Sunday, February 28, 2010
Gratitude will ground and steady you and your innate goodness will keep you safe so keep your foot on the base, your heart. Tis not a wish which can vanish in the night, it is the prayer of love which cancels the debts of the past so that you can walk boldly into the sunrise, every day a new day, a clean piece of paper.
Remember to tend the source in everything you do so that life becomes a ritual of honor to the giver of the breath. Lose not the feel of the earth underneath your feet so that the mud can remind you that even that which is not perfect or clean can make you squeal with delight if you are accepting.
It is, after all, at the beginning and end of the day, your choice.
[also posted on my post]
Saturday, February 27, 2010
religion in itself is a collection of belief systems, a way to profess and practice one’s faith to that which they believe; spirituality can be a preceding step to religious practices. As religious practice focuses on connection to, and worship of, a chosen inspirational deity and observation of certain traditions, spirituality starts by the development of a “connection” in and of itself.
A main goal of spirituality is an awareness of how ego can infiltrate and interrupt an individual’s connection and presence. Ego strongly tries to concern us with issues of self, narrowing of our focus, and often accumulation of material things for personal identity. It is steeped in the core belief that we are what we have, what we do, and what others think of us. Spirituality on the other hand focuses on a connection beyond us exclusively, and attempts to dispel the ego’s core beliefs.
We find in spiritual practice and principle, that a connection beyond ourselves is paramount to personal harmony. We begin an attempt to connect to our true self. Not the self that has the things, that has the titles, and the achievements, but the self that is deep within us, who is the purer form of who we are. The being we would be if the material things, opinions, and worries of tomorrow were not in the picture.
We also begin to connect to others. With that comes a development of respect for others, and their right to be individuals with individual beliefs that work for them. Coupled with respect comes a compassion towards others and the desire to allow them to be as they are, but also to extend a hand and heart to those who need it regardless of background or beliefs. Through thought, prayer, and deed we can be in constant compassionate assistance to others, and in turn make our own world a much better place to live. This is not exclusive to humans, but also all living beings including the planet on which we live.
It sometimes can be difficult for people to jump into a religious belief initially. It can be intimidating as it may encounter people’s issues within themselves they have yet to confront, and to compare themselves to a set of values and practices comfortably can take time. However, by starting with progressive awareness of connecting to one’s self, others, and then to a divine being may be an easier transition.
By connecting to ourselves, we can start to figure out what we feel we lack, and what we seek. By connecting to others, we can see we are not alone, others have wisdom that will assist us, and there is indeed strength in numbers. In seeking a connection to a Creator, Source, or Divine being, we extend our quest to yet another realm, place our faith into more capable hands, and find solace in ways to make sense of the senseless. Compassion towards others venturing down this very personal path is essential to making the journey an attractive one. Even though many may arrive at the same place; depending on where one starts will determine the lanes and detours they must take to eventually arrive alongside you.
Also found on Artisan of the Human Spirit by Tony Anders
(You can take a personal spirituality quiz here)
The old monk said he’d been at war
had not yet won, which is why he
life after life… and then
as if to show me
a medallion, he said, “One day
I may tire of the fight,
make peace with every country
on the continents
of my body.”
and walked away… without another word.
Friday, February 26, 2010
In the meantime, here is what I was inspired to write today. Hope you enjoy.
Writers at Writers Rising – If only “light” levels could be measured, this community of spirited and talented writers would top the charts. Before you venture in, keep your sunglasses handy. :-) Not just one, but many diya flames in there.
Marcella at her blog Belly Up to this Moment also gave Writers Risers the Hanging out the Wash Award. She had this to say:
And the folks at Writers Rising - like looking down an alleyway and seeing a riot of clotheslines
against the grey.
And finally this blog was awarded the Orange Net award from Beth at her blog Hope's Breath.
You each have a child’s magical orange net of words by which I am constantly in awe.
I am also constantly in awe of all of you and your writing and feel so lucky to be able to share this space with you! -Katherine
superficial fears of all of the unknown seemed to melt away with the snows. I looked out my window
into the yellow haze. Not a word of English welcomed me. I was the only caucasian woman on the
flight. That wasn't the moment I realized I was in China.
Alone, in one of the largest cities in the world, I breezed through customs, my passport was stamped
and I stood there realizing I was on a different pace than the rest of the world around me. I did the
usual things a person does. I changed currency, went through the duty free, and collected my baggage
with nothing to declare except my arrival. I paced and sought out some coffee to begin my day. It was
just after 9 in the morning and I was trying to calculate how much further I still had to go. I could have
immediately exhausted myself by looking back at how far I had already come. However, my instincts
silenced those thoughts as I looked for transportation to the train station.
I was guided over to a bus, number 5, that was a direct shot over to the center of where it all happens in
Shanghai. 'Just get on the bus, we will take care of your baggage.' A short woman barked over at me,
marshaling the crowd. 'I receached for my wallet, 'No, just sit down, go find a seat.' the further
instructions flew at me. I looked around, and walked to the very back of the bus, settling in. Looking
around me and seeing no one like me, and I smiled, but not quite. I watched as the capacity grew to
standing room only and we broke away from the curb. It was then I saw passengers reach for their
fares as the grand marshal pushed her way to the back of the bus to collect the fares. I watched my
fellow passengers model the exact amount and I mirrored the same.
