Compline service: ending the day- saying good night in a peaceful and contemplative way. I love this type of service and my mom suggested we attend Sunday night in Savannah, GA. The church was small, painted white, and smelled of a comfortable old book. The candles were lit, shimmering low in the soft shadowy darkness. My thoughts relaxed as did my body. Sharing this quiet moment with my mother was like a warm hug.
The pastor/rector/preacher (not sure of his title) spoke to orient the group. We were left to enjoy the choir chants and brief prayers. As the singing ended, the leader spoke words that broke my peace. The words surrounded the story of Paul – and the story was told to express how God loves us no matter what. That this love is undividable by time, space or circumstances. EXCEPT THERE IS A CATCH: There is a small print disclaimer-he noted that this complete and unchecked love is granted to those who have found God through Jesus Christ. This love is not given to those who follow God but don’t feel the need to go through a third party to connect. It is AVAILABLE to all IF you want to go through Jesus. In this man’s universe, there is a line between complete love and everything else and unless you have Jesus on your side of the line, love will be lacking. No thanks.
I’ll stick with my higher power, my connection to the universe and its unwavering love and support. I would not want the brand of God (higher power) love that is conditional. Why create a hurdle to nirvana? Who made this hurdle? Why would it exist? How can you contain or control something that is that utterly powerful, clean and universal? It is like trying to handle the sun or make time stand still.
I respect those who feel the love of Jesus Christ and value the guidance he offers. I would never want to get in the way of a belief system that is meant to make a person better for themselves and for others.
I thought about being off put (and at first I was- I will admit) then realized my own beliefs are importantly held and may seem foreign to others. Don’t I ask others to give me room? I was at an away game- the leader was expressing the values of the people who choose to congregate there day in and day out.
The whole experience became a check point reminder for me to live and let live, to embrace our differences because this promotes thought and interest. At the end of the day (and time), we all want the same thing: True and undivided love and acceptance. Many roads- one ending. I’ll see you there, even if we don’t travel the same road.
Hugs and love
You know the moment when you say something and you can feel the energy shift? Either you KNOW you said something and it came out wrong or you DON’T know exactly what you said but you know it was received poorly? Either way, there is that energy shift and that sudden awareness of pain you inflicted.
I get that sometimes. Which means I do that too often. Which means I am a b*tch. Or so I have been told in not so many words by my mother.
I made an apology to my mother (who I love). I knew something I said made her mad but I truly had no idea what it was. She clammed up in the middle of our conversation and gave me the cool shoulder (not too hard) the rest of the night. The next morning I found quiet time and let her know that I was aware that something I said upset her. That I was sorry for upsetting her and that I would never, ever want to make her sad or mad or cry. She let me know that even though I am a sweet and good person, I can be a cutting b*tch sometimes. That I am just “like that” and she has learned to live with it and accept that this is just a part of me. So instead of getting into it the night before, she chose to work around it and hold it all inside.
I went through a shift during that conversation. I chose to hear her words, get them inside of my skin and own them instead of blaming her for being too sensitive or not hearing me correctly. I didn’t defend but instead I wore her assessment to see how it fit. For the first time, I faced head on that well, yeah, I CAN be a b*tch and I do need to pay more attention to that side of myself.
I have decided to concentrate on two things. These will be my personal growth goals for 2016 and beyond.
- Awareness in advance. I am now slowing down and taking care to be as aware as possible to the conversation, who I am speaking with, and my tone/language/body language. I am holding off on comments until I am sure that whatever comes out of my mouth or body is appropriate to the situation and will not cause pain.
- Accepting and acknowledging when I fail at #1. Owning up as quickly as possible to the fact that I spoke or acted in error and making amends, if possible, so that my friends and family will not be left in a wake of negative feelings.
For me, #2 is harder than #1. I have practiced #2 many times this year which brought me to the conversation with my mom. I could not even begin to work on #1 without owning up to my actions in the first place. I try really hard to be a good soul. I am constantly evolving and growing and listening to my intuition. My mom did me the favor of cutting to the chase and raising my awareness to an area of personal growth that needs my attention the most. Thanks, Mom for calling me a b*tch :-).
