It is not possible to get to Carnegie Hall without traveling the path of practice, nor is it possible to find joy without the practice of forgiveness. Practice, practice, practice.
In my continuing quest for peace of mind and happy endings, I am more aware than ever of the need to put my money where my mouth is and stop talking and start doing the inner work that is necessary to move forward on the path to enlightenment.
In answer to my impassioned plea for more joy in my life I was rewarded with the opportunity to practice what I preach. This answer comes to me in the form of a person who is so in-your-face angry and contentious that I want nothing more than to see the back of her head when she walks away. The experience of being in her presence is so disturbing that my heart ties itself into a knot just thinking about it. Sometimes I think that God has a very mischievous sense of humor.
Twice I have received guidance and insight into the path to forgiveness of her and twice, it has slipped away. How fleeting these precious thoughts can be, and how quickly I forget! I need to write it down so that I can remember and practice, but it is so elusive that I ask for help to remember and recapture those ephemeral thoughts. Help comes in the form of a poem. Well, sort of. I’m not a poet.
She is not angry with me
She is angry with the world
Those in her path reap her wrath
Rather than respond with anger
I prefer to offer forgiveness
Yet forgiveness is hard to find
She is not angry with me
The world has done her wrong
Her anger lashes out on others
And she drives them away with her fury
She is in great need of forgiveness
Of herself, of others, of the world
If I cannot find forgiveness
Perhaps I can find compassion
Compassion for her suffering
Compassion for the pain that drives her
And understanding of the intense grievances
That clog her heart with the fear of love
Jesus implores us to forgive seventy times seven
I may find it in my heart to forgive today
Yet tomorrow will bring renewed opportunity
When she stands in my face once again
With a glare, a frown and bitterness in her heart
In her current state of mind
She is helpless to help herself
But I can refrain from my judgment of her
And silently acknowledge her suffering
In exchange for her anger and contention
I can offer compassion and forgiveness
And a prayer of peace and love for her
Seventy times seven
The following is an excerpt from a newsletter that I sent out to the residents of my condo building on June 30, just two days after the tragic shooting at the Annapolis Gazette. Though you may have read it before, sometimes it helps to be reminded that each one of us makes a difference in our world. There is a revised ending–just so you know!
On Thursday we were reeling from a senseless tragedy that occurred right here, a mere four miles away from our own front door, in a building where many of us go to doctors and dentists. It doesn’t get very much closer to home than that. At the risk of sounding uncharacteristically negative, today I am feeling rather powerless and hopeless as I process all that is happening in our world today. The horrendous murder of innocent people coupled with a pervasively negative political climate is turning our country inside out. If I think about it or dwell on it too much, it almost seems more than I can bear. Perhaps some of you may be experiencing similar feelings.
As I sit with heavy heart, I am aware that my mind tends to run away with itself by indulging in negative thinking. I am not helping the problem—indeed, I am adding to it by allowing an insidious underlying fear to infiltrate my mind and dominate my thought process. A smile is catching. So is fear.
I don’t want to be responsible for spreading the disease of fear, for truly, it is a disease. It robs us of peace of mind, a healthy outlook, and hope for a brighter future. Instead, I am going to shift my mindset into one of looking beyond the appearance of what is, and instead focus on what may be, and of what is possible when we focus on love rather than fear. I invite you to join me in adopting and maintaining a higher vision of a better, safer world. In horoscopes, it is often written that sometimes we must “tear down in order to rebuild.” Life on our planet may never return to what it once was, but I am holding a vision and keeping the faith that one day it will be rebuilt into one that is even better. Please, please help to speed the process by focusing on what’s right rather than on what’s wrong, on light rather than dark, on love rather than fear.
If this post speaks to your heart, I hope that you will share it with others who may find solace and comfort in knowing that they too can make a difference in a world in such need of love and peace. Please pass it on. We need all of the help and hope that we can get.
To borrow a phrase from yesteryear, “Make love, not war.” Stay strong and nurture your spirit with thoughts that lift you up into the hope of a happy ending.
There are a few people in the world who make me want to hide myself under the Harry Potter invisibility cloak. They are the peace disturbers, the annoyers, the ones who make me crazy with just a word, a look, a comment, a request—that’s all it takes to send me off into a world of anger, frustration, criticism, or judgment. Try as I might, it seems impossible to avoid some sort of conflict or contact with them. I hear a voice, I turn and do a quick-step in the opposite direction. Then another pops up and blocks my exit route. There’s no escape. While there are only a couple of folks who have that effect on me, it seems more like an army. They’re everywhere. It’s maddening.
