The Path of Joy

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In spite of yesterday’s blog extolling the virtues of living in the shiny new moment of now and of not reliving my yesterdays, sometimes bits of the past come flying up unexpectedly and hurl themselves in front of my face screaming for attention.  So much for peace of mind.  Hagotcha!  Darn.  I thought I was over that.  Maybe not, else why would it reappear?  Is this another test?

Well, so here’s the good news—at least these nagging bedevilments are making themselves known so that I can decide whether or not to address them or just shovel them back down into the dirt out of sight, out of mind.  But if allowed free rein, they just keep coming up again.  And again.  Shall I listen up and pay attention, or shall I get out the shovel?  My choice.

In the midst of my most recent in-your-face confrontation with the ego, I had a peek through the window of my soul and could see how easy it is to allow despair and depression to take control and cloud judgment.  In my role as a witness I could clearly observe myself in a head-to-head conflict over which aspect of myself would win the battle—the ego, or the Self.

Let me just say—I do not like conflict.  Conflict in any form, either with myself or another person makes me want to turn and run the other way.  Yep—I admit it.  I’m a coward.  If I pull the ostrich act and don’t see it, I won’t have to deal with it.  But if there is no facing it, there is no resolving it.  Obviously, it won’t just magically disappear itself because it will just come up.  Again.

The quest for personal growth presents moments such as these.  It means mustering up the willingness and courage to confront anything that stands in the way of achieving the bliss of a peaceful mind.  Yes, sometimes it brings up issues that I’d rather not deal with, but the struggle is worth the reward of awakening to the yearning of the Soul that wishes for nothing more than to bestow the gift of joy.

These days, when I am rudely awakened by past memories and unhappy thoughts that trigger old wounds, I take my own advice and remind myself to be grateful for the recognition that there is something within me that needs my loving attention.  I ask for help with forgiveness and  pray for the release of anything that no longer serves to bring me closer to my Self, my Soul.  It is safe to take my head out of the sand and breathe freely because conflict has evaporated.   No longer must I learn through suffering and struggle, for that path has been transformed into one of joy.

Ah.  Blessed relief.  Now I am back in the shiny new moment of now.

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 Window of the Soul

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The window washers are coming today and soon I will see clearly from the inside out.  Now if I can just clean up the of the window of my mind, I will see clearly from the outside in.  Once in a while if I’m not paying close attention, things can get a little murky in here.

Sometimes, when I have a bit of spare time, I enjoy peeking through the windows of the minds of other bloggers, especially those who share their innermost thoughts, feelings, challenges, struggles, and insecurities.  Sometimes the view through the windows of others provides a clearer reflection of myself.

Bloggers tend to tell the truth about themselves, about what they’re thinking and feeling.  Their honesty is refreshing, and sheds a light in the darkness.  In finding light in others, I find light within myself.

One of the most profound aspects of my education as a spiritual seeker was my training as a facilitator.  True service, we were taught, lies in healing oneself first in order to help others—healing the unhealed healer.  Thus, we became both students and teachers to one another, working together toward healing the parts of ourselves that were the obstacles to inner peace.

In the process, we discovered that no one is immune from the machinations of a mind ruled by the ego.  We learned that we are all subject to the aspect of ourselves that would have us believe that we are unworthy, undeserving, and unlovable.  We learned that there is great healing in the willingness to share the depths of one’s being in the safety of a trusted confidant.  We learned that the more we are able to see into the soul of another, the more there is to love.

I am no stranger to the battle between love and fear.  Why do we hesitate to share our inner truth with another?  It all about fear.  Fear of embarrassment, of being judged, misperceived, misunderstood, flawed, fear that the truth will somehow reveal the insecure, unlovable parts of the self that we do not wish to acknowledge to ourselves or to others.  The bottom line?  It is a fear of loss of love.

My greatest lessons in life were learned in the intense six-month facilitator training where as both student and teacher, I discovered that the willingness of another to share her deepest and most personal aspects of her being drew me closer in compassion and love, because in the other person, I could see my own struggle to overcome the parts of myself that I perceived as unlovable.

