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Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

You’ve come a long way baby! Well, maybe not..

The words to a poem started coming to me this morning as I had my morning cup of coffee. I wanted to use the word “wellspring” in my poem, but I wanted to make sure that I was using it in the right context. I didn’t have my computer on yet, so I grabbed my paperback copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary I had bought a few years back, before I realized that the online version was much more useful.

As I turned to the W’s toward wellspring, I happened to notice a definition listed for the word “well-endowed”; a word that I thought would never merit an entry in a dictionary. But there it was, and just for fun I read the definition, which soon turned my smile to a frown. I read the two definitions listed – 1: having plenty of money or property  and 2: having large breasts. Seriously? Really? Someone actually had the male chauvinistic, misogynistic gall to write and then allow the second definition to be published? It was almost as if someone had channeled the spirit of Noah Webster himself, from the early 19th century he lived in, and asked his definition of the word. Because this could not possibly be the work of any respectable 21st century writer; hadn’t we come so much farther than that?

So my question to Merriam-Webster would be, in the light of modern day equal rights for both men and women, where was entry 3, which would most certainly be:  having a large penis. That might help to take away the sting from the slap in the face that definition number 2 seems to be, and let’s give the guys their time in the spotlight too, right?

My new title, Professional Volunteer

I was volunteering at my neighborhood library this morning, talking with one of the staff who I hadn’t met before, and telling her about my retired life and what I do to fill my time. “Oh, so you’re a professional volunteer!” she proclaimed. And I had to thank her for giving me such a title, it really spells out who I am now – how perfect, yes, a professional volunteer.

I can see why she would say that, as my days now are pleasantly filled with helping out in a number of places. I do have Monday as a “free day”, walking in the morning with a friend and then doing whatever I please for the rest of the day. Then comes Tuesday, and I am presently helping  an older gentleman clear out all he has accumulated over his 70 years, trying to make more room in the studio apartment he now lives in. Wednesday and Thursday mornings I take a very short walk across the street to the grocery store, where I help out as a shopper for a non-profit called Store To Door, a place that provides grocery shopping service and delivery for those unable to do so. Friday is also another day of helping a senior, this time being a visitor and friendly face to an elderly woman, who just wants some company to help stave off the loneliness of growing older. Saturday is usually another free day, except for every third Saturday when I help with the neighborhood clean-up. Then I end my week by helping out on Sundays mornings at the local library. And in between all this are other one time opportunities to help here and there, for all kinds of different places and reasons.

Looking at all of that, I can see why I was bestowed with such a title; yes, it seems like it is an occupation in itself, all the volunteering I do now. But this is exactly what I have been reaching for, since I retired and even before that, when I would imagine all the wonderful ways I could help people if I just had the time. Well, now I have the time and I seem to have found some wonderful ways to help. This truly is my work now, even though I don’t get paid with a paycheck. Instead, I am able to pay forward the gift of time I have been given, when I was able to retire early at age 50 after a long but burned out at the end career in healthcare. I love my new job title, and life is very good working as a professional volunteer.

The gifts of perfect timing

I took a break from reading the 500 some page book club book about Teddy Roosevelt to check and see if the mail had arrived yet. As I walked into the foyer of my apartment building, I saw a large wooden desk sitting there with a yellow post-it note proclaiming “Free”. I have been keeping my eye out lately for a desk of some type, but it needed to be smaller than this one. I was anxious to replace the TV tray that I had been using as a combination desk to write at and kitchen table to eat at. Rick and James were in the office, the manager and assistant manager of my building, and I lamented to them how much I would have loved that desk but it was just too big for my studio apartment. One of them mentioned a smaller desk they had seen in the basement, in the corner where people leave “free stuff”;  things that are let go for one reason or another, usually because it is easier than trying to haul large and bulky items to the nearest Goodwill.

