Trashy Dreams

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Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Julia, self-appointed Queen of the Trash Room.  This honor is bestowed upon me courtesy of my own idiocy as a result of my willingness to join the board of directors of the condo building where I live. Clearly, we do not have a janitor.

My kingdom includes a 300-square foot trash room with cinder block walls, a concrete floor, and a dumpster, the receptacle for whatever crazy stuff that residents can think of to send down the chute from six floors above.  I don’t recommend vacuum cleaners.  The result of such folly inevitably creates a horror show that would send a janitor running for his life.  Would that we had one but alas, I’m it.

If the dumpster is overloaded the bags bounce onto the floor and heaven help anyone who might be standing in the way.  The room itself is the collector of an unimaginable assortment of dumped household belonging—an unholy mix of trash, garbage, and recyclables—fluorescent bulbs, half empty paint cans, discarded electronics, mattresses, broken desk chairs—the possibilities are endless.  Happy am I when the room is tidy and clean, empty of assorted litter and junk because then in my world, all is well and God is in her heaven.

It’s bad enough when I have to deal with this garbage for real—but really—do I have to do it in my dreams too?

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Last night I had a hideous nightmare in which someone dumped a 60-gallon dirty yellow container down the chute, and rather than using a securely-tied plastic bag to rein in the contents, the expletive-deleted perpetrator had filled the thing with a broken down cardboard carton full of loose trash.  Naturally, the container landed upside down and emptied its mountainous load of yukkiness all over the floor, a horror show of epic proportions.  The Queen of Trash nearly had a fainting spell at the mere sight of it, not to mention the mind-numbing prospect of having to clean it all up.  To make matters worse, the container had a wheel broken off, a sure indicator that it too qualified as trash, providing an even greater puzzle to solve.  Is it recyclable? Is it plastic or rubberized? Is rubber recyclable?  How am I supposed to get rid of that?

As I stood at the intersection of horrified and enraged, an idea popped into my head.  “Hey, wait a minute.” I thought.  “Maybe this is just a nightmare, and if so, I don’t have to worry about how to clean it up.  Maybe I can just wake up and poof—problem solved!  Wouldn’t that just be miraculous?”  And with that, my eyes popped open and I woke up with a realization that it was indeed, just a dream.  Words cannot possibly begin to describe the mixture of gratitude, relief, and joy that I experienced to discover the unreality of that nasty situation.

This trashy nightmare brings to mind a question that I have pondered many times over my lifetime. What is real?  What is illusion?  While I sleep, my nighttime dreams become my reality and are as concrete as the floor of that trash room.  They are as real as the world seems to be when I am in a so-called waking state.  Yet when I am walking around in the daytime with my eyes wide open and think that I am awake, the dreams that I have at night vanish into thin air and quickly fade and are forgotten.  Where do the nighttime dreams go?  Where do the daytime dreams go?  Which one is real?

Perhaps none of it is real.  Perhaps it is all only an illusion.  Perhaps we are all asleep and dreaming and perhaps one day we will all wake up to a new reality in which we realize that life is nothing more than a dream, a movie projected by our minds based upon what we think, feel, perceive, or believe is real.

In the meantime, perhaps we are all living in the same dream with a common belief in love and fear, good and evil, right and wrong, black and white, beliefs that divide and separate us from one another when in truth we are all one, we are all the same, we all are only here on classroom earth learning how to get along together and to let go of fear and replace it with love.  We’re all teachers, we’re all students, we’re all in it together.

Let’s face it—the world we live in today could qualify as a nightmare.  I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do my best to turn the nightmare into a happy dream and wake up to the Truth that the only thing that is real is love.  Meanwhile, I’m going to practice loving my enemies.  It isn’t easy, but the result is surely worth the effort.  Care to join me?

Bye for now. See you in my dreams.

With love,

Julia, Queen of Trash

 

A Gift of Lilies or a Crown of Thorns?

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Today my daughter shares her birthday with Easter Monday.  Yesterday Easter was shared with April Fool’s Day. I went to church and am happy to report that the roof did not cave in. No fooling! The church that I attended offered worshippers a non-traditional service with a rousing round of Christian rock music that set the feet to tapping and the heart to pounding, but I missed the singing of traditional hymns.   Hal-le-lu-jah, hal-le-lu-jah. No matter. I walked around throughout the day singing it to myself but I’d rather have heard it sung by a choir.

