It’s Never Too Late

In the infancy of a new year, there is always a lot of talk about goals, have you noticed? I  flunked out of Goal-Setting 101 long ago once I realized that in my world, goals are a lost cause. I don’t know about you, but lost causes are not good for my self-esteem.

Yesterday I watched myself slide through the day substituting small, mundane tasks for the big ones that make me truly happy—the ones that move me one step closer to the achievement of my desires. Sometimes it feels like a gigantic accomplishment just to finish a nagging little job that gets shifted from one day to the next, but those mini accomplishments don’t bring much joy at the end of the day when my head hits the pillow. Mostly, they’re just con jobs that I pull on myself to make me think that I’ve accomplished something really worthwhile.

My wise mother lived by the philosophy that she had wasted a day if she did not complete at least one task that she would not ordinarily do in the space of one day. For her that could be polishing the silver, or letting a hem down for a growing daughter. For me, it might be writing a blog, or taking one step in the direction of the shameless promotion of my new book, Voices: Who’s in Charge of the Committee in My Head?

To all appearances, yesterday’s activities (or lack thereof) didn’t exactly catapult me any closer to the achievement of my heart’s desires, but they did at least regenerate an interest in revisiting what those desires are. That may not be much, but at least it’s a start.

By the way, if you happen to be a member of the senior set like me, it might help to remember that we’re never too old to dream. Grandma Moses started her career as an artist in her 70’s. My mother married the love of her life when they were both in their 80’s and soon after, they sailed off into the sunset on a European honeymoon leaving the rest of us in the wake of their joy. My joy came last year when, in my 80’s, I published a second book—18 years after the first. It’s never too late to start something new.

But that was then, and this is now, and what will I do today to make my head happy when it hits the pillow tonight? How about if I write a blog? Or maybe do a bit of book promotion? Oh no! That’s the part that makes me want to stick my head back into the sand. My head prefers a pillow.

Well, today I wrote a blog, and maybe even snuck a teensy bit of book promotion into the mix. I’d say that I killed two-birds with one stone, but since I would not feel good about dusting off a couple of innocent birds, I’ll just say that I checked a couple of to-do’s off my list that hadn’t even made it onto the list.

Ah. My head and I will rest happily tonight.

Now, I’d like to ask you a question. If you were to do just one thing today that would make you happy tomorrow, what would that be? I’d really like to hear your thoughts about that! If you feel so inclined, please share in the comments section.

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)

P.S. If you’d like to have a look at my new book, please press here. I’m not sure if I’ve aced Links 101 yet, but if not, you may need to click twice.  There’s always something new to learn—at any age, right?

Hopes, Dreams, and Expectations

Okay, I confess—I am a little disappointed—a rather uncharacteristic feeling in the face of my usual Pollyanna worldview. Life on my planet is bass-ackwards. I recognize, of course, that my mild disappointment is but a drop in the ocean compared to current world events, but still—it’s my drop, my ocean, my planet. So in the overall scheme of things, my mini-discouragement doesn’t really matter very much, does it? Or does it?

So I ask myself—what is the source of this momentary dismay?

Well, my follow-up appointment on the status of my shattered patella dashed any hope of being sprung from the cumbersome knee mobilizer that I’ve been sleeping with and dragging around behind my walker for the past six weeks. Instead, I was sentenced to another six weeks of same old-same old. Bummer. The good news is that healing is much better than expected, surgery is off the table, and physical therapy can begin next week. Focus on the donut, Julia—not the hole.

Then, the dream of soaring sales of my newly released book, Voices: Who’s in Charge of the Committee in My Head, is—for the moment at least —nothing more than a mere pipe dream, but hope springs eternal. Perhaps reality manifests only when it receives a little help from the dreamer.

At the onset of my first six-week sentence in the Lazygirl, I had high hopes for a miraculous transformation from flawed human persona to heavenly angel with ginormous wings. Apparently, I slept through the first opportunity, so I have been given a second chance. That’s the thing with us humans, I figure. We are given endless second chances and opportunities to move ahead on our way toward miraculous transformation until we figure out how to get it right.

