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).

What Hides Beneath the Mask?

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I have new neighbors across the hall and the way things are going these days, I may not know what they look like for another year.  When you’re my age, the good news about masks is that they hide the bottom half of a sagging, wrinkled face.  The bad news is that my glasses steam up, I can’t see, I can’t read lips, and I can’t hear because everybody mumbles.  Basically I am rendered deaf, dumb, and blind—but at least I am in the good company of much of the grey-haired, glass-wearing population where I live, and we’re all learning to understand mumblese together.  My heartfelt sympathy goes to the younger generation trying to fumble their way through the dating game.

My sympathy also to those of us in my condo building who are personally confronted with an epidemic of pin hole leaks and an assortment of miscellaneous plumbing issues rivaling the proportions of the pandemic.  Just as we think (and hope and pray) that it’s under control, another pipe pipes up and bursts forth with a vengeance later.  Like health caregivers, plumbers are mightily overwhelmed trying to stay ahead of the floods.  They think it might be due to the numbers of people staying home and flushing more.  I guess there are stranger things . . . who can say?

Meanwhile, the deaf, dumb, and blind among us continue to run around in a frantic effort to plug up wayward leaks lest we drown before we have a chance to rip our masks off and take a great gulp of fresh air.

It all makes me wonder—is the mask that I wear covering up the best part of myself?  Am I hiding behind the safety of what is old, familiar, safe?  Is there something that I’m not facing, or something that I do not wish to see?  Am I afraid that if I remove the protective mask that shelters my so-called safety that I’ll spring a leak and drown in my own fear?  Am I afraid that if I remove the mask I will be judged unfavorably, or that I will expose my vulnerability to others, and be perceived as weak?

So what would happen if I suddenly ripped off the mask, exposed the sags and wrinkles, and came face to face with whatever hides behind the face covering?  Well, I might be horrified.  Or on the other hand, I might be pleasantly surprised to find a lovely person that I’ve never met, a beautiful soul with a light that shines as bright as the sun, someone that I’d really like to get to know, someone I’d like to hang with for the rest of my days.

It requires courage to allow dark shadows to come to light in order to be healed— to rip off the mask like a band-aid, or peel it away bit by bit like layers of an onion to peek at what lies beneath.  But it is safe to trust in the wisdom, care, and guidance of Wise Ones who have our best interests at heart as we do what we must in order to discover the truth, beauty, and goodness that lives within.  There’s light behind the mask.  Let it shine!

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).

Pardon My French

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Somewhere between getting my bones out of bed today, slogging into the kitchen for coffee, and making my way to the Lazygirl for my morning visit with myself, I had an epiphany.  Since the confines of the pandemic, my life has morphed from an outer one to inner, and my days begin and end in the Lazygirl.  The in-between is anybody’s guess, but the one thing I know for sure is that the beginnings and the endings are my favorite times of day.

I really covet the safety of my morning and evening sits, but sometimes the in-betweens can present some really tricky situations, some related to my membership on the board of directors of the condo where I live.  Many folks ensconced in the world of spiritual growth call such challenges AFGO’s.  Another Effing Growth Opportunity.  Oh great!  Another AFGO!  Pardon my French.  (Why do we always blame the French for the use of vulgarity?)

We’re all faced with AFGO’s from time to time, some simple, some whipdoozies.  The question becomes, what do we do when one comes our way?  How do we deal with them?   If you’ve been following along, you know that one of my favorite techniques for handling tricky challenges is the trusty head-in-the-sand trick.  You also know that there’s a pony hiding somewhere amidst the manure.  Somewhere between the ostrich and pony, there is buried treasure.

In my experience as a board member, we are often presented with conflicts that wander around amidst the wants of the people, the needs of the property, and the vagaries of personalities.  It gives new meaning to “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.”  It’s a conundrum of the highest order.

My experience is that whatever the size, shape, or form, an AFGO presents an unparalleled opportunity for personal growth if one has the courage and willingness to extract the head from the sand and dig through the manure long enough to find it.  The reward of the search is healing, renewed vision, restoration of sanity, and an opportunity to choose love over fear.  If we find common ground and agree that we’re all in it together, then in the end rough edges are smoothed out and peace is restored to mind, heart, and home.  Well, one can only hope, right?

