Hopes, Dreams, and Expectations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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

 

Something New is on the Way!

AVAILABLE ON NOVEMBER 11

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

Hello Lovely Friends and Peace Seeking Souls,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out of the dark and into the light,

Julia

The World is As We See It

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It truly is all about how we see. 

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

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

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

A Labor of Love

In a sudden fit of do-goodness, I once assigned myself the task of doing something for someone other than myself. It was part of my desire to launch myself further along on my spiritual journey, I suppose. 

So, I started this little business called Labor of Love. Perhaps it was a teach-what-I-need-to-learn sort of thing, because the idea was to help desperate and frustrated folks clear out the clutter in their homes. Hello, Self? Does that sound familiar? Clutter, it is said, is an outer reflection of the content of the mind—at least that’s true in my world. I shouldn’t speak for others. 

The job was an unrealistic, altruistic attempt to help folks carve out a clutter-free space their lives. My fee was their donation to a charity, for which they could claim a tax deduction. It was a win-win-win situation for all concerned; the recipient gained a decluttered space and a tax deduction, a charity received a donation, and I earned the feel-good experience of feeding my need to make myself useful by being of service to someone other than myself. I must have felt desperate to earn some stars in my crown.

It was a mix of heartwarming and exhausting work. It required the use of both physical energy and facilitative skill to help the seriously-cluttered divest themselves of their attachment to their stuff. It was the speedy route to burn out; I soon reached a point where the thought of having to face one more jungle of unbridled clutter made me want to run for my life. Perhaps I would have lasted longer had I been the recipient of the charitable donation.

So here’s the thing about teaching what I needed to learn. To a casual observer, I am the poster child for minimalism, organization, and orderliness. But oh, dear God, don’t open a closet because it will be crowded with decades of indecision; bureau drawers are brimming with doodads and trinkets tangled in a jumble, and a mix of tacky cheap jewelry is scattered in the with the good stuff.  Oh, and then there’s the question of my so-called filing system. Well, need I say more? 

Someday maybe I’ll get around to cleaning up my own act, maybe before I die and dump it in the laps of my survivors. Maybe. Maybe I need a kindhearted, altruistic, declutterer to come to my rescue. Why is the shoemaker’s kid always the last one to get the shoes?

At this point in my life, I’m not feeling overwhelmingly motivated to dive into the closets or the drawers. Except the file drawers. Where paper is concerned, one way or another, I’m going to face a conundrum. Why is it, for example, that I can have a piece of paper in my hand one minute, and in the next, it has mysteriously disappeared, like a sock in the dryer?

Then there is the mother of all messes—the dreaded computer files. How can one pencil-thin thirteen-inch laptop contain such an unholy conglomeration of disorganization? How did it get in such a state of hideous disarray? Ok, I am not going to lay the blame entirely on my own head here. At least part of the problem lies with the maddening updates foisted upon us by the computer geeks and their algorithms, who think that they need to fix something that isn’t broken. After one such “improvement,” any semblance of order became so severely scrambled that I have never recovered. I can only limp my way through my searches, hoping to remember the name of what I’m looking for, and praying for the best. Things that I’d like to save forever risk losing their lives in the jaws of my computer.

Can anyone tell me—is it possible to turn over a new leaf, start a new chapter with a clean slate, be reborn into organizational awareness, and help me find what I’m looking for? A new computer will not solve the problem because the old internal clutter will be dragged along and muck up a clean, new space.

Hmm. It dawns on me that I may be describing the human condition here. The clutter of our past is dragged around with us until we make a conscious decision to wipe our slate clean and change our ways. Oh my. Apparently I must have some decluttering to do beyond just closets and computers. 

Maybe in my next life my slate will be cleaner. Oh, but why wait? Why not get a jump start, cross procrastination off my list, and start now instead? I guess it’s an inside job; it’s all up to me. But here’s the good news: I am not alone! There is help if I am willing to reach out and ask. It comes in many forms—from friends, words from kind strangers, dreams, new ideas, new ways of thinking, new insights, or from the wise Voice within myself. And billboards. Don’t forget the billboards. We are never without help. Dream of a clean slate and expect miracles. Ramp up the willingness, and pull out the magic eraser.

I’m dreaming of clean slates and decluttered, organized computer files. Oh, and miracles. Does anyone happen to know a kindhearted Apple computer declutterer with an eye toward the next step up the evolutionary ladder? I donate hourly or by the job.