In spite of all of my spiritual education and training, I still find that I fall prey to the tricks of the ego; the window of my soul get foggy and I lose sight of who I am.  The return trip to sanity requires only that I sit and be still, find the quiet in my Soul, ask for help, and remember that love is the Windex that will make the window of my Soul sparkle.

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).

Sweet Memories and Mysteries

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It’s not always a good idea to rummage around in the past, but if done in search of sweet memories to savor rather than to excavate old buried wounds, one might find a world of riches buried within.

One of my sweet memories of the past floated to the surface this morning as I savored the memory of my days as a devotee of Siddha Yoga, when I was constantly intrigued by the profound effect that the mysterious teachings of the guru had upon me and upon my life.  Sometimes, the lessons were immediate and obvious; sometimes they so subtle that I barely noticed until months or years later, when I finally got it.

On one of my visits to the ashram, a course was being offered on selfless service.  When I tried to enroll, I was told that the course was not open to people over the age of 50.  What?  Why not??  Was it too late for the over-50 crowd?  If we hadn’t learned whatever we needed to know by now, were we hopeless?  But as often happens in the world of a guru, there was no answer to the why.  I left in a quandary and spent the entire following year hoping that the answer would float to the surface and solve the puzzle.  It didn’t.

On my next visit to the ashram a year later, a fellow devotee unexpectedly answered the question that I hadn’t asked.  People over 50 are supposed to focus less on selfless service and more in contemplation of their death.  Huh.  Now there’s a juicy rich subject worthy of another year’s worth of puzzlement if ever there was one, right?

I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Odd though it may sound, answering this question has become my lifelong quest, the guidepost that lights my path toward the accomplishment of my goals, vision, and purpose.  My focus is on the endgame—to heal what needs healing, correct the errors of the past, have my affairs in order, and do my utmost to earn my diploma and graduate into the next higher realm of learning.  It keeps me sane and on track; it diverts my attention away from behaving in ways that are not in my best interest, and supports me in embracing the behavior that is.

I really miss hanging out with Gurumayi, but the truth is that her work with me is finished.  She sent me home to the sanctuary of own my heart and turned me over to the care and keeping of my Higher Self, my Soul, to All That Is, where my education will continue, and answers to the mysteries of life will be revealed in their own time.  I am blessed to be in the very good company of professors who are kind and compassionate, who make learning a joy.  Now if I will only listen…

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).

Out of the Shadow

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I dreamed about a woman who covered her eyes when there was something on TV that she did not want to see.  When things got really ugly, her accommodating husband would place his hand on top of hers for an added layer of protection.  Oh no!  Am I the woman in the dream?  Am I hiding from myself?  Rats.  I thought I was an open book.

My world of TV watching ended six months ago, leaving only The Live Reality Show as my sole form of entertainment.  Yikes.  It’s pretty scary out there in the world right now, and yes, the woman is me.  I want hide away with as many layers of protection that I can get and trust that my friends will let me know when it’s safe to open my eyes again.

I must ask myself, “What is reality?”  What is my reality?  What is your reality?  What is anybody’s reality, really?  What is real?  What is illusion, what is fake?  Whoa—heady ‘don’t know’ questions, for sure.

What I do know is that my reality was built upon the thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and opinions that I was taught and held as gospel truth until I was old enough to figure out that maybe everything I learned was wrong.

In search of answers that made sense to me, I set upon a path of self-discovery and re-creation of myself and my personal reality.  It has been a lifelong and soul satisfying experience, fraught with joy, despair, shift and change, trial and error, highs and lows, and challenging though it was—and sometimes still is—I wouldn’t change a minute of it for the world.

Do we all our build our own personal worlds with our thoughts, feelings, opinions, and beliefs?  If, perchance, this might be the true gospel truth, perhaps it would behoove us to rethink what we think and consider whether a change of mind might be in order.

Oh geez.  I guess this means that I have to take the blinders off.  Really?  Do I have to?

No, but if you want to build a better world, it might not be a bad idea.

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).

Can I Quit Now?