I try. I mean, I really, really try hard to not allow myself to be negatively impacted by the words and deeds of others, no matter how underhanded, manipulative, or controlling I perceive them to be. Once in a blue moon, I succeed for a minute, but a minute is about all I can manage to muster up before the next offense rises up and challenges me to get over myself and behave like an adult.
Maybe it’s karma. Maybe it’s lifetimes of unhealed junk that I’ve carried around in my backpack for as long as the world has been spinning. Maybe these blessed souls are there for the sole purpose of teaching me some sort of a gigantic life lesson. Maybe I’m not getting out of here alive before first realizing that avoidance is not the best or healthiest way to deal with a troubling situation. The most troubling of all is the wee perception that what I perceive as “wrong with them” may be something within myself that needs to be healed, else I would not be able to recognize it outside of myself. Yikes.
Sometimes it helps to focus on the benefit of letting go. Sometimes it’s a matter of asking myself my least favorite question, “What’s in it for me?” What’s in it for me to forgive a husband who had a brief fling with a friend? My knee jerk reaction was to distance myself from the co-respondent, along with the entire group of friends of which we were all a part. My unwillingness to associate with the betrayer fueled my departure from a group of friends that I enjoyed and robbed me of a large piece of my social life. Oh, the things I do to myself!
The forgive-and-forget plan fell short of its goal, and neither avoidance nor denial provided solution or solace. I was the one left suffering the effect of my own anger with the loss of peace, trust, and friendship. The infraction of one person (well, maybe two if you count my philandering husband) who had crossed a line had rocked my world.
Two years after the discovery, as I was riding down Connecticut Avenue on my way to work, I had an epiphany. I suddenly saw that I was the one denying myself the joy of love and friendship by virtue of my blame, criticism, and judgment of one person. I was the one stuck on my righteous attitude of anger and blame. I was the only one suffering while the others went merrily on their way without me, utterly clueless about my pain. I was the one refusing to forgive because clearly, I was right and they were wrong. Right? Wrong!
With that epiphany came another—the instant realization that since I was the only one suffering by my own hand (or head is more like it) in this scenario, I was the only one who could change the situation that I had created for myself. I was my own peace thief.
Simultaneously, another amazing thing happened. An actual desire to let it go and forgive and forget washed over me and a spontaneous prayer arose within me. Oh God I truly do want to forgive this situation, but I don’t know how. Please help! And I sat back, let go, and relaxed.
Day by day, little by little, inch by inch, I began to feel better until one day soon after, I awoke and discovered that it was gone—all of the blame, criticism, anger, judgment—gone. In the midst of the quiet miracle that had occurred within me, it dawned on me that forgiveness requires true willingness. Only the sincere desire and heartfelt commitment to forgive will open the floodgates to the miracle of forgiveness. It doesn’t work if there’s even the tiniest bit of anger or resentment. Sometimes one has to be willing to be willing to be willing to let go and forgive.
As I ponder my attitude toward my current peace disturbers, I must sit myself down and ask a soul-searching question. Am I truly willing? Do I really, really mean it when I ask for forgiveness such that I can stand to be in the same room with one of my peace thieves and not wish to commit dishonorable hara-kiri? Do I have it within myself to pull it off? Do I? Can I? Will I?
Yes, I do, yes I can, and yes I will.
To my unwitting teachers of peace, I pray that with each thought of you, my heart opens spontaneously so that I may clearly see that purity and radiating love are a force in your life. I pray that I look beyond any and all behavior that causes me to think less of you, or that distorts my image of you as anything other than the Truth of your being, which is Love.
With my backpack fully loaded with willingness, desire, and a prayer for forgiveness, all I need do now is sit back, relax, and be amazed and grateful for the miracle that restores me to peace and floods my life and the lives of others with love and grace.
So what’s in it for me? Only peace of mind. Oh–and maybe a bit of happiness too. That’s all.
I wandered into Sur La Table for a lemon zester and stood at the check-out counter while the transaction was being completed. As I waited, a hulking figure emerged from the back room carrying a bag full of money. He was wearing a dark blue uniform and the brightest smile I have seen since my soon-to-be son-in-law caught his first glimpse of his bride walking down the aisle a couple of decades ago.
