Trashy Dreams

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Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Julia, self-appointed Queen of the Trash Room.  This honor is bestowed upon me courtesy of my own idiocy as a result of my willingness to join the board of directors of the condo building where I live. Clearly, we do not have a janitor.

My kingdom includes a 300-square foot trash room with cinder block walls, a concrete floor, and a dumpster, the receptacle for whatever crazy stuff that residents can think of to send down the chute from six floors above.  I don’t recommend vacuum cleaners.  The result of such folly inevitably creates a horror show that would send a janitor running for his life.  Would that we had one but alas, I’m it.

If the dumpster is overloaded the bags bounce onto the floor and heaven help anyone who might be standing in the way.  The room itself is the collector of an unimaginable assortment of dumped household belonging—an unholy mix of trash, garbage, and recyclables—fluorescent bulbs, half empty paint cans, discarded electronics, mattresses, broken desk chairs—the possibilities are endless.  Happy am I when the room is tidy and clean, empty of assorted litter and junk because then in my world, all is well and God is in her heaven.

It’s bad enough when I have to deal with this garbage for real—but really—do I have to do it in my dreams too?

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Last night I had a hideous nightmare in which someone dumped a 60-gallon dirty yellow container down the chute, and rather than using a securely-tied plastic bag to rein in the contents, the expletive-deleted perpetrator had filled the thing with a broken down cardboard carton full of loose trash.  Naturally, the container landed upside down and emptied its mountainous load of yukkiness all over the floor, a horror show of epic proportions.  The Queen of Trash nearly had a fainting spell at the mere sight of it, not to mention the mind-numbing prospect of having to clean it all up.  To make matters worse, the container had a wheel broken off, a sure indicator that it too qualified as trash, providing an even greater puzzle to solve.  Is it recyclable? Is it plastic or rubberized? Is rubber recyclable?  How am I supposed to get rid of that?

As I stood at the intersection of horrified and enraged, an idea popped into my head.  “Hey, wait a minute.” I thought.  “Maybe this is just a nightmare, and if so, I don’t have to worry about how to clean it up.  Maybe I can just wake up and poof—problem solved!  Wouldn’t that just be miraculous?”  And with that, my eyes popped open and I woke up with a realization that it was indeed, just a dream.  Words cannot possibly begin to describe the mixture of gratitude, relief, and joy that I experienced to discover the unreality of that nasty situation.

This trashy nightmare brings to mind a question that I have pondered many times over my lifetime. What is real?  What is illusion?  While I sleep, my nighttime dreams become my reality and are as concrete as the floor of that trash room.  They are as real as the world seems to be when I am in a so-called waking state.  Yet when I am walking around in the daytime with my eyes wide open and think that I am awake, the dreams that I have at night vanish into thin air and quickly fade and are forgotten.  Where do the nighttime dreams go?  Where do the daytime dreams go?  Which one is real?

Perhaps none of it is real.  Perhaps it is all only an illusion.  Perhaps we are all asleep and dreaming and perhaps one day we will all wake up to a new reality in which we realize that life is nothing more than a dream, a movie projected by our minds based upon what we think, feel, perceive, or believe is real.

In the meantime, perhaps we are all living in the same dream with a common belief in love and fear, good and evil, right and wrong, black and white, beliefs that divide and separate us from one another when in truth we are all one, we are all the same, we all are only here on classroom earth learning how to get along together and to let go of fear and replace it with love.  We’re all teachers, we’re all students, we’re all in it together.

Let’s face it—the world we live in today could qualify as a nightmare.  I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do my best to turn the nightmare into a happy dream and wake up to the Truth that the only thing that is real is love.  Meanwhile, I’m going to practice loving my enemies.  It isn’t easy, but the result is surely worth the effort.  Care to join me?

Bye for now. See you in my dreams.

With love,

Julia, Queen of Trash

 

When Is It Gonna Get Hot?

