Seeing What I Do Not See

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Do you remember the old adage, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.”?  God must have had a good chuckle on me today.  You’re welcome, God.

It shaped up to be a crooked sort of a day, with unscheduled twists and turns that jiggled whatever vague plans I may have had right out of the picture, including this morning’s blog.  For starters, I logged in about five minutes on the meditation bench by the lake before I was jiggled out of my reverie by a phone call announcing a plumbing emergency on the home front.  Back home I go to handle said water spout emergency.

Then just as I was ready to hunker down in blog mode with my computer, I was again sidetracked by a phone call from a favorite long-distance friend who found enough time to swing by with her precious jumbo labradoodle for a quick visit and walk.  Said labradoodle arrived with a crippling paw problem that frazzled her owner and hobbled the pooch, and so much for the walk.  Happily, before they left, we got it all worked out to everyone’s satisfaction in time to have a short visit.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about unseen helpers—guides, guardian angels, archangels, angels in general, and such—mysterious entities hidden beyond the veil away from the view of mere mortal eyes.  I find it all so fascinating that I’ve signed myself up for a course in learning how to develop better communication and connection with spirit guides.  The more I read and practice, the more convinced I am that spirit helpers are everywhere.  We’re surrounded by them, living in the midst of them, protected by an army of them.

Today, all of my plans and intentions went awry, everything went whacky on all fronts, and yet miraculously, somehow in the end, all of the rough edges were smoothed away and everything worked out perfectly.  I guess it doesn’t matter if I have plans or not—apparently whatever plans God has for me are far better than whatever plans I can conjure up on my own.  It has turned me into a believer.  We have help, we have hope.

Another old adage is the one about a body at rest stays at rest; a body in motion stays in motion; to which I will add, a day amuck stays amuck.  I proved me wrong on that last one.  The muck disappeared, the water spout ceased spouting, the labradoodle miraculously walked again, and a blog was written.

My most current spirit-guide lesson suggests that I try to increase my awareness of the presence of helpers to see if I can discern the ways in which they assist.  Judging by the outcome of today’s jiggles, I think that maybe there really is something to the possibility that Divine Helpers are alive, well, active, and busily at work smoothing out the ragged edges of my days, and indeed, my life.

Often, their work is obvious and clearly, miraculous.  It makes me wonder—how much of their work do I not see or know about?  How many times have they saved my bacon unbeknownst to me, while I go blithely along my way, utterly ignorant of their behind-the-scenes work on my behalf?   I have absolutely no idea, but this much I do know: I’m going to make it my mission to get to know them better and thank them for all miracles both seen and unseen, starting now.  So to you, my dear Divine Helpers, angels, guides, guardians, friends, teachers, and masters, my sincere and undying gratitude.  Thank you.

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 Cocoon of the Soul

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I frittered away most of my writing time this morning, but oh well—there’s always later with lunch in between.  One of the things that I’m learning in my time-out is to quit picking on myself about petty stuff.  No, wait.  Make that quit picking on myself about any stuff.  It’s not good for the psyche.  In a world where criticism about one thing or another is wildly abundant, what’s the point of adding an unhealthy heap of it upon myself?  The rest of the world will be happy to do it for me.

Running away to solitude is a lovely temporary solution to remove myself from the world stage, but unless I’m prepared to repair to the wilderness for 40 days as Jesus did, or take the Buddha approach to enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, or cart myself off to an isolated mountaintop somewhere, eventually, I’ll need to return to the outside world.  Do I want to?  Well, not really.  Not yet.  I kind of like it here in the cozy container of my own home talking to myself and enjoying my own company.  It’s a lovely little vacation away from anything that makes me cranky and it brings me peace.   It parks me in a place where I am learning that the only judgment in my corner of the world at the moment is my own.

Sooner or later I will need to emerge from my cocoon, but until then, I’m hanging in here until I’m fully cooked.  Or at least until my wings are strong enough to carry me through whatever storm might be brewing in the outer world once I decide to make a break for it.  I don’t know what’s coming, but I know that I’m going to need all the strength I can muster to make it safely to a space of quiet calm.

What a great process.  What a great opportunity to be in the world but not of it, to be able to sit back and watch the show without being a part of it, exempt from the drama, judgment, and the need to find a safe haven from the voices of personal opinion that separate and divide one from another, that perpetuate fear rather than love.

What a joyous vacation.  What a sanctuary for the soul.  What a gift of Spirit.  How blessed I am to be able to enjoy it.  My wish for humanity is that we all find the safety within the quiet of our hearts and rest there in gentle stillness 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).