Or maybe I’ll just donate a Labor of Love to myself.

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)

Who Do Voodoo?

If I were a believer in voodoo, I might be inclined to think that somebody is out to get me. Why would I think such a ridiculous thing, one might wonder? Why? Because in a brief moment of fitful thrashing around during an on-again-off-again sleepless night, I had the odd sensation that there was a sharp object of some sort being stuck in my back. Not like a knife, mind you—more like the steady jab of a sturdy hatpin. Hmm. It gave me pause to wonder.

I know virtually nothing about Voudon except that it is an Afro-Caribbean religion that originated in Haiti. Apparently, it has very little to do with zombies or the practice of voodoo on others, and that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I admit to utter ignorance regarding the history, truth, or use of voodoo dolls. Are they a myth? Are they real? Do people really use them to attack others?

Maybe one day I’ll sit down long enough to do some serious investigation into the subject, but not now. Today, I’d rather talk about what the thought of voodoo brought up for me in the midst of my thrash-around night. 

Maybe it was a poke in the ribs by my writer muse to provide me with a subject for a blog and urge me to get on with it. Or maybe somebody really does have it in for me and is sending hateful thoughts my way. Really? Who? Why? From how many lifetimes ago? What might I have done to bring on such behavior on the part of another person? The idea that someone would willfully set out to take revenge on another by way of a voodoo attack took me by surprise. I guess my head is still buried in the sand, maybe somewhere in Haiti.

Along with that came the realization that if one wants to attack another, voodoo dolls are not necessary. Attacks need only come from an intentional mind in order to be effective. We are perfectly capable of doing harm with our minds, without the need for hatpins.

This makes me wonder. What are the thoughts that I harbor in my mind about others? How nice am I to someone’s face, while thinking critical or judgmental thoughts? How aware am I of my thought process? How often do I project unkind thoughts about another into the ethers, even if unintentionally? How often might I have knowingly or unknowingly stabbed an unsuspecting victim in the heart with a poison hatpin? 

How many times have I stabbed myself in the back with unkind thoughts toward myself? Could it be that the jab I felt last night might have come from me? Am I my own attacker? How safe am I in my own mind? How safe are you in my mind? How safe am I in yours?

My brief sojourn into the unknown world of voodoo has fueled my desire to steer clear of attack regardless of source. It seems to me that if we reap what we sow, I’d better start sowing kind, loving, compassionate thoughts around the universe, because voodoo or no voodoo, our minds are mighty powerful. If what we think is what we get, we’d better get busy and start thinking about the things we’d rather manifest rather than the things that we’d rather not.

Nope. I’ll not start an investigation into voodoo today. What I will do, however, is increase the investigation into the workings of my own mind to suss out and replace with kindness any and all thoughts that have sharp points.  

The world would be a lot better off with more kindness in it, don’t you think?

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 Little Bit of Willingness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Ode to Focus

I think I got it wrong. I think that I’ve been thinking that my problem is procrastination. It just dawned on me that that’s not it. Procrastination is a symptom, not a cause. The true culprit is lack of focus, coupled with lack of motivation. Wise words from the Queen of Distraction. Maybe someday I will learn that it might be a good idea to listen to myself. Sometimes myself isn’t quite as stupid as she likes to make herself out to be. Or maybe she has more brains than she gives herself credit for.

Oh, I start out well enough, with sweeping good intentions covering a wide swath of territory, like meditation, exercise, or decluttering, but for some reason, right in the middle of doing what I’m doing, I forget what I’m doing. I’m like a pack of wild mustangs running free in the wind without a predetermined destination in mind. Mind? What mind? Do I have a mind in here somewhere? 

This morning, for example, when I finally collared myself long enough to sit down to meditate, I was doing just fine until . . . oops I’d better make a note to call about my dental appointment before I forget to do it . . . wait . . . what was I just going to make a note about again? Oh well, forget it. I guess it couldn’t have been very important.

And I wonder why things don’t get done? 

It never seems to work out very well when I try to put a collar around my neck and rein myself in. Mustangs are like that, you know? Wild and free. But once in a while, a horse whisperer may appear out of nowhere and lasso one out of the pack, tame and train it, and turn it into a trusted companion. Maybe I am supposed to be my own horse whisperer in charge of capturing and taming my own wild streak. Maybe I am supposed to transform myself into my own trusty companion. 

