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)

Walking into a New World

Many years ago, I had a dream with an impact so profound that it gave me the courage, energy, and strength to make a major change in my life, to end a toxic marriage, uproot my life, and move from one coast to another in the sunrise of my senior years. At the time, it felt like walking a tightrope above a deep chasm in a hurricane without benefit of a net.

In those very dark years, I was stuck in a quagmire of unhappiness, despair, and hopelessness, paralyzed by fear that blinded me to the possibility of any form of escape into a better future. Things were looking very bleak indeed, and I seriously questioned my ability to survive in my current circumstances. It is reminiscent of the collective experience of humanity that we face today.

As we navigate through these deeply troubling times, I feel inspired to share this dream again, (Gateway) this time as a metaphor, in the hope that it may give others the hope that these chaotic times will come to a halt and be replaced by a new and better future.

Again I find myself standing at the dark end a bridge in a real-time remake of Groundhog Day, watching in horror as my world falls apart before my very eyes, wondering about my ability to survive. Then it was personal. Now it’s global.

Today you and I hold in our hands both individually and collectively, the gift of choice, for it is up to each one of us, to decide whether or not we wish to stay on the dark side of suffering and pain, or if we want to join forces with others determined to gather the will to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and move forward into a new and improved future. The decision rests in my hands, as it rests in yours.

I sometimes catch myself thinking about the current plight of humanity, and realize how very easy it is to become caught up in the fear that runs rampant throughout our society and indeed, the world. It is tempting to fall victim to the belief that all is lost and there is no hope, much as I experienced those many years ago in a dying marriage.

On the ego-driven human side of the bridge, we are ruled by materialism and greed and live at the mercy of those who seek power and wealth at our expense. On the Divine side, love rules, a new world awaits.

Our hope of survival depends upon our ability to shift our attention away from the evil that seeks control by fostering fear of the future to confuse us. Instead, our hope of survival lies in our ability to turn a blind eye to the dark side and develop an intention to rewrite our own future using the power of our collective imagination to create the vision of a new and better world. The future of the world is changed one mind at a time.

Wait! Time out! For some reason, this blog has wandered off track and can’t find it’s way back. It has been days of trying, and for some reason, I can’t find a satisfying conclusion. Why is that, I wonder? Am I trying to hard? Am I listening to the voice of ego rather than to the voice of Spirit? Is my ego trying to convince me that I’m doing it wrong? That I’ll never get it right? What’s the story?

Is that what we are all doing these days—listening to the voice that tells us that everything is wrong and nothing is right? Is it that conning little voice that feeds on the fake conspiracy theories that we read on social media telling us that evil rules and all hope is lost? Isn’t that just exactly what the evil-doing power mongers want us to believe to weaken us and keep us off balance?

Maybe so. Maybe it’s time for us to take our power back. Maybe it’s time for us to stand up for ourselves, shine our individual and collective light into the darkness and flush out those who seek everything for themselves by stealing everything from the rest of us.

Speaking of walking from one side to another, this wasn’t the path I had intended to take when I started this blog, but then I am always willing to admit that I never know what’s coming. It’s kind of life itself, isn’t it? We start out going in one direction and somehow find ourselves headed in another. Sometimes the path is good, sometimes it needs tweaking. We need some tweaking now friends, some serious tweaking. We need willing souls, disciples, do-gooders, kind-hearted, light-bearing, well-meaning, God loving souls to join forces to spread around the importance of turning away from the dark side and walk hand in hand toward the light. Most especially, we need to find a way to help folks who are captured by the darkness of fear to take a peek around and find a glimmer of light. If the rest of us will shine bright enough, we will help prisoners of the dark escape into the light.

That means you. That means me. That means every single solitary soul who is invested in the best interest of humanity, the planet, and every creature that dwells upon it. The world is changed one mind at a time. One light joined with many will light up the entire world and irradiate darkness, and when that happens, miracles happen. We hold the power.

This time as we walk across the bridge to the Divine, we have a safety net. We walk together toward a new and better future, we have each other, and we have the power of the Light enfolding and protecting us. Together we will stand strong, stand steady, and we will reach the other side in a blaze of triumphant glory.

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)

Plugging Up the Leaks

True-accountability-means-accepting-responsibility-3-208-768x644.jpgI’ve been trying to work my way up to a nap, but leaks keeps getting in my way.  Plug up one, and another spouts forth to replace it.  There’s a leak in my washing machine, one in my ceiling, others in the ceilings of beaucoup residents in the building sending plumbers like mice with their sharp little teeth scurrying up and down between floors chewing gaping holes in the walls in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I am living in a very holy place these days.  A day without the report of a leak is a good day.  Unfortunately, today is not one of them.  No nap for me.

