Charlie Calling—Or Is It My Soul?

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It’s not that I don’t like dogs, mind you.  It’s just that I like them a whole lot better when they belong to someone else.  Nope—no dog for me.

Get a dog.

Gee thanks, but no thanks.

And a few days later—

Get a dog.

The banter went on for weeks.

I was emphatic.  NO!  I don’t want a dog.  Ever.  I don’t want the responsibility, the expense, the restriction, the dog hair in the butter, the walks in nasty weather, the accidents on the carpet, the health issues, the suffering through the loss at the end.  No.  No dog for me.

Get a dog.

Finally, after several months of serious resistance, I gave up and got a dog.  Surrender Dorothy.

Enter Charlie, a Japanese Chin named Charlie Chin—a caramel sundae of a fluff ball that stole my heart and changed my world forever.  It would take too many words to tell you about the wonders or Charlie, or the gifts that he brought into my life, but maybe another day.

Even now after twelve years, it is difficult to fathom the profound lessons that came along wrapped in the package with Charlie.  Among the many, the one that stands above all others is the willingness to heed the call of the Inner Voice that knows what is best for the growth of the soul.

Trust me, I’ve heard about a bazillion voices throughout my lifetime, most of them annoying, confusing, obnoxious, and just plain downright not nice.   Thankfully through trial and error, I’ve managed to narrow them down to my favorites, the ones I call the committee in my head.  By the way, and just so you know, I never thought of myself as crazy.  Maybe a little misguided from time to time, but never crazy.  Misguided would be courtesy of listening to a bazillion wrong voices.  It pays to hear with a discerning ear.

Dogs don’t need to learn how to hear with a discerning ear because they already know.  Charlie was wise.  He knew how to just listen and be.  Sometimes I called him Yoda.  Charlie Chin Yoda.

I want to be just like him when I grow up.  I want to just listen and be.  I want to develop that inner wisdom and knowing that lives within the animal kingdom, and that also lives within us two-legged creatures, if we will just be still long enough to seek it within ourselves.

As we stay cloistered within the walls of our own homes, what better time to do just that—practice our communication skills with the wise Voice within—the voice that leads unfailingly down a path beyond fear and toward love.  We’re all going to get where we’re going eventually.  Guaranteed.  It’s just a matter of how long we’ll linger along the way.

Me?  I prefer sooner rather than later.  It’s why I got a dog.  And quit smoking, and knocked off the wine, and signed on for a daily blog.  I guess I’m in a bit of a hurry.  How about you?

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).

Follow Your Heart Home

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This morning  I found myself asking why I have suddenly decided to renew a commitment to write a daily blog.  As I sort through the myriad of answers, I discover that yet again I experience some of the same-old, same-old hitches in my git-along that I thought (hoped) were long gone.  Guess not.  An intertwined mixture of altruistic and egotistic reasons drift by.  I don’t always like what I see, but if I can see it, I can change it.  Again.  Sigh.  I thought I already had.

This morning as I sat struggling with today’s blog and asking myself the eternal “why” question I pondered whether or not my efforts are worth it.  It was just about then that I received validation in the form of an email telling me that someone had just pushed the “follow” button on Voices in my Head.  Ah.  Maybe the effort is worth the effort after all.  In case you are wondering, Christian, that was you.  Thank you.

Part of my wondering process brought to mind another question—or maybe more of a concern.  Is a daily blog too much?  Does it clog up an already-clogged inbox and incite one to delete, delete, delete?  Egotistically, of course, I’d love it if everyone would read and hang on to every word I write.  Realistically, however, that ain’t never gonna happen and understandably so, because there is not a blog in the world that will appeal to everyone, most especially the type of which I write.

I speak to you from the heart because I know that beneath the skin, we are all one in spite of the appearance of our differences.  And yet in spite of our many varieties, inside we are part of the same family, brothers and sisters living together in the vast universe that we call home.  We need to take care of each other, and we need to take care of our home.

I guess that I just answered my own question.  Yes, it’s worth the effort because you all are my family and I love you.  I want the best for you.  I want you to love yourself as much as I love you.  Ah.  There’s the altruistic part.  That’s the part of myself that I love the most.

As you navigate your way through this strange and baffling time in which we live, I hope that you know that you are loved and supported by a myriad of people in the world who carry a torch to light your path and help you find your way through the dark to your true home.

Follow the light and it will lead you to boundless love and irrepressible joy.

Love and blessings to all!

Note:  The beautiful image and meme above are courtesy of New Waves of Light (nwol.us).

