Light Up the Dark Corners

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Some days it’s hard not to become disheartened by bad news.  I may have stopped watching TV, but still, it’s hard to avoid the stories about customers who verbally and physically attack retail employees, or protesters with oozies out to protect their selfish rights, or governmental corruption, lies, political dirty tricks, and round and round we go where she stops, God only knows.  So much ugliness in the world coming at us from so many different directions.  Heaven help us.

If I were to allow myself to focus on all of this distressing news, surely I would be caught up in a frenzy of hopelessness unable to see a way out, or worse, be sucked into the fray by the unbridled fear-mongering heaped upon us daily by the media.   It’s why I turned off the TV.

We need to see the light.

My mother used to say, “Light up the dark corners.”  When she said it, she meant the room.

When I say it, I mean the world.

Before he died in 1991 at age 40, Lee Atwater, chairman of the Republican National Committee and manager of George Bush’s 1988 successful presidential campaign, took responsibility for his actions of “naked cruelty” by setting out upon a mission of making amends to those who had been hurt by his underhanded political tactics.  “I did not invent negative politics,” he said, “but I am one of its most ardent practitioners.”

His deathbed confessions and apologies, according to some who knew him well, were fueled by his fear that he would go to hell for his actions.  Perhaps this could be considered as an unlikely side benefit that fear provides for motivation for a change of heart.

Whatever the cause of his desire for repentance, it pales in comparison to the implication that change is not an impossible dream, even under the very worst of conditions.  In fact, it may even seem miraculous that a man capable of such incredible manipulation and control might suddenly turn into the poster child for political good behavior and seek forgiveness for his self-serving actions.

It gives me hope.  It gives me the hope that if Lee Atwater saw the light and could change, perhaps others will as well.  It is not an impossible dream.  Minds are changed one at a time.  Perhaps the light might dawn upon one angry customer, or one armed protester, or one corrupt politician and bring about a change of heart.

If one person lights one match in a darkened room, all will be able to see.  If one person turns on one light in one corner of a dark room, the room will be illuminated.  Each one of us who sees and focuses on the light helps to dispel the darkness.  Each one of us can help to change the world, one mind at a time.

When enough of us participate in lending light to the darkness, when the world is well enough lit, we will all enjoy the beauty, harmony, and bounty of a glorious new life on our beloved earth.

So please help in the effort of transformation and turn on your light.  Light the match.  Light the light.  See the light.

Light up the dark corners.

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.

Dusting Off What Truly Matters

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I read that clothing sales are down and pajama sales are up.  Small wonder.  A life in the day of a pandemic—wait—what day is it today?   Time and waistlines are partners in expansion.

This week has brought me a case of lethargy complete with days that roll on by at both the crawl of a turtle and the speed of light.  Is that even possible?  I get up, arm myself with my coveted cup of coffee, park myself in my Lazygirl, and suck my thumb for a while until the caffeine kicks in.  I contemplate, meditate, then write the blog du jour and from there, it becomes a downhill slide.

All of my good intentions, my stabs at creating a life of balance between inner and outer work go cattywampus as I search for the eject button on the Lazygirl.  Huh. There doesn’t seem to be one.  Drat.  An unnerving pile of laundry grows in the night while layers of dust turn the dark hardwood floor the color of ash—evident mostly in the morning sun that shines its light on a dusty path as I make my way to the kitchen.  Handy for me I have a friend who loves her new vacuum cleaner so much that she runs around our condo building looking for floors to vacuum.  It’s a Teneco by the way.  Never heard of it, but if I didn’t have her to do it for me, I might have to buy one.

I know there’s a message in here somewhere.  I just need to find it.  Ummm—it might have to do with how I feel about myself as I laze away the days living like a slug.  Yep.  That’s it.  How do I feel about myself?  Not good.  It feels as if I’m letting myself down again by not doing the things that I know are good for me.  I’m not listening to the urging of the quiet voice within myself that encourages me to get up and get moving.  Life in the slug lane does not produce a feel-good sense of self.  It’s depressing and I don’t like depressing.  It’s enough to make me decide that it’s time to do something about my attitude.  But what?

