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)

The Power of Kindness

This morning while I was bumbling around in my unbelievably jumbled computer files in hot pursuit of an elusive file and lamenting the fact that I haven’t published a blog for three weeks, I unexpectedly came upon a letter that I had written years ago in praise of a fellow employee who was the manager the espresso bar where I worked.

It wasn’t my intention to plagiarize myself today, but hey—desperate times call for desperate measures. Three weeks is a long time in a blogless world, and the message in this letter is a timeless reminder of the power of kindness and of how I want to be when I grow up.  So self-plagiarize I shall, and here we go . . .

“You know that you’ve arrived when they see you coming, greet you by name, and have your favorite drink ready for you by the time you get to the counter to pay for it.  But the other day, I had more than “just arrived.”  Thanks to Fred, fabulous manager that he is, I became Queen for a Day. 

As always, I allowed myself enough time to get my favorite coffee fix before starting work.  When I saw the length of the line, my shoulders slumped and my heart sank a little as I turned on my heel, departed from the line, and headed for work sans coffee to be there on time

About a half-hour later, I decided to try my luck again. The thought was barely complete when I looked up to see Fred rounding the corner with a cup of coffee in his hand, and he was headed in my direction.  He stopped, put the coffee on the counter, smiled, and said, “I saw you in line, and didn’t want you to be disappointed.  I don’t know what you like in it, so I brought you several choices.”  With that, he dropped a variety of sweetener packets beside the coffee and turned to leave – but he didn’t get away before I raced around the counter to give him a big hug—back in the day when it was still safe to hug an employee regardless of gender.

It doesn’t take very much to put a smile on someone’s face, and the smile that Fred put on mine with his random act of kindness spread to all the other faces I met that day.  Never underestimate the power of one small act of kindness toward another.  Like throwing a pebble in a pond, the ripples extend outward into infinity and touch lives in ways that we cannot possibly know.  Just imagine how many lives may have been uplifted by that one kind act on the part of one very thoughtful person. 

I’m going to love and appreciate Fred for all I’m worth while he’s there, because I know that he won’t last long.  He’ll be moved on to bigger things before I can say “Tall American with caramel, please.”  On the other hand, maybe if we’re lucky, Fred will decide to be like the enlightened monk who spent the later years of his life in the service of others simply by making omelets with such love that people came from miles around to just be in his presence.  Yep.  That’s just how I want to be when I grow up.”

With gratitude for all kindness both great and small, and love to all.

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

A Butterfly Kind of Life

Have you ever watched a butterfly zip from flower to flower and linger just long enough to extract the sweet essence out of each one?  Or have you ever seen a sloth just hang upside down in a tree watching the world as it passes by?  As I meander down the path of my spiritual growth, I have observed that I embody the tendencies of both.  Mostly I live somewhere in between.

Every so often I conduct a one-to-one-life review and write myself a report card that, sadly, does not always read very well.  It’s a little disheartening, for example, to find that there has been little, if any improvement in the subjects of perseverance, commitment, or laziness.  My friends might scold me for being so hard on myself, but they needn’t bother, because that’s one subject that I definitely ace.

One such friend gave me an adorable stuffed sloth in response to my claim of being one.  It sits on a stool in the corner of my bedroom and reminds me that procrastination becomes laziness and laziness becomes procrastination.  As a child, my family used to accuse me of getting up earlier so I could loaf longer.   Apparently I have done my best to live up to their expectation of me.  Maybe they were just being helpful and giving me a head’s up about an upcoming major life lesson.  Welcome to my sloth self.

My butterfly self is another story.  Between the two of us, another friend and I have racked up a total of five marriages (six if you count one repeat performance by a slow learner).   Betwixt and between marriages, there have been a series of jobs in varying occupations all with a life expectancy of about six years.  Apparently I have earned my butterfly wings.  