I found the adorable white wicker desk just sitting there in the corner, amongst a mattress, a broken entertainment center, a battered tool box and a box full of old clothes and shoes. I felt like I was at the humane society, picking out the perfect pet. Instead I had found the perfect desk! I ran up to the office, out of breath and proclaimed, “I’ll take it!” James graciously offered to bring it up to my apartment on the fourth floor; good thing he was there at the time or else I don’t know how I would have managed it on my own, and then I may have lost my chance to have such a great find – for free!

But wait, there’s more!

As I started to rearrange things in my home to accommodate my new piece of furniture, I heard a knock at the door. I answered it and there stood Rick with a lovely black office chair that looked as if no one had spent any time sitting in it. Another free gift! Rick must have been paying attention to me when I was rambling on about how I have the world’s most uncomfortable plastic folding chair that I bought only because I didn’t feel like driving all over to find something better and yeah I hate to complain but it really would be nice to have something a bit more comfortable and on and on. And now here he was, with the perfect chair to match my perfect desk – yes, what a perfect day!

After all was said and done, with my new desk in place and the drawers full of all the things I had previously kept on a kitchen shelf, I could see how perfect timing, what is called synchronicity, played a part in all of this. I had to come down to get my mail, just at the time that the desk was there, just at the time that Rick and James where there to tell me about a better desk and to hear about my sad chair story, just at the time that James was there to carry my treasure find to my apartment, just at the time that Rick thought to give me his old office chair. This is how the Universe lines up the dominoes of our life’s happenings, then gives them a joyful flick to fall into perfect succession – this is how it’s done!

As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as luck or fate or serendipity; there are no coincidences. We are all part of a much greater plan than we can imagine. And when we take the time to step back and stop trying to control everything, we might just find ourselves the recipients of perfect gifts that can only come from perfect timing.

From this….

…to this!!

 

 

The other side of writing

Today I started my 24th journal, in four years time, and that works out to filling up a journal every two months – wow! I guess I have a lot to share with myself. The pages I fill contain so much – my thoughts and dreams, love and heartache, all that I am and all I am experiencing in this lifetime. In this way, journaling is a gift, a godsend, a way for my soul to spill out and for me to archive a permanent record of who I really am.

I often look back on all my lovely pages, inspired by how far I’ve come, or enlightened by words I’ve written but long since forgotten. My journals become a kind of self-help book written by me, for me – who better to help me through the ups and downs of life but my own unique soul? But I am also guided by words I find from others. I often write down inspirational quotes or phrases I find or hear, as well as decorating the pages with pictures or artwork that touch my heart. It is a joy to see and read the soul filled expressions of others.

My journals are a manner of creative expression as much as my other modes of writing are. Even though I fill the pages with haphazard writing – misspelled words, grammatical errors, run-on sentences – it is the free flowing expression of pure thought, not impeded by my logical side that stops me from saying what I long to say. There is much truth contained in those pages.

In the corner of the room, I see my lovely collection all lined up like soldiers at attention, but not wearing the same uniform; each one is unique on the outside as well as the inside. Some are covered with pretty pictures or artwork, and some I have decorated myself when the cost of a $10 journal was outside my budget. Those forays into art are some of my favorites – there is the one with the man in the moon picture I cut out and glued to the front of a $1 composition notebook, or the notebook I bought in the college bookstore one day and transformed into a journal by covering the front of it with inspirational quotes I love.

All of my precious journals contain the unique energy of me, a true self that I find cannot be fully revealed at times. Those are the times when the sanctity and security of my journal becomes a very dear confidant to me, allowing me to always be me.

My first journal, October 2008

One of my “homemade” journals

Why continue the frantic searching? I have learned where the answers lie…

Waking up to the realization that we are so much more than our physical selves is just that – waking up! Just as our physical bodies wake and stretch after a good night’s sleep, ready to face the day, our awakened souls are also bright and bushy tailed, ready to face a lifetime of living more from the heart and less from the mind. As the heart begins to open to all the love it discovers was always there, we can find ourselves swept away by all the wondrous ways to access this delicious feeling of love. And that is a good thing! For a time anyway. We find others like ourselves, and we find teachers and gurus and healers and mediums and books and CDs and DVDs and psychic fairs, all designed to help our emerging selves figure out how to live from this new found energy of the soul – phew! It can be a blessing to find the right guidance and healing, but it can also be overwhelming after a time. And numerous times I have gone into what I call my “bull in a china shop” mode in regard to my spiritual path, filling my calendar with everything I thought I had to do, to ensure my soul’s enlightenment. But the object of all the learning we gather is not to hang on the apron strings of another, but rather to find our own apron strings to hang onto; they are there inside all of us, the answers we have been looking for.