As I sit all nestled in the safety of my inner sanctuary and comfort of the lone Lazygirl, I know that every AFGO strewn across my path, both past, present, and undoubtedly future, has provided a life lesson that has pushed me one step closer to the achievement of my life’s purpose.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  Is it fun?  Not always, but once in a while it’s downright hilarious.  It helps to know that the Universe is equipped with a wonderful sense of humor that brings comic relief when the going gets tough.  And by the way, if you decide to stick your toe in the water and pan for the gold, you should know that you will never walk alone.  The hand of one who has gone before will reach out to help you along the way, while another will reach out to welcome you to your destiny.

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).

Grace Under Pressure

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Writing yesterday’s blog was hard, like trying to pour caramel sauce over ice cream in an igloo.  Today, I’m telling myself that it’s going to be easy.  I’m going to just make up my mind that writing today will be a breeze, ideas will flow, words will pour forth and fill up the blank space of my computer screen like gently nuked caramel sauce on a warm summer’s day.  Well, that’s what I’m telling myself.  Whether it works or not is another story.  I’ll just have to wait to see how long it takes me to get to the finish line today.  It will be a test of how well telling myself what to do works.  I can be pretty bossy sometimes, so maybe there’s hope.

Today has to be easy, because this morning I suddenly realized that in addition to writing Voices, the monthly newsletter that I publish monthly for my condo building is due tomorrow, and somewhere in between that, there’s a lengthy board meeting.  Well, now there you go—a cause for panic if ever there was one.  But no.  I’m not giving in to panic.  I’m going for grace under pressure.

I’m not sure yet what the theme of the day is, but it might be procrastination, or faith, or doing my best work under pressure, or perfection, or check all of the above.  I’m experienced in all.  I guess it’s a little like making my way through life—I’m not always sure where I’m going, but it’s a pretty darned good bet that if I have a set destination, I’ll get there eventually.   Oh, there may be a few futile side trips along the way, but there is value in everything, even the wrong turns.

One thing I’ve learned along the way is that if something is hard, I might be headed in the wrong direction.  If I set my feet upon a path that is not in my best interest and find obstacles at every turn, it may be a warning that I’m headed for disaster.  I once observed as a friend launched into a dogged effort to fight the obstacles that were thrown in her way in her attempt to facilitate the purchase of a business for her husband.  Her struggle was rewarded with a resounding failure.  Had it been right, the road would have been smooth.  We need to listen to the whispers.

Wow!  I told myself it would be easy and apparently, I listened.  I’ve passed the finish line with hours to spare, the hair on my head is still intact, and there is still coffee left in my mug.  Maybe I’ve turned a corner—I hope so.  Maybe it’s because I exchanged hard for easy, or because my new mission of spirit guide communication is working, even after only two days of practice.  Whatever the reason, however it happened, I am truly grateful.  May it be a harbinger of things yet to come.  Grace under pressure.  I’ll take all I can get.  Grace, not pressure, thank you very much.

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).

Creativity and Cosmic Humor

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Every so often when I’m feeling bereft of creativity, I confess that I resort to paging through old computer files in search of ideas, inspiration, or anything else that will light the spark of creativity.  Today is such a day.  My search has yielded a plethora of half written fragments of aha’s that seemed intelligible for at least a one brief moment in time, but were left hanging mid-air awaiting completion.  There they sit, undone.  I know the feeling.

This morning I found something that I considered “lifting” from myself for today’s blog, but since my preferred choice refers to a winter and a dog both recently passed, I would need to fess up to my self-plagiarism and explain myself.  Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow, since I’ve already confessed today.

But here’s a funny thing—in my search, I came upon a story about my six-year old behavior.  Surprise, surprise—right in the middle of a sentence of intense revelation, there is a recipe for linguine.  Now I ask you—how in the world did linguine insert itself in the middle of my childhood?  I have no idea, but it looks like an easy and idiot-proof recipe and I think it might be dinner.