This little act of being prepared made the woman smile as she took my fare and stuffed it into her
money belt and ripped off a ticket handing it to me. 'She-she' were the only words she said. I had not
known that those were the first words I would learn in Chinese. The words of gratitude. I sat
surrounded by conversations of clipped words and phrases of a flat staccato that was so unlike the
Korean words I was accustomed to. I listened for the rate and pace of the people, the sighs and
vocalized pauses. The sound of verbal marching was what I heard. My eyes drifted to the window.
The large spaghetti strings of concrete expressways, that weaved their intricate patterns. Along the
highway I could see the stark poverty as the clothelines were strung out in the dirty breeze.
Two hours of seeing the haves and the have nots of Shanghai as I tried to comprehend the gap of the
Han Chinese and the rest of the world. I noted the construction of buildings for hotels and shopping
buildings. My mouth dropped open at the size of the new Louis Vuitton building, which would dwarf
the one I had seen on the Champs Eysees in Paris. I saw the world of capitalism had come to Shanghai
and wondered if I was witnessing the end of Communsion here. This new religion of money that
seeped in and starting taking root.
I saw families under overpasses under the shadow of huge complexes of wealth and western
establishment. The images of Orwell's Animal Farm came to me, 'Some animals are more equal than
others.' My first images of China were far beyond what I had expected. We arrived at a huge
intersection that would have terrified most people. The cross walks had their own order and I had the
task of managing my luggage, which I had pared down to 20 kilos. The letting go of most of my
material life as I quickly learned what were necessary tools for this life. One carry one, and one
oversized bag, that I try to mask as a purse. Still carrying too much, but the material world seemed like
a past life for me, like bricks to tie you down. Though I was at my target destination, I saw a green
facade that caught my eye. “China Post”, beakoned to me and I, without hesitation, drug everything
through the maze of traffic, focused on one thing. I had no paper, no pen, but I was determined to send
out word to my dear friends. The security guard looked at my expression, and in haste put me to the
front of the line. Without a word of Chinese, or they possessing a word of English, I motioned to my
needs as if I was on a mission. Envelopes and paper were produced. A pen was loaned to me. A desk
where a person was sitting at was cleared away by the guard, and I was motioned to sit, and allowed to
compose my thoughts. I wondered for a moment if my friends receiving this letter could comprehend
the efforts of the story to even them reading those words of those tangible evidences of my care. My
initial thoughts scribbled effortlessly, as I felt I could have filled volumes with the floodgates of my
mind opened up. I sealed up my letter with tape. Another line for postage and each letter carefully
Off I went to navigate my way, through the streets of Shanghai to finally go through the gauntlet of the
train station. All alone, I had picked up a phone card that I couldn't make function, so there I was,
making a journey by faith. I managed to sort out my train ticket, and take the train from Shanghai to
Nanjing. During the New Year travels when people were making their annual migrations home.
I found my track holding area, which seemed to hold the complete capacity of Gare due Nord just in
one holding area. I watched how the guards managed the flow. The gate would be carefully unlatched,
and the throngs would push through to make the journey down to the tracks. I mentally rehearsed the
scene for myself as I anxiously waited for the go-ahead.
Again, I was in a sea of people. However, one woman approached me and in perfect business English
this young woman and I conversed. We spoke of hopes and dreams after a time. Her dream, to work
for a business corporation in Shanghai. She had made the journey from Nanjing for an interview, and
she was progressing through a series of them. She verbally coached me on what to expect, how fast to
walk, and rendered the assistance I needed with my luggage down to the track. Often, when we travel,
we don't realize the helpless position we are placed in. Those periods of sweet vulnerability that make
us open up and trust another person.
In my journey to Nanjing, I sat on the train, going at high speeds, 300 kilometers passed in two hours.
Night had fallen early and the climate returned to winter. The summer of my arrival came and went in
a flash. I went to a call center and a woman assisted in placing the call. Not once did I doubt that the
phone wouldn't be answered. Not once did I doubt during my entire journey that I wouldn't be
successful. All thoughts of self sabotage had been eliminated. All fears and second guessing pushed
These were my small beginnings, as the taxi took me to my hotel for foreign visitors. As I went
through my day, I realized no one bowed, they shook hands. I was stared at with suspicion, and
brokered them down into a smile. I was strangely free. I was disconnected from all I had known and
the world around me was without wires, without sound. I began to see the world in a different way. I
began my quest to really look at freedom.
“You either get busy living or you get busy dying.” Andy said those words to Red in the Shawshank
redemption. Prison is what you make it. The walls around you, they grow funny. You hate them, then
you grow accustomed to them, and then it grows to depending on them. That is being institutionalized.
That dialogue echoed in my head. In what ways had the West institutionalized me? Better yet, had I
taken the better path and learned how to be free no matter where I was?
The realization of the change came just a few days ago when I finally was able to go on-line. No social
networks and no blogging. My blog is now a monument of what was. A twinge of a pain, a pain I had
not expected, hit me I a watched link by link get blocked. All of the feeds went away. I saw the words
of my friend's go last..'All you need is love.' With that in mind, I love you all. My journey is just
beginning, but it always has been underway
I called my son today. He's my first born, my little soul son, a spark from the same energy I was created from. We had a very difficult relationship when he was young. I thought it was due to our characters clashing, always assuming that he was like his father and not any thing like myself.
