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. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

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. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

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. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

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. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

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. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us

Wake Up and Smell the Roses

Uh oh.  I woke up this morning feeling a sense of lethargy, like the only thing I have to I look forward to this morning is a breakfast sandwich of moldy cheese on stale bread. Ick.  That doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? Maybe I’ve been squirreled away in my cocoon too long. Wait—squirrels and cocoons don’t go together. See what I mean? Staleness dulls the senses and deadens brain cells. 

It’s funny how that happens. One day I’m riding high on happy and the next, I’m slogging along in slow mo. The shift is insidious; it’s a slow downhill slide that happens while I’m looking the other way, when lazy has overtaken me, and vigilance has fallen asleep on the job. Apparently, so have I. It’s amazing that such a low-impact, non-event can create such a crash landing. I awaken with a start and realize that I’ve hit rock bottom. It’s time to shake things up.

I need to do some soul searching. What has changed? What have I done differently? What is weighing on my mind? What have I been putting off? What joy have I been denying myself? What habit have I fallen into that keeps me asleep? What am I missing? What was I doing when I was riding high that I am not doing now? If I made a list of the ten things that I do that make me feel good about myself, what would they be?

Hmm. Meditate, exercise, publish a blog, cross stuff off of my to-do list, declutter something, help a friend in need, try a new recipe and invite someone to try it with me, commit an anonymous random act of kindness, keep commitments that I make to myself, eat at a healthy diet, get a dog. Oops. That’s eleven. No. I’m not getting another dog. 

As I ponder, an enlightening tidbit of information comes to mind: just the mere act of writing my list of ten has picked my spirits up off the floor. If I were to apply the 80-20 rule here, what would I put at the top of my list of ten? Which two choices would comprise the twenty percent that would provide eighty percent of the benefit? Which two would I want to check off first?

Some of the items on my list are constants, like meditate, exercise, eat a healthy diet, and keep commitments. Others are negotiable and may vary daily. The fact that I haven’t posted a blog for over a month puts write blog into the urgent category and bumps push publish button up to the top of the today list. 

Of the items on the constant list, keep-commitments wins the top spot with meditation running a photo-finish second.  If I keep my promises to myself, all else falls into place. If not, the slow descent downhill will take me to the bottom of a place where I’d rather not be. Without commitment, without meditation, I’m doomed to hang out in the pits until I return to my senses. 

Today I woke up in a hole, but that hollow feeling was accompanied by the happy realization that I don’t need to stay there. The mere recognition that I have a choice, coupled with the desire and willingness to wake up and smell the roses shakes things up enough to bring me back to my senses and decide to do something about it. I can always count on the compassion of the wise dweller within to help lift me out of the doldrums.

By the way, I just remembered that I forgot to add something really important to my list: be kind to myself. That’s twelve. Really? Maybe it should be number one. I’m going to be really kind to myself now and push the publish button. Then I’m going to go have a nice fresh breakfast of something yummy and delicious.

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)

Look to the Light

Sometimes I feel a little tortured like Van Gogh, except I still have both of my ears.  I don’t really know how he felt, or what possessed him to whack off an ear, but perhaps we share some of the same existential questions, like who am I, what am I doing, why am I doing it, and why am I here?  

This morning I parked myself in my Lazygirl and promptly wasted an hour and a half fiddling around with useless trivia on my iPad.  Did I meditate?  No.  Did I journal or write a long-overdue blog?  No.  Did I do anything that was worthwhile with my time?  No.  I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.  Wasting time.

Oh but wait!  Who said it was a waste of time?  Who made that decision, based on what?  And who determines what is a worthwhile use of time and what isn’t?  Or anything else, for that matter. Who decides?

Finally, when I came to my senses and settled down to meditate, I was immediately beset with remorse over my lack of self-discipline.  As the cloud cover of guilt started rolling in to derail my good intentions, a blessed wind of relief came along from behind and blew it off into the ethers.  

Yes, okay, so you think that you wasted time.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay stuck in a state of despair over your dalliance.  You can just acknowledge that you might have preferred to have taken another path and move on.  

Well that sounds like a really good plan, right?

It makes me wonder—how much precious time have I wasted guilting myself over thinking that I have wasted time? How many hours throughout my lifetime have I spent berating myself for things that I did that I shouldn’t have, or things that I should have done that I didn’t?  Or for Heaven-only-knows how many other ‘sins’ I committed?

It occurs to me that we make life up as we go, day by day, minute by minute.  We decide what to think, how to feel, and whether time is wasted or well spent.  I’ve used up more than my fair share of time wallowing around in my wrongdoings rather than congratulating myself for the things I’ve done well.  Why is that?  Why does it seem so hard to turn the light to the right?  

I’m blaming it all on the ego.  I wonder how much of the world population suffers from the same tyranny of the ego’s antics that I sometimes do, the bullying that would have me believe that I am a guilty sinner—oh for shame, for shame?  I would guess that the number would be astronomical.  

I can hang out in my Lazygirl and idle my time away staring at a TV screen, or conjure up a myriad of other imaginative ways to whittle away the hours.  But the question becomes: what am I going to do about it?  Will I decide to change the channel and watch another version of my belief system?

So I ask myself—which is the worst ‘sin’?  Is it time wasted frittering away hours indulging in useless trivia?  Or is it time wasted berating oneself for wasting time with useless trivia?  Now that would be the true definition of wasting time.