 

Opting for Better Options

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Another day, another blog.  I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it.

In the continuing saga of my cobweb-clearing time-out, I took an early morning walk down to the lake for another round of peaceful space-staring and thumb-sucking.  My bench was covered with morning dew.  Rats!  I stood shifting from one foot to another for a while, trying to figure out if I wanted to soggy myself up with morning dew or give it up and go back home.  I decided in favor of dry bottom and headed home.  Phooey.  Oh well—on to Plan B, whatever that is.  I guess I’ll have to make it up as I go.

On the return trip I met Kathleen and her dog Charlie (by their dogs ye shall know them) and we chatted for a while about my dog Charlie who, sadly, crossed the Rainbow Bridge last February.  The thing about dog lovers is that nobody ever runs out of something to talk about.  Ah, but I digress.  After swapping names and contact information with my new friend, I went on my happy way and came upon an old friend—one I’ve known for several years.  Old friend, new friend, grateful for all friends no matter age nor tenure.

But again I digress.  This morning I saw a horrifyingly fascinating video of a full grown leopard with an alligator equal in size clamped between its massive jaws, hauling the thing out of the water and up a hill.  It was pretty clear that one of the two was headed for the Rainbow Bridge, and my money was on the leopard.  That is not a picture that I will soon forget.

To say that the scene was unsettling would be an understatement at the very least, made  worse because there was something in it that seemed vaguely familiar.  Uh oh.  It reminded me of myself.  Surely, nature is one of the best, and the cruelest of teachers.

I ask myself—am I the leopard or the alligator?  Sometimes when my attempt at trying to get something to conform to whatever it is that I want, I am tempted to grab the thing by the scruff of the neck like a puppy with a stuffed toy and shake it until its stuffings fall out.  It’s a pretty sure bet that my temptation to wrestle my way through a situation won’t always work out in my favor.  Amidst a roomful of people who collectively agree with an idea that differs from my own, the chances of my success decrease exponentially.   Let go or die, kill or be killed.

Somewhere in this scenario, I do believe that there must be a better approach.  This morning’s aborted bench mission turned out to be just the blessing I needed.  I traded in a wet bottom for a warm heart and reminded myself that sometimes it’s a better idea to just unclench my jaws, let the alligator go, and opt for Plan B instead.  I may not get exactly what I wanted, but I just might get something even better.

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).

Feasts and Fasts

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A couple of days ago—oops—I forgot to write a blog.  Yesterday’s was published very late in the day instead of at the beginning, and amazingly enough, I didn’t die from it—I’m still here to tell the tale.  Wahoo!   In fact, it was rather refreshing to allow myself the luxury of getting up and out of my self-created hot seat to wander around in the sunshine and breathe a little.  I successfully said no thank you to the finger-wagging shame-on-you guilt trip that my ego tried to lay on me about copping out on my commitment and away I went.  That’s progress, I’d say.

A little aimless meandering once in a while is good for the soul.  It is like opening the windows in a dark and stuffy room to allow fresh air and light to flood in and evaporate the gloom, to cleanse, refresh and restore old, worn out thinking that doesn’t’ work anymore, to make room for the new.  Sometimes when I’m stuck somewhere in the middle of a conundrum, I take a little time out.  When it’s just a writing quagmire, it might be a quick trip to the loo for some bathroom wisdom.  A bigger issue, on the other hand, may require an extended period of time that includes complete radio silence.

What I love about a good time out is that it frees me from hearing the noisy voices and opinions of others and provides a moment in which I can hear the quiet wisdom of my own.  It gives me precious time to sit, sift and sort through confusion and complexity and decide what is worth keeping, what should be expelled.  When the mind and heart are cleared of the dross that clogs insight, resolution springs forth, mental clarity shines through, and peace returns.  It’s a place to rest, stop, look, listen, reevaluate, and invite inner wisdom to be the guide.  It’s both a spiritual fast and feast all at once.  Answers reside in the silence.

Hmm.  When I first started writing, I thought that there might be something related to the subjects of compassion, empathy, and sensitivity to others, but for some reason, that thought evaporated along with the gloom that disappears in the light of an open window.  Well, maybe tomorrow.

So that’s it for today, folks.  For now, I’m going back inside to continue my time out, enjoy the view from my soul, and hang out in radio silence for a while longer.  See you tomorrow.  I think.

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).