At sixteen years old he decided he wanted to go back to Cyprus and live with his Grandparents. I battled with the thought of not having him near me, but in the end I granted him his wish. By now our relationship was non existent, I could not say anything right and I felt a total failure as a Mother.
Three years on, the person on the phone is someone I recognize but cannot relate to the angry, scowling teen from before. The person on the phone is a grown up, but not only a grown up, an evolved individual.
I recognize this person as not only my son, but as an aspect of myself, an aspect of something bigger than us both. The words that come out of his mouth are wise, comforting and deep, but not so deep that I am lost, they reach deep into my being aligning me to hope.
Sometimes, we have to let go and stand back in order to see the truth. My son was always like this; a thoughtful, wise soul. I forgot in the day to day motions of life.
My son, not yet nineteen, had to leave me to become the person he was always meant to be. My son had to be where he is so that he could remind me who I want to be!
Thank you, Son.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"I ought to say," explained Pooh as they walked down to the shore of the island, "that it isn't just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it's a Boat, and sometimes it's more of an Accident. It all depends." "Depends on what?""On whether I'm on the top of it or underneath it."[A.C. Milne, Winnie the Pooh, “Chapter 9 In Which Piglet Is Surrounded by Water.”
Sometimes it feels like I am straddling two parallel universes. Or, perhaps, I’m at my beloved Gulf Shores and I’m standing on two different banana boat floats, riding the waves with two very different minds . Unlike Gumby, my legs are only so short.
There are moments of absolute blazing clarity and mindfulness where everything I touch, do, hear or see creates a connection from within myself to the world, those I love, Life, God or to feeling alive. There I am in a time/space where my heart is a sponge absorbing life and at the same time I am twisting and turning the sponge pouring it back upon the world. Suddenly, without warning, whoooosshhh … there goes the other banana boat float. I suspect that the best gymnast in the world could not handle that split. Ouch.
Theologians, philosophers, anthropologists and writers have long pondered this sacred and profane relationship. In our attempt to reconcile these worlds, people have run off to live in caves, communes and let’s not forget my 60’s Flower Power and Love movements. It’s not so much that we want to leave one world for another. It is the desire or hope that we don’t have to sacrifice the ‘sacred’ when we walk upon the dusty path of life.
As I was wrestling with this two day old philosophical bunion of frustration an email popped up on my screen. No, not an email, an answered prayer, computer screen type that exuded joy and happiness and a warrior’s bravery rewarded. I caught myself doing the Caddy Shack gopher’s dance. I read and re-read the email. I danced some more, little arms and hands dancing and my feet dangling from the couch. I closed the email and this post in progress continued to stare at me. Glared at me. Mocked me.
“Ha!” I declared, “I do not have an answer so there!” With that retort Pooh’s words floated into my own little brain and I laughed. Perhaps you have figured it out, if so, please share. But for now, I’m taking Pooh’s advice and if I should find myself underneath one of the banana boats, I shall dance my way back on top and continue to float. Of the many ways people would describe me, dancer is not one of them. I’m sure I’ll struggle again with these banana boats. But for tonight, the sacred has set me atop and my boat is no accident. Neither is the answered prayer.
(also posted on my blog)
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I joke often with friends about House Elf activity. I'm sure you've either heard of it, or you've experienced it. You know....your car keys mysteriously disappear and are eventually discovered in some absolutely bizarre, unexpected location that you swear up and down you were not responsible for. Socks disappear in the dryer on a regular basis. Pretty, shiny things like rings, watches, earrings and cell phones, or important things like wallets also unexpectedly disappear for weeks at a time, only to surface, out of the blue right slap in the middle of the livingroom carpet that you just finished vaccuuming earlier the same day. No way on Earth could the jewelry items have escaped the relentless suction and rotating rollers of the vaccuum.
How, then, do they suddenly materialize in the very middle of the freshly cleaned carpet? If this sounds like first hand experience to you, you have a good eye...it is my first hand experience and yes, that has happened to me, jewelry, vaccuum and all, quite recently. What causes this? I have an answer for you. It's Elf Activity. Again, no, I'm not kidding. You don't see any exclamation point on the "not kidding" part because I'm serious! Okay, that last did require an exclamation point, just for a little extra emphasis, but I'm still not kidding.
This has happened to me throughout my life, the mysterious disappearing items, quite often of the shiny, sparkly variety and then the equally mysterious reappearance of those items in unlikely locations. I suspect it is the Wee Folk. Do I feel this to be true because I'm of predominantly Irish descent? It might be a factor. There is also Native American Indian heritage, Cherokee, in my family tree. Those are two very strong, mystical races who believe(d) in the natural cycles of Mother Earth, respecte(d) the Four Elements of Earth, Fire, Water and Air, and also believe(d) in the presence of magical beings. The Irish call them the Wee Folk. "The Cherokee call them Nunne hi (forgive me for not being able to place the proper diacritic pronunciation marks on that word - blogspot word processing tools do not accomodate that at this time), or the 'immortals', and believed they lived near running water sources"...springs, waterfalls, rivers and lakes. (The Folklore of Faeries, Gary R. Varner, AuthorsDen)
I live in East Tennessee, which is graced with endless fresh, fast running water sources. Much of the geological makeup of this area is sandstone and limestone, which not only provide a purification process for water as it trickles through the sediment and layers of the aquifers, but also harbor quartz rock crystal. Quartz crystal, my friends, is a conductor of energy. It is scientifically proven to have a measurable electrical signal of very precise frequency (Wikipedia), which is why it is commonly used to regulate clocks and wristwatches.