Some of us are simply slow learners. Well, I hope I get it right this time around so that I can be sprung from my knee trap and released back into the wild abandon that lives behind the wheel of my car. Meanwhile, I’ll do my best to do my best. I’ll attend to business, write blogs, dream dreams of healed knees and soaring book sales, and cross stuff off of my list of things to do—all the stuff that I promised myself I’d do during the first six weeks, but didn’t. Man, is that ever a long list.

Well, at least these are the things that I say I will do. But will I? Ah—therein lies the question. Can I be trusted to keep the promises that I make to myself? Have I followed up on my hopes and dreams in the past? If I fail to live up to my own expectations, will I become my own judge and jury, or will I simply become an observer and say, “Huh. Well would you look at that? Maybe there’s a better way to do it in the the next round.”

So again, my inner voice (the noisy one) launches into overdrive with questions that seem to defy answers. Does my disappointment really matter in the overall scheme of things? Do my thoughts and feelings make a difference in the world? Do my hopes, dreams, and expectations have an impact on my life, or on the lives of others? Where is the quiet Voice of Reason that has answers to these mysterious questions when I need It?

Oh, We are here, patiently awaiting your realization that you have wandered away for a spell. We know that you are aware of your wanderings, and that you have allowed distractions to lure you away from your inner being; We know that you feel as if you have disappointed yourself yet again. Your discouragement comes not from outer circumstances, but from within the part of you that yearns to reunite with your True Self. Your salvation will come when you realize that the only way for you to be sprung (to use your word) back into freedom is to reaffirm your commitment to doing those things which you know are in your own best interests, and in the best interests of the world.

In your wanderings, you have temporarily lost sight of your mission and purpose. We encourage you to reignite the flame of expectancy. So dear one, hope your hopes, and dream your dreams, and know that the power and energy of your True Self will fuel their manifestation. Coupled with faith, you cannot fail.  

Know that We love and support you; We stand behind you always; We are ever ready to be the wind beneath your wings as your soar toward the highest and best within yourself. You have as many opportunities as you will ever need to realize your True Self, and we joyfully await your arrival at the ultimate destination of the Soul.

Thank you, dear Friends, for helping me to reconnect with my Self. As I do so, it suddenly occurs to me that my one drop in the ocean does indeed affect the entire ocean. Meanwhile, should I become lost amidst the waves again, I trust that you will come and find me.

If the focus of my mind becomes the reality of my world, then what is it that I wish to manifest? Well for starters, how about an ocean of love?

That sounds like a mighty good place to start, right?

And by the way, I am happy to report that as I come to the end of a newly-written blog, yesterday’s disappointment has morphed into today’s gratitude for second chances. Six more weeks to manifest hopes and dreams. Hallelujah. Ground hog day lives on!

A final note from a reluctant author: self-promotion is the bane of this writer’s existence, but I’m going to do it anyway. After all, how else will hopes and dreams become reality if I’m afraid to give them a little push? So, here goes folks: Please check out my book on Amazon. Voices: Who’s in Charge of the Committee in My Head? For more information, see Something New is on the Way (October 31, 2021). I thank you so much!

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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)

 

Disorderly Conduct

Today as I wandered around in my disorderly computer files trying to clean out the messes that I have left behind myself over the years, I stumbled upon stuff that I wrote eons ago—stuff that never saw the light of day, stuff that just sits there awaiting some sort of acknowledgement, destination, or deletion. As I look back, these dusty little gems show me where I was then, and where I am now. Today’s discovery, written sometime prior to 2009 is a fine example of my escape from self-terrorism into the happy realm of loving my perfectly imperfect self. Here it is:

I think I am suffering from seasonal hair disorder. You know – the winter blah kind of thing that would make my hair look as if I stuck a finger in a light socket with the electricity turned on?

