Light Up the Dark Corners

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Some days it’s hard not to become disheartened by bad news.  I may have stopped watching TV, but still, it’s hard to avoid the stories about customers who verbally and physically attack retail employees, or protesters with oozies out to protect their selfish rights, or governmental corruption, lies, political dirty tricks, and round and round we go where she stops, God only knows.  So much ugliness in the world coming at us from so many different directions.  Heaven help us.

If I were to allow myself to focus on all of this distressing news, surely I would be caught up in a frenzy of hopelessness unable to see a way out, or worse, be sucked into the fray by the unbridled fear-mongering heaped upon us daily by the media.   It’s why I turned off the TV.

We need to see the light.

My mother used to say, “Light up the dark corners.”  When she said it, she meant the room.

When I say it, I mean the world.

Before he died in 1991 at age 40, Lee Atwater, chairman of the Republican National Committee and manager of George Bush’s 1988 successful presidential campaign, took responsibility for his actions of “naked cruelty” by setting out upon a mission of making amends to those who had been hurt by his underhanded political tactics.  “I did not invent negative politics,” he said, “but I am one of its most ardent practitioners.”

His deathbed confessions and apologies, according to some who knew him well, were fueled by his fear that he would go to hell for his actions.  Perhaps this could be considered as an unlikely side benefit that fear provides for motivation for a change of heart.

Whatever the cause of his desire for repentance, it pales in comparison to the implication that change is not an impossible dream, even under the very worst of conditions.  In fact, it may even seem miraculous that a man capable of such incredible manipulation and control might suddenly turn into the poster child for political good behavior and seek forgiveness for his self-serving actions.

It gives me hope.  It gives me the hope that if Lee Atwater saw the light and could change, perhaps others will as well.  It is not an impossible dream.  Minds are changed one at a time.  Perhaps the light might dawn upon one angry customer, or one armed protester, or one corrupt politician and bring about a change of heart.

If one person lights one match in a darkened room, all will be able to see.  If one person turns on one light in one corner of a dark room, the room will be illuminated.  Each one of us who sees and focuses on the light helps to dispel the darkness.  Each one of us can help to change the world, one mind at a time.

When enough of us participate in lending light to the darkness, when the world is well enough lit, we will all enjoy the beauty, harmony, and bounty of a glorious new life on our beloved earth.

So please help in the effort of transformation and turn on your light.  Light the match.  Light the light.  See the light.

Light up the dark corners.

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 Heart Knows the Way

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Yesterday I was broke. Here  Today I am lazy.

The day that I was born, my sister became my mother and adopted me as her very own living, breathing baby doll.  The fact that she was only two years older did not get in her way.  She went about her task with fierce determination, meeting my every need before I needed it,  doing everything for me that I could not do for myself.  She continued her mothering duties well past the years when I was old enough to do for myself.  Not surprisingly, I earned the reputation for being lazy because for some odd reason, I simply didn’t bother to do anything for myself.  Imagine that.

I won’t give her full credit nor blame for my well-earned lazy reputation, because chances are that I showed up in life with lazy as my middle name.  Nonetheless and even so, in her well-meaning mothering helpfulness, she facilitated the process and sealed the deal.  Lazy I was.

My family claimed that I liked to get up earlier so I could loaf longer.   Efficiency experts agree: If you want to get something done, give it to the laziest person in the room because she will find the quickest, easiest, fastest way to get the job done.  So true.  Efficiency equals longer loaf time.

If there is any truth in my belief that we arrive here on classroom earth with a fully loaded curriculum specifically tailored for our soul’s growth, then I was parked in the perfect family to help me realize and understand my need to overcome the obstacles that I brought with me into the classroom.  Broke and lazy.

But here’s the good news.  Like two sides of the same coin, we also come equipped with the wherewithal and the way to grab our demons by the tail and fling them over the cliff of self-doubt and fear.  We have the ability to gain mastery over ourselves and whatever beliefs we hold that cast a shadow over the joy that is our inherent birthright.  It’s all a part of the journey toward wholeness.

Easier said than done, one may say.  How do you erase the pain of the past and heal old, worn out belief systems that stand in the way of personal peace and happiness?  How does one answer such a question in the Reader’s Digest version of a lifetime quest?

For two years I held a grievance involving a husband and a friend.  Not until I was able to see the profound damage that I was doing to myself by my unwillingness to forgive did I begin to realize the benefit of letting it go.  Incentive and willingness became the key.  Dear God, I want to forgive, but I don’t know how.  Please help.