This is not to say that we don’t need all those gifted and amazing souls who help us during the start of our awakening. Lord knows, I would still be crumpled in a fetal position on my bed, crying my eyes out or else still throwing eggs at the pine trees in my ex-husband’s yard. No, all the wonderful souls on this earth and in spirit that have helped me to heal and grow have been treasures sent to me; helpful beyond words. But just as a child grows and matures, readying themselves to go out into the world, so do we in the name of our spiritual selves. Any good metaphysical teacher of any type will want their students to learn from them, rather than cling to them for constant guidance and answers. The last few readings I have had with mediums and intuitives were more like sessions of validation for me; telling me things that really, I already knew beforehand. Oh, I still came away with useful guidance, and of course I realize that the learning never stops, as I still take in various seminars and books, but in a much lesser degree. I find that I may actually be in a position to impart some pearls of wisdom, to help others as I have been helped. Granted, I have no formal training in anything metaphysical, I don’t have years of psychic experience. But I am starting to turn more and more to my soul, learning how powerful it is, actually trusting it! And you know, it feels good to be able to trust myself – confidence in what I hear and feel. I found a couple of passages that illustrate what I am trying to say – that I have learned where the answers lie, inside of me, much closer than I could have ever imagined.

 

This is part of a channeled message I read somewhere, sadly not having made note of the source, but the words really resonated with me and still do:

“Our true purpose is to help you connect with that higher part of yourself that is God. Once that is accomplished it is easy to see that you will never need to ask for answers outside of yourself. Hold your own power of free choice ever at the forefront of your being. Take your time and re-align your energy where it best suits you.”

 

And here is part of a passage from Luang Por Chah, a revered teacher of Buddhism:

“In the beginning you must rely on a teacher to instruct and advise you. When you understand, then practice. If you understand the practice it’s no longer necessary for the teacher to teach you; just do the work yourselves. You may wish to travel, to visit other teachers and try other systems. This is a natural desire. You will find that a thousand questions asked and knowledge of many systems will not bring you to the truth. Eventually you will get bored. You will see that only by stopping and examining your own mind can you find out what the Buddha talked about. No need to go searching outside yourself. Eventually you must return to face your own true nature.”

 

 

 

 

The fear of imperfection

Life is not all neat and tidy, presented to us all packaged up in pretty paper, with a lovely bow attached. No, more times than not, life can be messy, wrapped up in the funny papers instead. I tend to forget about the messiness of life when my own life is flowing so smoothly, with a few bumps in the road but not having to bust up the boulders that were in the way during so much of my life. But in recently reconnecting with a friend who is trying to find her way in life, having relocated to a new home many miles away just as I did, I am reminded of so many things; things about life itself and things about my own self.

My view of life here on earth is that of a classroom, with most of the lessons being learned in the experiential way, much like my internship I went through after studying various subjects in a school setting. And really, why else would we come here, if not to learn lessons from the messiness of life? Otherwise, wouldn’t we choose to stay in heaven, cavorting about in blissful perfection? No, we leave that place of wonder because our souls know how much growth comes from vast array of experiences on earth. And I remind myself that I chose to come here, to this place of many challenges, so that I could learn from all the imperfections. Relationships here are the perfect learning environment, as we dance our dances with one another; sometimes in step and sometimes stepping on each others’ toes.