Hold on—maybe this is all only a bit of cosmic humor to remind me about how clever and creative God is.  Is it a coincidence that the linguine recipe is stuck in the middle of some writing about my former smoking habit?  Is it coincidence that the linguine component reminds me of a forgotten addiction that drove me to Overeater’s Anonymous?   Is it a coincidence that I came upon this bit of cosmic humor as I was in search of some creativity?  Is it yet another reminder that God always provides?

Yesterday I was so bored that I took myself out for an invigorating adventure to McDonalds for a crispy buttermilk chicken sandwich to eat in the car, then to a trip to Sam’s to fill up with gas.  It’s no wonder I need to rummage around in old files in hopes of finding a spark of inspiration.  I went outside in search of myself, but I wasn’t there.  Apparently, I need to go inside more.

God never disappoints.  Need inspiration?  Go inside.  Need help?  Go inside.  Need joy?  Go inside.  Need dinner?  Try linguine.  I have everything I need except maybe the shrimp.  Hmm.  That might call for another exciting trip out for groceries.  Then I’ll return home, eat linguine, and go right back inside where I can see life through the window of my Soul.

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).

Ironing Out the Wrinkles

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Thanks to Professor Blog’s compassion in granting me a day off yesterday, life is back in some semblance of proper working order.   The ironing is done, my desktop is clear, and the cobwebs in the head are gone.  Balance and sanity are restored.  At least for now.

With iron in hand and mind in motion, I had an epiphany.   I don’t need to put pressure on the iron to get the wrinkles out.  I need only to guide it gently and let the heat do its work.  Life is so much easier when I don’t try to strong-arm my way through it.

My favorite blogs are the two that were written without applying blunt force to attack the job as if it was a permanently pre-wrinkled mess shirt.  The wrinkles smoothed themselves out with little or no help from me.  My faves are also the blogs that received a pretty fair positive response.  Day Off  That should tell me something, right?

Life is short.  Relax, enjoy, have fun, and don’t get all caught up in the unsightly wrinkles.

It’s amazing what a little time off will do.  Thanks, Prof.

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).

May I Be Excused?

 

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It’s a gorgeous morning.  I’d like to take a walk before the temperature exceeds the humidity.  I’d like to tackle  the expanding pile of laundry before summer’s end.  Small patches of bare space are peeking through the papers that blanket the surface of my desk.  The house is in a state a mild state of disarray, the result of a neglectful owner caught in a daily struggle to learn the art of balance.  I want to catch up with friends, return phone calls, answer emails.  Take care of business, have a little fun.

I need a day off.

Blog writing as a hobby is an all-consuming adventure that eats up a huge chunk of my day.  By the time I close the clamshell, it’s lunchtime and I need a nap.  I need to loosen up a bit and relax some of the rigidity that has closed in around me in an effort to get a tighter grip on self-discipline.  A blog a day keeps balance away.

I need a day off.

Read Julia’s blog is on a friends’ daily to do list, perhaps a have to entry rather than a want to.  God bless her for her loyalty.  Maybe she needs a day off too.

I need to get out on this lovely morning and walk off some of the excess body that I have accumulated during these days as a pandemic shut-in.  I need to clean up my act, get myself back in proper working order, do some ironing.

Professor Blog has granted my request for one day off and excused me from the classroom for a field-trip in search of balance.  Yay!

Ta tah for now.  See you tomorrow.

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).

 

 

 

 

Body by Design

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Here we go again, with the blank page and blinking cursor taunting me, coupled with a cacophony of voices clamoring for attention, “Me, ME, no, me!”  Everybody wants to get into the act.  Which “me” will it be today?   My muddled mind considers the possibilities.  It could be a long morning.  Hmmm.

The loudest voice today is the “me” that comes with a body attached—you know, the one that requires a lifetime of food, shelter, and clothing?

