The Gift of Regret

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Today my grand twins turn the same age that I was when my daughter was born.  Eeks.  Enjoy life while it’s happening folks, and don’t wait till you get the end of it to look back and ask yourself where it all went!

Somehow I managed to make it to this end of life in once piece—maybe a little worse for wear, perhaps, but still functional nonetheless.  When I was younger, my goal was to get to my sunset years and be able to look back and say that I reached the end with no regrets.  Honestly?  I have to admit that I didn’t quite make it to my goal because there are a few of them sprinkled throughout my life.  Those regrets are the parts and pieces of myself that are woven into the tapestry of my life.  I see them not as regrets, but as badges of honor, for they are to be revered for the gifts that they have given, the lessons they have taught, the forgiveness they have brought.

Regrets are reminders that sometimes goals are set but not met, that failure to achieve the desire of one’s heart is not a failure at all, but a signal that perhaps the heart needs to go in a different direction.  Disappointment is a fork in the road that points to an opportunity to either redirect desire onto a new path, or to let go and walk away.  Throughout my lifetime, I have taken both roads.  Often, I have asked myself, is walking away giving up?  Or is it the Soul suggesting that the correction of a wrong choice might be a preferred option?  Perhaps there are no wrong choices, but rather opportunities to engage our free will in the play of trial and error until we get it right.

There are times when I allowed self-doubt to stop me from pursuing the desires of my heart because I lacked the faith in my ability to pull it off, whatever it was.  And there were times when I was struck with a flash of inspiration and charged ahead full steam and became so immersed in pursuing my dream that there was no room for self-doubt to sneak in to undermine my plan.

A friend recently told me about Allison Hadden, a motivational speaker engaged in a battle with cancer, who says, “As scary as it is to accept, all of us are going to die – yet none of us know when. It’s time we start confronting this reality and living life like there’s no time to waste.” If ever there were a poster child for pursuing purpose, she would be it.  Clearly, she is not daunted by her illness, but instead is using it to inspire others, and she is not giving up.

Nor have I given up on my one primary vision in this lifetime—to live life in a way that would ultimately lead me out of the quagmire of ego and personality, and into the peace and calm of a heart and soul centered life.  That vision has led me down many a garden path—some strewn with lilies, some with thorns, but every road taken has led me one step closer to my destination.  I am grateful for the thorny roads, for they have led to the realization that a path of lilies is a path of true joy.  Never give up on your dreams, dear ones.  Hasten as ye go for there is no time to waste.

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).

Plugging Up the Leaks

True-accountability-means-accepting-responsibility-3-208-768x644.jpgI’ve been trying to work my way up to a nap, but leaks keeps getting in my way.  Plug up one, and another spouts forth to replace it.  There’s a leak in my washing machine, one in my ceiling, others in the ceilings of beaucoup residents in the building sending plumbers like mice with their sharp little teeth scurrying up and down between floors chewing gaping holes in the walls in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I am living in a very holy place these days.  A day without the report of a leak is a good day.  Unfortunately, today is not one of them.  No nap for me.

As I ponder the “Why me, God?” question when confronted with a call at an odd hour from a frantic resident screaming “WATER”, I am reminded of a phrase well known to those on a spiritual quest, “Be careful what you ask for.”  It dawns on me that just this morning I upgraded my intention to adopt a stance of harmlessness, selflessness, and right speech.  Oh boy.  Be careful what you ask for.  Apparently, the Powers that Be listen very closely and are Johnny-on-the-spot to respond.

With one finger stuck in the dike and an ear glued to the plumber’s hotline, it occurs to me that maybe our current leak-a-thon is providing me with just the perfect opportunity to grab myself by a new attitude and start to practice the art of paying closer attention to what goes on in my head.  It would probably sound a wee bit irreverent to say, “Gee, thanks Universe”, but the truth is, I asked for it.  Ask and ye shall receive.

Every now and then, I fantasize about what it would be like to hang out inside the head of a person who is spiritually enlightened.  The Dalai Lama for example, or Jesus or maybe Mother Teresa.  How and what do they think?  Do they spend 24/7 praying and meditating?  Do they have a sense of humor?  Do they wonder what’s for dinner?  Do they roll around in Heaven all day forgiving everyone whether they need it or not?  Do those who still walk among us in the world think in the same way as those who have departed?

Such imaginings expand my mind and send me on a merry chase in search of role models who give me hints about what might lie ahead.  They show me a picture of I want to be like when I grow up, and provide the incentive to for me to run like the wind in hot pursuit of my goal, like the adorable little pink pigs at the California state fair running for the reward of cookies and cream at the end of the race.

I know there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or maybe some cookies and cream. I know I’ll get there eventually, but in the meantime, I’ll just keep on plugging up leaks and practice the fine art of harmlessness, selflessness, and right speech.  I’m not sure what all of that means, exactly, but somehow, I’m quite sure that I will soon find out.   That ought to keep me busy 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).