As he passed by, he looked me straight in the eye with a grin the size of Texas and wished me a cheery “Good morning.” How is it, I wonder, that just one beaming smile coupled with an enthusiastic, heartfelt “good morning” can leave me feeling so over-the-top-happy? What a zesty guy!
I had only one word for the encounter. “Wow,” I said. My gaze followed him out the door as he walked toward his armored truck. Reading my mind, the cashier glanced at me with a faraway look in her eye and a soft smile on her face. “I know,” she said. “I really look forward to Friday mornings when he comes in because I always feel so good when he’s here, and all day even after he leaves.”
The man had a palpable, larger-than-life presence that lit up the room and left me in a state of awe. In that one brief instant, I was reminded that we all carry a presence, and that what we carry within ourselves reaches out and touches those around us, for better or for worse. It made me stop for a moment and ask myself what it is that I am sending out to those around me, to the ones I love, and to strangers.
What about the people who zoom down the shoulder of the road and cut in the front of the line, or those who leave their dog’s droppings for other people to step in, or the folks whose empty Budweiser cans I pick up on my daily walks? What about the myriad of other small irritations that are available to confront my peace of mind every single day of my life? Are my thoughts and judgments polluting the air around me, and negatively impacting those unfortunate unsuspecting souls who happen to stand within close range? Worse, are they polluting my own inner space? Do I allow these small little annoyances to become volcanic in my mind? Or do I embrace them as part of a plan to grow up and get over it?
I’m not sure that I can possibly begin to imagine what it must be like to live within that man’s big heart. I can’t think of any cause greater than to spread kindness and goodwill just simply by being. But just for an instant, I’d sure like to be able to pop inside his skin and check it out for myself, to experience how it feels to reside within such an amazing presence. No, I can’t imagine it. But this much I do know. I want to be a zester just like him when I grow up. After all, I am the only one who can do something about how they will feel when I walk away, right?
I’m not a Catholic girl, but recently I’ve noticed a tendency to want to start new blogs with, “Forgive me Father, it has been 13 days since my last blog.” I’m not quite sure what I need to be forgiven for, but I have concluded that clearly, it must have something to do with myself. Whatever. Maybe the answer to that will become clear as this blog—or this day—or this lifetime moves on. We’ll see. Or not.
I’ve done a lot of blog stop-starts in the past few days but they are just that. Starts and stops. Life is like that sometimes—a series of starting stuff that I don’t finish. Maybe that’swhat I need to forgive myself for, especially those days when I just can’t seem to get out of my own way. Heaven help me—I’m in a blog fog!
A few days ago when lethargy was the order of the day, I blamed it on post Royal Wedding Blues. All of that glorious anticipation and activity leading up to The Great Moment when Harry and Meghan finally tied the knot and we all had our curious little questions answered. Will Harry wear a uniform and keep his beard? Will he wear a wedding ring? Who will walk Meghan down the aisle? What will her dress be like and who was the designer? You know—all of those intriguing questions that tickled the world’s fancy for weeks on end.
Well it was either that, or a week of grey gloomy weather that added to the post wedding blues that got me, or maybe a combination platter. Whatever it was, voila! Instant depression. How depressing!
Okay so today is a whole new day and I’m over it. I’ve allowed myself the luxury of a full do-nothing, guilt-free, three-day wallow and now it’s time to move on. There is something really therapeutic about giving oneself the gift of a good wallow, provided it is not allowed to go on for too long lest it become self-defeating hence unhealthy. Three days max.
Now here I am, fresh as a daisy, bright as a star with a whole day (albeit another gloomy one) in front of me with nothing on my calendar and nothing pressing to do. So many options, so many choices! In her recent blog, Natalietalksabout.com inspired me to declutter a jewelry drawer. I could do that, I suppose. Or write a blog about decluttering (and with any luck it might even make it to the finish line). Or I could stop procrastinating and plant some flowers and herbs in the pots on my balcony. Well maybe—I never like to rush into anything. Whoa–were those the Blue Angels that just streaked overhead past my balcony? If I had been out there tending to pots, perhaps I wouldn’t have missed seeing them. Oh well–maybe later–
Meanwhile, lest I fritter away the entire day in indecision mode, best I pick one and just DO it. So here I am DOING it, and as it turns out, the IT is a blog. Well, whatdya know—I think maybe it might even be finished. Today there is hope about making it as far as the jewelry drawer. I’m not too sure about those empty pots however but God willing, tomorrow is another day.