While I appreciate traditional Christianity, I often enjoy looking at it in a more metaphysical way. I have been a student of a number of different teachings on my spiritual journey, each of which has proven to be exceptionally valuable in its own time and in its own way. The result to date is that I have adopted what I consider to be a system of belief that is practical, believable, forgiving, and comforting. It comes from years of practice as a student of the spiritual teachings of Siddha Yoga, A Course in Miracles (ACIM), Unity Center of Christianity, meditation, and the experience of being a Reiki practitioner among other things along the way.

Like so many others on a similar journey, I often find that I lose purpose and inspiration from time to time, and find myself wandering in the wilderness trying to return to my path toward home. Such has been the case for the past several weeks. When that happens, I scramble to find my way back but have learned that in order to do so I must ask for help. Help comes in many forms, and most recently, it was through a reminder from a friend who had returned to her study of ACIM after many years. The simple act of picking up the book was all I needed. Once I actually opened it to a random page, my way back was right there waiting for me.

Easter weekend gave me more than ample opportunity to examine some of the ridiculous little grievances that I hold from time to time for no good or apparent reason. Try as I might to get to the bottom of whatever the heck it is that is bugging me about a person or situation or even about myself seems like mission impossible.

I was a little disappointed with myself last week, for example, because for the first time since I started blogging in mid-February, I failed in my goal to publish a blog twice a week. I went through the usual litany of excuses—I was away for the weekend, I devoted a lot of the week to writing the condo newsletter, I had to get ready for Easter company—lame excuses, perhaps but true nonetheless. But the underlying truth behind the fake excuses is that I was struggling (again) about what to write, what to say, and how to say it. If it’s such hard work, maybe I’m on the wrong track. Always second guessing myself. It shouldn’t be that hard, should it? Where’s the easy button?

So there I was on Good Friday, feeling hung out on a cross of my own construction, wearing a crown of thorns, crucified by self-judgment, self-criticism, and self-doubt. Is there anyone out there who does not experience that from time to time? While I was hanging there condemning myself for my miscellaneous assorted sins, I found myself mentally picking on perfectly nice people who just happened to be in the crosshairs of my grievances at the time.

Well hello? I need some practical, believable, forgiving, comforting help here, please. I don’t like who I am and what I’m thinking right now and I want to fix it.

So I whipped out my trusty journal and busied myself by writing my little heart out. What emerged was a dialogue about love and fear (always the bottom line in my world) and my choice about deciding which one to choose. It is a bit lengthy, but oh, so juicy, and oh so helpful. Maybe someday I’ll publish it as a blog.

Love is love and love is all there is, the only thing that is real. Anything else is fear, an umbrella term for ego, the saboteur par excellence that strives with all its might to stay alive in the face of love. It shows up in ugly forms such as I experienced in the past week or so, as anything, anything that threatens peace of mind. Anger, jealousy, slothfulness, hatred, criticism of self and others—it’s all right there, terrified that it will be recognized for what it is and annihilated by the forgiveness and healing that only love can provide.

I like to think that Jesus is a teacher of the love that joins us all as one, and that symbolically his death signals the death of the ego, the end of the treachery of the suffering that we all endure because of it.

I give thanks for Jesus the man, the teacher, the way shower, and for Jesus the Christ, the embodiment of love, the representative of All That Is. I give thanks for the triumph of the resurrection that leads us all away from fear and back to love.

Today, I choose a lily kind of day. Tomorrow, I will choose again, as I must choose each and every day for the rest of my life. Sometimes I need help, and help is ever present. All I need do is ask and await the miracle of healing and the return to sanity.

And so it is!

Happy birthday my dear daughter.  Happy Easter Monday everyone.

Next up:  Trust, willingness, and the healing of grievances.  Not necessarily in that order. See you then.  Meanwhile I send you lilies and blessings of love!

 

 

Gone Fishin’

IMG_1592When I finally learned the meaning of the word blog, (the net really has some weird lingo, right) I remember that some rather unflattering thoughts about the whole concept invaded my head. Hmm. I think that some folks might call that judgment. Whatever. Anyway, tending to be the sort who shies away from the opinions of others, I wondered what could possibly intrigue me enough to make me want to sit down long enough to read the ramblings of a stranger. And now here I am, a stranger—and getting stranger every day—writing my own opinions about whatever zany idea comes to mind, mostly comprised of the ramblings and opinions within my own head.