Getting a Grip

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Yesterday, when I went to fetch a copy of the blog du jour from the jaws of the printer, it wasn’t there.  Wait—where is it?  Didn’t I print it out?  Then I remembered—oops I forgot to write it.  After three months of perfect attendance, I forgot?  Really?  That can’t be good.

If you’ve been following along recently, you may remember reading that life in my lane has presented me with another marvelous opportunity to get over myself, learn another new lesson or two, and take the next step forward on the personal growth path. I make a wish for—oh, I don’t know—whatever floats my boat, and suddenly shazam—like magic, whoosh—here we go again off on another merry round of learning.  Watch what you wish for.

This time, it’s like someone came along and uttered one simple little sentence that pushed the plunger that exploded the dynamite that blew the cover off my foxhole that exposed me to the dirt that has lurked beneath the surface that tormented me for eons.  Whoa.  Scary.  I think I still must have a whole lot to learn.  At this point, I can’t say for sure how I’m doing, but every once in a while I catch a brief glimmer of hope.

I think that maybe the extended days of COVID restrictions are making us all a little crazy.  What started as a kind of interesting fun little extended recess at home moment has morphed into the realization that frustration has replaced fun, and that we will be socially distancing and wearing our masks for a v-e-r-y long time.  Our recess has gifted us with  frustration, exposing frayed nerves and tests of patience.  We are chomping at the bit to get back to the beaches, eat in restaurants, swim in pools, and return to our fitness centers.  Now, more than ever, we want and need physical activity to dissolve the stress and the frustration of the limitations placed upon us.  I have lost control of certain aspects of my life and now, crankiness has replaced civility.   It is disturbing to watch as I try to wrestle my selfishness into the willingness to come to grips with my inability to have what I want when I want it.  No wonder I still have lessons to learn.

Uh oh, watch out everybody.  It looks like she is going to smack us with another cheery little lecturette again.  Always on a rainbow unicorn toot–love everybody, forgive everything, look for the good, blah blah blah.  Yep.  Preaching to myself, mostly.  I guess I won’t get it until I get it.  The good news, though, is that at least I know I will get around to listening to the smart Voice in my own head eventually.  Maybe someday I might even pay attention.

The only thing I know for sure is that I’ve finished today’s blog—or is this yesterday’s blog today?   I am brimming with the hope that I’ll ace this pesky marvelous growth opportunity soon.  Soon, soon, soon.  The current curriculum is pretty intense, but I’m not dropping out.  I’m going to stick in there no matter what, watch intently to see what unfolds next, and remember that tomorrow is another day and another blog.

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 Lone Rainbow

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This morning I opened an email that sent me straight up and out of my Lazygirl off into the heat and humidity to have a walk through the wilds of the neighborhood and a little talk with myself in the hope of getting my head straight and finding a bit peace and serenity along the way.

Trust the good old Universe to present the perfect opportunity to learn a lesson at just the right time.  Heap it on, I say.  Let’s see how much I can take before it all crashes down around my shoulders and crushes the life out of me.  Okay, so the pedal is to the metal.  Can I put my money where my mouth is and practice what I preach?  Good question, I say to myself, as I try to claw my way through the clutter of my mind in search of a bit of daylight.  It’s all well and good to carry on like the rainbow unicorn that I like to pretend that I am, but are unicorns really real?  Is this another test?

I walk to the lake and park myself on a shady bench to meditate and cogitate for a while in hopes of getting what I came for.  I watch as my mind bounces me up and down like a yoyo traveling at warp speed.  It’s all too much to sort through.  Too many twists and turns, too many complications and complexities, too many emotions coming from too many directions, too much at stake, too many possible outcomes, not all of them good.

I hear a slight splash that calls my attention to the water’s surface and watch as ripples spread in concentric circles from the point of center.  It dawns on me that my thoughts and feelings spread out from my own point of center and wash over everything and everyone within range, and that the range is infinite.

There is something within me that wants to hang on to anger and gnaw on it like a Doberman with a juicy bone, to not let go until I’ve sucked the essence out of it.  A saying from Eckhart Tolle flashes across my mind:  Sometimes letting things go is a far greater power than defending or hanging on.  Now if I could just convince my mind about that.  Would that I could just practice what I preach about the power of the mind.  It isn’t easy, but at least it’s a goal.  Goals count for something.

So I have another talk with myself between the yoyo bounces and try to talk myself into shifting gears from anger into forgiveness.   I try to remember that the ripples aren’t mine alone, but that they reach into infinity and therefore affect everyone else in their path, even those who are innocent bystanders.