Sometimes it helps to take a “what’s in it for me” approach.  Focus on the donut.  Seeing the benefit can provide the energy that fuels the desire to make a change, even though doing so may be uncomfortable.  Every situation is different.  Every solution is different.  Every soul is a wise teacher with our best interests at heart.  Follow your heart, ask for help, listen to the teacher, study hard for your tests, and a diploma is your sure reward..  It isn’t easy, but it’s always worth it.  Godspeed.

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 Wealth of Poverty

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When I was a little kid, I yearned for piano and ballet lessons.  Apparently, my mother always wanted to be a Girl Scout, so I got sucked into being a Brownie instead.  It was the beginning of the harsh realization that life didn’t always produce the results to which I would like to have been accustomed.  No lemonade for me.  Oh to be young and have no control.

To be fair, I will admit that the cost of piano and ballet lessons was out of the question for my dear widowed mother whose sole focus was on feeding her three children and keeping a roof over our heads.   But of course, my small child self didn’t see it that way.  I only saw that I didn’t get what I wanted.  I vividly remember fretting over how one moves from a $0.25 per week allowance to acquiring an entire house plus contents and everything else that goes with being a grown-up.  I also freaked out over the thought of being put in jail because I couldn’t afford the overdue fee of a library book   Hence, at a tender young age, I developed a healthy sense of poverty consciousness that I wrestled with throughout my adult years.  It wasn’t really a very good start to life.

Around age six, I poked a small finger at my own body and then at the body of a friend and wondered, “who” is in there, and why is she in “there” and why am I in “here”?  Why does she live in her family, and why do I live in mine?  Who decides?    It was this same young friend who said to me, “Did you ever think that none of this is real?”  Hmmm.  Heady questions for a couple of little ones, wouldn’t you say?

Hence began my lifelong spiritual quest, and what an exciting, amazing, baffling, mystifying experience it has been.  I’ve heard people say they’re not interested in finding inner peace because it would be boring.  Boring?  Ask anyone committed to a personal spiritual quest they will say that it is anything but.

Why was I born into a financially-challenged family?  Why am I “in here” and why are you “in there”?   Why are there as many life situations and circumstances as there are people on the planet?  The only thing that I know for sure is that there is always a reason.  For everything.

I believe that every life circumstance is a divinely orchestrated opportunity to provide us with the lessons necessary for our soul’s evolution.  There are so many rich blessings and lessons to be gained from each one, if we can see past the blind spots that cloud the vision of what appears to be real, but in truth is only the illusion that we make up in our own heads.

My lifetime as a spiritual seeker has taught me that my work is just to grow where I’m planted.  Certainly life hasn’t all been fun and games, but my willingness to travel down this road has led me to a place where I am content, happy, and at peace with myself.  And by the way—it has never been boring.

Circumstances may appear to be immutable, but minds are not.  They can be changed.  A change of mind brings a change of life, both on a personal level and on the world stage.  Every mind makes a difference. And it’s up to each one of us how we choose to think.

I began my life poor in mind, body, and spirit, but poverty has been replaced  by a wealth of spirit.  Now I can afford the overdue library book fee, and the house and its contents thanks to the realization that everything I need is readily available if I look within myself.  There are miracles hiding inside waiting to happen.  Seek and ye shall find.

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).

Cookies, Cream, and Gratitude

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Life is full of challenging little obstacles, have you noticed?  Miraculously, I’ve jumped over the blog-a-day hurdle, but as it turns out that was the easy part.  In this age of technology, my next obstacle is to figure out how to solve my current problem of feeling like a ghost, thanks to my inability to communicate with readers and bloggers.   Meanwhile, until I get around to actually doing it, I will continue to suffer through the agony of dysfunction and blunder my way through, hoping that the problem will somehow magically solve itself.  Good luck with that.

I have this feeling that I’m living life in a blog vacuum because every attempt at being in touch with fellow bloggers is stymied.  I can see you and hear you, but you hear nothing from me in return.  I know that you’re out there somewhere, reading, commenting, liking and following—but my responses go unheard.  Clearly, there is something seriously amiss in my relationship with the WordPress platform, and until I get it resolved, I’ll be living life out here in the ghost lane all by myself.

