An Ode to Focus

I think I got it wrong. I think that I’ve been thinking that my problem is procrastination. It just dawned on me that that’s not it. Procrastination is a symptom, not a cause. The true culprit is lack of focus, coupled with lack of motivation. Wise words from the Queen of Distraction. Maybe someday I will learn that it might be a good idea to listen to myself. Sometimes myself isn’t quite as stupid as she likes to make herself out to be. Or maybe she has more brains than she gives herself credit for.

Oh, I start out well enough, with sweeping good intentions covering a wide swath of territory, like meditation, exercise, or decluttering, but for some reason, right in the middle of doing what I’m doing, I forget what I’m doing. I’m like a pack of wild mustangs running free in the wind without a predetermined destination in mind. Mind? What mind? Do I have a mind in here somewhere? 

This morning, for example, when I finally collared myself long enough to sit down to meditate, I was doing just fine until . . . oops I’d better make a note to call about my dental appointment before I forget to do it . . . wait . . . what was I just going to make a note about again? Oh well, forget it. I guess it couldn’t have been very important.

And I wonder why things don’t get done? 

It never seems to work out very well when I try to put a collar around my neck and rein myself in. Mustangs are like that, you know? Wild and free. But once in a while, a horse whisperer may appear out of nowhere and lasso one out of the pack, tame and train it, and turn it into a trusted companion. Maybe I am supposed to be my own horse whisperer in charge of capturing and taming my own wild streak. Maybe I am supposed to transform myself into my own trusty companion. 

Admittedly, my definition of wild and free may be a little shy of exciting to someone who is truly wild and free; for me, it is simply a matter of allowing myself to be who I am, do what I want to do when I want to do it, and make my own decisions about what’s best for me, all the while loving myself in spite of my rights and wrongs. Come to think of it, my wild and free might be considered incredibly boring to one who is caught up in the world of glitz, glamor, excitement, and the hot pursuit of fun. My definition of fun is inner peace and the quiet joy that comes from knowing that joy is a worthy goal.

So what brings me joy? More focus and motivation would be a good start. By listening to the wise whisperer within, I can learn to practice the focus that will move me one step closer to the joy that is the natural inheritance of every living creature on earth, whether wild and free, or surrendered to a cause greater than oneself.

Is it possible to be wild and free and focused all at once? I’m not certain, but I’m certainly willing to jump on the horse, grab the reins, and ride like the wind in the direction of an answer. All I have to do is hang on tight and be motivated enough to stay in the saddle. So—want to come hitch your star to my wagon?

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. ( or

A Labor of Love

In a sudden fit of do-goodness, I once assigned myself the task of doing something for someone other than myself. It was part of my desire to launch myself further along on my spiritual journey, I suppose.

So, I started this little business called Labor of Love. Perhaps it was a teach-what-I-need-to-learn sort of thing, because the idea was to help desperate and frustrated folks clear out the clutter in their homes. Hello, Self? Does that sound familiar? Clutter, it is said, is an outer reflection of the content of the mind—at least that’s true in my world. I shouldn’t speak for others. 

The job was an unrealistic, altruistic attempt to help folks carve out a clutter-free space their lives. My fee was their donation to a charity, for which they could claim a tax deduction. It was a win-win-win situation for all concerned. The win for the recipient was a decluttered space and a tax deduction; a charity received a donation; and I earned the feel-good experience of feeding my need to make myself useful by being of service to someone other than myself. I must have been trying to earn some stars in my crown.

It was a mix of heartwarming and exhausting work; it required the use of both physical energy and facilitative skill to help the seriously-cluttered divest themselves of their attachment to their stuff. It was the speedy route to burn out; I soon reached a point where the thought of having to face one more jungle of unbridled clutter made me want to run for my life. Perhaps I would have lasted longer had I been the recipient of the charitable donation.

So here’s the thing about teaching what I needed to learn. To a casual observer, I am the poster child for minimalism, organization, and orderliness. But oh, dear God, don’t open a closet because it will be crowded with decades of indecision; bureau drawers are brimming with doodads and trinkets tangled in a jumble, and a mix of tacky cheap jewelry is scattered in the with the good stuff.  Oh, and then there’s the question of my so-called filing system. Well, need I say more? 

Someday maybe I’ll get around to cleaning up my own act, maybe before I die and dump it in the laps of my survivors. Maybe. Maybe I need a kindhearted, altruistic declutterer to come to my rescue. Why is the shoemaker’s kid always the last one to get the shoes?