All of this flitting occasionally leads to self-judgment.  Why do I—and so many others—have the tendency to focus on those parts of ourselves that we perceive as being flawed?  Why instead, do we not write report cards on those parts of ourselves that deserve honors?  Why pick on ourselves rather than praise ourselves?

There is nothing quite like a visit to an ashram to open the eyes of the soul.  Years ago, a one-week stay at the ashram of a guru provided me with the perfect picture of my life in a nutshell.  In an ashram, service (seva) is an integral part of the stay.  Assignments are doled out to each sevite upon arrival and dutifully completed day by day.  I was given a butterfly assignment, flitting from one job to another, while my steady, stable, consistent, reliable traveling companion was assigned a Xeroxing job that kept her standing in one spot for the entire week.  We each had the perfect opportunity to view our entire life history in the space of seven days.  I admire her tenacity.  I judge myself for not being more like her.  Add to that the pitfall of comparison and it becomes a double whammy.

This morning I awoke with the renewed awareness that what I do does not matter.  More important is what I think about what I do.  My life assignment in this classroom earth is to learn and grow.  My curriculum is tailor made to suit my own particular path.  If it includes the experience of flitting from job to job or marriage to marriage, or to see that self-criticism blocks the way to self-love, so be it.  Perhaps it is the vehicle best suited to burn through karma at the speed of light, or maybe it’s the speedy route to enlightenment.  Who knows? And who am I to judge?

It occurs to me that my blog-writing history is a mirror image of my life because it reveals my days of ups and downs, days of struggling with some aspect of myself that I perceive as imperfect, and other days when I love myself exactly as I am.  I can see where a reader might be thoroughly confused, as I sometimes am when I flip back and forth through the pages of my life.  It dawns on me though, that I am simply a reflection of so many others like myself who wrestle with the occasional love-hate relationship presented to us by the ego. 

It is gratifying to know that my spiritual quest will be successful, regardless of how long I lollygag along the path, or how often I stop to smell the roses, or zone out in front of the TV.   I’ll get where I’m going eventually, and meanwhile, I’ll focus on enjoying the journey and let go of the idea that I am anything less than I am—a spark of the Divine.  And I’ll set an intention to tip the balance with more Divine Spark days than doldrum ones.  What a good idea!

In spite of my slothful and flitting butterfly ways, there has always been one constant that drives my life and leads me from one place to another.  My vision of reaching the top rung of the enlightenment ladder and stepping into the next realm of existence fuels my passion and desire to graduate from classroom earth with honors.  Heaven here I come.  I’ll see you there.  Eventually.

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)

Waiting for the Light

Today I feel a little lost on the crooked path to enlightenment because I have traded in consistency for complacency, and now I have to struggle to find my way back.  It’s a lot easier to just keep walking straight ahead than it is to zip on and off the path for a little distraction here and there.  But do I listen to myself?  Noooo.  

I remind myself of Jazzy, an adorable little ADD dog with the attention span of a gnat.  Putting her on a leash and taking her for a walk is like trying to harness a hummingbird and engage in a contest to see who is in charge.  That’s me.  The Gnat.  I need to put myself on a leash, strap myself into my meditation chair, and sit-stay until I reestablish my connection with my Divine Source. 

Sometimes I meditate and write, sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes it’s easy sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes I just have to give up and walk away for a while.   I never quite know what to expect until I put the harness on and sit myself down.

Today for instance and yesterday and the day before, I started blogs that zipped around the page with no apparent purpose or intended destination.  What am I writing about?  Meditation?  Forgiveness?  My current frustration over my inability to finish a blog?  Who knows?  I seem stuck in a fog of confusion and can’t find my way out into the light.  Is it just me?  No, I don’t think so.  

I have friends who are on hyper alert and can’t sleep, who wallow around in brain fog, or experience strange, baffling, bodily symptoms that can be neither diagnosed nor explained.  Strange things are going on in the Universe.  Our bodies are shifting and changing; we are being infused with a powerful new energy that is upgrading our DNA and preparing us for what will be coming one day soon.   