Not only that, but I have a sneaking suspicion that in an effort to seek good company, the hair disorder gremlins have sent out some clever little scouts that have obligingly returned with the discovery of a personality disorder to add to my list of seasonal dysfunctions.

The hair situation is only a temporary thing, thank goodness, but the personality disorder thing—well, sometimes I think it will never end. Just as I think I have one aspect of myself in order, another flares up to remind me of my imperfection. My current favorites are foot-in-mouth disease, and bad judgment.

On the growing number of occasions when I suffer flare-ups of one disorder or another, my first tendency is to immediately send myself into bouts of self-flagellation in an attempt to beat myself back into my own good graces. This is not a technique that I would recommend to anyone who is trying to make the return trip to sanity.

Once I discover the futility of self-flagellation, I move on to rationalization. “Well, it really wasn’t that bad, was it? I think he’s over reacting just a wee bit. Obviously she misunderstood what I said. If she had been paying closer attention, it wouldn’t have happened at all, right”

The next response to my faux pas is the questioning phase. Why in Heaven’s name did I say such a thing? It just squirted out of my mouth like Ketchup out of a bottle that’s been slapped on the bottom 57 times. I can’t believe I did such a thing. How could I have been so thoughtless?

Oh, my poor aching psyche!

Behavior is not who I am. Bad behavior, good behavior, not who I am. Sometimes I’m the good witch and sometimes I’m the bad witch. I’m the whole witch, both good and bad. Maybe when I learn to love and respect the entirety of myself, I can say goodbye to my disorders. Well, the personality one, at least. The hair disorder may be around for as long as there are winters in my life.

What troubles me about all of this disorder business is that it seems to be happening more frequently. It’s as if the message is becoming more and more urgent. GET IT TOGETHER GIRL! Maybe I’d better pay attention and listen up.

Maybe it’s all that unhealed anger that’s been roiling around inside of me. Maybe I’d better get busy and start tending to myself because if I don’t, those embarrassing foot-in-mouth moments will show up more and more often.

I actually know people who don’t suffer from any of these annoyances. They just don’t get it. “Stop beating up on yourself,” they say. Or, “You’re being a little hard on yourself, don’t you think?” I spoke to such a person over onion soup and a chicken wrap just yesterday. Apparently, some folks simply cannot relate to those of us who haven’t mastered Self-Love 101 yet.

Contrarily, I also know people just like me. The self-flagellation specialists who find any little excuse at all to tell themselves that they were wrong, said something stupid, or committed some unforgivable act. Maybe it’s because like attracts like, but it seems to me that there are a whole lot more of us than there are of them.

Frankly, I think that these guiltless wonders have their nerve. Just who do they think they are, anyway? How dare they just shrug their shoulders and walk away from their mistakes while the rest of us suffer the treachery of our own mind drama?

But you know what? I’ll give myself credit for having the courage to say out loud what so many of us suffer in silence. After all, who wants to admit to walking through life carrying a bag loaded full of personal flaws? It’s a crummy job, but I’ll do it, because by golly, if it gives just one other person hope and the courage to move beyond their self-perceived sins, then it’s all worth it.

Maybe I’ll try to be more like the guiltless ones.

Or, maybe just I’ll choose to be perfectly imperfect.

Or both.

Ah. Living happily within the realm of one’s own good graces is a glorious thing. I highly recommend it.

Something New is on the Way!

AVAILABLE ON NOVEMBER 11

 VOICES: Who’s in Charge of the Committee in My Head?

Hello Lovely Friends and Peace Seeking Souls,

I can’t tell you how excited I am to introduce you to my new book, Voices: Who’s in Charge of the Committee in My Head? I’m excited because (a) I actually did it—and trust me—that’s a really big whoop for the likes of a procrastinator such as myself—and (b) because I can’t wait for you to read it and tell me what you think!

