The Pitcher and the Pandemic

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This morning I shocked myself awake by catching an unexpected glimpse of myself in the mirror.  Good Lord I look like the wild woman of Borneo.  Thanks, pandemic.  That picture brought to mind an image of a swinging vine, and the memory of a failed bar with the same name that my inexperienced, entrepreneurial husband swore would make him rich, which then conjured up a picture of wild-woman me swinging on a vine high amidst the trees in the jungle.

In the space between flushing a toilet and walking away, I took myself on a no-cost tour of the jungles of Borneo and enjoyed a sky-high swinging vine excursion in the process.   Wow. What a trip—all in less than five seconds, and I never even had to leave home to enjoy it.  Isn’t the mind amazing?

I thought I knew where this morning’s writing adventure might be going, but then a funny thing happened.  While sitting peacefully in my Lazygirl minding my own business, the silence was shattered by the sound of a large ceramic pitcher crashing down from a bookshelf and smashing to smithereens on the hardwood floor.  Books that had been sitting in the same place for many months suddenly fell over of their own accord and that was the end of the pitcher.

This sudden unexpected turn of events leaves me in a bit of a quandary.  Where do I go from here?  So many options.  I could just forget it and return to my original writing thoughts.  Or I could shift gears and launch off on a tear about whodunit and why, or chalk it off as a freaky accident, or question the possibility of whether I might have just touched a nerve of a dearly departed ex-husband, or whether or not it’s feasible to even consider such possibilities.

It brings to mind the recollection of other strange happenings—a notebook fell from a top shelf twice, potholders monogrammed with my mother’s initials were mysteriously displaced from a hook while I was not at home, a small picture of the Charles Bridge in Prague purchased when my mother and I visited there fell over twice, pots and pans turned themselves around in a cupboard so that their handles faced backwards; is someone or something trying to tell me something?  Could it have been my mother telling me that she wanted me to move?  She didn’t like my neighborhood.  She didn’t think it was safe.  Nine years have passed since I moved, and there have not been any odd occurrences since.  Until today.

So what just happened?  I have no idea, but it certainly makes me wonder.  Am I missing something?  Is there some “reality” that I know nothing about?  It makes me think about life after life, and about how the life that I live while here on this earth might influence the life that I have after I take my last breath.  It makes me want to try harder to do the best that I can while I am still here so that I will be able to live in a safe neighborhood when it’s time to move on.  It reinforces my desire to get it right.

Why does anything happen?  Who knows?  But there is always a reason, if only just to stop us in our tracks for a minute and make us think.  The pitcher and the pandemic—the perfect duo specifically tailored to help me learn a thing or two.  Now all I have to do is figure out what.

I think I’ll go comb my hair, swing on a vine, and think about it for a while.

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

The Heart Knows the Way

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Yesterday I was broke. Here  Today I am lazy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wealth of Poverty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gateway to a New World

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Troubled times of crisis bring changes that can affect us mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—changes that can jostle us out of our comfort zones.  Yesterday a friend reminded me about a life-altering dream that I wrote about years ago and I think that it might be an appropriate time to share it again.  Fair warning though . . . it is about 400 words longer than my usual blog size.  And it begins . . .

Today I am reminded of a dream that I had many years ago, a dream so powerful that it provided me with the courage and energy that I needed in order to make a gigantic leap from one chapter of my life into the next. I feel moved to tell this story today in honor of those who are struggling with life circumstances that they wish to change, and who may benefit by being reminded that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In my dream, I am walking toward a bridge, and want to cross, but there is a closed gate. I use this as an excuse to tell myself that I cannot cross because the gate is locked and is blocking my way. Instinctively I know that this bridge will take me to my future, but I am afraid to leave my past and move on. I am afraid of what I might find, that my future may be worse than my past.

Feeling a great sense of relief, I turn to walk away.  As I do, I hear a voice that says, “Oh, but it is not locked. All you need to do is open the gate and walk through.” My excuse has vanished and fear clutches my heart. I do not want to go. I do not want to risk what I might find on the other side of the gate, on the other end of the bridge.

I am at a painful transition point in my life, in the midst of wondering how I will ever manage to find the courage I need to leave my husband of many years, and move from the West Coast back to the comfort of my roots in the east. I want to leave, but I can’t. I’m stuck. I lack the courage to move on with my life. I’m in the sunset years of middle age without the resources to sustain myself for tomorrow and forever. It is a frightening scenario. I am paralyzed with fear.

The persistent voice urges me to open the gate and step onto the bridge. With trembling hand, I lift the latch and walk through the opening. The gate closes behind me, and I look ahead at the vast expanse of space that separates me from the certain present to the uncertain future. I want to turn back but somehow, it no longer seems to be an option.

With great reluctance, I swallow my fear and put one foot ahead of the other as I start my journey across the bridge to greet my future. At the halfway point, I stop and realize again that I am again paralyzed by fear, unable to move one way or the other. I imagine myself living the rest of my life firmly rooted in the middle of that bridge, somewhere between the worlds of the past and the future.

Mentally, I review my options. The gate has closed behind me and I am not ready to face what awaits me. I can stand stuck on the bridge forever with one foot in the past and the other in the future. Or I can jump.

No, tempting though it is, jumping is not an option. It is not a viable means of escape. I turn toward the closed gate and much to my surprise, it is now open. Behind it stand a group of my friends, all smiling and waving to me, as if to wish me well and send me off with Godspeed and good wishes. I feel a lump in my throat as I realize that I must once and for all say goodbye to a piece of my past that had served as my painful comfort zone for so many years.

I turn toward the future at the other end of the bridge, and there is no gate. Another group of my dear friends await me, beckoning to me, encouraging me, anxious to welcome me home with open arms. With a mixture of sadness and joy, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I place one foot in front of the other and move forward into my future.

I reach the end of the bridge, the beginning of my new present, and joy begins to slowly seep through the sadness to fill the hole in my heart that was left behind in the past.

Today I look back with gratitude because my painful past is behind me, and I have moved on into an optimistic and brighter future, one that had been hidden from me behind a door that I did not want to open.

Crossing takes courage, commitment, and profound willingness. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. All of the goodness and sweetness in life thrives in the happy atmosphere of a satisfied self. It is always waiting to be claimed, right there in front of eyes willing to see.

I guess that sometimes we just have to be willing to go through the brambles in order to enjoy the sweet nectar of life.  And so to all those who struggle, to all those who wish to open the gate and cross the bridge, Godspeed and good wishes. Amazing gifts await you on the other side. Focus fiercely on the light at the end of the tunnel, and joy will be the ultimate reward.

Cookies, Cream, and Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bring on the cookies and cream.

 

 

 

Loving What I Hate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Blessings in Boo-Boos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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