I had hoped that this blog would be all about light–yours mine, ours, and the Great Light that will soon blaze forth through the clouds of our awareness and burn away the fog of confusion that blinds us to the Truth of who we are.  Apparently today, that hope is just a blip on my radar screen awaiting expression on another day. Perhaps it will have to wait until the universe has finished rearranging all of my molecules in preparation for the appearance of the great blaze of Light.  

As I anxiously await this momentous happening, I rediscover the importance of scrapping complacency and embracing the consistency of the practice of meditation, the Divine Connection to my Source will return along with the ease of writing a blog.  Why do I keep forgetting to remember that?  

So here’s the thing: I have learned that once I commit to a decision to scrap complacency and embrace the consistency of meditation, my Divine Connection to Source will return along with the ease of writing a blog. Why do I keep forgetting to remember that?

Also good to remember is that each and every one of us is on the path of a spiritual journey whether we recognize it or not.  We are all here on planet earth in a classroom with a curriculum specially tailored to fit our own personal needs.  The fact that you are here and have read this far tells me that you are walking well upon your own path, and that you have taken one step closer to finding the truth within yourself.

I guess that a blog about the coming great Light will have to wait for another day.  Meanwhile, as I wait for the Light to blaze forth and shine upon us all, I will work on keeping the flame of my own inner light alive and well, and trust that peace, harmony, love, and understanding will take root, sprout, and bless this beloved nation and world of ours. It’s the least I can do while I wait.  But the really good news is— we won’t be waiting long . . .

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)

Friends in High Places

I went to visit my friend Cathy and her husband Bill, a hospice patient, in the final few hours of his life.  When I returned home after my visit, I texted Cathy and asked her to promise that she would call immediately when Bill passed into the unknown because I wanted to be sure that she would have a friend when she needed one.  Knowing Cathy, I would not hear from her if Bill departed in the wee hours of the morning because she would not want to disturb me, and does not like to impose.

At 5:15 am the following morning, I was awakened by the vibration of the Apple watch on my wrist.  The ringer on the phone was muted, as sometimes happens without my knowledge.  I jolted awake and thought “Oh my God—I wonder if that was Cathy.”   I squinted in the darkness to look at the face of the watch and without benefit of eyeglasses, I could see Cathy’s name on the face of the watch.  

I bolted out of bed and dashed into the other room to check my phone for a message.  There was no indication of a call—no voicemail, no missed call, no text.  Nothing.  I texted Cathy and asked if she had tried to call.  Her response was, “OMG no, but Bill passed away at 4:20 am.”

How did that happen?  Did her people call my people?   Are there people?  Did Bill announce to his escort that he wasn’t leaving until I got the message and would soon be there for Cathy?  Are there escorts?  Was this evidence of a soul connection to a loved one, or perhaps a reminder that we are connected with everyone on the planet?  Was it some sort of strange coincidence?  I don’t think so.

I have never doubted the presence of guardians, angels, helpers, friends in spirit, guides, and teachers, but how affirming to have the experience of a tap on the wrist to let me know that a friend is in need.  How comforting to know, sense, feel, and imagine that friends and helpers are near, present in real time, watching, guiding, helping, loving us even in spite of ourselves, even if we deny their existence, even when we do not listen, pay attention, or heed their guidance. 

I cannot imagine that there is one person alive today who has not had an otherworldly and amazingly unexplainable experience, perhaps gone unnoticed or written off as coincidence.  But sadly, many are asleep to the awareness of what exists beyond that which they see with their eyes, and they miss what the awakened see.  

I don’t want to miss anything!  I don’t want to sleepwalk through life and cheat myself out of seeing the wonder of all that enfolds and surrounds me.  Life is a treasure hunt and I intend to find what lies hidden in plain sight, placed there lovingly by those who encourage me in my quest of self-discovery.

I am grateful for all blessings no matter how great nor small—most especially for friends in high places–those who are always and ever there, by and on my side.  