Hot dog. Today there is nothing to feel guilty about or forgive myself for. Not today, not any day, no matter how naughty I think that I may have been. God bless God for giving us do-over’s—the chance to fix what isn’t really broken in the first place. I’ll drink to that. Except that I don’t drink anymore. Drat. Maybe I’ll just celebrate with a push of the post button and dance a little happy dance instead.
In keeping with my usual “get-up-early-so-I-can-loaf-longer” mode, it is o’dark-thirty and I have been up for over an hour and a half. So far, I have picked up my pen instead of my computer (a major start-of-the-day accomplishment), meditated, walked and fed the dog, and just settled down to enjoy my second cup of coffee. Somewhere between the twenty steps that separate the kitchen from my Lazygirl, a small kamikaze fly took a suicide dive into my coveted second cup. Bummer.
My normal modus operandi would be to immediately ask myself, “What is the meaning of this?” Today I have admitted to myself that perhaps there is no meaning in this. But hey—it wouldn’t be like me not to wonder just a little bit—and to use the incident as a springboard to the discovery some sort of magical, mystical, amazing hidden Truth that suddenly reveals itself as a reward for my continual forward march on the obstacle-strewn path to Nirvana. What is my life after all, if nothing but a search for meaning?
The fly-in-the-coffee routine is reminiscent of the wasp-in-the-purse number that occurred a number of years ago. It makes me wonder—why bother to search for meaning when I have already found it long ago (and apparently forgotten it again)? That would be a little like reinventing the wheel. On the other hand, what with my forgetful ways, I always do appreciate a good reminder because Heaven knows, I can use all of them I can get!
Just so you know—the little story that you are about to read was lifted right out of my book, Amusings—Looking at Life Through a Stained Glass Window. Is it blog- cheating to plagiarize myself? I don’t know, but I’m going to do it anyway, so here goes. The following little vignette is titled The Wasp.
Have you ever popped into your car, reached your hand into your purse to find your keys and discovered that there was a wasp wandering around somewhere between your checkbook and wallet? It is probably a moment you would prefer reading about when it happened to someone else than actually experiencing for yourself.
Well, we had quite a time, the wasp and I. We had a little conversation—seems I did most of the talking—while the nosy little itinerant inspected the contents of my handbag. Hitching a ride to somewhere, and looking for a bite of free lunch, I supposed. I wasn’t much looking forward to being his mid-day meal.
Apparently, I managed to talk some sense into the tiny critter’s head, because before too very long, s/he flew out the open car window, rather than risk being bludgeoned to death by the contents of a closed purse being pounded in panic against a hot asphalt parking lot. Thank goodness.
Once my heart rate returned to normal, I immediately launched into my usual what-does-this-mean mode, and concluded that the wasp had given me a very great gift. I drove away thanking the clever powers that be for the experience, because now—ta dah—I had a juicy little tidbit of insight for the subject of my next writing session.
There was a time when I thought that daily bread was a tangible, like money, or food. (Naturally, I’d be thinking in terms of food). But that day, thanks to my friend the wasp, I came to an entirely new understanding about the meaning of daily bread. Daily bread became transformed in my mind from the tangibles of food and money into food for thought. I moved from the tangible to intangible, then back to tangible again, by bringing ideas, creativity, wisdom and inspiration into physical manifestation through words as a personal expression of individual creativity.
Some folks can take their ideas and build buildings, or paint masterpieces, or write great American novels, or take embryonic ideas and turn them into enormous business empires. Well I had an unfortunate relationship with geometry, never got past kindergarten art, and my grandiose, highfalutin entrepreneurial ideas have long since gone up in smoke, along with the dream of making it onto Oprah’s book list.
But I’m not dead yet! Thanks to that unexpected, uninvited visitor in my purse, I was given an idea and a story to tell, along with a healthy dose of insight, inspiration, and willingness to use it creatively. So the idea is to write the idea. And who knows? Maybe one day the idea will be published somewhere and I’ll even get paid fir it. Now wouldn’t that be something!
Either way, published or not, when I fail to write for myself as a personal expression of my own inner creativity, I’m starving myself to death.
Oh Lord, give me this day my daily bread. I’m too young to die.
Do you ever review your day just before going to sleep? I do—and last night I had to face the music and ask myself, “Egad—what in the worldwas that?”