I feel so badly for my friend- she lost her mom. I don’t know how to support her without making her feel worse. Should I say anything at all? Death is the elephant in the room. We are here, breathing and getting to have another day, not so for her mom. I feel so awkward and trivial saying anything that refers to the situation. I don’t have words powerful enough to repair this tragedy.
In the past, I have not been good at supporting friends when their loved one dies. Since I have been meditating and opening up spiritually- exploring fear, love and awareness, I have turned a corner. Helping a friend grieve is not about me; it is about the person at the center of the trauma. That sounds easy but fear has always gotten in the way and left me less than helpful to others. Fear comes in when I think I need to control the situation and make it better or different. The shift comes in setting aside how I see the world and supporting my friend’s view.
When I get sick with the flu or some other annoying illness thing that I will eventually get over, I get crazy in my head. When I hear everyone else in the house going about their business like nothing is wrong- laughing, talking, EATING- I want to scream at them to stop having such a great day and quit with the fun already. I resent that they get to be normal. I know they love me and are taking care of me but the small Me resents the normalcy going on around me. Losing a loved one is so raw and hard. Wouldn’t a mourner look at others (who want more than anything to make things better) and wonder how they get to go on living normally? No black hole for others today. That perspective is where I get hung up in fear. Fear that I will make it worse, not better. Fear that I cannot make it better at all so I am therefore rendered useless to the situation.
Today, instead of trying to form words, I am physically and mentally present, not saying much and giving good hugs. As it turns out, this is better for her. There are so many people saying things that there is no need for me to clog the air. I feel way more connected to her pain and am okay with not trying to fix it. Removing pain is not possible. Helping her move through it is my role.
Other people aren’t wired the way I am and respect for what they need is most important. That follows in life and in death, doesn’t it?
I wish I could send a questionnaire to friends on how they would like to be helped through a death or trauma. Such as: 1. Do you want to be left alone? 2. Do you want me to hug you? 3. Do you want me to sit quietly with you or are we going to cry our eyes out? 4. In the dark? Outside? 5. Do you want to have a lot of people around for a long time or do you want to fly solo?
I’ll keep meditating and maturing. Through that process I will focus on removing myself from the equation and source the answers from within. In turn, I will be a more supportive friend in life and in death.
If you are interested, Phil from Australia has some great words on how to transform fear into love. LINK HERE
Alan Watts 2 min video
I watched this video which is a voiceover of Alan Watts talking about treating work as play. We divide our lives between work and play with very little cross over. He sees no reason to eliminate play in your work process; you can be more fulfilled by incorporating play into how you work. So if play at work can be achieved, it is done so by focusing your mind and your thought process. If this is the case then playing at work becomes a form of meditation. It takes mental awareness, clarity and focus to incorporate playful thoughts and behaviors. After all, work is called work because no matter how great and awesome your job is, there is always a certain amount of work to it. There are details to be tended to that you don’t like to manage or steps of the process that are unappealing to you. Elevating thoughts from drudgery to play, this is where meditation begins. I’m sure ballerinas love what they do. They get to express themselves through movement every day but there is a certain amount of practice, perfection, and pressure that brings work into their play.
I’m going to take a leap of faith and say that if you take pleasure in your work most of the day, you have probably played mindgames to move through the work-like parts. If this is the case, then you have practiced a form of meditation. If you think you can’t meditate, please reflect on the previous sentence. Look at how much pleasure the play part of your work gives you and you receive this through meditation. Think about how much more your entire life can be enhanced by meditation outside of work. Bring the same awareness of playing at work into your personal and family life. Imagine how this simple addition (you are already doing it at work!) will change things. It will open you up- you will have a broader perspective. You will smile easier and appreciate your experiences (and people) more.
Meditation does not have to be on a mat in a robe. Try it while driving home or at the grocery. Be aware of the people around you. Make eye contact, read labels, feel food, really see the drivers. Notice how you feel – how much more alive you are when you are connected.
This IS meditation and I know you can do it. See if it brings more play to your whole life.
For over a year I have known that there is something more for me. I have not put my finger on what this “something else” is. My Jerk Mind tries to put everything in order and says there are plenty of reasons for this feeling. 1. Your father died and you feel empty and need to make sense of this space that is left. 2. Your child left the house for college- you feel empty and need to make sense of the space that is left. 3. To date you have filled every minute with SOMETHING, even if it was not quality something, just to be moving and you are not used to empty space. My jerk Mind wants to tell me I’m just growing old and being less needed by others therefore I have this need to do something more.