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This morning I checked the weather before I took Charlie out for his morning constitutional. The temperature clued me that I needed to bundle us both up in our winter duds and brace ourselves for an unseasonably chilly morning.  What is wrong with this picture?  It’s 33 degrees on April 8, that’s what.

I don’t know about the weather where you live, but I can tell you that in my lane, we’re all sick and tired of layering up when it’s supposed to be spring. Down coats and scarves just don’t go with cherry blossoms and daffodils.  As I zipped and hooded us up a “Once Upon a Time” story popped into my head.

Many years ago when I was an outside sales rep, my days were spent pounding the pavement (ouch—sorry feet!) hiking from door to door in building after building in hot pursuit of hot prospects in a big city full of big buildings.

Oh there was a whole lot of hot out there.  One year in late May and early June, the weather moved from winter directly into an endless stream of days so brutally hot that the very thought of going outside sent folks scurrying back to the safety and comfort of their air conditioned zones.  Day by day as I slogged my way from door to door I began to notice that mine weren’t the only spirits drooping from the scorching heat.  There seemed to be an epidemic of general malaise in the air, a fog of depression that had engulfed the entire city.

Oh for an inside job where I could sit at a desk in air-conditioned comfort all day.  Fortunately for me, most of the kind folks I encountered took pity on me, but I could only linger for just so long before someone thought that it was time to kick me back out into the oppressive heat.  It would be times like these when any self respecting outside sales rep in her right mind might consider a new occupation.  Alas, such was not the case, and the person I worked for was not sympatric to the plight of her soggy beleaguered sales team.  Off we went.  Out the door and into the blistering heat.

 

 

On one such as day I stood propped in the corner of an elevator on my way down from the 9thfloor dreading the thought of having to exit the building, the elevator stopped long enough to collect a new passenger.  “Oh good, I thought.  A brief momentary delay before venturing out into the inevitable.”

I can still see him to this day.  A handsome hunk of a guy wearing a crisp, clean Fedex uniform and a smile so bright that it reminded me of those toothpaste ads where a sparkle of light pings off a front tooth.  There I stood propped in my corner dazzled by the vision of handsome, while trying my best to refrain from wilting down to the floor in a puddle of despair.

“Good morning!” he said with a cheerful attitude that matched his sparkle smile.

“Well, it would be a good morning if I didn’t have to get off this elevator and go out into the heat,” I grumbled.

“Well we asked for it, you know.”

“Huh?  What do you mean?”

“We kept saying, ‘When is it gonna get hot?  When is it gonna get hot?’”  And then he was gone.

Aha!  The man is right!  Just as it is now, the weather then had been unseasonably cold for far too long into the spring.  Everyone was complaining. “ It’s too cold.  When is it gonna get hot?  When is it gonna get hot?”  There was a group mantra in the air and it got hot.

Is it true?  Do we get what we ask for?  If so, perhaps it might behoove us to give some serious thought to what we allow to wander around in our heads.  If I change my mind will I change my experience?  I decided that I was going to rewrite the mantra.  If it is true, if a group consciousness can create a heat wave, can it be reversed by a change of mind?

That day, I told the story of my elevator meeting to each person I met.  I asked everyone that I encountered to “Think San Diego weather,” and to imagine a balmy, sunny, clear- blue-sky, low-humidity sort of a day that brings joy to the heart and puts a spring into the step.  It was amazing how spirits lifted at the very thought.

Even more amazing was the fact that the next morning I awoke to a day of San Diego weather.

Coincidence? I’ll never know.  But it certainly does give one pause to wonder, doesn’t it?  Think about what we might be able to do if we change our minds about the climate of our government, of our country, of the planet?  What might happen if we all shifted from a negative attitude to a positive one?  If we see light instead of darkness?  Is it possible to change the world one mind at a time?

Is there just one little thing that you might like to change your mind about today?  If so, how about starting with something small, like the weather?  Today the weather.  Tomorrow the world.

It couldn’t hurt, right?  After all, what have we got to lose?  We’ll never know unless we try.