Admittedly, my definition of wild and free may be a little shy of exciting to someone who is truly wild and free; for me, it is simply a matter of allowing myself to be who I am, do what I want to do when I want to do it, and make my own decisions about what’s best for me, all the while loving myself in spite of my rights and wrongs. Come to think of it, my wild and free might be considered incredibly boring to one who is caught up in the world of glitz, glamor, excitement, and the hot pursuit of fun. My definition of fun is inner peace and the quiet joy that comes from knowing that joy is a worthy goal.

So what brings me joy? More focus and motivation would be a good start. By listening to the wise whisperer within, I can learn to practice the focus that will move me one step closer to the joy that is the natural inheritance of every living creature on earth, whether wild and free, or surrendered to a cause greater than oneself.

Is it possible to be wild and free and focused all at once? I’m not certain, but I’m certainly willing to jump on the horse, grab the reins, and ride like the wind in the direction of an answer. All I have to do is hang on tight and be motivated enough to stay in the saddle. So—want to come hitch your star to my wagon?

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 Labor of Love

In a sudden fit of do-goodness, I once assigned myself the task of doing something for someone other than myself. It was part of my desire to launch myself further along on my spiritual journey, I suppose.

So, I started this little business called Labor of Love. Perhaps it was a teach-what-I-need-to-learn sort of thing, because the idea was to help desperate and frustrated folks clear out the clutter in their homes. Hello, Self? Does that sound familiar? Clutter, it is said, is an outer reflection of the content of the mind—at least that’s true in my world. I shouldn’t speak for others. 

The job was an unrealistic, altruistic attempt to help folks carve out a clutter-free space their lives. My fee was their donation to a charity, for which they could claim a tax deduction. It was a win-win-win situation for all concerned. The win for the recipient was a decluttered space and a tax deduction; a charity received a donation; and I earned the feel-good experience of feeding my need to make myself useful by being of service to someone other than myself. I must have been trying to earn some stars in my crown.

It was a mix of heartwarming and exhausting work; it required the use of both physical energy and facilitative skill to help the seriously-cluttered divest themselves of their attachment to their stuff. It was the speedy route to burn out; I soon reached a point where the thought of having to face one more jungle of unbridled clutter made me want to run for my life. Perhaps I would have lasted longer had I been the recipient of the charitable donation.

So here’s the thing about teaching what I needed to learn. To a casual observer, I am the poster child for minimalism, organization, and orderliness. But oh, dear God, don’t open a closet because it will be crowded with decades of indecision; bureau drawers are brimming with doodads and trinkets tangled in a jumble, and a mix of tacky cheap jewelry is scattered in the with the good stuff.  Oh, and then there’s the question of my so-called filing system. Well, need I say more? 

Someday maybe I’ll get around to cleaning up my own act, maybe before I die and dump it in the laps of my survivors. Maybe. Maybe I need a kindhearted, altruistic declutterer to come to my rescue. Why is the shoemaker’s kid always the last one to get the shoes?

At this point in my life, I’m not feeling overwhelmingly motivated to dive into the closets or the drawers. Except the file drawers. Where paper is concerned, one way or another, I’m going to face an annoyance. Why is it, for example, that I can have a piece of paper in my hand one minute, and in the next, it has mysteriously disappeared, like the sock in the dryer?

Then there is the mother of all messes—the dreaded computer files. How can one pencil-thin thirteen-inch laptop contain such an unholy conglomeration of disorganization? How did it get in such a state of hideous disarray?

Ok, I am not going to lay the blame entirely on my own head here. At least part of the problem lies with the maddening updates foisted upon us by the computer geeks with their fancy algorithms. Why do they think that they need to fix something that isn’t broken? One upgrade scrambled my files so badly that i lost all hope of recovery. I can only limp my way through my searches, hoping to remember the name of what I’m looking for, and praying for the best. Things that I’d like to save forever risk losing their lives in the jaws of my computer.

Can anyone tell me—is it possible to turn over a new leaf, start a new chapter with a clean slate, be reborn into organizational awareness, and help me find what I’m looking for? A new computer will not solve the problem because the old internal clutter will be dragged along and muck up a clean, new space.

Hmm. It dawns on me that I may be describing the human condition here. The clutter of our past is dragged around with us until we make a conscious decision to wipe our slate clean and change our ways. Oh my. Apparently I must have some decluttering to do beyond just closets and computers. 