Have you ever thought about how much time, effort, energy, and work we must expend simply to maintain our physical selves?  A third of our lives?  Half?  More?  It boggles the mind.  I keep thinking about how clever God is to have set us up with this dense, physical contraption that we walk around in all day, the vehicle that transports us through a lifetime of providing for its varied myriad of needs.

Donald Trump sometimes blames a “rigged system” for whatever it is that happens to be displeasing him at the moment, and I wonder—are we living in a rigged system set up with bodies designed as textbooks to teach us what we need to learn?

I use my own life as an example, typical of so many others.  I begin my lessons by being born into a family populated with people who can try and test me on every level.  I live under the same roof, breathe the same air, and deal with the assorted personality quirks that come with the territory.  There I are stuck until I am well educated and mature enough to move out and move on.

In case I have not learned from family relationships, Part 2 of my learning thrusts me out into the next phase of my life into survival mode where I must work to earn a living to support my physical body to survive.  Rent, food, and shelter is expensive, even before adding in the rest of what’s needed for the living of life.  Eventually, I get married, start a family, and in the process, up the ante of relational challenges.

It seems to me that a very brilliant God has rigged the system to make sure that we will be given every opportunity to learn what we came for.  The good news is that it is rigged in our favor.  If we don’t get the lesson one way, we will get it another.

Our bodies serve as teachers, purveyors of endless possibility for physical and spiritual growth.  If we haven’t aced Relationship 101 in our family classroom, we are given another opportunity in the workplace, where once again, we are tried and tested by other characters on the stage of our life.

This all makes me wonder—once we leave these bodies, will we find ourselves walking around in an afterlife as etheric beings without need for food, shelter, and clothing?  Will we still have lessons to learn but without need for the care and maintenance of dense physical bodies?  Whoa.  What a concept.  No need for spending a huge percentage of existence walking around in survival mode.  To imagine the freedom is mind boggling.

The very idea of that much freedom makes me want to work harder to do whatever I must in order to earn my way into the next phase, whatever that might be.  It makes me ask myself what percentage of time and energy I spend on my spiritual growth compared to my physical survival.  It makes me want to work harder while I’m here.

Body by design.  What a clever plan.  What an amazing gift..  What a brilliant God.

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).

Bare and Unbedazzled

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The world of appearances is crumbling.  The façade is falling away, leaving us bare, naked, and exposed to the truth that lies within.  Wow.  That’s a heavy way to start a day!  It wasn’t at all what I had in mind when I opened a new Word page, but there it is, born of its own accord.

I had more in mind continuing yesterday’s conversation about fingernails, both the bedazzled and unbedazzled variety such as my own.  I’m not sure how I swooped from crumbling facades to fingernails, but there you have it.  It happens.

Oh right.  It happens!

Yesterday, I kept being distracted by my fingernails.  They seemed to call my attention to themselves periodically, as if to say, “Hey—listen up you!  There is a lesson here for you.”

Really?  In fingernails?

Yes.  In fingernails.

Then a funny thing happened—suddenly Dolly Parton was in my face—it’s pretty hard to miss Dolly with her gigantic presence of sequins and personality sparkling all over the place.  Suddenly yesterday’s blog (Here) turned into a comparison between the worlds and lives of Dolly and the Dalai Lama—amazing teachers, each in their own way.

So anyway, what about the fingernails?

Oh, right.

My nails have not seen an unpolished day since I was in my early teens.  They have been through generations of incarnations, from healthy and strong, to discolored and fragile, to beautiful to embarrassing, and as they changed throughout the decades, like the rest of my body, they have required more and more care and cover-up.

Then I discovered the miracle of a gel manicure, the antidote to the broken, the damaged,  split, snagged, the ragged.  “Oh but wait,” I was warned by others.  “They’ll ruin your nails.”  Too late.  There will likely never be a day in my life when my nails will see the light of day.

Hello pandemic, bye bye fingernail façade.

Since gel requires the equivalent of a lightweight jack hammer to be removed, there was nothing to do but watch my nails grow out a silly millimeter daily, and pray that the governor would lift the ban on nail salons before I was totally exposed.  No such luck.