Can you tell I've given this topic a lot of thought? Why did the Native Americans believe that the Nunne hi inhabited the land surrounding fast running, fresh water sources? Why did the subsequent Irish immigrants who came and settled this area also believe that the Wee Folk were in evidence here? Could it be possible that back then, when there were no machines to mask sounds or deaden our natural senses, that Native Man and other races who respected the Old Ways might have been more in tune with the cycles of Nature than we are able to achieve today? Could it be that the surrounding geological makeup of certain regions provide(d) a frequency that, perhaps, thinned the doorway between dimensions and allowed those with certain sensitivity to "see" these beings? In olden days, this ability was called having "The Sight" in the Smoky Mountains and in the Old Country - in this case, Ireland.
These are just my own ruminations on the topic. I can't prove any of it, but I do see some connecting points in my theory and in many of the ones I have researched over the years. I know that I have regularly experienced those odd moments of personal items disappearing and reappearing that convince me there is more afoot than my modern age eyes and senses can quite grasp. So, in my own unique way, I choose to be open to the possibility that the Wee Folk exist. When something disappears in my home, I've learned to be patient, maybe have a lighthearted conversation or two with the Invisible Ones who may be using that item for a bit, and eventually it will reappear in one of those random, unlikely locations. The occurrences are so extremely odd that it tickles my sense of humor to no end.
When I lived in a different apartment about 6 years ago, I had a platinum ring that I wore daily. One afternoon I took it off, as I did nightly, and placed it in the little crystal bowl that held the few pieces of jewelry I wear daily. That crystal bowl was in my bedroom, on an antique buffet that doubled as a chest of drawers. The next morning that particular platinum ring was missing. I looked high and low, scoured the area around the chest where the crystal bowl sat, retraced my steps, searched the clothes I had worn the prior day, even searched my car and the walkway leading to my front door. The ring was nowhere to be found.
I acceded to my invisible roommates and stopped searching for the ring, letting them know they were welcome to wear it, admire it, play with it, do whatever they liked and that I looked forward to having it returned when they were finished with it. You may be reading this and thinking that I am a bit more than eccentric. If so, that's okay. You probably have some habits that I would find curious and that you'd probably not be so bold as to write about in public forum; that's what makes us all unique and beautiful.
Getting back to my story about this platinum ring, when I began packing to move from that particular apartment, one afternoon I moved a bar stool from a corner where it had been placed and not moved since the day I moved into that unit. I had never sat in that bar stool, had never placed anything there, nor had anyone else. It occupied an awkward spot in the dining room that made it impossible to sit comfortably, so that bar stool just filled that corner, untouched and unmoved. That day I pulled it out and sneezed from the resulting cloud of dust (okay, I said it sat there, untouched & unmoved...I'm not that vigilant about dusting unused furniture). I lifted the stool to carry it to another spot and saw a sparkle on the cushion.
You guessed it....right slap in the center of the bar stool seat cushion was my long lost platinum ring. Remember, please, that I said that barstool was placed in that awkward spot the day I moved into that apartment and then wasn't shifted a single inch until 2 years later when I was preparing to move - there was no logical explanation for how that ring could have found its way to that spot on its own. I know I didn't place it there. In fact, the day I moved into that apartment, I had yet to purchase that platinum ring so it couldn't have been misplaced there during the moving in process.
This little scenario has played itself out over and over throughout my lifetime with various shiny, sparkly items. I can only surmise that the Wee Folk who now have drifted into our personal living space become bored within the confines of an apartment environment and seek to entertain themselves with something pretty. I have rarely "lost" something of this nature permanently. Indeed, I find that as long as I acknowledge the item is merely being borrowed and graciously encourage the enjoyment of the borrowing, the item generally reappears fairly soon. The entertaining, often delightful part of the process is the humor that is employed in the reappearance of these items. They're crafty, the Wee Folk, with how they return things, choosing the most intriguing, exasperating and unexpected moments and locations to drop the item back into my dimension.
Because I see this as a strong possibility and because I firmly believe in the existence and truth of other mystical beings and magical occurrences, I find that I exude a lightness of Spirit that is attractive to others. Perhaps they recognize the simple joy that springs from embracing concepts that we most often abandon with childhood years. Possibly they appreciate that I am willfully, unabashedly and without shame, declaring that magic does exist. It is certainly a bold statement to make and many will read this and shake their heads in dismay that I, a serious writer, would choose to embrace such concepts, not to mention write about them in public forum.
I have to throw my two cents in here and tell you that yes, I am a serious writer, but that serious respect for my craft does not prohibit me from expressing, in writing, the beauty that I see in the possibility of magic still existing. In fact, I feel it demands that I write certain truths, be they delightful, mystical and magical, or more prosaic, occasionally uncomfortable topics such as grief managment, or droll ones such as the refusal to follow accepted rules of writing. My writing style changes with my moods and today, I felt like giving voice to my mystical, spiritual, Story Teller side.