In Search of Truth

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My current favorite pandemic meme came straight from of jaws of Facebook and suggests that perhaps God is sending us all to our rooms to give us time to consider what we’ve done.

Oh my.  Well that could be a scary thought.

Oh?  And why is that?

Well, duh.  It could bring up all sorts of hidden stuff like guilt, and what I did wrong, and what I didn’t do that I should have, and what I did that I shouldn’t have.  You know stuff like that.

That is true.  And would that be such a bad thing?

Well it wouldn’t be very much of a comfort.  I mean, after all, who wants to see the parts and pieces of themselves that they’ve been hiding from for a lifetime?

Ah. Perhaps you speak of the ego, the personality, the “small” self of the individual that feels disconnected from the larger Self.  And speaking of disconnection, We sense that you have allowed yourself to drift off into the world of ego and are considering the impact of today’s writing upon the reader.

Oops.  You would be correct.

May we remind you that your task is to simply write?  There is no need for you to judge the words, nor how they may be perceived by those who read them.

Thank you.  But it is still a little tempting to get a bit squirrely about whether or not I’ll be considered nuts.

We understand.  And again, We remind you that what others think of you is irrelevant, for they will see you through the lens of their own perspective.  We know that remnants of self-doubt occasionally rise up and play a role in your actions, choices, and decisions, and clearly, We see that this is one such occasion.  We applaud the progress that you have made thus far in releasing this obstacle that occasionally stands in the way of your peace of mind, and for the courage it takes for your willingness to be transparent.  Under these circumstances it is natural then, that a sense of hesitancy still exists.

Again, you would be correct.  But I’ll get over it.  Today for the first time since the pandemic lock-down, there is a bit of structure to my day and I need to get on the move.  But I promised myself that I would blog every day, and today, this is it.  How do I feel about it?  I don’t know.  But I’ll push the publish button anyway, and let the chips fall where they may.  There are lessons to be learned in every situation, and I’m happy to learn mine, no matter now comfortable or uncomfortable they may be.

Thanks Pandemic for this opportunity to stop and consider what I have done.  Oh—and to love and forgive myself for whatever it is that I think I may have done wrong.

Happy Easter everyone.  May we rise up together into a glorious new beginning!

PS:  If you are dazed and confused by what you just read (if in fact you even made it this far), it may be because you missed the last one or two blogs.  Reading them will put this one in context.

Note:  The beautiful image and meme are courtesy of New Waves of Light (NWOL.us).

 

A New Day is Dawning

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Today as I was scrambling around in my head trying to make sense out of the contents of my mind, it dawned on me that I am currently long on self-doubt and procrastination and short on purpose, perseverance, and action.  As a “shut-in” along with the rest of the world during this historic pandemic, there is not much to do now except to sit down and look within to see where I can make a few in-flight corrections.

As I sit and stare at my current state of mind, I am reminded of a time many years ago when, during a time of meditation, I was given a set of instructions.

“Make a commitment to write!”

“Write what?” I asked?  “Anything!” came the response.

Let the dialog begin!  Apparently, it is no accident that this blog is titled “Voices in my Head”.

After days of resistance and repeated cajoling from whoever or whatever that Voice is, I gave in and sat down in front of a keyboard and stared at a blank piece of paper and wrote anything.  Astes erwoi 9 hhta the cow jumped over the moon.

After many hours of cows and moons, there emerged a writing adventure called Conversations with Myself.  Conversations was a journal, a daily dialogue betwixt me, myself, and I, and the committee in my head that vied for power over who was to be in control.  It was often a fascinating dialogue.

The writing was intensely personal and self-revealing, written with the hope that perhaps the revelation of my personal journey and inner battle with myself could help, uplift, and inspire others who shared similar struggles to make their way easier.

Sometimes I would muster up the courage to show it to a trusted friend or two.  Always the response was encouraging and positive, but when I sent it out to one publisher it was rejected.  After that, I gave up and Conversations made its way into a carton that was buried deep within the recesses of a closet and my mind, along with any delusions of thinking that my various voices and mind wanderings would ever serve as a tool for helping others like myself.  Eventually it was sucked into the jaws of a passing trash truck and was lost and gone forever.  Fear became the winner in that fray.

Decades have passed since those days and yet sometimes I still do battle with myself over one thing or another.  Today it’s about not living up to my own potential.  There is not a soul alive on the planet who is not born with certain gifts and talents.  I know that I am a writer and I am not using that gift to the fullest extent possible.  So, today in the midst of this pandemic, my game plan is to dust off my writing skills and just do it.  No more hiding out in the closet for me!  If only one person gains benefit from the various voices in my head, then I can cross “live up to potential” off my list, at least in one small area of my life.

