Who Do Voodoo?

If I were a believer in voodoo, I might be inclined to think that somebody is out to get me. Why would I think such a ridiculous thing, one might wonder? Why? Because in a brief moment of fitful thrashing around during an on-again-off-again sleepless night, I had the odd sensation that there was a sharp object of some sort being stuck in my back. Not like a knife, mind you—more like the steady jab of a sturdy hatpin. Hmm. It gave me pause to wonder.

I know virtually nothing about Voudon except that it is an Afro-Caribbean religion that originated in Haiti. Apparently, it has very little to do with zombies or the practice of voodoo on others, and that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I admit to utter ignorance regarding the history, truth, or use of voodoo dolls. Are they a myth? Are they real? Do people really use them to attack others?

Maybe one day I’ll sit down long enough to do some serious investigation into the subject, but not now. Today, I’d rather talk about what the thought of voodoo brought up for me in the midst of my thrash-around night. 

Maybe it was a poke in the ribs by my writer muse to provide me with a subject for a blog and urge me to get on with it. Or maybe somebody really does have it in for me and is sending hateful thoughts my way. Really? Who? Why? From how many lifetimes ago? What might I have done to bring on such behavior on the part of another person? The idea that someone would willfully set out to take revenge on another by way of a voodoo attack took me by surprise. I guess my head is still buried in the sand, maybe somewhere in Haiti.

Along with that came the realization that if one wants to attack another, voodoo dolls are not necessary. Attacks need only come from an intentional mind in order to be effective. We are perfectly capable of doing harm with our minds, without the need for hatpins.

This makes me wonder. What are the thoughts that I harbor in my mind about others? How nice am I to someone’s face, while thinking critical or judgmental thoughts? How aware am I of my thought process? How often do I project unkind thoughts about another into the ethers, even if unintentionally? How often might I have knowingly or unknowingly stabbed an unsuspecting victim in the heart with a poison hatpin? 

How many times have I stabbed myself in the back with unkind thoughts toward myself? Could it be that the jab I felt last night might have come from me? Am I my own attacker? How safe am I in my own mind? How safe are you in my mind? How safe am I in yours?

My brief sojourn into the unknown world of voodoo has fueled my desire to steer clear of attack regardless of source. It seems to me that if we reap what we sow, I’d better start sowing kind, loving, compassionate thoughts around the universe, because voodoo or no voodoo, our minds are mighty powerful. If what we think is what we get, we’d better get busy and start thinking about the things we’d rather manifest rather than the things that we’d rather not.

Nope. I’ll not start an investigation into voodoo today. What I will do, however, is increase the investigation into the workings of my own mind to suss out and replace with kindness any and all thoughts that have sharp points.  

The world would be a lot better off with more kindness in it, don’t you think?

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)

A Little Bit of Willingness

It’s a lovely morning, and my Lazygirl and I are huddled together contemplating the start of a new day. I sit down to meditate and my mind marches me into the kitchen to see what there is to eat. I do that a lot lately. Pretty much since the start of the pandemic lockdown, I think.

Pre-pandemic, I had myself in proper working order; at least I thought I did. I’d conquered my unhealthy, fattening habits like, smoking, drinking too much wine, and overeating. If there is anyone out there who has ever hung out in an “anon” group, you’ll know what I’m talking about. One can abstain from smoking and drinking, but it’s mighty hard to abstain from food. 

Well, so anyway, I had it all together with my eating habits. Tiny breakfast, BIG lunch, often at a restaurant, a light graze at dinnertime, and I can still button my skinny jeans. Snatch the restaurant out from under me, add Covid, and well, it’s all over. Suddenly I can’t stay out of the kitchen and I’m wrestling with my corrective jeans. It’s humbling.

Given my extensive past experience in the “anon” world, I should be able to get over this, right? 

Oops—wait—I’m shoulding all over myself again. I should be able to get over that too, right? Cheech. It’s always something!