In the forgotten mists of time, we were a different people. We moved with the seasons, respected the land, embraced the cycles of Nature and, I believe, had much clearer vision to see the realms and dimensions that we are now, sadly, nearly blind and numb to. A few of us, however, retain some small divining spark that allows us to still sense tiny indications of magic. Some of us notice what others claim as common forgetfulness and/or being careless with possessions to actually be the proof that mystical beings and magic are still afoot.
This topic was prompted by a recent conversation with a girlfriend in social media format that gave me "fizzies" (happy, warm, bubbly inside-ness) in abundance, as we went on a virtual visit of the Emerald City and took a detour to an enchanted dragon cave. It was a delightful bit of whimsy designed to lift this friend's spirits as she approaches a small hurdle along her Life Path, but it also was a conscious, intentional nod from my inner Spirit to hers, recognizing that yes, magic does exist, still, in both of us. In that moment, merely having that lovely conversation carried the spark of magic strongly enough to make us both smile, not just that evening, but in my case, well into the following day. This topic was also prompted by another friend, this time male, who is forever being visited and teased by his particular troop of House Elves - they like his keys, his cell phone, and most recently, his wallet. This friend recognizes the enchanted part of my Spirit and allows me to speak freely of magic and mystical possibilities. The two occurrences, with both friends, spaced so closely together in time, nudged me just enough to sit down and tap out these words.
Magic, these days, is an elusive element. It slips teasingly just beyond our fingertips, most often eluding our grasp, wafting lazily beyond reach to lure us forward, to continue searching...to continue dreaming...to continue BELIEVING. I do not feel the beliefs I espouse here in this blog article are in direct contradiction of my faith in God/Universe/Spirit. I believe that magic and mystical beings are an intrinsic part of the makeup of this beautiful Earth that houses us all, and that all of these things that are seen and not seen with human eyes are all Divinely created. Magic, and mystical things, therefore, although elusive, are all around us, waiting for us to consciously, willfully, joyfully, simply believe. That is when they sparkle most brightly, you know, and when they just might pay you a visit and borrow something pretty. If you welcome that magic and that touch of the mystical with a smile and an open heart, you just might find yourself engaging in sometimes comical, occasionally exasperating, often delightful treasure hunts. The purpose of having mystical roommates these days, I believe, is simply another friendly reminder to us that, just maybe...magic is afoot.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog
Even amidst great tragedy, we can continue putting one foot in front of the other, day-by-day, week-by-week, year-by-year. By doing so life brightens before us, most times without us even realizing it. I was struck by a report on the early news this morning as I got ready to head out to work. Joannie Rochette, an Olympic figure-skater for Canada (their national champion as a matter of fact), found out only 2 days ago that her mother had died of a massive heart attack after arriving in Vancouver. This young lady has made the courageous decision to compete tonight, in spite of her tragedy and loss, knowing that her mother had been her biggest fan and supporter. It's not just a matter of willpower (although it helps). We have to continually practice trusting in God – His light is there to surround each step of our difficult journeys – all we have to do is ask Him to join us. We can find Joy in the fact that he will never leave us.
Oh, and something else the devil doesn't like?
Paying it forward.
Pay it forward – spread a smile!
Image courtesy of Google Images.
(Posted today at: A Dose of Positivity)
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Also published on my blog.
As time passes I have found that I have become more self-centered. Not in a egocentric way, but in an assertive, grown up way. I know were my boundaries are and let others know where they are too.
I used to do things for people when I would have much rather not. I used to feel guilty if I had said no, giving a long list of reasons to justify my answer. I used to have this heavy dread in the pit of my stomach pulling at my conscience, and bringing up the childhood belief that, 'if you are good you must suffer'.
I am not totally 'cured' from the 'yes' illness, but I am finding it easier to say no and feel just a fleeting pang of guilt which I quickly dismiss and get on with my own life.
The trick to being a good no-sayer is kindness. Kindness to yourself and showing kindness towards the person imposing their wishes on you. If you kindly say, no, you leave little room for manipulation and guilt tripping from them. They can try but no, is short and sweet. If you want to be even sweeter say, 'sorry, no.' It doesn't matter what other words you dress it up with, as long as you don't add, 'I am busy, I won't be home, I've got an appointment, etc. Just say, 'no.'
Of course, there is room for negotiation, if you want(not if you are doing it out of guilt where you are defeating the point) but negotiate from what you can offer or are willing to offer.
Remember be kind to yourself and to the other person. If you say no, the other person may be upset, she may be annoyed with you, she may even hate you for being so selfish (their thoughts or your guilt?).
You can be kind to both yourself and the other person by negotiating on your terms if you want to help her out. If she disagrees, so be it, you offered what you are willing to do, you haven't said no, you have said no to her terms. She wants your help, so maybe she could practise being kind too!
I have found since being more of a no person I get more respect, on the surface at least. Who knows what is said behind my back. But what I have learnt is that people treat you how you allow them to treat you. If you want to be a doormat then you will have many willing people to fulfill your wish.
If you want to be respected, you have to show that you respect yourself. This does not guarantee that you will be liked, but hey! you can work on that too, by liking yourself a bit more.