Yesterday was one of those head-pounding, heart-pumping, vein-popping nightmarish kind of days that nearly sent me over the edge of sanity into the brutal realization that I ain’t perfect yet. Dagnabit. When am I going to learn?
Here I thought that I finally had it all together (well, maybe just some of it) only to be shocked into the awareness that just like anyone else, I am not immune from the blast of anger that lurks just beneath the surface of my usual calm manner that is ready to flare up unexpectedly to pounce and punch—and Heaven help the person who happens to be innocently standing in the way when it does!
Unlike the nightmares of The Pink Panther (2/26) and Trashy Dreams (4/22), this was a daytime nightmare from which I have not yet awakened nor barely recovered. Lessons, lessons, everywhere lessons.
In addition to owning the title of Queen of the Trash Room, I also seem to have acquired the honor of being dubbed Queen of the Movers, or chief-in-charge of the many comings and goings of the condo building where I live. This one tops the list of the Make-Me-Crazy jobs on my list of Crazy-Things-To-Do.
Yesterday’s move was the pinnacle of the move-from-hell experiences. The guys on the truck broke every condo rule in the book, resulting in multiple complaints from irate residents who had every right to be angry about the inconvenience created by the truck blocking the entrance/exit to the garage. They refused to move. Period. They simply refused to move. Needless to say, I lost it and things went downhill from there.
My normal behavior would have been to slip into facilitator/mediator role, but I was so blinded by my own anger that I got caught up in the melee, unable to find my way clear. Fortunately, I soon realized that I was part of the problem rather than part of the solution, and I backed off and apologized for my untowardly behavior toward the movers, but not before I gave myself a good tongue lashing for my behavior. I felt ashamed of myself and embarrassed by my loss of control. That sucker-punch caught me by surprise and rather than responding with kindness, I reacted to this little head-on collision with anger instead.
It’s times like these that I need to remember that I’m not broken and I don’t need to be “fixed,” but sometimes when in the midst of such a daytime nightmare, it sounds easier said than done. Happily for me, I have a strong faith and belief in the power of love over fear, and that I need only remember that love is the best soft-serve antidote to all things conflicting.
As my head hit the pillow last night, I felt my body struggling to recover from the nasty blast of stress that occurred as a result of the day’s fray. Heart and head both pounded from physical, mental, and emotional strain and kept me awake and asking myself how I had gone so far over the edge so quickly. What was the trigger that set me off? I don’t have the answer to that yet, but at least my head is a little clearer in the light of day. What did I learn from this unfortunate encounter?
It’s easier to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Think before I speak.
I am not broken and I don’t need to be fixed.
Though I may lose it in the moment and never have an opportunity to heal a rift between myself and another, I can still practice the art of love, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion with both myself and those whom I may have harmed.
I can reaffirm my resolve to sit down each day with the friendly voices within myself for a refreshing dip in the fountain of awareness and enlightenment.
But here’s the kicker of what I really learned. I learned how important it is to have a strong spiritual belief system. I learned that yesterday, I had failed to have a little daily chat with my sane, loving unseen voices. I saw how quickly a situation of minor proportions can quickly morph into a major incident such that those involved might be brought to use violence as a means as a so-called solution to the problem. Or that a family disagreement can cause a major lifelong fracture that goes unhealed.
This incident also reminded me that any situation may be used by the powers that be to heal, bless, and heighten the awareness of those with eyes to see and the willingness to engage in the practice of doing whatever they need to do to add peace to their world and to the world in general.
Any experience—no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable, no matter how happy or unhappy—can be used as fodder for a blog. So thanks for this experience of something to write about, my friends (I think!).
By the way—in case you may have forgotten, I’d just like to remind you (and myself) that we are absolutely perfect exactly the way we are. Let’s face it—we’re all doing the best we can. If we could do it any better, we would. And one day when we’re ready, we will. Meanwhile, I highly recommend that you simply sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.
Today I’ll thank the voices who are always there for me, I’ll remember that I’m not broken, that I don’t need to be fixed, that I can own and love my behavior and see it as a gift cleverly designed to move me along on my path to enlightenment like it or not (and sometimes I don’t, depending of the form the lesson). I can see it as a growing experience rather than use it as a weapon against myself, and know that I am always loved and forgiven and I can always love and forgive myself and all others in my world. And yes, even my enemies. Well—not so easy sometimes, but I’m working on it!