At this point in my life, I’m not feeling overwhelmingly motivated to dive into the closets or the drawers. Except the file drawers. Where paper is concerned, one way or another, I’m going to face an annoyance. Why is it, for example, that I can have a piece of paper in my hand one minute, and in the next, it has mysteriously disappeared, like the sock in the dryer?

Then there is the mother of all messes—the dreaded computer files. How can one pencil-thin thirteen-inch laptop contain such an unholy conglomeration of disorganization? How did it get in such a state of hideous disarray?

Ok, I am not going to lay the blame entirely on my own head here. At least part of the problem lies with the maddening updates foisted upon us by the computer geeks with their fancy algorithms. Why do they think that they need to fix something that isn’t broken? One upgrade scrambled my files so badly that i lost all hope of recovery. I can only limp my way through my searches, hoping to remember the name of what I’m looking for, and praying for the best. Things that I’d like to save forever risk losing their lives in the jaws of my computer.

Can anyone tell me—is it possible to turn over a new leaf, start a new chapter with a clean slate, be reborn into organizational awareness, and help me find what I’m looking for? A new computer will not solve the problem because the old internal clutter will be dragged along and muck up a clean, new space.

Hmm. It dawns on me that I may be describing the human condition here. The clutter of our past is dragged around with us until we make a conscious decision to wipe our slate clean and change our ways. Oh my. Apparently I must have some decluttering to do beyond just closets and computers. 

Maybe in my next life my slate will be cleaner. Oh, but why wait? Why not get a jump start, cross procrastination off my list, and start now instead? It’s an inside job. Drat. It’s all up to me. But here’s the good news: I am not alone! There is help if I am willing to reach out and ask. It comes in many forms—from friends, dreams, new ideas, new ways of thinking, new insights, words from kind strangers or from the wise Voice within myself. And billboards. Don’t forget the billboards. We are never without help. Dream of a clean slate and expect miracles. Ramp up the willingness, and pull out the magic eraser to disappear the clutter of the past.

I’m dreaming of clean slates and decluttered, organized computer files. Oh, and miracles. Does anyone happen to know a kindhearted Apple computer guru with an eye toward the next step up the evolutionary ladder? I donate hourly or by the job.

Or maybe I’ll just donate a Labor of Love to myself.

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. ( or

What’s in a Blog?

In yesterday’s blog, I said that sometimes I feel like an idiot when someone asks me what Voices is about. Defining it is a frustrating challenge, like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. Wouldn’t you think that someone who writes a blog would be able to say what it’s about? It’s a conundrum—a real head-scratcher, brain-searcher sort of question. And in case you might be wondering about the state of my mental health, no—I’m not an idiot. Sometimes I just like to pretend that I am for dramatic effect.

A question of purpose, on the other hand, conjures up multiple answers. I write for myself as an expression of creativity because it helps me to get to know myself in a way that would not be possible otherwise. If I were an artist, painting would serve the same purpose, but alas I have not progressed past stick-figure art. Maybe next lifetime.

It is said that the best writers are those who write about what they know best. Having lived and studied myself for an entire lifetime, what I know best is myself. I know all about my thoughts, feelings, and emotions, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. I have spent a lifetime in the perpetual classroom called Earth 101. Sometimes I flunk, and occasionally I pass with flying colors. It has been a long, slow process, but my determination to ace the course and move ever upward has fueled my dedication to turn failures into the reward of knowing that my best is my best, and that with good intention, my best gets better with each passing day.

Do I pick on myself? Yes. Am I hard on myself? Sure. Do I have self-doubt? You bet. I come equipped with a complete set of ego tricks ever at the ready to disarm my hifalutin good intentions. But I am also heavily armed with a few tricks of my own, designed to outsmart the ego. My ammunition comes from a lifetime of self-study.

In the classroom of my life on earth, I have had the honor and privilege of getting to know my fellow traveling students almost as well as I know myself. The beauty of this knowing brings the awareness that we all tangle with the same emotions and feelings, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Sometimes we sleep through our classes; sometimes we wake up long enough to see that we are not finished yet, and there is still work to do. Sometimes a glimpse of the truth can be scary and foster a desire to fall back into the safety and comfort of sleep. Maybe that’s why I love naps so much.

What I have learned is that although my fellow life travelers and I wear different skins, inside we share the same hope of overcoming the suffering that stands in the way of experiencing our joy. For me, the overcoming lies in my willingness to stay awake and look closely within to determine who I am and what I believe about myself. I do it out loud for the world to see. I do it in the hope that others may benefit by my experience, and that my journey may help to ease the way for others along the way. I tell the truth about myself, at least as I understand it so far. 