Post also found in my blog
Recently I have seen the use of this little tidbit at the end of posts from “friends” on social media. As I said – I had to Google it to find out it’s meaning so if it were to come up in everyday conversation, I would not seem as old as my kids think I am. I mean, there are parts of me that want to be “in-the-know” if not “hip”. Honestly I was saddened upon finding its meaning. I was saddened that people needed a new way to exclaim and project negative energy upon their perceived personal circumstances.
Nowadays social media has proven to be more fun than aggravation for me. Currently, more people post on Facebook than vote, talk to people they would not pick up the phone to speak to, and keep in touch with loved ones from afar, as well as share whether or not they enjoyed their Vanilla latte. Can’t be much harm in that, right? (Debatable, I know.) What disturbed me though is that upon my search, I found a social media site dedicated to the FML brigade. It allowed for people to post a “status” per se, of a negative personal situation, why you stand behind your assumed “FML” label, and then allowed people to agree with you as well as to select “You deserved it!” Another “Wow”! I will not post a link and become a conduit for traffic to this place. Google it.
Now I have, as many do, moments where things just do not go my way. In the past I have felt that God and/or the universe has a sense of humor and I was the punch line. I also realize the more I feel “cosmic victim”, the more I can find circumstances to substantiate this feeling based upon my chosen perspective. The key word here is “chosen”. What we focus on is what we see!
I realize too that in the FML mindset, if I feel that I find contempt with my life, and that forces beyond myself are damning me to live a less-than-desired existence, why would I feel it helpful to personally add to the damning? I have been there and I get the pain. However I now realize upon reflection, whenever the metaphoric FML subway would open its doors to let me off, by clinging to this viewpoint, I would simply stand on the crowded coach, allowing the door to shut once again, and continue the ride. I was both conductor and passenger.
Personal and emotional pains are valid. There are times when we encounter barriers. I have straddled so many hurdles I have split my pants. What I have come to realize is that “pain” is the incident that injures us, however “suffering” often is where we keep reminding ourselves we should still be hurting. The exclamations mentioned above that support the mindset of “because of this incident, my life sucks” or “because of that incident, FML” is counterproductive to getting beyond it. I will not judge my life by any one incident than I would judge a song by a singular note.
You will not see the acronym adorn my site, nor infiltrate my vocabulary regardless of how my day is going. What is simply is, yet I can manage how I look at things. By labeling not only an event, but that my entire existence is in jeopardy from it, lends me to remain deeper and longer in that which I find overwhelming. Winston Churchill once said, “If you find yourself going through hell, keep going!” Although I may add another keystroke, I offer this alternative: “TTSP – This Too Shall Pass”!
*Note - This post also found on Artisan of the Human Spirit
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Somewhere on Interstate 40 in northwest Arkansas I left my heart. Only seven days had passed and I still find myself musing about the night we met. Did you know I wore that same T-shirt to bed that night, complete with your drool and unwanted milk you gifted me. Somewhere on Interstate 40 in northwest Arkansas I felt the kick in my heart when I realized I would never get to hold you like that again. Your tiny body, squishy and soft like a plush toy, recognizing a stranger's hands, touch and smell became rigid.
What do your eyes see little Zoey? Am I just an unfamiliar shape or can you distinguish faces and mine was not one you knew? Did you know that I had never held a baby before? I know how to hold puppies and kittens and at night I am a pillow for a very timid cat. My fingers can fly on a computer key board, they even played the piano, and my handshake has made more than one man wince. But I do not know how to hold you Zoey. I know puppies like a clock on their first night from their mama, it reminds them of her heart beat. I will place your heart against mine and introduce myself. Hello Zoey, I am your great aunt, Beth. Namaste Zoey. I bow to you. My spirit, my heart honors you.
What wonders await you Zoey. There are so many textures, colors, sounds and smells, find your favorite and bask in it but do not exclude the others. Know the horizon is your playpen, the breath of God makes the wheat fields dance and the birds await to accompany your songs. Know the clouds are your personal Etch-A-Sketch and the rain is an outdoor shower and pool so find the mud and be cleansed. The grass will be your carpet to feed your play animals and scratch your back, so be sure to roll and wiggle.
The sun will be your angel by day so fear not your shadow. The moon will give rest to the sun, and watch you by night even when it is but a sliver. The moon and sun dance Zoey – take your cue from them. You cannot see the sun or light in the night Zoey but remember the dance. Good dance partners merge as one and you cannot tell them apart. That's how the sun and moon dance so fear not the floor beneath your bed, the dance will turn the sun quickly to shine upon you once again. Practice your numbers counting the stars in the sky and shells on the beach. Learn your colors from the flowers, sunsets and sunrises and the hues of a stormy cloud. Do not fear the thunder, it is but me clapping my hands in joy, telling you I'm over here if you want to sit in my lap or lay beside me for a while.
People will marvel at your talents Zoey and tell you how good you are at this or that. And you will be - but the choice is yours. Learn to hear your heart, the one that is beating next to mine and mine next to yours. Learn your rhythm from that beat. Find what makes you laugh and do that as often as you can. Stay close to what makes you feel butterflies in your stomach but know the joy of just being, needing not the highs and fearing not the lows. Learn to hike the hills and forest trails so you are comfortable when your path is steep and uncertain. Trust your footing and your balance even when walking on asphalt or traveling a different path. Learn to pause and listen. Learn to hear your thoughts. Learn the beauty and power of words and feel the scrich of the pen moving on paper as you write your dreams. Finally, my little squishy great niece, a person, a gift, my prayer is that one day this letter, this memory may be a bookmark in your favorite book. Hello Zoey, hello to all you will be.