Stay on the light side my friends, and set your sights on the miraculous that hides in plain sight for those with eyes to see.

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 Gift of Regret

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Today my grand twins turn the same age that I was when my daughter was born.  Eeks.  Enjoy life while it’s happening folks, and don’t wait till you get the end of it to look back and ask yourself where it all went!

Somehow I managed to make it to this end of life in once piece—maybe a little worse for wear, perhaps, but still functional nonetheless.  When I was younger, my goal was to get to my sunset years and be able to look back and say that I reached the end with no regrets.  Honestly?  I have to admit that I didn’t quite make it to my goal because there are a few of them sprinkled throughout my life.  Those regrets are the parts and pieces of myself that are woven into the tapestry of my life.  I see them not as regrets, but as badges of honor, for they are to be revered for the gifts that they have given, the lessons they have taught, the forgiveness they have brought.

Regrets are reminders that sometimes goals are set but not met, that failure to achieve the desire of one’s heart is not a failure at all, but a signal that perhaps the heart needs to go in a different direction.  Disappointment is a fork in the road that points to an opportunity to either redirect desire onto a new path, or to let go and walk away.  Throughout my lifetime, I have taken both roads.  Often, I have asked myself, is walking away giving up?  Or is it the Soul suggesting that the correction of a wrong choice might be a preferred option?  Perhaps there are no wrong choices, but rather opportunities to engage our free will in the play of trial and error until we get it right.

There are times when I allowed self-doubt to stop me from pursuing the desires of my heart because I lacked the faith in my ability to pull it off, whatever it was.  And there were times when I was struck with a flash of inspiration and charged ahead full steam and became so immersed in pursuing my dream that there was no room for self-doubt to sneak in to undermine my plan.

A friend recently told me about Allison Hadden, a motivational speaker engaged in a battle with cancer, who says, “As scary as it is to accept, all of us are going to die – yet none of us know when. It’s time we start confronting this reality and living life like there’s no time to waste.” If ever there were a poster child for pursuing purpose, she would be it.  Clearly, she is not daunted by her illness, but instead is using it to inspire others, and she is not giving up.

Nor have I given up on my one primary vision in this lifetime—to live life in a way that would ultimately lead me out of the quagmire of ego and personality, and into the peace and calm of a heart and soul centered life.  That vision has led me down many a garden path—some strewn with lilies, some with thorns, but every road taken has led me one step closer to my destination.  I am grateful for the thorny roads, for they have led to the realization that a path of lilies is a path of true joy.  Never give up on your dreams, dear ones.  Hasten as ye go for there is no time to waste.

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).

Food for the Soul

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I just ate an entire bag of spinach and a pile of sliced mushrooms for dinner.  It all went into a skillet and looked like a mountain of food—well maybe more like a molehill—but it all sautéed down to about a medium-sized serving of spaghetti and meatballs and not surprisingly, I have overfed myself.  Or as my friend likes to say, I am sufficiently suffonsified.  Emphasis on the fon.  Suf-FON-si-fied.

Clearly, I never miss an opportunity to feed my body, albeit tonight with a rather odd combination of food, courtesy of the sparse contents of the fridge.  Healthwise, I guess it beats a burger, fries, and a side of fried mozzarella with a chocolate shake to wash it down.  Well, at least I opted for spinach instead of running away from home in search of something greasy and fried.  It’s a start . . .

Lately though, I’ve noticed that I’ve been on a bit of a downslide, not doing the things I should, and doing things that I shouldn’t.  More zoning out in front of screens, less blogging, for example, and yes, I see that I am shoulding all over myself.  I shouldn’t be doing that.

For the past few days I’ve observed myself as I do a backward drift into temptation.  Netflix and restaurants have called to say they miss me and threaten to drag me off course and back into old habits that I am working hard to view from the safety of my rear view mirror.  I was doing really, really well there for a while, but sometimes it’s a little hard to hear the sound of sanity over the voice of a screaming appetite deprived of satisfaction.