So here I am, marching to my own drummer, doing what I do, open to criticism and judgment from others, and that’s okay, provided I don’t do it to myself. Well, sometimes I do but I’m working on that. It’s all just a process, a part of a personal journey to help me navigate safely through the dangerous obstacle course constructed by an ego intent upon keeping itself alive and me asleep. 

Isn’t life just one more question after another? Isn’t it all just a never-ending saga? Isn’t the process all a part of the journey? As I said in yesterday’s blog, “Does it never end, all this digging? Apparently not.” 

Perhaps if we dig deep enough, we will see ourselves reflected in one another, or maybe you will see some of yourself in me—or some of me in you. We’re all in here together. Perhaps we can make life a little easier for one another by our willingness to do a little bit of digging. Perhaps you may benefit by my attempt to dig my way to China and back. I hope so.

The universe has recently gifted us with a powerful infusion of light so that we might find our way out of the dark. What if we all decide to wake up, find a bit of humor in it all, and enjoy the ride to nirvana. Or should that be Nirvana? Isn’t it wonderful to not need to have the answer to everything, and not worry too much about looking like an idiot? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to not be perfect and love ourselves anyway, just as we are, flaws and all? 

Could it be that this blog is about withdrawing our consciousness from the dense world of the ego and shifting into the light of the soul? Maybe so. Stay tuned.

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. ( or

Digging Deeper

Once in a while I feel as if I am a stranger unto myself. Yesterday was one of those days, the result of some probing questions put forth by a friend who challenged me to dig deeper. Really? Do I have to? Again? Does it never end, all this digging? Apparently not.

I truly don’t mind the digging. It’s just that sometimes I don’t understand what I’m digging for. Maybe I need to refine the art of learning to ask the right questions. I’ve always figured that if I can nail down the exact, specific question, then poof—like magic, the answer appears. Getting the question right is always the hardest part.

So what’s the question?

Well, now there’s the question! My friend suggests that my blogs are a record of how I’ve been summing up who I am, what I came here to do, and what keeps getting in my way. She asks if I’ve arrived someplace, if I have stayed in place, and if opening my mouth to speak has made a difference in my life. 

I suppose that I’ve been asking myself these and similar, vague questions for my entire life, and most particularly since I’ve become a blogger. Blogging has become a mirror shoved in my face asking me to decide whether or not I like what I see. Maybe I need to change my hairdo. Or my thinking.

Have I arrived someplace? Has opening my mouth to speak made a difference in my life? Perhaps “someplace” is an as-yet undetermined destination awaiting discovery. Perhaps blogging is just one brief stop along the way. Perhaps I’d better lease an earth mover.

My friend also brought to mind another question that I have frequently asked myself. What is this blog about? Nothing. Everything. Does it really have to be about something? I’m never quite sure how to define it, which presents an interesting and frustrating challenge when someone asks. In fact, it makes me feel rather like an idiot. “What? You don’t know what you’re writing about?” Yep. That about sums it up.

My friend and I agree that I use humor to make fun of myself, to serve as an example that in the midst of the serious business of life, the ability to laugh at oneself helps smooth the sharp edges of self-perceived personality glitches like criticism, judgment, self-doubt, and low self-esteem. The ability to recognize and accept one’s own shortcomings, and laugh in spite of it all is a healing gift. So yes, I make fun of myself. I don’t mind looking foolish or employing a bit of self-degradation if it is for a good cause; I can think no better cause than to help ease the way for others on their life’s journey.

Every now and then, friends who know and love me get in touch to express concern over the state of my mental health. I am quick to offer the assurance that I am fine; I am a writer; I sometimes exaggerate a bit for effect.  Really? Am I telling myself the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth here? Or am I just hiding behind a curtain of smoke and mirrors? Do I really know myself? Do any of us?

Maybe that’s what we’re all here to find out. Maybe that’s what this blog is about. Maybe it’s just about me getting to know and love myself more than I already do, and to figure out ways that I can advance on the ladder of evolution. And maybe take someone’s hand to walk with me on the journey. Maybe yours. Maybe I’m just looking for traveling companions. 

But there is more to it than that. The “more” is still under construction. I’ll let you know when the earth mover has done its job and I get it all figured out. It can get a little dark down here buried beneath all this dirt, but with determination and a little help from the earth mover, I’ll reemerge into the light. Meanwhile, I wonder if the portrayal of myself in real life matches what I say about myself in a blog? Is my blog an accurate portrait of who I really am? Is there a purpose for all of this?