Okay, so are you in?  If so, leave me a comment and let me know.  The more the merrier! Together we can change the world.  We’ve gotta start somewhere, right?  Okay, enough with the platitudes.  How about we move on to Weather Changing one Mind at a Time?

Seriously.  Let me know.

PS:  Quite possibly there may be either a gaping hole in the middle of this post, or a photo of a fiery blaze stuck sideways in a place where a photo ought not be.  Just overlook it and chalk it up to computer ineptitude.  🙂  I know it’s broken, but I don’t know how to fix it.  But then again, maybe it isn’t broken at all.  Maybe I just think it is.  And maybe by some miracle it will fix itself and be just fine.  I won’t know till I push the publish button.  So good luck and here goes . . .

 

 

A Gift of Lilies or a Crown of Thorns?

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Today my daughter shares her birthday with Easter Monday.  Yesterday Easter was shared with April Fool’s Day. I went to church and am happy to report that the roof did not cave in. No fooling! The church that I attended offered worshippers a non-traditional service with a rousing round of Christian rock music that set the feet to tapping and the heart to pounding, but I missed the singing of traditional hymns.   Hal-le-lu-jah, hal-le-lu-jah. No matter. I walked around throughout the day singing it to myself but I’d rather have heard it sung by a choir.

While I appreciate traditional Christianity, I often enjoy looking at it in a more metaphysical way. I have been a student of a number of different teachings on my spiritual journey, each of which has proven to be exceptionally valuable in its own time and in its own way. The result to date is that I have adopted what I consider to be a system of belief that is practical, believable, forgiving, and comforting. It comes from years of practice as a student of the spiritual teachings of Siddha Yoga, A Course in Miracles (ACIM), Unity Center of Christianity, meditation, and the experience of being a Reiki practitioner among other things along the way.

Like so many others on a similar journey, I often find that I lose purpose and inspiration from time to time, and find myself wandering in the wilderness trying to return to my path toward home. Such has been the case for the past several weeks. When that happens, I scramble to find my way back but have learned that in order to do so I must ask for help. Help comes in many forms, and most recently, it was through a reminder from a friend who had returned to her study of ACIM after many years. The simple act of picking up the book was all I needed. Once I actually opened it to a random page, my way back was right there waiting for me.

Easter weekend gave me more than ample opportunity to examine some of the ridiculous little grievances that I hold from time to time for no good or apparent reason. Try as I might to get to the bottom of whatever the heck it is that is bugging me about a person or situation or even about myself seems like mission impossible.

I was a little disappointed with myself last week, for example, because for the first time since I started blogging in mid-February, I failed in my goal to publish a blog twice a week. I went through the usual litany of excuses—I was away for the weekend, I devoted a lot of the week to writing the condo newsletter, I had to get ready for Easter company—lame excuses, perhaps but true nonetheless. But the underlying truth behind the fake excuses is that I was struggling (again) about what to write, what to say, and how to say it. If it’s such hard work, maybe I’m on the wrong track. Always second guessing myself. It shouldn’t be that hard, should it? Where’s the easy button?

So there I was on Good Friday, feeling hung out on a cross of my own construction, wearing a crown of thorns, crucified by self-judgment, self-criticism, and self-doubt. Is there anyone out there who does not experience that from time to time? While I was hanging there condemning myself for my miscellaneous assorted sins, I found myself mentally picking on perfectly nice people who just happened to be in the crosshairs of my grievances at the time.

Well hello? I need some practical, believable, forgiving, comforting help here, please. I don’t like who I am and what I’m thinking right now and I want to fix it.

So I whipped out my trusty journal and busied myself by writing my little heart out. What emerged was a dialogue about love and fear (always the bottom line in my world) and my choice about deciding which one to choose. It is a bit lengthy, but oh, so juicy, and oh so helpful. Maybe someday I’ll publish it as a blog.