Just get up and get moving.  Oh, really?  Is that all?  How you do that without energy, enthusiasm, or will?  What am I missing?  Hmmm.

Oops.  Maybe I’ve lost sight of what matters most.  Maybe I’ve forgotten to keep my eye upon the donut and slid headlong down into the emptiness of the hole.  Maybe I have lost sight of my meaning, purpose, goals, or flunked willingness.  As much as I want to clear away the dust and return to a cleaner, clearer better version of myself, there are just times when I need help.  Pay attention, Julia.  Ask for what you need.

Okay, God. I can’t do this myself.  I need some willingness please.  Like magic,  willingness appears and morphs into want to.  Instant presto—the fans are flamed and I’m back.  When that happens—watch out world—here I come.

Forgetfulness is a mistake that I seem to repeat, but as an earnest student in the university of life, I get to retake my classes until I learn what I must.  Since one of my goals is to graduate with honors, I’d better get busy and work for an A+ in Feel-Good 101.

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).

Tip Toeing into a Brand New World

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I seem to be verging on the edge of spiritual activism.  Verging, I say, because the thought of actually being one is a little scary.  Well, maybe a lot scary.  Activists can be extreme, bold, in-your-face obnoxious, and they can be shot and killed for all of their radical good intentions.  So yep—the thought of becoming one scares me.  There are days when I think that it might be part of my “assignment”, but mostly, I think that I am too much of a chicken to even think about it.

And yet—and yet, there is also a part of me that says, “Yes, but it’s time.  Somebody’s got to do it, and why not you?”

The world is in a state of chaotic turmoil and is crying out for help.  We need something to grab ahold of that will help us make it through these difficult times with faith enough to know that we’ll be okay, that we’ll survive, and that in the end, we’ll all be better off for it.

Meanwhile, there are bills to pay and there’s a world of suffering out there.

So maybe I’ll put my big toe in the water to find out how it feels to be an activist.  Maybe if a big fish doesn’t come along and snack on it for lunch, I’ll stick my whole foot in.  Maybe one day I might even gather the courage to dive in head first.

Why would I risk doing such a thing at the expense of catapulting myself out of my comfort zone, I wonder?

The world is beginning to wake up.  Evolution is happening before our very eyes.  We are all in it together.  It is happening now, and if there is any doubt about that, we need only look around.  The natural outcome of evolution is change, and though change is never looked upon with great favor, each and every one of us is doing exactly that.  We’re waking up and growing up.  We are all sharing in the painful birthing process that will bring forth a new and improved world.

So am I a budding activist or a midwife?  Or both?  Maybe if I redefined spiritual activist as one who shares good news and brings messages of hope, it wouldn’t be scary.  I can do that.  There is no role for fear in the face of good news.

Either way, I sense a growing need for the newly awakening to have the strength and assurance that there are unseen hands ready to help as we take our first tentative steps into a new and unknown world.  Maybe we just need to know that the waters of the new oceans are safe and there will be protection from the big fish.

All we need do is close our eyes, place our faith in the unknown, and be aware that in spite of appearances, all is well.  Now is the time to trade in fear for love and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are all in good hands.

Did you hear that Julia?  The water is safe.  Just walk your talk and dive in head first.

Yikes.  Okay.

All right everybody, grab my hand and hang on to your hats because we’re gonna ride this scary roller coaster together.  And when we make it safely to the end and splash down into our brand new world, we’ll all rejoice and yell, “Whee—what a ride!”

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).

 

 

 

To Do or Not to Do

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Yesterday’s blog was all about setting priorities for post-pandemic life New Normal.  Then as if on cue, I received a You Tube video (see link below)  from my friend Pamela for the folks in her exercise for seniors class.  Perfect!  Just the incentive I needed to get up out of my Lazygirl and get moving.

Before diving in head first, of course, I had to see what I was in for, so I sat and watched for all of ten minutes before I had to turn it off due to sheer exhaustion.  How does she do that?  Where does she get all that energy?  The Jane Fonda of Seniors.

Well duh.  She does it because she does it.  Obviously, there was a point in her life where she simply decided to do it, so she did it.  She works out.  I watch.  The good news is that my ten-minute excursion into Exercise by Voyeurism sent me off on another round of self-exploration.