When I dig deep enough, I discover that hidden amidst the thousands of puzzle pieces that I identify as “me,” there exists one bit that stands out among all others. It’s the piece that knows beyond a shadow of a doubt who I am. It’s the soul, the ever present piece that dwells quietly behind the smoky fog of the ego, patiently awaiting my discovery and acceptance of it. When the cloud of my little ego self is cleared away, all of the pieces fall neatly into place, and I can see the beautiful self that I truly am, hidden within a body that wants to think that’s it’s all there is.

So here’s the answer to what this blog is about. It’s about digging deep within to find my True Self, my Soul. And sharing my journey in the hope that it might be helpful to others who are walking the same path.

With every blog I write, I discover another piece of myself.  Sometimes the process is a little scary. Sometimes it’s absolutely exhilarating. Whatever it is, the end result is always worth it. In the midst of it all, it is always good to remember that we are never alone in our journey. Never.

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. ( or

Who is Me?

This might be one of those “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned” kind of blogs; it has been 27 days since my last blog. Eeks. Where have I been? I’ve slipped from being a one-a-day blogger into a slug. It’s not that I don’t get ideas, mind you. Its that I don’t follow up. Sometimes I start a blog and don’t finish. There are a fair number of those squirrelled away in my painfully disorganized computer files.

Today I was fishing through my unfinished blog file and came upon one that paints an accurate portrait of an ego in all its full-blown glory. As I read through it, I asked myself, “Is this really me?” Yes. No. Well, maybe. Sometimes. Well, if it isn’t me, then who is it? Who is me? Am I an ego? Am I a soul? Am I a check-all-of-the-above? Welcome to a picture of me in pre-pandemic mode trying to wrestle myself out of my lazy zone into action. Ready—set—go!

I seem to be missing a plan today.  If I were to break rank with myself and get my fanny up out of the Lazygirl, what would I do?  Hmm. 

Maybe I’d take a shower, get dressed, go out and buy a birthday card for my brother-in-law.  Maybe I’d go for a walk in the mall, though I could really walk outside today since the rain has finally stopped. Or maybe I’d get into the kitchen and zoodle the zucchini and store it till I’m ready to cook it. Or maybe I’d change the sheets.  

I’ve been cloistered too long. Sitting too long. Doing nothing for too long. It’s time to get up and make myself useful in some way or other. But how? Stuck. Can’t seem to get out of my own way. Maybe I just need a change of scenery, which could account for the draw to the mall. Maybe I’d make myself happy and buy a new case for my iPhone. Maybe that’s all I need for an uplift. Or meditation. Whatever. 

Really? Are you kidding me? What is the matter with me? I sit here all comfy cozy in wah-wah mode with everything that I could ever need or want while a ginormous portion of the population suffers from the trauma and drama of world events. How dare I? Sometimes I can’t believe myself. Unbelievable. It’s embarrassing.

And then, blessedly, I begin to return to my senses. 

Oh but wait. I’ve moved into self-judgment mode again. Sure, I may not be at the top of my game right at the moment, but I don’t need to beat myself up for it, do I? Maybe a little compassion would help to turn the tide of negative opinion that I seem to be heaping upon myself. After all, I’m not perfect, right? If I were, I’d probably not be here anymore, right? I mean, if I can’t muster up a little compassion for myself, how can I offer it to others?

Welcome to a portrait of the persona. Have a browse through a photo album of one tangled in self-judgment phase. The reading of a few previous blogs will reveal other not-so charming pictures of one caught in the ego antics of insecurity, fear, low self-worth—or, on the other end of the scale, delusions of grandeur. Tricky thing, the ego. Today the problem is lazy. Tomorrow it could be inadequacy. The possibilities are endless.

On the flip side of the coin there is a portrait of the soul. Those who identify with the presence of the soul within need no explanation, for they understand the truth of their own being. Sometimes, when I am in my right mind, I am one of them. Sometimes I forget who I truly am, and mistakenly identify with the ego side of the coin that represents fear. When I am able to snap back into sanity, the identification with love becomes natural.

So, who am I really? I am whoever I want to be. I prefer to identify with the part of myself that lives in the light of the soul rather than with the self-judgmental critic within, the one who has to wrestle herself out of the Lazygirl and fight her way through the darkness back into the light. When I paint a portrait of myself as an ego, I am showing a false picture of myself, for that is not who I truly am. The truth of me—of every one of us—lies within the soul. 

Today I am back home where I belong, safe and secure in the comforting Divine Light of the Soul. Today, I moved an unfinished blog into the finished pile, and that makes me very happy. It’s always a great joy to move from the darkness to the light, from the ego to the soul, from fear to love.

I’ll see you in the light, my friends.

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. ( or