Tag Archives: inspiration

Lost and Found

Pacific, Storm, January, 2017 (meb)

3A7D9350-A86B-47E8-9C88-03FE96170983Sometimes, the path is not clear.  What will I do with my one “wild and precious life?”  I continue to ask, even this late in the journey.  The world is mine; I have my whole life of experience behind me.  Much that preoccupied me in earlier years will not arise again (thank God!).  And still, there is this yearning.

If I could do anything, what would it be?  These are the wonderings, the meanderings of a person of privilege in this world, to be sure.  Should I write?  Of course.  Should I travel?  Yes, as long as I can, and am able.  As long as I have other places to explore.  Should I sing?  Oh, yes!

How can I serve?  That has been a question I have held within myself since I was young, and that question alone has been a key that has opened a world to me, a key that broadened my world by measures I could not have imagined.  When I set out to “serve,” to help human-kind (at the time, I thought my service would “make a difference;” now, I think not), I was willing to let go of other things to do so.  Instead, I have discovered that the desire to serve, that alone,  opened the door to another life for me.

As I’ve grown older, I know that the value of service is not a value held by everyone.  I suppose for me, it has been a motivating force.  I thought it was a value of my generation; apparently not.  To serve is a value to some.

Another key to the opening of my life has been something that came with growing up in my family.  Although neither of my parents was “educated,” – my mother received her GED when I was in college, my father went through the 8th grade – both of my parents had a bright and vivid interest in the world.  Where did that come from?  I see now that having that interest in the world has been a shining star that has lit my path.  I see that others lack this quality – they will not “go beyond his father’s saying, and he likes having thought of it so well, he says again:  ‘Good fences make good neighbors (Robert Frost, “Birches”).”

I have an interest in the world that has allowed me to see that others can live differently than me, and that is good, not something that is suspect.  I have an interest in the world that has softened the edges of what I hold as right or good or holy.  My interest in the world has been a doorway – a wide, broad doorway with edges that can expand – has given me curiosity about the lives of others, about the world.  My curiosity has allowed me to question my own values and to see that they are mine, my own.  Others have their own; I may not understand, but it is good.

When my brother Ronn first married, I was still in my teens.  One day he said to me, casually, “do you know that other families are not interested in the world, like ours is?” I shook my head.  I had not thought of such a thing, and even more, I could not imagine it.  Like a child who observes the home of another family for the first time, seeing that things are different here, his question opened my world, even more.

For all of these things, I am grateful.  I am grateful for the call to service.  That call has been a well-appointed entrance into a larger world, for me.  I am grateful for the gift of interest, a simple quality, but a quality that carries within it a curiosity, about people, about life.  That curiosity also carries within it a curiosity about self, and that deeper, inside journey is itself a treasure.

“And God saw that it was good.”  – Genesis, The Bible

 

Don’t believe everything you think.

dont-believe-everything-you-think

That’s it. Great rule to live by. That’s all it is, complete wisdom in one sentence:

Don’t believe everything you think.

Maybe you’re like me. I have a busy, busy mind. My mind is interesting – yes, very interesting. Your mind is interesting, too. I guarantee that! I’m smart. I’ve known that since I was young. I’m sure you’re smart, too. Those things are true.

We honor the mind, our thinking mind, in our culture. If we think something, we believe it is true.  As human beings – as these wonderful works of wisdom – we limit ourselves by living within the cultural constraints of our minds. It is counter-cultural to open yourself to the wisdom that lives within you, within you and outside of the limitations of your thinking, even your best thinking.

Thinking can only take us so far – and there is so much farther to go!  Your body is a place of wisdom.  Begin to know your body’s wisdom by feeling your feelings.   When something happens to you, take a moment to experience that event in your body.  What are you feeling?  Breathe!  Breathe for a moment, and feel the breath in your body.  Now, what are you feeling?

As you practice this, you can begin to name your feelings.