Jerk Mind says space = the enemy.
As it turns out, this space is the thing that has rekindled a thought that I have long held although never expressed. There IS something more for me. And in that there is something more for others that I will touch. When I was young I had a sense and knowing that the universe is big and even so, I am special in it. Not in a “I am better than you” kind of way. More like I have something to give that will benefit others. A lot of others. I have always had the sense of connection with new and different. The creative in things. New is not scary. I am supposed to see and feel new, see and feel places and people. Those-others, poorer, richer, darker (you cannot get much lighter than me!), mean people, sweet people. Quite frankly, people down on their luck such as drug addicts, extremely poor and violent people. I have always been fascinated by what I have to learn from everyone and every place-the more polar opposite from me the better. I have a need to see these people because when I do I absorb them a little bit. The contact changes me and grows me and gives me a greater understanding of the world. Kinesthetic learning to an extreme? Who knows. I have always felt the weight of others (good or bad) and have always been able to read the mood of a room and people as well. Songs can send me skyrocketing up and down to the depths of my soul crying.
Because I had no formal study in anything like psychology or psychic/intuition, I had no idea this was happening to me and that others have the same plight. It really can be a plight to be a people person yet be subject to the ebbs and flows of others’ emotions. Your down is my down (x however many friends in the down mode at the time) and your up is my up (x however many friends in the up mode at the time).
I use a good defense because I am an adapter. A facade allows me to be standoffish and removed. This acts as a gate check and prevents some amount of emotional intrusion in my space. I keep busy, fill space so that I didn’t have time to float or get to know people deeper. Until now.
I remember a few specific moments of knowing. Of intuitive understanding of the situation. I experience it the most when I am the quietest, when there is space around me that allows me to tune in and listen. My mother has it too. This motherly instinct is like a laser and mostly accurate when imagination and worry are not allowed to enter the equation ;-). My gut instinct has ALWAYS been there (when I listen) and when I don’t I tell myself “You KNEW this was going to happen and you didn’t listen”.
So at any rate through meditation I am making huge strides in getting calm among other things. Getting quiet and allowing myself to have space is key. I have opened up free time to just be, without my Jerk Mind guilting me to get in the kitchen and clean that floor. Meditation offers me an understanding that I am called to express whatever this intuition and sensitivity is in me and to form that into something. The WHAT is what it killing me. And the length of time looking, poking, reading and learning is really dragging on.
My Jerk Mind needs an answer and needs it quick. Why are you spending hours alone on a pad not thinking- or vision traveling or trying to meet spirit guides? Drum meditations, essential oils- What the hell? Jerk Mind says “Get practical and move on. Do what you do best: real estate, organizing people behind causes and volunteering. You know how to do this and you dont have to stretch, grow or learn anything new. AND you wont see those sideways glances and eye rolls from friends and family when they start noticing this new you. It is EASIER to be who you are at 48 than to try new now.”
I almost quit. Just said this is a lark and a dead end and too much of nothing. I have become a more insightful person because of my meditation and study. I feel better each day but nothing more. Good night. BUT THEN. I went to see Judi McHugh who is a local card reader and as soon as I sat down she told me all that I need to know to inspire me to push on. Reading, healing and helping others is literally in my cards. She would not stop with this and got to the point of giving me pointers so when this manifests for me I will be doing it correctly. She said it is rare that she gets a person of spirit who comes to her and there was no other way that she saw my energy.
Her main point to me was to get my Jerk Mind our of the way, don’t over think it and don’t concern myself with what others will think or say. My family and friends will come along for the ride and anyone else, well, they have their own lives to live. So get to it!
I don’t see the future. I don’t get flashes of insight regarding upcoming tragedy or events. With more work I might be able to do so but I do know that I have a natural talent of intuition and sensitivity right now. This is my area of focus. In some way through all that I am learning on this journey I will know what to do with it all. It will become clear and feel right. I will trust my gut. In the meantime, I will get out of my way and let the future unfold- the journey is part of the fun.