Anyway, I’ve tried my usual tactic of asking my Self for help, but for some reason, breakfast still seeps into my morning meditation, and the kitchen continues to beckon like a shiny gemstone in the sunshine. I have asked—why have I not received?

Slowly it begins to dawn on me that maybe I am low on willingness. Maybe I am too lazy to do what it takes to eat a healthier diet, or too unfocused, or too comfortable with my head in the fridge to be bothered with changing my ways. Or maybe I just really don’t want to make a commitment to change. 

By necessity, I’ve moved from restaurant fare to new recipes that I try on myself that are idiot proof and easy; recipes with pasta, recipes that provide easy leftovers for later. Later comes frequently these days—often in the middle of meditation, or while writing a blog. Food beckons, I forage, and eat to satisfy whatever seems to be missing, whether I’m hungry or not. Do I listen to my body? Nah.

Pre-pandemic, I did a lot of self-congratulations for having enough self-discipline to be trusted alone with a with a cheesecake. Then along came Covid and interrupted my routine. I fell off the wall, broke into bits and pieces, and now I have to put myself back together again. Pride goeth before a fall, it is said, and aren’t I just the perfect example of that? So much for the back pats. Again I say, it’s humbling.

One of the lessons that I have learned in my lofty experience of anons and such, is that the success or failure of any desired change begins with willingness. It is wholly dependent on the willingness to be totally and completely free of whatever obstacle stands in the way of happiness, whether it is a cigarette, a glass of wine, a hunk of chocolate cheesecake, or an unforgiven anger. Without willingness, I’m doomed.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to get to true willingness. There were many reasons why I wanted to quit smoking for example. It’s a disgusting habit. It’s unhealthy. It’s expensive. It burns holes in things. My clothes and hair smelled like an ashtray full of stale cigarette butts. It was becoming harder to smoke in public places. My smoker’s cough was frightening. It wasn’t good for my self-esteem

I really wanted to quit, and so I acquiesced and opted for willingness. But didn’t work. If I was willing, why wasn’t it working?

After another round of serious soul searching, I discovered the truth. The bottom line was that I was not truly, truly willing. Yes, I wanted to give up the filthy habit, but the fact was, the part of me that loved to smoke was reluctant. I was focused on what I perceived that I would be losing. I was not totally, completely, wholly, willing to quit smoking. I was my own obstacle. 

Then I received a idea from my trusty Voice. It said, “Add a willing.”

So I did. I was willing to be willing. Ah. That helped. Maybe it would be good to add another willing or two, just for good measure. So I became truly willing to be willing to be willing.

About two weeks later, I woke up one morning as a non-smoker. The habit simply let go of me of its own volition and, unlike many unsuccessful attempts in the past, the desire to have “just one” cigarette went up in a puff of smoke and vanished into the ethers, never to return.

A three-pack-a-day smoking habit simply dropped out of my life after thirty-five years. All it took was just a little bit of willingness. Or two.

So now I’ll have to get busy, put my money where my mouth is, and ask myself if I’m really, really willing to remove my head from the fridge. If not, why? What’s in it for me to continue a habit that makes me unhappy—and uncomfortable in my skinny jeans?

Hmm. Am I being ruled by my tastebuds? Am I looking for comfort somewhere outside of myself rather than finding it within? What might be keeping me tripping the light fantastic into the kitchen? I don’t know the answer to those questions right now, but I think it might behoove me to do a little digging to find out. Meanwhile, I’ll work on increasing my willingness.

Here’s a tiny hint about how willingness works—I’m beginning to realize that I don’t feel very swell after one of my unscheduled visits to the feeding trough. It’s a clue. Maybe soon I’ll wake up and realize that I’ll feel a whole lot better if I forego all of those unscheduled trips. Maybe one day soon, I’ll easily zip up my skinny jeans, and discover that I’ve returned to my pre-pandemic size and sanity. Who knows?  

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how I do. Meanwhile, would you care to join me in a bit of willingness?

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)