Love is love and love is all there is, the only thing that is real. Anything else is fear, an umbrella term for ego, the saboteur par excellence that strives with all its might to stay alive in the face of love. It shows up in ugly forms such as I experienced in the past week or so, as anything, anything that threatens peace of mind. Anger, jealousy, slothfulness, hatred, criticism of self and others—it’s all right there, terrified that it will be recognized for what it is and annihilated by the forgiveness and healing that only love can provide.

I like to think that Jesus is a teacher of the love that joins us all as one, and that symbolically his death signals the death of the ego, the end of the treachery of the suffering that we all endure because of it.

I give thanks for Jesus the man, the teacher, the way shower, and for Jesus the Christ, the embodiment of love, the representative of All That Is. I give thanks for the triumph of the resurrection that leads us all away from fear and back to love.

Today, I choose a lily kind of day. Tomorrow, I will choose again, as I must choose each and every day for the rest of my life. Sometimes I need help, and help is ever present. All I need do is ask and await the miracle of healing and the return to sanity.

And so it is!

Happy birthday my dear daughter.  Happy Easter Monday everyone.

Next up:  Trust, willingness, and the healing of grievances.  Not necessarily in that order. See you then.  Meanwhile I send you lilies and blessings of love!

 

 

Where’s the Easy Button?

legs-window-car-dirt-road-51397.jpegWhen I was a kid my family used to accuse me of getting up earlier so that I could loaf longer. Back then I was insulted by their accusations, but now I see that they were dead right. If you want to get something done quickly and efficiently, ask a lazy person because they’ll always find a way to finish the job in a hurry so they can default back to lazy mode and loaf longer.

I was born the youngest in a family with three girls, one who claimed me as her very own personal adorable little baby doll. There was nothing that I was required to do for myself because she anticipated my every need and met each one before it appeared, haircuts included. I picked the perfect environment to nurture my lackawannado nature. My loving sister-mother exacerbated my slothful ways by playing right into my lazy little hands. Bless her heart.

I’m never overwhelmingly thrilled about staring at myself and my shortcomings eyeball to eyeball, but sometimes they just pop up out of nowhere and knock me off center by making me realize that I still have a lot of work to do on myself.   Rats. I want to get it over with fast so I can get out of here, whip through the pearly gates, find myself a comfy lazygirl where I can plop down, put the feet up, relax, push a few buttons, and have the world at my beck and call to fulfill my every need.

The lazy in me always wants it all to be easy.   I have probably been a queen in a past lifetime or two, living a peel-me-a-grape sort of existence, surrounded by servants and handmaidens scurrying around me like bees in a hive providing for my every need while I sat popping peeled grapes and bon bons into my greedy mouth.

Wouldn’t it be a fabulous life if we didn’t have to struggle? Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to work ourselves stupid just to get by? Shouldn’t it all be easy? And fun? Now that would make life really worth living. But alas, such is not always the case.

Take blogging for example. Sometimes I sit down and just start writing and in the space of an hour or less a beginning, middle, and end have emerged onto paper and I can call myself finished. On other days it’s a real struggle with writing, rewriting, guessing, second-guessing, and—well you get the idea.

Yesterday was a slogging blogging sort of a day. No matter how many attempts I made to get it right, it always seemed to come out wrong.   I ended the day with yet another unfinished blog, frustrated and exhausted from the effort of trying to write through a weary mind and blurry eyes. I learned long ago that if I find obstacles hurled on my path every other step of the way that I’m going in the wrong direction. The harder I try to get where I want to go, the more mired in quicksand I become until finally I sink into an abyss of failure and quit fighting the good fight.  Going against gravity sends me reeling backwards every time. When will I learn to listen?

My friends refuse to believe me when they hear me call myself lazy. They point out my organizational skills and neat freak ways and tell me that there is no way that I am lazy. Well—maybe they are right. On the other hand, their perspective is vastly different from mine. They see only the outside, while I am on the inside looking out.

Perhaps after a lifetime of procrastination and claiming that I do my best work under pressure, I’ve come to my senses and realize that it’s easier to do it now rather than later, and that if I continue to stumble over obstacles strewn across the path to my end game,, something is amiss. If I don’t slide gracefully into my destination I am on the wrong path.