I also learned that my blissful, joyful, state of euphoria can be quickly destroyed by unhealed anger. So I’m making the choice for love and will keep my sights set on Nirvana. It may take awhile, but I plan to stay on track till I make it! Maybe I’ll see you there, huh?
Oh—as a final note (there always seems to be a final note, right?) I want to add that starting right now, today, this very minute, I have returned to “Thank You God” mode. All day every day, Thank You God Mode keeps me in a state of joyful bliss and out of trouble. Apparently I flunked Gratitude 101 yesterday. I won’t make that mistake again today. It’s too stressful!
Thank you, thank you, thank you God for ALL blessings, both great and small. And speaking of gratitude . . .
Oh–and here’s other final note. (Do they never end?) This blog was produced before I even had a chance to say thank you to all of you wonderful family, friends, and fellow bloggers for your lovely and positive comments about the last post, but hang tight. I’ll get there soon! Meanwhile, please know that I appreciate your kind thoughts! 🙂 To those who are following my blog, THANK YOU!
I’m kinda new at this blogging thing—I’ve only been at it for about three months now, and being the baby blogger that I am, I am still struggling to find my voice. I tend to write whenever the spirit hits me with an idea, which could be anything and everything, once a day or once a month—and when I sit down to write, I’m never sure what’s coming or where it’s going.
People ask, “What is your blog about?” Well, I wish I knew, but I really can’t say for sure. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes silly nonsense, sometimes spiritual, sometimes a tad irreverent. What can I say? Would that I had all the answers. It’s a little like a day in my life when I plan to go about it with intention but somewhere along the line I’ve wandered off course and wind up at a destination I didn’t have in mind when I first started out.
My erratic writing habits give those who know and love me a chance to stick by my side and love me in spite of myself. As for the rest of you, well that’s entirely up to you, but I’d be really happy if you’d hang in there with me on my journey to wherever and allow yourself to be as surprised by the ending as I often am.
Take today, for example. I sit down with my journal and take pen in hand. An unexpected conversation shows up on the page.
“I am always here to talk with you.”
The vague recollection of a conversation seeps into my awareness and I wonder—did I imagine that? Dream it? Read it?
“You are never alone.”
Hmm. No wonder that my blog is called Voices in my Head.
Who is speaking, I ask?
“It is the Lord,” says the voice.
The Lord? Do you mean God? That Lord, I ask?
“I am the Lord of your Being, the voice that speaks to and for your soul. I am the voice of your higher self. I, along with others form a group comprised of those who are your guides, angels, teachers, protectors, and guardians. Together we are a team assigned the task of keeping your best interests in mind and heart, and we function as a group under the leadership of the One who is in charge of your spiritual journey.
‘We speak on behalf of The Great Lord, the team of Jesus the Christ, the Holy Spirit, All That Is. Our job is to help guide you back to your true home. On behalf of the Great One, we teach love, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion.
‘We invite you to allow your voice to be the voice for all that is good, of all that is truly helpful. We challenge you to gather the courage to use your voice on behalf of The Great One with the wild abandon of the eagle that flies with wind beneath its wings, soaring for the sheer joy and the freedom that it brings.
‘We urge you to simply allow the spirit of this message to live in your heart, and not become caught up in the mechanics of terminology which the ego would use against you to derail your journey. Simply allow what is to just be, and relax and enjoy your journey. We are with you each step along the way.”
End of conversation—at least for today.
Okay, so do you see what I mean? I don’t know what’s coming next folks, but whatever it is, I think I’ll sit back, relax, and watch to see what unfolds along the way. Meanwhile, I’m just going to spend some quality time hanging out with my teammates with gratitude and appreciation for the miracles that they perform on my behalf, and for the blessings that they endlessly shower upon me.
I enjoy my little chats with my team. I hope that you enjoy mine with you. If you do, please push the “follow” button on my blog site and you’ll receive emails notifying you when I post a new blog. To quote the over-quoted legendary Forest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” I hope that you’ll be willing to dig in and enjoy the whole box—even if it means that you must take the risk of getting the jelly one that you’d rather spit out than swallow.
One of the things that I love about blogging is that I can make mistakes and don’t have to follow the rules. There’s nobody to correct me or tell me that I’m doing something wrong. Love that! It’s a place where I can be myself, and don’t have to worry about being perfect, but instead can do my best to do the best I can, and maybe as time goes my best will keep on getting better. Meanwhile, you, dear reader, if you wish to do so, have the opportunity to practice forgiveness and love me anyway (and my incorrect grammar and punctuation) in spite of myself. Isn’t that great? Isn’t God great?
