Dig Deep or Just Go with It?

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Spouting simple answers has always come natural to me. I am on a remedial path now.

Journalist and self-described, “Industrious Optimist,” Lara Setrakian used this cartoon illustration in her TedTalk about improving the “adult education” that comes from news reporting, away from fear and simplicity toward the wholeness (or integrity) of complex truths.

Following the road less traveled, entering the narrow gate, education of the heart, enlightenment, and truth all depend upon the gravitas of love not dogma; giving the benefit of the doubt and resisting fiery indictments, ethnocentrism, and condemnations long enough to grasp the deep kinship we share with fellow residents at this very temporary, planetary address.

We all must decide. Go with the herd on the easy path, eventually terminating at the cliff, or take the longer, lonelier path and brave the uphill climb?

The Destroyer

If you want to find out where everything went wrong

If you want to figure out how all the chaos got started

If you want to discover when the loving stopped

Or the joy vanished

And the easy became hard

If you want to track down the villain in the story

And punish him

Then do it quickly

Track down the fear in your own heart and disown it now

Because it is faster than cancer

And more destructive than the impact and shrapnel from a thousand bombs

It has tutored your ego into malice

And baited your intellect into stupidity

It has sucked your blood until you were the real vampire, the real boogie, the scariest zombie

From the most gruesome nightmare ever dreamed

And it was you all along

You! who gave fear the key

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Prepare for a Shock

I was critical of The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis who writes in a difficult-to-follow, stream-of-consciousness style until I realized the book had casually exposed my own pattern of random patchwork thoughts; pin-balling around from topic to topic, past to future, pointless to profound, and noble to profane.

Afterwards, I was easier on Kathryn Davis, but harder on myself; shocked by the sheer absurdity of my…

  • Re-runs  (experts say that a very large percentage of our thoughts are the same every freakin’ day!)
  • Petty gripes
  • Overestimating my own understanding
  • Limited awareness of others

But, shock precedes improvement, so I am better for the experience.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work I go…shocked into better thinking and a more productive future…thanks to a book that was difficult to read.

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Cry Baby Alert

Nothing shakes me out of my self-centeredness, ethnocentrism, and poor-me problems more than reading biographies and fiction about the struggles of passionate men and women in other times and places. The first book that called me out on my bull#h*t was Les Miserables. When I read it many years ago, the plights of Jean Valjean, Fantine, and Cosette, representing the real problems of the time period, shook me hardily out of the illusion of my “difficult life.” Other books followed suit: Roots, Tale of Two Cities, A Good Earth, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Man’s Search for Meaning, The Hiding Place, etc. And, more currently, Jungle of Stone, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Endurance, Pillars of the Earth, Outlander, The Glass Castle, Same Kind of Different as Me, and countless others.

I hope you don’t have the same tendency that I have to become a small-minded cry-baby. But if you ever do, I hope you will let a book rescue you.

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Yes or Know

“The only ‘no’ in my vocabulary begins with k.” My friend, Joann, got this response when she asked for help. I loved it! The person she asked for help, went on to say, “Just let me know what you need.” 

Great philosophy…

Okay, well, I admit it is not a good philosophy for those of us who have a problem setting boundaries, or for those of us who hang out with sociopaths, or, for those of us who are already in trouble with authorities for saying yes too much, but for those of us who tend to say “no” too quickly, or need to learn generosity, what a concept!

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Atoms of Ozygen, I Owe You an Apology

I have taken you for granted.

I am surrounded by you everywhere and have forgotten to notice you.

I have used you, haven’t I?

I have used you to complain, to sigh, and to curse

Instead of laugh.

And have ignored the refreshment you give to my one trillion cells.

Without you, I can’t go on living (and that is not a metaphor).

Please don’t leave me.

Give me another chance (or several) to show you the gratitude your deserve.

Right now, I apologize.

I breathe in a breath full of you and promise to thank you more often.

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It’s a good place to start.

And Can It Be?

Long my imprisoned spirit lay

Fast bound in fear and nature’s night

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray (what the heck?)

I woke. The dungeon flamed with light

My chains fell off and my heart was free

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee

These are words to a powerful, ancient song by John Wesley. Many of us can relate to the imprisoned spirit and dungeon parts. But, this morning, I thought for the first time about the very strange “eye diffusing a quickening ray” line and (from personal experience) translated it as…You focused a laser of life-giving power directly upon me and, in a millisecond, I was free…

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So, if today I need freedom (miracles, hope, direction, wisdom, forgiveness, power), can it be that the laser of life-giving power might focus on me, one more time?

“I Thought Complaining Made Me Appear…Intelligent”

“I thought complaining made me appear sensitive, insightful, and intelligent.” I actually read this confession in a Carlos Castaneda book.  But, unfortunately, he is not the only one who has held this erroneous belief. From reading Facebook and blog posts, it seems most people believe it, or else they don’t care if others know how petty and immature they are.

Sub-consciously, I must have believed complaining sounded smart too, because I certainly never missed an opportunity to populate the airspace with my static. It took massive energy to learn to check my negativity at the door and keep conversations productive, but what a difference it made…for those who had to listen to me.

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A Balanced Inventory

I may not be happy with numerous things in the world…but, I am happy with a gazillion other things (like clean water and internet access).

I may have aged a lot in the last few years…but, my face has fewer bumps (because I have a dermatologist who took them off).

I may have  a larger waist…but, I have a larger purpose too (because being attractive was never a sustainable project).

I may have fewer admirers…but, I have learned to do the admiring (because, after all these years, I have finally accepted myself, which, by the way, gives me more time to admire others).

Because, it is so important to give myself a broader perspective (on issues both large and small), I have made a pact with myself to always balance the info I allow in my head. If I am fed bad news, I feed myself good news. It’s that simple. It’s not being Pollyanna positive, it’s being productively practical; just opening my eyes a little wider.

I am in charge of the feed.

Thank you Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield for your example: http://www.interestingshit.com/nature/good-news-stories/

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Show Me Yours First

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“The Universe is asking…show me your new vibration, I will show you miracles.”

That might sound stupid or “New Age,” yet the times when I have recovered from despair, found hope when I thought there was none, somehow discovered a way out of a bind, or seen a miniscule ray of light in the deepest darkness, it has been because I did the changing. I quit waiting for something or someone else to change.

Although, it was as easy as…

  • admitting I might be wrong
  • changing an “I can’t” to an “I will”
  • thanking instead of complaining
  • questioning instead of denouncing

It was very difficult to accept that responsibility.

Most people never do.

There is an energy, a vibration, about us that repels help or attracts it. If you doubt that, think about the people you avoid, and why.