Today is a new day.  It is the perfect time to begin again with an updated purpose and refreshed commitment to resume Conversations.  From past experience I know that sometimes my commitments are strong and powerful and sometimes they’re a little shaky.  If I’m not back tomorrow, I’m going to need a few prayers.  All help gratefully accepted.

Meanwhile, I ask you to consider that the old will be gone forever, and invite you to let the promise of a New Age blossom in your heart and spark your imagination to create a vision of how you would like the world to be when this is all over.  Together we can make it so.

Please be well in heart, mind, body, and spirit.

With love from me and the cacophony of voices in my head, Julia

(Photo and meme courtesy of New Waves of Light (nwol.us).  Please feel free to share.

 

 

 

Dear God,

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Photo by Carl Attard on Pexels.com

Dear God,

I don’t know how You did it, but thank you for closing the world and sending us home to the quiet of our own hearts for a spell.  Thank you for giving us and our precious planet Earth a time to allow Your light and love to heal our wounds.  What an amazing and miraculous gift for humanity and our Earth home—an opportunity to shut down and reboot, to start anew with a fresh perspective.

I know that there are many who will experience undue suffering and hardship, and I pray that they will be sustained in faith by Your love and by the kindness and compassion of family, friends, and strangers.

Thank you for opening our hearts to one another, and for the awareness that we are a family of one and are given a choice to decide between an attitude of love or fear.  Thank you that we are learning to recognize the destructive power of fear and help us choose the soothing, healing balm of love instead.  Thank you for miracles.

With an overflowing love and gratitude that my heart can scarcely hold,

Your dearly devoted daughter,

Julia

 

Return to Sanity

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Photo by MaLeK DriDi on Pexels.com

I’ve been gone for what seems like an eternity—off by myself again wandering around aimlessly in the desert trying to find my way back home.  Another blogger asked a question worth pondering—if I stopped blogging, would anyone notice?  I would.  I noticed that I have gone missing, but I couldn’t seem to find the oomph to get myself back on the return trip toward home.  Perhaps because I temporarily lost the way.  Sometimes it is very hard to return to sanity whilst being on vacation from one’s own head.  When I’m out there doing the aimless-wander dance, I wrestle with feelings of self-doubt and guilt because I think that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, whatever that is.  Perhaps you might be somewhat familiar with the feeling?

I don’t quite know what it is that drags me off course, but the one thing I do know is that the real problem here is that I have wandered away from God.  I have wandered away from that part of myself that is the best of me, and collided head-on into the self that I’ve been trying to avoid for as long as I’ve been on my spiritual journey.  It doesn’t usually go very well.  I don’t think that escape is the answer.

When I’m away, I experience lethargy, laziness, sloth (hmm—isn’t that one of the seven deadly sins?), and a general sense of malaise that eats away at self-esteem and sends me straight into the despair of zero self-worth.  Eeks!  That’s not a very nice place to live!  Feelings of low self-worth sneak in while we are looking the other way and inflict torture upon most of us at one time or another whether we are aware of it or not.  Now that’s a condition truly worth avoiding!

Once it finally dawns on me that my sojourn into the desert is a lonely one, and that it robs me of the joy that is my true birthright, it’s enough get me to hop on my camel and gallop out of the desert as fast as I can–or at least as fast as a camel’s legs will allow–and I return happily to my quiet time with God, and yes—maybe even blogging.  But sometimes that realization comes at the speed of molasses in January.  Why is that, I wonder?  And what is it that makes me wander off in the first place?  Maybe that part doesn’t matter.  Maybe I just need to keep my eye on the end goal and enjoy the jagged journey along the way.

My last blog was written nearly two months ago on July 13 and yes, rather recently I have heard from a few readers asking about it, and for that I say thank you for your encouragement.  So often a little nudge from others is all that is needed to provide a wandering soul with renewed faith and the desire to move forward on the path.  So much of life is about intention.  Do I intend to finish this blog, or will I get halfway through, take the dog for a walk, and forget it, as I have so many others?

Will I sit down every morning and spend my quiet time conversing with God, or will I keep Him waiting and instead fritter away precious hours and minutes checking emails, tweaking my daily to-do list, reading negative news, or fretting over undone chores—then suddenly wake up to the realization that I’ve gone missing and lost my senses again? God doesn’t care if the laundry gets folded or if there are dishes in the sink.  God has more important things than household chores on Her mind.