What is classroom earth but an opportunity to give us free will to decide what we want, set out upon a journey toward our dreams, choose our path, watch our step, and make in-flight corrections when necessary?

Yep. I want it to be easy. If it isn’t, something is amiss. It behooves me to figure out what that is and fix it while I still have the chance. I’m on a mission to earn my right to that comfy lazygirl in the sky.  Oh but wait—I’ll probably be so busy doing whatever it is that folks do in up there that I won’t have time to sit down and enjoy it. Well, perhaps the joy is in the doing.  Or the journey.  Or maybe both.  If the bottom line of doing is joy, then I’ll take whatever I can get!

Hallelujah!  This blog showed up with a beginning and an end with a middle somewhere in between.  And it all happened before my second cup of coffee. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  At least for today.

May all of your doings be filled with joy this day.

 

 

Gone Fishin’

IMG_1592When I finally learned the meaning of the word blog, (the net really has some weird lingo, right) I remember that some rather unflattering thoughts about the whole concept invaded my head. Hmm. I think that some folks might call that judgment. Whatever. Anyway, tending to be the sort who shies away from the opinions of others, I wondered what could possibly intrigue me enough to make me want to sit down long enough to read the ramblings of a stranger. And now here I am, a stranger—and getting stranger every day—writing my own opinions about whatever zany idea comes to mind, mostly comprised of the ramblings and opinions within my own head.

So I say to myself, “Self,” I say, “Why have you devolved into doing the very thing that turned you off so many years ago?” Why? Well that could be the subject of an entire book that may or may not ever be written. Well maybe someday, but certainly not today . . .

Meanwhile, I’ve been fishing around the WordPress website and reeling in a lot of insight thanks to some of you bloggers out there who make otherwise boring old mundane everyday stuff sound so fascinating and scintillating that I can’t stop reading. How do you do that?   The least I can do is say thank you for inspiring me to get busy and try to figure out how to make my own boring mundane stuff, like doing the laundry or cleaning out a junk drawer sound so appealing that it lures in even the wariest of readers.

Reading stuff from other bloggers almost makes me feel like a voyeur, peeping in on the private thoughts of similar minds. It makes me think that maybe I’m not the only crazy one out here in the world, all alone and trying to make sense of what is.

Those private thoughts are a vein of gold that offer insight into the heart and soul of the one willing to share. But for some reason—mostly fear, I suspect—most of us are unwilling to tell on ourselves because it can feel unsafe and it’s really scary to be vulnerable which makes it tempting to take the safe route and hide out behind plastic smiles.

Here’s one of the most valuable lessons that I ever learned about vulnerability. The more willing and able I am to tell the truth about my deepest, darkest feelings to a trusted listener—someone who will not judge me for whatever heinous crime that I have committed, or for the way I feel—the more there is of me to love. And the more someone shares with me, the closer I feel to that person because I realize that we’re all struggling with the same human stuff and it helps me understand that we’re all trying to keep ourselves from drowning in the same fishing hole. That makes us all lovable—at least on some level—if we sink the lure deep enough to reel in the treasure.

Well schazzam—I just went from zero-to sixty-in five seconds, from humor over the mundane to the infinite depth of a soul. I guess life’s like that sometimes. One minute I’m wallowing around whining about how hard it is to get a grip, and the next I am laughing at the antics of the great cosmic clown who thinks its very funny to confront me with a wasp wandering around in my purse in a car barreling along at sixty mph, or finding chewing gum stuck to the side of my shoe. Hello? The side of my shoe? What—was I walking around on my ankles?

So I’m going to tell you the truth. Well, I’d really like to tell the truth, but to be perfectly honest. I’m not really sure what the truth is. But you know what? My game plan is to figure it out and start learning the lessons that I flunked along the way before it’s too late. Straighten up and die right.

One of the first things that I’m going to work on is finishing what I start. I have a myriad of incomplete stuff that I’ve written, just hanging around waiting for an ending. My life in a nutshell.