After I woke up from my life I had been barely awake in for most of my years, I was able to realize and admit to myself that I struggle with issues of co-dependency and insecurity. When I did the test to determine what my Enneagram number is (the Enneagram is a system to help determine personality types), I came up as a nine, the peacemaker. Of course! I was always so afraid of conflict, of disagreements, of anything that would color my world and those in it less than perfect. And in my co-dependent way, I tried to control everyone and everything so they would be perfect and happy and peaceful. Now I can see that life and relationships are not always meant to be smooth as silk, although of course our ultimate goal is to be happy, especially with the ones we love. But along that road to happiness may be sacrifices made by one or the other, and a relationship is about loving honestly, not giving in to please everyone else just to calm the waters. Sometimes the sea has to boil, as well as ourselves. My ex-husband and I never argued in 27 years of marriage. I used to think that was something to be proud of, but now I see it as something that was so very wrong in our relationship.

So I welcome the teacher called imperfection, not running away and hiding in a corner until the storms pass. I find it is possible to love myself and others so fully with the constant knowing that we are all earth angels here together, all so perfectly imperfect.

I took a little trip

I took a little trip the past couple of days, but not the kind where you leave your home. I went on an ego trip, the kind that literally trips you up; as my ego put the pedal to the metal, full throttle, taking me for a ride I really didn’t want to go on.

I count my spiritual awakening as one of the greatest and most significant life changes I have been through. I never want to go back to who I was before that, and I never will. I spent the majority of my life sleepwalking through it, but now I am awake and alive in a way that is so refreshing! It feels like a good stretch when you get out of  bed; this true self of mine shining through. Ah, but there can be some pitfalls with all this love if one is not careful, what I like to call “spiritual superiority”. This is when the awakened soul climbs up on a pedestal they have constructed for themselves, feeling as if they are the enlightened and exalted ones, better in so many ways than those poor creatures still dowsed in fear. These are the times I forget I have an ego. And believe you me, I have climbed up there a few times, and subsequently fallen off – thank goodness for that! The ego may be bruised and battered after falling, but the soul always says, “Thank you”.

And it’s funny, because I could see events leading up to my fall; I watched myself climb up to that pedestal where the ego likes to hang out. I had lunch with a couple of friends one bright, sunny day, and as we sat talking about one friend’s cute haircut she had just gotten, I found myself wanting to say, “Enough about her hair, what about mine? Isn’t mine pretty too?” Then the conversation turned to talk radio, which I don’t care to listen to, and I could feel myself pouting inside like a child, left out of all the attention. Then the next day the crabby side of me came out; the side that is short tempered with strangers who are just doing their job. I went to the Farmer’s Market in my neighborhood, and was stopped by a very nice young lady from the local electric company, wanting to explain a new program they have. As she was patiently going through her talk, I could feel my blood boil at what I felt was her pushiness, and it was all I could do to not say, “Leave me the hell alone, would you?!” But I held my tongue and just walked away, seething.

Then it all came to a head as I met with my financial adviser the other day, to look at my dwindling retirement account I have been living off of, trying to come up with a solution to save that money for the future and find some money for me now to live on. Well, I knew the answer – I am going to have to find a job, after being retired for three years. And bless his heart, this man had worked so hard to put together all of the data and numbers, showing me the reality of things in a very kind and patient manner. I was not upset with him for showing me the light. But after I got home, it was then that my ego dragged me into full meltdown mode; telling me I was a failure, a fool, an idiot for thinking I could play the retirement game before age 59, when I can use that money without any penalty. I felt angry and betrayed; having to work again was not part of the plan for my life now. My ego did not like it one bit, having to finally accept the fact that this really is part of the plan. But now I can see it as such, and accept that going back to the world of work is a path I am to go on, and the reasons will be revealed to me when I am ready.

I know that we can dream our dreams, and create what we feel is best for us by focusing on and ultimately manifesting those intentions. But then there are the times that it is not to be, and that’s when we have to let go and trust in God and the Universe, as we are guided and led to places and events that may seem unpleasant at the time, but afford us much growth and are exactly what we need. I want to enjoy my time here, not go through it kicking and screaming because what I thought was best for me did not transpire. I learn time and time again that God always brings what is for my highest good and the good of others, and I find that trust once more.

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