(also posted on my blog)
Friday, February 19, 2010
If you follow my Healing Morning Facebook Fan Page, or if you've been subscribed to my Healing Morning blog for a while, you'll recognize the photo image here. It is a view from beneath the sprawling limbs of a huge elm tree on my Grandpa Reagan's property.
Why is this tree the focus of a blog post? You see a photo of the land where I was raised, for one thing. You also see a tree which quietly grew from what my Mother describes as being a small sapling in the field when she and her siblings were young to a truly grand presence. She is one of nine children who played in the same field where I and my brother, sister and 27 cousins played. That elm tree, to my way of thinking, raised two generations of Reagan children. It was the silent sentinel of our childhood years, faithfully kept whispered secrets, harbored grandiose dreams, stood protectively, arms outstretched over afternoon naps, watched us grow into adolescence and witnessed the majority of us marry and have children of our own.
When I was wee, I used to go up to the hayloft of my Grandpa's barn to talk to God. I just knew God was there, up in the vast space of the hayloft where it was quiet and still, and smelled sweetly of fresh hay in summer months. Then I learned that snakes and other critters liked the hayloft. This helpful information convinced me to transplant my talking to God spot to the elm tree. It was huge, after all, limbs outstretched in a majestic umbrella, sheltering us in summer months to play, dream, climb way up high and practically touch the sky. It made perfect sense to me that God would love the elm tree as much as I did, and would visit with me there. Of course, God/Universe is anywhere you choose to look, and I can easily see that Presence in the sheer beauty of that old tree.
At one point in the mid-1970's, the elm tree was struck by lightning and split down the center. For a time, there was debate as to whether my Grandpa would cut the elm tree down. Of course, all of the children in the family pleaded for this not to happen, as it was our primary recreation spot and the best climbing tree on the property. After a time, the tree, amazingly, began to heal itself. I am of the opinion that this healing took place as much from fervent children's prayers, crossed fingers, sincere applications of Band-Aids and many loving tree hugs, as it did from Nature weaving the sections of the tree back together. The scar remained from the lightning strike, the tree took on the appearance of two separate trunks melded together at the base and continued to stand strong for over 30 more years. At its most healthy years, it required at least 4 adults, arms outstretched and linked hand-in-hand to circle the vast width of the tree trunk, it was that large.
I continued to visit the elm tree, even after I moved away from home, making it a point to walk out through the field and spend time there. I always thought that after all the children grew up that the elm tree had to be lonely for the sound of laughter, for the feeling of small feet climbing its limbs, for the exhuberant, loving embraces we all bestowed upon it. I never left Tennessee without stopping to visit the tree, and bestowing a hug, having a conversation with it and with God, before feeling all was truly right in my world.
A couple of years ago, we had an unusually rainy year following a long period of drought. There were many storms with high winds that swept across the side of the ridge where our property, and the elm tree, are located. I stopped by for a visit late one afternoon and asked my Mom to walk out to the field to see the elm tree. Reaching the edge of the field, we stopped dead in horror - half of the elm tree had fallen. Apparently the sheer weight of its large limbs had proven too heavy for the old lightning scar to bear and the lower section of the trunk split free and fell. The remaining section was still upright, but according to my Uncle who now owns the property, there are plans to cut it down and clear the property. I admit, without an ounce of embarrassment, that I stood there and cried. I walked up to the still standing section of my dear old friend and once again spread my arms out for a loving embrace.
Resting my cheek against the smooth bark, I closed my eyes and said a prayer. I cried some more, and cannot lie - my heart just ached as I leaned against this most faithful of childhood companions. The fanciful part of my heart wonders and thinks that perhaps the elm tree grew saddened and lonely for company over the years. With no children to play and climb all over it, no laughter to absorb, no wee arms embracing it with love, maybe the elm tree decided it was time to let go.
It is my dear hope that I will be able to find some skilled artisan who can take some of the fallen tree trunk and create a piece of furniture, or decorative art, so that I may always have a piece of my childhood protector with me. The other half of the tree still stands strong in the field, and I continue to visit and say Hello each time I go home. The time is drawing near when that field will be empty of the all encompassing, mighty presence of that massive elm tree, and that will be a sad day to witness.
For now, I have written a loving tribute to this old friend. I cannot stand silently and leave the world wiped clean of the existence of such a beautiful work of God and nature - I felt driven to capture the images here and write the words. We were raised well by that faithful presence, we Reagan children, and I daresay there is not a single one of us who will be left untouched by the passing of that sheltering, peaceful beauty. It is our Reagan Generation Tree. Thankfully, it has been captured in endless photographs. It is also safe in each of our memories. To the best of my calculations, it has lived close to 100 years. And now, you, my readers, can finally understand why my blog posts are hallmarked with the image of the bare branches of this graceful tree, silhouetted against the evening winter sky.