Maybe in my next life my slate will be cleaner. Oh, but why wait? Why not get a jump start, cross procrastination off my list, and start now instead? It’s an inside job. Drat. It’s all up to me. But here’s the good news: I am not alone! There is help if I am willing to reach out and ask. It comes in many forms—from friends, dreams, new ideas, new ways of thinking, new insights, words from kind strangers or from the wise Voice within myself. And billboards. Don’t forget the billboards. We are never without help. Dream of a clean slate and expect miracles. Ramp up the willingness, and pull out the magic eraser to disappear the clutter of the past.

I’m dreaming of clean slates and decluttered, organized computer files. Oh, and miracles. Does anyone happen to know a kindhearted Apple computer guru with an eye toward the next step up the evolutionary ladder? I donate hourly or by the job.

Or maybe I’ll just donate a Labor of Love to myself.

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’s in a Blog?

In yesterday’s blog, I said that sometimes I feel like an idiot when someone asks me what Voices is about. Defining it is a frustrating challenge, like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. Wouldn’t you think that someone who writes a blog would be able to say what it’s about? It’s a conundrum—a real head-scratcher, brain-searcher sort of question. And in case you might be wondering about the state of my mental health, no—I’m not an idiot. Sometimes I just like to pretend that I am for dramatic effect.

A question of purpose, on the other hand, conjures up multiple answers. I write for myself as an expression of creativity because it helps me to get to know myself in a way that would not be possible otherwise. If I were an artist, painting would serve the same purpose, but alas I have not progressed past stick-figure art. Maybe next lifetime.

It is said that the best writers are those who write about what they know best. Having lived and studied myself for an entire lifetime, what I know best is myself. I know all about my thoughts, feelings, and emotions, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. I have spent a lifetime in the perpetual classroom called Earth 101. Sometimes I flunk, and occasionally I pass with flying colors. It has been a long, slow process, but my determination to ace the course and move ever upward has fueled my dedication to turn failures into the reward of knowing that my best is my best, and that with good intention, my best gets better with each passing day.

Do I pick on myself? Yes. Am I hard on myself? Sure. Do I have self-doubt? You bet. I come equipped with a complete set of ego tricks ever at the ready to disarm my hifalutin good intentions. But I am also heavily armed with a few tricks of my own, designed to outsmart the ego. My ammunition comes from a lifetime of self-study.

In the classroom of my life on earth, I have had the honor and privilege of getting to know my fellow traveling students almost as well as I know myself. The beauty of this knowing brings the awareness that we all tangle with the same emotions and feelings, the good, the bad, and everything in between. Sometimes we sleep through our classes; sometimes we wake up long enough to see that we are not finished yet, and there is still work to do. Sometimes a glimpse of the truth can be scary and foster a desire to fall back into the safety and comfort of sleep. Maybe that’s why I love naps so much.

What I have learned is that although my fellow life travelers and I wear different skins, inside we share the same hope of overcoming the suffering that stands in the way of experiencing our joy. For me, the overcoming lies in my willingness to stay awake and look closely within to determine who I am and what I believe about myself. I do it out loud for the world to see. I do it in the hope that others may benefit by my experience, and that my journey may help to ease the way for others along the way. I tell the truth about myself, at least as I understand it so far. 

So here I am, marching to my own drummer, doing what I do, open to criticism and judgment from others, and that’s okay, provided I don’t do it to myself. Well, sometimes I do but I’m working on that. It’s all just a process, a part of a personal journey to help me navigate safely through the dangerous obstacle course constructed by an ego intent upon keeping itself alive and me asleep. 

Isn’t life just one more question after another? Isn’t it all just a never-ending saga? Isn’t the process all a part of the journey? As I said in yesterday’s blog, “Does it never end, all this digging? Apparently not.” 

Perhaps if we dig deep enough, we will see ourselves reflected in one another, or maybe you will see some of yourself in me—or some of me in you. We’re all in here together. Perhaps we can make life a little easier for one another by our willingness to do a little bit of digging. Perhaps you may benefit by my attempt to dig my way to China and back. I hope so.

The universe has recently gifted us with a powerful infusion of light so that we might find our way out of the dark. What if we all decide to wake up, find a bit of humor in it all, and enjoy the ride to nirvana. Or should that be Nirvana? Isn’t it wonderful to not need to have the answer to everything, and not worry too much about looking like an idiot? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to not be perfect and love ourselves anyway, just as we are, flaws and all? 