So who I am is me.  And why I’m here is to learn whatever it is that I need to know in order to exit this lifetime with both ears still attached to the sides of my head.  Nobody ever said it would be easy, right?  Experience has taught me that life is easier when lived in the light than in the dark.  

Yesterday two friends mentioned that they haven’t seen any blogs recently.  They would be right.  I haven’t written any.  Why?  Have I been wasting time?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe I’ve just been spending precious time storing up energy and gathering my wits for whatever is coming next.  Sometimes there is a need to step back and regroup.  

Life.  It’s all about how you look at it.  Or see it.  Or decide how you feel about it.  We have the freedom of choice, and none of it is right, or wrong.  It just is what it is.  What matters is how we feel about it and what we do or don’t do about it.  We are blessed with free will to do as we wish, and isn’t that wonderous thing?

When I leave the planet, I plan on taking all of my bodily parts and pieces along with me by reason of sanity. All I need to do to get there from here is to change the channel and look to the light.

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)

Lost and Found

Today I awakened to discover that she’s back.  Who?  You know.  Her.  Who??  Ms. Cranky Pants, with her negative attitude, that’s who.  The one who rains all over my parade.  The peace thief.  The interrupter of my little joy ride in the land of La La.  She’s sneaky, that one.  She shows up when least expected just the instant when I let my guard down, just when I think that I’ve finally got it all together once and for all.  She’ll show me, right? 

I frittered away a couple of hours on a bunch of meaningless trivia before I snapped to attention and realized that I’ve lost it again.  One day I’m on top of the world, divinely connected to my fabulous inner Self, and the next, I’ve forgotten who I am, what I’m doing, and why I’m here.  If I dare leave the door open a tiny crack, Ms. Pantsy sneaks in while I’m not looking.   Once her foot is in the door, it’s hard to evict her.  

I silently curse myself for my lack of vigilance.  Again.  When will I learn?  What has become of my self-discipline, diligence, dedication, commitment to stamp out ego?

Eventually, it dawns on me that the her that I think is me isn’t.  That her lives in the part of the collective subconscious that thinks it’s separate from others.  That her fails to see that although we walk around separated by physical bodies, beneath the skin we are all the same Self.  Our thoughts intermingle like the ingredients of a recipe that we bake into our consciousness and spoon-feed to ourselves.  Instant reality.  A minute on the lips, forever on the hips.  

As I sit in my lazygirl trying to figure out where I went wrong, it occurs to me that I have simply plucked the wrong ingredients out of the air.  I have picked up on the negative energy that is so pervasive on the planet these days and baked it into my own consciousness.   Oh my. 

In a workshop years ago, I was asked to imagine a time when I experienced fear.  Earlier in the day, my seriously unhinged boss had hurled her vicious, unbridled anger at me for no good reason.  While still in the midst of reliving that dreadful moment, the workshop leader suddenly shifted gears and  asked us to bring to mind a memory of love.  In that instant, I was so knee deep in my experience of fear that I was completely unable to let it go and bring to mind an experience of love.  It was impossible.

That was the profound moment in my life when I truly understood the meaning of the expression, love is letting go of fear.  It is impossible for the mind to focus on two states of mind at the same time.  It is either one or the other.  In that moment, a choice of love was out of the question because I was totally blocked by fear.  

How can my fabulous divinely-connected self experience love when Ms. Cranky Pants is in control and stands blocking the doorway to inner peace?  Just because I know that she’s there doesn’t make it any easier to dislodge her.  

Before I signed on for another lifetime gig (if you believe in that sort of thing) I raised my hand when they requested volunteers as lightworkers.  I am supposed to be focusing on light not dark, on love not fear.  Finding love amidst the fear is no easy feat when Cranky Pants stands in the way.  Finally, after days of futzing around with this go-nowhere blog, it dawned on me.  The problem is quite simply that I identified as Ms. Cranky Pants instead of remembering that she is not me.  I forgot who I am.  Why do I keep doing that?

Sometimes it takes a while for me to figure these things out.  Maybe that’s why this go-nowhere blog has gone nowhere for about—oh, maybe a week or so now.  There’s nothing quite like being stuck on stall to dampen one’s enthusiasm.  Apparently, I’ve been wasting precious time allowing myself to wallow around in a mindset of futility (translation: fear) instead of in an enlightened state of joy (translation: love).  Can’t be in both places at once, right?  My choice, right?  

At this point, the only thing that I know for sure is that I’m the one who has to change my mind.  I’m the one who is really bored with this go-nowhere blog, and proclaim to myself that it is time to get on with it.  Get a grip.  Finish it.  Move on. 

Okay fine.  I’m in.  Today I’m ready to find my way back to my divinely connected fabulous Self.  I miss me when I’m I’m gone, and I’ve been gone too long.   Bye bye Ms. Cranky Pants.  Today I’m pushing the publish button on you and saying goodbye for now.  Goodbye forever would be better, but I only have now, and now is the only time there is.  Phew.  Finally!  Buh-bye Pantsy. 

The world needs all of the light and love that it can get.  Please make a choice for good will and bake a little light into the collective consciousness to help tip the balance from fear to love, from dark to light.  Your beautiful energy will speed our journey to a world that will soon become our reality.  To that I say, Amen.

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 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)