When you see that image, you see something so dear to my heart that I chose it to represent Healing Morning. The energy of that old elm tree has always brought me to a powerful place of healing, peace and welcome, and that is the energy I hope is conveyed with this blog. My blog design is due to change in the coming weeks, but you will always find the image of this elm tree somewhere in connection to my writing. It is as intrinsically a part of me as my writing and I like the continuity it represents.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more at Healing Morning blog.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Over lunch one day a friend was telling me about Chip Conley’s book, How Great Companies Get their Mojo from Maslow. She was impressed with his philosophy of using the model for personal success and translating that to businesses. Taking it from one individual’s “peak experiences” and applying them to corporate transformation. Part of it was evaluating which slot one puts one’s professional enterprise in: a job, a career, or a calling.
I understand what a job is — it’s the oft-mundane 9-5 grunt work that pays the bills. It usually doesn’t involve passion, vision, or aspiration.
I think I also understand what a career is — it’s when you take off those blinkers at that job and chart a plan for your professional growth. It is a commitment to improving your opportunities, your salary, and provides some amount of satisfaction. In some cases, it defines who you are, what you stand for, and where you’re headed.
A calling … hmm … now that’s a word I don’t fully comprehend. According to various websites, dictionaries, and blog posts, it is work that gives you immense satisfaction. You wouldn’t necessarily even want to be paid for it. It defines for folks their “purpose” in life.
Bu what is our purpose in life? A friend told me yesterday, she thinks it’s something that stems from one’s beliefs. But how do you form your beliefs? Aren’t your beliefs based on the knowledge you have at any given point of time? And if that is so, shouldn’t they change as you grow, are exposed to new ideas, thoughts, people…? And if your beliefs change, then doesn’t your purpose in life also shift?
So, how do we say that a calling is something constant. That somehow you know this is the one and only thing you were born to do. Isn’t that really a way of saying that at this point of time in your life, given all you know about yourself and your surroundings, this is the best you can do with your talent, time, energy, and expertise? And because at this particular point of time you think this is the best use of your potential, that it gives you immense satisfaction? Ergo, this is your calling … for now.
Of course, this led to a whole new stream of questions about what potential is — both perceived and actual — and how we define time. But that’s another blog post.
I hear many people say that their work is their calling — they drop the word around so casually even though it supposedly carries so much weight … but here I am … not even sure what that word means.
I love writing. I always have. In my journey to becoming a writer, I explored many other options but wasn’t very good at any of those. Writing grounds me. It helps me grow as a person. It helps me connect. It satisfies me when I write for myself — like this blog. I don’t get paid for this, yet I do this every single day — so does it mean that this is my “calling”?
Does it also then imply that I have reached the highest point of my potential? That there really isn’t anything in this world besides writing that would give me the same satisfaction? That nothing else will come close to challenging me, uplifting me? That this is the end?
But there are so many things out there I haven’t even tried. Some things I don’t even know about, forget trying. Then how can I limit myself to one calling? How can I tell myself this is all I was born to do? Maybe there’s a host of other things I can do well and derive satisfaction from … how can I say just this is it?
Just like we’re moving away from the idea of having only one career in a lifetime, can’t we at least look at having more than one calling in life? Maybe there is something to that whole concept that needs a little revisiting …
Maybe not?What do you think “a calling” means anyways?
There are many ways that you can meditate and using the angelic realm is one way. Archangels watch over guardian angels and support them in supporting their assigned humans. Archangel Michael's name means 'He who is like God.' Archangel Michael is depicted as a prince in the Bible who fights against lower energy. He is a protector and helps people who are willing to remember and fulfill their life's purpose. Archangel Michael holds a sword of light to cut away fearful attachments that bind us in lower energy. He gives us courage and strength to make life changes that we need to make.
In meditation you can call on Archangel Michael for protection,courage and to fill you with calmness to help you manage the daily crises in life. Archangel Michael helps you to bring anything you are holding in the dark and bring it to light. In the light the truth can be seen. Archangel Michael can then help you cut the fearful cords that keep you connected to the past and unhelpful ways of thinking. Once Archangel Michael cuts the cords, he fills you with his cobalt blue rays to heal the empty spaces created by the release of the old.
To invoke Archangel Michael or any angel or Archangel all you need to do is call their name. Visualize Archangel Michael with his bright sword and cobalt blue cloak standing in front of you. Ask him to help cut away the fearful cords of attachments and visualize the cords being cut away from you. You must ask that it is for the highest good for all involved.
You must not ask for cords to be cut from your children as they still need that connection from their birth parents to grow and feel connected. Ask that all is brought to the light so that it can be released. What remains in the dark cannot be released. Trust in Archangel Michael to do his job. He does not need you to direct him in what he does. All you need to do is bring all your worries and fears to him and he will perform his role.
As Archangel Michael fills you with his positve cobalt rays you will fill a shift of energies. Picture his cloak placed gently over you covering you from head to foot, tucked under your toes. Thank Archangel Michael for his assistance and trust that you are now protected and free from negativity.
You can also meditate with Archangel Michael for him to show you your life's purpose. You may receive insight instantly of what it is you are here to do. Or during the day, weeks or months you may stumble across the answer. For example, you may decide to join a course you never thought of doing before, you may meet someone who shares some useful information with you, or you may just know what it is you must do.
Archangel Michael is ready to help, no task is too small or too big, all you need to do is ask, and trust that you are safe and protected. Saint Michal, as he is also known is also the patron saint of police men, security guards and sailors, and he can also help in protecting you on journeys. Any thing that you need protection, courage or clarity with, Archangel Michael is ready to assit.
An article I wrote on Helium.com