Pardon My French

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Somewhere between getting my bones out of bed today, slogging into the kitchen for coffee, and making my way to the Lazygirl for my morning visit with myself, I had an epiphany.  Since the confines of the pandemic, my life has morphed from an outer one to inner, and my days begin and end in the Lazygirl.  The in-between is anybody’s guess, but the one thing I know for sure is that the beginnings and the endings are my favorite times of day.

I really covet the safety of my morning and evening sits, but sometimes the in-betweens can present some really tricky situations, some related to my membership on the board of directors of the condo where I live.  Many folks ensconced in the world of spiritual growth call such challenges AFGO’s.  Another Effing Growth Opportunity.  Oh great!  Another AFGO!  Pardon my French.  (Why do we always blame the French for the use of vulgarity?)

We’re all faced with AFGO’s from time to time, some simple, some whipdoozies.  The question becomes, what do we do when one comes our way?  How do we deal with them?   If you’ve been following along, you know that one of my favorite techniques for handling tricky challenges is the trusty head-in-the-sand trick.  You also know that there’s a pony hiding somewhere amidst the manure.  Somewhere between the ostrich and pony, there is buried treasure.

In my experience as a board member, we are often presented with conflicts that wander around amidst the wants of the people, the needs of the property, and the vagaries of personalities.  It gives new meaning to “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.”  It’s a conundrum of the highest order.

My experience is that whatever the size, shape, or form, an AFGO presents an unparalleled opportunity for personal growth if one has the courage and willingness to extract the head from the sand and dig through the manure long enough to find it.  The reward of the search is healing, renewed vision, restoration of sanity, and an opportunity to choose love over fear.  If we find common ground and agree that we’re all in it together, then in the end rough edges are smoothed out and peace is restored to mind, heart, and home.  Well, one can only hope, right?

As I sit all nestled in the safety of my inner sanctuary and comfort of the lone Lazygirl, I know that every AFGO strewn across my path, both past, present, and undoubtedly future, has provided a life lesson that has pushed me one step closer to the achievement of my life’s purpose.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  Is it fun?  Not always, but once in a while it’s downright hilarious.  It helps to know that the Universe is equipped with a wonderful sense of humor that brings comic relief when the going gets tough.  And by the way, if you decide to stick your toe in the water and pan for the gold, you should know that you will never walk alone.  The hand of one who has gone before will reach out to help you along the way, while another will reach out to welcome you to your destiny.

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 Soul of Service

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Hmm.…no blog yesterday.  That’s twice in one week.  What’s up with that?  Am I slipping?  Am I copping out on my commitment?  Good question.  I have no idea.  It does give me pause to wonder, though.

Amidst my ponderings about commitment, I keep hearing the words, “Be true to yourself” in my head.  What does that mean, exactly?  Again, no idea.  Sigh.  It looks as if this is shaping up to be one of those all-questions, no-answers kind of a morning.  Out with the journal.  Start writing.

Twice this month there were five blog readers.  Five!  Is it worth spending whatever time it takes to crank out a blog every day if I am writing in a vacuum?  Might it be that readership is waning as a reflection of my own questionable commitment?   Is it time to alter my writing plan and downsize to every other day?  Is my commitment actually in question?  Or is it simply that I have lost sight of my vision, mission, purpose?  If I crank up my enthusiasm and recommit to my writing plan, will readership increase?  And by the way—who am I writing for, and just who is it that is making this commitment, anyway?  Who decides?

I recently went to a small family celebration in honor of a newly-minted doctor of pharmacology, who just completed a grueling internship at a hospital.  One of her friends, a nurse, wowed us with her party planning skills—cupcakes topped with red and white capsules, pills, band-aids, and all things medical; there were personalized face masks for all, and a glittery gold banner adorning the wall.  It was obvious from the expression on her face that sharing her party planning skills brought great joy to others as well as herself.

She was a reminder that every one of us is born with some sort of special skill, gift, or talent, sometimes buried, sometimes obvious.   We are not fully alive unless and until we discover it within ourselves and find a way to express it, not just for our own enjoyment, but for the joy of others as well.  Whether it is expressed as a hobby, vocation, or avocation is irrelevant; what matters is that creativity be expressed.  As we use our talents, they grow.  If we ignore them, they will disappear.

Was it worth it to the nurse wannabe-party planner to spend her time and energy doing something to make someone else happy?  Judging by the glow on her face, I would say so.  Is it worth it for me to spend my time and energy doing something for five people or a hundred or just one, even if the just one is myself?  If it makes only me happy, if it brings me joy, is it worth it?  The sharing of a gift is a service to the soul of others, sometimes in ways that we may neither know nor understand.  What matters is only our willingness to share it.

Well, so there you have it—the answer to my commitment question all tied up in a neat little package with a pretty bow and some icing band-aids and pills on top.  I’m writing for myself as an expression of my own creativity.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  Does it make me happy?  Yes.  Is being happy being true to myself?  Yes.  Ah.  Good to know.  The world won’t end if I miss a day here or there, so long as I keep the goal in sight, and my eye upon the donut and not upon the hole.  See you tomorrow folks.  Or maybe the day after . . .

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).