Before I close, I’d like to share a little PS news flash that just happened before I could put the final “amen” to this little epistle.
I was as happy as a little lark just finishing my blog when I hear the ominous sound of wretching coming from the direction of the dog. Uh oh—I know what that means! Charlie has moved himself from his bed on the hardwood floor to the carpet (why do they always do that?) while I start saying NO NO NO in my insistent STOP THAT voice. I jump out of my Lazygirl to get to him in time to redirect the action away from the carpet back to the hardwood but as I try to stand up, the calf of my leg is gripped by a Charlie horse and I am temporarily and painfully disabled. Meanwhile, Charlie continues to wretch while I continue to curse at my inability to reach him in time to avoid the inevitable. Curses indeed! My leg returns to functional just in time to clean up the mess. Gee thanks for the dreaded chocolate covered jelly, Charlie dog. Were you and Charlie horse in cahoots?
Oh—did I mention? Those voices in my head sometimes have a wicked sense of humor. Haha. Very funny, you guys. Thanks for the opportunity to remember that it’s not what happens to me that matters—it’s the how do I handle it that counts. Oh yeah, and thanks for the humorous little antidote to end my story as a diversion from the serious back into the silly. I know that you dog lovers out there can relate!
That’s it for now, folks. I’ll see you next time (I hope)! I wish you blessings, miracles, and grace today and every day.
I wake up on a lovely rainy morning and search my mind for what’s up for the day. Lunch with some friends closely followed by a nap. Well, it just doesn’t get much better than that, now does it? With nothing pressing on my agenda, I settle myself into my Lazygirl with my first cup of coffee of the day, put my feet up on the matted sheepskin that disguises a well worn hassock, and open my Kindle to Practicing the Presence by Joel Goldsmith, one of my favorite spiritual writers/teachers. Nothing to do right now except relax and wallow around in the luxury of comfort, good coffee, and infinite possibility. And listen to the raindrops.
As I sit back to enjoy my quiet time, I read a few passages about abundance and my mind transports me back a few decades ago to a day that still brings a sense of awe. It lives forever on in my memory and amazes me still as I recollect the fullness and abundance contained within it.
I do not recall the exact details, but what I remember the most about it is putting my head on the pillow at the end of the day and looking back over what I had accomplished during my waking hours. It was if I had entered a wormhole in space that allowed me to zoom throughout the day at warp speed doing anything and everything that I could possibly think of to do. I shifted into Superwoman mode and away I went full speed ahead.
The accomplishments of the day were astounding—not just the little piddling stuff, like returning phone calls or doing laundry. No, it was more like clean out the basement, organize the junk closet, run a month worth of errands all over town, scrub the kitchen floor within an inch of its life, and have a dinner party for six that night stuff. Really? Did I do all of that in one day? And still have energy left to spare? On a normal day in my life, the mere thought of tackling any one of those tasks would have sent me running back to the shelter and comfort of my waiting Lazygirl. How did this happen? Whatever did I sow in order to reap such great benefits?
As I allowed Joel Goldsmith’s words to sink into my head and heart, I realized again what I have heard many times before and often forgotten. All things are possible, provided that I acknowledge that God, All That Is, the Universe, or whatever one wants to call it, is the total and complete source of all, and I am part of that all, and therefore all that God is I am. And so are you. Period. All that I am and all that I have is simply an outpouring of that which exists within myself, and is mine provided that I recognize, realize, and acknowledge the Truth of it. The minute I forget and think that I, or a friend, or family member, or job is the source of my happiness or my supply, I have lost sight of my divine nature and fail to experience that which is my natural inheritance, my birthright.
If the miraculous expansion of time is any indicator of the miracles that God can pull off without even being asked, imagine the possibilities of what can be done with those little strips of paper and stacks of metal disks that we call money. Can they not multiply and stretch as well? If I have $100 in my pocket, can it not disappear in a heartbeat as if never there? Or by some miraculous phenomenon can it seem to stretch into twice as much or more, providing greater benefit than it’s apparent limited value?