A long time ago, someone asked about me:  “I wonder if she knows the difference between her thoughts and her feelings?”  I am grateful that I took notice of that comment.  Do I know the difference?  I do now.  From that moment on, I began to observe – to feel – my feelings.  That in itself is a journey.  When we begin to include our feelings in our answers, in our decisions, in our observations, we encounter another dimension of ourselves.  When we include our feelings, our perceptions deepen, our love deepens, our experience deepens.

Your body has a wisdom that your thinking mind cannot perceive.  In a way, your thinking mind is on one plane of existence.  The wisdom that is beyond your thinking mind has deep roots, roots in the earth.  The wisdom beyond your thinking mind perceives on many levels, levels that your thinking mind simply cannot conjure up!

If you are sad, feel sad.  That is practice.  If you are lonely, feel lonely.  That too, is practice.  If you are happy, feel happy.  That is practice.  From moment to moment, the practice of reaching beyond our thinking mind takes us into new territory.

A good parent teaches feelings to their child by mirroring those feelings.  When the baby cries, mom will say:  “oh, you are sad.”  Or she will say:  “you are angry that your plate fell on the floor.”  Dad will say to a toddler:  “you are frustrated because you can’t reach the ball.”  Sometimes, we have to mirror our own feelings to ourselves.  We have to begin again to learn about ourselves, and about our own perceptions of the world.

Maybe you’ll need help as you begin to discern your feelings.  Maybe a therapist can help, a professional who can ask you, again and again:  “So… how do you feel about that?”  Maybe a spiritual guide can teach you to listen to your body’s wisdom as much as your mind’s wisdom.  Maybe a 12 step meeting will be the place you begin to learn.

Each one of these places can be the doorway to growth, to growth in consciousness.

Such simple practice, to not believe everything you think!  And at the same time, such a deep, profound, ever-expanding practice.

For today:  don’t believe everything you think!  Give it a try!

What You Are

‘As if the sorrows of this world could overwhelm me now that I realize what we are. I wish everyone could realize this. But there is no way of telling people they are all actually walking around shining like the brightest sun.’ Thomas Merton

FullSizeRenderCalla Lily at dusk – shining like the brightest sun.

[White calla (Zantedeschia aethopica) is the classic variety, with vase-shaped white flowers that rise from a clump of dark green, shiny leaves.]

You are so beautiful, beautiful beyond any beauty you have ever seen, ever will see, or any beauty you can imagine.  And if you are so beautiful, so is every other living creature, every human being, every plant and tree and animal and flower and star and mountain and cloud and drop of rain.  We are all shining like the brightest sun.  We are part of the Great Being.

This is the truth!

For a moment, imagine what the world would be like if we all saw through the dark, shaded barriers of our small egos to the light beyond, the light that is us, the light that is the whole of this creation.  How we would love one another!  How we would reach out to one another with help and hope and compassion!  How different this world, this one world we are given, would be!

We look at one another and at the world, ordinarily, through the lens of our small selves, our ego-selves, the part of us that is harsh and critical and demanding – of ourselves, and then, of others.  What we see “out there” is only a reflection of that wounded, small self we so often identify with.  And so we miss – we actually do not see – the light, the whole person, the little bit of beautiful we each are.

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.” – Max Ehrmann, 1927.

And that “little bit of beautiful” is all-beauty, all-whole, all-loving, all-kind, all-compassion, all-connected, all, all, all, all, all – complete.  Whole.  Light.  Love.  Truth.  Peace. Hope.  Joy.

As the world seems to become more and more unkind, it is going to take some of us to turn around, turn toward the Light, to let go of our small selves, to identify with our Whole-ness, our True Selves, to change the world.  This doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you are doing.  Whatever you do is important.  What it does mean, though, is that you will have to stop identifying with your small self, moment by moment, letting-go by letting-go…

This is the true work.  This is the work the world needs us to do.  If you’re too busy doing other things, other important things, then you’re too busy to do this work, this work of letting-go, of dissolving the barriers in yourself that have clouded the Light.

You are shining, like the brightest star!  Yes – you!  Yes – now!  Yes!  Yes! Yes!