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I’m trying to talk myself out of thinking that I need another day off.  The little kid in me thinks that it’s recess time again.  I mean, come on—I just took a day off two days ago.  I keep wondering if maybe it’s time to retire the daily blogging routine and launch into my hummingbird act, zipping around to extract the juicy essence out of the next flower.

I remember a similar attitude many years ago when I reached a point after three months on a job of saying, “Okay, I’m done.  I’ve learned all I need to learn, done everything I need to do, been there, done that, I’m bored—time to quit and move on.”

The hasty response from the voice in my head was, “So what?  Now, can you stay and find a way to make it interesting?”  Sigh.  In keeping with my resolve to hang in there to learn what I must, I stayed for another five years and became a very creative, successful salesperson.  The hardest part of the curriculum was learning how to negotiate my way through the roller coaster highs and lows of working for a crazy lady whose assistants turned over at the speed of light.  What a ride!

My past experience in the workaday world includes both powerful, ego building jobs and humbling ego busters. Humble  No matter the form, each experience provided an incredibly rich opportunity to learn what there was to learn, to make the best of the worst.

Sometimes the lessons were obvious.  Sometimes not.  Sometimes it takes time for revelation to happen.

My varied jobs throughout my career have been some of my very best life teachers.  Blogging—though not a paying gig—is my current job.  So, yes, okay—I’ll stay and do my best to make it interesting, because I’m not done yet.  And by the way, my current boss is a whole lot easier to work for than the crazy lady with the runaway assistants.

Is it time to quit yet?  No, but recess is okay once in a while, too.  Just not today.

Ironing Out the Wrinkles

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Thanks to Professor Blog’s compassion in granting me a day off yesterday, life is back in some semblance of proper working order.   The ironing is done, my desktop is clear, and the cobwebs in the head are gone.  Balance and sanity are restored.  At least for now.

With iron in hand and mind in motion, I had an epiphany.   I don’t need to put pressure on the iron to get the wrinkles out.  I need only to guide it gently and let the heat do its work.  Life is so much easier when I don’t try to strong-arm my way through it.

My favorite blogs are the two that were written without applying blunt force to attack the job as if it was a permanently pre-wrinkled mess shirt.  The wrinkles smoothed themselves out with little or no help from me.  My faves are also the blogs that received a pretty fair positive response.  Day Off  That should tell me something, right?

Life is short.  Relax, enjoy, have fun, and don’t get all caught up in the unsightly wrinkles.

It’s amazing what a little time off will do.  Thanks, Prof.

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).

May I Be Excused?

 

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It’s a gorgeous morning.  I’d like to take a walk before the temperature exceeds the humidity.  I’d like to tackle  the expanding pile of laundry before summer’s end.  Small patches of bare space are peeking through the papers that blanket the surface of my desk.  The house is in a state a mild state of disarray, the result of a neglectful owner caught in a daily struggle to learn the art of balance.  I want to catch up with friends, return phone calls, answer emails.  Take care of business, have a little fun.

I need a day off.

Blog writing as a hobby is an all-consuming adventure that eats up a huge chunk of my day.  By the time I close the clamshell, it’s lunchtime and I need a nap.  I need to loosen up a bit and relax some of the rigidity that has closed in around me in an effort to get a tighter grip on self-discipline.  A blog a day keeps balance away.

I need a day off.

Read Julia’s blog is on a friends’ daily to do list, perhaps a have to entry rather than a want to.  God bless her for her loyalty.  Maybe she needs a day off too.

I need to get out on this lovely morning and walk off some of the excess body that I have accumulated during these days as a pandemic shut-in.  I need to clean up my act, get myself back in proper working order, do some ironing.

Professor Blog has granted my request for one day off and excused me from the classroom for a field-trip in search of balance.  Yay!

Ta tah for now.  See you tomorrow.

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).

 

 

 

 

Body by Design

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Here we go again, with the blank page and blinking cursor taunting me, coupled with a cacophony of voices clamoring for attention, “Me, ME, no, me!”  Everybody wants to get into the act.  Which “me” will it be today?   My muddled mind considers the possibilities.  It could be a long morning.  Hmmm.