Before going further, I want to offer a little caveat. If you are one of those blessed people who sail through life feeling confident, successful, prosperous, peaceful, and over-the-moon happy about yourself and your life, then Voices might not be for you. On the other hand, if like me, you have ever experienced a struggle to get to your happy place and haven’t made it yet, Voices might give you a little boost. Or maybe even a big one.

The “me” to whom I refer is the one who has spent a healthy (or unhealthy) portion of life trying to escape that persistent voice that tries to con me into believing that I am seriously flawed in one way or another, and therefore undeserving of love, peace, joy, and contentment. Happy hides behind a curtain of self-doubt, low self-esteem, and the guilt-producing layers of the shoulda, coulda stuff that wants me to believe that I am totally uncapable and unlovable.

Sound at all familiar? If that describes you, read on!

In the interest of truth in advertising (couldn’t we all use a LOT more truth these days?) let me give you just a little preview of what VOICES is all about.

It’s me talking to—and about— myself a lot. It’s me sharing my innermost thoughts, baring my soul, and risking vulnerability by telling the truth about who I am (and sometimes that can be a little embarrassing). It’s me searching for the “real me” amidst the many voices that populate my head. VOICES is like a pizza with everything with whipped cream on top, whether it goes well together or not. It’s a combination platter of blog, personal journey, and memoir wrapped in a package of spirituality all tied up with a pretty bow. It offers a lighthearted, humorous romp through the days of my life as I waffle back and forth between love and fear, and between the shenanigans of an unruly ego and the powerful allure of a soul that begs for my attention.

I’m very excited about getting VOICES out of my head and into the hands and hearts of those who might benefit by it—those who struggle to find a way out of the dark night of this world (and maybe the soul) and into the light of a  bright and beautiful, brand new day.

VOICES is the sort of book that can be read from cover to cover, or picked up at random for a quick pick-me-up read. For that reason, I recommend sharing it, but not lending it because you may not get it back. Instead, I hope that you will read it, tell your friends about it, and share by way of holiday gift giving to like-mind friends. And, I hope that you’ll visit voicesinmyheadbook.com and tell me what you think!

VOICES will be available through Amazon.com on NOVEMBER 11 in paperback and Kindle. To be added to my mailing list or to order copies, please visit my website. Oh, and don’t forget to say hello while you’re there! I’d love to hear from you.

Out of the dark and into the light,

Julia

Life in the Lazygirl

You know how much I love hanging out in my Lazygirl, right? Well, lucky me—I have been sentenced to The Chair for the next couple of months, courtesy of a klutzy move and a shattered right kneecap. If Covid wasn’t enough to do the trick, I have been given my very own personal timeout to reevaluate and reassess my life.

I trip over my own feet, break a bone, and marvel at the creative antics of a clever Universe that provides me with an opportunity to sit still long enough to pay attention. Sit. Stay! But will I listen? Visions of the Roadrunner with his legs spinning a mile a minute zoomed through my head, as I careened from one room into the next, desperately trying to keep up with a body that was charging at light speed ahead of my feet. It gives new meaning to hit the floor running.

So I’m sentenced to The Chair. Talk about a choice moment to decide if I’ll revert to my slothful old ways so sorely in need of repair, or if I’ll rise to the occasion and use the opportunity to forge ahead and recommit to my spiritual path and purpose. Or maybe check all of the above? Is this another test? If so, I seem to be flunking—at least for now—but there’s still time to make the necessary in-flight corrections before I Roadrunner myself straight into the afterlife.

So far, I’ve been stuck in the needs-repair place. It’s a lovely spot to visit for a while, but as a permanent parking place, it leaves a lot to be desired. If nothing else, it is a splendid opportunity to practice what I preach. Again? Do I have to? Up until now, the Lazygirl has been my all-time favorite parking spot. I wonder—will I still feel the same way once I’m sprung? Or will I flee like my pants will catch fire if I dare sit?