This morning’s ripple effect reminds me that thoughts matter and that what I choose to think makes a difference.  In my quest for peace, I realize that it’s a lonely endeavor, an inside job.  No one can hand it to me; I have to find it within myself.  It looks as if I’ve fallen a little short of passing the test today.  I haven’t made it to total forgiveness yet but I’m working on it—maybe tomorrow.  Like yesterday’s pony in the manure, somewhere, there’s a rainbow, and I’ll find it eventually.  After all, what’s a unicorn without the rainbow?

Where’s the Pony?

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Have you ever acted on an idea that seemed like a perfect solution to a dilemma only to watch it crash and burn before it ever got off the ground?  It seemed like an inspired idea at the time, but perhaps I was delusional, or maybe I was listening to that sneaky voice of the ego that loves to have me think that it’s a whole lot smarter than the part of me that is really smart.

What would be really smart would be making the sincere effort to find out more about who the really smart one is and pay more attention to it.  The thing is, I really thought that I had.

I suppose I could consider that I lost the battle, but in retrospect, I can see that nothing is ever lost.  Every apparent defeat brings with it the inherent opportunity to review the situation and find the benefit within it.  On one hand, it may be tempting to consider rejection as a failure and allow it to be the spark that ignites the flame of self-doubt, extinguishing any hope of a happy ending.  On the other, it offers an opportunity to seek and find another path to accomplish the same end, perhaps one that is even better than the first.  There’s always good news, even amidst what seems to be the bad.  Rejection is just a divine spark that lights the fire of renewed effort.

When caught in the middle of a battlefield of opinion, sometimes the best that one can do is observe the fray and hold the vision that at some point, opponents will see the light of day, put down their weapons, and enjoy a peaceful resolution that is for the common good to all.

I am reminded of the enthusiastic kid waist deep in horse manure digging through the muck looking for the pony.  I love that kid.  He just goes for it, doesn’t care how messy it gets, and hangs on to the idea that in the end he’s going to find what he wants the most.  I want to be just like him when I grow up.

In a world full of manure, I’m going for the ponies.

There is a way.  There is always a way.  We just need to find it.

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).

Kumbaya

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The We Are the World blog Link was about a conflict between the Board of Directors and the residents, current front page news in the condo where I live.  It gives me comfort to know that our problems pale in comparison to others.  I’m told that in Florida there is barely a day that goes by without a news article outlining the ugly details of lawsuits between condo boards and residents.  Heaven forbid we ever come close to such an extreme.  Not on my watch.

A friend in our building who regularly reads Voices suggested that my kumbaya approach to problem solving is all very nice, but it doesn’t fix anything.  Perhaps so.  It is true that many blogs of the past few months end with kumbaya, the plea for unity, harmony, and peace in the world.  There’s nothing wrong with a little kumbaya here and there.  It’s good for the soul.

But she does have a point.  How do we build a bridge from the idyllic dream of utopia across the broad expanse of disharmony and discontent to the safety on the other side?  How do we move from kumbaya into practicality?  I don’t have a clue what the experts might say—if in fact there are any—but in my world, it begins with an open mind, willingness, desire, and intention.   Anything less and the bridge will be nothing more than a failed attempt ending in collapse.  Everything begins in the mind first and becomes manifest through action taken out of imagination.  The first step is to approach the problem with the intention of finding a solution, a sincere willingness to address it head on with an open mind, and a true desire to create an outcome that satisfies all parties involved.  Kumbaya.

How many times have I chosen to launch into my ostrich act and stick my head in the sand rather than to a face a difficult problem?  All too often.  Where does it get me?  Deeper in the sand.  It takes great courage to muster up the inner gumption to look fear in the eye and take a risk.  But courage is the foundation, and communication is the superstructure that will build the bridge that takes us safely across the chasm to the other side, where unity, harmony, and peace await in the idyllic land of utopia.  Or Camelot.  Your choice.  You dream it, you intend it, you decide where you want to live.  It’s all in the attitude.

So my friends, neighbors, and fellow travelers on the pathway of life, I bid you well.  I pray you dream happy dreams of life as the way you would like it to be, I pray that when you are ready, you will effortlessly and easily manifest a life of your choosing.  If we all work together, we can build the bridge and reach the safety of the other side.  Kumbaya.

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).