I’d like to fix the technological problem, mind you, but I need the incentive and a little willingness to get me past the objection stage.  It’s like that go-to-the-dentist feeling again.   I don’t really want to, but if I am to gain the benefit, I must be willing to suffer a little pain.  Rats.  Maybe the degree to which I suffer relates to the depth of my willingness.  If it’s really worth it to me, I’m all in.  If not, most likely I’ll turn and run the other way.  So my ask myself, is it worth it?  Am I willing to do whatever it takes to solve the problem?  Maybe.  Eventually.  I guess that all depends on how much I want what I want.

I once spent a zany afternoon at the pig races.  Yes, pig races.  I loved watching all of those adorable pudgy little pink piggys whip around the track in hot pursuit of the cookies and cream waiting for them at the finish line.  Clearly, those little cuties had everything they needed to get what they wanted, and they were going for it, full steam ahead.

It’s never easy to sit myself down and do the hard stuff, but eventually I’ll reach a point where it is harder not to do it than it is to just do it.  Willingness is the gun that shoots me out of the gate.  Without willingness and incentive, the finish line is forever away.  For now, at least I’ve made it into the chute, waiting for the starting gun to blast me out onto the track.  It may be a while before it does, but it will go off sooner or later and I’ll get there.  Eventually.

Meanwhile, until eventually happens dear readers, likers, and followers, please know that I appreciate you beyond words and thank you so much for being there.  Even though you may not see me or hear from ghostly me, I am, in fact here and thanking you—as the little girl accepting a big award once said—from my bottom to my top.  I hope that you will see me soon.

Bring on the cookies and cream.

 

 

 

Loving What I Hate

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Yesterday I spent a few hours hanging out in a dentist’s chair with a myriad of dental miscellanea and numerous fingers simultaneously stuffed into my mouth.  Whoopee.  When will lunch with friends be considered essential business, I wonder?

I have never been a big fan of dental visits, dating back to my early childhood when my poverty- stricken widowed mother dutifully took my sisters and me to a free dental clinic that was furnished with rows and rows of stark black dental chairs manned by budding dental students who poked and prodded and operated without benefit of Novocain.   It was terrifying.

Later when things improved, off I went to a dentist who flew his own plane and had a mistress.  I swear he poked around my mouth and created multitudes of man-made cavities to support his habits.  I don’t know how my mother and I ever survived those years, but I’m fairly certain that she provided at least the down payment for the plane, while my school principal questioned my excessive requests to be excused for dental appointments.  Had she known early on about his expensive indulgences, I’m sure she would have jumped chairs and moved on sooner.

Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars later, I still have all of my teeth—well, sort of, I guess, if an implant, a bunch of crowns, and a permanent bridge count as my teeth.  I guess they do—I paid for them.

I have spent about a kazillion hours stressing out over the thought of an upcoming dental appointment.  Noooo!  Don’t make me go.  I don’t want to . . .  oh, the things that stick in our memory banks.  It makes me wonder—how much of my life is, or has been, influenced by memories of the past?

I’ve done my best to drop the pre-dental-appointment hand-wringing habit, but sometimes I still catch myself in the act of stressing out ahead of time.  Occasionally, I’ll even toss in a little resentment about how much it’s going to cost to sit in a dentist’s chair and endure a few hours of torture in the process.

Somewhere along the way though, sandwiched between the lines of past memory and present resentment, the light dawns and I realize that I am seeing amiss.  I am seeing fear and hate.  I could be seeing gratitude and love instead. A little transformation, please.

I am grateful that I still have teeth in my head to fix. I am grateful that I am able to pay to for necessary repairs.   I am grateful that the days of terrifying dental torture is a thing of the past.  I am grateful for the amazingly fabulous, wonderful technology that has brought dentistry into the present where I now live.  I am grateful for a staff of kind, caring and experienced people who look after my dental health.  I am grateful for every opportunity to let go of the past and transform fear into love.

Just to keep this in perspective, I offer one final note—and this one is the mother of all gratitude— I am especially grateful that my name is not George Washington and that I don’t have to live with wooden teeth.  Eeks.

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).

 

 

 

 

Blessings in Boo-Boos

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Stuff happens.  That was the opening sentence of yesterday’s original blog before the great delete debacle happened, and what could be a better example of stuff than that?  Lessons  Yep.  It happens when and where you least expect it.  There’s big stuff and little stuff and all sizes of stuff in between, but stuff it is, and the question becomes, so what am I going to do about it?

I got a chuckle out of the response from one reader who said that when stuff like that happens to her, she runs outside and yells “fire, fire!”  I am definitely going to try that sometime.  The neighbors may try to catch me with a butterfly net, but hey—that’s all part of the fun.