The needs-repair place includes heavy doses of procrastination. Where have I been since my last blog written nearly two months ago? What have I been doing? Why have I been gone for so long? Why am I dawdling? Aw geez. It’s always something. Always a choice about how I wish to live life in my lane. Or in my Lazygirl.

I have been captive for over two weeks already, and what have I learned so far? Well, I’ve not been doing the things that make me happy—not writing, not blogging, not doing much of anything that does much to increase my sense of self-worth. This current state of affairs is making me feel grumpy, useless, and downright disgusted with myself.

Those feelings are not helpful, uplifting, or good for the psyche. Is it okay to be nonproductive and still love me in spite of myself? I decide, right? Oh my—we’re looking at the tip of the iceberg here. There is so much to discover, unearth, and delve into. Do I want to see it? Or would I rather turn on Say Yes to the Dress and zone out watching brides make themselves happy by finding the perfect wedding dress? So far, I’ve said yes to the dress. What is it that I am trying to avoid? Whatever it is, I want to get over it, because it’s not good for my mental health.

It’s time to move on. I’m not quite sure where I’m moving on to at this point, but for now I’ll take one moment, one day at a time, and since that’s all I have, I’ll do my best to talk myself into making the best of it.

But here’s the thing—Just the act of writing this blog is enough to lift my spirits and give me hope. And it’s enough to make me realize and remember that I am the one who decides what I think and feel about myself, and about the world in which I live. I am the one who creates my beliefs and reality. Clearly, it’s better to shatter old useless, worn out thought forms instead of kneecaps, and allow the subtle realm of light to become known and seen.

Now that’s enough to put a smile on my face and dance a happy jig—well, just as soon as my knee is back in proper working order. Meanwhile, I’ll dance a jig in my heart and wait until the rest of me catches up.

PS: There really is a reasonable answer to where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, but I’ll talk more about that in the next blog, so please stay tuned for an announcement about what will be coming soon! Oh, and by the way, if you click on my website, you won’t get very far because it is not fully up and running yet! Stay tuned . . . See you soon!

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)

We Shall Overcome

I didn’t know that my bed had an eject button until 3:20 am this morning, when I was suddenly pushed out of it and urged to go sit down to record a vivid dream that woke me out of a sound sleep. Dreams sometimes have a way of confusing and clarifying things all at once. This one assured me beyond a shadow of a doubt that—though the world around us seems absurdly terrifying at the moment—this too shall pass and we will be safe and survive. But in the meantime, we may need to burn away a bit of the dross of the old in order to get from where we are now to the place we’d rather be. That would be the terrifying part.

I was inside the White House in a room filled with people, when we heard a warning that a bomb placed inside a fireplace in the room where we stood would soon detonate. I turned to look for the bomb, and saw it just a split second before it exploded. Its blast rocked the entire house but no one inside the room was harmed or injured in any way. Rather than allowing panic to prevail, others from throughout the house gathered together with those in the room and joined in chorus to sing a  heartfelt song of protection, faith, safety, security, and solidarity. The response to this frightening occurrence struck me as odd; rather than running for our lives, we stood banded together as one in song, drawing strength from one another.

Outside, the fire raged and engulfed the entire exterior of the building, but the inner part of the house was left untouched. The view through the windows was completely obscured by the orange and yellow flames that completely engulfed the building. We could not see anything beyond the walls in which we stood. Inside, we were safe and protected from the effect of the intensity of the burning that threatened our lives.

We stood steady and strong, and eventually the fire burned itself out. From the white ash left behind, there arose an unimaginably glorious new world, shimmering with light and beauty, governed by benevolent leaders focused upon the common good and the welfare of all. In this  glorious new world, we would live in harmony and cooperation with one another and with our leaders, working together to utilize our considerable resources for the benefit our new world and all those within it.

How clever are these dreams. How fitting that this scenario should take place within the house of the President of the United States, the symbolic home of a country that holds the hope of the future of the entire world in its hands. How perfect that it represents the inner sanctuary of security and protection that dwells within each one of us, if we will only choose to nestle gently within the warmth and safety of its embrace. Though that promise appears dim as fires burn around us, we are assured that beyond our awareness there awaits the new world for which we yearn. 