Here’s the thing. God gave me an assignment—a job to do—and if I don’t do it, I’m not holding up my end of the bargain. Not that God bargains, mind you—it’s just that I’m the one who entered into the contract.  I’m the one who said, “Okay, God, if this is all you ask, it is the least I can do.”  All God asks is that we be happy, and that we find the joy that dwells deep within our hearts and waits patiently to be found.  The only thing that God asks of us is that we realize that we are loved and forgiven, and that we have no reason to think or feel anything less than that.   I’m the one who lays self-doubt and guilt at my own feet by allowing myself to slip into the false belief of thinking that I am less than I am.

When I am able to remember my assignment, my promise to God that I will love myself as She loves me, feelings of low self-worth,  guilt and self-doubt fade and transform into the remembrance that I am truly a beloved child of God, perfect just as I am.  And so are you.  And so is everyone else, even though sometimes appearances may say otherwise.

This week a little voice in my head suggested that I take my umbrella into Trader Joe’s.  Did I listen?  No, of course not.  When I emerged from the store after all of five minutes, torrential rain was flooding the parking lot.  Clearly, there is something in me that is a whole lot smarter than I am, and one day perhaps I’ll learn to listen.  Meanwhile, I’m going to do my darnedest to quit taking little side trips into the wilderness and make a commitment to honor my prayerful intentions instead.  Wish me luck!

Now I must ask myself the question—am I going to push the publish button now or am I going to make myself crazy wondering if it’s good enough?  Cheech.  There I go again—listening to that pesky self-doubt voice instead of to the one that’s smarter than I am, the one that makes helpful little suggestions, like, “Take your umbrella.”   Whenever will I learn? Or maybe the real question is—when will I not forget?  Does it all have to be perfect?  No.  Does it really matter?  No.  Is it a good thing to be content with whatever is?  Absolutely.

Thank you good readers for the nudge that I needed to get my feet back onto the return–to-God path.  It feels great to be back and God willing, I’ll stay stay put, resist the temptation to wander away again, and see you soon.  It is unbelievably comforting to know that God loves me when I’m ornery.  He loves me when I am small and petty.  He loves me when i procrastinate, when I’m lazy, and especially when I’m behaving like a sloth.  He loves me no matter what.  What a gift.  What a wonderful God!

Yep.  I’m doing it.  There’s nothing quite like pushing the publish button to bring joy and set my feet back on the path.  Before I push it though, just a thought to remember–God loves you and so do I.  What is there to say but Thank You Thank You Thank You God?

To that I say Amen!

 

The Quest for a Happy Ending

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The following is an excerpt from a newsletter that I sent out to the residents of my condo building on June 30, just two days after the tragic shooting at the Annapolis Gazette. Though you may have read it before, sometimes it helps to be reminded that each one of us makes a difference in our world.  There is a revised ending–just so you know!

On Thursday we were reeling from a senseless tragedy that occurred right here, a mere four miles away from our own front door, in a building where many of us go to doctors and dentists.  It doesn’t get very much closer to home than that.  At the risk of sounding uncharacteristically negative, today I am feeling rather powerless and hopeless as I process all that is happening in our world today.   The horrendous murder of innocent people coupled with a pervasively negative political climate is turning our country inside out.   If I think about it or dwell on it too much, it almost seems more than I can bear.  Perhaps some of you may be experiencing similar feelings.

As I sit with heavy heart, I am aware that my mind tends to run away with itself by indulging in negative thinking.  I am not helping the problem—indeed, I am adding to it by allowing an insidious underlying fear to infiltrate my mind and dominate my thought process.  A smile is catching.  So is fear.

I don’t want to be responsible for spreading the disease of fear, for truly, it is a disease. It robs us of peace of mind, a healthy outlook, and hope for a brighter future.  Instead, I am going to shift my mindset into one of looking beyond the appearance of what is, and instead focus on what may be, and of what is possible when we focus on love rather than fear.  I invite you to join me in adopting and maintaining a higher vision of a better, safer world.  In horoscopes, it is often written that sometimes we must “tear down in order to rebuild.”  Life on our planet may never return to what it once was, but I am holding a vision and keeping the faith that one day it will be rebuilt into one that is even better.  Please, please help to speed the process by focusing on what’s right rather than on what’s wrong, on light rather than dark, on love rather than fear.

If this post speaks to your heart, I hope that you will share it with others who may find solace and comfort in knowing that they too can make a difference in a world in such need of love and peace.  Please pass it on.  We need all of the help and hope that we can get.

To borrow a phrase from yesteryear, “Make love, not war.”  Stay strong and nurture your spirit with thoughts that lift you up into the hope of a happy ending.

Peace, blessings, and love to all.