And it would be a little embarrassing to fess up to all the other loose ends dangling around in my life, so I won’t, at least for now. Maybe later, when I feel safe enough. Making a commitment to doing a blog on a regular basis is a step along the way.  Allowing success to creep in—even better. That would check a couple of things off of my bucket list—perseverance, procrastination, completing the incomplete, not giving up in a fit of “I can’t,” drop the fear of success. Oops. That sounds like a lot more than just a couple of things, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, ho boy, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Maybe I’ll just take a little minute and go fishing.   Well maybe not. I must confess that I have gone fishing only once in my life, and that was the day when my fish hook got caught in my cousin’s eyelid. Therein ended the fishing venture forever after. So that’ the truth—albeit a tiny part of it. Stay tuned.   And that said, we have reached the end of the fake fishing blog.

Hey wait a minute! Did I just finish something?

So it would seem.

Yeah, but will anyone read it?

Why? Does it matter?

Oops. Something else to figure out before it’s too late!

Here’s a little PS that just popped into my head.   The instant that I push the publish button and post a blog, I’m riding on a high that lasts for two or three days. Then slowly, when the high begins to fade away into the ethers, something nags at me until I get around to doing the next one. Huh. Have I just acquired another addiction? Well, whatever. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Oh, and a final PS.  The picture that you see is one that I took myself.  AND, I might add, I am very proud of myself for figuring out how to get it from my personal photo library onto the top of this page.  For me that’s a huge deal–even bigger than writing a blog.  Now that’s something worth celebrating!

 

 

 

The Pink Panther

Whew. Thank goodness it was only a dream, but unlike others that fade off into the far distant recesses of the mind never to be heard from again, this one is indelibly etched in my head. The last thing I remember before waking was having the thought, “Oh my God! I hope this is only a dream!”

The details are fuzzy except for the intense feeling of being utterly captivated by the presence of an adorable, lovable, tiny little pink cat that showed its affection by way of a fuzzy pink body weaving and curling itself around my leg. Whoever heard of a pink cat—one that did the occasional morph into blue or white? Hmm. Chameleon cat. I should have known then and there that something was a little off. Beware of the bizarre.

Like a kid with her nose plastered against the glass of a pet store window, I simply had to take that precious, cuddly, creature home with me. With its delicate petite little body, I concluded that she must be a girl. No matter. I’ll just assume that she’s a she, and that her name is Pinky.

Once home, I watched in horror as Pinky quickly morphed from her sweet little critter into a vicious, terrifying predator with me in sight as her target. The first hint of trouble was when she lunged at me and tore the bow off my black strappy dress-up sandals while they were still on my feet. The next was when she sank her teeth into my derriere and refused to let go. Maybe she was jealous of my sexy sandals. Who knows? Why was I wearing dressy sexy shoes in my casual dream world, anyway, but hey—it’s a only dream, right?

Worse than the teeth sunk into my flesh was the underlying awareness that I had abandoned my dear sweet, gentle, loyal, loving, trustworthy, safe, obedient dog Charlie in favor of the sneaky, vicious, con-artist pink panther terrorist that had pulled a nasty bait-and-switch con job on me. What kind of awful person would ever do such a dreadful thing to a dearly beloved pet? I was heartbroken and horrified. Try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to find a way to unlock the jaws of the panther or get Charlie back. Somewhere between trying to clean up the blood from my nasty wound and regretting my actions about Charlie, I woke up to the realization that it was only a dream, thank goodness, and I breathed a great sigh of blessed relief to see Charlie lying peacefully next to me in his bed. It gives a whole new meaning to “Sorry, Charlie!”

Well okay then. That was yesterday and today is today and since then I’ve been wondering what in the world ever brought such a nightmare upon me. Was this a concoction courtesy of the great cosmic clown to provide me with writing material chock full of grist for the mill? Did the clown hold a mirror up to my face to show me aspects of myself that I’d prefer to keep hidden away? If so, good grief, I certainly got a face full of NOthat can’t be me! Is there a vicious ego named Pinky lurking somewhere in the deepest recesses of my being awaiting the first moment of weakness as an opportunity to lunge forth and attack?