It takes a very strong person to not be affected by these exceptionally difficult and challenging times. It is hard to avoid looking out the window of despair and watch as the world burns. That which threatens the hope within the heart of each one of us will one day pass away, leaving us safe and secure within the depths of our true selves.

Have faith, my friends. Never have the words echoed from the past by Martin Luther King been truer than there are right now, for we are protected by powerful forces greater than the appearance of the flames of destruction. We need only stay centered within the safety of the Soul, and focus on that which will emerge from the ashes of a past that no longer serves. We shall overcome.

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 World is As We See It

 

Today I’m I having one of those days—a do-nothing, can’t-seem-to-get-into-gear kind of days. Once in a while, that’s fine. Healthy, even. But if too many of them are strung together in a row, it might mean that there’s trouble brewing. Trouble in River City. There are letters to write, emails to answer, phone calls to make, bills to pay, organizing to do, and what’s my first move? A nap. Ah. Blessed bliss! 

Maybe my empath self is picking up on all of the negative energy that is floating around out there in the universe. Maybe I’m being affected by the rampant fear thoughts overshadowing the world during these days of a stubborn pandemic, with its attendant problematic consequences. Maybe I’m buying into the pessimistic news that is being heaped upon humanity by mainstream media. Oh but wait—I don’t watch the news. Maybe I’m just getting it by  osmosis.

It’s these moments that bring a spate of soul searching that ultimately brings the blessed relief that lasts a lot longer than a nap. These are the moments—uncomfortable though they may sometimes be—that provide insight and awareness into the heart of the matter, along with the accompanying wisdom and solutions that bring healing to whatever the issue might be. These are the moments that help me to see that I see amiss.

Today it dawns on me that I need to recognize that my downtrodden attitude infects others, just as those of others may infect me. If I had but one gift to give to my brothers and sisters in my family of humanity, would it be the gift of a downtrodden attitude that I would offer? No! But I’m still stuck in low-mode, so now what?

Perhaps now might be a good time for a chat with Us. 

Oh, of course. Why didn’t I think of that?

We are happy to say that you just did, and we are grateful for that. We are saddened to see your usual upbeat attitude slip beneath the dividing line that separates holy from unhealthy. We are always here ready to help, if you will simply ask. We have been watching and waiting for your recognition that you are in need of a boost of inspiration and spiritual upliftment. We are glad that you have reached out so that We may help you to reach up. 

Right. Clearly, sometimes I get caught up in my day-to-day doings and forget to do the things that are the most important for my health and well-being—nurturing my Divine Connection, for example. Guilty again.

Please be reminded that there is no need for guilt, for you have done nothing wrong. You have simply slipped away from doing the things that help you stay on the upside of holy.

It is always a blessing to speak with You. In doing so, I realize that one reason for my “unholy” attitude is that I have not been doing the thing that brings me the greatest joy. I have not been writing. I have not published a blog since last forever. Where have I been? What have I been doing? Apparently, I have been spending time viewing the world through dark lenses, rather than choosing to see the light.

Well, I’m back, at least for today, and today is the only day I have. It’s the only day that anyone has. We have the choice to waste it away with a pessimistic attitude of fear, or fill it with a belief in the power of our own minds to bring about positive change for one and for all through faith, love, and compassion.

It truly is all about how we see. 

Yes. It truly is. Vision as seen through the eyes of the heart will indeed build a world of love, compassion, wisdom, truth and beauty. Keep your eye upon your donut, dear one, for it is through a vision of wholeness that a new world will be born.

Thank you, Dear Friends, for a new blog, a new day, and a renewed vision of spiritual upliftment and inspiration. Today, things are definitely looking up!

You are most welcome. Come back often, and remember—We are always here. Just call.

A Little Bit of Willingness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

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)

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)