Was that magical day a gift to teach me about abundance, to demonstrate that there is always enough time, always enough money, and that there is never a need to live in lack of any sort? The gift of abundance comes in many forms. One can have an abundance of misery or an abundance of joy. It is a matter of choice. It is all a state of mind. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
If, in my limited way of thinking I can find nothing to write about, and then suddenly I awake one morning with an idea so compelling that I have no choice but to run to my computer and start typing, is that not also abundance?
“The principle of abundance is: “To him that hath, so shall be given.” Practice this principle by casting your bread upon the waters, giving freely of yourself and your possessions, knowing that what you are giving is God’s, and that you are merely the instrument as which it flows out into the world. Never look for a return, but rest in quiet confidence in the assurance that within is the fountain of life and His grace is your sufficiency in all things. In that certainty, born of an inner understanding of the letter of truth, you have. The cup of joy runs over, and all that the Father has flows forth into expression.
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Julia, self-appointed Queen of the Trash Room. This honor is bestowed upon me courtesy of my own idiocy as a result of my willingness to join the board of directors of the condo building where I live. Clearly, we do not have a janitor.
My kingdom includes a 300-square foot trash room with cinder block walls, a concrete floor, and a dumpster, the receptacle for whatever crazy stuff that residents can think of to send down the chute from six floors above. I don’t recommend vacuum cleaners. The result of such folly inevitably creates a horror show that would send a janitor running for his life. Would that we had one but alas, I’m it.
If the dumpster is overloaded the bags bounce onto the floor and heaven help anyone who might be standing in the way. The room itself is the collector of an unimaginable assortment of dumped household belonging—an unholy mix of trash, garbage, and recyclables—fluorescent bulbs, half empty paint cans, discarded electronics, mattresses, broken desk chairs—the possibilities are endless. Happy am I when the room is tidy and clean, empty of assorted litter and junk because then in my world, all is well and God is in her heaven.
It’s bad enough when I have to deal with this garbage for real—but really—do I have to do it in my dreams too?
Last night I had a hideous nightmare in which someone dumped a 60-gallon dirty yellow container down the chute, and rather than using a securely-tied plastic bag to rein in the contents, the expletive-deleted perpetrator had filled the thing with a broken down cardboard carton full of loose trash. Naturally, the container landed upside down and emptied its mountainous load of yukkiness all over the floor, a horror show of epic proportions. The Queen of Trash nearly had a fainting spell at the mere sight of it, not to mention the mind-numbing prospect of having to clean it all up. To make matters worse, the container had a wheel broken off, a sure indicator that it too qualified as trash, providing an even greater puzzle to solve. Is it recyclable? Is it plastic or rubberized? Is rubber recyclable? How am I supposed to get rid of that?
As I stood at the intersection of horrified and enraged, an idea popped into my head. “Hey, wait a minute.” I thought. “Maybe this is just a nightmare, and if so, I don’t have to worry about how to clean it up. Maybe I can just wake up and poof—problem solved! Wouldn’t that just be miraculous?” And with that, my eyes popped open and I woke up with a realization that it was indeed, just a dream. Words cannot possibly begin to describe the mixture of gratitude, relief, and joy that I experienced to discover the unreality of that nasty situation.
This trashy nightmare brings to mind a question that I have pondered many times over my lifetime. What is real? What is illusion? While I sleep, my nighttime dreams become my reality and are as concrete as the floor of that trash room. They are as real as the world seems to be when I am in a so-called waking state. Yet when I am walking around in the daytime with my eyes wide open and think that I am awake, the dreams that I have at night vanish into thin air and quickly fade and are forgotten. Where do the nighttime dreams go? Where do the daytime dreams go? Which one is real?
Perhaps none of it is real. Perhaps it is all only an illusion. Perhaps we are all asleep and dreaming and perhaps one day we will all wake up to a new reality in which we realize that life is nothing more than a dream, a movie projected by our minds based upon what we think, feel, perceive, or believe is real.
In the meantime, perhaps we are all living in the same dream with a common belief in love and fear, good and evil, right and wrong, black and white, beliefs that divide and separate us from one another when in truth we are all one, we are all the same, we all are only here on classroom earth learning how to get along together and to let go of fear and replace it with love. We’re all teachers, we’re all students, we’re all in it together.
Let’s face it—the world we live in today could qualify as a nightmare. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do my best to turn the nightmare into a happy dream and wake up to the Truth that the only thing that is real is love. Meanwhile, I’m going to practice loving my enemies. It isn’t easy, but the result is surely worth the effort. Care to join me?