Thank you for reading this and letting me put voice and form to my thoughts. What the mind can conceive, it can achieve (Napoleon Hill). Everything is a base essence first, a notion, a spark. Then it becomes a formed thought and can begin to be manifested. By sharing with you I have given this thought energy and form and committed myself to a new path no matter where that takes me. I have taken the leap, let go of the side of the pool, jumped into space.
Again…I don’t write much and I know that’s not what you’re here for. But some things are good to get down.
I’m not really sure what I’m doing here sometimes. Here on this website, here on this planet. Sometimes I get messages from some of you guys and you feel the same way. At least we’re not alone in feeling like this, although I’m not sure if that’s comforting or not.
Maybe this is part of being human, of being alive. To want with everything inside of you for your life to mean something. To know that should your time come to an end, people will be saying, “the world lost something good today,” or “the world is a little less bright now.”
A couple of years ago, I was asked the question: if you suddenly were to pass from this world, who would be affected, even if only for…
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Tuesday night was a make-up session in art class. Painters in the Tuesday night group are a lively bunch. A little wine, Pavarotti and life stories mix with the paints. There is a gentleman who does some freaking amazing work on Tuesday night. Amazing. His son started class the night I was there. Cute kid, college grad, on the way to med school. Their sharing of art class could go so well or so wrong and I was drawn to the thought about how hard it could be to share space with a loved one.
In this art space, the father’s talent could be intimidating to the son.”Living in the shadow” type thing. The father could wish more for the son than the son has to offer in talent or desire. It would be easy for the father lion to dominate and domineer.
Allowing a loved one space, personal vision, and autonomy can be hard. You want the best for them. You want to push them to their full potential and at the same time make it easier than the way it went for you. Shortcuts, efficiency, no pain.
Life is about the bumps and cuts and bruises gained in the living process. You never really feel something without getting your hands dirty. To save the troubles, tribulations and mess ups weakens the backbone.
The balance is assisting, showing, sharing and teaching while at the same time understanding that the other’s approach won’t be like yours- it is through a different lens. They have a different vision and a different style. It is beautiful in its own way. It’s not the anti-way (my mom will get this statement) but rather the unique expression of their history folding into present/future.
Having a child, I live out the fact that this is a hard feat to accomplish. I know I mess it up all the time and for that, I’m sorry. I give myself grace and allow that awareness is what is important. There is no manual. I had two great teachers (yes, they got it mixed up sometimes too). Through their efforts to let me/make me learn by trial and error-and stand by me through it all- I feel firsthand what it is like to be given that wide berth which in turn allows me to pass that down in hopes that it will be understood, honored and carried forward through yet another generation.
This is my 2nd painting and now I’m judgy. Nothing was expected of me on painting #1 (The Pear), from my teachers or myself. I had the freedom to just go with it and try my hardest. The very fact that I COULD do it was enough.
Painting #2 rolls around and so does JUDGMENT. I have just enough knowledge of the process to start setting minimum standards. I have a bar, a measure of my previous work and so I tell myself this one has to be as good or better as the first. Oy, the PRESSURE. Why do I judge myself and apply pressure? This is one activity that takes me out of my head and into creative. And here I go jumping right back into reality – with pedal to the metal no less!
Judgment comes in many flavors from the “I am not good enough because —— , I will never be able to do that because ——, “ to the “That person is more — than me and I am inferior to them because —–” or “Wow, they really are strange because that is not like my life experience or me.”
I lean toward the “I know I am capable and challenge myself to go further, add more, perform at a higher level, no going back- I’m not doing enough otherwise” kind of judgment. How limiting.
When we drop judgment we open up to new possibilities and full potential. We let go of control and outcomes based on what we have known to date.
Goal for the week
Actively approach the person or situation that I have experienced before with the following thought:
“I am going to see this situation/person for what it is and not jump to an outcome based on previous experience. That was yesterday and I am open to the concept that today’s experience could be very different.”
Two phrases come to mind- the yin/yang of to judge or not to judge:
One bitten twice shy = leery, closed, cautious, permanent, stuck
Second Chance = new, fresh, do-over, redemption, clean slate, open
This is the week of the Second Chance, it sounds so much better!
Are you with me??