Oh but wait—what about Charlie, the gentle, trustworthy loving companion, adorable in spite of his quirky little ways? Charlie, the abandoned? Charlie, the loyal friend of many years from whom I walked away lured by the seduction of a temptress with a cunning plan to con me into selling my soul to the devil?

Oh but wait another minute—where there’s a Pinky there is also a Charlie. Pinky the devil, Charlie the angel, both coexisting within the deep recesses of my soul. I get to choose. I can be a Pinky, or I can be a Charlie. Or I can bounce back and forth from one to the other like a ping pong ball moving at warp speed. I get to decide which one I wish to live with, which one I will take home and make my own. Sometimes I am a slow learner, but this one was pretty easy to figure out. The answer is obvious.

So here’s the thing, Pinky. I’ve got your number. I know who you are. Your name is ego and your game is fear. You think you can con me into believing that you’re my best friend, but in reality, you are my worst enemy. Oh, I might believe you for a minute or so, but eventually, I’ll wise up and figure you out. You’re very good at your act, but I’m not buying it. You should be on the stage—the first stage out of town. If it ever comes down to a battle for my soul, a battle between love and fear, trust me, Charlie and I will win because we fight on the side of love, and because we know that fear is only something that we make up in the nightmare of our minds. Love trumps fear and love always wins in the end.

One other thing occurred to me as I pondered my way through the day. Perhaps at the moment when I take my final breath and close my eyes for the last time, I will wake up on the other side, look back and realize that it was all only a dream. Or a nightmare, depending upon which side I have chosen to live. My days may be numbered, but the good news is—I can still make what’s left of them count on the side of good.

C’mon Charlie, you sweet precious little thing, you. Let’s go out together hand in paw and have ourselves a nice, peaceful little walk.  I won’t leave you again, I promise.  Ever.

Oops – There’s a Hole in My Head

pexels-photo-262488.jpeg I ask for creative inspiration and my front tooth falls out. Ha ha, very funny oh Great Cosmic Clown.

Lest you think me totally irreverent here, let me just say that I have a profound love and respect for the grand mysterious workings of the Universe and the power that lies behind it, whatever It is called. I also have a great appreciation of the gargantuan sense of humor inherent within it. Would that all of life’s tricky little life lessons were given with the ingredient of such wonderful humor. Perhaps they are, if one seeks to find it.

My six companions and I seek and find a Thai restaurant across the street from a theater on the upper west side in New York City.   We are on a two-hour dinner break from a riveting woo-woo workshop by Tom Kenyon. Those interested in checking out the woo-woo can go to tomkenyon.com. Yes, I’m finally willing to own up publically to my woo-woo leanings. It’s all a part of my recent decision to be authentic and true to myself—a risky move involving extreme vulnerability and definitely not for the faint of heart. If you haven’t tried it, and if you can muster up the courage, I highly recommend it.

Three of my dinner companions are eating with gusto, enjoying each morsel with that oooh-uahhh glazed-eyed look that overtakes one while in a fit of a divine dining delirium. Unbeknownst to the glazed-eye set, the rest of us are trying to choke down what might possibly qualify as the worst meal of our lives. But no matter – we aren’t really that hungry anyway after our tasty but frenetic lunch at a deli where we are rendered half deaf courtesy of fellow diners intent upon outshouting one another, and sound bouncing back and forth from a bare floor to a ceiling that suffers a serious lack of acoustic tiles.

Waiters whiz by our table at break-neck speed taking and delivering orders, while beleaguered busboys swoop away dishes from tables and send them crashing into huge plastic tubs just behind our booth. We are so intimidated by the pace of it all that we are reluctant to ask for the things that one would hope for in a deli, like straws, lemon, and mayo. Oy. Ulcer Gulch Deli.