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The Peace Thieves

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There are a few people in the world who make me want to hide myself under the Harry Potter invisibility cloak.  They are the peace disturbers, the annoyers, the ones who make me crazy with just a word, a look, a comment, a request—that’s all it takes to send me off into a world of anger, frustration, criticism, or judgment.  Try as I might, it seems impossible to avoid some sort of conflict or contact with them.  I hear a voice, I turn and do a quick-step in the opposite direction.  Then another pops up and blocks my exit route. There’s no escape.  While there are only a couple of folks who have that effect on me, it seems more like an army. They’re everywhere.  It’s maddening.

I try.  I mean, I really, really try hard to not allow myself to be negatively impacted by the words and deeds of others, no matter how underhanded, manipulative, or controlling I perceive them to be.  Once in a blue moon, I succeed for a minute, but a minute is about all I can manage to muster up before the next offense rises up and challenges me to get over myself and behave like an adult.

Maybe it’s karma. Maybe it’s lifetimes of unhealed junk that I’ve carried around in my backpack for as long as the world has been spinning.  Maybe these blessed souls are there for the sole purpose of teaching me some sort of a gigantic life lesson.  Maybe I’m not getting out of here alive before first realizing that avoidance is not the best or healthiest way to deal with a troubling situation.  The most troubling of all is the wee perception that what I perceive as “wrong with them” may be something within myself that needs to be healed, else I would not be able to recognize it outside of myself.  Yikes.

Sometimes it helps to focus on the benefit of letting go.  Sometimes it’s a matter of asking myself my least favorite question, “What’s in it for me?”  What’s in it for me to forgive a husband who had a brief fling with a friend?  My knee jerk reaction was to distance myself from the co-respondent, along with the entire group of friends of which we were all a part.  My unwillingness to associate with the betrayer fueled my departure from a group of friends that I enjoyed and robbed me of a large piece of my social life.  Oh, the things I do to myself!

The forgive-and-forget plan fell short of its goal, and neither avoidance nor denial provided solution or solace.  I was the one left suffering the effect of my own anger with the loss of peace, trust, and friendship.  The infraction of one person (well, maybe two if you count my philandering husband) who had crossed a line had rocked my world.

Two years after the discovery, as I was riding down Connecticut Avenue on my way to work, I had an epiphany.  I suddenly saw that I was the one denying myself the joy of love and friendship by virtue of my blame, criticism, and judgment of one person.  I was the one stuck on my righteous attitude of anger and blame.  I was the only one suffering while the others went merrily on their way without me, utterly clueless about my pain.  I was the one refusing to forgive because clearly, I was right and they were wrong. Right?  Wrong!

With that epiphany came another—the instant realization that since I was the only one suffering by my own hand (or head is more like it) in this scenario, I was the only one who could change the situation that I had created for myself.  I was my own peace thief.

Simultaneously, another amazing thing happened.  An actual desire to let it go and forgive and forget washed over me and a spontaneous prayer arose within me. Oh God I truly do want to forgive this situation, but I don’t know how. Please help!  And I sat back, let go, and relaxed.

Day by day, little by little, inch by inch, I began to feel better until one day soon after, I awoke and discovered that it was gone—all of the blame, criticism, anger, judgment—gone.  In the midst of the quiet miracle that had occurred within me, it dawned on me that forgiveness requires true willingness.   Only the sincere desire and heartfelt commitment to forgive will open the floodgates to the miracle of forgiveness.  It doesn’t work if there’s even the tiniest bit of anger or resentment. Sometimes one has to be willing to be willing to be willing to let go and forgive.

As I ponder my attitude toward my current peace disturbers, I must sit myself down and ask a soul-searching question.  Am I truly willing?  Do I really, really mean it when I ask for forgiveness such that I can stand to be in the same room with one of my peace thieves and not wish to commit dishonorable hara-kiri?  Do I have it within myself to pull it off? Do I?  Can I?  Will I?

Yes, I do, yes I can, and yes I will.

To my unwitting teachers of peace, I pray that with each thought of you, my heart opens spontaneously so that I may clearly see that purity and radiating love are a force in your life.  I pray that I look beyond any and all behavior that causes me to think less of you, or that distorts my image of you as anything other than the Truth of your being, which is Love. 

With my backpack fully loaded with willingness, desire, and a prayer for forgiveness, all I need do now is sit back, relax, and be amazed and grateful for the miracle that restores me to peace and floods my life and the lives of others with love and grace.

So what’s in it for me?  Only peace of mind. Oh–and maybe a bit of happiness too.  That’s all.