As I ponder the “Why me, God?” question when confronted with a call at an odd hour from a frantic resident screaming “WATER”, I am reminded of a phrase well known to those on a spiritual quest, “Be careful what you ask for.”  It dawns on me that just this morning I upgraded my intention to adopt a stance of harmlessness, selflessness, and right speech.  Oh boy.  Be careful what you ask for.  Apparently, the Powers that Be listen very closely and are Johnny-on-the-spot to respond.

With one finger stuck in the dike and an ear glued to the plumber’s hotline, it occurs to me that maybe our current leak-a-thon is providing me with just the perfect opportunity to grab myself by a new attitude and start to practice the art of paying closer attention to what goes on in my head.  It would probably sound a wee bit irreverent to say, “Gee, thanks Universe”, but the truth is, I asked for it.  Ask and ye shall receive.

Every now and then, I fantasize about what it would be like to hang out inside the head of a person who is spiritually enlightened.  The Dalai Lama for example, or Jesus or maybe Mother Teresa.  How and what do they think?  Do they spend 24/7 praying and meditating?  Do they have a sense of humor?  Do they wonder what’s for dinner?  Do they roll around in Heaven all day forgiving everyone whether they need it or not?  Do those who still walk among us in the world think in the same way as those who have departed?

Such imaginings expand my mind and send me on a merry chase in search of role models who give me hints about what might lie ahead.  They show me a picture of I want to be like when I grow up, and provide the incentive to for me to run like the wind in hot pursuit of my goal, like the adorable little pink pigs at the California state fair running for the reward of cookies and cream at the end of the race.

I know there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or maybe some cookies and cream. I know I’ll get there eventually, but in the meantime, I’ll just keep on plugging up leaks and practice the fine art of harmlessness, selflessness, and right speech.  I’m not sure what all of that means, exactly, but somehow, I’m quite sure that I will soon find out.   That ought to keep me busy for a while.

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 Soul of Service

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Hmm.…no blog yesterday.  That’s twice in one week.  What’s up with that?  Am I slipping?  Am I copping out on my commitment?  Good question.  I have no idea.  It does give me pause to wonder, though.

Amidst my ponderings about commitment, I keep hearing the words, “Be true to yourself” in my head.  What does that mean, exactly?  Again, no idea.  Sigh.  It looks as if this is shaping up to be one of those all-questions, no-answers kind of a morning.  Out with the journal.  Start writing.

Twice this month there were five blog readers.  Five!  Is it worth spending whatever time it takes to crank out a blog every day if I am writing in a vacuum?  Might it be that readership is waning as a reflection of my own questionable commitment?   Is it time to alter my writing plan and downsize to every other day?  Is my commitment actually in question?  Or is it simply that I have lost sight of my vision, mission, purpose?  If I crank up my enthusiasm and recommit to my writing plan, will readership increase?  And by the way—who am I writing for, and just who is it that is making this commitment, anyway?  Who decides?

I recently went to a small family celebration in honor of a newly-minted doctor of pharmacology, who just completed a grueling internship at a hospital.  One of her friends, a nurse, wowed us with her party planning skills—cupcakes topped with red and white capsules, pills, band-aids, and all things medical; there were personalized face masks for all, and a glittery gold banner adorning the wall.  It was obvious from the expression on her face that sharing her party planning skills brought great joy to others as well as herself.

She was a reminder that every one of us is born with some sort of special skill, gift, or talent, sometimes buried, sometimes obvious.   We are not fully alive unless and until we discover it within ourselves and find a way to express it, not just for our own enjoyment, but for the joy of others as well.  Whether it is expressed as a hobby, vocation, or avocation is irrelevant; what matters is that creativity be expressed.  As we use our talents, they grow.  If we ignore them, they will disappear.

Was it worth it to the nurse wannabe-party planner to spend her time and energy doing something to make someone else happy?  Judging by the glow on her face, I would say so.  Is it worth it for me to spend my time and energy doing something for five people or a hundred or just one, even if the just one is myself?  If it makes only me happy, if it brings me joy, is it worth it?  The sharing of a gift is a service to the soul of others, sometimes in ways that we may neither know nor understand.  What matters is only our willingness to share it.

Well, so there you have it—the answer to my commitment question all tied up in a neat little package with a pretty bow and some icing band-aids and pills on top.  I’m writing for myself as an expression of my own creativity.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  Does it make me happy?  Yes.  Is being happy being true to myself?  Yes.  Ah.  Good to know.  The world won’t end if I miss a day here or there, so long as I keep the goal in sight, and my eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.  See you tomorrow folks.  Or maybe the day after . . .

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).