Obviously, I’m totally committed to feeding the vehicle that walks me around and needs to be gassed up now and then to keep itself moving.  I’m forever quick to feed the body, but what about the care and feeding of the soul?  What good is a body that is full if it walks around with a soul that is empty?

I suspect that my backslide is the direct result of a neglected soul starving for the pleasure of my company.  When my commitment slips, when I fail to tend to the needs of my soul, when I take it for granted, or skip meditation, I deprive myself of the enormous benefit of the rich nutrients that lie hidden within.

There is a a vein of gold inside each one of us awaiting discovery.  The soul, Self, Higher Self, True Self, whatever one may wish to call it, exists whether we acknowledge it or not.  It is a patient, kind, gentle, healing Voice that provides an answer to every question and a solution to every problem, if we will but ask, listen, and follow its wisdom.  It exists even when we deny it and walk away, and it welcomes us home when we wake up and return.  It is the truest, eternal, and most faithful friend that we will ever have.  Feed it well with love, appreciation, and gratitude and it will raise you to heights you never dreamed possible.  Wake up and remember.

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 Crooked Path Home

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Back in the day when I thought that I was God’s gift to the world, the idea of living a spiritually-based life was unthinkable.  I saw it as being just about the most pathetic excuse for a life on the planet.  Where’s the excitement?  Where’s the glamor?  Where’s the fun?  Who would even consider living such a life, besides a priest, or a nun perhaps?  And even then—why?  Nope.  Not for me.   B-o-r-i-n-g.

Then smack dab in the height of my ego trip, I began to notice ever so slowly, in dribbles and drabs, in little bits and pieces, that stuff began to happen.  Stuff that caught me by surprise, that shook up my foundations, that rattled my cage, exploded my highfalutin concept of myself, and sent me off into a dark night of the soul.  Humpty fell off the wall and smashed to smithereens.  Ouch.

My search for an escape from the darkness led me down countless avenues of exploration to find a way out.  It was a long and arduous journey, but of one thing I was absolutely certain: I had no choice.  I had to find a way out.  I suppose that a trip to the depths of despair might happen to everyone at one point or another, either in this lifetime, the last, or the next.  This one was mine.  My trip down into the pits provided the incentive that I needed to give myself a good, swift kick in the butt and make a commitment to find my way out.  Not until I was fully ensconced in the dark did the search for light begin.

Fast forward to now—and wow—what a difference a dark night of the soul makes!  I’m a whole new me, a makeover of my former self waving goodbye to the last vestiges of an ego trip that ran me on a merry chase in search of all that I thought was good, cool, fun, worth living for, protecting, and guarding with my very life.

Decades later, Humpty is reassembled and sitting happily back up on the wall.  True, it took a while, but the wait was worth it because as each tiny little piece of me was glued back in its proper place, an inner joy filled in the cracks and all that is left is the beautiful, smooth surface of a healed soul at peace with itself and with the world.

Goodbye ego, goodbye glamor, goodbye excitement, and fun.  Hello peace, contentment, hello joy beyond measure.  Having lived in one place and another, and if given a choice for the rest of eternity, I’ll choose another every time.  The glamor of the ego cannot begin to compete with the indescribable ecstasy of striving to live life as a Soul.

The journey toward the Soul is the adventure of a lifetime.  It is a rocky ride made smooth by mighty and powerful forces that help us along the way.  I would not trade one inch of my life’s path, because no matter how crooked the road I chose, it was always made straight.  There are no wrong decisions, because each choice leads us that much closer to what is right.  Every fork offers an option and every option is an opportunity to learn, grow, and experience the benefits and consequences of our choices.  There no wrong turns, there are no mistakes; we are gifted with an abundance of time, opportunity, and do-overs to get it right.  We live in a universe populated by loving, Wise Ones who hold our hands as we travel our path, and guide us through treacherous shoals home to the safety of our souls.  I cannot imagine wanting anything more than that.

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).

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).