The loudest voice today is the “me” that comes with a body attached—you know, the one that requires a lifetime of food, shelter, and clothing?

Have you ever thought about how much time, effort, energy, and work we must expend simply to maintain our physical selves?  A third of our lives?  Half?  More?  It boggles the mind.  I keep thinking about how clever God is to have set us up with this dense, physical contraption that we walk around in all day, the vehicle that transports us through a lifetime of providing for its varied myriad of needs.

Donald Trump sometimes blames a “rigged system” for whatever it is that happens to be displeasing him at the moment, and I wonder—are we living in a rigged system set up with bodies designed as textbooks to teach us what we need to learn?

I use my own life as an example, typical of so many others.  I begin my lessons by being born into a family populated with people who can try and test me on every level.  I live under the same roof, breathe the same air, and deal with the assorted personality quirks that come with the territory.  There I are stuck until I am well educated and mature enough to move out and move on.

In case I have not learned from family relationships, Part 2 of my learning thrusts me out into the next phase of my life into survival mode where I must work to earn a living to support my physical body to survive.  Rent, food, and shelter is expensive, even before adding in the rest of what’s needed for the living of life.  Eventually, I get married, start a family, and in the process, up the ante of relational challenges.

It seems to me that a very brilliant God has rigged the system to make sure that we will be given every opportunity to learn what we came for.  The good news is that it is rigged in our favor.  If we don’t get the lesson one way, we will get it another.

Our bodies serve as teachers, purveyors of endless possibility for physical and spiritual growth.  If we haven’t aced Relationship 101 in our family classroom, we are given another opportunity in the workplace, where once again, we are tried and tested by other characters on the stage of our life.

This all makes me wonder—once we leave these bodies, will we find ourselves walking around in an afterlife as etheric beings without need for food, shelter, and clothing?  Will we still have lessons to learn but without need for the care and maintenance of dense physical bodies?  Whoa.  What a concept.  No need for spending a huge percentage of existence walking around in survival mode.  To imagine the freedom is mind boggling.

The very idea of that much freedom makes me want to work harder to do whatever I must in order to earn my way into the next phase, whatever that might be.  It makes me ask myself what percentage of time and energy I spend on my spiritual growth compared to my physical survival.  It makes me want to work harder while I’m here.

Body by design.  What a clever plan.  What an amazing gift..  What a brilliant God.

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).

Mountains and Molehills

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Every so often I take myself off on a mission of uncertainty, a merry go round ride of self-questioning over one thing or another, sometimes trivial, sometimes soul searching to the nth degree.  It’s akin to making mountains out of molehills.

Today, it’s nth degree, a day of questioning motive, purpose, and mission.  This time, it’s about why I spend the early morning hours of every day struggling to fill up the blank screen of my mind and my computer with words that may or may not be of interest or benefit to anyone.  Why?  What’s the point?

Tomorrow will mark the two-month anniversary of the day that I wrote the first blog of my new assignment, and it seems to me that there is very little reward considering the time and effort involved.   Why am I doing this?  Why, why, why?  This is the second time in a week that I’ve wandered down this road in search of blog why’s here  Maybe today, I will get an answer.

I once was assigned to a temporary job in the business information center of a major corporation (aka library).  I was led to believe that the job it would be for couple of days, but instead it was for six months.  I was invisible, a nonexistent body sitting in a cubicle all day filing the newspapers and mountains of publications dumped on my desk hourly.  It was voluminous.  I was horrified at the thought of having to do a job that I hated day after day for half a year.  I could have quit, I suppose, but if there was a lesson to be learned, I didn’t want to miss it.  So I stayed.

On my first day, I sat down at 8:30 a.m. and started work.  I worked and worked and worked hating every minute of it, until I thought it must be time for lunch.  It was 9:30 a.m.   Only six months and six more hours until the assignment would be over.  I thought I might die before the end of the day.

There is a saying that if you don’t like what you do, you’d better to learn to like what you do.  It occurred to me that if I was to survive the next six months, I’d better decide to like what I hated.  I started my second day with a new attitude and sat down at my desk and worked until my supervisor poked her head into my cubicle and suggested that I go to lunch before the cafeteria closed.  It was 1:30. There is nothing like a little change of mind and heart to change the day.

