unadulterated love.  It may sound blasphemous, but it is we ourselves who have made up the fake news that we tell ourselves, and who believe our delusions of wrongdoing.  We are the ones with the power to return ourselves to sanity simply by denying the self-created fake news, the part of ourselves that would have us believe that we are less than the Truth of who we are, which is love.

Identify not with the external, personality, ego self that you think you are for it is fake news.  Instead, love yourself as the beautiful soul that you truly are.  Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like to live in a world of a soul-identified humanity?  Just as we know that a toddler is destined to grow into an adult, so must we trust and know that day by day, soul by soul, we are changing and growing into the version of ourselves that we are meant to be and we have a front row seat.  Please join the parade of the newly-awakening so that one day we can take a collective look back, and say, “Wow!  We’ve come a long way, baby!”

Ahh.  There you have it.  This blog is about love after all.  It just didn’t quite take the form that I thought it might.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or the next day.  Oh and by the way—I just crossed one to-do off todays list and made space for the next thing.  Hmm—what will be next?  A letter perhaps, or a phone call, or check all of the above?  Has my best just gotten a little better?  I think maybe so.  Yay me and hallelujah!  I’ve come a long way, baby!

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

The Power of Kindness

This morning while I was bumbling around in my unbelievably jumbled computer files in hot pursuit of an elusive file and lamenting the fact that I haven’t published a blog for three weeks, I unexpectedly came upon a letter that I had written years ago in praise of a fellow employee who was the manager the espresso bar where I worked.

It wasn’t my intention to plagiarize myself today, but hey—desperate times call for desperate measures. Three weeks is a long time in a blogless world, and the message in this letter is a timeless reminder of the power of kindness and of how I want to be when I grow up.  So self-plagiarize I shall, and here we go . . .

“You know that you’ve arrived when they see you coming, greet you by name, and have your favorite drink ready for you by the time you get to the counter to pay for it.  But the other day, I had more than “just arrived.”  Thanks to Fred, fabulous manager that he is, I became Queen for a Day. 

As always, I allowed myself enough time to get my favorite coffee fix before starting work.  When I saw the length of the line, my shoulders slumped and my heart sank a little as I turned on my heel, departed from the line, and headed for work sans coffee to be there on time

About a half-hour later, I decided to try my luck again. The thought was barely complete when I looked up to see Fred rounding the corner with a cup of coffee in his hand, and he was headed in my direction.  He stopped, put the coffee on the counter, smiled, and said, “I saw you in line, and didn’t want you to be disappointed.  I don’t know what you like in it, so I brought you several choices.”  With that, he dropped a variety of sweetener packets beside the coffee and turned to leave – but he didn’t get away before I raced around the counter to give him a big hug—back in the day when it was still safe to hug an employee regardless of gender.

It doesn’t take very much to put a smile on someone’s face, and the smile that Fred put on mine with his random act of kindness spread to all the other faces I met that day.  Never underestimate the power of one small act of kindness toward another.  Like throwing a pebble in a pond, the ripples extend outward into infinity and touch lives in ways that we cannot possibly know.  Just imagine how many lives may have been uplifted by that one kind act on the part of one very thoughtful person. 

I’m going to love and appreciate Fred for all I’m worth while he’s there, because I know that he won’t last long.  He’ll be moved on to bigger things before I can say “Tall American with caramel, please.”  On the other hand, maybe if we’re lucky, Fred will decide to be like the enlightened monk who spent the later years of his life in the service of others simply by making omelets with such love that people came from miles around to just be in his presence.  Yep.  That’s just how I want to be when I grow up.”

With gratitude for all kindness both great and small, and love to all.

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)