Two months of silly millimeters later, I took matters into my hands and unearthed the jackhammer.  Look out, gel—here I come.

Surprise, surprise.  My nails and I made liars out of the naysayers with their dire warnings of nail death by gel.  When the façade was finally gone and the nails were laid bare, they were restored to their original, teenaged natural beauty.  Renewed, regenerated, resurrected, reborn.  Well, almost—they are a tiny bit wrinkled, but still . . . strong, healthy nonetheless.  Imagine that.

During these weeks of pandemic nail-induced anxiety, I recognized that my focus on the state of my nails is a distraction, a reflection of so many other areas of my life.  How much of what I see is focused on external distractions?  Can I see beyond the tempting lure of her Dollyness into the heart and soul of His Dalainess?  Can I realize the beauty that lies within the soul of each and every one of us, regardless of appearance?  Can I see it within myself?

The pandemic has laid us bare by shining its light so that we may see.  The old is crumbling.  The new is being reborn.  Though the appearance of it may be terrifying, the result will be the healing rebirth of a strong, healthy, beautiful new humanity.  We are a work in progress, each in our own way.  Our job is to see past the damaged and broken and look into the face of a new vision born of our own creation, and watch as it unfolds before our eyes.  Regardless of appearance, 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).

Glitz, Glamor, and Humility

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Have you ever wondered what it might be like to take a temporary tour of someone else’s brain to see what it’s like to live in there?  I do.  This notion came to me as the result of once writing a list of people that I admired and noting the specific qualities about them that I would like to develop within myself.  There were many names listed, but the only one that I remember is Grace Kelly, the lovely screen star turned real-life American princess of Monaco, the icon of perfection.  I admired her grace, elegance, and beauty.

Today’s list has only two names, and when put together in the same sentence, seem absolutely ludicrous because on the surface they appear to be the pinnacle of contrast: Dolly Parton and the Dalai Lama.  Dolly Parton, the worldly, glitzy glamorous entertainer, and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, humble spiritual leader of Buddhism and political leader of Tibet.  The very thought that there is any commonality between them makes me want to giggle.

Dally has been quoted as saying, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.”  Who doesn’t love Dolly?   She’s smart, talented, unbelievably generous, utterly adorable, and has a heart of gold.  The Dalai Lama is—well, he’s the Dalai Lama.  I have never met him, but I know those who have and they report that His Holiness has an impish sense of humor and is quick to laugh at himself.  There is something totally lovable about those who have the ability to poke fun at themselves.

Dolly is full of sparkles and spangles, big hair, eyelashes, and bedazzled fingernails.  The Dalai Lama is a simple monk who wears only robes of saffron and maroon.  Somewhere between the sparkle and spirituality lies a commonality that cannot be denied.  Beneath the external appearance, there is a profound inner beauty, wisdom, strength, courage, intelligence, kindness, compassion, generosity of spirit, and a concern for the health and well-being of humanity.

Both offer a life of service simply by their presence in the world, by the very state of their being—Dolly by entertaining us with her considerable gifts and talents, and the Dalai Lama by his dedicated life of spiritual leadership and service to his country and to humanity.  And yet at the same time, both are still human.  Like them, we must find a balance between our persona and our soul, and deal with all aspects of our humanness.  Both present us with a portrait of possibilities about who we are and how we present ourselves in the world, and how we walk around in our heads.

These icons inspire me to strive to embody the qualities in them that I admire the most.   They make me want to recognize and acknowledge the best within myself and let go of all that is not.  For me, it’s humility, compassion, kindness, generosity of spirit, self-acceptance, fearlessness, and humor to add a bit of lightheartedness to the mix.   Which reminds me—my own unbedazzled fingernails were part of the inspiration for this blog, but that’s a story for another day.

Today, I would like to invite you to think about the people you admire, and what qualities they embody that you might like to add to your personal storehouse of ideals.  The power of imagination is miraculous—if you can dream it, you can be it.  If there are any qualities that you would like to adopt as a model to shape a new behavior for yourself, start dreaming!

I also invite and challenge you to inspire others by sharing your comments in the section below.

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).