Six months later when the assignment was complete, I hated to leave.  It had been like a speed reading course in spiritual growth and had provided some of the most profound lessons of my life.  Hate became love, and what started in dread, ended in joy.

With life in a library as a reminder of gifts both seen and unseen, I shall go about my current writing assignment with renewed joy and without need for external validation nor reward because the reward is in the journey.  When the assignment is complete, I will look back and say, “Oh wow!  What a great assignment”

As a friend suggested early on, perhaps daily blogging is my spiritual practice.  Maybe so, in which case, I will go about my business one day at a time, and pretend that I am writing my dissertation.  Maybe I am, maybe not.  Either way, that’s reward enough for me.

Oh and by the way—the publish button will before 8:45 a.m.  Progress!

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).

 

Bare and Unbedazzled

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The world of appearances is crumbling.  The façade is falling away, leaving us bare, naked, and exposed to the truth that lies within.  Wow.  That’s a heavy way to start a day!  It wasn’t at all what I had in mind when I opened a new Word page, but there it is, born of its own accord.

I had more in mind continuing yesterday’s conversation about fingernails, both the bedazzled and unbedazzled variety such as my own.  I’m not sure how I swooped from crumbling facades to fingernails, but there you have it.  It happens.

Oh right.  It happens!

Yesterday, I kept being distracted by my fingernails.  They seemed to call my attention to themselves periodically, as if to say, “Hey—listen up you!  There is a lesson here for you.”

Really?  In fingernails?

Yes.  In fingernails.

Then a funny thing happened—suddenly Dolly Parton was in my face—it’s pretty hard to miss Dolly with her gigantic presence of sequins and personality sparkling all over the place.  Suddenly yesterday’s blog (Here) turned into a comparison between the worlds and lives of Dolly and the Dalai Lama—amazing teachers, each in their own way.

So anyway, what about the fingernails?

Oh, right.

My nails have not seen an unpolished day since I was in my early teens.  They have been through generations of incarnations, from healthy and strong, to discolored and fragile, to beautiful to embarrassing, and as they changed throughout the decades, like the rest of my body, they have required more and more care and cover-up.

Then I discovered the miracle of a gel manicure, the antidote to the broken, the damaged,  split, snagged, the ragged.  “Oh but wait,” I was warned by others.  “They’ll ruin your nails.”  Too late.  There will likely never be a day in my life when my nails will see the light of day.

Hello pandemic, bye bye fingernail façade.

Since gel requires the equivalent of a lightweight jack hammer to be removed, there was nothing to do but watch my nails grow out a silly millimeter daily, and pray that the governor would lift the ban on nail salons before I was totally exposed.  No such luck.

Two months of silly millimeters later, I took matters into my hands and unearthed the jackhammer.  Look out, gel—here I come.

Surprise, surprise.  My nails and I made liars out of the naysayers with their dire warnings of nail death by gel.  When the façade was finally gone and the nails were laid bare, they were restored to their original, teenaged natural beauty.  Renewed, regenerated, resurrected, reborn.  Well, almost—they are a tiny bit wrinkled, but still . . . strong, healthy nonetheless.  Imagine that.

During these weeks of pandemic nail-induced anxiety, I recognized that my focus on the state of my nails is a distraction, a reflection of so many other areas of my life.  How much of what I see is focused on external distractions?  Can I see beyond the tempting lure of her Dollyness into the heart and soul of His Dalainess?  Can I realize the beauty that lies within the soul of each and every one of us, regardless of appearance?  Can I see it within myself?

The pandemic has laid us bare by shining its light so that we may see.  The old is crumbling.  The new is being reborn.  Though the appearance of it may be terrifying, the result will be the healing rebirth of a strong, healthy, beautiful new humanity.  We are a work in progress, each in our own way.  Our job is to see past the damaged and broken and look into the face of a new vision born of our own creation, and watch as it unfolds before our eyes.  Regardless of appearance, it’s all good.

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).