Fortunately, yesterday’s incident was a one-act play and I was the only actor.  Sometimes though, the stage is filled with an entire cast of characters enmeshed in a comedy of errors or a tragedy involving pain and suffering.  When personally involved in such a scenario, I like to pretend that I’m sitting in the audience observing the show from afar and not let myself become too entangled in the story.  When the play ends, I go home and analyze the plot to see what I might have changed, and study the parts of the players and my reaction to them.  Often, I rewrite the ending so that everyone walks away with a sense of peace and satisfaction

Ah, good old Pollyanna.  She loves those happy endings.

Then I take on the role of a theater critic, except instead of evaluating the play, the plot, and the acting, I look for meaning, lessons, and blessings.  Was it worth identifying with the pain or suffering happening on stage?  Was there a benefit involved, however miniscule or obscure?  Did I learn anything?  Is there something that I could have done differently?  If I had changed my reaction, might there have been a better outcome?

Sometimes I think that the stuff that happens is a set-up job to help us move forward on the pathway toward our own enlightenment.  Every glitch that comes our way arrives complete with an ending that allows us to learn a lesson, find a benefit, and embrace the blessing that is inherent within it.  The ending is up to the players.  We can choose happy, or we can choose unhappy.  Each actor decides his or her own role.

So did I choose a happy ending after yesterday’s big boo-boo?  Was there a lesson?  The world didn’t end because I made a mistake.  Was there a blessing?  Absolutely.  Once I recovered from the shock of what I had done, I thought the whole incident was hysterical.  I felt a profound sense of gratitude because I was able to recover quickly and whip out a replacement blog in the space of ten minutes, and enjoy the freedom of writing with the sense of wild abandon of dancing as if no one was watching.

God bless the boo-boos, for without them we would miss the profound teachings that life has to offer us.  The great lessons, gifts, and blessings always await our discovery, if we will but seek to find them.  Happy hunting, my friends.

Learning Lessons in Real Time

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I just spent a couple of hours writing today’s blog.  I put the finishing touches on it before pushing the publish button, then accidentally pushed the delete button instead.  Shoot me now.  It was all about how everything happens for a reason and that there is a lesson that can be found in every unhappy, unfortunate situation.  Well now.  Didn’t I just give myself the opportunity of a lifetime to practice what I preach?  Back to square one.  Sigh.

Fellow writers and bloggers, can you relate?  Lesson 1:  Save.  I knew that, but I flunked Save.  Some of us are slow learners.

So I suck my heart back up out of my stomach and begin again.  Okay, so where was I?  There was something about learning from my mistakes, about wrenching my elbow out of joint while trying to extract my foot from my mouth, blah blah blah.

It was about converting miseries into miracles.  I felt pretty good about it too, and even managed to find a link to add (a shortcoming, you may recall) but now alas, poof—it’s all gone.  Maybe with luck I can find a new link to the thing about links.  Stay tuned but don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile, like the kid in the room with all of the manure, I know that there must be a pony in here somewhere.

Well I’m just going to have to fumble my way through this one till I find a point, or come to an end, or figure it out, or giggle my way through this cruel twist of fate, or maybe suss out a lesson, or learn to get by on a hum, a wing, and a prayer.  You know—resort to your basic stream-of-consciousness stuff.  What can I say?

One of the things that I’ve learned along the way is that by the time I’ve pushed the publish button, I feel as if I’ve put in a whole day’s work and it’s only 9:00 a.m.  I’m done.  It’s breakfast first then nap.  Like I always say—we get to repeat our lessons until we learn them.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.

It would really be cool if the missing blog suddenly reappeared like magic but I doubt that’s going to happen.  But the miracle that I was talking about in the missing blog was about finding compassion, love, healing, and happy endings in the midst of what I call the miseries, those life situations that make you want to pull the ostrich act and run off in search of sand into which to stick the head, kind of like now, this moment, when I’d like to run off and stick my head under the covers.

Well so here’s my question to myself.  Have I learned anything here (besides push the Save button, I mean)?  I don’t know about that yet.  It’s a little too soon.  Maybe I’ll figure it out later.  Or not.

Maybe it’s just about another lesson in letting go, and going with the flow, of being okay with the way things are, of loving and forgiving myself in spite of my silly foibles, of making the best of whatever the situation is.  The deleted blog took a lot of time and thought.  This one was whipped off in about ten minutes and was a whole lot more fun to write.  Don’t know about you, but I enjoyed the process.  Hope you enjoyed the read!

Ta ta for now.  Off for my nap.

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).