Meanwhile, back at the dinner table, I bite into a soft summer roll dipped in peanut sauce and encounter something that clearly is not on the ingredient list. I discreetly sift through the ingredients that actually belong there, and while no one is looking, pick the unidentified object out of my mouth, and place it on my plate. It wasn’t very long before I discover that said mystery object is the fallen tooth responsible for a new gaping hole between two front teeth. I am now compelled to not to smile and talk simultaneously. Rats. I should have ordered soup.

Dinner ends and we return ourselves to the care and keeping woo-woo Tom who describes for us the upcoming meditation that will focus on clearing out the obstacles that prevent us from self love—obstacles of all manner and size, and sometimes brought on by seemingly insignificant things, such as a bad hair day, a pimple on a nose, or . . .

At this point it is all I can do not to jump out of my seat and shout, “Or a gaping hole in the middle of your smile!” but I manage to restrain myself.

It’s a very interesting exercise to rate oneself on a vanity scale from one to ten. A bad hair day might put me at about a six or seven depending upon the degree of badness. A nose pimple (I don’t even like that word) could be a four. But a toothless grin? That could well rate a minus something.   I’m mildly embarrassed to confess that the toothless experience explodes my awareness into the realization that appearance means more to me that I’d like to admit.   Bad hair days, pimples, and a toothless grin make mighty good grist for the self-image mill. Happily, I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in this one. What a great opportunity to get a good up-close-and-personal bird’s eye view of vanity and the role it plays in my life. Did I mention that I’m also working on willingness to allow myself to be vulnerable? What? Confess my shortcomings in public and own up to my own vanity? Horrors!

Day is done, and Amtrak whips us southward through the black of night toward home. A 2:30 a.m. arrival time seems forever away. I fidget in my seat in search of a wee modicum of comfort and try to settle in to review the experience du jour.   I find myself rehearsing my response to friends who will surely ask me about the day.   “Well,” I’ll say, “the weather was cold, windy, and miserable and mealtimes waffled between bad and worse.  One traveling companion suffered from an ailing shoulder, another was barely able to walk due to extremely painful knees and back, and I lost a front tooth and my dignity, all in one innocent little bite.” Well, so other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play? It was amazing. My years of travel in the wonderful world of woo-woo made it all worthwhile and bearable, and allowed good humor and acceptance of what-is to make it a deliciously savory experience.

Joy of joy, my dentist responds to my frantic texts for a fix-it plan before I reach Wilmington. As I drive to my appointment the next day, my mind unleashes a flood of appreciation and I feel suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude for the extra hole in the head, along with its attending vanity crush. It reminds me about how grateful I am that my teeth have remained faithful and in tact in spite of decades of wear and tear. I am grateful for my dentist, God bless him, who was willing and able to make time on his Sunday during a beautiful Memorial Day weekend to do damage repair and plug up the hole where a tooth should be. While I was at it, I gave thanks for my trusty and reliable little Honda and the gas in its tank, and the money to pay for damage repair, and for everything else in my world that came to mind as I wheeled my way around a traffic-jam free beltway. I gave thanks for that too. I just love the random bouts of unexplained joy brought about by an abundance of gratitude! Come to think of it, at moments like these, I love just about everything.

When I told Dr. Fixit of these newly minted insights, he said simply, “You made lemonade.”

I did. I made lemonade. The ingredients are a sweet, delicious blend of authenticity, vulnerability, and gratitude with a pinch humor mixed in for a bit of comic relief.

And speaking of sweet, in closing, I’d like to offer a special thanks to the Great Cosmic Clown for answering my request for inspiration in such a creative, humorous, and holy way (yes, pun intended). It’s so easy to love the lovable. The trick is to love it all—the good, the bad, the ugly—the bad hair days, the pimples, the holes in places where holes are not meant to be, and most especially, the self—and all those other selves out there in the world that some days seem so utterly unlovable. Right now, this minute, I love it all.  Right now, this minute is all I have. I’d better get busy then and make the most of it while I’m still a grateful guest of our beautiful planet earth, courtesy of the grand cosmic plan.