I’ve always been better at dropping bad habits than adopting good ones.   Clearly, I’m better at passive activity (is that an oxymoron?) like not smoking, not drinking, and not watching TV than I am at the stuff I have to do—the aggressive stuff, like changing my diet, exercising, meditating, building good habits.  I guess that my lazy nature simply prefers the not doing to the doing.

But in keeping with yesterday’s venture into creating a new game plan for post-pandemic life, a balance between doing and being was high on the list, right up there with exercise and time management.   Hmm.  I guess it’s no accident that Pamela’s video landed in my inbox when it did.

I am happy to say that today marks the one-month anniversary of my commitment to write and publish a daily blog.  One month!  That’s pretty doggoned miraculous for a reluctant doer like myself, I’d say.  Kudos to me.

As Pamela keeps on exercising, I keep on writing—at least for now.  Her dedication fuels mine.  It gives me the incentive to keep on keeping on and to do whatever I can to improve daily, not just writing, but my life in its entirety, even if requires getting out of my Lazygirl and shaking my booty.   Rats.  Oh wait—I can do it joyfully, or I can do it grudgingly.  Always my choice, right?

Today I’m going take a stab at exercising, even if I last less than five minutes.  Today, I added fuel to my writing fire by ordering a book by fellow blogger Jessica Davidson (Free Your Pen Website). Today, I will do my best to do whatever is before me to do.  As I persevere, I’ll get stronger and last longer by strengthening muscles, both physical and spiritual.  The more I do, the more I can do.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life and there’s a whole lot of doing and being yet to be done.  Today I will celebrate that I woke up this morning and that I have another day in which to do it.  Today, I will give thanks for it all.  Including the exercise.

PS:  Link to Pamela’s video:  https://youtu.be/MUBPOa6P8IQ

PPS:  To all of you beautiful life giving nurturers out there, Happy Mother’s Day, with love!

 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 the Light of Your Heart

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Most every family has a member who is different, one who is misunderstood—the oddball, the black sheep, the one who never quite fit into the mold laid out by the generations that went before it.  In my family, I was and it.  My fellow members of the oddball club know what I’m talking about.  It’s not an easy role, but somebody’s got to do it.

As I reached young adulthood, it became quite clear to me that the traditional Christianity in which I had been raised was not my path.  Please understand that I do love God and I do love Jesus the Christ, and though I deeply honor and respect the value of Christianity, it is simply not the right one for me.  But what is?

This question led me to conduct a little survey in which I asked about 30 people if they thought they had a soul.  The answers were equally divided among yes, no, or I don’t know—what’s your definition of the soul?  To the soulless, I asked what they thought would become of them when they died.  Squish.  Just like a little ant.  The lights go out.

The third answer sent me further into my self-quest.  What is my definition of a soul?

The question unveiled layers of deeper issues to ponder.  My need to define soul in a way that makes sense to me is similar to trying to define God and seeking to discern the difference between personality and ego.  What’s true?  Where do I fit in?

Today, if I repeated the same survey and replaced the word soul with heart, of course those 30 people would say yes.  They may even agree that the same physical heart that keeps them alive also registers the profound feelings and emotions that guide them in determining what lies in their best interest, if they will choose to listen.  That sounds a bit like the job of a soul, doesn’t it?

Though I imagine students of  theology and esotericism may heartily disagree, I have boiled down my definition of soul to a one-word definition that works for me.  That word is heart.   Ahh.

My heart sustains my life on this earth.  My heart knows what is best for me.  It is the container for the all-pervading love of God, the seat of wisdom that leads, guides, and protects me.  It lights my way as I travel along the quagmire of a confusing return path to my spiritual home.  It is my human connection to the Divine.  Hmm.  Could heart and soul be one and the same?

Finally, here’s what my heart knows beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Though we may travel upon different paths along the way, we will meet at the end of the road and rejoice in the Lord that we have each finally found our way to our True Home.  Hallalujah!

Meanwhile, I hope to meet a few other oddballs to keep me company in my travels.  My definition of oddball:  World-serving, light-working, kindred-spirits in love with the world and all of humanity.

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).