For Less-Opportunity Social Stratas

For those of us who were born without

For those of us who will die early

For those of us with disease or deformity

For those of us who never knew the “right people”

For those of us with low IQs

Who didn’t go to school

Or have a job

For those of us without a home, shoes, clean clothes

Or love

There is the equanimity of sun and rain

Earth’s free gift of light and water

And, yes, a path that leads to the finish line

Where we are welcomed with honor

Save Myself the Trouble

Last week, I was unhappy about the gaps in my schedule. This week I am so thankful the gaps came at a fortunate time. How many times must I be reminded that my ability to determine what is good and what is bad is faulty? How many times must I look back and say, “Wow, if I had only known?” before I will learn to hold off on judgment or despair?

In this case, I would have saved myself lots of trouble, worry, frustration, and wasted time and energy.

So, that said, I should start before I get any older, right?

Appreciate It…Now or Never

We humans have the audacity to look back at photos from the past and swoon with nostalgia after completely underappreciating what we had at the time! I guess that is better than not appreciating it at all…but…

Nostalgia will not recover lost people, opportunities, places, our youth (or the body we had), and we will have missed the gifts that were ours for the taking, if we had only known how lucky we were at the time!

It’s too late to fix my ingratitude for how skinny I was in the past (when I thought I was fat), but, I can change the future by what I do now. When tempted to complain about…

  • a relationship that irritates me,
  • something that isn’t exactly right, or
  • my appearance

I will stop myself in mid-sentence by saying, “Appreciate it!” and give now it’s just respect before it is gone.

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Where Do You Live?

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“The words you speak become the house you live in.”  -Hafiz

In the past, when I wasn’t pleased with my situation, I thought that I had been a victim of a cruel fate, injustices, and others’ misjudgments. And, I seldom missed a chance to let everyone know about it. Now I realize:

  • my words were defining my experience.
  • many “injustices” I thought I suffered were self-inflicted. I was just clueless.
  • uncomfortable “accommodations” were part of the journey to appreciating the better ones to come.
  • happiness was always an inside job.

In the beginning was the word.

My words are the architect, the interior designer, and the realtor for the place I want to live.

A Payoff from the Process

Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes, and injustices. – Paul Tournier
That’s a heck of a lot to accept.
Who wants to accept hereditary handicaps, suffering, psychological baggage, topped off with injustices?
Not me. Not anyone. That’s awful!
Yet, nature teaches that there will be a transformation and a payoff…when I decide to submit to the mysterious usefulness of all the awful stuff  that I wanted to be angry about.
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Or I can stay angry, miss the blossoming, and make a lot of people miserable in the process.

Name Written on Water

The early death of love poet John Keats was probably from his misguided medical treatments as much as from Tuberculosis. The tragedy and pain of his death (without significant success at the age of 25) was further complicated by his financial struggles, even though he had a substantial inheritance that could have greatly helped him, but was never made known to him.

Upon his deathbed, he asked that his epitaph be, “Here lies One/Whose Name was writ in water.”

This insight into the absurdity of taking our existence too seriously, his work, and the frustrations of his life and death, too many to recount, often rescue me from despair when I am confronted with senseless injustice or confounded by seemingly random or easily preventable pain and loss.

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Life only makes sense in this context. Learning to love.

Happy V-Day.

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?

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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When the First Thought Finds Me

When the first thought finds me

Let it be the weight of light

When consciousness comes

Let it be a tiny whisper of surprise

That I have survived the night

Helpless and adrift in those dark hours

And have somehow landed safely

On the sun-soaked shore of another day

 

When the first thought finds me

Let it not be an anchor of dread

Or a tangled net of worry

Tugging me to the bottom of myself

Away from the light playing purposefully

Above my head

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I wrote this poem for a personal reminder to purposely choose a first thought in the morning: a thought that doesn’t call for a sigh or a groan.

Knowing I Don’t Know

Knowing I don’t know is real knowing

and my best days will always start here

Painful experiences have shown

I don’t ever know what a day might bring

even if I have a good plan

I don’t know what I’ll do that will actually help

or what I will do that will do significant harm

I often don’t know what my friends truly think of me

or how my enemies have helped me

I didn’t really know what I thought I knew yesterday

and that is particularly embarrassing

So, I will fall into the knowledge of my unknowledge,

Abruptly, ungracefully, wounded, and bleeding 

But, a fraction closer to the appointed resting place

In the arms of an omniscient Universe

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(Which, btw, is inexorably tied to “fearing” God)