In the Soup

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When I woke up today I felt as if my mind was swimming around in a bowl of alphabet soup in desperate search of a way to line the letters up in correct order.  So much going on, so much to do, so much to think about, plan for, deal with.   The soup is swallowing me.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.

I park my buns in the Lazygirl and prepare to tackle it all, but I can’t figure out where to start.  The pen wins and I pick up my journal to try to sort through the soup.  I begin with a little chat with my muse.  “I want it to be easy.  I want it to be quick.  I have things to do.  I don’t want to sit here for half a day slogging my way through a blog.  I’m drowning in the soup.  Can you make it easy today please?”

And my muse responds.  “Yes, we can.  We anticipated your wish and are well prepared with an answer BUT, we already hear doubt creep into in your head.  “Really?  Are you sure?  Am I going to have to sit here until lunchtime before I’m finished?”

I watch myself as I pick up my phone to do a quick text unrelated to anything.  I watch as I take a minute to check the weather to see if it’s a good day for a walk.  I watch as my mind wanders off into next week’s agenda; I’m still in the soup.

I reach for the laptop to begin the blog du jour and hesitate.  Wait.  Maybe I should meditate first.  I should meditate first before I do anything.  Meditation lines up the letters in the soup.  But why do I keep forgetting that?  Why do I not do it every morning?  Because meditation is on the do list, like exercise, eat healthier, and get organized.  It’s a whole lot harder to do than it is to not do, like not smoke, not drink wine, not watch TV.

So I put down the pen, leave the computer where it is, and opt for meditation.   I close my eyes and watch my mind as impatience tries to lure me into further distraction.  The soup swirls around in my mind, catawampus letters threaten to choke the life out of me, until finally, I see that I can order the letters to settle down and get themselves together.  Ah.  Quiet stillness and the return of sanity.  I can relax into the day, because the race for completion within the confines of time is unnecessary.  Everything will be done.  Everything is in good order, including my mind.

When will I get it?  When will I remember to quit diving headfirst into the soup before taking the time to float gently in stillness of my Soul for a while?

Thank you my Muse for proving me wrong, for showing me that when I am willing to sit still long enough to listen, all that I need will be provided, all I ask for will be given.  Wonder of wonders—it’s 8:30 am.  Today it was easy.  What more proof do I need than that?

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).

We Are the World

 

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This morning I was rudely awakened and jostled out of my peaceful reverie by the memory that there is trouble brewing right here in River City.  In the condo building where I live, we are caught in the middle of a conflict between a board of directors working in the best interests of the community it serves, and a community that is up in arms because of the decisions made by the board of directors working to serve its best interests.  It’s a conundrum.

Lucky me.  I’m in the middle of it all, teetering on the fence between the two, on one side as a member of the board and on the other, a close friend of the disenfranchised.  I’m jammed between a rock and a hard place, between duty, responsibility and friends in a place where everybody knows everybody’s name.

Past experience brings to mind the painful memory of a meeting populated with a large group of residents, peppered with a handful of dissatisfied members whose frustration erupts in bursts of anger and spews forth behavior that borders on abusive toward the board members that serve them on a volunteer basis.

For all the world, it feels as if I’m living a personal mini version of what’s going on in the world. The masses balking at authority, rules, reason, and wisdom—kids going to the bars and beaches, the refusal to wear masks as modeled by the president, the insistence on the entitlement of rights, the resulting anger, protests, and divisiveness.  The hang the consequences I want what I want gang.  This is the world.  It is not us.

As I think about the situation, sometimes I feel helpless in the face of it all.  What can I do to help restore peace and harmony?   In the midst of my musings, my computer pings, signaling the arrival of another email in the growing thread surrounding the situation.  This one appears to have been Divinely inspired, a voice of reason, bringing with it a sense that all is not lost, there is hope, there is a plan of peace within reach, there is a solution, and that if only we will get ourselves out of the way long enough to stop and listen, we will find it.

Yet again I see before us another wonderful opportunity to use the power of our minds and the quiet of our hearts to bring healing to our community.  We can either continue to hold on to the anger that fuels discontent, or we can decide to set aside the insistent voice of the personality and invite peace and harmony to rule the day instead.  We are a microcosm of the world.  What we do within our own minds and our own walls ripples out and affects the entire world.

Personally, as a member of the board and humanity, and as a friend and neighbor, my vote goes in favor of peaceful coexistence, the end of strife, a vote for love.  One world, one humanity.  It’s ours to live as we wish.  We have the power.  What’s your vote?

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).