Could it be that this blog is about withdrawing our consciousness from the dense world of the ego and shifting into the light of the soul? Maybe so. Stay tuned.

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)

Digging Deeper

Once in a while I feel as if I am a stranger unto myself. Yesterday was one of those days, the result of some probing questions put forth by a friend who challenged me to dig deeper. Really? Do I have to? Again? Does it never end, all this digging? Apparently not.

I truly don’t mind the digging. It’s just that sometimes I don’t understand what I’m digging for. Maybe I need to refine the art of learning to ask the right questions. I’ve always figured that if I can nail down the exact, specific question, then poof—like magic, the answer appears. Getting the question right is always the hardest part.

So what’s the question?

Well, now there’s the question! My friend suggests that my blogs are a record of how I’ve been summing up who I am, what I came here to do, and what keeps getting in my way. She asks if I’ve arrived someplace, if I have stayed in place, and if opening my mouth to speak has made a difference in my life. 

I suppose that I’ve been asking myself these and similar, vague questions for my entire life, and most particularly since I’ve become a blogger. Blogging has become a mirror shoved in my face asking me to decide whether or not I like what I see. Maybe I need to change my hairdo. Or my thinking.

Have I arrived someplace? Has opening my mouth to speak made a difference in my life? Perhaps “someplace” is an as-yet undetermined destination awaiting discovery. Perhaps blogging is just one brief stop along the way. Perhaps I’d better lease an earth mover.

My friend also brought to mind another question that I have frequently asked myself. What is this blog about? Nothing. Everything. Does it really have to be about something? I’m never quite sure how to define it, which presents an interesting and frustrating challenge when someone asks. In fact, it makes me feel rather like an idiot. “What? You don’t know what you’re writing about?” Yep. That about sums it up.

My friend and I agree that I use humor to make fun of myself, to serve as an example that in the midst of the serious business of life, the ability to laugh at oneself helps smooth the sharp edges of self-perceived personality glitches like criticism, judgment, self-doubt, and low self-esteem. The ability to recognize and accept one’s own shortcomings, and laugh in spite of it all is a healing gift. So yes, I make fun of myself. I don’t mind looking foolish or employing a bit of self-degradation if it is for a good cause; I can think no better cause than to help ease the way for others on their life’s journey.

Every now and then, friends who know and love me get in touch to express concern over the state of my mental health. I am quick to offer the assurance that I am fine; I am a writer; I sometimes exaggerate a bit for effect.  Really? Am I telling myself the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth here? Or am I just hiding behind a curtain of smoke and mirrors? Do I really know myself? Do any of us?

Maybe that’s what we’re all here to find out. Maybe that’s what this blog is about. Maybe it’s just about me getting to know and love myself more than I already do, and to figure out ways that I can advance on the ladder of evolution. And maybe take someone’s hand to walk with me on the journey. Maybe yours. Maybe I’m just looking for traveling companions. 

But there is more to it than that. The “more” is still under construction. I’ll let you know when the earth mover has done its job and I get it all figured out. It can get a little dark down here buried beneath all this dirt, but with determination and a little help from the earth mover, I’ll reemerge into the light. Meanwhile, I wonder if the portrayal of myself in real life matches what I say about myself in a blog? Is my blog an accurate portrait of who I really am? Is there a purpose for all of this?

When I dig deep enough, I discover that hidden amidst the thousands of puzzle pieces that I identify as “me,” there exists one bit that stands out among all others. It’s the piece that knows beyond a shadow of a doubt who I am. It’s the soul, the ever present piece that dwells quietly behind the smoky fog of the ego, patiently awaiting my discovery and acceptance of it. When the cloud of my little ego self is cleared away, all of the pieces fall neatly into place, and I can see the beautiful self that I truly am, hidden within a body that wants to think that’s it’s all there is.

So here’s the answer to what this blog is about. It’s about digging deep within to find my True Self, my Soul. And sharing my journey in the hope that it might be helpful to others who are walking the same path.

With every blog I write, I discover another piece of myself.  Sometimes the process is a little scary. Sometimes it’s absolutely exhilarating. Whatever it is, the end result is always worth it. In the midst of it all, it is always good to remember that we are never alone in our journey. Never.

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)