So I say to myself, “Self,” I say, “Why have you devolved into doing the very thing that turned you off so many years ago?” Why? Well that could be the subject of an entire book that may or may not ever be written. Well maybe someday, but certainly not today . . .

Meanwhile, I’ve been fishing around the WordPress website and reeling in a lot of insight thanks to some of you bloggers out there who make otherwise boring old mundane everyday stuff sound so fascinating and scintillating that I can’t stop reading. How do you do that?   The least I can do is say thank you for inspiring me to get busy and try to figure out how to make my own boring mundane stuff, like doing the laundry or cleaning out a junk drawer sound so appealing that it lures in even the wariest of readers.

Reading stuff from other bloggers almost makes me feel like a voyeur, peeping in on the private thoughts of similar minds. It makes me think that maybe I’m not the only crazy one out here in the world, all alone and trying to make sense of what is.

Those private thoughts are a vein of gold that offer insight into the heart and soul of the one willing to share. But for some reason—mostly fear, I suspect—most of us are unwilling to tell on ourselves because it can feel unsafe and it’s really scary to be vulnerable which makes it tempting to take the safe route and hide out behind plastic smiles.

Here’s one of the most valuable lessons that I ever learned about vulnerability. The more willing and able I am to tell the truth about my deepest, darkest feelings to a trusted listener—someone who will not judge me for whatever heinous crime that I have committed, or for the way I feel—the more there is of me to love. And the more someone shares with me, the closer I feel to that person because I realize that we’re all struggling with the same human stuff and it helps me understand that we’re all trying to keep ourselves from drowning in the same fishing hole. That makes us all lovable—at least on some level—if we sink the lure deep enough to reel in the treasure.

Well schazzam—I just went from zero-to sixty-in five seconds, from humor over the mundane to the infinite depth of a soul. I guess life’s like that sometimes. One minute I’m wallowing around whining about how hard it is to get a grip, and the next I am laughing at the antics of the great cosmic clown who thinks its very funny to confront me with a wasp wandering around in my purse in a car barreling along at sixty mph, or finding chewing gum stuck to the side of my shoe. Hello? The side of my shoe? What—was I walking around on my ankles?

So I’m going to tell you the truth. Well, I’d really like to tell the truth, but to be perfectly honest. I’m not really sure what the truth is. But you know what? My game plan is to figure it out and start learning the lessons that I flunked along the way before it’s too late. Straighten up and die right.

One of the first things that I’m going to work on is finishing what I start. I have a myriad of incomplete stuff that I’ve written, just hanging around waiting for an ending. My life in a nutshell.

And it would be a little embarrassing to fess up to all the other loose ends dangling around in my life, so I won’t, at least for now. Maybe later, when I feel safe enough. Making a commitment to doing a blog on a regular basis is a step along the way.  Allowing success to creep in—even better. That would check a couple of things off of my bucket list—perseverance, procrastination, completing the incomplete, not giving up in a fit of “I can’t,” drop the fear of success. Oops. That sounds like a lot more than just a couple of things, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, ho boy, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Maybe I’ll just take a little minute and go fishing.   Well maybe not. I must confess that I have gone fishing only once in my life, and that was the day when my fish hook got caught in my cousin’s eyelid. Therein ended the fishing venture forever after. So that’ the truth—albeit a tiny part of it. Stay tuned.   And that said, we have reached the end of the fake fishing blog.

Hey wait a minute! Did I just finish something?

So it would seem.

Yeah, but will anyone read it?

Why? Does it matter?

Oops. Something else to figure out before it’s too late!

Here’s a little PS that just popped into my head.   The instant that I push the publish button and post a blog, I’m riding on a high that lasts for two or three days. Then slowly, when the high begins to fade away into the ethers, something nags at me until I get around to doing the next one. Huh. Have I just acquired another addiction? Well, whatever. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Oh, and a final PS.  The picture that you see is one that I took myself.  AND, I might add, I am very proud of myself for figuring out how to get it from my personal photo library onto the top of this page.  For me that’s a huge deal–even bigger than writing a blog.  Now that’s something worth celebrating!